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

随心笔:雨

突然的一场倾盆大雨,
停住了紧张的步伐,
望望还没破晓的天,
想起以前淋着雨回家...

有点犯愁,怎么回到车上,
又想起已前好像没有车,
孩子们好像没有什么,
却什么都做,还做得很开心。

雨小了,冲进我的车后,
觉得有点冷。
那里还下雨吗?
雨接连着两个地方,
也让被雨洗礼过的心,
连接到过去。

冷,当兵时湿淋淋一直往前走,也很冷。
雨,是否能带走?
也许是我希望它带走我。
雨停了,该工作了。

Friday, July 7, 2017

随心笔:静

静!

让你想起什么?

安静?冷静?平静?静止?

静,的反义让你想起什么?

动?乱?还是吵?

争,然后才能静?

青,绽放出所有青春、精力,才体会静?

累了,才发现食物的滋味。

累了,才知道之前争的,有没有意义。

累了,就会静下来。

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:

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. 

 
CSR:


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

随心笔:静水

清静的黄昏,湖面反射晚霞。
一切好平静,好安逸。
我走近湖边,发现湖布满了青苔。
快天黑了,周围好静,
彷佛时间静止了。
我看着没被青苔遮掩的一角,
看见了一身怪影。
我毛骨悚然,退了一步。
我再向前一看,
那影子面目阴森恐怖,
好像是自己。
捡起一块石头,
丢下湖中,水激起层层连波,
水不再平静,耳边隐约听到嘲笑声。
想转身走开,怎么就陷入湖中。
我冷静,不再挣扎。
湖中倒影越来越多,
水面慢慢又静止了。
我看清楚了,
那自己的倒影。
那好久没见的心魔。

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 (http://www.hupogu.com/S/SZ300465/view-post) 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. "

and 

"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.

Risk.
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? 

Conclusion

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:
无名天地之始。有名万物之母。

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

随心笔:我输得起

本无一物?比什么?
老爷,你功力深厚,看破红尘。

既然“有”就能比,但也可以不比。
我有,但不比,也没法输。
老哥,你修为极高。

我有,也看到他人有,
我能比,也想比。
但我输了,我接受,
我还替人开心,
觉得他是才俊。
老弟,你够豁达的。

我有,心里觉得少,
看他多,心里难受。
唉,朋友,我了解,
有时我们都这样,
干一杯,笑一笑,
我们坦然。

我有,装没有,
没有,以为有,
知之为不知,不知为之知
小子,这样不行,
输给自己,输得一塌糊涂。

 


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.

 


Friday, March 17, 2017

Random thoughts: Family time making DIY photo frame

My wife's school doing a fund raising. Ask teachers to do DIY photo frames.

So here we go. 

One of the ugliest using recycled material is mine sobz sobz. Of the 3 wooden frame, one is done by me alone. Can u guess which one?

 

 

 

 

Rather pleased with myself. Ask my son "nice?" He said "Nice" resoundingly for one and laugh at the other . Hoho 

Ok now. Market survey! Let's have fun. Proceed go to charity or school's fund. If u are at the school flea market, which one will u buy? And how much will u pay?

Assume u have to buy la. Show some face can. Virtual world quiz. Don't hurt my feelings and say "pay me also dun want"

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Random thoughts: Sorry, my eyes must be playing tricks on me

Interest finally raise. 

But reits and trusts under my radar is in a sea of green, greener than usual? 

Constructions companies has been on the limelight recently, then followed by suppliers of construction materials. By Lee metals is still going under? A profitable company that is giving dividends at 7% but at about half of EPS? Margin better than competitors but competitors cheong and left it behind? 

