Thursday, September 21, 2017

Discussion on comfort delgro

This post is kind of triggered by B's blog post. There is an robust discussion over there. Some of the ideas throw out also appear in valuebuddies. 

I would just like to share my view on some of the thoughts and comments. I am only interested in the forward looking comments, that's where the fun comes in; as for past numbers, there can be little arguments.

Here goes: (B, no disrespect, come join and poke me too)

1) Grab business model is unsustainable. 

MHO:Yes, it is burning cash. But it can burn cash long enough to create a lot of pain to Comfort-Delgro.

Alibaba, burn cash for a long period of time. But Japan SoftBank dump billions and billions. Amazon laughed at it, since they don't collect fees for its platform and hence its "burning cash". We all know how the battle at China goes. 

Alibaba's Gem is alipay. Although it has now reach such scale that the platform by itself is profitable. When I read Amazon Annual reports, its profits is volatile. I can't the name of mother company of Lazanda (use to), food panda, Zalora. Those platforms are hardly profitable, their business plan is to gain scale to list as a IPO or sell the company (like lazada to Alibaba) it has a venture capitalist business model.

I know u will think that these e-commerce platforms are not actual comparables. I agree. My point is: we might be sure what game plan Uber,Grab has.

2) Comfort delgro business will survive.

IMO: I have no doubts about it. In fact, I think it might not even incur a loss. But I am not sure everyone investment in Confort Delgro will "survive" 

3) Comfort delgro alliance with Uber is a potential catalyst.

IMO: I agree too. However, my thoughts is this. It is just a case of lesser evil. There are several ways the alliance can work. The most logical partnership is uber tap on hardware and comfort tab on software.

Comfort delgro will win, because the idle fleet will reduce. Uber will gain, it will not need a big capital to buy vechicles. But will Confort delgro be able to rent out at attractive rates to Uber? I do think Comfort delgro is in a position of weakness. Remember, Confort used to charge cabbies $140 for newer vehicles. That is 10 years ago when I don't drive and I like to chat with cabbies. The norm is $130 and the better ones up to $140. Now, no one talks about $120 rental. 

Can Comfort bulk rent to Uber at good rates? Hardly. But it is defintely better have them idling, since vehicles  are depreciating assets of 7-8 years. 

And I  have not go into the handicap of comfort. I felt they are really shortchanged in this competition. They are like going into the boxing ring with both legs and hands chained. If I drive Uber, I can renew a 10 years old car for 10 years coe. If cabbies' info to me is accurate, taxis are up for scrap in 7 years. Max renewability is 9 years.

If I already have a car, I dun even have to rent and I can drive for Uber. Also, as mention in previous post, taxi is a full time job. Once u hire the car, u need to pay everyday. Drivers might not like this kind of rigid arrangement. I know a few friends who toogle between Grab and Uber to earn extra bucks depending on which have better incentive, during a particular period. 

If they are busy, or have a sub-contractor job or free-lance work, they just need to do nothing. Don't rent the car and no rent is required. So the competition is not on rates alone, if u know, u can say "quality of worklife"

4)  Regulation tightening is another catalyst 

Not a lot of people talk about this. As I have said, the competition is really unfair. Now all drivers need vocational liscenses. I believe Comfort Delgro will try its best to evolve its business plan as its tried to arm twist the regulators. 

For one, I believe Delgro is already making more fleasible rental arrangement. As for rates, it will also move towards more equilibrium, I will not bet it will happen anytime soon due to point no.1 

For various safety reasons, the cost of private hire could increase if the regulators start to set the conditions where cars can be used to private hire. The supply of drivers has actually increased tremendously (as a forummer in valuebuddies mention) because it has made freelance taxi-Ing sexy. Confort might be able to capture this "enlarged pie" when equilibrium happen, especially if they can come up with really flexible plans, and regulation start to clamp down on the "anyone also goes" 

5) Uber and Grab show their trump card earlier

IMO: Grab/ Uber is not a taxi company and neither is it interested in becoming one. I am not sure what it's game plan? IPO? Venture capitalist? Logistics ? 

When their trump card is out in the open. Delgro will fight a easier war


Am I vested: No

Am I tempted: Yes 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Random thoughts: Of respect and happiness

Just my weekend musings:

There are 2 ways to happiness.

One is to accept current situation. 

Second, is to pursuit what u want.

My observation is there are many seemingly poor or "unfortunate" people who are happy, because they accept their bad set of cards. There are many energetic people with a goal in their life and passionate about their life. 

Respect, what do you respect? I didn't ask who.

1) Character- e.g. Resilence, wit etc
2) Money 
3) Power - Position of authority, etc

I will be honest, I respect all three to varying degree. I don't just respect character. Neither are they mutually exclusive.

Are u happy when people show u respect. I know I do. But while I am not rich nor powerful, I am also not poor or without any "position", so I use this as a reminder not to get it in my head. I know sooner or later, my "position" will be gone, I might be richer or poorer. 

But I know if I don't respect myself, I won't be happy. 

I can respect my achievement, the wealth I accumulate and my character. As I say, I respect all three to varying degree. But I know the three are not equal. 

If I don't have wealth, position, or character I can accept or pursuit/ develop.

2 sad situations.

1) You cannot accept but also don't pursuit. You play victim.

2) You pursuit and pursuit and realise the respect you gotten is not the highest yield of happiness 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Random thoughts: This just makes me happy, dun know why.

I have drawing plenty of comic strips for my pupils to help them remember vocab. During the holiday, I saw 1 pupil who drew very well.

I ask her if she is willing to draw for the class, I gave the storyline, she draw. She says ok. 

Guess which one is mine ? 


I ask another pupil, which one is nicer. Knowing the one with red ink is mine, he said "Both are nice" 

Got future, high EQ! But Liar .... LOL

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Random thoughts: Of Swordplay, Pedagogy and Investment

What does these have in similar? 

They have many forms, but at its core and substance, more will converge, and there is a return to basic.

One of my favourite swordplay movie, 《蕭十三郎的劍》,about 2 top martial art experts, sharing their essence of skill before duet. The essence of one is "flow and change" and the essence of the other is "basic" yet killing moves.

It's a fun and insightful show. The one with basic moves wins. I makes me think a lot about teaching. There is so many pedagogies, ICT-infused lesson, collaborative learning, inquiry-based learning, game-based learning etc. All flavors of the month before. 

Martial Art is to "kill" otherwise it becomes a performance. Pedagogies is to let people "learn better" otherwise it become a "show"

Different pedagogies has different requirements and different entry points and different resources required. But I realise when u go to the basic (pupil) and adapt according their needs (flow and change) a lot of things converge. The essence of ICT- infused lesson, collaborative learning, feedbacks etc, will converge. It is basic and yet effective. 

So where is the similarities to investment, and what should we be concerned with 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Bought Raffles Medical

Raffles Medical for 2 quarters, has lost it shine as a grower. Both revenue and Profits were flat.

Before this, it was a darling because of the below:

Very consistent, isn't it? 

Now, with earnings stagnating, it show the share price hit a 52-week low recently.


An almost 1/3 fall from its peak. 

If u read around, there are many reports that state how its business might worsen. Let me summarize (Parrot):

1) Holland V Medical is fully leased but there is no spike in revenue, that means the patient load is worse than expected.

2) China expansion will worsen earning for the next 3 years. Management guided that hospital will turn around after 3 years.

3) My simple and quick Google of cancer doctors, review or doctors show names thrown out mainly from parkway and mount Alvernia. But beside these 2 quarters, their revenue is still on a good uptrend, so I will give them the benefit of doubt that the tactic to go medical services aka clinic is a good one.

So, now it is not just a "non-grower" but also a falling knife.

The reason for buying is more qualitative than quantitive. I remember referring the international SOS for reference to hospital to visit if there is emergency, when bring pupils for overseas trip in Nanjing. I believe many people relied on international SOS for reference for medical treatment because China local hospitals are really quite different from those u find in Singapore outside Shanghai. 

Next, I saw the rapid expansion of medical services aka clinic network across Singapore. These will serve as fillers to send reference to hospital. Why is this still not happening in the 2 quarters no.? I am not sure, but many of these clinics are new. Lot 1 clinic has its crowd. 

