Thursday, March 31, 2016

Correlation of Money and Happiness

There is a high correlation of perceived happiness with perceived increased of wealth.

Actual correlation of actual happiness with absolute amount of wealth is low, if my own experience and observation is anything to go by.

We all have examples of happy and unhappy people in the spectrum of wealth.

So, there is no correlation?

The lower the income to meet minimum needs of family expenses (minimum needs is dependable on expectations), the higher the correlation of happiness with increased wealth.

I used to think, if I have X more, I need not worried about Y expense.


When you had X, is there no upgraded version of Y expense?

When you have X infinity, can pay for infinity expense, you have another bigger problem. Relationships. Fairness in distribution, not just after death, how your friends treat you, how anyone treat you for that manner.

Remembered SMOL post on JEdi insurance agent? I was a JEdi tutor, asking for sky high rate for my services when I know I actually don't mind giving free tuition to those who really need it. Any wonder why many rich people are very wary?

I wanted to have more, I know more money can do a lot more, but I no longer in that illusion that money is correlated with happiness. Affording all the luxuries of life will improve the happiness index when you are enjoying it but the payback is high when you lose it. You might not lose your wealth but your health.

If relationships hinged on affordability, the relationship is transnational, not too far off from visiting the prostitute, to put it very bluntly.

We are unhappy because of many reasons, money is seldom the crux of it.

Pursuit happiness, and if money gave you that, pursuit money. If not, there is no need to pursue anything. Happiness is always around you in abundance, like air. But if you want to bottled it...
You can't. You can exercise and get bigger lungs to breath it more air, but is that really?? Just be mindful of breathing.

Silly grumbling

Friday, March 25, 2016

Random stories: Dark teacher- season 3

"So, where am I? This weightless feeling? And I dreaming again? But ... Why is my mind so clear and the vision so blur?"

I felt myself drifting further into darkness. Felt cramp and compressed. "Maybe, I died. So where am I going?"

I was apprehensive. "Did I do good enough in life? Will my judgement be harsh?" I suddenly remembered all the wrong I did, and was terrified. 

I was drifting and drifting. There was time I felt I was hit by something, drifting into another direction there was a time I felt the drifting picked up speed and was spinning.

"Maybe death is like a fart into nothingness" I quipped. 

I forgotten how long I drifted. 

I felt my senses again. 

I felt it loses again. Seeing nothing, hearing nothing. I was cold. It became damn scary. 

I see light again. A flickering of it? Look more like a star in darkness, it is beautiful. 

"What is that familiar feeling again?"

I can't remember it. I felt that before. What was that? "Ouch! God damn it! It was pain."

"The nine-millionth had arrive. Welcome, it took awhile for the conditions to be right. Your cycle ended, it will start again soon."

"Whoa! What's that big ugly thing?" 

"You stupid lowly human from planet Earth, you think you are the only life form
With a soul?" The "thing" replied.

"Quiet. There is no difference, no intelligence, just preparation for the next phase" 

The thing replied respectfully "My apologies teacher, I will prepare for my shape for the next cycle." 


"I would like to continue be genjxhaak in my next life form?" 

"Who said that? Sigh... Is there another "human" here?" I shouted. "By the way, this feel like the 6 realms in Buddhism, just that it is a space concept not centered around human." 

I felt pain. Burning. 

I wondered where are my loved ones of the past, will there be here. Do everyone come here? 

"Can I ask questions" I asked. 

But no one answered. I drifted again. "Do souls dream too?" 

There is flash of light and pain. 

There is so much I want to know. I believed I am recarninating again soon, but what is there to prepare? Prepare to die again? 

So who is that teacher? So death is not just non-consciousness, death is as much as alive ... 

How long alive in death? Do I grow even older in death?

I saw... Myself ...

Saw my mum ...

"Don't be so stunned, a few cycles and u will understand it all. All these desires all these wants, emotions LOL"

"I had wanted a better me, in the next cycle... A better way to die, couldn't complain about the way I lived."

"Hey, no offense, but really not quite used to talking to myself literally." 

"HAHAHA, we wanted things even when we died. We want things to be better. There is no better or worse, just passage of time and what u make of it." 

"How many cycles?"

"It doesn't matter, every cycle is different."


"Once u stop trying to understand and break free, you understand and break free." 

"So you are me? In another realm?"

"LOL, what is me, what is human? No I was not a human."