Actually, I am quite surprised at the fuss over the 700 mio brought forward by the government. The projected demand is 28 bio to 34 bio. 700 mio is like Mickey Mouse amount right? Of course better than nothing, but it's no like singapore building third IR 

When price go higher, analyst report quote even better and higher target price. I am not surprised by this though. Wow, didn't know YZJ has suddenly went from HTM blown up potential to alpha male in shipping industry... LOL

TRUST yourself than your eyes. LOL

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Random thoughts: What does Financial achievement means to u?

I felt a sense of financial achievement recently.

In the bloggersphere of investors, once we start showing our portfolio, we inevitable start to compare, and it haunt me initially. I felt so small, just like my portfolio. LOL. That was in the past. 

Recently, on my trip to Ringku Outlet in Osaka, I struggled to convince myself to get a branded wallet and bag for my wife and in-law. They are value for money because they are at about half the price of what you get in Singapore.

I knew my wife always use a sling wallet, and I really felt like getting a nice one for her. I finally decided in getting 1 wallet and 1 bag at 70% discount.

After I bought them, instead of the usual guilt I felt when I spend unnessarily. I was quite excited about showing them to my wife.

When I reached home, and show them what I bought for them, they were happy. My wife found the wallet too small bit used it nonetheless, but really love the anello bag (premier edition) which I got for her.

Financial achievement is able to splurge on my loved ones, without throwing away our future. I might have just thrown away my financial freedom, with the several hundreds compounded at 6-7% annually becoming a great deal in 30 years time. 

But I felt happy. Seeing my wife using the wallet, transferring her cards and money to the new wallet makes me happy too. 


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Random thoughts: My thoughts of Japan's schools

This is a random thought series and is purely my perception.

I have already visited 4 schools. One "highly-ranked"public school, 1 private school (both junior high and senior high) and one international school.

Beside the private school, the facailties is really so-so, but the facilities at the private school is rather impressive. 

  
 

Indoor swimming pool, art gallery and etc.

But what really blow my mind away is a run-down international school. It is my vision made into a reality and shown in my face. 

The school does IB. Most international schools in Singapore has IB curriculum too. The curriculum is half the story. This is a school where the curriculum, the form, the substance, the management, the teachers are all aligned. The sums of the parts are greater  than the total. It really inspired me.

The P said "whatever we lacked in resources and facilities, we hope to make it up with quality teaching" 

And they delivered.

I know the IB programme, at least the theory of it, it focus a lot on thinking, and not just "product" of knowledge and skills. The principal valued conceptualization of knowledge and skills and assess it through the abilities of pupils to transfer its knowledge. 

Trust me, I am a cynical person. I usually take what I hear with a pitch of salt. I know Marketing gimmicks  and etc. but the introduction just took 5 minutes. He then said, "I will bring you around the school, show u where the classes are, then I will give u time to walk into any classrooms. U dun even have to knock, the teachers are expecting you. Feel free to interact with our pupils, they are not shy. You can talk to our teachers too, as long as you dun disturb their teaching"

Such confidence of the school. Look, no restriction, we can go into any classrooms and I did went into many of them. 

As a fellow educator, I am a "insider" when I see how they teach, first, pupils set their own rubrics of writing with help from teachers. I never thought of using rubric this way. It is not about the rubrics but how they really build thinking into the curriculum. 

I saw pupils doing group work and the  tasks for various groups are all different but the kids know what actually to do. I ask the teacher about it, and her eyes beam! She is very excited that I notice the arrangement and explain very enthusiastically how she does it.

When I ask if it is structured accordingly to difficulty level, she told me the differentiation is within the task expectations and not the task itself, the tasks are but "different routes to Rome". Before I left, she told me I ask very good questions and is more than willing to engage me further in the pedagogical discussion through email. Such Passion. 

It's not the teachers alone. IB seek to develop effective communicators who are confident. I want to test it, I really spoke to the pupils, ask them what they are doing, and while the command of the language is not perfect, they answer coherently. They are not shy and are able to provide details when prompted. I ask questions like, do u know why are u doing this activity, and how do u know if u are good at it (metacognitive questions , and these P2 pupils can answer me!) 