I also like the fact that past year expansions did
Not strain the balance sheet. 

I am not sure if this price is cheap, honestly. I however, is willing to accept lower earnings (but not zero profits) as they expand, and accumulate as the price go lower. Singapore market must stay strong.

The money used to buy Raffles came from some liquidation of Silverlake axis. So my cash holding is still 60%. Silverlake is still my biggest holding. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Random thoughts: Where is your solace

This post is triggered by a post from AK. He noticed one of his reader might be at risk/ already in depression.

It reminded me of a period of difficulty, when I see only suffering. I was lucky, there was solace from home, although my spouse's family also meet with difficulty. Yup, it never rains but pour.

Ironically, the solace I seek then was work. Being with my pupils. I live by the day, waiting for the quiet of night to have some peace. 

I also know of someone who always talk about taking her life. I know of her difficulty and her unfortunate set of cards dealt to her. She did not manage to find solace, as far as I am concerned, it has been a year. 

I remember when I bantered Zen with my uni lecturer long ago, she was telling me philosophy and kindness is our defense mechanism. I didn't quite understand, she said when things happen, some people just lose it, some people has a defense. That "defense" is what I call solace.

I am a free thinker, but I do think that solace, or refuge or whatever, is built during our daily lives. It cannot be seek during crisis, it is invisible during peace time.

Finding meaning in work, is my solace. My son and my wife are my solace. My belief is the last solace. When crisis struck, it wears down the defense as time drags on. I remember operating at "zombie" mode, to avoid my mind from going wild. Believe in goodness, otherwise there is no "light"

I hope everyone try to live life to the max. U never know when life needs a withdrawal of not cash but your will reservoir. 

Even when things seem to come to a close, I am still operating at "crisis mode" for a long time, before I unwind and see light beside suffering. I cannot imagine those going through ordeals for years.

For those who are going through tough time.

1) Hang in there.
2) Don't think too much, focus on what u set to do, and just do it. Don't think of results or impact
3) Talk to people
4) Write, cry
5) Find solace, in your beliefs, in god or religion. 

Don't stop. Keep moving. Use full use of the short break, and recharge, then expends it again. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Random thoughts: Defensive stocks?

What come to your mind?

Names or numbers?

In the past, perhaps 1-2 years ago, you might name telcos, healthcare/ heathcare reit?

The 3 telecoms are suffering from investors' anxiety without real confontation from TPG. Having another player at the table has lead to some analysts to shout which company might be merged. Is Singapore market too small for a 4th Telco? Only time will tell, but if u tell someone on the street now that M1/ starhub is defensive, but for the dividends and its cash flow, I am
Not sure if u get the same reactions from 2 years ago. Note that I dun think they are bad investment, I am vested in M1. I am questioning defensive.

Healthcare is evergreen with the aging population in Singapore and command lofty valuation for a long time. (Anything above 30 is lofty in my opinion, if growth doesn't pan out) I think many think of health stocks as growth stocks instead of defensive stocks. It might have a slightly defensive business but it might not have a defensible market price. I got confused sometimes, but I have not touch healthcare stocks yet because the valuation made its defensive business somewhat indefensivable. Again, not to say it is not a good investment, if with poor sentiments you found a company that is falling and falling with its growth prospect still possibly intact. I am not telling which is in my radar. 

Wide-moat businesses used to refer to those with a commanding monopoly or market share. I would think that Telcos with the 4th Telcos is still a oligopoly, with data market set to become even bigger, but it's scaring the shit out of investors. I wonder aloud why comfortDelgro investors, like what BT columnist pointed out, are thinking it will fare better? I agree with columnist, it is going from market share leader with a few small fries to also perfect competition of car rental. Unless regulation increase the barrier of competition, even if the tie up with uber is successful, rental still has some room to fall. Renting a car is $60-80 when done privately, still a big 30-50% cheaper than what comfort is charging cabbies, and I have friends that drive grab or uber, that like it as a filler option, earning extras and managing their commitment , even with a relief hirer, a conventional taxi driver is like a full-time job. The competition is not just on price alone. 

How about SPH, SGX and Singpost which has a local monopoly yet to be broken? The defense of a monopoly moat is broken. I dun want to be a broken recorder on disruptive technology. Again, I am watching the above companies, they might not be poor investment. 

Is there really something defensive? How about Gold? I hold gold for a while, it seems like a good hedge for Tensions.

I would think 2 things are defensive. 1) Cash but zero returns.

2) Growth, and dividends paying companies. Companies that increase dividends sustainably is the best defense. Doesn't mean the price won't drop but u can sleep knowing that market will have to pay for that cash flow going back to investor hands. But the caveat is always make sure that the price you bought is defensible too. 

I would think leveraged instructments with sustainable yield of 7% is fair and attractive value. Anything better is a bonus or that you misjudge the "growth" that is - defense buffer.

As for net cash company that is still growing, I would think anything above 5% yield is attractive.

This is just sillyinvestor agar agar thinking, you can calculate all the % of growth and the DCF etc. 

But with market showing so much character ignoring Kim, think he is hopping mad if he has shorted the markets thinking his blasts will trigger a lasting sell-off. 

What is defensible to u?

Or perhaps you think of defensive like defensive actions and mind? 

But we must not kid ourselves lei. Let me test u. "Nimble" a term make famous by AK. It's a defensive tactic, test water. Water hot, run. Fighter another day.

If u have 20k,(e-book teaching people how to invest with first 20K)  how much u invest is consider nimble?? 1% 5% or 10%


Please la. 20K  how to nimble? 

Lol. If u say 1-2 % is nimble. U got 200-400 to play. The commission buy and sell will wipe 10-20% of your return le.

That is not to say we should not invest if we only have 20K. But we should call it as it is. We "hoot" to learn how to market works and pray.


Friday, September 1, 2017

Random thoughts: Myths of ways to academic achievements

Views are my own only. 

1) Tuitions must be given to children because everyone has it.

This is simply not true. In my experience with schools, I know there is no simple correlation between tuition and performance, especially if parents take the attitude of "dump money; solve problem" mentality. Children are not stupid. If u dun tell them or discuss with them the reasons for tuition, they will take their tutors as just. Answers machines. 

I know of children dying to take work home because it is so much easier to be a copier at home. I know, I have children dying to do compositions at home, because the tutor will help them with their homework. Even if a child is struggling with work, it is better for kids to ask the right questions to solve their problems instead of relying tutors for answers. In such an instant, tuition to more harm than good as it create reliance. I know of kids with tutors who just do their bidding. Parents should be mindful of what their children are getting on with their tutors.

To maimise the benefits of tutors (private or center), parents need to be sure what is the objective of having that extra help, and the kids must be aware of the intentions too. The intention of chasing that last mark to get a A* would be very different from someone trying to pass a subject. Similarly, if the parents' mentality is to get a "baby sitter" to kill time for kids, then dun expect fire-works. Also, just a bit of research would let you know what are the renowned centers out there. I have as a "spy" tried to get hold of their success formula, I must say their tactics centered a lot of "memory power" of kids. If your kid is bright, (I know politically incorrect, because every kid Are suppose to be bright and every school a good school, but in reality, there is such a thing as calibre), he/she should progress fine. If he is not academic inclined and lack motivation, memory of exam "answers" is not going to work. 

2) Let the child practice and practice.

David Souza of "how the brain works" said" practice dun make perfect, it make permanent". If there is no input, no point trying to force output. You are simply conditioning the. Child for the wrong method and leaving less space in the brain for the right methods. 

I have a personal example. My wife complained my son did very badly for his Chinese Tests. I looked at his papers and said"Ok, I know what to do for his score to improve"

On the night of revision, I was caught in jam from my dad's place. My wife trying to give them
Practice papers from other schools and going through corrections with them. 

I said "stop, let me take over. They are just listening to instructions and executing and not thinking" I know my son problem is in vocabulary and I know his school like to set questions that appear in the texts but not necessarily from the list of vocabulary stated in curriculum. So I ask them to read the texts, link up the vocabulary, retell the story. Then go on to another chapter and recall the previous. My son has a above average memory and it makes it a lot easier for
Me. His score jumped. Not excellent but good enough for me. He needs input, not more practices. The practices can increase the chance to hit 100% if done correctly, but I am not interested in drill and practice yet.

