Monday, April 27, 2015

Random thoughts: The treasure Hunter- All that glitters

The treasure hunter finally got his chance.

The bear was not too tough. The fight didn't last long.

Conner went into the cave. He saw some gold.

As he picked up his loot. he saw a light shinning from the top of nowhere.

He then noticed this light is slowly turning the stones into a copper red color.

He was mesmerized by what he saw. He went nearer.

To is surprise, the light is a halo, it is like a wormhole of sorts, it opens to many different world. All with the light shinning down on the rocks.

He saw colonies of bears.

When he almost wanted to go, he saw to his dismay, a treasure hunter being fell by a bear.

He could not do anything but watch the bear fling him, together with his sophisticated gadgets to the corner of the cave. He went under the light and turn copper red.

Suddenly as if struck by lighting, he dropped his gold. These gold are stones from the cave, and also the remains of other treasure hunters!

He looked closely at the gold, he couldn't really tell whether it originate from the minerals or another human.

He left and returned to his family with a rather heavy heart.

He saw his wife and kids. She turned and looked at him, then quietly went on with her chores.

Conner was a bit upset, he told his wife:" I am back, I got the gold, but......"

His wife turned around, surprised and muttered, "Oh. That's great, your son needs some tonic."

Conner wanted to use most of the gold to buy more sophisticated weapons for his next hunt. But he couldn't say no.

"I will need part of it, dear. For my next hunt. I am sorry."

The wife looked at him, he couldn't tell what the expression means. She said:" OK"

He went to his son, eager to tell him the stories of his hunt. His son was excited. "So how much gold did you get? Have you thought of a way to harvest the light? Maybe you should go for a bigger bear next time."

After the conversation, Conner went to his grandfather. He felt quite empty, and couldn't explain why. His grandfather is very weak and can hardly get off  the bed.

"Conner.. Have you go into the cave?" Conner was surprised, he thought his grandfather who worked his whole life at the farm, had no idea about the magical caves.

His grandfather saw the puzzle look and was amused. "So, all that glitters, I hope it is worth it..."


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Random story: The treasure hunter

The treasure is in the cave.

There is countless treasures, it is almost a magical cave. There is no way anyone can finished looting it. The entrances to the cave is magical too. It is said that different people will see different access to the cave. But as it has made many filthy rich, many have died in the pursuit too.

Conner has seek many successful hunters' advice before he embarked on this quest too.

There is countless bears lurking in the cave. The only way to get to the treasure, is to slain the bear.

No one, however, has ventured into cave and slain the bear from within.

The trick is to lure the bear out.

If you find a big bear, it means the treasure is big. However, if you are not ready for the bear, be prepared to walk away, it is better to keep your life and try another time than try to slay a 6 feet bear with only a Sabre.

Conner has prepare well. He has prepared as much arrows as he could, dip them into poison.

However, no matter how he tried to lure the bear out using different food, the bear did not bite.

Everyday, he felt his energy slipping away, his patience wearing thin.

It has been 2 long years. The are a few occasions when the bear popped its head out. But Conner wanted a good sight and shot, so he passed. Now, he really regretted his choice. It is especially hurting when he saw other treasure hunters already making multiple trips and having their full each time.

They always ask:" Have not got a chance?"

Conner looked at them. Some of them had war machines. He looked at his own arrows, and feel like giving up.

He went up the cave, and stand at the entrance. And left with nothing. But he didn't give up. He had another idea.

He spent the next year roaming around the mountain. Searching for possible entrances, he looked where no man go. He even looked where other hunters left. They didn't want to use their sophisticated weaponry on cubs. He didn't mind.

He finally is more confident with his craft.

He noticed while bears tend to appear out of the blue, they usually appear when there are geographic disturbances. Earthquakes, landslides, flood, etc. There has been flooding at certain areas for years, it is believed it is going to trigger landslides. He believed his time will come soon.

Looking at the stars, he noticed the Greece Star is shining very dimly. Usually a prelude to a earthquake.

He now know of a few areas where bear might appear. He is keeping a bigger radar now.