Just for fun, how would u answer when I ask if u know if your exhibitions and presentations are good? He gave me very practical answers which is what the real world works. In a real world, there is no "rubrics", so the kid replied "my audiences will give me feedbacks, and I can see if my stall is popular" Isn't this Marketing? Listen to your customer and see if you can draw crowds?

Coincidently, they have the grade 2 pupils doing a exhibition on the theme "process", and just like what I read on books, they really invite different audiences, peers from the other class, parents and the P ask us to join them to view their exhibition and listen to their presentations. 

The kids are suppose to talk about their peers' performance by writing on paper their peers' strengths and weaknesses before they leave the room. 

Of course, I wrote the positives, but deep inside me, I felt some the exhibition can do better with more details and elaboration of the processes they are talking about. But I tell myself not to be too critical on these P2/3 kids. When I put down my marker, I saw a little boy writing what I had in mind under the "weakness" column with details like what actually could be elaborated by the presenter. It is meaningful, specific and formative feedbacks given by a P2-P3 boy. wow !! This is no fluke. The pupils are benefiting from a robust curriculum, with the right leadership and accompanying pedagogy.

When I went to the next school whose facilities can put our university to shame, I have no chance to interact with the pupils. When we were brought to a class preparing for English festival, I gently ask the VP if I could ask a pupil some questions, I was quite taken aback when he told me politely "No"

I know it's not possible to simply transfer what I saw at the international school into my school. They do not have the same assessments pressure and their class size if 1/3 or -1/4 of that ours. But it gave me confidence that whatever I had in mind, could actually really be achieved. 

I really feel the words "teachers shape the future of a nation". I was talking to Rolf the other time, and he mentioned he was worried about the mentality of the young graduates working under him. 

I also really saw how a school system really produce different pupils. Confident fluent speakers or otherwise, all the kids are universally still innocent and have that sparkles in their eyes, but under different systems, they all "turned out" differently.

I wish I can do well to kick start some good practices when I am back. I shall give myself 2 years. I know I will lose it all when I am so busy that I can't do anything or dun feel like doing anything different.

I had wish I had something to "die for", something I will not feel apologetic about pushing teachers to work doubly hard. I think I have some concept now. Hope I learn more and not get so caught up be grades. Grades and percentage is still a very emotive topic within myself.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Coporate updates: Further liquidation of portfolio

Dear Readers,

It is with great pleasure that over a short span of 3 months, Sillyinvestor inc has manage to have 2 counters that hit targets of gains of 32% and 39% respectively. The 2 counters are Yangzijiang and Venture.

We are now 65% cash. Our company will not rush to deploy the cash. While the market is on a row, we decide to take risk off the table as we felt we might not be able to time the market correctly and get the maximum profits. 

YZJ holding period is only about 4 months, and Venture is 13 months.

If we find no opportunity over the next 2-3 years, we will just delist

Monday, March 6, 2017

随心笔:教育

教学生要以他为本,
办学校要以实用为准。

学习要有乐趣,
乐趣不在于做了什么,
而在于发现了什么。
发现自己,比发现知识更可贵。
发现知识,比成绩卓越更重要。
我们看得到成绩,却看不到知识,自觉,
所以用力追求看得见、靠谱的,
忘了学生为本是什么。
少用眼睛看,少用脑分析,
多用心体会,他们,自己。

办校?我懂个屁?
我没办过校。
但是要讲究实用。
资源,在提高实用性。
资源,必须从人开发。
废人不会善用资源。
人的潜能无限,
那是最大的资源,
别再等其他的资源,
也不必等。
外在资源太多,并不一定是好事。

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Random thoughts: Osaka shopping belt and Orchard Road

For someone who hate shopping like me, I find shopping at Osaka a better experience in general.

