Author: Growing your tree of prosperity

How to think about a basic income in Singapore.

Some societies are starting to think about implementing a basic income. A basic income is a form of unconditional welfare that gives everyone a basic salary to live regardless of whether he has a job or not. This idea is attractive to both sides of the political spectrum. The left obviously want some more ways to narrow the rich-poor gap. The political right thinks that it is a form of welfare which does not require a lot of social workers so it keeps the government lean and mean – everyone gets a small wage so long as he is...

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Harshness against unemployed manager is unwarranted.

The Year of the Monkey continues to bring a hodge podge of surprises to me. Markets are apparently up. But this article should have been up two days ago as it has been a fairly demoralising week. I botched a group presentation and I spent most of my time looking for an internship to no avail. Which is why amidst the rejections I am getting, I am quite sympathetic to Mr. Chua GC as featured in the Straits Times but was sadly subject to some brickbats from some corners of social media. a) Mr Chua is not addicted to an...

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Beware of False dichotomies when investing.

I don’t have much to say this week as I spent half my weekend stuck in traffic heading towards my brother-in-law’s wedding on Saturday. The other half was spent catching up on readings after missing a lecture on Saturday this week.  I did squeeze in some retail therapy just now picking up some books on Kindle and a new armoured Batman action figure.My daughter asks me why I still buy toys for myself but not her uncles on her mother’s side. I tell her that I’m still a kid like her. I don’t have a very heavy article today....

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Saizen’s Defence – Results from my arbitrage attempt.

Chess and wargames have a lot in common in investing. Wargamers are familiar with ancient tactics such as Scipio’s Defense. Opening chess moves are loosely classified into gambits and defences. I attempted a nifty defense maneuver using the Saizen REITs in the face of poor market conditions a few months ago. For the technical details, you can refer to Bully the Bear’s article on what he did for Saizen stock. The strategy is to put money in a safe place with a guaranteed exit time and then exploit the market for more opportunities later. This is a good for folks...

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Why engineers and technology professionals become road-kill at middle age.

I thought I’d write another article which is a follow-up to my previous post advising the folks who might be considering an engineering career. In this post, I want to explain the reasons why engineers and tech professionals wind up becoming road-kill at middle age. Why is the old engineer is always the bitter one who laments about how much higher their less academically brilliant sales counterpart is earning twice their incomes when they are still grinding in data centres. As it was recently said on social media : Retired bankers play golf, retired engineers drive taxi. First of...

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Lessen the psychological impact of a home mortgage though asset/liability matching.

I just ended hell week. Two paper submissions this week and a team presentation has made me lose sleep over the last few days. My body still aches after having a nap and I wonder if I am actually falling sick. Today I will talk about home mortgages and psychological strain I have been receiving from my home loan for the past two years. The current state is that I pay my home mortgage with my CPF-OA and I have enough to do this for another 4 years at the current SIBOR rate. But this is psychologically straining because...

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Personal Update – Meaningless Holiday just ended meaninglessly.

Ok, time for another personal update. a) Law School I am so demotivated right now, I should actually be vetting my research papers instead of updating this blog. Right now, I am going through the process of hunting for internships and Training Contracts and made quite a number of number of applications, some rejections have already starting trickling in and I am still shocked at how competitive this game has become ! I am praying for an interview in March. Rejections as a rule leave a bad taste in my mouth because, to be fair, it seldom happens to...

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Before you jump into the Engineering bandwagon…

Readers might think that I have very reason to be cynical. Graduating in 1999 with an engineering degree would have been great if not for the actions by the Government to welcoming foreign engineers into our economy which kept all engineers on a low salary scale. As a consequence of that, Engineering departments in local universities became dumping grounds with better engineering students aspiring to succeed as bankers instead of joining the technology field. The SMRT breakdowns are a symptom of at least a decade of prioritising services over operations. The government timing to refocus on engineering could not...

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Not a good day to be part of the JD programme.

I had to stop studying to write this article because my class was greeted with shock one day to find out that one of our classmates has been given a two month jail sentence for hacking into a Professor’s account and deleting our property law examination scripts. My script was one of those deleted. You can reference the newspaper article here. As we speak, journalists are trying to contact my classmates to ask about this JD programme and I wanted to steal a march from the mainstream media to write an article clarifying some aspects of the JD experience....

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Microagressions – The breakfast of champions !

This is a very special Chinese New Year for me. For the first time, Millenials have come together to crowdsource the micro-aggressions that were thrown their way for this New Year. I think this is a very useful dataset which should excite any armchair social scientist like myself. You can access it here. I want to assert that micro-aggressions are the breakfast of champions ! Micro-aggressions encapsulate all the dreams and nightmares of Ethnic Chinese families in Singapore. Once you create a taxonomy around these micro-aggressions,  you will be able to find the Singapore Dream and the Singaporean Nightmare...

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Year of the Monkey – Unbent, unbowed and unbroken…

First off, a Happy Lunar New Year to all the readers of this blog. Regulars might know that the previous year of the Goat had been a bitter-sweet experience. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer but I was also blessed with the birth of my son. I was hyper alert during the last few days of the year of the Goat because somehow I felt vulnerable after everything which happened to my family. A consequence of that was I pre-poned work on my research paper in anticipation that troubles would not allow me to finish them in March....

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#1 Peak Prosperity – The Poverty Simulation angle.

Sometimes, getting an article for this blog is so easy it is as if the Gods conspire to help you with your next posting. This week, news started to spread about Singapore Island Country Club members conducting a poverty simulation for their members. Of course the news attracted a fair share of brickbats and I’m not going to go about making things worse. My stand is that a poverty simulation is good thing even though there might be a better way to go about doing it. It can be argued that my life as a law student is some...

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[Prologue] Peak Prosperity : How do we know that Singapore is in decline ?

I’ve got less than an hour before my lectures begin so this is going to be a short post. Right now I am in the process of researching the concept which has the working title of “Peak Prosperity” which sounds so interesting, it may warrant a new book from me in the future. In my previous books, I would pull out bad news and events from thin air to conclude that the Singapore Dream is being threatened by external forces. This time round, I hope to be more methodical so I would have to read more deeply before forming...

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Thoughts on being a father a second time.

Last night, my son Durendal Ng Mun Khoi, was born. It was a happy day for me and my missus and right now, mother and son are doing well. There is some excitement over why I chose such a strange name for my son. Durendal from what I gathered from the web is also a card in some collectible card game. If it is spelled Durandal, it’s  the name of a kind of bomb which is used to penetrate airport runways. So on first inspection, it’s quite a ferocious name. For our case, Durendal is named after a holy...

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Personal Update : Two years have passed since my last paycheck !

It’s time for a another update. It’s been two years since I had a pay-check, if this were a disaster recovery exercise, I would say that it has been rather successful so far as I still did not draw upon my capital. a) My son is not here yet. At the personal level, I am waiting for the birth of my son. It can happen any day now. Right now I am more afraid than my wife who seems to be quite calm. b) Financial markets For all the doom and gloom, the markets did not faze me at...

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