He does not know if his wait will be futile or if a bear do appear, can he actually slay it?

He wonder if he should spend more time on his weaponry instead?

He hoped to slain a bear, get his first pot of gold and used it to improve his weaponry.

He is nervous, it has been almost three years.

His family is missing him. He wonders how they are, and if they can continue without him much longer.

He gave himself one last chance, if September there is no bear, he will go home empty-handed

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Random thoughts: Some lessons learnt in managing heavy workload

Lesson 1:
Rushing for a deadline sucks more than fatigue. Hence I am still working now, so that I do not need to rush like mad on a hectic Monday.

Lesson 2:
Consolidate the to-do list. I List all that I need to do in the morning, so that my mind do not keep drifting from one item to the other. "oh, I still have that to handle", write it down in the computer but also uses a physical post it and paste in somewhere prominently, with the deadline highlighted, and take it down only after you have complete the task. Without this exercise, I am constantly in a fluster, and time can flies by without accomplishing much.

Lesson 3:
Identify the task that stretched over a long period with multiple deadlines. Set a timeline for yourself before you even start. I am rushing deadlines and deadlines over the administration of organizing my first overseas immersion. This is the first time I am organizing it. Plenty of lessons learnt. Give a date for call of tender, evaluation of tender, letter to be vetted and sent out to the "right" pupils, interview of pupils, confirmation of name list, liaison with Vendor on briefing date. etc.

Flag such a heinous task, and work backwards properly. I am fighting fire like nobody business now, because I never plan ahead

Lesson 4:
After you have done the above 3, live by the day. Do not think about tomorrow, focus on what is to be accomplish by today, by lunch, etc.

There are a few times I made several last minute logistic request to my OM. He lamented "Why always so last minute". I told him "sorry, I lived by the day!" He was very amused and had a good laugh. He used my phrase as often as I used it now. LOL

This is somewhat similar to what LP calls, mindfulness.

Lesson 5:
Something has to give. It is either time or quality, or your sanity.

Lesson 6:
Do not run or hide. It makes things worse. Every morning, I would feel like applying for medical leave after thinking about the number of things I need to get done. But I know I will feel worse when I come back from self-announced leave.

Also, do what is right. I still insist that I plan the lesson and prepare my lesson before I teach my pupils. Although when my energy level is low, my lesson is less effective and successful, I refused to let the administration part destroyed my core business. That is the area of recharge, where I find my passion, I feel super drained when I know I delivered a lesson lousily, and is due to my lack of preparation. Despite all the hectic demands, going for a well-prepared lesson is always a breath of fresh air. I cannot kill the goose for the eggs.

Caterpillar survival menu.

Silly investor

Friday, April 24, 2015

Random thoughts: Paradigm shifts again?


My view of the world has changed. Perhaps to a little extend, my values. 

But unlike posts from 2-3 weeks ago, when I feel really down, I am actually quite at peace with myself, although the external circumstances have not changed much. 

I have drawn closer to the teaching of Buddhism, I am still a free thinker, but My philosophy in the past was very much colored by ZhuangZi's Tao and Buddhism. I am NOT a a follower, just interested in the teaching. 

SMOL, if you are reading this, my apologies for our growing distance in our philosophy cognition, although I would have agree that my low energy might be construed as groaning or moaning without myself realising it earlier, recently, I am at peace with myself. Perhaps no longer the sunshine SI, but no longer feeling low. I am actually feeling "nothing and everything"

I enjoy this while perhaps not as much as I enjoyed my carefree and high zen state of mind. I get to taste intense emotions, and I taste it as it is. I still live and breath.

On my drive home last minute, a song almost made me swell in tears. Emotional perhaps, but I accept it and savor it, in my mind, this is the "taste of life"

I thank you for your muddy cup. My cup perhaps is full. 

I start to appreciate many things more than FF, and when I write, I might sound like sour grapes. This might not mean I gave up on that, I would still like that pledge of distinction, but I now really felt it is 过眼云烟. I saw life as too unpredictable and perhaps sufferings to be caught up in that web. My post on what money can buy, it taken as I am worried about money. I am not saying I am not worried about money, but really, there are more valuable things to worry about. 