Now, my SIL keep harassing my wife to let our  kids do practice paper. Lucky my wife didn't like the idea and we decided that some practices might be ok torwards the end of the holiday but not everyday. She got my son books to read (input) which is way better.

3) We need to spend long hours and burn midnight oil to achieve the marks we want

I think frequency and clarity of learning objectives is more important. I told my weakest class, just promise me that They will revise 15 min everyday for their vocabulary and they will pass their Chinese paper and the score at section A will pull up the scores. Not everyone pass, but almost all show an improvement of marks and some pass for the first time for years. 

Having 15 min everyday with clarity of what is to be achieved is much better than having 3 hours once a week going through everything.

I think the theme here is clarity and mindfulness. Never just dump your kids to practices or tuition centers and then scold them for not performing and ask them why are they wasting their money.

Also, there are others with the hadicap of no extra-help. They are not coping that well academically but I think I would do worse in their shoes. My kid told me she can't come for my remedial, I ask why? She told
Me mum dun allow, I call and ask why, she says she need to work and she need to take care of 3 years old brother. If only her brother older.

Looking at all my "underachieving friends" in school, (went to several wakes, unfortunate mean to meet up) all of themare street smart and doing reasonably well
In life. Dun be too disheartened if you kid dun do too well in school ok. Some of them might be miserable enough 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Random thoughts: POSB Smart Buddy Program

The buddy is a smart watch. 

My son has one. This is a cynical post. Be warned

I think it's not a bad product. And POSB marketing is brilliant! Get the parents to request school to implement it, and parents and child get a free watch. 

The thing is I felt offended IS that schools are like sheeps jumping over loops. Still let media trumpet their cashless initiative. Of course there is agenda, support government drive go cashless Ma.

But, why POSB over others? Does school
Monitoring the spending habits and balance of pocket money help kids develop better money habits? Magic ward still exists? Schools not supposed to endorse any product and services remember? Even healthy fresh milk. Now, POSB can get away with it and it's like they are doing everything a favor. Hello, u locking up these young kids with a saving account, and then the bank get to monitor the transactions, and the unspent money becomes "savings" locked up automatically. 

Puppet masters, and puppet. Puppet still so proud of it. 

Maybe it can be "win-win" for parents? They win big, parents take some crumbs. For others, they are sheeps slaughtered for wool and they are still neighing "Papa"

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Random thoughts: My Chinese Posts are doing better?!!

Warning: Bo Liao post

I am just very surprised when I took a look at the stats for my posts.

I should blog more in Chinese than in English or write about financial stuff.

You know what? Top country source is after Singapore is United States, Russia, and then Ukraine?

You mean so many of them read Chinese? Or there are more audiences in Singapore that read Chinese than I expected? The only Chinese majority country is no. 8 Hong Kong

My top posts for Company prospecting for the last 2 years (Have not been doing it recently) are for
Ascendas Reit, Accordia Trust and SIngpost. With pageviews of 1600 to 1800. The rest of my musings on investing is around 600-800? agar agar.

Chinese posts?

Top post is 2300; 随心笔:我的家-黄浦路, then around 1900 for 随心笔:无奈. Average views for these Chinese musings are around 1000-1400??

A bit weird right? LOL

I have my first post that cross 10k in my history of blogging.

Random thoughts: Overpaying by 400% for years

It is also not investment related.

I might need to change my blog name, and remove the word "investor"

Call it sillyheartlander

Friday, August 11, 2017

Lee Metals Q2 results sucks

Q2 results is out, it's profits fell almost 65% compared to a year ago, and 2017 is supposed to be a stronger year when demand for construction and hence steel is concerned.

In my earlier post:

"If we track BCA demand, 2015 is a bountiful year. Billing was 35 Billion. 2016 was 26 billion. 2017 minimum range is from 28 billion. The recent budget announcement has 700 mio public project brought forward. Of course, there is a possibility of demand falling short, but that is highly unlikely as these projects are local and mainly government projects (2/3 of projected demand) which will continue."

I also mention strong Steel price as a boon for Lee metals. I dun think I got the Macro picture wrong, as the management states as much as the higher revenue is due to higher steel price. The BCA website also mention the higher demand for construction is partly due to spillover effect of last work year delayed projects, so 1 H 2017 should show this demand.

Yet management says they are affected by competition and private residential slowdown. The fact that Lee metals is faring much better than BRC is not comfort to me, because at such EPS, 2 cents dividends a year is at risk. 

Operating numbers such as inventories, payables, receiveables, are also high as compare to previous years especially u consider the fact that steel
Merchandising arm is completely wound down. 

Yet the comments by management  is morbid.

"The company will have to continue to stay competitive to SURVIVE in this challenging conditions" 

I wonder if I have been looking at the wrong data, instead of Justine looking at construction demand, which didn't include the 700 mio from new town, biddari, if included would easily mean at least 10% more demand in 2018 in the worst case scenario.
I perhaps should look at the following 3:



I have not decide what I will do with my holding, to hold or cut loss. There is so much talk about property revival. Land sales figure show only very muted uptick



Thursday, August 10, 2017

Random thoughts: My first comic strip creation

Created to help my kids revise Chapter 11.

Feeling very proud of myself. LOL






Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Random thoughts: 15 years dabbling with stocks

I remember my very first stock buy. It was SIA. My brokerage then was jassion? Can't remember the name now, it was acquired by UOB Kay Hian soon. 

It was a $7 stock when I bought it after September 11. I bought only 200 shares. SIA has SIA 200 then. It is a bagger. 

It turns out, it is is the only bagger. I knew nuts about shares then, but I had a bagger. Ironic, if u ask me. I knew nothing  about FCF, growth prospecting, DCF etc.

I didn't need to hold it for donkey years either. If I remember correctly, the holding period is slightly more than a year. 

15 years... 

I lost almost all my university savings in CAO fiasco. Stop investing for a while, and re-enter the market during march 2009, buying only 3 lots of STI ETF and some OCBC 4.2 % preference shares at 80 cents when Par is $1.

Then I got mesmerize by s-chips. I got 20% trading profits in contra, 50% profits from Gao Xian, and I thought I might be able to make a living off buying and selling shares. 

15 years, I thought it's a long time to be zen about the market. Although short of a real bull-bear cycle with full skins into the game. I thought I could at least gotten the mind equation ready. 

Not true. Ironic 

Remember I boast about selling Venture and YZJ at 40 and 30% profits? Well, both formally cross the 100% gain today. I miss 2 more naggers after cogent again.

Venture hurt particularly strongly because, I have think hard about my "trading disposition" will never net me a bagger. So I thought of using advance order or trailing stop. I now realise the advance order and trailing stop can be applied in the mind. 

Of course, the exercise taught me some thing about advance order and allow me to think through quite a few things which are beneficial. YZJ, it didn't hurt so much, because it was a decision to sell, although the execution is poor with the advance order too close to market price.

For Venture, I had actually cancelled the advance order  because I didn't want to sell anymore. Didn't know I had to cancel everyday if I had bought in an advance order lasting for a week. What a joke. It was a "costly mistake"

What really disappoint me is not the lost "profits" but that I am actually emotionally disturbed by it. Looking at the 2 counters flying everyday is "painful"

Of course, there are lessons learnt again. But for this lesson to bear fruits, there is a long cycle to wait.  

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Random thoughts: Heath, fitness and endurance

Are they the same? Or rather, having one means most properly u had the other. 

My logicial answer is yes, but my experience says no.

I have people who run marathons and winning local races but also on medical leaves. They get genuinely sick easily. They might have agility and hour glass figure but one of them tell me if she doesn't get 8 hours of sleep, she will fall sick. 

I know of seniors at least with 15 more years plouging on and on despite all the "fatigue" and "ills" written all over the body.

Health is free from sickness. Of the three, although I like a better hunky figure that comes with fitness, I will choose health, then endurance than fitness.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Random thoughts: Outsmart by pupils, LOL

Today, I did a revision of vocabulary through a game.