"Takes time, nothing changes, everything changes." 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Random thoughts: procrastination and bye to $400 in a day

Parkson retail Asia surge today.

U dun have to believe what I said.

But I noticed its increasing volume 2 days ago. I also like its insider buying 

I reassess its story and thought at 1.57-1.59 price, it is worth a bet and I will cut loss at 1.4. 

I look at the ringgit, oil price, correlation to Malaysia consumer sentiment index just this wee hours of morning and think, can... Still good to try...

At 1 p.m it is still 1.59 selling price. Volume is above 10k. 

I think. Whoa! Such high vol. and price doesn't move up. What is wrong man.

I didn't have my token with me. So I procrastinated.

When I reached back my office, I was busy doing something else again. When I look at it at 3 p.m. The boat has left...

No balls no gain.

Too bad

Weak mind 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Random thoughts: long lost cheap sympathy

I used to have these cheap bouts of feelings of sympathy for others.

I felt sad when an old lady is picking up cupboard. I remember my wife (then girlfriend) saying she can feel my empathy for a stranger but complained that I am blind to her pains. Ironic, isn't it?

Today, I saw an old man buying the cheap dry tobacco leaves for a smoke ( those you DIY and rolled up for a puff). He looked quite pale and with his mouth opened, looked quite "addicted" and can't wait to have his puff.

Ironic is that my mum has been coughing almost non stop for the short hour I been with her and I am so used to it that I felt nothing then. 

Understand what I mean by "cheap"

Who is poor? Poor thing? When one given up hope in living perhaps? Living, I dun mean living in style? 

For a short while, I felt a short period of cheap contentment feeling how fortunate my life is. 

The greatest gift and hope, is hanging in there. In fact, the lesser we have, the more appreciative we are. The worse people treat us, the more we understand the meaning of kindness. 

Money? I want to keep my mind if I cannot keep both. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Stop loss. vs Cut Loss

My own understanding of the two is: 

Cut loss, when fundamental has changed or your underlying assumptions made in the company has changed/ no longer valid. 

I cut loss, when I invest in PRA, the currency is not undergoing headwinds and 1 MDB is not well publicized, but when I look at the 2 risks which I didn't account for, I cut loss. It would otherwise be a 60% loss and not 10% loss. 

Stop loss, is like, to me, a percentage loss u accept and throw in the towel. For example, 10% and I go for capital preservation. 

This is the part that is causing some dissonance in my head. If I said price drop 10% and I am wrong, it's like saying market efficient theory is correct and I can "catch a company" near bottom. I dun believe in this. 

At hindsight, I am lucky that market rebounded. It's just pure luck, really make no meaning trumpeting that I bought and have my balls with me Blar Blar Blar, because it could easily fall another 10%, the other camp could be trumpeting. The key here is did you execute your plan and did it work well.

I did except for SCI. All my counters bought recently are in the green but the average price might be just above water. Be careful of bloggers who said they made x% in the last 2 months. 

If like that also can, I make 20% for STE (AV price is just above water thou) ,
Before market rebound, I already make 20% and 30% for gold and cogent. Given I used the sale money to buy CMPH and STE, I could even lump the gains together and give u an eye popping figure. But my portfolio I think just do ok. Not too sure if it is green or red. But I think u get my point.

So, I could have done better definitely if I have do it differently with SCI.

I could have:
1) stop loss at 10% or/and
2) accumulate at below 2.5

It is not really an analysis problem because drill ships cancellation is within my calculation but not the impact of fall in SCI. So cut loss is not "activated"

Given SCI give only OK dividends I cannot really wait out the loss unlike LMIR and Lee metals 

So how? So I improve my balls or should I introduce cut loss? 

Or should I let it be? 

SMoL, coaching can do online and drinks "ortan"? LOL

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Random thoughts: Preparing for a future job? Or preparing for a future life

In my line of work, there is always this "rara" sharing for us to have a big picture view about education of the global landscape.

I think many have heard this "clinch" that we are preparing our pupils for jobs that might not exist now. Just google 21 century skills and you are presented with skills that are supposed to fuel the future economy or skills that are in demand in future.

I consider myself cynical, and always have many questions spinning in my head whenever I go through these sessions. I am not longer so gullible and is very amused when they keep using corporate examples in their presentations.

Anyway, I side-tracked.

