Friday, May 27, 2016

Random thoughts: Acceptance and compassion is negatively correlated with misery

Are u feeling miserable about your life?

The past week, I have a bit more time to "talk male chicken" with people around me. I am quite shocked with the struggles people carried with them in their lives and yet still coping so well. However, there is also a case where the whole family feel so miserable because the main characters are "blind" to the situation because of lack of acceptance and compassion.

Case1: Filial son quits job to take care of father.

The filial son's wife works in the school as librarian. She used to be a parent volunteer and is working as a Libarian now for about 9 months. I was teasing her how "fortunate"'she is that her hubby still pack duck rice for her and delivered it to school as lunch. She told me her hubby has quit his job for almost 2 years now to take care of his father. It used to be her job but as her FIL's conditions worsen and need someone help to bath, her husband took over.

I asked about their cash flow and she replied they successfully applied for FAS this year. That effectively mean they are broke by blogger sphere standards. They have 2 children in our school. 

She also shared that her hubby never raise his voice at his father even if her father in law is being unreasonable. Although she is "complaining" when saying this, I commented that it is not easy for her too and that she has also been very kind and supportive to support this kind of arrangement. "Why not let the hubby continue to work (earn much more) and employ a maid?" I asked. "His father doesn't want it" was the reply.

She also commented her husband's siblings did not share in the caregiving at all, either physically or monetarily. Double whammy. 

I told her to hang in there, and that her children will be fillial to them in future.

Case2: Caring sister who take care of her single elder brother 

This caring sister is my colleague, a single parent who daughter is already grown up. She told me long ago she inherited a failed business and debts from a hubby who walked out of her. She is still clearing his debts although I think the worst is over. 

Her brother who is in the sixties also got into some financial distress. She allowed him to move in together so that he could sell or rent his unit (cannot remember)

Recently, her elder brother is down with serious lungs infection and is in ICU for the past 2 or 3 months. He is covered by insurance but she ended up picking up a lot of debts/ expenses her brother incurred due to his absence from work. She is also visiting the hospital everyday to care for him.

I told her money woes seem always unending with no fault of hers. She smiled and agreed, but added "healthy can already, very fortunate"

Case 3: unfilial and selfish son who blow 3 million in gambling debts and his foolish  mother

This person keep borrowing money and borrow several thousands from my wife several years ago. I told my wife to write it off but not to lend anymore. 

Turn out, he has gambling debts of 400k. His mother stepped in and clear his debts. My MIL and his mum want him to come clear with all the debts he had and clear it all it one go. I am not sure how much, but apprently, it is more than 400k. That is 3-4 years ago. 

Fast forward to today, on and off, there is plenty of arguments with that family, with the mum always scolding her son for breaking the family assets. My MIL and I both mentioned to her to give him a chance to turn over a new leaf and not keep harping on it.

Turned out, the reason why she keep scolding her son is because he is like a bottomless pit with debts always appearing. We suggested gambling addiction counseling, but they refused.

Her family is breaking apart now, because recently her mother wanted to sold her property to help clear his debts again. Her younger son is upset. Because she promised to leave that property to him. Her younger son is a promising and down to earth person, option to go for BTO HDB flat. His mother's favoritism is extreme and beyond comprehension, although her mother had already squander plenty of cash to clear her elder son's debts, she still paid for his lavish wedding and buy a condominium for him. While his younger son's wedding (much simpler) is helped a by my MIL. During the grey period of hush hush ( period where we thought he has turn over a new leaf ) he lived like a towkay, going for sumptuous, atas meals and long overseas holiday. He went Europe 2 years ago. 

It is very recently that her foolish mum ego is no longer bigger than the 4 million debts (accumulated) that we all came to know about it. She has hinted several time for my MIL to help. Her brother has already given her half a million when he learnt that she has mortgaged her property for a loan to help her son. Her brother wanted her to clear the debts and redeem back the property deed. But she used it to clear her son's debts.

I am highly cynical when her son said he has not gambled since 4 years ago. It is the ah longs who negated on their word that the debts is clear and keep asking for more. 

I am totally disgusted when I found out that his son cried and asked why her mum refused to sell the property and "save" him now. 

After her younger son protested, she decided to sell her recently bought smaller property near his unfilial son place. But that deal would not be enough. So his son told her that his friend would want to buy that unit but want the mum to continue paying the debts. Huh?? What logic ??

