Friday, August 17, 2018

Random thoughts: Counting longevity?

Yesterday I was having dinner with my dad.

His walking is much weaker now. As I walk to the lift with him, we saw a neighbor using his hands to support himself. Their conversation left a deep impression.

They talk about the pain and ache of their legs. They brushed it off as old age.

The man asked if my dad is 80, and claimed he is 2 years younger. He then exclaimed how every year after 75 is a big difference to the preceding year. He now struggles with what he could usually coped with and it gets worse every year.

My mermories of my dad lifestyle conincide with what the man says. Aging, perhaps really caught up with my dad in the last 5 years. I remembered not too long ago, people were complimenting he was as strong as an ox for his age. He used to walk from whampoa to Pek Kio for breakfast and walk back. 

Age is but a number. Some people start aging at a much older age. But once aging starts, it is clear and painful.

Every year is a deterioration from the previous.

Enjoy your years.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Random thoughts: that elusive happiness?

A pupil once asked me about heaven and hell. I told that pupil heaven and hell is in the heart. When we are happy with ourselves, it is like paradise on earth, and vice versa.

There are times when we look for the little pleasures to comfort ourselves. The easiest are material comforts. Think of food, spa, holiday etc. Some of the material comforts further bring about a sense of achievement or pride, such as car, poster photos on Facebook that show the most exotic tours, garnering record high likes. It is like killing 2 birds with 1 stone, enjoying the experience and stroking the ego.

My family went for a staycation during the national day holiday. I pampered myself with one of the finest hotel stay and buffet meals. Strangely, I felt very bored and empty. I am happy that my child and niece had a good time, but the holiday crowd gave me a headache and I am screaming inside. I could literally feel my heart beat faster in the queues.

I realize sadly, or fortunately, satisfaction come from my work rather than these little indulgences that I pursued.

It is not that my career is smooth sailing, but despite the headache it gave me, it nonetheless provide a calling and a sense of purpose.

I realize recently, life is about choices. I am not doing about choices accumulating wealth. It's about accumulating karma. There are many people I met, some toxic, some are my loved ones, some passing by. Whoever it's is, or whatever the circumstances, there are always an option to be kind and offer help to the distress. But real help is difficult, requiring a lot of follow up and real compassion to make it sustainable for both the helper and the beneficiary. It makes helping pupils seem like a breeze.

It also made me realise my cutivation is really low, as I couldn't really bring myself to help, rather 独善其身,一个人潇洒。

That elusive happiness. I saw it and knew how it can be like.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Contrarian

How do u define contrarian investing?

The most popular is buy when market is low and when there is blood on the street. But it is such common knowledge that I doubt it can be called contrarian, since by definition, it is about going against popular wisdom.

Personally, being a contrarian would need one to be exposed to short term pain.

I would think there is no such thing as contrarian investing. Its simply about convinction, which I lack.

I have some success with companies that I bought when they are doing well and they continue to do well. I have also companies which I bought when faith in them is low. Both have their hits and misses, so the key is not about being contrarian for the sake of contrarian but convinction of own analysis.

With the reporting season coming to an end soon, I do like Singpost. Their parcel busines is scaling up nicely, most probably due to the feeding of business from.lazada.

Since new management comes online, they have been taking writeoff. While the warrant loss is a surprise, I would he more surprise if the cleaning up is not coming to an end soon with the new board already in place for sometime.

Its another stock at 5 years low.

However, I am.holding off buying anything

This continous bull run is really getting on my nerves and I feel myself losing the discipline to hold a warchest.

Anyway, I have 3 months before the next reporting window. Those who report bad results wouldn't run up anyway.

The other company playing out as it should is ST engineering, and I tempted to buy higher to chase higher.

Again, we will see how it goes.

Anyway, if we look at the 3 telcos local.market battle, M1 seem to be doing the best in terms of getting new subscribers. Another company that is at investor rubbish dump without TPG firing the first salvo.

Was hoping TPG show their cards quickly.

They will surely have cheaper deals in order to gain market shares. The question is how much? Unlikely it will be a grab Uber type of cut throat competition, but anything between what is offering by market now and how far it cuts is very important.

In short, as long as u have a style that doesn't waver, u are already a contrarian. This is not to say u cannot change your style or try new things. Its about a core that u believed works. Some of the bloggers have it. Some show that they have it.

And theIr short term results is not the determining criteria

Friday, August 3, 2018

Raondom thoughts: Over attachment to results

We all like good results.

Investors like growing earnings in the companies they invested in. As a teacher, I look for improvement too.

But recently, I have make a strong mental effort to be not emotionally excited or disappointed with results.

It helped me coped better. In fact, not only did the decoupling of expectation of results not cause a deterioration of motivation, it actually allowed me to push my pupils harder, without questioning myself so much.

When a staff talk to me about the stress of producing results, I am.not too sure why I suddenly retorted " I am sicked of results, just do your best for your kid"

I think I mean I am sick of attaching so much emotions to crossing of a particular arbitrary benchmark of results ...