Why? It is equally crowded if u ask me. But there is more variety and "exits"


Within the busy central corridor, there are many alleys there is peppered with food stalls. There is no worry about traffic and it felt like a "夜市” (night market ) concept. Plenty of local food and bontique shops. Pricing is comparable in Singapore, but you will be surprise that some quality bags and selected items ( such as the Fever stickers for kids) are actually cheaper here than in Singapore. The local version  of fish cakes sticks is also very different with more ingredients to let my group mates give the thumb-ups and emm non stop. I dun eat meat, so dun ask me how they taste. 

As we walk, we reach the "atas" building of takashimaya of Osaka 

 

Here, the shops and experiences are somewhat similar to what u would get in Singapore, just that it is more crowded even at the cosmetic counters and despite the language barrier, can't help to feel that the workers are trying their best to explain their products and smile at u. (But sorry, I totally catch no balls) 

However, their shops are bigger. Their pastries selection at the basement is also almost twice as many as singapore. Their Starbucks store is 3 storeys high with books available for customers to read. I guess the rents are not as high as singapore, otherwise, there is some thoughts put into "customers' experience" at their "flagship stores". They even have their localized Sakura coffee. (Taste ok, but not fantastic)
 

What I have described so far is if I turn "right" from my hotel, and visit the more central commercialize zones. If I turn left, there are more "heartland" retail experiences.  No big crowds but F&B outlets are busy. 

We got a chance to do hands-on for making plastic displays for food. 

 

Here, we key in our orders for food outside the shop and pay for it before proceeding into the shop with our order slips.

This is where I thought as least they should have a picture on every button. I have a hard time matching the displayed menu and the words on the various buttons and end up ordering the wrong food. 

 
 See my blur face? Need to ask more? 

In general, I felt in a very small area of perhaps 1-2 km square, and equivalent of our Orchard Area, there is plenty of variety in retail experiences. I cannot say the same for Singapore. 

For someone who cannot tahan shopping, I bought a bag, facial mask and muscle rub for wife and dad. Spent quite a bit even as a giam gana.

The only grouse perhaps is the temp between the outdoors and indoors is quite drastic, just like Singapore, but the reverse. It's quite warm indoors and cool outdoors. 


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Random thoughts: using stop order to protect profits

Recently, I ask my broker for options in my interface for advance orders. I also pestered SMOL a lot since it is more complicated than I thought.

I did read up a bit before that. It is simple concept, but the interface isn't. Basically to protect profits, u sell at a price lower than current price but it will not be activated until the market hit your trigger price. 

What I want to achieve with this? Actually YZJ and Venture already hit my target gains. I am very tempted to take profits. So I actually key in a lower price and if it got sold, so be it. But if it run, I can move the selling price higher every day. I manage to do that for yesterday so the profits for today is already higher than yesterday. 

That's the no-brainer part. 

Then when my acc is activated a week ago.

I goes like 

 

It's quite overwhelming.

I went online and understood what is FAK, FOK, agar agar know what is GTD GTM, but did not know the difference between day and GTD.

Then I go SMLL for "time in force" and "conditional"

Why is there a stop price and another price below. What the hell is market limit. 

I felt a bit pie say pestering SMOL so I ask my broker, his explanation made me more confuse only and he gave me a no. To call. Anyway the person at the no. She also not too sure when I prob further too. 

But in the end, it is still Smol that explained everything nicely and "understooded" ... I had wanted to treat him to a drink but someone beat me to It LOL. 

Thank you SMOL for your patience, and thank you ROLF, for the drink Muhahahahah 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Random thoughts: Joy is both the fuel and fire for sustained learning

They say learning is to change. 

I reflected on my learning journey. What are some of the things that I have been doing on a sustained basis, they are those related in my work and those related to investment. 

The benchmark here is sustainability, not results. Not saying my teaching super solid or my investment skills power. But I am still trying out new ways of teaching despite all odds, even in school. While I might not be able to read as much in the past, I do have a habit of reflecting on the failures of a particular lesson and how to do it better. Same with investment, I still read business news everyday and financial reports of companies under my radar. 