He also said he promise his friends that he can invest at a high returns but failed so that some of debts are of this nature. My balls. I am showing my middle finger in my heart and told my MIL not to believe in such bullshit. 

The foolish mother interest burden is equal to her monthly pay cheque from
His brother family business. (About 5 K for no services rendered) 

I told her very calmly one day that she is not "loving" her son in this way. She is perpetuating her son's misdeeds by supporting him unconditionally. She got the cheeks to encourage him to quickly bear a child so that she can be a grandma despite knowing all along the situation. 

She keep crying and saying she is very miserable, and telling us how insensible her younger son is and how miserable and poor thing her older son is. 

My middle finger in my mind again. 


Objectively, all 3 cases are dealt with a set of bad cards in their life. 

The first 2 cases are angels on earth. Compassion and acceptance allowed them to continue with life positively. My heart goes out to them.

The last case is not a monetary problem in my opinion. The assets are still higher than liabilities. Her brother advised calling the police but her ego does not allowed her to. They continue to feel miserable about their own lives and always ask why other seems to be so "fortunate"

I ask her to go to the temple and not ask about debts or anything. Just read the sculptures and keep the mind clear and hopefully, she can see "karma" and make better choices. Obviously I am being ignored. 

Are u feeling miserable? 

Want to feel better? Or worse? The choice is yours. 

Articles from Singsaver

A few days ago, I received an email from Katrina asking if they could contribute articles on my blog. Initially, I thought if they are asking if I could contribute articles to their website, which I gladly agree, as I thought about increasing traffic flow to my blog.

When I learned it is the other way round, I told Katrina honestly that my traffic is not worth it. 

Anyway, a deal is a deal. I make no money from this. Purely a re-post of 2 articles out of 5. I have some issues with some other articles so I decided to only repost these two. 

One is about traveling, how to make the most value out of it. Another is common myths about wealth creation, which I think they correctly point out ( or at least I agree) 

I visited their site and it is very professionally done, with comparison with various credit cards, etc. 

Enjoy!! By the way, my average view per post is about 600... Yawn...  Yeah... That low... Katrina if u are reading this, hope u are not sobing LOL





SINGAPORE24 MAY 2016 –, Singapore’s #1 financial comparison platform and a part of the CompareAsiaGroup, is pleased to present this week’s repository of opinion editorials and stories crafted by





Here are 7 ways Singaporeans can save money on hotel rooms without downgrading to budget hotels. Sure, we all know you can save on hotels by getting the cheapest room available. But for those of us who like the luxury of working toilets and have issues with bedbugs, it’s about getting a good hotel for less. Therein lies a true challenge. Here’s how you can sleep well, and have enough left over to shop, dine, and sightsee:


1. Use Dreamcheaper After You Book Your Room

After you book a refundable room, check out This website tracks the price of the hotel room – when the room price falls, it will rebook the room at the cheaper price, and cancel your old reservation. You don’t need to do anything besides wait for the site to capture the lowest price point. The potential discount is highly variable – you might end up saving just $30, or you might save $300. It depends on how low the price happens to fall. Still, it does mean you can nab a discount on even a five-star hotel.


2. Experiment with Different Travel Dates

If possible, plan to travel during a range of different dates (or just plan so far ahead that you can experiment with different times). Hotel prices in each city follow their own price cycles. In New York City for example, the cheaper rates tend to be available in July, whereas Paris tends to have cheaper rates in January. December tends to be expensive everywhere, plus there are hordes of tourists; avoid this month if you can. Don’t take our word for it – experiment with various booking sites and see for yourself. You should also sign up for notifications from sites like The Luxe Nomad. This will update you on flash discounts from top hotels  when they occur.


3. Use Your Air Miles or Credit Card’s Hotel Discounts

Some hotels accept frequent flyer miles just like airlines do. If you have a lot of miles to let go of, you can use them to book overnight stays. For example, Citi Miles earned from the can be redeemed for Asia Miles, which you can then use to book accommodations anywhere in the world. According to the Asia Miles website, an overnight stay at a Bali resort in July starts at 17,750 Asia Miles. Citi Miles can also be converted to IHG Rewards Points and Hilton HHonors Points. If you can’t wait til you’ve earned enough points for a free room, you can use still use your points for free WiFi, free breakfast, or free additional guests. Either way, you save quite a bit of money. You should also check if your air miles credit card offers hotel discounts. For instance, cardmembers get access to the Visa Luxury Hotel Collection, which grants them preferential rates, VIP status, and free room upgrades at over 900 luxury hotels. As an alternative, check if you have a concierge service on your existing credit card. The is one credit card that has such services. Call the concierge ask them to help you find a good luxury hotel rate. The concierge service has significant bargaining power, as they may refer hundreds to guests to the hotel on a regular basis.


