Friday, September 29, 2017

Random thoughts: Improving memory of your kids

Exams is around the corner.

I realise I share so much on investing but never on learning. So here goes. I was told my earlier post on education/ tuition create a storm at investing note. My apologies, I didn't read what is written there, I share what I know, u need not agree with me

The theory:
Memory is about input, working memory, retention and retrieval. To do well, all 4 links need to addressed. Just doing assessment after assessment without input is useless. Also, if u put your clothes is drawer 1, it is most easily retrieve in drawer 1. Our brain is powerful, it can be transferred and hence if you internalized what you learn, it became cloud, and u can retrieve it anywhere. But, the crux of it is, you need to know at which level is your child is, and hit it at the right spot. 

Area of concerns and assumptions:
1) My passion is always with the weakest pupils, so what I am sharing here is for those who fail their writing.

1) Framework. 

You need to know the compo is made up of Intro, body and ending. I understand many (i.e including tuition centers) spent  significant Amount of time is on mermorizing 回忆開頭,天氣開頭,and 人物開頭。But Personally, for me, I believe Intro doesn't yield marks. For my weak pupils I give it a miss. I think ending is more important. There are 2 parts to a ending. 

My last paragraph is call FATS.

Easy to remember. 

F for feeling 
A for analysis 
T for talk 
S for swear

"Bad ending" example.

我难过地说:“对不起,小丽,我错了。我不是故意的,你原谅我好吗?” T


It seems simple, but trust me. It's not easy, for the weakest pupil to apply FATS

Remembering FATS is easy. The lines and the actual words  are the tough part.

S can be mermorize wholesale. Just understand the exceptions where it cannot be used. (Third person perspective of someone else in the wrong, etc)

Input stage.

1) Chunking and repetition.

After they understand what the sentence means, 

Read aloud in this way,


If u are helping your son/ daughter. Cover different parts gradually with your hand, and challenge your kid to continue reading until everything is covered.

Cover everything, recall. Note that it is ok to not remember it. Please don't scold the poor kids. Those weaker pupils are miserable enough. Just ask them to skip and recall whatever they know. 

Now, ask them to look at the paragraph and identify the missing parts.

Recall again.

If still can't. Identify what is missing again.

In my experince, no matter how weak the pupils are, as long as they do it seriously, they will remember it by the second round.

Sound too good to be true? Well, we are just at input, we didn't go into rentention and also the writing of the words.


Simple, 2 rules. Humor and frequency.

Doing it everyday for 1-2 min is more effective than squeezing 2 hours before the exam.

Every time the pupils/ son try to recall, play with them.  Mermorize with them. Impress them with your memory power. If u fumbled, laugh with them.

As for difficult words like "覆辙”, break it into smaller words. 

Give a nonsensical story. The more rubbish it is, the better they remember it. Ask what the top look like? Look like 要,tell them girls 女never make mistakes, so you can remove it. But 复 means repeat. Weaker pupils catch no balls, but tell them nontheless. Tell them sun 日 is wearing a cap and a loose skirt. Bad mistake, cap surely get burnt. That's why is a mistake. 

U go get creative and say your nonsensical story. You can even draw the cap and the sarong skirt. 

Those who tried to learn, despite being the weakest lot of the whole level, can remember how to write the 4 words. 

Of course, rule of freq apply too. Everyday must practice writing these words. 

Wow! It's that easy? Hello. There is retrieval 


A different picture means they forget what to write. So dun give them 1 picture. Give them a dozen pictures and ask them to choose 1 that can apply that particular ending.

The next day, ask them to choose another picture.

Put to them the subtle change of words in the FATs paragraph.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is just the last paragraph. 

I will post about the rest, the main body. What framework and tricks to help them remember.


"Practice doesn't make perfect; it made permanent" (David Souza)

Dun ask them to write compo after compo without knowing what exactly to write. They hate it and it became a vicious cycle.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Short update on Yangzijiang

YZJ's second worksite accident in 3 months. The key event is operations at Yangzi Yard is suspended. There is no update to SGX though.

Earlier, there is news that YZJ has retrench 2000 workers. However, it's yard are busy with orders stretching to 2019. Is there over-work.? It is it just a freck accident

This might be the first test for Ren's son as CEO. 

Not vested. 

I dun want to sound like sour grape. Because I sold earlier at a song. But personally, the risk reward profile at current levels is rather unattractive.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Discussion on comfort delgro

This post is kind of triggered by B's blog post. There is an robust discussion over there. Some of the ideas throw out also appear in valuebuddies. 

