Some Ramblings in August

Just some updates since I haven’t been posting much.

Truth be told, I’ve actually made a few sloppy drafts about a range of topics, but I decided not to post them.

One of it was about the recent Pokemon Go craze and why people really need to stop hating on people playing this game. A lot of people have been coming out on social media shaming and hating on people playing this game. I don’t know why though. Does it make them feel cool that they aren’t playing this game? I see this as an inability to mind one’s own business. And this can be applied to other things as well, but oh well. Sexual preference, religious preference… even dietary preference, oh gawd, I could go on and on. The world does not need your stamp of approval to function. Deal with it.
Another one is about Joseph Schooling and his Olympic gold. Honestly, it’s freaking amazing and I’m really impressed and full of respect for him. However, I am deeply ashamed of how Singaporeans in general have reacted to this. “Finally, a REAL Singaporean athlete… we don’t need trash FT, send them home!”. Some Singaporeans can have really shallow and low level thinking. Having a first world city clearly does not equate to having world class citizens. No one can choose where they are born, much like their gender or their race, but people can and do decide to become a citizen of particular countries. Isn’t that good enough? Maybe all funding in Singapore should only be given to Orang Asli if that is the argument you want to bring to the table. This level of double standard is EFFING atrocious. It’s actually very sad. I hate this argument on “authenticity” because people are so deeply rooted in illogical cultural arguments. (Bonus: Super boss Idea Channel video on Organic Food, which… some might find the thought process very similar. Now, that’s what I call a good intellectual discussion.)
In other news, one of my side business ideas didn’t work out, although it was a very cheap and fun learning experience for me to understand a lot about running a website. Total investment is less than $100 for everything and I basically have a website to tinker and play with until it expires in a year. I’ll be using it as my live platform to practice my coding and my other web ideas. But like I said, on the plus side, I could seriously become a web designer now if I wanted to. I really ought to do something about my blog layout since I probably could, but it’s functional for me and I don’t really see the need to yet.

My other ideas have been put on the backburner while I figure out other things. I’ve got 2-3 freelancing ideas, as well as an idea for a social enterprise website, but I’m just too busy and I haven’t met anyone that I can partner with to run with it. Anyway, it’s a social enterprise, so it’s not like I’m gonna get super rich or anything doing it, but it would be nice to contribute a bit to society, or so I’ve heard. Without money as a motivator, shit really doesn’t get done fast. It this a positive point to the capitalist argument?

However, I do have a particularly interesting idea, and that is to be a part-time drive with the taxi-alternatives (Uber / Grab). I think to a few people, this sounds very silly and ridiculous, but I take Uber often and I see plenty of drivers around my age ferrying people around. As of now, it is one of the few things to easily help people transform their free time into money.

I’ve also formed a more concrete personal philosophy regarding time, work and money in my life. Everyone has 24 hours a day and it’s up to us to choose what we want to spend that time doing. After all the essentials (sleep, grooming, eating, etc), we are left with 2 choices – work or play. If you work, you earn money. If you play, at best, you don’t spend money, but at worst, you use up money, which hopefully you gain some happiness from. Choosing the type of work is important (ability, happiness, salary, hours), but 95% of us have a full-time fixed job, in the sense that our hours and earnings are fixed. If it is a Saturday and you decide, “hey, I don’t feel like sitting at home doing nothing, I feel like working and earning money instead!”, what are your options? To be able to work more hours and get more salary at your full-time job is not only hard, but also slightly unconventional. The rise of Uber/Grab has actually opened a door for people who want to have a 2nd part-time job and can “work” at their own leisure.
I’m particularly busy for the next month or so at work, but after September, I am strongly considering to throw my hat into the ring and play around being a part-time driver for a while. I’m considering weekday nights and also on weekends, but it really depends on my schedule! There are also some initial investments that has to be made, like getting a quality handphone stand, car mobile phone charger and also portable dashboard cameras (I’ve been seeing a lot road rage and bad driving recently. There is also a lot of hate being directed against Uber/Grab drivers just going about doing their job)

On the investment front, markets are boring as shit. The US indices are just go up and my shorts are getting slaughtered. I’m back to the usual daily “margin call” call and I’m on the edge. A spike in the markets and I’m closed out. On the bright side, I’m only gambling with money that I can afford to lose, so this irrationality of the markets isn’t going to make me insolvent. I still maintain that risk assets look horrible and I’m just slowly and happily building up my cash position. I’ve been following Lance Roberts and his argument is compelling, but whatever floats your boat. Lots of people on CNBC are looking for 2200 by year end, so yeah.

I’m on the lookout for medium quantum long-term investments now. I want to move away from the classical financial instruments and diversify into something like property or a business. In Singapore, all you get to choose is from $1000 unit trusts, or $500k studio apartments with almost nothing in between. I know of people buying overseas properties and when they shared the details, it honestly does sound very lucrative. $100k for an overseas property does sound very do-able, but like I said before, I don’t really like the idea of being the sole owner and landlord of a property. Higher rewards, but a lot higher risks and that doesn’t appeal to me very strongly. I would actually like to be a silent partner in a business. I provide capital, some oversight, strategic direction and I take a cut of the profits. Something more hands-off. Any ideas? I know people that might be interested even if I am not. Send me an email!
Turning to the local property market, the market looks to me in a permanent lull, on the verge of breaking down. The properties that I am eyeing have either not budged at all (with also near-zero transactions), while others are in a bidding war with other owners in the same development. Prices for that particular development is down almost 10% since 2 years ago with just a handful of transactions in between. I’ve seen the same listings month after month. Not sure if the agents have changed, but the pictures are the same. The owners there must be tearing their hair out not being able to rent or sell.
In fact, I’ve been waiting so long that the range of options that I was initially looking at has expanded since I’ve accumulated more money and I can consider more expensive options. I’m still looking for convenience and I’m willing to fork out a pretty penny for that. I’ve some candidates for that. Convenience with a view is hard to come by, but I’ve found a particular development that seems interesting, but will require more research.

However, I do feel that the time is coming, so I’m going to start gearing up my property skills in a few months time, perhaps after the bulk of my work is done for the year.

Leisure-wise, I’ve only had 1 holiday this year so far! That solo trip to Japan was insanely awesome and I am quite yearning for another trip soon! I’ve sort of begun my preparations by setting out the dates, but I’ve yet to confirm the direction of my travel, so I can’t book my flight tickets yet! This is a problem because I see that ticket prices are inching up, slowly but surely (unrelated but, GMGH’s Travel Tips!). Anyway, I’m planning to have a mega long trip next year over the early CNY holidays to make up for the lack of travelling this year. I’m still researching my itinerary and I’m contacting friends who are there to let them know that I’ll be dropping by. I am expecting it to be a pretty epic trip for me!

So there you go, I haven’t been posting much because I’ve quite a lot of things on my plate these days. I still have plenty of drafts with good post ideas, so hopefully I can pump out a few good articles in the coming weeks. Like I said though, I’d probably be quite a bit more free in a month or so. However, if the markets start to get interesting again, expect me to be back and commenting on it!

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