I am very pleased that a pupil of mine has start to speak loudly and is able to quickly answer oral questions. She still fail, but I am already very pleased with her development. However, I know she is doing this to clear her exams and I hope she does.

I have extreme case for the other spectrum, pupil who did reasonably well during practices and is one of my better pupils but end up becoming the worst pupil in the exam. In the past, I will usually be very flustered, this time round, I simply speak with her, and ask her to try harder. I do what I can, I leave it to karma of mine and theirs to decide the final results.

So, what has worked? Actually, my boss always ask me what strategies to.improve results. I am quite sick of that question. She ask me why there are still failures, whereas my colleague walk to me and ask how I made a particular boy read and speak. They taught him in previous years and remember him as one who refuse to speak or read.

My answer is really simple, but never accepted. U can Ask me to think deeper, but I am stupid, so I can't find a better answer.

It's just 人盯人。 1 to 1 coaching and motivating. Encouraging them and giving them small successes. Then, Its practices after practices. When they are very sianz, talk to them. When they give u the "I want to give up face", u be around to remind them.to not give up without a fight. Most of the time, its a losing battle. Things like games, pie face game, piggyback on song, use of PC, flash cards, group work etc are things I do something to break the montonous of the teaching, because I know energy level is low and they are very bored too. But 80 percent of the time, they are practising questions after questions and I explain answers after answers. Sometime I crack a joke or 2, but those are time fillers, the icing on the cake, they are not the killer moves. I did ask many of my colleagues who are able to turn pupils around, I ask them what is their sauce very sincerely. I hear what they say, and see what they do, I dun think they are any far off in my approach. No fanciful stuff that u see in the internet.

I dun know how to be creative and innovative and do less learn more. I am happy with do more learn more.

So, if I am useless in showcasing the lastest flavor of the month, and slogans, I am truly sorry. I want my pupils to do well in examination and hence I focus on teaching to the test. I am not ashamed.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Random thoughts: First shot, SIA engineering

Initiated position:

Reasons:

1)Price at 5 year low
2)Yet, earning is improving.
3)Local earnings is weaker but SIA engineering strategy of forming joint ventures and alliances mean the earnings should be look at in totality.
4) Latest AR did not disclose number of D checks, but I believe the upswing should start next year, if they can keep their market share.
5) With ST engineering, I am buying into Singapore Aviation story, abeit its the support and service equation of the Aviation Story

Valuation in terms of yield is fair, as SIA engineering has always trade around 5% yield.

But personally, 5 percent yield at market peak and 5 percent yield at the tough of cyclical MRO cycle is different.

1 round of.ammo has 2 more shots. Which alerts will go off first?

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Random thoughts: Different intelligences

I think most of us have heard of this in different forms. Some are musician, some more talented in sports, others in arts etc.

I always believed everyone can learn everything. But everyone has 1 or 2 intelligences that allow learning to take place at a exponential rate as compared to curve that pleateu off after a while.

I have this pupil, dilligent and driven. One that does all the work I assigned to the best of her abilities. She however has difficulty in oral conversation.

Sadly, it took me a really long time to realise what is wrong. I always thought she has a confidence problem. Because she could recognize the characters and answer questions on  vocabulary correctly, and even write reasonably.

I just realized she has problem generating  vocabulary and pronouncing it. She speak in anguish one day and say I know how to write that word.

When I ask her to record her response to question, she could do it reasonably well. I later realise she took a really long time to prepare and organize her thoughts at home. But when required to do it in a quick and impromptu manner, she fumbles.

However, she can draw really well.

Not just that, she really is quite brilliant in her on way. There is this chapter about 3 painters asked by their master to draw as many camels as possible.

One drew as many camels as possible, one used camel heads to represent camels and another drew mountain range and 3 camels followed by a fourth just emerging from the mountains. No prize guessing which is the best.

Without teaching the chapter, I asked my kids to draw as many fishes as possible. Some did what the first painter and a few did what the second painter did. Using dots to fill up the small piece of paper.

She drew a school of fish clustering together. Different schools, some showing the fishes clearly and others just dots. It gave the whole picture a sense of depth and almost three dimensional. She even drew the right deep water fish at the bottom of the page.

I knew she wanted to pass and do well very badly. But I am not sure if I can help her in her oral despite 1-1 practice everyday and reminding her what are the common vocabulary to be used ...

But alas...

Sometimes I wonder what else could be done to prevent inevitable...

Friday, July 13, 2018

Random thoughts: Pressure cooker advertisement

Which pressure cooker is the best?

Singapore made pressure cooker is the best. Fast, quick and keep rice smooth and mositured.

Popcorns, porridge, Tonic soup.
Cooker breaks it down, pop it out. Everything cookable.

So many modes for your pleasing.
So popular among locals and some say in Asia.

For advance cookers, u can even control the level of fluffyness and water content.

Warning:
Some.are confused with the many functions, wanted to cook rice and end up shedding tears churning porridge.

While the level of fluffyness and water content can be regulated to customize for each customer, customer are advised to adjust their expectations as the food depends as much as thh cook as well as the cooker.