I would just like to share my view on some of the thoughts and comments. I am only interested in the forward looking comments, that's where the fun comes in; as for past numbers, there can be little arguments.

Here goes: (B, no disrespect, come join and poke me too)

1) Grab business model is unsustainable. 

MHO:Yes, it is burning cash. But it can burn cash long enough to create a lot of pain to Comfort-Delgro.

Alibaba, burn cash for a long period of time. But Japan SoftBank dump billions and billions. Amazon laughed at it, since they don't collect fees for its platform and hence its "burning cash". We all know how the battle at China goes. 

Alibaba's Gem is alipay. Although it has now reach such scale that the platform by itself is profitable. When I read Amazon Annual reports, its profits is volatile. I can't the name of mother company of Lazanda (use to), food panda, Zalora. Those platforms are hardly profitable, their business plan is to gain scale to list as a IPO or sell the company (like lazada to Alibaba) it has a venture capitalist business model.

I know u will think that these e-commerce platforms are not actual comparables. I agree. My point is: we might be sure what game plan Uber,Grab has.

2) Comfort delgro business will survive.

IMO: I have no doubts about it. In fact, I think it might not even incur a loss. But I am not sure everyone investment in Confort Delgro will "survive" 

3) Comfort delgro alliance with Uber is a potential catalyst.

IMO: I agree too. However, my thoughts is this. It is just a case of lesser evil. There are several ways the alliance can work. The most logical partnership is uber tap on hardware and comfort tab on software.

Comfort delgro will win, because the idle fleet will reduce. Uber will gain, it will not need a big capital to buy vechicles. But will Confort delgro be able to rent out at attractive rates to Uber? I do think Comfort delgro is in a position of weakness. Remember, Confort used to charge cabbies $140 for newer vehicles. That is 10 years ago when I don't drive and I like to chat with cabbies. The norm is $130 and the better ones up to $140. Now, no one talks about $120 rental. 

Can Comfort bulk rent to Uber at good rates? Hardly. But it is defintely better have them idling, since vehicles  are depreciating assets of 7-8 years. 

And I  have not go into the handicap of comfort. I felt they are really shortchanged in this competition. They are like going into the boxing ring with both legs and hands chained. If I drive Uber, I can renew a 10 years old car for 10 years coe. If cabbies' info to me is accurate, taxis are up for scrap in 7 years. Max renewability is 9 years.

If I already have a car, I dun even have to rent and I can drive for Uber. Also, as mention in previous post, taxi is a full time job. Once u hire the car, u need to pay everyday. Drivers might not like this kind of rigid arrangement. I know a few friends who toogle between Grab and Uber to earn extra bucks depending on which have better incentive, during a particular period. 

If they are busy, or have a sub-contractor job or free-lance work, they just need to do nothing. Don't rent the car and no rent is required. So the competition is not on rates alone, if u know, u can say "quality of worklife"

4)  Regulation tightening is another catalyst 

Not a lot of people talk about this. As I have said, the competition is really unfair. Now all drivers need vocational liscenses. I believe Comfort Delgro will try its best to evolve its business plan as its tried to arm twist the regulators. 

For one, I believe Delgro is already making more fleasible rental arrangement. As for rates, it will also move towards more equilibrium, I will not bet it will happen anytime soon due to point no.1 

For various safety reasons, the cost of private hire could increase if the regulators start to set the conditions where cars can be used to private hire. The supply of drivers has actually increased tremendously (as a forummer in valuebuddies mention) because it has made freelance taxi-Ing sexy. Confort might be able to capture this "enlarged pie" when equilibrium happen, especially if they can come up with really flexible plans, and regulation start to clamp down on the "anyone also goes" 

5) Uber and Grab show their trump card earlier

IMO: Grab/ Uber is not a taxi company and neither is it interested in becoming one. I am not sure what it's game plan? IPO? Venture capitalist? Logistics ? 

When their trump card is out in the open. Delgro will fight a easier war


Am I vested: No

Am I tempted: Yes 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Random thoughts: Of respect and happiness

Just my weekend musings:

There are 2 ways to happiness.

One is to accept current situation. 

Second, is to pursuit what u want.

My observation is there are many seemingly poor or "unfortunate" people who are happy, because they accept their bad set of cards. There are many energetic people with a goal in their life and passionate about their life. 

Respect, what do you respect? I didn't ask who.