They all became Pokémon Trainer. They search for printed quizzes with a picture of Pokémon. They by solving the quiz, they will get code for them to key into a webpage containing the picture of a Pokémon. They then just do a screen shot to "catch" the Pokémon.

There are altogether 16 creatures (common errors in vocabulary) in 32 sheets for them to find and catch. I am surprised that my class could catch a majority in 30
Min. My previous experience with my class last year (higher ability - although the quiz is tougher) , is most can only solve 6-7 quizzes

Some told me there are 2 ways to do this. 1 way is to just find the words in the grid of vocabularies and key in the code without looking for the quiz. (Previous year cohort can't do this, as their quizzes contain tougher and multiple answers). Another person told me he "hacked" the system. He said he saw the similarities with the webpages ended with the word q1, q2 etc and he extrapolate it and found the rest.

Smart! I realise the second method while adding more quizzes yesterday, but thought the kids won't be so smart. I am happily wrong.

There is also another group of pupils who sobatage others by hiding the quizzes they found. I told them that is unethical and selfish. 

I also told the kids they might be quick to finish the task but miss the important point of revising of vocabulary for those who "hack" the system. 

Then, came the interesting part. I told them find the fastest way to get the whole group to have the same number of pokemons as the top catcher.

Many were frantically sharing answers. 2 groups
Just took photos of the best performer and got it done in minutes. Brilliant. I threw the same challenge to last year cohort and no one thought of that. Maybe they are too honest. LOL. Sorry, I know many in my fraternality will frown and say I am teaching them to cheat. It's ok. To me, it's important to think Out of the box and as long as u dun harm anyone, it might pays to be unique and think differently. 

I am not sure if this group is naturally more "streetsmart" or my focus on "thinking skills" are having a impact. LOL

Friday, July 28, 2017






Sunday, July 23, 2017

Random story: I'm 1 war strategies

M1's ruler is glad the renowned strategist is willing to offer advice. "What are my greatest threats?" 

Sun Biscuit said:" Know your enemy know your yourself. Your potential competitors outclass you in size, balance sheet strength, and most importantly, it's only using the spare troops to try to conquer. Internally, u have no great commander, your search yield many people with potentials, those in the fixed services, some in niche products like the MOS Payment, but these are just beginning, with no market share of real battle experiences, so u have no commander to lead."

M ask:"It's my home turf, shouldn't I have home turf advantage" "My lord; in this globalize world, your people can choose to go to any country, what you provide is essential a commodity, broadband and mobile service, it is hard to differentiate it beyond price once reliability cease to be an issue. My lord, u are already the smallest among the three kindoms, where not necessary weakest. The other two have no major issues for u to exploit. As such, your people' loyalty is none to speak of"

M said" You are right, it would seems that I am already losing ground without any real confrontation. My economic backers are having second thoughts and the army already has deserters. I have both internal and external threats. Am I doom?"

Sun Biscuit said "Not necessarily, my lord. As they say, my enemy's enemy is my friend. The "dragon" that cross the Pacific Ocean has upset the balance of the 3 kingdoms. U are not fighting the war alone. But you must not show weakness. As the weaker will be the easy target of full brunt force of the enemy. Already, there is unwritten truce and coordinate efforts to prevent easy and cheap exploitations. My lord, u must keep your people happy and loyal. The fact that just years ago u have increase tax but taking away 12 G of data to tiered plans have left a sour taste. It will be sucidial to try any of these stunts in the near future."

"What can I do?" 

"My lord, u can only wait and hope. If the stars are aligned and the rain of Internet of Things is successful with the government drive of smart Nation, then maybe you could use the external forces of  increased data use to offset potential loss in business. Another way is to join forces with other, but such diplomacy efforts can only be negotiated in the position of weakness, given you are the smallest. All the best my lord, and may you followers flourish, following u."  

Friday, July 14, 2017

Random thoughts: Becoming a teacher again

I have been at my job for more than 12-13 years. Through its ups and downs, I would say I am generally satisfied with my work as a TEACHER (There are a lot of things that are not teaching related, even indirectly) 

Recently, I felt very thankful and fortunate. It's like becoming a new and beginning teacher all over again. Doing things different, feeling that heartbeat of a teacher. 

During my college and NIE training days, I ask myself what kind of teacher do I want to be ? I told myself I want to be a effective teacher. One who makes lesson interesting and not someone who nags about making the world better type of bullshit. 

That have been my guiding principle for a decade. Of course, that is not to say I care nothing but their results.

Recently, as I came back from my break, I start to listen intently to what pupils say during form teachers time. I tried not to steer the conversation to learning. I am quite surprise there are many pupils with a bad cards dealt to them (single families, re-married parents, etc) have a cheerful and kind disposition. Of course, their academic performance are not up to par. 

It makes me wonder why the fuss over divorces and single families or low income families. Affluence and greed seem to be the greater curse. 

One of those mornings where I meet my weaker pupils, I realize the reason why 1 pupil kept missing my lesson is she has no time for breakfast. I felt sorry for her and offer to get her breakfast. I talk to her more and realise it is not like she is going hungry or what, although she does has a life that is different from the typical Singaporean child. It is really a matter of lack of attention and time. I still get breakfast for her occasionally, she has pocket money btw, because she seem very happy to get breakfast from me. I realise I was to quick to feel "sorry" and too eager to "help" without even trying to understand the pupils.

Yesterday was again one of those days where homework are not completed. After reminding them to focus on their work; I ask about their "learning conditions" at home. If what they say is true, then there is hardly any conditions for home studying. 

I felt time passing away with homework still not done. But I push aside the work and instead ask the rest do they face the same situation at home. All except 1 face the same situation. 

I told them we couldn't change the situations and given that life has dealt a bad set of cards, we can only make do with what we can. I told them how to manage time by staggering the different types of homworks for different times etc.

I saw the girl eyes swelling and nose stuffing, I ask if she is crying. She said no, she has running nose and I joke the way to solve it is to give a punch to the nose. We all laugh. I observe if the running nose continues, it doesn't. It should be tears, but it doesn't matter. For a very long time, I didn't had that feeling that stirs when doing my work a teacher. 

I am grateful. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017






Friday, July 7, 2017












Thursday, July 6, 2017

1H 2017 Sillyinvestor Inc Intern Report

Chairman Message:

1H2017 is a bull run, with the world drunk on Trump's tax promises, financial deregulation. Sillyinvestor Inc did not gain much from this bull run because there was plenty of profit taking throughout the 1st Half of the year. 1.The company did reach a milestone, and that was the portfolio size including cash finally crosses 100K. We sold Accordia Golf Trust, Yangzijiang, SIngpost and Venture. All except SIngpost were exited with a profit. Singpost Loss is neligible as we manage to buy at a low price.

The only buy action was centered at silverlake axis. The story has pend out as Management expected so far, a special dividend 1.3 cents declared, contract wins continue. The last story is the turnaround in the project service segment with the continued growth in the maintenance segment, Silverlake will then be flying at both cylinders  


Outlook is uncertain. Trumponics is looking weaker and weaker. Nobody cares, but we do. We are still 60% cash, and will be looking at reducing the stake of Silverlake and Lee metal at the right price.  

Operation Review:

We have invested $42k into equity with a market value of 44k. Cash for investing stand at  $60000. This is the second time in a row that we have the portfolio above waters.  

Dividends received for first half is about $910. A sharp drop of more than 50%  from a year ago
Trading profits increased 5 folds yo $4500. Bulk of the profits came from Venture, with YZJ and Accordia Golf Trust taking up the rest. 

Total cash returns over total asset value is is 5.4% A slight improvement from last year 4.6%.

For the second half of the year, we expect earnings to be much worse than the first given the small position size vested, the tactic here is to wait

Online Ad Revenue figure is negligible. 


Start regular contribution to 2 new beneficaries.  Sian Chay Medical Institution and Singapore Thong Chai Medical Institution. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Random thoughts: Transformers lost its plot

By plot, I dun mean storyline.

I am well aware the transformers is classify under action thrillers. So I dun expect a fantastic storyline, but I do expect "action" and "thrill"

There are various ways to thrill, cinematic effects or innovative stunts never seem before.

