Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Too Much Alone Time

I read this post

and I thought of my friend who is planning to quit her job. She has worked there for more than a decade and she's no deadwood.

The company is transferring her to work in the headquarters.

Her excuse for not wanting to be transferred was that she has to take care of her aged mother and sister, who is undergoing dialysis treatment.

I asked two of my friends who left their families at a young age to work in a foreign land.

"Do people like you look down on people like us?" I asked Ally (note: not her real name).

I, too, was reluctant to leave home and my parents when they were around.

Ally's reply: "Of course I don't look down on you all."

"I love my parents too but no matter how far apart we are, we will always keep in touch. I call them constantly, asking them things like whether they've eaten or not.  They know the love is there although I'm not there by their side," Ally said.

Another friend --- let's call her Mei Mei --- said: "Some of my colleagues also said they don't want to be transferred anywhere as their parents are old. But all parents are old. They can't be younger than us.

"Your friend should get out of the comfort zone so that she can become who she is destined to be," Mei Mei said.

Love is better than hate, like Annie wrote, but I wonder about filial piety and love at times. Love dazzles and uplifts but love also confines, stifles, confuses some of us some of the time.

Should parents encourage their children to leave home when they're all grown up and capable of taking care of themselves? 

It's all about the choices we make or have to make in life.

Some early morning ranting before I start packing my stuff again and bid adieu to

and head to KLIA2 later in the day for my flight to Manila, Philippines.

In Transit


Chilling at a transit hotel in Sepang, Selangor.  Nothing much to do here except bask in the luxury of some alone time.

Since there's no opportunity for shopping in the vicinity --- and my favourite Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur is 48km from here --- I could meditate in the room instead. Or read a book.  Or just sleep.

If I feel hungry, I'll just go down to the 24 hour cafe for a meal.

I started my journey by taking a Yoyo Express bus at 11am from the Bus and Taxi Terminal at Taman Ungku Tun Aminah, Johor Bahru. Ticket price from here is RM59.  

If you board the bus from here (Yong Peng), where the bus driver stopped for a 20-minute break, the
ticket price is RM33.

Arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at 3.25pm and at KLIA2, 10 minutes later.

The Uber fare from KLIA2 to the hotel (22km) which took less than 15 minutes was RM75. This is said to be the promo rate for rides to or from KLIA or KLIA2.  And it was just a Perodua Myvi.

But is this cheap or expensive? How much would a budget taxi or metered taxi cost?

To get to KLIA2 from the hotel for my flight, I have booked the airport shuttle service which is only RM10.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Warung Boyan

Had beef and chicken satay for dinner complemented with home-made chrysanthemum tea.  Chrysanthemum tea soothes the throat and relieves eye strain. It also dispels internal body heat.

I bought the satay, priced at RM0.80 sen each, from Warung Boyan commonly known as "Bakso Kubur Cina".  I was there earlier in the day.

You have to walk past these graves to get to Warung Boyan, located at Jalan Pujaan, Kebun Teh, Johor Bahru.

"Dining with the dead" but the living don't mind.  Business was thriving.

Is the Bakso (meatball) really so special?  I'm not exactly a big fan of meatball.  I had the "Bakso Special" (for lunch).  It costs RM6, a ringgit more than the normal Bakso.  The waiter told me the difference between the two was that there's more meat in the meatball of "Bakso Special".

Yeah, I might visit Warong Boyan again.  Maybe this time to try the ayam penyet. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

I Have A Dream

I'll be busy making plans for a trip, so I'll leave you with exerpts of a write-up by Rajen Devadason, a Securities Commission-licensed financial planner, professional speaker and author.

“LET the market help pay for that!” is something I often tell my clients when they decide to buy a new home or car, or plan to retire early or fund an overseas education for their children.

The market I refer to is the equity market comprising Bursa Malaysia and international stock markets. While I construct my clients’ portfolios from the building blocks of (up to) five asset classes (cash, fixed income, equities, investment real estate and alts or alternative investments), most of the time — in successful long-term portfolios with time horizons running from seven to twenty or more years — the asset class that generates the highest returns is equities.

For all its shortcomings, capitalism is the most successful economic system for wealth creation ever conceived. The best way to harness the advantages of broad-based stock ownership while mitigating the gut-wrenching effects of sometimes steep dives in stock prices is to NOT put all our eggs in one basket!

Diversification across different asset classes, especially less volatile cash and fixed income (bonds), stabilises overall portfolio valuation trajectories while equities provide rocket fuel for upward thrust.

In 2000, while researching my fourth book, Financial Freedom 2 — Through Malaysian Equities and Unit Trusts, which I co-wrote with Edmond Cheah and Wong Boon Choy, we went over 200 years of investment data.

Our conclusion was that equities provide the best long-term returns of all asset classes, better even than real estate investment and commodities. Our findings have been corroborated repeatedly.

