Friday, March 24, 2017

Random thoughts: Abundance and buffet

I believe my world is one of abundance, and the world in general can be of abundance too. 

However, abundance need a ingredient. It is thankfulness. Thankfulness is the lens we see things. There is plenty of randomness in this world, I happen to be a beneficiary in plenty of things, lucky if you like. Why do I say this? I know of 2 persons, of equal capabilities doing the same work. Of course, when I say "same" I dun mean factory output quantity. In general, they might have different strengths but basically delivering the same goods. But they have a pay difference of around 40%? I am the luckier one. I am not bragging, just thankful, as she is my equal or perhaps 有过之而无不及。(better)

Having abundance but not thankful or mindful, will simply end up like what one of my lecturer says "so much to live with, so little to live for"

Abundance is a curse, when benchmarked, compared with others. Abundance is introspective. U decide how much is enough. At personal level, it is easier to understand, but it also true beyond personal level.

Let's take the example of Buffet. There are atas ones, mass market ones. But all with the same purpose, let the customers eat to their heart content. Some lament about cheapo buffet. Some eat until their gastric hurts or even vomit. Some tried to hide some finger food to takeaway. 

I seldom go buffet, I am not a big eater and has a weak gastric. But I do like buffet. I can tried a variety of food at amount I like. I can start very small. If I particular food is very tasty, I eat more of it. I no longer have stomach for deserts now (old Liao) if I go second round, so I will just stop and relax and chat over a cup of coffee. 

How do u and others u observe do at buffet? U scream must be value for money? U felt shortchanged when someone just go for that lobster thrice or four times and giving all other food a miss? 

U care more about value for money or value of experience? 

Sorry, it's not the fault of the buffet organizers, if u ask me. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Random thoughts: reflective thinking vs learning through reflections

I took an elective titled "learning through reflections"

The tutor wanted us to define "reflections", think about what is a good "reflection" and what is a bad "reflection". She then give comments about our answers, telling us what "reflections" entails.

She then went on to have us read an article title "reflective thinking" and have us split into groups to summarize the 4 criterions of reflective thinking.

She keep challenging us for our thoughts when the various groups present their summaries. 

Just before the break, 2 groups presented. She ask for final opinion, I told her I am having cognitive dissonance, because reflective thinking is about thinking, not reflections. While reflection is a subset of thinking, I think there should be distinction. 

She then mentioned that the author says there are 4 types of thinking: just being conscious, imaginative and the final stage- believing. She did not really answer my question, but I am fine with it. I am not about to agrue with her over semantics. 

During the break, I returned early. She strike a conversation and I explained my understanding of "reflections". It should be introspective, about personal actualization and not analysis, ramifications and experimentations. It should be about awakening of the self, enlightenment if u like, with the emotional part playing an important role. There is no "educated" or "uneducated" decision based on experience but just whether we are are happy or disturbed over a decision, and that trigger of emotions is dependent on the filter built up over many experiences, called "conscience" I told her there is a difference between reflective thinking, which is what the article is about, and thinking reflections, which is what the course should be about.

Credit to her, she is really open-minded, and ask me to put the boards certain key words like "conscience", etc and said she would like to bring the discussion to the class. I became uncomfortable, but followed her instructions. 

When the class returned, she told the class that I had a different perspective and ask for the class comments. There is silence. She asked me why I felt I could not agree with the 2 model, and somewhat implied what is wrong with a "robust" way of thinking as reflection?  I said "analysis, verification, experiments" give u intelligence but reflections gave u wisdom. 

I said the first model of making meaning of experiences is something I can identify with, but do not accept "educated" and "miseducated" decision. I said these 2 terms are "external validation" and has no place in "reflection", an horrible terrible person will not think of himself as horrible. 

She said there are social norms. I said social norms are there but I need not buy them. I said external experiences are simple "stimulus" and the "filter" is just conscience, educated or not is up to external validation 

I felt very uncomfortable as the debate is dragging long enough. Luckily she moved on the 3rd and 4th models.