What keep me going? Why didn't I have as much success in areas of health (eat properly or exercise regularly) or spiritually ( Commit to the 5 "commandments")

I ask myself, what have I got from investment. I did have some winnings that gave me a adreline rush at times, but more importantly, it opened up a new perspective. I see things from another angle of business and investment. It's like opening up a new eye. I also make some friends or know some like-minded people. 

In the past, I wanted very much to be acknowledged as "intellect", wanted my analysis of companies to gain followers or approval from guys at value buddies and etc. Well, not that I have gain any recognition, but I felt very at ease now leaving comments at forums or blogs, and enjoy the interaction even if there is no affirmation. 

The same goes with my teaching work. I get a kick at times with delivering superb results, but mainly just enjoy the company of young children. When their eyes go "Kim Kim" I simply felt so satisfied.I also see a world of purity and innocence through the pupils lens. U can say a new perspective too.

My learning at work is really trial and error. I will do a bit more reading now together with talking to people as a way to hone my craft. I have so many ideas to bring back. 

These are my successes at sustainability.

How about health? Do I regularly or whenever possible exercise to eat healthily? Obviously no. 

Do I knowingly not clear my minds of evil thoughts even though I am fully aware of them? Obviously I am not practicing well in my spiritual path too.

Looking at the successes and failure, it is Joy that is present at both successes and absent in both failures.

So what feed joy? Is it small successes? Well, u might not believe me when I say I had six pack belly and can run 2.4 km in 9 minutes during My NS days and still getting Gold in my initial reservist years.

Had I have my success? I did. But it did not sustain. 

Is it compananship of like minded people. That is highly possible an important ingredient. I still run quite a bit during my uni days because it easy to find "ka" to run with and I am not adverse to running alone too. I do have a "ka" to run with in school if I want, but just sianz to do it. 

So the companionship is not just someone to run with me but also share the same joy and frequency in running.

Can I just force myself to do something so that it becomes a habit. They say do it continuously for 18 months and it will become a habit. I say it's deeper than that, the conditions for that habit to develop must stay too, if there is no joy in doing it. I ran every day in my NS days for 2 years. I play Mahjong almost every week in my uni days before I met my wife. 

Of the 2 successes I had, are their periods of "non-joy". U bet. 

In the failures, are their occasional joy too? There is. But in areas of investment and teaching, the practice of it itself is joyful. I can't say the same for controlling my diets. I can say the reverse is true, I enjoy "nuaning" at home and snacking .. LOL

Now, is it possible to program yourself to enjoy what u do almost every time U do it. (Interest, motivation are all lumped together with joy, joy is a simplistic example for positive feeling). This goes back to the question of innate ability or borned with it. 

 I believe there is a certain degree of truth in we are all built for certain things. Some things we do, we just feel so at ease, with the flow. Some we just have to make the efforts to go against the flow. 

U can't program yourself to feel joy. It's a fuel, but it is also a sign of what u are built of, its a signal to tell you if u are in the right place. 

This is not about what we can achieve. U can hate your work and still be rank higher than me in terms of achievements, but given a choice U will jump ship whereas I will continue. 

Making sense? Hope so. 


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Random thoughts: Buy New, buy used or just renew COE?

I had the weirdest experience.

My friend recently Trade in his previous Toyota Altis for 30K (about same age as mine) and bought a new one.

I thought: Wow, it's still worth so much. Assume Mine is worth 20K, it might be worth it to consider getting a new attrage (the cheapest Japanese saloon in market)

I called the Mitsubishi showroom and ask for a quotation. I was quoted 8K for my Vios of mileage 180k. When I say de-registering the car now or by May would give me 8K too, since my ARF is about 14K and I have 1 more year to go. She didn't reply.

So, guess I am still back to my original plan of renewing COE.

