Author: Singapore Man of Leisure

Follow the crowd

I read the Straits Times with admiration and envy how some young Singaporeans were quitting their well-paid corporate jobs to join internet start-ups. Similar stories were repeated in the next weeks. You can feel the buzz in the air! Six months later, the Nasdaq dot-com bubble crashed together with the blue-eyes dreams of many… That was year 2000. I’ve never liked crowds.  I prefer watching movies in half-empty cinemas. I definitely would not queue for hours for that “popular” brand of bak-kua or wait 20 minutes for that “famous” hawker food. I just make do with the next best...

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What do you think comes right back at you!

After asking this “what do you think?” question, how I would respond may depend on whether I am on a one-to-one situation or in a group setting. Group situation Newbie – If the question is so basic until I feel embarrassed for the enquirer, I would ask the rest of the group who can answer that question? It kills 2 birds with 1 stone.  Remember our school days where there’s a teacher’s pet that is ever ready with the right answers? Yup, they are still with us as grown-ups. Some even end up as bloggers. Hey! Don’t look at...

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What do you think?

When asked a question, what do you do? Do you straight away provide the answer, or do you encourage the person asking the question to find the answers themselves? The former is giving fish; the latter is teaching how to fish. Those who have gone through coaching or counselling trainings will know what I mean. I myself have gone through many hair-pulling sessions, and shall avoid talking about coaching! It’s so bloody difficult! I am still fighting my demons…  Every time I feel like “Limpeh kali gong” or “You should”; I’ve to bite my tongue. Now my ability to...

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Average up or down?

I have an ex-colleague who is now the tai-tai of one of the big luxury watch retailers in Orchard Road. While entertaining overseas clients, she may bring them to one of our casinos. She never loses money there. OMG! How? Her system is simple. She will place a $100 bet on the roulette table on either black or red. If she wins, she got back her $100 entry fee. End of story. If she loses, she will increase her bet to $200 on the same colour. Lose again she increase the bet to $300 and so on. So far,...

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Analysts – You win liao lor!

I wonder why there are so few analysts out there who can speak with conviction? Last Thursday, Goldman Sachs told investors sell the S&P 500: Goldman Sachs says sell S&P 500 But after the “got dragon got phoenix” spiel, they have to spoil with it with their hedge: “Still they did add a few caveats. The S&P could pop or at least stay flat if the U.S. or Chinese economies start revving up or if European policy makers talk a big game about propping up the market.” It’s the same with technical analysts. We believe after breaking the immediate...

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Gold please don’t rise above USD 1700 before Oct 2012

I own paper silver (UOB silver account). Wished I had bought more. The paper and unrealised return for silver so far beats the dividend yield plays that I bought around the same time.  Silver is 50% industrial use and 50% greater fool. Guess what? Over the last weeks, I’ve been itching to buy a 100% greater fool block that just sits there.  Why? While all these bailouts and easing by the Central Banks around the world are helping to put a floor and reflate my equities holdings (I not complaining),  but all these money printing will come home to...

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Tank Design and Investing/Trading

When designing a tank, there’re 3 main considerations that need to be balanced: 1)    Firepower – what good is a tank if it can’t punch a hole through the enemy’s defences? 2)    Armour – you want to live to fight another day don’t you?  3)    Speed – or to be specific, it’s manoeuvrability. You need speed to catch up with the enemy and run rings round them; and at the same time you want to be able to run like hell if you are out-gunned! Light tanks will sacrifice firepower and armour for speed. Medium tanks are a balanced...

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Fool me thrice, shame on whom?

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me thrice, shame on whom? Markets are funny. QE1 did not work the first time. After the initial sugar rush, it fizzled out. Same goes for QE2. Just look at the recent disappointing US jobs numbers. Yet the markets “rallied” this week based on the hope Sugar Daddy Ben will follow Uncle Kangaroo and Uncle Panda in giving us their soda pop drinks for our sugar rush… Or perhaps it’s a case of third time’s the charm?  Guess what? After following the rules and saving for...

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The Two Paths – Freedom And Slavery

Source: Aesop, Fables “Zeus once ordered Prometheus to show mankind the two ways: one the way of freedom and the other the way of slavery. Prometheus made the way of freedom rough at the beginning, impassable and steep, with no water anywhere to drink, full of brambles, and beset with dangers on all sides at first. Eventually, however, it became a smooth plain, lined with paths and filled with groves of fruit trees and waterways. Thus the distressing experience ended in repose for those who breathe the air of freedom. The way of slavery, however, started out as a...

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Buy/Sell Until You Can Sleep Soundly

All of us are different. Hence our risk tolerance and emotional stability would be different too. A few years back, I saw a Youtube video on buying silver and one thing the video blogger said I liked very much. He was answering the question how much silver should we buy: Buy a 1 ounce silver coin he advised. Can’t sleep that night as you feel you need more? Buy another 1 ounce silver coin the next day. Repeat the process until you can sleep soundly at night. Ah… I thought this makes a lot of common sense. No one...

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Singlish and Making Decisions

First, a little joke. Two Singaporeans – Ah Lim and Ah Peh – entered a pub in Hong Kong’s Lan Kwai Fong. Ah Lim: “Send me a girl!” Ah Peh: “I want a Thai girl.” The ang moh lady bartender looked shocked and offended: “Sir, we don’t provide such services here.  If you want girls, you have to go down to Wanchai’s girlie bars.” Ah Lim and Ah Peh looked at each other with puzzled looks. What talking her? What girls? We only wanted a San Miguel and a Tiger beer!? LOL! (OK, pathetic laughing at my own joke...

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Chess Playing And Investing/Trading

My classmate taught me how to play chess during my secondary school days. Remember those wonderful weeks after the school exams where our teachers leave us to “study” on our  own? As a newbie, I was very surprised to be checkmated in 4 bloody short moves!? Huh?  I was “taught” how each chess pieces move; but was not taught “how” to play chess. I learned from my mistakes and now I am puzzled how my classmates were able to counteract my early opening moves without much thinking on their part. That is until I realised that they have memorised...

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Taking Care Of Ourselves First

When travelling on airlines, as part of the operational safety procedures, we will hear:”Please put on the oxygen mask on yourself first before tending to your children.” Isn’t it counter-intuitive to our natural instinct to protect our young ones first? Or do you know that experienced life-guards will let swimmers in trouble “drown” first before attempting to bring them on-shore for resuscitation? Before you start kicking life-guards in the press, maybe you can pause and reflect whether it’s easier to rescue one drowning person or two drowning persons – never mind if the other inexperienced rescuer is just trying...

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Noise Cancellation And Retirement

Have you seen some passengers wearing their own noise cancellation headphones while travelling by air? I think is super cool and a better way to “drown-out” ambient noise than to pump up the volume. It’s better for the health of your ears and the “happiness index” of the passenger sitting next to you ;) I remember watching a documentary on how it’s done. Instead of blocking or minimizing the pesky ambient noise, these speakers emit another sound that produce a wave length that is the direct opposite. Presto! Silence. (Please don’t ask me about the science. Mine is a...

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The Mouse, the Frog, and the Hawk – Beware of who you hang out with

A Mouse, by an unlucky chance, formed an intimate acquaintance with a Frog. The Frog one day, intent on mischief, bound the foot of the Mouse tightly to his own. Thus joined together, the Frog led his friend to the pool in which he lived, until he reached the very brink, when suddenly jumping in, he dragged the Mouse in with him. The Frog enjoyed the water amazingly, and swam croaking about, as if he had done a meritorious action. The unhappy Mouse was soon suffocated with the water, and his dead body floated about on the surface, tied...

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