The third model is thinking as a community. Having affirmation with and from the community. Someone then quote the example that my sharing is also the case in point, since we all learn from each other and I got affirmation. I kept silence. In my mind, I said, "I need no affirmation from the community, I believe in what I am thinking, I need not have the community agree with me either. I have reflected about this long enough and has beliefs that are not easily shaken. This is internalization through reflections and not easily shaken by different school of thoughts"

Anyway, before We left, the lecturer kindly ask us to think about whether or not, our different perspectives can be reconcile, she "hint" that it is possible since reflections is also part of thinking. 

I wasn't too convinced. In my car, I thought. Chinese is also a subset of human. Humane Chinese and Chinese Human the same meh? 

But nevermind. It's only when I so free now I can talk make chicken and think rubbish la. I need no followers, no in this area of academic discussion. It is just fun. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Random thoughts: Coporate Rats out there, We can be happy rats

This post is sparked by a post from Andy ( Tacoomb) but is in my mind for quite a while.

In our pursuit of FIRE, let's not forget the "now". Of course, FIRE holds a lot of promise- doing charity, your own business, sleep till the sun hits your buttocks. It is a nice picture, and defintely a worthy pursuit. Full time giving back to society, sending your kids to school and picking them. What is there not to like? 

However, a lot of those promises rest a lot on the personality. Look, no one is going to just sleep their life away after FIrE, they find projects/ causes to work on. And in the pursuit of these causes/ they might meet with other problems, nasty volunteers, corrupt officials , whatever. Can they hide behind money and say now that I have FIRE, I quit? Huh? Sorry?

Is it really true that our problems and stress will All be gone when FIRE comes?

Is it easier really to find purpose with what we are doing, simply because u are on FIRE. 

Perhaps FIRE made it easier as you can focus, and give u the luxury of pacing yourself. But finding that purpose in life/ work, has nothing to do with money, if u think deeper. If u already have a purpose, u can have the best of both world. Get paid and perhaps use only one of your weekend to pursue your "purpose", yes, we cannot do it to our heart content, but u get paid while u do a diet-light version of your "calling"

If u like your work, but hate the office politics, the bureaucracy, your stupid and rude boss, whatever, u should be happy too. For me, I love teaching, it went from 80% of my job scope when I begin to perhaps 30% now. Hey, then u strike gold lor. 30% of your pay is actually bonus every month. U do what u want and like and still get paid. Bear with the shit and stay low profile for the rest of the 70%. Shut up when office politics is going on, be a man-whore and say "I am sorry" when your boss is barking and think of the paid 30% you enjoyed. Waking up in the frecking early morning with only 5 hours of sleep? Hey, if Market turns down, you got Fire Power because u are still getting paid. U still has chance. 

Sometimes work turn out well too. Then? Super "shiok" right? You get paid and your ego got stroke, you got a free fan club etc.

This is a Rat and Ant speaking. Grasshoppers and fishermen please do not throw shoes at me. If u must throw, throw a branded new pair so that I can go online and sell ok. 

I am cheering those rats who FIrE remain a distant goal. In the 50s of perhaps never going to happen. If u feel like a loser in this bloggersphere of investors, and if it make you feel better, u have a fellow loser here, perhaps the biggest loser if measured by portfolio size. But it's ok. I am a happy loser. Let's be happy rats before we can evolved into something else. It's easier to be happy when we are grasshoppers; but rats are not doomed to sadness. The external conditions might not be as pleasing, but hey, we got spending power. Bite me. LOL. Oops, I know of someone that passive income a month is perhaps is my 1 year income, but nevermind, I chose to be a happy rat. Running on trendmill and doing my best part-time grasshopper. 

Rats! We can be cute. There is Mickey Mouse.


Friday, March 17, 2017

Random thoughts: Family time making DIY photo frame

My wife's school doing a fund raising. Ask teachers to do DIY photo frames.