FF, is an option not to work. What if I am already FF?

I do think I am already FF, just that I do not have the option not to work. Despite the mad weeks due to multiple projects requiring my attention, and even if every morning, the thought do getting MC do creep into my mind, I still enjoy my work. I do not like the administrative part, but I appreciate it as part of my life. 

Perhaps, some might think it is a golden handcuff, I do not. I seriously think, If I struck toto, I will continue to work. 

I even thought of a blog post like surviving madness in my work, and wanted to share my tips. LOL. Maybe latter. 

"If you like what you work, you will never have to work a single day" while this quote does not apply completely to me, I feel this type of FF, perhaps is already the envy of many, and why should I be upset with chasing the cloud. I know, many will say if you want something bad enough, you will change enough of your lifestyle to get that. I say very confidently, I do not want pure monetarily FF now, at least not badly. 

I say old age as suffering, sickness as inevitable. But I am not "low", but it is now vividly in my mind, and I know everyone time will come, is money going to make it better? I think so, but am I going to create another problem with money?

I do not chase freedom, I do not chase FF, I do not even chase the happy Zen state anymore.

I just live, happy, sad, emotional, whatever.

I am at peace, although tired, although not as sunshine.

Perhaps, my views are getting "strange" or "defensive"

As I said before, I blog to crystallize my thoughts, as well as having outlet.

You need not agree with me. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Random thoughts: What money can buy...

Money can buy security.
A good job,  material comforts, perhaps maybe just cold hard cash and equities, I will feel more secured when I have more. I know I can take care of future needs.

Money can buy comfort and worldly pleasures

Money can buy the most expensive healthcare.
I used the word expensive, common wisdom is the more expensive it is, the better it is.

Money can buy some respect.
I think so, you do not have to agree.

Money can buy choices.

Money can buy some time.
Time saved and well spent because you use money to buy convenience. Think car, domestic helper, etc.

If you do not agree on all of the above, why are you reading financial blog?

Money cannot buy health, but no one can ensure health. They can choose not to destroy health, that's all.

Money cannot turn back the clock, again, nothing can, wouldn't it be a better option with money.

Money is something I can grabs, something I can count, something that is everywhere.

It is something tangible, something within area of control.

So What is my point?

What happens if you do not have money? Or as much as I hope I can to buy all the above.

I buy my mind.

I buy my values.

I have nothing else.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Random thoughts: contentment

I read it somewhere before.

For someone starving, all he wanted will be a piece of bread.

For someone walking for hours, a bench will be so pleasing.

The simple act of holding a glass of water can be so tiring if u do not know how to
Put it down after you take a sip.

Very contented now, sitting at a cafe waiting for my wife to finish her facial.

Huh, spend so much in a cafe! I used to sit by the lift Lobby to mark, read as I waited to save on the dollars.

I do whatever I liked, whenever I feeli like it now.

I will pursuit the last dollar and cent,
There will be time I will be eating oats for breakfast. But there will be time, I give myself a treat. 

I have only 1 life. Money can be earned, time lost is gone.

This morning, when I went back to school to do a PSLE briefing for parents, I saw this and found it beautiful. 

I looked out of the cafe and is happy seeing kids looking around.

Ok, I am ready for my marking now. LOL.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Random thoughts: Ask "when" after "why" and "how"

In any teaching workshop or introduction of "new" pedagogy, (new to me) they always start with the Why, and end with the how.

Personally, I think most people spent too much time on the "Why", in this business, if not for the children, then what. Over-hyping the "why" actually do more harm than good as over-promise lead to cynicism.

Then the "how". I am always wondering about the "how", how to use the ICT tool such as Linot, Google site, for my lesson? How to incorporate Collaboration, experiential learning and even "flipped classroom" concept in my teaching   

How to do this, how to do that. 

The equally important question, I realized, to ask is "when". When is incorporating self-assessment checklist in your Google site for oral practice useful? Most probably during the second to fourth lesson when pupils are still unsure of the structure and framework of what to say during picture description, so such a component serve as a reminder and also a means as self-directed learning. Do u still need to do that during the final few revision sessions? Most probably not. 