4. Check for Bundled Packages

If you are already booking a flight on sites like Expedia, check out how much it would cost to add a hotel. When accommodations or rental cars are added, the site may “bundle” them and give you a discount. This may be cheaper than booking the hotels on other travel sites.


5. Do Not Use the Room Phone Except to Call Reception

If you must use the telephone in the room, check the prices first. The rates for your room’s landline can easily go up to $12 a minute. You really can be charged $180 for a 15-minute call to your friend. Yes, it’s more expensive than even the wi-fi, and there’s no logical reason for the pricing and no good reason to be using it.


6. Buy a Prepaid Unlimited-Data SIM Card Instead of Using Hotel WiFi

Most luxury hotels still charge for WiFi unlike their cheaper counterparts. It’s just a frustrating fact of higher-end accommodations. Before you pay for it, check the prices of prepaid sim cards, particularly those with unlimited data. If you can tether your laptop to your mobile (or you have a tablet that can use a sim card), it may be cheaper than paying the hotel rate. If you don’t need to be online much, consider ducking into a WiFi-enabled cafe or mall when you need to send the occasional e-mail. The prices for hotel wi-fi can be exorbitant: in North America and many parts of Asia, fees can be up to $50 a day, and in Europe high-end hotels may charge up to $30 a day.


7. Join the Loyalty Programme

Most four and five-star hotels will have loyalty programmes. In the case of chain hotels, these programmes will extend to many different countries. You can get a better deal from these than even online bookings – the key is to ensure you use the same hotel(s), and often.On top of the stated benefits, many hotels will give you little bonuses when they become available. For example, if there is a corner room that’s a little more spacious, or a room with a better view, you are more likely to get it. The biggest benefit is, of course, savings. If you are part of the loyalty program, you will often get the lowest rates right off the bat.





It might be inspiring to follow the footsteps of rich Singaporeans, but the financial advice that works for them may be completely wrong for you. There’s a lot of financial advice flying around Singapore right now. Some of it is even accurate – assuming you already have a six digit figure in your bank account, or want to turn money into less money. The fact is, what works for some people won’t work for others. The investment methods of a multi-millionaire can break a median wage earner, and what’s wise for the average Joe could be a waste of money for richer people.

Here are some bits of advice that aren’t healthy unless you’re rich:


1. Invest in Unregulated, Exotic Assets Like Art, Wine, or Jewellery

This is not as dubious as it sounds. These assets do have value, in that they have a low correlation to stock and bond markets. In other words, when stock or bond prices are crashing, rare art or wine may still hold its value. It’s a form of diversification. Unfortunately, these assets work far better for the rich than for the average person because they require large amounts of capital. Art investments, for example, often start at S$50,000. For an investor with $10 million in the bank, this is not a significant sum. The investor could put twice that amount into an art collection, and it would only account for about one per cent of said bank account. Should his $50,000 art investment fall in value by 10 per cent (a S$5,000 loss), it would be a trivial loss to him.But to the average person, who have perhaps S$100,000 after a decade of scrimping, S$50,000 accounts for half of everything they’ve saved. A 10 per cent drop in value would cause significant pain (would you consider it irrelevant if you lost $5,000 right now?). In the event that something goes wrong, such as the art being damaged, the financial damage could take years to repair.


Simply put, the wealthy can tolerate losses that the average person cannot. Exotic investments work for the wealthy, because many of these investments are volatile, and can deliver unexpectedly huge rewards. When a work of art shoots up to 10 times its value, the aforementioned wealthy investor only risked one per cent of his wealth to reap those rewards. If the investment fails, the loss is no big deal. But when the investment accounts for half of your wealth, or can break you if it fails, it is simply not something you can afford. So no matter how many incredible stories you hear about art, stamps, wine, or other exotic assets, remember it’s something to aspire to. Don’t jump into it right away – focus on building your wealth first, and one day it might be a good deal for you too. As a rule of thumb, it is not safe to invest more than five per cent of your wealth in high risk ventures of any sort. If you only have $10,000 to your name, you can afford to put maybe $500 into something risky.


