Author: Unintelligent Nerd

Eschew the too-good-to-be-true carrot

This post is inspired by one of Uncle CW’s post (see here). In that post, Uncle CW highlighted that one of his friends (presumably holding a management post) has a subordinate whose mother-in-law paid for their HDB in cash. Uncle CW then remarked to his friend that he/she should not push his/her subordinate too hard at work as he could quit anytime. How true is this! Heavy financial commitments such as monthly mortgage payments are a good deterrent against worker bees from leaving their hives. This reminded me of a conversation I had with one of my group mates...

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Dividend yield trend during GFC using R

Done with writing another R script! Instead of correlating different counters together, this time round my script will be used to visualize the trend in dividend yield across time. I’m particularly curious as to the yield of some counters during the great financial crisis (GFC). It’s more for planning how I could prioritize my available funds. The function takes in three arguments: (a) the counter symbol, (b) the start date, and (c) the end date. The function consists of the following steps: 1). Use quantmod to import the historical data for a given counter into R, with the start...

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My Experience with Specialist Diplomas (Part 2)

This is a continuation of my previous post on Specialist Diplomas (see here). Course Content (continuation) Normally, lectures and tutorials are conducted in the same session. The lectures will be conducted in the first half, followed by the tutorials (or labs) in the second half. Besides learning in class, the lecturers also provide additional materials for out-of-class-learning/e-learning. This is more for self-interest though. Despite being a nerd, I don’t touch these materials. What? No time lah! Holding a full-time job and studying the main syllabus already saps up my time considerably. Assessment Generally, there are no final exams. You...

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My Experience with Specialist Diplomas (Part 1)

I have wanted to blog about this topic for quite some time already. In a few of my previous posts, I have shared that I have been taking 1-year academic programmes. I have been quite cryptic about it, alluding to it but never revealing what exactly am I studying. Well, I wanted to finish two of these Specialist Diplomas (shall refer to them as SD for the remainder of this post) first before writing a detailed post on them. As the two SDs I took are quite “hot”, I would not be providing you readers with the names of...

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Zen on the MRT (and other related stuff)

Two other bloggers have already blogged about their thoughts on the recent spate of train faults. As I have some time today, here are my thoughts on the matter as well. There are many things to fret about in life. When we were young, we fret over our grades. As we grew older, academic grades ceded its importance to career prospects. When we reach a marriageable age, our responsibilities and priorities shift yet again. Once we start a family, our lives does not just revolve around ourselves alone. It has to take into account our parents, in-laws, spouses, and...

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Curious observation of Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle sales across Bullion Dealers

On-and-off, I will monitor the respective websites of BullionStar and GoldSilver Central for any second-hand antique bullions offloaded by other customers. As a pet rock collector, the appearance of multiple Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles at BullionStar’s site a couple of months back piqued my interest.       After spending a few weeks contemplating whether to plough my funds in to add the esteemed coin to my personal collection, said coin went out of stock. Oh well, I thought. I have missed the boat. Anyway, the coin is not something that I must have; it’s something that is nice to...

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Claiming your SkillsFuture Credit

As requested by Sy in my previous post, here are the steps I took to claim my SkillsFuture Credit. Depending on who your course provider is and how they handle claims (either you pay first and they reimburse you later or the government pays the training provider directly), your experience in claiming the SkillsFuture Credit may vary. In my case, the prevailing arrangement is that the government pays the training provider directly. For my course, there is both a tuition fee component as well as an “other fees” component. It is explicitly stated by my training provider that the...

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Small issue with SkillsFuture Credit Claim

I have just received my course fee payment letter today. In 2 weeks’ time, I’ll be done with my 1-year academic programme. Following which, I have already applied and secured a place for yet another 1-year academic programme which I need to make payment for. This time round, I intend to use the SkillsFuture Credit to make payment, since it makes more sense to use it earlier compared to the PSEA account or other free resources (see here). Previously, I avoided using the SkillsFuture Credit for payment as I had to pay out of my own pocket first before...

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Is your family on the same page?

My mum knows what I am going to do in a market crash. I am going to empty my bank accounts in all their entirety and dump it into the stock market. This is not news to her. I have shared with her plenty of times my plan of action. However, I think it didn’t register in her head until recently when she clarified what do I mean when I say I am going to empty my bank accounts. Is it a figure of speech or is it a literal statement? When she realized it was the latter, she...

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Q2 2017 Portfolio Update

It’s midway through July and here I am typing out my Q2 2017 Portfolio Update. I have the necessary data but I was too lazy to slice and dice the data and organize it into a coherent post. Guess I’ll be doing it today. I’m using Kyith’s Stock Portfolio Tracker and dividends received are presented in a yearly format. In my last quarter update, I had to manually slice and dice the data in order to present the same information in a quarterly format. I spent yesterday night writing a R script to automate that process. Now quarterly updates...

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Using DeadMalls.com to assess the state of US retail REITs

Retail REITs are an interesting bunch. Besides analyzing the REIT’s financial statements, unitholders and potential unitholders could also consider heading down to the properties to observe first-hand how the REIT is faring. Is the mall thriving? How is the traffic like? How is the ambiance? For the Singaporean investor interested in some of the retail S-REITs, getting answers to such questions is fairly straightforward: Vested in CapitaLand Mall Trust? You could visit Plaza Singapura (and many others). What about Frasers Centrepoint Trust? Head down to Causeway Point (and many others). Starhill Global? Go to Wisma Atria and Ngee Ann...

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Consumer Staples: Yummy, but could be yummier

On-and-off, I have been monitoring the US consumer staples sector. This sector has been going nowhere but up, denying me opportunities to create meaningful positions in this sector. Well, it looks like things are finally changing. Let’s just stop to smell the flowers. Amaranthine beauties don’t bloom everyday, ya know? (Pun intended). It is good to keep myself occupied with both work and school work. That way, my itchy fingers wouldn’t meddle with stuff that’s not meant to be touched. So, what’s with the consumer staples sector? Popular explanations include the fear of Amazon extending its tendrils into the...

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Of sweet potatoes and tapiocas: what the young has not experienced

My grandmother lived through the Japanese Occupation. During that time, life was difficult and food was scarce. What is taken for granted today, such as meat products, were a luxury in those times of trials. To subsist, my grandmother relied on the lowly sweet potatoes and tapiocas. It is not much, but it could keep the hunger pangs away for another couple of hours. Come lunch or dinner, she is greeted with the same source of nourishment. From a third-person perspective, these situations evoked a reflective response in me. First, there is a sense of gratitude and thankfulness for...

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Considering the possibility of retrenchment: its potential impact and my response

Well, well, what do ya know? Reporting season is upon us and my superiors have to report to top management as to whether our research KPIs have been met. From the topic title, you could probably guess that my team failed to hit their KPIs. Data collection has been abysmally slow and, without data and research findings, research funding may get cut. When one of my bosses, let’s call her Dr Janice (not her real name), implied the above, my fellow colleagues were in shock. Me? I was strangely calm. It was not until Dr Janice left the office...

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Kadenze: the "Coursera" for creative professionals

While searching for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) the other day, I got a pleasant surprise when I came across Kadenze. According to its website, Kadenze is a MOOC provider that is geared towards Technology and the Arts. What’s more interesting (to me at least) is that Kadenze offers a module on Deep Learning. Apart from Udacity’s offering on Deep Learning, I know not of any other MOOC providers who offer courses delving into said subject. There are other courses on machine learning and data mining as well, just that it is contextualized to the arts field. Soooooooo, what...

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