So here we go. 

One of the ugliest using recycled material is mine sobz sobz. Of the 3 wooden frame, one is done by me alone. Can u guess which one?





Rather pleased with myself. Ask my son "nice?" He said "Nice" resoundingly for one and laugh at the other . Hoho 

Ok now. Market survey! Let's have fun. Proceed go to charity or school's fund. If u are at the school flea market, which one will u buy? And how much will u pay?

Assume u have to buy la. Show some face can. Virtual world quiz. Don't hurt my feelings and say "pay me also dun want"

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Random thoughts: Sorry, my eyes must be playing tricks on me

Interest finally raise. 

But reits and trusts under my radar is in a sea of green, greener than usual? 

Constructions companies has been on the limelight recently, then followed by suppliers of construction materials. By Lee metals is still going under? A profitable company that is giving dividends at 7% but at about half of EPS? Margin better than competitors but competitors cheong and left it behind? 

Actually, I am quite surprised at the fuss over the 700 mio brought forward by the government. The projected demand is 28 bio to 34 bio. 700 mio is like Mickey Mouse amount right? Of course better than nothing, but it's no like singapore building third IR 

When price go higher, analyst report quote even better and higher target price. I am not surprised by this though. Wow, didn't know YZJ has suddenly went from HTM blown up potential to alpha male in shipping industry... LOL

TRUST yourself than your eyes. LOL

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Random thoughts: What does Financial achievement means to u?

I felt a sense of financial achievement recently.

In the bloggersphere of investors, once we start showing our portfolio, we inevitable start to compare, and it haunt me initially. I felt so small, just like my portfolio. LOL. That was in the past. 

Recently, on my trip to Ringku Outlet in Osaka, I struggled to convince myself to get a branded wallet and bag for my wife and in-law. They are value for money because they are at about half the price of what you get in Singapore.

I knew my wife always use a sling wallet, and I really felt like getting a nice one for her. I finally decided in getting 1 wallet and 1 bag at 70% discount.

After I bought them, instead of the usual guilt I felt when I spend unnessarily. I was quite excited about showing them to my wife.

When I reached home, and show them what I bought for them, they were happy. My wife found the wallet too small bit used it nonetheless, but really love the anello bag (premier edition) which I got for her.

Financial achievement is able to splurge on my loved ones, without throwing away our future. I might have just thrown away my financial freedom, with the several hundreds compounded at 6-7% annually becoming a great deal in 30 years time. 

But I felt happy. Seeing my wife using the wallet, transferring her cards and money to the new wallet makes me happy too. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Random thoughts: My thoughts of Japan's schools

This is a random thought series and is purely my perception.

I have already visited 4 schools. One "highly-ranked"public school, 1 private school (both junior high and senior high) and one international school.

Beside the private school, the facailties is really so-so, but the facilities at the private school is rather impressive. 


Indoor swimming pool, art gallery and etc.

But what really blow my mind away is a run-down international school. It is my vision made into a reality and shown in my face. 

The school does IB. Most international schools in Singapore has IB curriculum too. The curriculum is half the story. This is a school where the curriculum, the form, the substance, the management, the teachers are all aligned. The sums of the parts are greater  than the total. It really inspired me.

The P said "whatever we lacked in resources and facilities, we hope to make it up with quality teaching" 

And they delivered.

I know the IB programme, at least the theory of it, it focus a lot on thinking, and not just "product" of knowledge and skills. The principal valued conceptualization of knowledge and skills and assess it through the abilities of pupils to transfer its knowledge. 

Trust me, I am a cynical person. I usually take what I hear with a pitch of salt. I know Marketing gimmicks  and etc. but the introduction just took 5 minutes. He then said, "I will bring you around the school, show u where the classes are, then I will give u time to walk into any classrooms. U dun even have to knock, the teachers are expecting you. Feel free to interact with our pupils, they are not shy. You can talk to our teachers too, as long as you dun disturb their teaching"

Such confidence of the school. Look, no restriction, we can go into any classrooms and I did went into many of them. 