1) Character- e.g. Resilence, wit etc
2) Money 
3) Power - Position of authority, etc

I will be honest, I respect all three to varying degree. I don't just respect character. Neither are they mutually exclusive.

Are u happy when people show u respect. I know I do. But while I am not rich nor powerful, I am also not poor or without any "position", so I use this as a reminder not to get it in my head. I know sooner or later, my "position" will be gone, I might be richer or poorer. 

But I know if I don't respect myself, I won't be happy. 

I can respect my achievement, the wealth I accumulate and my character. As I say, I respect all three to varying degree. But I know the three are not equal. 

If I don't have wealth, position, or character I can accept or pursuit/ develop.

2 sad situations.

1) You cannot accept but also don't pursuit. You play victim.

2) You pursuit and pursuit and realise the respect you gotten is not the highest yield of happiness 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Random thoughts: This just makes me happy, dun know why.

I have drawing plenty of comic strips for my pupils to help them remember vocab. During the holiday, I saw 1 pupil who drew very well.

I ask her if she is willing to draw for the class, I gave the storyline, she draw. She says ok. 

Guess which one is mine ? 


I ask another pupil, which one is nicer. Knowing the one with red ink is mine, he said "Both are nice" 

Got future, high EQ! But Liar .... LOL

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Random thoughts: Of Swordplay, Pedagogy and Investment

What does these have in similar? 

They have many forms, but at its core and substance, more will converge, and there is a return to basic.

One of my favourite swordplay movie, 《蕭十三郎的劍》,about 2 top martial art experts, sharing their essence of skill before duet. The essence of one is "flow and change" and the essence of the other is "basic" yet killing moves.

It's a fun and insightful show. The one with basic moves wins. I makes me think a lot about teaching. There is so many pedagogies, ICT-infused lesson, collaborative learning, inquiry-based learning, game-based learning etc. All flavors of the month before. 

Martial Art is to "kill" otherwise it becomes a performance. Pedagogies is to let people "learn better" otherwise it become a "show"

Different pedagogies has different requirements and different entry points and different resources required. But I realise when u go to the basic (pupil) and adapt according their needs (flow and change) a lot of things converge. The essence of ICT- infused lesson, collaborative learning, feedbacks etc, will converge. It is basic and yet effective. 

So where is the similarities to investment, and what should we be concerned with 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Bought Raffles Medical

Raffles Medical for 2 quarters, has lost it shine as a grower. Both revenue and Profits were flat.

Before this, it was a darling because of the below:

Very consistent, isn't it? 

Now, with earnings stagnating, it show the share price hit a 52-week low recently.


An almost 1/3 fall from its peak. 

If u read around, there are many reports that state how its business might worsen. Let me summarize (Parrot):

1) Holland V Medical is fully leased but there is no spike in revenue, that means the patient load is worse than expected.

2) China expansion will worsen earning for the next 3 years. Management guided that hospital will turn around after 3 years.

3) My simple and quick Google of cancer doctors, review or doctors show names thrown out mainly from parkway and mount Alvernia. But beside these 2 quarters, their revenue is still on a good uptrend, so I will give them the benefit of doubt that the tactic to go medical services aka clinic is a good one.

So, now it is not just a "non-grower" but also a falling knife.

The reason for buying is more qualitative than quantitive. I remember referring the international SOS for reference to hospital to visit if there is emergency, when bring pupils for overseas trip in Nanjing. I believe many people relied on international SOS for reference for medical treatment because China local hospitals are really quite different from those u find in Singapore outside Shanghai. 

Next, I saw the rapid expansion of medical services aka clinic network across Singapore. These will serve as fillers to send reference to hospital. Why is this still not happening in the 2 quarters no.? I am not sure, but many of these clinics are new. Lot 1 clinic has its crowd. 

I also like the fact that past year expansions did
Not strain the balance sheet. 

I am not sure if this price is cheap, honestly. I however, is willing to accept lower earnings (but not zero profits) as they expand, and accumulate as the price go lower. Singapore market must stay strong.

The money used to buy Raffles came from some liquidation of Silverlake axis. So my cash holding is still 60%. Silverlake is still my biggest holding. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Random thoughts: Where is your solace

This post is triggered by a post from AK. He noticed one of his reader might be at risk/ already in depression.

It reminded me of a period of difficulty, when I see only suffering. I was lucky, there was solace from home, although my spouse's family also meet with difficulty. Yup, it never rains but pour.

Ironically, the solace I seek then was work. Being with my pupils. I live by the day, waiting for the quiet of night to have some peace. 