Now, another concept I embraced is differentiated instruction. I used to ask how? How? How? 

Now I ask "how?" followed by "when?". I did all sorts of lessons trying to infuse elements of DI, until one day I ask myself if I really value add in anyway. After reflection, I believe that during the initial few sessions, when all that I need pupils to know is the basic framework, and assume
Almost no one has heard of it yet, I do not actually need to crack my head over how to do it? I think any valued addness in D I at the stage will not be as big as during the later stage when everyone grasps the basic concept. When a baseline is established, then it is good to stretch those who already understand. I do that but asking pupils to do editing of samples. They edit it to suit their level of  understanding   and confidence. Simple and efficient, but I am sure those lecturers teaching Differentiated Instruction will frown at my simplicity.

When I am going through my mind about teaching pedagogy, I am also reminded that no matter how sound a method is, 3 universal ingredients cannot be missing. Just like no matter how good a cook you are, some basic seasonings cannot be missing. They are:
1) frequency of lessons/ tasks
2) monitoring of performance
3) energy level of teachers.

The best lesson is nothing without the above 3, the most boring lesson with the above three cannot go too wrong.

I draw a lot of parallels with investment after this mental exercise. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Random thoughts: The gap

I want to solve the problem for her; she thinks I am not listening.

I want her to see another point of view; she thinks I am lecturing 

She wants to connect with me; I keep thinking what's her point 

How many quarrels, how many unhappiness before we find a bridge?

She wants to let off steam; I think she is whinning and moaning?

She want to show kindness, I think she is pampering and spoiling.

She and I. 

Opposite forces with unfillable gap?

Language of love?

Mine is act of services, her is touch and gifts. 

We cannot love each other? 

Just take off you and her. Stir fry them
Together. Where is the u and where is the her?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Random thoughts: FEAR is the problem

My last 2-3 weeks is a roller coaster ride.

I takes a while, but I think I am on the way up now, until I hit the next "ohh..."

The problem is not the piled up work of 12 to do things when I stared at my desktops which did not include teaching when stepped into the workplace. And by the way, 2-3 of them are overdued

The problem is not my pupils are not performing.

The problem is not about possible lack of  money.

The problem is also not fatigue.

The Real problem is fear of tackling them.

I need to go through the downs and sleepless nights and chest tightness, to be compressed enough to get that long lost "CCB" moments back.

"F** the shits" just face it and do it. Worries causing sleepless nights? Used the nights to clear the work then.

Firefighting and trouble shooting again? Just face it. Do it. 

Need trade-offs? Just trade it. Someone might be unhappy due to some action or decisions on my part? If I can get past myself, just do it. 

Want a Starbucks coffee as a reward for a long hard day? F* the calories and the money lost in compounding,
Drink be happy, and get on with work. 

The shortest way past a problem is going through it.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Latest action: further reduced Singapore Shipping and divested China Marchant Pacific Holding

The market is on a roll. Guess it will be a matter of time 3500 will be breached.

I further reduced my stake of Singapore Shipping for 33 cents. I sold 10 lots and is left with only 10 now.

As for China Merchant Pacific, I have divested completely.

It is not actually a easy decision for these 2 counters

I believe singapore shipping to be a dividend grower. Perhaps increasing dividend to 1.5 cents and then further to 2 cents when all the new brought ships bring in the charter income. 

Assume 2 cents dividends, it's a very decent 6% yield at current price and a good 8% yield at cost. 

I however decided to lock in 4 years worth of 2 cents dividends as profits.
It's ok if it go up further, in fact, the day high is 35 cents. I still have 10 lots :)

The same goes for CMPH, I was lucky to have already taken 1 year of dividend from it. Capital gain is another 4 years. If u tell me this bull run has legs for another 4 years, I personally do not buy it.

I am being opportunistic here. I hope to get back the counters at my original buying price within the next 1-2 years.

