Author: 35 is the defining age

Expenses – January 2019

Total – S$3,424.04 Happy New Year 2019! Massive expenses month to kick off the new year. Largest expenditure category was Vacations. Spent a little more than a week in Thailand with my entire family this month, and went a bit over the top with the requisite complementary expenses such as alcohol over there and the duty free shop. Speaking of which, the duty free shop at the Airport isn’t exactly that cheap… I can find better duty paid prices in local stores, which is surprising actually. Anyhow, a large majority of the expenses of this category was contributed by...

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Expenses – December 2018

Total – S$2,863.78 Expenses came up to S$2,863.78 in Dec 2018. Boy oh boy, it was a “decadent” month from an experiential standpoint. Flew out to Thailand and Indonesia thrice this month, and was away for 19 days. Majority of the expenses for Vacation / Diving were already front-loaded in November, given this is a cash accounting concept of expenses, so let’s see what contributed to the bottom line in Dec 2018. Largest category was Diving. This involved front loading diving expenses for a diving trip in Jan 2019 to Khao Lak, where I wanted to check out Richelieu...

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Expenses – November 2018

Total – S$2,948.31 Expenses in Nov 2018 totaled S$2,948.31. Diving took up c. 42% of it. Decided to embark on my Advanced Open Water Diving certification, and headed to Indonesia to complete the requisite dives. That was a pretty good few days, and it was fun to be underwater after more than 12 years again. Vacation was the next big category. This involved hotel expenditure and envisaged expenses as I went over to Chiang Mai for a meditation retreat and a short holiday thereafter. Retreat was great, and Chiang Mai is certainly a really livable city. It does seem...

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Expenses – October 2018

Total – S$1,332.49Spent much less moolah this month, largely because I headed off for silent retreat during the last week or so of October . I didn’t quite intend it to be this way, but spending time working on the mind at a meditation center seems to jive with saving monies, as its mostly donations only concept, at least at those centers I’ve been to in Asia. And its a double win, cos you’ll work on yourself at the same time and imbue simplicity into your daily life. Eating Out and Alcohol were the two main contributors this month....

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Expenses – October 2018

Total – S$1,332.49 Spent much less moolah this month, largely because I headed off for silent retreat during the last week or so of October .  I didn’t quite intend it to be this way, but spending time working on the mind at a meditation center seems to jive with saving monies, as its mostly donations only concept, at least at those centers I’ve been to in Asia. And its a double win, cos you’ll work on yourself at the same time and imbue simplicity into your daily life.  Eating Out and Alcohol were the two main contributors this...

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Expenses – September 2018

Total – S$2,650.53 First ever expenses post even though I’ve been monitoring expenses since mid 2015. I reckon it’s mostly motivated by my new found situation and to see if I can maintain my personal budget of less than S$4,000 monthly as I wade into the post F.I.R.E lifestyle. Total expenses tallied at S$2,650.53 and have been split into various categories. I use cash accounting for my own standards, albeit taking credit card payments as “cash payments” even though they are due c. 1 month later. Vacation expenses contributed almost c.50% to total expenses this month as I spent...

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Random thoughts on gratitude

Sometimes I just need to remind myself of what a lucky guy I am, that there’s so many things to be grateful for in my life. The past 5 days have indeed been a huge wake up call to show more appreciation to what I have, instead of constantly desiring for even more. Here’s a song / poem I’ve had the chance to come across over the last 5 Days. “In gratitude, you have watered the seeds of love in me in gratitude, In gratitude, I will water seeds of love in someone too. I know you’re there for...

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Project Django Unchained – Pulling the Trigger

I’m penning this as I watch Hans Zimmer in Concert – Prague 2017 on Netflix. For the uninitiated, Hans Zimmer is one of pre-eminent composers for movie scores of all times. He’s written scores for movies such as Black Hawk Down, The Dark Knight Rises, Crimson Tide, Sherlock Holmes, Inception, etc to name a few. I’m a big movie fan, and a closet fan of symphonic music given my teenage influence from playing in the band for 6 years – I’ll strongly urge you to check out Hans Zimmer. You might actually like his music! I digress. It has...

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Project Django Unchained – Conceptualization

Long time readers will know that attaining freedom from the corporate world has been a particular favorite project of mine for the longest time. It started way before I even joined the corporate world on a full-time basis. Talk about unhealthy obsessions :) For years, I’ve been scrimping, saving, investing and busting my hump to achieve this elusive target, and over the past couple of years , like a ragged marathoner hitting the wall enroute to the finish line, I’ve struggled. I’ve struggled with the below, and I have arrived at a stage where I feel like I’ve adequately...

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Being Happy and Finding Meaning

I’ve noticed that the closer I’ve gotten to my targeted “escape velocity”, the stronger the rumination on the big picture narrative of “finding meaning” at work and how work doesn’t provide much meaning to my lithe nondescript existence. Some days I just feel like deploying the FU card, but deploying it as a means to “retire from something” as opposed to “retire to something” just doesn’t quite make sense to my rational mind, especially when there’s no real strong push factor. Cognizant that I actually enjoy the process of “suffering” that has yielded practical benefits (even if it in...

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My Equanimous Mind – My 10 day silent retreat experience

Recently I had the opportunity to partake in a 10 day silent retreat organized by Dhamma Malaya (http://www.malaya.dhamma.org/), which was something that I had always wanted to do since I chanced across ‘The Equanimous Mind’ in 2015, a book that chronicled the experience of a McKinsey consultant in a similar silent retreat that took place in India.   I had dithered on my decision to attend the retreat but somehow ended up making a decision sometime back in July / August to go for it. Perhaps it was because taking 10 days off the crackberry / emails / calls...

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Monday Musings

Life! Monday feature I like the Life! feature story that comes out every Monday, typically featuring someone that has achieved a certain measure of success in her life, doused with nuggets of wisdom and reasons behind that success, including her motivations and background. Today’s article is about the founder of The Projector, an indie film lifestyle operatorship based out of the top levels at Golden Mile Tower. Just 35 years young, Karen Tan has managed to establish what long time operators have failed to do – a sustainable indie arthouse filmhouse. While I have not watched a screening at...

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Captain Fantastic

Was introduced to this show by a close buddy of mine. And it was totally fantastic. It basically revolves around an American family led by a Dad that has a contrarian approach to life and raising his six children. Instead of going through the public education system, Dad has decided that the best way to raise his kids would be to foster education through both experiential and textbook learnings, in the forest where his children will learn to build up physicality, mental smarts and a thought process that provides for critical thinking, coupled with a strong resistance against the...

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Thoughts on Scholarships

Arrived home yesterday to find the annual “Scholarships” edition of tucked between the papers. It’s the season of the year again when the GCE A Level results are announced and the scholarship application frenzy officially kicks off. Just thought I’ll provide my perspective on taking on scholarships, that might hopefully lend some use to the hopeful 18/19 year old folks out there who are considering taking on scholarships. My perspective is obviously shaped by my journey through the education system, and my employment as an investment banker for more than 8 years where I have had the opportunity to work alongside...

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Man’s search for meaning

When I first started out in the work force more than 8 years ago, I came across the aforementioned statement but did not really pay much heed to that.   Goals back then were pretty simple and revolved largely around trying to get as far up the learning curve as possible and grab on to those handrails on the gravy train without getting flung off. I shudder at the thought off getting thrown off a train moving at more than 200km/h. Yikes. It has been more than 3 years since I started riding a motorcycle, but to this day,...

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