2. Property is the Best Investment, So Buy a Second House As Soon As You Can

Property is indeed a great investment…if you have sufficient holding power. When you purchase a property, the interest rate on the property loan fluctuates. There are no perpetual, fixed interest rates in Singapore. This means that monthly repayments can go up quite unexpectedly, and you have to be able to cope with it. Some investors may claim you will be renting out the house, which will more than cover the cost of repayments. But there is no guarantee of this. At the current time, for example, rental prices in Singapore have fallen by 9.1 per cent since 2013, while property loan rates have risen significantly. This is not to say the strategy or buying to rent out does not work; it means that aspiring landlords need to have sufficient wealth to handle vacancies, or periods when rental income is insufficient to cover monthly repayments. If the monthly repayments become too much, you will be forced to sell. But what if the property market happens to be in a downturn, such as the present? 


Recently a St. Regis Residences penthouse, which was bought in 2007, sold for a record loss of $15.8 million. So it is not true that, whenever you sell your property, you will make a profit. You have to be able to sell the property when the market is doing well, or at least not during a downturn. This means you must have the funds to keep paying the property taxes*, mortgage, and maintenance until the market improves. If you don’t have the funds to do that, it could mean selling at a loss. All in, property is a great asset to the wealthy but can be a serious liability if you’re over-leveraged. Just because you are in a position to (barely) afford a second house, it doesn’t mean you should rush out and buy one. But if you have several million in the bank, then even a downturn is just an opportunity for you to buy cheap. Remember that there is an Additional Buyers Stamp Duty (ABSD) of seven per cent on your second home, if you are a Singaporean citizen. This means a $1 million condo will cost you an additional $70,000. Will you still make a profit when you sell the house, after paying property loan interests and this hefty tax?


3. Follow Your Passion and the Money Will Follow

You should certainly quit your job to follow your passion, if you have enough money to survive for a year or two without it. We are not being cynical, and suggesting your passion will never make money (although as a matter of fact, some passions are less lucrative than others). Rather, it is that passion is difficult to maintain under financial stress. Following your passion, and building a viable business around it, requires drive and inspiration. The question is, how inspired will you be when you’re down to the last 80 cents in your bank account, and haven’t had lunch in two days? If following your passion requires you to think creatively, or be upbeat and sell, can you maintain those qualities while stressed out about missing mortgage payments?

The fact is, most people can’t. That’s why the ones who strike out to start their own business, follow their passions, etc. have a better chance of succeeding when they already have a source of wealth. 


Poverty depletes energy. Few people can focus on creating a great painting, coding an incredible app, or delivering a moving speech when they are pressed by financial troubles.This doesn’t mean that you can’t follow your passions if you’re not a millionaire. It just means that if you don’t have the money, you can’t start following your passions right now. At the very least, build up enough savings to last you a year or two. Give your passions the best possible chance to survive and succeed. And if you do have a lot of money, by all means follow your passions. That’s (a) the point of having money, and (b) when a wealthy person turns their passion into a business, a lot of people buy into it; they will relate it to your success.


Accurate Financial Advice is Never General

The key thing to remember is that there’s no “one size fits all” approach to personal finance. What works for someone else may not work for you, and that’s doubly true when they’re in an income bracket several levels above or below you. If you are earning a median wage right now (around S$3,700) a month, you can be sure that some forms of financial advice you’ll get (eg. invest in REITs) are good for you, but ridiculous for someone earning S$1,200 a month. Just remember it works both ways. The personal finance approaches devised for the rich, which get so much media attention, may be the same approaches that utterly destroy your savings. Get a proper wealth manager to look at your situation, and dispense advice. Whether you choose to pay them and keep them on later is up to you. But it still beats looking at the rich and trying to imitate them.






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Rohith Murthy, Co-founder and Managing Director,

Rohith Murthy is the Managing Director of His core duties include leading teams in all verticals including commercial, business development and financial performance.. Prior to co-founding, Rohith was Head of Digital Banking at Citibank for Central and Eastern Europe where he led various e-channel initiatives including Internet, mobile, phone banking, ATMs and the digitisation of branches. During his ten year tenure, Citibank was awarded Best Consumer and Corporate Internet Bank by Global Finance magazine in 2011 and 2012. Rohith holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Honors) degree in Computer Engineering from National University of Singapore where he graduated on a full scholarship.