Anyway, what's goes up have to come down. We had it good, I am not sure how many good years we will have and how good they are. If STI go beyond 4000, think I will be banging my head but still happy :) 

I guess there is nothing wrong with taking profits. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Random thoughts: Feeling lonely

Feeling really lonely surrounded by my loved ones...

My son laughing heartily with my niece, and also quarreling loudly.

My poor wife furiously trying to finish her school work on a Friday night. 

Smiling at my parents when I cooked earlier, trying to be really upbeat. 

Looking at the whatsapp group of my close friends talking about things which I didn't even comprehend.

I am talking to myself. 

My mum needs chemo, 6 months first, before radiotherapy. Initial good news of successful surgery and needing only radiotherapy is short lived.

My work is piling up due to reduced time at work juggling work and care-giving.

My wife asked me about my mum, didn't ask about me. 

I am pissed with my irresponsible brother.

Worried about my worn-up sister and wife. 

Stressed over work.

Wondering how the final bill of hospitalization will look like. 

I know. It is my mum feeling the pain from treatment.

I know. I am aching about the big bill when I shouldn't be. 

I want to let you know. Think carefully about CPF medishield life. It is a wonderful plan by government to take care of its people.

I am not in the mood to do snake oil selling, but be very sure u want no private care, and when the time comes, you actually have a say in what care u want. 

I am talking to the wrong audience. Those who read my blog, no matter how young or old, are financially  savy enough. 

Just don't miss the pound for the penny. Because the poor, with no option will just go for government B2 and C ward. 

U want B2 too. I think C suffice for me too. What happen if the choice is not yours to make.

I read in forum, "I rather die than give money to those blood suckers" whether those suckers are machines or doctors, screw the comment, when karma catches up and you are ill, you don't fucking have choice to choose to die as you please.

The chinese has a saying: 盖棺定论。before the nail locks our body in a coffin, we do not know what life holds. 

Thank you for reading.

Silly investor feeling lonely.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Latest Action - Divested Ascendas Industrial Reit

Just a head up to readers.


1) I believe current valuation is without MOS

2) 3 years worth of dividends in the bag, I think profits off table.

3) I believe the odds of me getting back at it again within the next 3 years at a lower price is high

4) It has nothing to do with the business fundamental which I think is still sound, it is neither overly stretched in valuation too. I just want to hold more cash and distribute the earnings into my 2 of my different funds. Investment fund and Emergency fund.

Why I like it, the reasons are here  and here in my post posts.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

My mind during the last 2 bears.

The last 2 bears, GFC, and the early 2000s Crisis (911, SARS, Iraq war, etc) are simply learning curves for me, I did not earn a fortune, in fact, I lost a fortune in the 2000s bear and just break even in the GFC.

911 and thereafter
When 911 strikes, I know nuts about valuation and business. My valuation is "huh? SIA at $9" In the end, I brought 200 shares of SIA at $7.5 and sold it at $15. My thoughts then are: "Why am I so Kiasi", I start reading research report, taking the average of target prices and start buying. I made money for most. Until I fall in love in CAO, and lose everything I earn and more.

Method of the 3M is seriously lacking, I invest based on gut feel. Who says gut feel can't makes you a winner temporaily. I sold all my diverse winnings to invest in CAO, something I will definitely not do now, no matter how convinced I am on a company prospect. (I do think SingShipping is rock solid, but I keep it to only 10-15% of my portfolio, to avoid concentration risk.) Thereafter, the super bull run was missed as I nursed my wound.

GFC and thereafter
When GFC starts, I was just married with a pregnant wife and into the workforce for only 2 years. I just got a car. Money of the 3 M is seriously lacking. Nonetheless, I still bought 3 lots of STI ETF when STI is at 1600. Very soon, it went to 1400. Everyday, I was looking at the paper loss, asking myself how much lower it will get. My initial plan was to accumulate when STI is at 1200 and then again at 800.

When STI is at 1400, I chicken out, I tell myself to only go in for one more tranche at STI 800 points. There is no chance for me, as it turns out 1400 is the bottom.

It shows how weak the Mind and how small my Money is during the GFC time. Nonetheless, the 3 lots of STI double, and my vitamin M improves, as I work. I bought into mainly S-chips I made some and lost some. The 3 lots bought at GFC only allowed me to break even from my past CAO failure.