Both are lacking if u ask me. Worse than fast and furious defintely. 

What's worse, I remember past transformers' success. The quick and sleek transformation from robot to cars and vice Versa , but at the sixth or seventh installment, it is getting boring.  

Second success, The human and robots battle. This time round is damn boring. Come on la, u going to the mothership of Queen and the only thing pinning down the troops is 1 bunker? Also, the advance and retreat of human super fake, and the tempo of fights making me yawn. I dun understand what they are running, those with some NS experience know it's corkster. Past transformers dun have this problem.

Third success, the nemesis with megatron. This time round, a side kick did the job. *Roll eye. And the way the queen is defeated. *Roll eyes too.

Too much copying. Bumblebee is now officially iron man, can have hands flying and firing without the main body. LOL.

The meshing of history with friction can be intriguing. But in the case, whether it is king Auther or just King A makes no difference. There is no depth involved. If the show is played by humans, u will think minions has a better story. 

The story goes that with the talisman, will lead to the one that rules them all staff. I have no idea what is it for and it's role in connection with the staff. Without the talisman, the duke will find the descendent of Merlin and she figure the clue to the location of staff by herself anyway. 

Come on, Hollywood. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Random thoughts: Rainy days, Singapore

I have been walking around Singapore with my family. We been to river safari and sentosa. Broadwalk during rainy days. I thought the view during rainy days are beautiful. 




Rainy days also mean the crowd is more manageable in the beginning. Otters at river safari are particularly playful and active during the rainy day. Very photogenic.


Remind me of the contrarian style of investing.

Seeing beauty in the rain. 

My biggest holding in terms of cost invested is Silverlake axis. It's has been rainy for a while. People seem not to see the rainbow. They won 3 contracts in a month, one of which is a with a major customer in Thailand. The other contract for existing company to merge overseas operations, I suspect is RHB. 

Fuzosoft latest earnings show profits. GIT exit almost done. 2 months holding period and we will
Know if we have a special dividend. Even if there is none, yield is more than 5% for a company with improving fortunes. 

While management guide Q4 will see improving earnings in special projects segment, I believe the real improvement will only come in 2018. Initial phase of contracts usually involved only few branches 

Goh injection of assets is a wild card thou, depending on valuation 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Random thoughts: What a father wants?

Father wants the best for family.

Many interesting stories from my father. How he was bullied at work, ask MP for help for hawker stall. How he keep delaying his Heart surgery for us, and finally got the community chest to heavily subsidize his medical bills from 38K to 8K

How he was not trusted with petty cash to give change to customers even when it's a family business and how pissed he was.

How he wanted to clearly state how his money will be split when he passes on. Not that there is a lot to be inherited anyway, but how he wanted jointed acc with us.

When my mum passes on, I dun care about her "money" and I also dun care if there is a fast one. I have some lingering thoughts of where the money is when my dad spoke of some issues. But to hell with it. I dun care about the money and I dun care the management of it. It the end, everything works out fine and well. 

I have only 1 son. I just want him to be independent, and can stand on our own. Just like what my father wanted of us. Anything more is a bonus.

Happy Father's Day 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Random thoughts: Swopping 3 Cs for 1 C

For my generation, the 5 Cs are Condo, Car, Country Club membership, career and cash. I think no one talks about them anymore.

I remember when I first blog a post about convincing my wife against selling HDB for a upgrade, there are readers that swear by the property Upgrade game to millionaireship

I have also know of many who wanted to leave behind a property for the children because HDB will cost 1 million in their time to come.

The topic still props up now and then. But I am glad we didn't bite. My wife is officially a "tai tai". She had a bad set of cards at work, working after dinner till 11 and then waking up at 4 am every weekday to continue to work. Hat off to her for hanging there for half a year. I might not last that long. Seeing her getting thinner, I told her to just quit for her own health reasons.

It's miserable enough, and she finally put down her decent paying job and rest. I ask her to give some tuition or just shop around to work for experience and development. 

Had we bought an EC then, (just last year we were at showroom talking to banker who told us we can get a million loan for 25 years based on our salary), we couldn't have the C we wanted. Comfort in life.

I have also sold my car, I intend to renew my FIL's car and take over his ownership. His car is a OPC and for the last almost 10 years has milleage of less than 40k. They felt there is no need to have the car since they have a van, but think it is a waste to scrap it. But they think the tax and renewal costs are ex. I proposed to take over the car. They happy, I happier. I used the money from selling the car for a family trip (including them, of course) to Taiwan.

I never like membership anyway. 

Cash is low. The only thing I have perhaps is a satisfying career. Lucky I have a C to console me when my ego is hurt looking at my peers flying high. I have comfort.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Random thoughts: 2017 1H in review

2017 has a been year of many significant changes.

In terms of work, I was given a 17 weeks period to study and develop myself. The course materials are so-so, but I think I read and reflect enough to go back to work with a new purpose. 

I think I am different, and my colleagues can tell the difference. I am not sure if it's for better or worse, but I think I am more firm and purposeful now, regarding what needs to be done. 

My friend told me I am calmer and speaks more clearly now. In my absence, 2 of my staff step up to the plate and they have found their own mojo. In fact, they are helping me much more than they used to. Life would be much easier, as I delegate some power to him. Good thing is, I am not so worried about being replaced. LOL. However; the working landscape has become treachery, and it is easier to be caught is the right side of the system if u believe in doing whatever is right for your kids and ignore all the bureaucracy.  

I am quite surprise I can still derives more satisfaction from teaching than I already did. Perhaps the course open my mind and hence my heart. I realize too many mistakes I made. I am not talking about the technicial stuff of teaching. I am talking about simple stuff like knowing the pupils. 

In terms of family, it's my 10 anniversary! Yeah! First time I planned this in details. Glad my wife like it. 


How time flies. It has been 10 years. Ocean Restaurant is really a nice place to have lunch, and a family walk around the SEA acquirium relaxing.

In terms of investing, since I started, I have never hold more than 50% cash in investible fund. I am holding 60% now, missing the boat and a whole lots fun until it's get exciting for me. 

Personally, I felt calmer. But I wonder if a storm
Is coming at times. I already use to think My intrapersonal skills is my strength as I seem to be able to hear my inner voice more often than others. Nowsaday, I sometime wonder if I am going crazy if I tell other people how loud and clear that voice has become. They might think I have gone Bonkers. That voice is your honest self, for better or worse. 

Looking at the night sky at sentosa is quite wonderful. I actually manage to see slow shooting stars. Defintely not a plane. Well, quite glad when I make a wish, I didn't wish for wealth or health. LOL 

Friday, June 2, 2017



Sunday, May 21, 2017

Random thoughts: Understanding myself better @ work

I am back at work for 2 weeks.

Beside the first 2 days, the usual hectic and crazy schedule is back. 4-5 to do things, bosses calling you in the last minute, staff looking to you to problem-solve, when I myself has plenty to troubleshoot

I am however, coping much better. Of course the long break help. But I have been down with flu, but my motivation has not been affected, I think I have figured why:

1) Always prepare my lessons even if it means I get less sleep.

I realize what made my day unbearable is not really the hectic workload. It is a bad lesson. A lesson where I thought I lost the kids. Thereafter, the whole day is spoiled and I feel super tired. If a lesson is great, seeing the kids smile (especially from that weak class), make me want to whistle to my cubicle.

2) It is ok to feel like drowning, laid back and it will float

There are times when I feel like screening, paper work after paper work, editing after editing. But because I did 1) at home, I can focus on the paperwork and administration  in school. Sometimes, I wish I could clear the things off my table faster, now I just stop for a while, and ask myself to focus. Its OK to take half-1 hour longer, without subjecting myself to those anxiety attacks in the past.

I am not sure if I am producing pupils with better results. But from the last 2 weeks, I think I am doing fine in producing pupils who are trying to learn. I hope I can sustain. It is quite crazy. I think I spent at least 14-16 hours preparing for 2 weeks of teaching. My record high. I am not complaining though. I am kind of enjoying it. Just that I find it a bit hard to balance it with family time.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Random thoughts: All about "S"s

The S refer to 4 things. Silverlake axis, Singpost, Situation at work and Scolding.