As a fellow educator, I am a "insider" when I see how they teach, first, pupils set their own rubrics of writing with help from teachers. I never thought of using rubric this way. It is not about the rubrics but how they really build thinking into the curriculum. 

I saw pupils doing group work and the  tasks for various groups are all different but the kids know what actually to do. I ask the teacher about it, and her eyes beam! She is very excited that I notice the arrangement and explain very enthusiastically how she does it.

When I ask if it is structured accordingly to difficulty level, she told me the differentiation is within the task expectations and not the task itself, the tasks are but "different routes to Rome". Before I left, she told me I ask very good questions and is more than willing to engage me further in the pedagogical discussion through email. Such Passion. 

It's not the teachers alone. IB seek to develop effective communicators who are confident. I want to test it, I really spoke to the pupils, ask them what they are doing, and while the command of the language is not perfect, they answer coherently. They are not shy and are able to provide details when prompted. I ask questions like, do u know why are u doing this activity, and how do u know if u are good at it (metacognitive questions , and these P2 pupils can answer me!) 

Just for fun, how would u answer when I ask if u know if your exhibitions and presentations are good? He gave me very practical answers which is what the real world works. In a real world, there is no "rubrics", so the kid replied "my audiences will give me feedbacks, and I can see if my stall is popular" Isn't this Marketing? Listen to your customer and see if you can draw crowds?

Coincidently, they have the grade 2 pupils doing a exhibition on the theme "process", and just like what I read on books, they really invite different audiences, peers from the other class, parents and the P ask us to join them to view their exhibition and listen to their presentations. 

The kids are suppose to talk about their peers' performance by writing on paper their peers' strengths and weaknesses before they leave the room. 

Of course, I wrote the positives, but deep inside me, I felt some the exhibition can do better with more details and elaboration of the processes they are talking about. But I tell myself not to be too critical on these P2/3 kids. When I put down my marker, I saw a little boy writing what I had in mind under the "weakness" column with details like what actually could be elaborated by the presenter. It is meaningful, specific and formative feedbacks given by a P2-P3 boy. wow !! This is no fluke. The pupils are benefiting from a robust curriculum, with the right leadership and accompanying pedagogy.

When I went to the next school whose facilities can put our university to shame, I have no chance to interact with the pupils. When we were brought to a class preparing for English festival, I gently ask the VP if I could ask a pupil some questions, I was quite taken aback when he told me politely "No"

I know it's not possible to simply transfer what I saw at the international school into my school. They do not have the same assessments pressure and their class size if 1/3 or -1/4 of that ours. But it gave me confidence that whatever I had in mind, could actually really be achieved. 

I really feel the words "teachers shape the future of a nation". I was talking to Rolf the other time, and he mentioned he was worried about the mentality of the young graduates working under him. 

I also really saw how a school system really produce different pupils. Confident fluent speakers or otherwise, all the kids are universally still innocent and have that sparkles in their eyes, but under different systems, they all "turned out" differently.

I wish I can do well to kick start some good practices when I am back. I shall give myself 2 years. I know I will lose it all when I am so busy that I can't do anything or dun feel like doing anything different.

I had wish I had something to "die for", something I will not feel apologetic about pushing teachers to work doubly hard. I think I have some concept now. Hope I learn more and not get so caught up be grades. Grades and percentage is still a very emotive topic within myself.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Coporate updates: Further liquidation of portfolio

Dear Readers,

It is with great pleasure that over a short span of 3 months, Sillyinvestor inc has manage to have 2 counters that hit targets of gains of 32% and 39% respectively. The 2 counters are Yangzijiang and Venture.

We are now 65% cash. Our company will not rush to deploy the cash. While the market is on a row, we decide to take risk off the table as we felt we might not be able to time the market correctly and get the maximum profits. 