2012 Euro Crisis
Not many will consider 2013 Greece tantrum as a full Euro Crisis, but market did correct 20% and is also a great bargain period. I remembered watching Singpost at 96 cents, HPHT at 60 cents. The mind then was: wait for it to get lower.

After becoming a Value Investor Wannabe, I having not profited at all from the GFC and 2012 Great Euro Correction, I am impatient. My dilemma then when STI is around 2900 is, I am not sure when corrections will happen, if a correction of 5% happens when the market has risen 5% or 10%, what good is waiting? Also, some counters I am monitoring are decoupled or not directly correlated with the STI. I wanted compounding to work, and for compounding to work, you need size. I was fully vested only until recently, and is more of case of due to circumstances than choice.

Final thoughts:

Of the 3 M, I think the weakest link is Money, follow by Mind.

I am thinking of Bear too now. At 3000, STI is still at good 20-25% from it last peak. At almost 3500, it is dangerously close to its all-time peak. Can it break new high of 4000? Well, It might, but I think I would have divested even more then.

I ask myself how I feel one month ago, when I am almost fully vested, and now when I have a bigger emergency fund and separate opportunity fund and also a "Mother hospitalization fund", I know the answer loud and clear is: I feel much at ease. Although everyday I look at some counters and are very tempted to invest, I keep thinking about the weak Money that will make me vulnerable to bear. I am still reasonably vested to take advantage of a Cheong to 4000.

Now that the Mind is more at ease, I can only try to be better at Money and Method. The only dilemma I have now is: well, Market is at a high, but counters I am watching has fallen from 15% to even 70% from their peak, should I invest? They might not be correlated to the general market.

Maybe the 70% fall counter, I will nimble...

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Random thoughts: Balance in life?

Balance is Ying and yang, opposite forces checking each other, other see conflict, some see harmony

I work a fast paced life to have a slower life in the future.

I go through the dark to appreciate to relative brightness.

I want to earn money quickly in the shortest possible time so that it can lasts the longest time.

I want to do whatever as and whenever as I pleased but have no idea what whatever looks like.

I want to be happy so I try to make those around me happy.

I lived today as best as I can as I know tomorrow will end too.  

In investing, a receding tide sinks all boats, but a raising tide doesn't raise ALL boats.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Random thoughts: Cooking and investing

More for Fun sake, the similarities in cooking and investing

Cooking: It is easy to cook a edible meal for people to eat, but if I want a sumptuous meal that makes me a celebrity chef, think that is kinda of tough.

Investing: It is easy to learn how to invest, but if I want to be the next celebrity investor, that is a different ball game. Learning to invest to earn some returns to beat inflation, in particular is not really that tough, but if I insist of XIRR of X%, then again, the ball game is different. Just like cooking for my mother and starting a business of cooking at the kopitiam is 2 different matters

C: If I marinate my ingredients earlier and longer, it taste better.
I: Invest earlier and let compounding work for me.

C: The fresher the ingredient, the easier to have the natural taste without too much seasoning. How do I choose the ingredients then? OK, my sister bought it from organic shop, I just check with her the price today, and realized it is 8 times more expensive!!

My own method? Go to the market earlier, buy and cook immediately. It will be fresh. Don't deep freeze it then thaw. I am not sure if I am sensitive, but I am super sensitive to yu xin wei. The smell of fish. Fresh fish do not have that, when my MIL thaw fish and prepare it, it is super "smelly"

I: About more expensive means more fresh, someone will slap me. But in investing, having some rock-solid blue chips (ex.) might not be a bad idea. So, how do I get a chance for morning shopping with the market for freshness? I see it this way, look out for companies that keep refreshing itself or its assets. Look at capitaland AEIs of its malls, It is always on-going, even Ascendas reit is regularly buying, AEI and even selling older industrial building.

Then how to maintain freshness by cooking once you get the ingredients? What is the cooking? Hmm... The actual cooking is the actual buying and selling?? Maybe it means when you are ready, be decisive ?? LOL just thinking aloud here.