My point is, can we really prepare pupils for future job? We could, but it is really about skills? I think skills future is a wonderful platform. But at school level, we talk about creativity and future skills like we are economists, creating jobs is a sub-set of economics, we should focus really on values, and prepare pupils for life.

I am quite sick when the presentation show statics about how much pay a graduate earn more than others. By the way, I don't need to know it is 14% in Britain, and it is common sense. Is life about work and job?

If I am not a graduate, I am supposed to struggle in life? Well, I definitely want all my pupils to have good grades and have an OPTION to pursue mainstream options.

Sorry, I have not get to the point yet.

There is no need to change the way we teach. I am not against change and being better in ICT or the whatever. I am singing education at its core, is able preparing pupils for life.

When we prepare pupils for exam, we encourage, we ask pupils to preserve. I want my pupil to appreciate and embrace life as it is, with it sweetness and bitterness, see world as colored, and not just black, white and grey.

We do not change, because the economy is changing or the latest trend in technology is changing.

How? Is computer literacy the medicine? Is project work the solution?

I think it is about connections, relationship and role-modeling. These old fashioned nonsense. Guess I will be out of work soon, since in the presentation, I, like NOKIA, did not embrace change when others did.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Random thoughts: Time with parents...

I remembered always wanted to have a place of my own, wanting to move out when I am a teenager.

I seldom stay at home when I was a student. I spent long hours at school due to CCA, when I reached home, I go to the hawker stall to help out. House, is a place to sleep.

I hate my parents' quarreling, when I studied, it will be at a void deck since I do not even have space for a study table. 

Since my parents' poor health, I think I spend more time at home than my entire life. 

I understand them better now, seeing their strengths more than their weaknesses. It also had quite an impact on me.

1) Live life
My parents are in discomfort constantly. My mum keep coughing and my dad hand is constantly numb or in pain. There are "pain lessening" sessions like acupuncture or medicine. But I see it very clearly, and is more irritated than grateful when people ask me how are the sessions, are they getting better?

Nonetheless, they carry on with their daily activities. I never heard them grumble about pain. My mum can't cook again, but she still prepare the ingredients. My dad, still go to godness of mercy temple and pray for hongbao despite the crowd. I wondered if I will be like them, "stubborn"as the healthy youngsters like to label or will I whim and whin about how unfair life is, when it is my turn. 

Life is living. Sickness or old age. Till death provide the mercy. 

2) Suffering is inevitable physically
I always wondered how my last few years will be?

My GP told me since both my parents are diabetic, I will surely get it, it is just a matter of when and how serious. 

The TCM Doctor told me to watch my Heath as both my parents have "problems"

I always quipped in my mind how will I die? Should I live as sterile life to prevent and lessen the inevitable or live and enjoy as it is, such that when my time come, I can say "hey, I had my fun" 

I always wonder why people fear death? Isn't the pre-death more scary? Which organ to fail first? Which strength to slips and which daily activity is a luxury? 

When will I start to worry about falling and never able to get up. This time not mentally but physically.

3) Frugality 
When is someone frugal? My parents are always frugal. 

I had dinner with my dad. A long time I had dinner alone with him out. I knew he liked fish, but he keep shaking his head when I offer to buy fish. He said at least $5. I said "Siao ah, dun worry la, go sit down first"

The meal cost $16. $8 a meal. Macdonald set is $7. A luxury by my dad standard. I told him it is a coffee shop, chill. 

When I bring him see TCM at a charity clinic, he always offer to return the donation (it is free). I said I am able, cannot take advantage of the clinic, it is dirt cheap with my token donation, my turn will come when I need to rely on charity. He smiled. 

4) What is the big deal?
I find it very amusing now when people gossip or quarrel over the smallest things. Someone could be dying? What is the big deal? 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Random thoughts: Kaypo thoughts on BT article "following your passion may be a bad idea"

If I read correctly, the heading should be "dun jump if you are not sure of your passion or dreams"

I believed there is nothing wrong with pursing dreams and passion. Because it gave you happiness regardless of monetary success. Of course, as I heard from a TV program, one music lover stopped singing at the music lounge and went into the finance sector. The host asked" which lifestyle u prefer?" He replied "happier when singing, but suits me better now"

In short, it should be a pull force making you leap, and not a push force. 

I agree with the article that passion can be found after our sweat and blood produce results, and pips our interest.