YZJ holding period is only about 4 months, and Venture is 13 months.

If we find no opportunity over the next 2-3 years, we will just delist

Monday, March 6, 2017





Sunday, March 5, 2017

Random thoughts: Osaka shopping belt and Orchard Road

For someone who hate shopping like me, I find shopping at Osaka a better experience in general.

Why? It is equally crowded if u ask me. But there is more variety and "exits"

Within the busy central corridor, there are many alleys there is peppered with food stalls. There is no worry about traffic and it felt like a "夜市” (night market ) concept. Plenty of local food and bontique shops. Pricing is comparable in Singapore, but you will be surprise that some quality bags and selected items ( such as the Fever stickers for kids) are actually cheaper here than in Singapore. The local version  of fish cakes sticks is also very different with more ingredients to let my group mates give the thumb-ups and emm non stop. I dun eat meat, so dun ask me how they taste. 

As we walk, we reach the "atas" building of takashimaya of Osaka 


Here, the shops and experiences are somewhat similar to what u would get in Singapore, just that it is more crowded even at the cosmetic counters and despite the language barrier, can't help to feel that the workers are trying their best to explain their products and smile at u. (But sorry, I totally catch no balls) 

However, their shops are bigger. Their pastries selection at the basement is also almost twice as many as singapore. Their Starbucks store is 3 storeys high with books available for customers to read. I guess the rents are not as high as singapore, otherwise, there is some thoughts put into "customers' experience" at their "flagship stores". They even have their localized Sakura coffee. (Taste ok, but not fantastic)

What I have described so far is if I turn "right" from my hotel, and visit the more central commercialize zones. If I turn left, there are more "heartland" retail experiences.  No big crowds but F&B outlets are busy. 

We got a chance to do hands-on for making plastic displays for food. 


Here, we key in our orders for food outside the shop and pay for it before proceeding into the shop with our order slips.

This is where I thought as least they should have a picture on every button. I have a hard time matching the displayed menu and the words on the various buttons and end up ordering the wrong food. 

 See my blur face? Need to ask more? 

In general, I felt in a very small area of perhaps 1-2 km square, and equivalent of our Orchard Area, there is plenty of variety in retail experiences. I cannot say the same for Singapore. 

For someone who cannot tahan shopping, I bought a bag, facial mask and muscle rub for wife and dad. Spent quite a bit even as a giam gana.

The only grouse perhaps is the temp between the outdoors and indoors is quite drastic, just like Singapore, but the reverse. It's quite warm indoors and cool outdoors. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Random thoughts: using stop order to protect profits

Recently, I ask my broker for options in my interface for advance orders. I also pestered SMOL a lot since it is more complicated than I thought.

I did read up a bit before that. It is simple concept, but the interface isn't. Basically to protect profits, u sell at a price lower than current price but it will not be activated until the market hit your trigger price. 

What I want to achieve with this? Actually YZJ and Venture already hit my target gains. I am very tempted to take profits. So I actually key in a lower price and if it got sold, so be it. But if it run, I can move the selling price higher every day. I manage to do that for yesterday so the profits for today is already higher than yesterday. 

That's the no-brainer part. 

Then when my acc is activated a week ago.

I goes like 


It's quite overwhelming.

I went online and understood what is FAK, FOK, agar agar know what is GTD GTM, but did not know the difference between day and GTD.

Then I go SMLL for "time in force" and "conditional"

Why is there a stop price and another price below. What the hell is market limit. 

I felt a bit pie say pestering SMOL so I ask my broker, his explanation made me more confuse only and he gave me a no. To call. Anyway the person at the no. She also not too sure when I prob further too. 

But in the end, it is still Smol that explained everything nicely and "understooded" ... I had wanted to treat him to a drink but someone beat me to It LOL. 

Thank you SMOL for your patience, and thank you ROLF, for the drink Muhahahahah