C:   There is a trade-off after certain optimal level between taste and health. If something is super tasty, chances are it is not healthy, with plenty of seasoning. If I want super healthy, there is a cost to it, I shutters when I think of the organic and the type of seasoning and ingredients my sister bought for me to use in cooking.

I: there is a trade-off after a certain level between thrill and satisfaction vs boredom and the health of my portfolio. I wanted actions, even when I am keeping money at my side and increasing my emergency fund, I am still looking at counters to invest. LOL. Boredom will kill me sooner or later.

C; There are so many methods to cook, steam, bowl, fry, bake, grill etc. I do not need to know or be a master of all of them to make a meal, but if I want my parents to keep eating it in the longer run, I still need to learn new methods or try new ingredients. My mum can like my steamed dou gan with bak chor, but I wouldn't dare cook it everyday.

I: We need not be proficient in every methods when we start in investing. But in the longer run, it is important to keep expanding the circle of competence. I get a F in this area. I have kind of stop learning new valuation method etc. There is no need to be method crazy, but I think I stagnant for too long.

C: My mother, my sister, my friend have suggestions on how I should cook, and from reading recipe books, I have some ideas what to do too. The best way to learn is to do it and eat it.

I: The best way to learn investing is to buy your money into the market and experience the loss and win.

C: I am afraid of chow da (Overcooked), so I do not dare to cook with big flame. Now, that I have done it a few times, I know when it is ok to maximise the fire.

I: Until recently, I always fire big big good (Mostly fully vested), now, I scare liao. Small small fire, when time right, then hoot. Just don't chow ta can liao.

Finally, only when I start cooking, do I start appreciating the taste of food better. Only when I start investing, do I start appreciating the importance of money. LOL

Friday, April 3, 2015

Thinking about the retail business of Parkson Retail Asia

I have always wanted to buy a piece of retail business.

Parkson Retail Asia is on its way to becoming a star candidate of a falling knife nomination. It is with good credentials that it is this year hot favorite.

1) Malaysia Retail Sector is facing a lot of headwinds. GST is implemented, the Missing MH370 has no proper closure and is pissing Chinese Tourists.

2) Malaysia economy is not actually roaring too, falling ringgits and being affected by the weak oil prices.

3) The sector itself is competitive, while Parkson is a well established brand in Malaysia, its concepts are hardly different from other department stores. At least, I cannot really understand the difference, it is still cosmetic at first floor, ladies accessories etc... How do differentiate it from Isetan, and although Parkson do not operate in Singapore, how would it have match up with OG, Robinson or even CK Tang. 

4) Its horrendous handling of the closure of Keangnam tower Parkson store at Hanoi. (See past post here) The amount of compensation is unknown, but at very rough estimate of 27 mio for a year rent for the NLA at Keangnam tower Parkson as compensation would have wipe the whole year's earning off. 

Reasons of why I like it are here, which I would not elaborate.

So, I decided to think about the business deeper and find Parkson still an interesting counter to continue researching. 

First of all, I researched on 2 failed department stores that have once seen his hey days- Oriental Emporium (英保良) and Japan Yaohan.

I stumbled upon a very wonderful blog which I will add on my blog roll, "Remember SIngapore", readers might want to check up the blog and his write-up on Oriental Emporium . But to keep the story short, high debt levels, aggressive expansion and a turn of economy lead to once retail big brothers to go the way of the dodo. Is Parkson facing a similar fate (It does not need to fail, but just do badly enough to make investor cry.)

Parkson is also expanding aggresively overseas in the SEA market, it wants to have a first mover advantage in relative untapped markets like Myanmar, Vietnam etc. Alas, how quickly the SEA consumers story turn, and how Mr market which used to view it as a Grow Stock not see it so depressingly. 

Why am I still harping on Parkson? I am not vested, but I seriously think I will consider buying some if there is some light in the compensation or if it really continue its freefall.

1) I believed MH370 is temporary and Chinese tourists will return. Not in the near term, but they have a short memory. 

