Author: Growing your tree of prosperity

Mad Max shows us how the Singaporean Dream can become a Singaporean Nightmare.

I think by now most readers would have watched this face-melting action movie so it’s time to write an article on this action flick. Why is Mad Max a teachable moment for the investor capitalist ? The reason is this…. …If you follow my advice, work hard, save a large chunk of your earnings and learn the arts of investment well, you would be just like Immortan Joe, the villain of the movie ! I just can’t relate to the two heroes of the movie. Instead, I found myself cheering for Immortan Joe, a self-made leader who carved a...

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What kind of prata does your job resemble ?

The Thosai article has attracted quite a lot of attention so I’d thought I’d follow up with a similar article about career management. This framework is inspired by Robert Reich’s The Work of Nations has been explained before in my previous books but I have updated my ideas to include some new insights from Law School. a) Mechanical jobs resemble Roti Kosong I think by now, people agree that many jobs are dead end jobs in Singapore. If you are manufacturing worker who performs mechanical work, you are probably already jobless in this country. Even in China, automation is...

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Why hanker for a safety net or a trampoline when you can have a jet pack ?

Singapore is really lucky, we had a one in a million chance of being ruled by Lee Kuan Yew and after he passed away, we continue to come under the able administration of Tharman Shanmugaratnam. ( I’m not PAP IB, I like Low Thia Kiang’s brand of constructive politics as well and actually think that WP will survive the AHPETC scandal. ) Lately Tharman’s interview with the BBC at the Gallen Symposium has impressed almost everyone. When cornered about Singapore’s unwillingness to provide safety nets, Tharman executed an awesome rhetorical manoeuvre saying that Singapore’s approach is to provide a...

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What kind of thosai does your degree resemble ?

For this weekend, I wanted to write an article on treating a degree as an investment just like a portfolio of stock and bonds. Fortunately for everyone, I was also ordering my thosai while thinking about this idea so I thought I could write an article on choosing degrees and eating thosai. Let’s start with some fundamentals. Degrees serve two purposes : a) Equipping you with the skills to take on the modern workplace. Skills are a degree’s secondary purpose, in spite of what a minister tells you. If degrees genuinely equip someone with actual skills, then the university...

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On IDA, fake degrees, and investing in human capital.

It looks like a previous employer of mine is unable to get itself out of the limelight. First it was Alan Ramos, then xenophobes decided to take issue with the Deputy Chairman’s FT status and now there’s an issue with IDA hiring folks with dubious qualifications. As Singaporeans, we need to be fair to IDA. Thanks to IDA, we have relatively fast internet connections, just try logging in in parts of the US if you do not believe me. As a foot soldier when the hackers attacked government websites, I was proud of the defence we made. I am...

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Of course, most folks do not care about personal financial planning !

The financial blogosphere is suddenly abuzz when Cheerful Egg wrote about the indifferent attitude to personal finance.  Upon reading the article. I wanted to throw my hat into the ring as the article may become quite viral over the next few days. I have only one real point to make. Why is this a bad thing ? Almost all value and yield investors know that the profits they extract come either from collecting rentals or exploiting inefficiencies of the market. The reason why we have a comfortable lifestyle without needing to report to a horrible boss or defer to a...

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Happiness is a Strategy !

I thought I share some of my thoughts with reader John Smith on my views on happiness as he has commented that I seem happy even though I have a fairly busy schedule. a) Positive Psychology guides Happiness For a start, I think I have gone beyond subjective notions and feelings towards happiness, Folks bandy about terms like YOLO and “I just wanna be happy.” don’t seem to just cut it on the happiness front for me. The same goes for the food and travel photographers who are really good at creating this impression of a happy and carefree...

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What can we learn from Albert, Bernard and Cheryl ?

By now, most readers would have heard of the maths problem which went viral two weeks ago. You can access the information about the original problem here. This blog article is not about the mathematics behind the problem but about the behaviours of the folks who attempted to tackle the problem on social media which I think can teach us a thing or two about failure and living lives of mediocrity. I’d like to address two behaviours in this article : a) The behaviour of blaming the folks who set the question. The first behaviour is that some folks...

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Survived another round of exams…

Yipppeeeee ! I just finished my last paper yesterday… The sad thing is that my summer term starts next Monday so I have about 4 days to take it easy and then the intensive reading assignments start all over again. I have signed up for two summer terms, which mean about 9 hours of seminars for 8 consecutive weeks. There is some perverse logic to spending as much time having active lessons every week during the holiday season. The most important reason is that I save more money when am actively engaged in school, I just have to pay...

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Passing of a Giant…

I am writing this article from SMU Labs as I’m in a middle of hell week where I would need to make two group presentations this week.  Ordinarily, there would not be a blog update until I am done with all my work. But today is a very sad day and I think a blog post dedicated to Lee Kuan Yew would be appropriate. I did not start out as a huge fan of our government policies. In Young PAP BBS, you can find traces of me complaining about the foreign talent policies about a decade ago, but as...

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Update : Chinese New Year is over !

It has been two Chinese New Year holidays since I have left the workforce. Here’s a quick update and some thoughts about life  in general. a) Starting community service tomorrow. As a JD student, SMU mandates 30 hours of service to the community service which must be done in order to graduate with a law degree. The Sikh Welfare Council has very kindly given me two students to provide tuition for the rest of 2015. So beginning tomorrow, I will be teaching E Maths to these two students, I look forward to making friends with this family and would...

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The problem with skills-based education.

One of the more populist changes made to the education is skills-based education. Skills-based education is a very attractive idea. If a person is skilled or qualified enough to do the job, he should be entitled to it. The middle class, middle income voter is more likely to support it if it subtly promises to overhaul the perceived unhappiness about the education system or ‘meritocracy’. One idea which is repeatedly flashed on my FB feed is the idea that our best students are exam smart, lack emotional intelligence and practical skills. Our top students are just simply sponges who...

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Some thoughts on career management for the New Year !

Happy new year of the Goat ! Gong Xi Fatt Cai ! The financial bloggers were goading me to write something pretty hardcore about Confucius today, but I decided to hold it off until a few weeks later as I think I’ve got something better to share today. As it turns out, I was quite fortunate to be exposed to some ideas when SMU conducted its networking sessions for the folks in the JD Program. My first experience was with a tape recording of Davinder Singh’s talk and I benefitted immensely from the only tip I got from him...

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Dating and Mating strategies for single men !

I finally managed to have a short date with the missus after writing my last article since my daughter had just fallen asleep. When I came back to the console after going for a late night Har Cheong Gai, there seems to be demand for an article for men on Valentine’s Day May God have mercy on your souls ! Initially, I felt that a men’s article is unnecessary as I would consider this entire blog advice on how to live life for all men. The other reason concerns how I feel about the guys in my JD class...

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Dating and Mating strategies for single women !

First off, happy Valentine’s day to everyone. A lady classmate asked me to do an article which summarises how I view the current dating climate in Singapore. I promised that I will do something to the best of my ability but first off – May God have mercy on her soul ! Some of the ideas I have today are based on how little I know about social science and evolutionary psychology. To temper my propensity to troll, I would have to consider whether this article would be practical if I were to instead give this advice to my...

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