Maybe my friend mileage is low. But the trade-in value is quite ridiculous IMHO.

Had I manage to get a higher trade-in value, the depreciation rate might have convinced me to jump ship and consider getting a new car. But it's about the same rate of depreciation now:

Assume I renew my car for 5 years for 25K and gave up my PARF of 7k. It's 32K. So depreciation is less than7 K a year.

Trading my car for a new Attrage would also mean I get a depreciation of 8K a year.

Not very huge difference if u ask me, but I would have much better cash flow renewing my car since I need not worry about loans. As for servicing or repair, I think it is still much cheaper then paying a loan of about 500-600 per month. 

But I would get to drive 5 years more. I am quite sure my wife would like to have the convience of a car. I would like to provide for that too. 

The savings of $600 over 5 years would be $36000, which could be my downpayment for my next car, if I so wish to get 1. 

I looked at second hand car of 1-2 years too, but a search of Sg carmart for cars register from 2015 onwards show prices about the same for a brand new Attrage. Makes no sense to me again. If I look at cars with 5 years Remaining. It's the same. 

But looking around for options does help me make a more informed choice.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Lee metals: Steel delivering

Dividends that is. 

While NP profits fell compared to a year ago, dividends of 2 cents is 0.71 of EPS and 0.35 of FCF. No financially strain here,.

I recently increased my position. I felt 2017 will be a better year for Lee metals. I have holding this company since 2013, and has receive 8.5 cents. Before u poke, let me strip myself- I bought it at a av price 33 cents.

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.

Next, 2017 steel prices has been on a roll. Increasing steel price is a boon for Lee metals. 

Lee metals is largely owned by family. So it is rather illiquid. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Random thoughts: The sense of urgency as a student

Time flies, as much as I enjoy my semi-retirement life as a student, (Stressfree at full pay, how cool is that?)it is almost at half way point. It is quite a hectic schedule, but stress-free, makes hell a lot of difference. 

I felt an urgency to really read as much as possible, talk to people as much as possible and prepare as much as possible before I go back to school, because I am aware, once I return, my capacity is so stretched that I cannot even think properly.

I have questioned many of my practices,  formed some vague but at least  basic understanding of how to put my core beliefs in education into action. It is inter-connected, but basically, the core pedagogy (enabler) should be differentiation, by-product, joy. The final product is mastery of discipline and not just knowledge. 

From teaching, to coaching, to deployment, there are so many new ideas, it makes me feel so obsolete. I had became a dinosaur before I knew it. 

I wonder how can I find the time to deepen my understanding when I go back, I notice from an idea to a concept, I took quite a while, I read, got ideas, talk to people or write to crystallize the idea, refine it, and the fantastic idea begin to feel "redundant" as more assumptions get challenged, and when I continue to explore and think, it became clearer and clearer,  technically it took 4-6 weeks from the initial birth of an idea to where it is now and it is still changing when I put it into something concrete to bring back.

How different, when I heard my school is embarking on a massive review on assessment and expect one discussion and 2 hours to get it done? Premature babies are seldom healthy and has high mortality rate. But I understand,  2 hours is already a luxury. 

We are all trying to change the tyre when the car is moving. 

I have only half the time left. Will my latest "upgrade" of biological computer last me 5 years? Perhaps, I would go take my Masters, something I never thought I will do. But that is 4-5 years down the route. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Random thoughts: My biggest takeaway as a student

My mental model.

Not the slogan shouting type of positive attitude etc. it's my understanding and analysis lens. 

I now see issues in 2 ways: the pendulum and the ice-berge. 

Pendulum 

It's easier to see the faults or weaknesses of current situation. But we sometime forget the trade-off when we swing the other side. Anything extreme is not good. 

But it is important to know where we stand in the arc of pendulum none the less. It makes us aware of how we do damage control or value add in terms of costs of being at this side of the pendulum. 