Silverlake and Singpost should see better times ahead. Silverlake recognition of Project services rev will pick up fromQ4 onwards. But the golden Goose of GIT is slayed. It stake is less than 5% now, and the accounting profits already captured in this quarter. 

There could be further loss or gain depending on OTC, but overall it's game over. 

So while the core operating no. Might be doing better, it might be offset by the volality of market prices. Also, according to RHB analyst, captured in the edge, the contracts win that will be recognize are small contracts. 

I however, beg to differ. Personally, I do not think ICT capex can be deferred for too long before a overhaul. Especially with the recent global malware scare. Of course, competitors made be taking the pie. I see growth prospects outstrip risk prospects. Also the strong cash position coinciding with the recent strength of Ringgit is a good thing for balance sheet. Acquisition should be on the cards. I have further accumulated silverlake recently 

Singpost as expected took a hit due to its impairment. It's operating no. Is also weaker due to poor performance of US subsidiary, Global Trade Winds.  

It's logistic hub and SP mall should more than offset its  problems in US. But I would like a better MOS.

It's execution records is really nothing to shout about. It's Lazada clinching, it's more of a work of Alibaba strategic alignment than Singpost's ability to clinch customers. But nonetheless, it's good news as it will improve utilization rate 

Situation at work, is a mixed bag. More sense of direction, happier teaching, but got into disagreements with close colleagues in the direction of things. Accused of being timid and afraid of "scolding", felt a bit insulted by this close comrade. Also, the chemistry seem to have wane, discussion is no longer candid and free flowing. 

What a boring week? Nothing to blog about in a way 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Random thoughts: 3 M at work

We all know the 3 M of investing.

My chapter as a student has closed. During this 17 weeks, I have been actively pursuing Method of the 3 M of my work. There is plenty of knowledge to be gain and it provide clarity. 

However, I realize yesterday I did not prepare for or thought the Mind will not be a problem. I am feeling super sianz and lazy. I did still spend the last day mugging and thinking in the library. I knew I wouldn't have the luxury of time and clear mind when I jumped back to work. Funny my sense of urgency to prepare as much as before for my return did not help in my Mind Part. In fact, all the symptoms of escape are obvious: Whinny, looking at companies to kill time ( my last post for Silverlake was a rather detailed one for a long while ). During 17 weeks, I did scan financial reports but feel that time can be better spent reading on my work related knowledge and talking to people about them. 

So what is Money at work? I believe it's time. The amount of time we spent to get what we want. Some people go for rara paper work, some focused excessively on results (KPI), whatever it is, u need to invest time (which is equal To money). I was hard up for time during work, because what I cared about, I can only allocated a maximum of 40% doing it. Hence I tried to save as much "Money" but trying to use "method" to make it work harder. I plan the big ideas for lesson way advance and think through them. Of course, I still need time to prepare for them but I just want to have a good helicopter view of the lessons and what can be done effectively for them. In the fry pan, effeciency is the key word of the game. 

So when the mind is not working properly, what can be done. The key is always acceptance and compassion. I could not accept I will lose my "good life" so quickly. The good life has made me weak again. So I allowed myself one day to wallop in sorrow and self-pity. I felt much better today, although not completely ready. I think I was a nuisance yesterday to some friends yesterday, LOL.

Let's hope the 3M realigned itself properly again. I used to do literal thinking, comparing my work with investment wisdom and see how it can be applicable. Now, I think the reverse can happen. My investment philosophy can be helped by my working ethics.

The workforce is getting more competitive. Time to get back to work. LOL.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Random update on Silverlake axis

Recently, Silverlake axis has perform poorly in terms of price, especially as compared to iFast, which did better due to a few reasons: a) Positive outlook by management b) better results and 3) insider buying.

I realize the Cash Cow of Silverlake recently is having tough time.

GIT price has already halved ( and is planning a big acquisition spree. Its latest quarter is bleed almost 15 mio, so it is about 3 mio Sing dollars or 9 mio ringgit. Silverlake holds slightly less than 10% of GIT so its associate loss should be less than 1 mio. It would have change from a 2 mio profit to a 1 mio loss such that 3 mio is gone. But that is less than 3% of it gross operating profits.

There is also concerns what type of private entities of Mr Goh is going to inject into Silverlake. From the previous executive report by Delottie Singapore:

"One further SPE that accounted for 7.5% of the IPT revenue transactions and 85% of the IPT purchase transactions is an active company primarily engaged in the business of providing implementation, modification and integration of software solutions. This SPE has generated substantial revenues over the Review Period but has incurred losses and has a net deficit position as at FY2014. Mr Goh highlighted that the overall deficit position at FY2014 was mainly due to incurring technical resource costs for enabling and supporting disruptive technologies business model, and that this SPE did generate industry level profits on its transactions with SAL. "


"65% of IPT revenue transactions were with 2 SPEs which are investment holding companies. These companies acquired the software to enable other SPEs to develop, improve, enhance and modify software and assets both for long term disruptive technology R&D and future digital economy solution development for commercialisation purposes."

There is no real value-addedness if the injected assets are the investment companies beside that of corporate governance. In the executive report, "Given the significance of the values of these contracts (about RM49 million) which the Silverlake Private Entities on-sold to end-user customers and acted as the contracting party, there should be better clarity and transparency in the determination process of whether the SAL Group or the Silverlake Private Entities would be the contracting party with the end user customer. The decision and the rationale should be documented and submitted to the AC on a periodic basis. This should be in addition to and separate from the current process to obtain the AC’s consent for Structured Services Business relating to the SIBS software." This problem will be eliminated if these 2 SPEs are injected.

However, the "competitor" of  "providing implementation, modification and integration of software solutions" can be a good asset if the SPE has turned in good profits. 

Silverlake has announced various contract wins through CBV and Merimen over the last 2 years, but revenue is still falling. I think the 1 year is enough incubation period. It would be interesting to see how its recent acquisitions are good diversification or diworsification.

Whatever the outcome, the record earnings from its staggered disposal of GIT in 2017 is a given. GIT might be a salted egg going forward. Based on my calculation, the break even price for GIT for silverlake is 4.9 RMB. It is still a muti-bagger at current depressed price of 12 RMB.

And Silverlake has been continously selling out from 20 RMB onwards.

I still think Silverlake has a good execution. Its recurring base of maintenance and enhancement has been growing. The insurance unit is growing too.

Going forward, I see 2 catalysts (POSSIBLE)

1) turnaround in earnings due to uptick in project servicing and licensing
2) Special dividends due to GIT sales.

1) If 1) doesn't materialize and we get 400 mio rev from maintaince and lower margin of 55%. we get 220 mio Ringit, and the rest of the segments break even. after tax and NP of 200 mio, we will get 2.4 cents EPS. It would mean it is overvalued in terms of PE and assume 85% payout at current price we get 3.7% yield. Not too bad. But this overvaluation will only happen in 2018 since this year has GIT to slaughter. I would think this projection is very conservative given how aggressive Silverlake is going to SEA.

2) I think is not if there is no special dividends but the amount of special dividends. Silverlake has already announce intention to continue to sell GIT in this quarter, ASsuming full year EPS of 10 cents and they give 50% payout, 5 cents is good 9% yield.

I think there are many other operating risks involved too, but I thought I have the risk-reward profile in my favor for this one. I like to blog about a company just before their quarter result so that I dun tell myself little lies to deceive myself.

(Vested and biased) 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Ifast- words of management is worth its gold

Ifast went up 20% today. The main reason is management believe this year will be better than last.

Power of words. China is still losing money, doesn't matter. 

I wonder if all management words have the same "power"

(No vested)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Random thoughts: Stock selection and market timing - Part 2

This is a follow up to the previous post. It is here I will try to reconcile some tensions.

1) Market timing is possible. 

If u are waiting for value to emerge, you are timing the market. When value is low, u buy, and over-valued u sell.

2) But The over-valued get higher and the under-valued get lower. 

This type of market timing is impossible. U can't really exit near top or bottom. 