I also know of someone who always talk about taking her life. I know of her difficulty and her unfortunate set of cards dealt to her. She did not manage to find solace, as far as I am concerned, it has been a year. 

I remember when I bantered Zen with my uni lecturer long ago, she was telling me philosophy and kindness is our defense mechanism. I didn't quite understand, she said when things happen, some people just lose it, some people has a defense. That "defense" is what I call solace.

I am a free thinker, but I do think that solace, or refuge or whatever, is built during our daily lives. It cannot be seek during crisis, it is invisible during peace time.

Finding meaning in work, is my solace. My son and my wife are my solace. My belief is the last solace. When crisis struck, it wears down the defense as time drags on. I remember operating at "zombie" mode, to avoid my mind from going wild. Believe in goodness, otherwise there is no "light"

I hope everyone try to live life to the max. U never know when life needs a withdrawal of not cash but your will reservoir. 

Even when things seem to come to a close, I am still operating at "crisis mode" for a long time, before I unwind and see light beside suffering. I cannot imagine those going through ordeals for years.

For those who are going through tough time.

1) Hang in there.
2) Don't think too much, focus on what u set to do, and just do it. Don't think of results or impact
3) Talk to people
4) Write, cry
5) Find solace, in your beliefs, in god or religion. 

Don't stop. Keep moving. Use full use of the short break, and recharge, then expends it again. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Random thoughts: Defensive stocks?

What come to your mind?

Names or numbers?

In the past, perhaps 1-2 years ago, you might name telcos, healthcare/ heathcare reit?

The 3 telecoms are suffering from investors' anxiety without real confontation from TPG. Having another player at the table has lead to some analysts to shout which company might be merged. Is Singapore market too small for a 4th Telco? Only time will tell, but if u tell someone on the street now that M1/ starhub is defensive, but for the dividends and its cash flow, I am
Not sure if u get the same reactions from 2 years ago. Note that I dun think they are bad investment, I am vested in M1. I am questioning defensive.

Healthcare is evergreen with the aging population in Singapore and command lofty valuation for a long time. (Anything above 30 is lofty in my opinion, if growth doesn't pan out) I think many think of health stocks as growth stocks instead of defensive stocks. It might have a slightly defensive business but it might not have a defensible market price. I got confused sometimes, but I have not touch healthcare stocks yet because the valuation made its defensive business somewhat indefensivable. Again, not to say it is not a good investment, if with poor sentiments you found a company that is falling and falling with its growth prospect still possibly intact. I am not telling which is in my radar. 

Wide-moat businesses used to refer to those with a commanding monopoly or market share. I would think that Telcos with the 4th Telcos is still a oligopoly, with data market set to become even bigger, but it's scaring the shit out of investors. I wonder aloud why comfortDelgro investors, like what BT columnist pointed out, are thinking it will fare better? I agree with columnist, it is going from market share leader with a few small fries to also perfect competition of car rental. Unless regulation increase the barrier of competition, even if the tie up with uber is successful, rental still has some room to fall. Renting a car is $60-80 when done privately, still a big 30-50% cheaper than what comfort is charging cabbies, and I have friends that drive grab or uber, that like it as a filler option, earning extras and managing their commitment , even with a relief hirer, a conventional taxi driver is like a full-time job. The competition is not just on price alone. 

How about SPH, SGX and Singpost which has a local monopoly yet to be broken? The defense of a monopoly moat is broken. I dun want to be a broken recorder on disruptive technology. Again, I am watching the above companies, they might not be poor investment. 

Is there really something defensive? How about Gold? I hold gold for a while, it seems like a good hedge for Tensions.

I would think 2 things are defensive. 1) Cash but zero returns.

2) Growth, and dividends paying companies. Companies that increase dividends sustainably is the best defense. Doesn't mean the price won't drop but u can sleep knowing that market will have to pay for that cash flow going back to investor hands. But the caveat is always make sure that the price you bought is defensible too. 

I would think leveraged instructments with sustainable yield of 7% is fair and attractive value. Anything better is a bonus or that you misjudge the "growth" that is - defense buffer.

As for net cash company that is still growing, I would think anything above 5% yield is attractive.

This is just sillyinvestor agar agar thinking, you can calculate all the % of growth and the DCF etc. 

But with market showing so much character ignoring Kim, think he is hopping mad if he has shorted the markets thinking his blasts will trigger a lasting sell-off. 

What is defensible to u?

Or perhaps you think of defensive like defensive actions and mind? 