But I think it is also possible there is something inherent that we think we like. Since secondary school, I already wanted to be a teacher. After my O levels, a classmate ask me what I wanted to do, I said "teacher" I remembered my friend said "hey, don't be implusive, u can study one hor" I went through the stage where my teaching sucks but I enjoy honing my craft. Lucky my dream is not out of reach, and easy to get. (Then in the late nineties, no one want to be a teacher, a got a scholarship from MOE despite my lousy A C C 'A' level grades 

I also knew a rather close friend from my university days. He is intelligent and come from renowned schools. He helped a lot in our projects and a lot of As grade then are due to his vetting. 

We graduated together and he swop jobs several times. He is back to the school system last year. Last year, I thought of leaving and ask about his journey. He told me to ponder it carefully. He wanted to get back into the education system but the demand and supply situation has changed, even with my help, he had difficulty joining back the system as a permanent staff. 

To cut the story short, I think "傻人有傻福”, my wife and I plough on and on for a decade. While our achievements are nothing to shout about, we had a reality check when our property agent told us, we are already doing very well for our age. Count our blessing we are also happy with our jobs.

Please fight for the dreams, pull force is a valid reason. Push force is also a valid reason but we cannot use dream or passion as a guise anymore. We are not pursuing anything, we are just pissed. We might do better or worse, but it has nothing to do with dreams.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Random thoughts: A quarterly review of 2015 plan for 2016

I thought I remember the goals I set. But some slip my mind. Hope the second review during my second holiday is better  LOL2015 has not been an easy year for me.

1) Have at least 15 minutes or longer Jogs at least 52 times

Definitely not jogging weekly

2) Not use the lift in school

Almost everytime until recently, I run up the stairs too

3) Cut down on breakfast at hawker centers before work. (not more than once a week)

Nope fail terrible in this count.

1) To reduce anxiety (Not giving a SMART goal for obvious reasons)

Good job!

1) Bring back the habit of reading to son before "to each his own reading"
Done! Helped with work too, as reading can be work related.

2) Practice mindfulness, dun bring back baggage of  work.


3) Bring my parents for walks more often.

Their health worsen, so nope, less walks 

4) No using of phones to blog or play games during visits (bo liao right, should be talking to them more)


5) Meet with old colleagues, friends and bloggers.

Fail. Anyone want to help me meet quota? LOL

1) Bring back the mental habit of "wishing everyone well" at the start of the day.

Ah hoc...

2) Practice/try mediation 

Breathing exerices and eating exercises less and less freq... 

1) Focus on human capital rather than finance/investible capital. Build up competencies by preparing for lessons earnestly and start doing literature review and research.

Started some form of reading. But the materials are disappointing 

2) Read more on work related information

Can read more 

3) Stop comparing "money, assets, or networth"

Dun think I compare anything in this aspect this year? No! No! I did! I compare how someone did so much worse! Evil !!



What has passed has passed. The future is just a bubble until it becomes "current"

2016 vision statement:

Good start! Chill! 

Thursday, March 10, 2016





















Saturday, March 5, 2016

What are you waiting for? Updated

Investing is a waiting game. Patience wins the game. I gathers investors wait for the following, at least I have wait for these one way or another.

1) Signs of market downcycle. 
Shipping and commodity(steel)  are definitely in down cycle. Companies are going bust, merging, and the rates are falling off the cliff. (BDI for bulk carriers and containers rate for containers, it is a different story for tankers, though) Steel companies are also consolidating and its prices cheaper than cabbage. When price of production is higher than market price, we all know it is not sustainable in the LONG RUN, but how long the bottom stays is another question. Shale oil is said to need $60, then $45. But is these figures accurate? Gold production cost supposed to be 1000-1200. 

Properties in not in a downcycle in my opinion. Prices has not come down drastically and while profits for developers have come down, hardly one is in distress yet. The highly leveraged ones might be when the penalty for unsold units kicked in. 

Why is market cycle important? Peterlynch concept of buying alpha company at the downturn to wait for upturn.

2) Bottom up approach of individual company. The problem with this is earnings is not static. If you believe a company can hold their profits or even grow their profits in a downcycle, the lower the price the better. But how low is enough?

I look at my comfortable yield I expect from My counters (which is 6%) Some look at historical price, or SD. 

But the toughest part is determining earnings, I am a dividend investor, so I don't look at asset play. 