3) Value is not static 

Waren says buy great company at fair value. 20 + PE is a steal if a company can grow strongly over a few years 

In fact, if u can company prospect like Warren, I would say PE 30 is a good price, because just 2-3 years of good double digit growth, PE will be low. 

4) Market Valuation of company is not static

The actual same company with same fundemental and earnings prowess can be worth different PE if the same company can travel through time. Even if Market is not depressed or exuberance, the Norma range of PE of a company like venture can be like 13-16. (Plot the PE sensitive graph over years yourself LOL) . There is 20% difference. Are we think 20 % correction is MOS? 


The better your skills at company prospecting, the lesser you need to time the market. The less confident you are about your prospecting skills, the wiser perhaps to wait for the right wave.

It might seem like a no brainer, but ask those in the sidelines with Cash waiting for correction/ or bear, it is not a nice feeling seeing bloggers brag about the Multi-baggers and also Kanching$$$ kanching$$$

My track record tell me a am not a very good stock picker so should rely on dip more. But i do have companies with growth prospect in my radar than I am willing to jump in at a dip. LOL

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Random thoughts: Stock selection and market timing

Recently, my mum-in-law said she was afraid of Korea War, she asked me how. I told her if she is very worried, take some money off the market.

She asked me to take a look at her portfolio. Some of her counters were from donkey years, salted fish until cannot salt Liao. I ask her if she want to remove deadweight, she said ok. 

She showed me her sgx statement for the past few months, the period of STI rise of about 10%. I realize almost all her counters, also rise and gain with the market. Some of the counters are penny with no real future, but they still gain to different extent. The blue chip counters, those bought 2-3 months ago all gained. It's those that were bought way long ago that are still sinking in red

Makes me wonder if we are better off timing the market? 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Random thoughts: Are u attracted to labels

Labels? What is the first thing that comes to your mind?


Let me guess. Brands? Handbags etc. Labels refer to anything that can be classify under a name. Brand is a label premises on a PROMISE of quality and a particular experience. 

Concepts is a label too. Label makes communication easy. Say "fallen angel" in investment context and people understand. It's makes complex and detailed information concise.

It could do the reverse too. I make people react to the first and basic information without regarding the discourse of it. Let's try another example. Free Cash Flow is good. 

There are traditional ways and conservative ways of calculating FCF, and there is limitation and justifying of -ve of FCF at times. It's easy to gross over the the exceptions and the underlying assumptions made.

Then there are concepts too deep and complex to be label. Let's try this. Buddhism. Tier 1 Label. Ok, Karma, Dharna etc, all concepts all labels. How to explain properly? 

Then there are many concepts and ideas not crystallize into labels yet or those labels are not accepted universally. So not many will understand it. Does it mean those ideas and concepts are not worthy? 

I used to conveniently use labels. For report writing, etc, it is useful. Did u use labels to explain deep concepts simply or use labels to make simple ideas sound very "atas"?

I have always scratch the surface of many concepts. I rely too much on labels. 

From 道德经:

labels are to classify. Make communication and understanding easier. Labels makes analysis easier. But when u move beyond the labels, concepts converge. Everything converge, into a chaotic Mess. 

My own fun interpretation, I no license. Dun take me seriously. But I dun mind u poking me. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

A letter to myself 12 months down the Road

Writing a letter to myself 12 months down the road is an idea from SMOL. It is like a self-check that whatever new found vision or purpose in education I found during the last few months will not be like sun-tan

I had wanted to write this letter at the end of the course, which is 4 weeks down the road. But decided to start writing to get my initial purist ideas as intact as possible. It is getting more hectic now, running back to school to settle work more often. Also, talking about PSLE results with another HOD also kind of shaken my belief and vision.

Ok lets get started:


Dear Mike,

How have you been? You are back in the system for a year or more now, are you struggling to just clear things off your table. Is efficiency your only or main consideration when you do things? How have your plans worked out?

You have wanted to

1) Shift your department teachers' mindset away from teaching to the test and examination. Deep learning or meta-cognitive learning have higher retention rate, it should not affect the results adversely too much. How many teachers have you convinced with your words, deeds and values? Or have you yourself thrown in the towel?

2) With the focus away from examinations and KPIs, you hope to see education as pupils actively pursuing knowledge and in whatever capacity, applying that knowledge. You have said that the following words stick in your head, let me remind you in case you forgotten. "The world economy no longer pays you for what you knows; Google knows everything...The world economy pays you for what you do with what you know." With the zero-sum pursuit of mindless competition of who produces more A pupils a National Trend, have you hold steadfast to your belief? Do you remember going to your MLS friend's school to teach for a trial lesson? They wear different uniforms from your pupils. With the bell curve effect, they doing well in PSLE mean the bell curve work against your own pupils. (Don't give me the shit that the new PSLE is standard referenced. It is just a static preset bell curve.) But you love them nonetheless, you think they are cute. You felt proud that Singapore provide good and decent education to pupils in the neighborhood. You suddenly felt that it is really meaningless and perhaps shallow to be upset about being "below National Average". Why should I be happy? The "national average" does not fluctuate that greatly, why should I derives so much happiness or sadness in beating fellow Singapore's Children?

3) You wanted to prepare the pupils not just for the examinations, but also the future. You believe that joy in learning, is perhaps one of the ingredient for effective learning, and that pupils must be self-regulated learners. You realize that preparing pupils for examinations and the future in that sense, need not really be a zero-sum game, as the two are not mutually exclusive.

4) Joy of learning is not about having fun doing activities, it is about making sure every pupils can progress and achieve. You seek to do this with Differentiation Instructions (DI). You have in the past, pursuit only the form and not the substance of DI. You have a better understanding of the whole DI approach by Tomlinson , you understand what it means and possibly how to differentiate the process/ content or product according to pupils readiness or if possible, also take into considerations pupils' interest and profile. You are no expert in this, but with Formative Assessment (FA) and DI in your mind when you did the 2 trial lessons in 2 different schools the last 2 days (6-7th April ), you genuinely felt different. I think I will cut you some slack for not able to prepare lessons as thoroughly as when you are on course. But, did you stop observing pupils' readiness? Have you stop asking yourself how to present your information more clearly and preparing for multiple content sources and process to cater for pupils who cannot follow your intended lesson? If you have been doing this at least once a week, I think you are already doing well. You also want to present your true self to your pupils, you realize you are generally a fun-loving person, so the humor in class should let pupils feel more at ease. But have you become so tired or pressured about the academic performance of your pupils that you have start reverting to becoming a team commander of soldiers in a war zone?

5) Self-regulated learners are learners acutely aware of their own learning. During MLS, you have been reading a lot about how the brain works, about metacognitive strategies, and the easy essence of it are having
1) Compare and Contrast
2) Classification
3) Meaningful Transfer
4) Self-Monitoring
5) Mindful selection process
6) Gap filling either individual or in group

You have worked hard to try to figure out how everything can be applied from reading comprehension stage to speaking and writing. Did you continue to use these? Have you extend the activities and strategies? How many teachers beside your soulmate/ friend in your department have you gotten excited about all these teaching methods. I can't write the teachers' names here, but MS, SC, JAN, NF, YZ and SY are potential champions you have considered, are they really champions now? Have you not even started? Did you keep their interest burning, did you make them turn around and help you keep your own passion alive?

6) You want to streamline working processes such that you can reduce at least 5% of teachers' workload. You had wanted more flexibility in weekly PDT, you wanted technology to help in discussion and some marking. You wanted to scale down some programmes. You understand a burnt-out teachers cannot really inspire pupils. This is one area that you felt is toughest to do, if you have actually found a path, you do yourself proud. One area you are looking at is purposeful reflections, as diagnostic data collection means and stimulus for discussion. Have you done anything about it. How did it fare?

7) You have wanted a more systematic approach to integration of various learning objectives across levels with strong build-up of differentiated resources. One key success factor shared selflessly by your HOD friend about active selection of topic to drill in the final year is not a short cut, but a meticulous and calculated move(3 years prior to ensure maximum exposure and repetition), much like company prospecting in investing. Have you embarked on this journey?

8) You have wanted the professional learning project to be of more rigor. You have bought books for teachers to engage in literature review, and the use of lesson study lesson plan template for discussion and planning. You wanted more informed and well-planned initiatives. How has those plans work out for you?