Prashant Aggarwal, Chief Commercial Officer, CompareAsiaGroup

Prashant joined CompareAsiaGroup in April 2016 after a stellar 18 years in technology and finance where he spent 12 years with the world’s top credit card brands – American Express and Visa. Prashant kicked off his career with Oracle Corp in New Delhi and Sydney as Project Manager for Shared Services Implementation. In 2004, Prashant joined American Express in Sydney as Director – Head of Consulting for Japan and the Asia Pacific rim. In 2008, Prashant was promoted to Director for Account Development for Greater China and two years later, took on the challenge of Director – Head of Multinational Relationships for Japan and the Asia Pacific region. After an impressive eight-year stint with American Express, Prashant joined Visa as Senior Business Leader – Head of Commercial Products for all of Southeast Asia. Prashant is a Permanent Resident of Singapore with residence in Sydney.


Sam Allen, Chief Executive Officer, CompareAsiaGroup

Before joining CompareAsiaGroup as Chief Executive Officer, Sam spent 9 years at KKR where he was a Director in KKR’s portfolio operations team and a member of the Asia Leadership Team. Sam worked with KKR’s portfolio companies across Asia, acting as an advisor, board member, and interim executive. Prior to KKR, Sam worked at McKinsey & Company and at AT&T Wireless. Sam holds an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford, and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania.



Katrina Karim

Vice President, Communications,

Mobile (+65) 9844 6618


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Random thoughts: cost of a child...

My first unsolicited Father's Day gift.

Priceless. I am out of point? Quite ex. We bought insurance for him, had an endowment plan for his university, cord bank on top of the most hefty expense of education. 

I think it will add up to a thousand a month? At least?

He has no tuition by the way, only swimming lessons.

If u want a child but worried about your finances, u should, if u are in bad debt.

But if u are thinking about saving 60k or X amount before having a kid. I say forget it. The older you are, the lower the chances.

My friend wanted "stability" before marriage. He told me the 60k to
Pay for this and that. That was 6-7 years ago? 2 years ago I was his "brother" for his wedding.

Recently, he told me he married too late and is very worried about not able to have a child. 

Not everything can count by dollars and cents. 

If my 1 month $1000 get compounded by 9% PA, when will I be financially free? 

I don't know. I have no regrets, only happiness. 

I worried about money too. Regular readers know I don't have much savings after every month. I have a car and a maid, your typical pampered Singaporean who is a bad example in the financial bloggersphere. 

Turn back clock, I will try for a second child earlier. No regrets with having my son. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Random thoughts: Change...

Why do we need to change? 

1) Because I need to adapt to the surroundings.

2) Because I want to.

Option 1 is not a choice, we adapt to survive or to thrive. 

Option 2 is a conscious choice. You need 4 elements, the mind, the heart, the action and time.

Any one is the gate to the other. No need to rush. Keep thinking about it, one day, when your heart awaken to it, you will do it, and with time, you change.

Keep doing it, one day, you will understand why it is worth it.  I am talking about option 2, sorry if u keep doing your work because you need to in order to get your pay, doesn't count. Keep doing it and it become a habit.

You don't change overnight. 

You can. It's simple but difficult. Don't tell me you can't. There is no goodness in man if we can't.

We have a choice. 

Takes time. Dun give up. Keep it in your mind, if you can't act on it. Once u act on it, and you cannot do it wholeheartedly, and you relapse, it's ok.

Takes time. U have a choice. Choice is regardless of circumstances. 

Random thought: self-worth

How to u determine self-worth?

No one will admit they measured it by monetary value. But it defintely is part of the equation unless you do not live in capitalism world (it's possible) 

But no one measure it with that alone, another benchmarks include successes. Success in relationships, successes in targets and goals meet. Successes in work, work can include charity 

Anyone tried measuring self-worth but doing the reverse?

Ability to withstand failures and carry on. Able to carry burden and walk on. 

Measure self-worth by making "self" as worthless as possible? 

When it is worthless, what can hamper your peace? What is there to fight for? 