As SMK mention, this point is not fleshed out. There are several ways to determine earnings and hence dividend payout.

a) Payout ratio and the buffer of earnings
b) Mean earnings over a longer term
c) Track capabilities and markets/ new customers. In another word, monitor execution records and expansion plans. Venture has records of netting new customers and rolling production for new products. It did not show in top line and bottom line for the 2 years prior to 2015, but I took a leap of faith. The recovery did happen in 2015. ST Engineering has MRO downturn that is structural as well as cyclical. Newer aircrafts can afford long period between maintained. But if the aviation and aircrafts numbers are still increasing, it is not rocket science that after a period, the cycle of maintenance   of new aircrafts will kick in. But I wonder how long the LSG growth can continue.
d) Track and calculate the projects' worth. It is possible with property developers by using square foot research. Reits earning projection based in rent can be projected too, but level of commitment and rental rates. Manufacturing is tougher as costs can escalate. But again, track records can give u an idea. Accordia Golf Trust earnings is stable over a last decade, which is surprising. Numbers don't lie, they manage to do relatively well even during 2009 crisis and 2012 earthquakes. Of course, if u read further, they have the driving ranges providing the "growth", which is absent from the trust.  

3) Waiting for STI to hit a certain level.
Unless you are an index investor, this might not be very meaningful. Again, unless you are buying the banks which form the chunk of STI. As explained earlier, while the general sentiments affect all boats, they affect different companies differently, so counters might fall less or might even gain when STI is falling.

I dun really believe in 10% drop and I add etc, because I am not an Index investor yet. But I might in the future. I believe instead of buying exposure to banks, might as well buy some STI ETF. They have a high correlation with the banks. 

4) Waiting for an lower entry price than bloggers/ insiders/ or research reports. 


Patience is a virtue. Waiting is not a sin. We are wait for different reasons and with different MOS. 

What are you waiting for? Just for it to get lower? 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Random thoughts: My wife and My brief experience in property hunting

I am equity centric when investment is concerned. This is not a property investment post but a random family post.

My wife suddenly told me 2 weeks ago that there is an EC launch for 3 Gen living near our place. We will hit the ceiling sometime in April and this could well be our very last chance (without financial engineering) to get an EC. 

Her reasons are simple, bigger space as our son grows up, her parents who took Care of us can then rent out their unit and enjoy their golden years. 

As a investment, I would say no no, but for reasons like this, I said I will find out more. For clueless people like me, this is what I found out:

1) once I make a booking in March, it does not matter if our income ceiling is broken in April. TOP date is no longer important and there is no need for appeal.

We went to the showflat. The location is rather ulu. Again I told my wife and MIL that if we do buy this unit, it is for our living, as an investment, it sucks. But it is not really possible to get a 4-room private property at below 1 mio unless property goes into a depression.

A banker showed us the maximum loan we can take. I begin to understand why people rush to flip properties:

1) As the loans disperse towards the TOP date, interest and repayment for the initial 3-4 years are insignificant. If u are confident of selling it at a higher price within 3 years, there is no risk of monetary pain because principal amount is not high before TOP. 

2) I can Loan beyond 55. OcBC offered 29 years loan. I would be 66 then. Ouch.

We decided to finally give this a miss and go for her friend's recommendation of BTO 3- gen flat which is also nearby. This one I liked very much and total family is still within ceiling of 18k.

But income ceiling of group A (me and my wife) must be below 12 K. Good bye to HDB BTO.

A few reflections:

1) property buying is a very emotive issue. My wife is visibly upset when I throw spanner at her and when she realized we cannot go for BTO anymore.

2) I asked her if she really want to have a loan till the 60s?

3) She still harbor the thought of leaving behind a private property for our son. Most probably because her sister live in a private place and is leaving the 999 leasehold unit for her daughter. 

4) I actually find the concept very unsound. Her sister took a 800K loan. Paying cash after clearing their CPF. They have some buffer because they have sold unit profitably twice. 

I ask my MiL and wife, if my CPF is Zero, and I worked till 60 plus, depleting also my cash savings, can I retired well? Can I really not encash that property and leave it for the children? Wouldn't I be more of a burden? 

It is possible to keep flipping the property for higher value and win.

Property prices could also escalate so high that u are laughing to the bank. 

But I risk averse. I say either we buy resale HDB or we wait for property market to get worse. Or she quit her job for 3 years.

She gave me the stare. 

I actually enjoyed continuing milking my HDB and buy a small property with Rent and the final sale and then flip that property away for a final "property"

I think too much right? LOL