9) You wanted to continue with the NIE library membership and spend at least 2 days in a year visiting the NIE to borrow some books to read.

10) Finally, something less tangible. You said "Human First, then teacher, then a HOD to bring everyone along" How does this sound to you now?

Are you smiling now, or are you crying inside?  Or you didn't have time to read this letter because you didn't even dare look at the checklist?

The sun-tanned Mike
7th April 2017

Tuesday, April 4, 2017








Friday, March 24, 2017

Random thoughts: Abundance and buffet

I believe my world is one of abundance, and the world in general can be of abundance too. 

However, abundance need a ingredient. It is thankfulness. Thankfulness is the lens we see things. There is plenty of randomness in this world, I happen to be a beneficiary in plenty of things, lucky if you like. Why do I say this? I know of 2 persons, of equal capabilities doing the same work. Of course, when I say "same" I dun mean factory output quantity. In general, they might have different strengths but basically delivering the same goods. But they have a pay difference of around 40%? I am the luckier one. I am not bragging, just thankful, as she is my equal or perhaps 有过之而无不及。(better)

Having abundance but not thankful or mindful, will simply end up like what one of my lecturer says "so much to live with, so little to live for"

Abundance is a curse, when benchmarked, compared with others. Abundance is introspective. U decide how much is enough. At personal level, it is easier to understand, but it also true beyond personal level.

Let's take the example of Buffet. There are atas ones, mass market ones. But all with the same purpose, let the customers eat to their heart content. Some lament about cheapo buffet. Some eat until their gastric hurts or even vomit. Some tried to hide some finger food to takeaway. 

I seldom go buffet, I am not a big eater and has a weak gastric. But I do like buffet. I can tried a variety of food at amount I like. I can start very small. If I particular food is very tasty, I eat more of it. I no longer have stomach for deserts now (old Liao) if I go second round, so I will just stop and relax and chat over a cup of coffee. 

How do u and others u observe do at buffet? U scream must be value for money? U felt shortchanged when someone just go for that lobster thrice or four times and giving all other food a miss? 

U care more about value for money or value of experience? 

Sorry, it's not the fault of the buffet organizers, if u ask me. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Random thoughts: reflective thinking vs learning through reflections

I took an elective titled "learning through reflections"

The tutor wanted us to define "reflections", think about what is a good "reflection" and what is a bad "reflection". She then give comments about our answers, telling us what "reflections" entails.

She then went on to have us read an article title "reflective thinking" and have us split into groups to summarize the 4 criterions of reflective thinking.

She keep challenging us for our thoughts when the various groups present their summaries. 

Just before the break, 2 groups presented. She ask for final opinion, I told her I am having cognitive dissonance, because reflective thinking is about thinking, not reflections. While reflection is a subset of thinking, I think there should be distinction. 

She then mentioned that the author says there are 4 types of thinking: just being conscious, imaginative and the final stage- believing. She did not really answer my question, but I am fine with it. I am not about to agrue with her over semantics. 

During the break, I returned early. She strike a conversation and I explained my understanding of "reflections". It should be introspective, about personal actualization and not analysis, ramifications and experimentations. It should be about awakening of the self, enlightenment if u like, with the emotional part playing an important role. There is no "educated" or "uneducated" decision based on experience but just whether we are are happy or disturbed over a decision, and that trigger of emotions is dependent on the filter built up over many experiences, called "conscience" I told her there is a difference between reflective thinking, which is what the article is about, and thinking reflections, which is what the course should be about.

Credit to her, she is really open-minded, and ask me to put the boards certain key words like "conscience", etc and said she would like to bring the discussion to the class. I became uncomfortable, but followed her instructions. 

When the class returned, she told the class that I had a different perspective and ask for the class comments. There is silence. She asked me why I felt I could not agree with the 2 model, and somewhat implied what is wrong with a "robust" way of thinking as reflection?  I said "analysis, verification, experiments" give u intelligence but reflections gave u wisdom. 

I said the first model of making meaning of experiences is something I can identify with, but do not accept "educated" and "miseducated" decision. I said these 2 terms are "external validation" and has no place in "reflection", an horrible terrible person will not think of himself as horrible. 

She said there are social norms. I said social norms are there but I need not buy them. I said external experiences are simple "stimulus" and the "filter" is just conscience, educated or not is up to external validation 

I felt very uncomfortable as the debate is dragging long enough. Luckily she moved on the 3rd and 4th models.

The third model is thinking as a community. Having affirmation with and from the community. Someone then quote the example that my sharing is also the case in point, since we all learn from each other and I got affirmation. I kept silence. In my mind, I said, "I need no affirmation from the community, I believe in what I am thinking, I need not have the community agree with me either. I have reflected about this long enough and has beliefs that are not easily shaken. This is internalization through reflections and not easily shaken by different school of thoughts"

Anyway, before We left, the lecturer kindly ask us to think about whether or not, our different perspectives can be reconcile, she "hint" that it is possible since reflections is also part of thinking. 

I wasn't too convinced. In my car, I thought. Chinese is also a subset of human. Humane Chinese and Chinese Human the same meh? 

But nevermind. It's only when I so free now I can talk make chicken and think rubbish la. I need no followers, no in this area of academic discussion. It is just fun. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Random thoughts: Coporate Rats out there, We can be happy rats

This post is sparked by a post from Andy ( Tacoomb) but is in my mind for quite a while.

In our pursuit of FIRE, let's not forget the "now". Of course, FIRE holds a lot of promise- doing charity, your own business, sleep till the sun hits your buttocks. It is a nice picture, and defintely a worthy pursuit. Full time giving back to society, sending your kids to school and picking them. What is there not to like? 

However, a lot of those promises rest a lot on the personality. Look, no one is going to just sleep their life away after FIrE, they find projects/ causes to work on. And in the pursuit of these causes/ they might meet with other problems, nasty volunteers, corrupt officials , whatever. Can they hide behind money and say now that I have FIRE, I quit? Huh? Sorry?

Is it really true that our problems and stress will All be gone when FIRE comes?

Is it easier really to find purpose with what we are doing, simply because u are on FIRE. 

Perhaps FIRE made it easier as you can focus, and give u the luxury of pacing yourself. But finding that purpose in life/ work, has nothing to do with money, if u think deeper. If u already have a purpose, u can have the best of both world. Get paid and perhaps use only one of your weekend to pursue your "purpose", yes, we cannot do it to our heart content, but u get paid while u do a diet-light version of your "calling"

If u like your work, but hate the office politics, the bureaucracy, your stupid and rude boss, whatever, u should be happy too. For me, I love teaching, it went from 80% of my job scope when I begin to perhaps 30% now. Hey, then u strike gold lor. 30% of your pay is actually bonus every month. U do what u want and like and still get paid. Bear with the shit and stay low profile for the rest of the 70%. Shut up when office politics is going on, be a man-whore and say "I am sorry" when your boss is barking and think of the paid 30% you enjoyed. Waking up in the frecking early morning with only 5 hours of sleep? Hey, if Market turns down, you got Fire Power because u are still getting paid. U still has chance. 

Sometimes work turn out well too. Then? Super "shiok" right? You get paid and your ego got stroke, you got a free fan club etc.

This is a Rat and Ant speaking. Grasshoppers and fishermen please do not throw shoes at me. If u must throw, throw a branded new pair so that I can go online and sell ok. 

I am cheering those rats who FIrE remain a distant goal. In the 50s of perhaps never going to happen. If u feel like a loser in this bloggersphere of investors, and if it make you feel better, u have a fellow loser here, perhaps the biggest loser if measured by portfolio size. But it's ok. I am a happy loser. Let's be happy rats before we can evolved into something else. It's easier to be happy when we are grasshoppers; but rats are not doomed to sadness. The external conditions might not be as pleasing, but hey, we got spending power. Bite me. LOL. Oops, I know of someone that passive income a month is perhaps is my 1 year income, but nevermind, I chose to be a happy rat. Running on trendmill and doing my best part-time grasshopper. 

Rats! We can be cute. There is Mickey Mouse.