But we must not kid ourselves lei. Let me test u. "Nimble" a term make famous by AK. It's a defensive tactic, test water. Water hot, run. Fighter another day.

If u have 20k,(e-book teaching people how to invest with first 20K)  how much u invest is consider nimble?? 1% 5% or 10%


Please la. 20K  how to nimble? 

Lol. If u say 1-2 % is nimble. U got 200-400 to play. The commission buy and sell will wipe 10-20% of your return le.

That is not to say we should not invest if we only have 20K. But we should call it as it is. We "hoot" to learn how to market works and pray.


Friday, September 1, 2017

Random thoughts: Myths of ways to academic achievements

Views are my own only. 

1) Tuitions must be given to children because everyone has it.

This is simply not true. In my experience with schools, I know there is no simple correlation between tuition and performance, especially if parents take the attitude of "dump money; solve problem" mentality. Children are not stupid. If u dun tell them or discuss with them the reasons for tuition, they will take their tutors as just. Answers machines. 

I know of children dying to take work home because it is so much easier to be a copier at home. I know, I have children dying to do compositions at home, because the tutor will help them with their homework. Even if a child is struggling with work, it is better for kids to ask the right questions to solve their problems instead of relying tutors for answers. In such an instant, tuition to more harm than good as it create reliance. I know of kids with tutors who just do their bidding. Parents should be mindful of what their children are getting on with their tutors.

To maimise the benefits of tutors (private or center), parents need to be sure what is the objective of having that extra help, and the kids must be aware of the intentions too. The intention of chasing that last mark to get a A* would be very different from someone trying to pass a subject. Similarly, if the parents' mentality is to get a "baby sitter" to kill time for kids, then dun expect fire-works. Also, just a bit of research would let you know what are the renowned centers out there. I have as a "spy" tried to get hold of their success formula, I must say their tactics centered a lot of "memory power" of kids. If your kid is bright, (I know politically incorrect, because every kid Are suppose to be bright and every school a good school, but in reality, there is such a thing as calibre), he/she should progress fine. If he is not academic inclined and lack motivation, memory of exam "answers" is not going to work. 

2) Let the child practice and practice.

David Souza of "how the brain works" said" practice dun make perfect, it make permanent". If there is no input, no point trying to force output. You are simply conditioning the. Child for the wrong method and leaving less space in the brain for the right methods. 

I have a personal example. My wife complained my son did very badly for his Chinese Tests. I looked at his papers and said"Ok, I know what to do for his score to improve"

On the night of revision, I was caught in jam from my dad's place. My wife trying to give them
Practice papers from other schools and going through corrections with them. 

I said "stop, let me take over. They are just listening to instructions and executing and not thinking" I know my son problem is in vocabulary and I know his school like to set questions that appear in the texts but not necessarily from the list of vocabulary stated in curriculum. So I ask them to read the texts, link up the vocabulary, retell the story. Then go on to another chapter and recall the previous. My son has a above average memory and it makes it a lot easier for
Me. His score jumped. Not excellent but good enough for me. He needs input, not more practices. The practices can increase the chance to hit 100% if done correctly, but I am not interested in drill and practice yet.

Now, my SIL keep harassing my wife to let our  kids do practice paper. Lucky my wife didn't like the idea and we decided that some practices might be ok torwards the end of the holiday but not everyday. She got my son books to read (input) which is way better.

3) We need to spend long hours and burn midnight oil to achieve the marks we want

I think frequency and clarity of learning objectives is more important. I told my weakest class, just promise me that They will revise 15 min everyday for their vocabulary and they will pass their Chinese paper and the score at section A will pull up the scores. Not everyone pass, but almost all show an improvement of marks and some pass for the first time for years. 

Having 15 min everyday with clarity of what is to be achieved is much better than having 3 hours once a week going through everything.

I think the theme here is clarity and mindfulness. Never just dump your kids to practices or tuition centers and then scold them for not performing and ask them why are they wasting their money.

Also, there are others with the hadicap of no extra-help. They are not coping that well academically but I think I would do worse in their shoes. My kid told me she can't come for my remedial, I ask why? She told
Me mum dun allow, I call and ask why, she says she need to work and she need to take care of 3 years old brother. If only her brother older.

Looking at all my "underachieving friends" in school, (went to several wakes, unfortunate mean to meet up) all of themare street smart and doing reasonably well
In life. Dun be too disheartened if you kid dun do too well in school ok. Some of them might be miserable enough