Wednesday 29 December 2021

Overseas Property Investing Risks


Property disputes in Batam

Need we say more?

Another good example in showing the difference between knowledge and wisdom....

That's why my former Swiss expat boss have a lawyer vet through his employment contract each time he got a new overseas assignment - especially when big money is involved. 

Ever puzzled why companies have to pay millions in compensation when firing their CEOs?

The CEOs got good, better, best lawyers drafting their employment contracts!!!

It reminded me of a legal case I learnt during night class decades ago...

A construction company agreed to hand over a property development to the owner AFTER completion of a 12 floor office building.

Guess what?

The construction company just build up to 11 floor and never handed over the building, citing construction delays... Meanwhile conveniently leasing out the lower floors in its possession.

Like that also can!?

So when people "promise" a lease extension for a "premium"... The wise and savvy ones would ask, "What is a premium?"

You "assumed" its a few hundred Ks? 

People can ask for a billion or a trillion! Nothing wrong right?

You think why big daddy dropped the 99 year leasehold bombshell on us years ago?

Its to prepare the ground for the day they take back those "ancient" HDB flats when their 99 year leases are up - without compensation.

Not every citizen got study Business Law...

Show with example the best:

Geylang private homes returned to State

Glad our repossessions are done more professionally; no fuss, no muss.

Many years ago when a Mainland Chinese supplier told me he prefers to work with Singaporeans, he has to be very alert when working with Hong Kongers and Taiwanese, I didn't take it as a compliment. 

What he meant between the lines is that Singaporeans are follow the law straight straight "bei kambing" little red riding hoods... Much easier to deal with! 

Sure, overseas property investing can be "cheaper". 

If going overseas to do your university degree, you would want to go to universities that are more prestigious than our local universities right?

But doing overseas property investing, similar to you no choice have to go overseas to study as you can't get into our local universities, is same same but different!

Same same overseas degree; academic respect not the same. 

As evident in your starting pay...

Just ask yourself. Would the Batam developer do what they did if majority of the owners were local Indonesians?

Any property developments that are targeted exclusively to foreigners, is that a good thing or bad thing?

Don't look far, just look around back home. Wink.

Passing tourist dragon can't beat local local snake!

Monday 27 December 2021

I Guess I Should Be Grateful?


This year blew by so quickly that it just occurred to me I just had a "lost" year!?

I mean I didn't learn or accomplish anything new.

Talk about "stagnation"...


Still, I guess I am grateful on how the year has turned out.

From the macro side, grateful that Singapore has no tornadoes, typhoons, or hurricanes! Imagine your home or life's work just blown away by the forces of Mother Nature?

Earthquakes and volcano eruptions? We lucky to born here or what?

How about 1 in 100 year floods? Ours reach ankle level we complain and whine; other people's floods can result in actual deaths one...

Must give credit when credit is due. Big daddy has done a good job on what we can control when it comes to flood alleviation works. 

What we can't control, as in actual rainfall, we leave it to the heavens.

On the micro personal side, no major accidents or health issues for family, thank goodness nothing to worry about.

I've tempered my expectations on this Wuhan virus thingy.  Beginning of this year was a bit angry and down as I thought the most this Wuhan virus pandemic would last was at most one year... How wrong I was!!!

Frustrating right? Just when we thought we can move forward and treat it as endemic, this new variant came knocking...

Now we have a few clusters of the new variant, hope we don't become like UK next year, that will already be a blessing!


Goals and resolutions for next year?


I'll follow the discipline from my trading and investing.

Focus on what I can Control.

Let go of things I can't control nor influence. (Of course be conscious and aware of what they are, but what's the point of getting angry or worry about them?)

Got time left over then maybe can work on things I can Influence. (Like encouraging mom to go for her booster shot)

We old fogeys have it easier. 

I mean 2 or 3 years don't matter that much at our age.

For youths below 18, they have already lost 2 years that's never coming back...

But there's something that no virus or pandemic can take away:

Youths, your strength is you don't know what cannot be done!

Thursday 23 December 2021

You Are Not Their Customer If It's Free!


In gacha mobile gaming, its the Free-to-Play players that make the most noise and laughable complaints.

I'm FTP by the way. (Its an inside joke in the gacha gaming community)

But at least I know my place.

These FTP players are clueless they are not the customers of the mobile game. We are part of the game design!

Why do players dump money into a game as Pay-to-Win players when we can play for free?

Because it feels good to thrash other players!

I mean no one will brag about beating AI characters; we all know AI bosses suck.

But its different when we know there's a real life person behind that nick we are beating into a pulp. Wink.

There's a running joke that gamers have no life, no friends in the real world, that sort of thing...

So as a form of "escapism", who doesn't like the accolades and adulations you get as one of the top players in the virtual world?

Have the rarest of rare heroes, or god-like gear that we FTP cannon fodders can only dream of?

(You think why men buy flashy cars and women buy luxury handbags in real life?)

This only works if there are enough FTP weaklings for these PTW players to bully. 

Hence game developers have to attract enough FTP players or else the game dies.

Have you ever thought how do brokers that offer "FREE" trading make money?

Of course you are NOT their customers either.

With access to all the collective order flows (you are part of the product), these brokers will sell this valuable information to their real customers - the PTW institutional players.

You may also want to check around. Do institutional traders/investors, with their millions in transactions, use these "FREE" brokers? 

They could be saving tons in transaction fees alone!

Strangely, "FREE" brokers are only targeting retail traders/investors. Hmm... I wonder why?

In retail, when you purchase something for $100, and it turned out to be a lemon, of course you can bang table and ask for a refund.

The retailer will give you your $100 back. 

When you use a "FREE" broker, just when the market is most volatile exciting, the platform dies due to overload, causing you to either miss an opportunity of a lifetime; or worse, drowning you in steep losses because you can't get out in time...