What is more important, though, is we won't be caught swinging around. If we happen to be at the right side of the swing at the right time, then u get tail wings. When u are at the wrong side, u know u can expect headwinds. Why not just go with the flow. To a certain extend, we all are alreading going with the flow, there is no much choice, but u keep applying resistance such that hopefully one day, the swing comes to the right place. 

Ice-Berge 

What u see, is much lesser than what u don't see. Let me write this part through a story in a mocking manner.

------------------------------------------------------------

Boss: look why are things so disorganized! Why is sales so bad. 
Men: (glum silence)
Boss: what can we do!
Men: maybe we should look at what difficulties the sale team is facing.
Boss: Yes! You are right. U have 2 days. I want to see surveys done by them, interviews recorded and transcripts sent to my desk. I want action plans on my table. 
Men: Yes sir!

1 week later 

Boss: I have read through, some of the sale staff are not sure what to do. What the heck are u managers doing. I want to see instructional menus given to staff, I want SOP to be established. I want u to brief them on these things, understand! And I want you to closely monitor their performance ! I want spreadsheet! If they need training, u better hell send them there. 

---------------------------

**Get my drift ?? Winks. Ya, I am applying my pendulum thinking in the above too. It has swing too far.  

FSL trust and singpost update

FSL trust

I used to own FSL trust and it has been on my radar since. Many things have happened, and I thought readers should know.

1) CEO left. He made no secret his unhappiness and the board did not mince words in explaining the reasons of letting him go. Apparently, there is some coporate issue and conflict of interest. The Ex-CEO is accused of pursuing his own interest over the trust.

2) Profit guidance. The trust is expected to report loss due to impairment but still positive in generating cash flow.

U can read the announcements from the SGX. When I first read 2 announcements, I am rather tempted to re-enter the counter if the price is good. It is cash flow that determine payout although the impairment might cause stresses on its loan convenant.

However, I decided against it when I read this:

 

FSL do have 4500-5000  TEU containers chartered to YM and it's a big contributor to revenue.
 
 While the news state 4500 TEU - 5000 TEU, I am not sure if FSL will be spared.


Yang ming is the biggest contributor. So I will leave it alone.

 Singpost

I will leave FSL behind and is going to leave Singpost behind me. 


Scenario 3 happens. Top line is increasing fine but the bottom line is horrible. The main culprit if u read the presentation is the ballooning expenses in US companies.

The wound did not end there. To add salt to injury, one major customer of the US firm went bankrupt. That is already reduce business dealings with it before it bankrupt is not comfort to me. 1 thing is quite clear, this is a bad deal as there is going to be impairment going forward.

Given the new dividend policy of pegging payout to profits. U can kiss decent dividends good bye.

I am kissing it goodbye come Monday. I still like the company but no longer it's current price 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Random thoughts: Overpaying by 400% for years.

Car servicing and repair, is what I am talking about.

I have always gone to the authorized dealer for servicing and repair. I wanted a peace of mind. The fact that one of my friends had a bad experience with cheaper workshop also created my bias.

Yesterday, my car's air-con was spoilt. I drive it back to Buneo Motors. I was told it was most probably a coil problem. I was quoted $2300 after discount. Although the price is ridiculous, I am still willing to go along with it, as it has become my habit and I thought since I am renewing my car, I might as well get the original part.

Deep inside, I am wondering why it cost so much, since a system 2-3 air con cost the same. 

What broke my back is I was told that since I did a walk-in, my car will be ready earliest on Wednesday, and there is a possibility that I might get it on Thursday.

I chat with the taxi driver and he gave me his workshop contact. I asked for a quotation and it was $600. That's almost 4 times difference. I can change the coil every 2 years and I still save. 

I got a rude shock. I have been a corkster all this time. From year 3 onwards till now. I asked about servicing package and again what I was quoted was 3-4 times cheaper. I had always thought the premium I pay us 30-50% more. Not 3-4 times more. 