Finally, perhaps u see what is worthy of your pursuit? 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Shortlist for replacement of CMPH

Seriously, I have not found the replacement. They are just options which I find interesting enough to go deeper. This is preliminary findings and I welcome comments (even if u disagree)

First of all, I consider UOB kayhian, Kingsmen and SPH before, but decided to put all these in the back burner. Most of their most recent quarter report show continuous deterioration of earnings as compared to YOY. While I expect SPH earnings to improve next quarter due to the increase in print price, the net increase is not significant enough to put to rest the sustainability of its reduced dividends. I think 15 cents is more sustainable without growth drivers. Of course, SPH could inject Seletar mall and experince a short term jump, but that need some luck in timing. 

Option1: M1
In terms of yield, it is closest to replacing CMPH. Before u start throwing shoes at me and remind me of the 4th Telco, and that M1 will be most impacted due to its solely Singapore market and its high dependency on mobile and broadband market, let me say all investment is worth a look at some price. 

M1 has fallen the most, as compared to starhub and Singtel. I however, think bundling strategy has evolved from cost savings and win-win situation to one that fleece the consumer. I am sure consumers are aware. Look at the trend now, sim data only plan, without lock in period for subdized phone etc. 

While the will to bring in the 4th telecom by IDA is not in doubt, the feasibility of it is not a foregone conclusion. The 4th telecom will disrupt the 3 companies profits, but by how much? Assume M1 dividends go to 2013 levels, and assume M1 pays out almost all of it profits, it is a almost 15% drop we are talking about and we still have 6% yield. And that bad situation will mostly materialize in 2018 the earliest. (Build up of infrastructure takes time) Did not seem too bad now, isn't it?

Will read up more on M1 defintely. 

Option 2: Waste business operators; Colex or 800 Super

When u read quarter reports, these 2 companies have the most stable or growing business YOY. 800 super has a good growth story but Colex has better balance sheet. 800 super is gaining market shares in waste disposal business from NEA and is giving decent dividends but has its shares price run up due to a analyst report. Colex has a track record of paying pittance as dividends. Just look at their cash on hand, payout ratio and u know they are misers when dividends is concerned. It is rather surprising to me though, since its directors are paid reasonably and cleanly (no options) and the parent company owns 78% of company. Wouldn't Bonvest want money to flow up to the parent?? This is not the situation with Comfort and Vicom for example: 

Option 3: Yangzijiang
I am still a fan of YZJ, and I view Ren Yuan Lin as "buffet of the East" it's my own infatuation, and u need not agree with me. It's HTM never exploded like others say it would. It refrain from building Rigs/ jack ups and it's a very profitable company in the global fraternity of ship builders. Even Korean yards are in trouble now. 

The best part is, he is very candid. The order books is still strong but he admits they are won at the expense of margins. What do u expect right? Market did not seem to factor the depression of margins in yet though. I expect margin to fall and profits to go down. I am waiting for better valuation and hope to buy this as a cyclical recovery stock. I believe 4.5 cents dividends might not be sustainable in the short term. 

Option 4: accumulate ST engineering 

STE Q1 report is actually not as bad as the headline suggests. Expenses for Airshow is one-off. In fact, the recovery for aviation has finally arrived, but we will
Not know if the capex cycle has restarted 
Or it is just a one-time fluke. 

It is a net cash company with yield of 5%, not many blue chips company with this yield and balance sheet strength.

Option 5: Accumulate LMIR

A wonderful company and performance under Alvin Cheng. Waiting for rights issue news LOL or higher MOS.

However, option 5 is least likely because it is a trust and I have no wish to increase my exposure to reit/ trust unless the offer is irresistible.

Hopefully, will have more time during the June holidays to do some more number drilling and peer comparisons before I take the plunge.

If the market recovers in the meantime, I dun really mind. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Random thoughts: Tears from my pupils

2 pupils from different class cried when they got their results. 

One broke down when I tried to console him that sometimes we are just down on our luck, but I believed he had change for better. I think he had put in efforts and his harvest will come later. 

He is a mischievous and loud boy. Seeing him cry is a surprise, even I noticed his disappointment before I approached him.  