2) GST at Malaysia might create a knee-jerk reaction in the Q4 from 1 april onwards, but GST is used to replace SST (Read here), so the net effect on consumers should be more muted after the confusion settled.

3) Parkson is in a net cash position. So the case of it going the way of Dodo is not high. Assume a rather high compensation of 3 years rent for Parkson Store at Hanoi, Parkson 200 mio cash will be enough to pay it.

4) Retail is a bad business to be in. Isetan closed its Wisma store, John Little is closed at 2 locations which I cannot remembered. So what is Parkson offering? Of all my concerns, I believe 4 is the biggest bugbear. Retail is facing competition both from conventional players and also from e-commerce retailers. Although I always believed both are not mutually exclusive, a scuttlebutt to Parkson Malaysia Website show me it is under maintenance until August, which I thought is really a long time if Parkson is serious in getting into the e-retail game.

A browse at Vietnam website show a lot of advertising and information and various products, and just when I wondered if I can just buy something online, I was directed to a member login page. I thought this is highly unfriendly given the ease of use of credit cards to shop online on various boutique shops. 

When I went JB the other time, there was a Parkson Warehouse clearance sale, and I must say the quality of Polo T-shirts and leather shoes are rather value for money after 50% and 70% discount, and also after converting it back to Singapore dollars. I seriously do not think I can get such good quality polo-t and leather shoes for S$15 and S$40. But if there is no discount, would I buy?.... ....

It is a business worth more looking at and thinking.   

Random stories: Candle flame

Candle is in pain.

It is burning.

It's tears trickle down as it burns. How it wish the pain will go away.

It snubs itself out.

It is still bright. The rest of the candles are burning.

"Why are you doing this to yourself?"

"It is our destiny to be fulfilled" replied one.

"We burn ourselves to bring warmth and light to others, you will understand soon." said another.

Candle felt miserable, "why go through all the pain when in the end, all they have left will be a wretched stump at the bottom? So what if he burns brightly! The brighter he burns, the faster he will be gone."

Suddenly, a number of candles got snuffed out.

"No! No one can burn brighter than me! I am the brightest of you all. Hahahah"

And soon enough, all that was left of him was a tear of wax.

"How odd? How extreme?" Candle thought.

Very soon, those that get snuffed off, light themselves up again.

"Come on!" they said. "Lets make this whole world a brighter place."

Candle, lights itself up again. Now that he is alight, he saw some of the candles snuffed and refused to experience the  burning experience again. "Leave us alone, we are not bleeding hearts. You guys go ahead and burn." they said

Candle snuff itself out again...

He went to the darkest corner, and lights itself. "May I bring a glimmer of light, no matter how short it may be" he thought, and he decided that it is where his last tear will fall.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cigar puff counter? Golden Agri

This is a short post.

I believed Golden Agri has fallen to a price where it might be a good idea to pay more attention to it.

This is because:

1) They are reviewing their China business model, which is really a drag on their otherwise stable (although cyclical) business. If they sold it off, it might provide a short term catalyst. It is reported in their presentation and also in the edge.

2) Finally, Capex is tapering off. I was wondering why are they so aggressive in capex when the market is cool.

Projected capex:
2009: 200 mio
2010: 400 mio
2011: 450 mio
2012: 500 mio
2013: 550 mio
2014: 550 mio
2015: 300 mio

Golden agri is behaving like a aggressive growth stock, but apparently, market is not giving it a growth stock valuation, it might be a better idea for it to increase dividends but improving FCF but managing capex and cutting the failing China Venture.

3) Cash buyback finally.

1,283,754,855 shares bought at about 41cents. 41 cents is not bottom price for recent time.

4) In the longer term, we are wait for the CPO price to turn, which is going to the dogs for years. Although the low crude price will affect bio-diesel demand, the bulk of CPO demand is still as a edible oil, and a processor for other food.


1) The longer term demand of CPO as a vegetable oil. Look at the supermarket shelves.
2) Many substitutes, and their price is getting lower too, Canola oil etc.

Your money, my 2 cents break from my work, and a substitute to snacking for stress relief.

So follow at your peril.