How do you get compensation?

You paid "FREE"; they refund you "FREE".

Thursday 16 December 2021

Ultraman is here in Singapore!


This is so cool and nostalgic! 

Good job STPB!!!

I started watching Ultraman during primary 2.

It was the Ultraman Jack series (not this first Ultraman in the video).

And it was in Malay as it was from the Malaysian channel. 

That's how I learned "raksasa" in Malay for monster. Wink.


I think I used that on some of my teachers...  LOL!

Knew all the Ultraman brothers until Taro. 

My favourite is UltraSeven! (He looks different! I guess from young I never wanted to join the crowd?)

Its incredible this Ultraman universe is still growing strong in Japan. 

55 year anniversary!!!

Tuesday 14 December 2021

Warren Buffett's Story Telling On Earn More


Found this interesting speech by Warren to a group of entrepreneurs.

Just thought his story telling ties in nicely to what I've wrote last week on the Paradox of Success.

Friday 10 December 2021

The Paradox Of Success


Have you noticed for every "wise" saying, there's always another contradictory "wise" saying to counteract it?

Let's use 2 examples from our 5,000 years of Chinese wisdom:

人定胜天 - I decide my own destiny!

天时, 地利, 人和 - I just got lucky!

When we are climbing UP the mountain to seek success, we can't believe in luck, destiny, and all things that suggest its pure coincidence, can we?

I mean why bother if whatever we do, its just like buying Toto? All randomness?

That's why most Chinese parents put so much emphasis on study hard and work hard! Get into brand name schools, win scholarships that sort of thing.

Its the legacy of the old Chinese Imperial Exams system that's so embedded into our collective DNA...

Its gives us "comfort" to know we can "control" our own destiny.

But in reality, we know that's not completely true... 

Some no study or got lousy grades can also become filthy rich!?

Some got multiple degrees, magna cum laude this, summa cum laude that, also like that lor after leaving school...

You can Trust but Verify at class reunions. 

What's the paradox then?

Its when we have climbed to the summit of the mountain and achieved whatever that is we call "success", the WISER ones will sing another tune.

Its self interest. Especially when we want to be liked or be happier.

These successful people will start to downplay their own efforts - those blood, sweat, and tears shed during the climb up - and put more emphasis on luck, the help others have given them along the way, grace from heaven that sort of thing...


Have you been in the company of those who are successful but feel very entitled to their success? 

Not pleasant is it? They are so full of it!

They are the ones who believed, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail..."

Its another way of saying, "If you born poor its not your mistake, but if you die poor it's your mistake!" 

Would those humble successful people you've praised a lot, and enjoyed their company with treat you like that?

Where does humbleness come from?

It only comes when we are grateful.

How can we be grateful when we think success it all due to us and us alone?

I think this is where the humble atheist and the grateful believer have a lot in common. Wink.

Tuesday 7 December 2021

Most Effective Hedge Against Inflation


Earn More.

No. I'm not kidding!

Let's start at the country level. Throughout our human history, there were many bouts of high inflation. Yet humanity still survived. 

Of course there were countries that suffered and fell into oblivion, then there were countries that thrived.

If you not a fan of history, but you love travelling, next time you visit those countries that have lots of zeros on their dollar bills, try asking the tour guide or locals how they, or their parents/grand parents, survived through it.

Who "prospered" from high inflation, and who got "clobbered"...  I'll bet that will be more illuminating than reading "theories" and "opinions"!

Especially youths who have not experienced inflation of the 70s. 

Wait. I so stupid! Just ask your parents or grandparents also can! Travel not needed.

If a country can export and earn more revenues than the what they have to pay in imports, does inflation matters?

Just look at oil producing countries. If they can raise oil prices in an inflationary environment, would they be complaining?

At the corporations level, you know you may have to update your resume when the company you working for is practicing austerity in an inflationary environment...

That meant the company can't raise prices despite higher input costs. It has no pricing power.

But if you working for Apple or Microsoft, customers may complain about higher prices, but they still will buy as that's the power of having fan boys and girls as your customer base. For Microsoft's "captive customer" base , unless you are a techie who can switch to Linux, switching to Apple is "lagi" more expensive!

And that's the same for boring and defensive companies like utilities, telecoms, and public transport... Unless big daddy is willing to subsidise us by "stealing" from our grandchildren, what can we do as consumers facing higher prices?

Utilities and telecoms no way out. At best we use less; practice Save More. Only public transport we can do something about it. Walk or cycle to work anyone? We can "spin" it as being environment friendly!!!

"Look ma! No carbon footprint!"

Now comes to the individual level. Inflation sucks for those who are on a FIXED income. And those whose pay raises are lower than the inflation rate.

But if you are a high performer, you are not phased by it. Not when you are getting double digit pay increments annually like 10% or more... And 40-50% promotional pay increases every 2-3 years!

True or not?

That's where most of us in this community comes in. Why do we invest or trade? 

Because our day job sucks lah! Or we suck at our day job; don't hit the face!

No choice. The Save More route is out for us; that's for the high income earners. 

Hence Earn More it is!

Talking about Earn More, I would like to give a shout out to Kevin of Turtle Investor:

Alternative Income  (I like this post as few commercial bloggers are so transparent. Read the part about active efforts on his part)

There! If our alternative incomes are more than our regular day job, whose afraid of a little inflation?

Ah! How to Earn More if you want minimum effort with maximum reward? And you not really into craftmanship that sort of thing?

Buy Toto?  

I must write to Singapore Pools for affiliate marketing commissions! I am plugging Toto so often, at the very least, buy me a drink!

Friday 3 December 2021

Bad Decisions


If we can't laugh at ourselves from time to time, it simply means you are trying too hard...

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