Good luck to the new management of buneo motors. I understand some people like to bring their car for servicing in style, with lounge etc. But to close down sin Ming and let customers wait 2 days or more for their car is going to be a bad mistake in Singapore. 

I am going to try their servicing service. The air con is working fine. 

I have been paying for things I don't need, such as a nice lounge, receptionist  etc. I am cheapo, I actually like the no-drill direct talk with the mechanics. 

Good bye buneo motors. I am not coming back. 


Friday, February 3, 2017

Random thoughts: meeting friends not seen almost over 2 decades

My college friends, to be precise. 

We meet up during the CNY holidays but did not have enough. One of them is based in China, so we had a Friday lunch together. 5 hours just fly by. 

I have wanted to write a post on my student's life. It is like my FI dream come true. But decided against publishing it. I wouldn't be able to meet them for lunch if I am not a student. A student life is cognitive stimulating but emotional less fulfilling for me, but definitely less mentally and physically taxing.

Anyway, I Digress.

My friends have both climbed up the coporate leaders very successfully, perhaps at the pinnacle for our age group. The first part of our conversation centered around work.

The interesting part is about our aspirations. When I shift the conversation from the tangible to the satisfaction, I was really intrigued.

My friend gave up a high position in a listed company to help a MNC set up a subsidiary in Singapore. It was 3 times more hectic and some nights he totally goes without sleep. He told me he see it as a challenge to build something from scratch. The same goes for the other friend into estate development in China. The satisfaction comes from seeing through the project comes to fruitation.

I was the only one when I shared that my wish is to focus on teaching and take on less management roles and relying on investment income to make up the shortfall in pay. LOL. But we are not judgmental. 

I was taught a valuable lesson too. My friend told me in no uncertain terms that not all gift to a wife is really equal. No, it's not about monetary value. It's about surprise. An agreed gift is not a gift. Lol. Ok. I will create surprise for our anniversary. 

Towards the end, we all finally lossen up a bit, and the feelings of the good old days finally came back, even if it's a fleeing moment, I experience the secondary school feeling of 初心


Random thoughts: Visual metaphor for self-awareness

During my course, there is this module on coaching. 

And my trainer causally remarked that when she was the principal, she actually ask the teachers to think of a metaphor for their school vision.

I did the same for myself and realized a few things.

1) The first image that come to your mind reflect the state of current affairs. U have to be honest and not analyze too much. Just think of what comes to your mind. If it's a beautiful picture, good, if it's a ugly picture. Then u know u dun think too highly of yeh current situation.

2) Next, picture an ideal picture. The first one that comes to your mind. Strangely, after that picture appears, I have no problem explaining the metaphor, and the explanation holds true to my beliefs too.

3) Then it can be a rude awakening of what we are doing and what we visualize it's our perfect belief can be quite different.

Let me share mine:

 

Teaching- Night sky
I think of my teaching. First picture that comes to mind that sticks. Night sky. Beautiful, calm.

Every stars is my pupils, they all shine, although some brighter than others, but altogether makes up the beautiful sky. There is no need to compete. 

They shine because they reflect the light shone on them, and the are a mirror of they education. 

I am thinking too much of results and hoping all of them to shine brightly. I could not accept perhaps the dim star are also beautiful and make up the sky.

Teaching: The bad (test tubes)

Manipulation for results. Fit what I am doing now like a square.

Money matters- Golden hills

My idea is to have enough to spend such that it will never run out. True enough, I yearn FI

Money matters - begger (the bad)

Realize my low self-esteem too.

Home- Werewolf (bad)

Dun quite understand why this image sticks. Maybe because I have a inner demon? 
 

Home - Garden 
 
Close to nature, beatitful flowers that are a sanctuary to the tired. The care for flowers for them to blossom is like my care for my child. 

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If u try this mental Exercise, share with me your mental image and let me know if it accurately reflect your beliefs, will yA