He was from the "last class", in the beginning of the year, I had problems even getting them to listen and do their work. They are getting into fights or causing disturbances to others, and etc. It is only recently that they finally start moving in the right direction (better late than never)It was painful for him, as the many extra hours we put in, the motivational talks to get them to bite their teeth and keep practicing yield results for most of the class. Most show 7-10% point improvement. That is 14-20 marks raw score increase from half a year ago. Sorry, I cannot help myself to boast. I am supposed to produce 10 As out of 18 in my class to meet quota for PSLE. But I only had 6 Cs and 12 failures from last year to work with. I felt so much a sense of achievement when I hear them saying "yes" I got my B finally! It is also this moment, that I had the feeling of being a teacher again, yes that sometime forgotten feeling of teacher when I am younger and not some results churning machine. That they are only 3 failures now with 5Bs to show, I think they did well, the Extra and even Saturday sessions have not been in vain. Screw that F** ricidiously KPI. 

I also teach a top P4 class. I am trying to teach a spectrum of pupils in this new school to quickly level up my pedagogies. While I might have been somewhat not able to keep abreast with the latest pedagogy, I think the key that was really missing last year was love. 

I cared about their results more than I cared about them. This year, I finally got my mojo back and start talking to them and wasting time telling them about "character" LOL

Sorry, I sidetracked.

My favorite P4 pupil did not top the class in paper 2. I am not sure if she top the class in total score, because it doesn't bother me if she is 95 or 97. She is good. Apparently, that is not the case for her. I could understand if she think 42.5 out of 45 is not good enough when the top pupil got 44 and her best competitor got 0.5 mark more. 

But to cry and paste a piece of paper over the exam paper to cover the score is a bit too much for me. 

I ask her to leave the class and give her a earful when I ascertain the reason for her crying is mainly due to the fact that she "lost"

After that, I reflected and I realized I suffer from low self-esteem during my university days and it was a reverse but same type of problem. Self worth determined too much by external validation than internal benchmarks. 

I talk to the class and share my experiences and told them not to be like me when I am younger. Competition is good and inevitable but we must accept that we will sometime lose and we will lose with grace. That lost could be painful but we must not be too emotional affected and must let go and move on.

Some of them don't understand and gave me a blank stare when I tell them if competition is the only motivation, and that "I lose once, I will work harder, I lose twice, I work even harder, I lose thrice or more and I gave up or lose something even more valuable, like confidence"

I told them to do their best and forget the results. I think this is the first time they are hearing this from a teacher. Most of them looked at me disinterested, with their body language telling me to "cut the crap, give me my compo paper so that I can know my results already."

I told my Weak P6 class before I mark their papers that I am glad I did everything that I could think of for them. I do not know if it will yield results but I know I have no regrets when I see their results. I hope they can feel the same when they see their results. 

It turns out I am again the weakest link when compared to my colleagues of achievers. I am consoling myself as much as I am consoling them, I realize. Can someone pass me a tissue too, I think my tears are following soon... Sobz sobz...

After the tears, I decide to acknowledge a few teachers who also put in their heart and soul for their pupils. One pupil can't even write basic and common characters last year and this time round, he wrote and coherent and complete essay. I checked with the young teacher what is her sauce, she told me she go through all the commonly used words  on essay writing one by one with him everyday. This is what I called passion. My boss ask me to nominate teacher for Leap award, I was happily filling up the form when they asked for innovative practices of the teacher.  I wrote "she used a variety of ICT tools and changes them so that her pupils do not get sick of it, but the crux of her teaching is her passion to do what I just described, there is no magic bullet in teaching"

My P ask me if the higher Chinese can meet the targets of last year, I told her the teacher is trying various ways to make the pupils buck up, but I think there is some gap. She asked me to find ways and get last year teacher to share methods.

I told her doing that now might create some unhappiness among staff and most importantly, I think it is not going to work since the "strategies are tagged to the teacher". Come on, there is no "weak pupils" if there is magic bullet. Luckily she backed off and agreed. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Random Thoughts: CMPH's delisting

This is a random thought series. No analysis, just observations and my thoughts.

I read at various forums lamenting another good dividend counter delisting and some bloggers congratulating others for capital gains.

Personally, this episode just show that it is more important to be lucky. 

A number of of the assumptions I made about CMPH are wrong. FCF of 1.5-1.8 billion not met. With the economic slowdown in China and the lower trading numbers, the lucrative "goods carriers" should be reduced and I expect operating numbers to worsen.

I intended to sell CMPH into strength as stated in my previous post. When it is trading at 87 cents CD and 84 cents XD, I am thinking seriously to either sell partial or all my stake. 

Well, luckily for me, my procrastination brought me some "Ang Bao money".
Obviously, the owners do not think the operating numbers is going to get worse. If they think it will, why not let it get worse, the price get a wacking and offer a "good premium" to exit at lower price? (Think Osim) 

I also find it amusing that some forummers are all talking about the potential of the business and how they are now "worse off" since they have one company less to invest. They are either very accurate with their "long term assessment" of the company's potential or they are hindsight riders, now that someone willing to pay $1 so it must be worth more. I however like to think that the major shareholder have been fair to minority shareholders and is taking a risk by itself to privatize it. Relisting it a HK at higher valuation is not a given, IMHO 

It is seldom that 2 wrongs make one right. I always feel that my prospecting skills and analysis is Amateurish at best. So, with humility, I hope Lady Luck continue to shine on me. 

I am doing some active prospecting to find an replacement, and while I have a few potential, none seem to meet the cut. Any recommendations? LOL

Thanks CMPH. I had a wonderful ride. If buy and sell within 6 months is call short term trading, it is my best trading counter and dividend payer rolled into 1. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Update on Venture Corp

Venture continue to recover YoY.

Recovery is not broad base but driven largely but it's Test & Measurement/medicial/ Others Segment. Management has concede Retail Store solution and Industrial Products is one of lower margin segment and with the improving Margin coinciding with the growth of the test and measurement segment, I think we can draw the link that this segment has better margin most properly due to it being HMLV type of EMS. If u like Acromec due to its exposure to healthcare segment (was reading up on it due to a write up by a blogger), I think U would like Venture more. It's 2 different business but Venture  
EMS business has a longer "recurring" probability at long as clients keep their production lines running, Aecromec on the other hand is project based and has not overseas track records although they said they wanted to break into ASEAN markets. 

Printing segment is still in doldrums. I believed the 3D prototype touted by analyst did not translate into firm contract, as it has been a year since news break. 

The Penang factory ramped up also did not seem to materialize as network and communication segment is still weak. 

However, since the largest segment is growing strongly and the rest limbing along, I believe "growth" is under appreciated.

Next, Venture recorded its first share buy back since 2013. It might be more due to their  employees reward scheme than 
Management assessment that it's company is undervalued. When Venture buy back its shares, it seldom is a lone wolf operation.

Valuation at PE 15 is not "cheap" but I thought it's fair with its net cash position of almost $1.45 and dividend yield of 6.1%

Can Venture grow to its former glory? I hope it find a yield accretive business to acquire to capture investors' attention again like what happened when it's trading at 24 time PE, since it does have no lack of cash.

It has been a long time since I do company prospecting type of writing. Getting rusty. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Random stories: Durian trees

A seng know of plenty of durian trees growing behind his yard. One day, his neighbor asked for a durian fest, A seng say:" er... Not durian season yet lei" 

His neigbour replied:" find la, about time, sure have." A seng said:" wait la! A few days later, there will be plenty for picking."

A few days later, both men went to the forest and indeed found plenty of durians, they picked a few and invited other neigbours. One of the neighbour asked if he could also picked some. Ah seng said:" sure! Go ahead!"

The next day, his neigbour went excitedly and came back with D24 and shouted "ho ho!! Best breed, I not eating this, I will take this few and sell it. Thanks Seng!"

His neigbour who first went to pick the durians was unhappy. Why didn't ah seng stop him.

Ah seng said:" the forest is not mine, it is his good luck to find good durians, I had my full, I am going to sleep."

His neigbour went to look for D24 durians, spent plenty of hours and finally managed to find some. 

Ah seng was playing with his son. His neigbour said "as a friend, I am telling u this, if news of D24 durians near your place go round, there would be much D24 durians left this season, I suggest 
U be more hardworking and go source for durians. The money can come in handy the next time round.

Ah seng smile, "no durians this season, wait for next season lor" His neigbour was offended, "ungrateful and lazy fellow" he thought to himself and left.

Indeed a lot of people came for the durians, and ah Seng did not have much luck, but he was contented with the simple durians he had, and is at peace with himself. What is the fuss about D24? 

He saw people fighting over the durians and one day, decided enough, and move to another corner of the village to live and fish. While fruits are not as readily available, he had more fun running with his son together in the field and take some fishing at the lake