“Always keep in mind that equities have outpaced inflation and to a lesser degree fixed income investments over time — and sometimes, to a superior margin.”

The 2016 World Wealth Report published by Capgemini found that earlier this year the world’s high-net worth individuals (HNWIs) had their largest wealth slice in equities. They had placed 24.8 per cent of their total investable wealth in stocks and stock funds, ahead of all other asset classes (cash, 23.5 per cent; fixed income, 18 per cent; real estate, 17.9 per cent, and alts, 15.7 per cent). The world’s greatest, most effective stock picker is Warren Edward Buffett. 

In this year’s Forbes ranking of the world’s wealthiest people, Buffett, who will turn 86 on Aug 30, was ranked third with US$60.8 billion (RM247 billion), despite having given away tens of billions of dollars in targeted philanthropy.

For the full article, go to NST online: Long Term Stocks Are Best

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Make It Fun

Don't be seduced by debt or goaded by greed.

Set a financial goal.  Goals don't just happen.  Know with clarity what is your goal   --- be it saving for your child's education or retirement ---  save bit by bit but do it regularly and consistently.  Develop that discipline.  And make it fun.

Maybe after you've set aside RM100 for saving, you can treat yourself to a cool blue drink.

Better to cultivate self-discipline than to plunge into a commitment. I was inspired to write this post after a friend --- he's 28 and planning to buy a house in two years --- told me he wants to take out a ASB scheme where he can get RM50,000.

He said he plans to use that as deposit for the house.  I said "Okay la, sounds like a good deal".

But then he told me he would have to pay about RM300 for 20 years, and get 7.5 to 8 per cent in returns annually.

I'm not quite sure how the scheme works.  But it would be quite taxing and stressful if after taking up that scheme, other commitments or something unexpected pops up.

It's better to save up for the deposit first, which requires only self-discipline.

Embark on a journey to financial freedom, and make it a fun ride to reach that goal.

Stick to a healthy diet, sleep well, exercise and fill in the gaps with vivid imagination.  Serve with sincere efforts, give thanks aplenty and bear in mind the impermanence of all things.

Have a cool blue day.

Friday, July 15, 2016


This  KL-JB express bus (pictured) left the Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) in Kuala Lumpur this morning at around 8.05am, although the ticket stated 7.50am.

I think it's normal to start a bit later than the scheduled time.  I didn't hear any complaints from the other commuters either.

But at 8.45am, we found ourselves all back at the TBS.  The driver had taken a U-turn at the first toll plaza because some commuters were left behind.  This time there were complaints heard from some of the commuters.

Why did the bus company make the driver U-turn back?  Isn't there any other option? 

The ticket cost RM33 by the way, and I reached Larkin, JB, at around 12.30pm. 

From Larkin to TBS, the ticket cost RM35.  The bus left JB at 9.40am and arrived at 2pm.

This plate of fried rice cost RM13.75, and diners were told to pay  before food is served.

Anyway, this is not to suggest the meal was expensive.  The cost of living is rising, and there's no point complaining about it. We just need to be prepared for it.

A financial planner wannabe reminded me that rumours of the Bursa Malaysia FBMKLCI hitting 1,900 or 2000 has been floating around for many years now.  It has yet to happen.

Over the years, it doesn't matter whether the market is high or low, as long as you've cultivated the discipline to save money regularly.  But when you buy low, naturally you get a higher yield when the market bounces back.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Busy Day

snapshot of NST's frontpage news

Some good news, and some bad news.  Just read that  Bank Negara Decreases Interest Rate

which is good because interest rates for housing loan will be lower, but RM will also depreciate.  The measure is probably to encourage more investors to park their money in the share market to boost the economy.

Someone also asked me what I meant by "RM goes into full convertibilty" in Burung Puyuh and Cherry Tomatoes

 Please read this link
What is currency convertibility?

Busy busy day.  May update later, if I have time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Burung Puyuh and Cherry Tomatoes

I had fried burung puyuh with mayonnaise wasabi as dipping sauce for dinner.  It was yummy.

Earlier in the day I went to a financial institution and was quite unhappy with the service.  They're always running out of this and that, so you need to go there more than once to get something done.  It's so annoying. The said financial institution is not exactly near where I stay.

You see people sometimes complain about having to pay a service fee or that the service charge is so high.  If you don't pay, then you need to do the running around yourself and put up with such nonsense.

Ok, quit complaining.  I'm glad though that I get to serve my friends.  I just hope the financial institution and its staff will buck up and step up.  Petrol is not cheap.  Precious energy and time gets wasted. 

In spite of the petty irritation, we still need to try our best to save up and invest more now that the FBMKLCI is low.  Today it closed at 1653.97.  Imagine one day when the index rises to 1,900 or 2,000.   

Who knows? When the RM goes into full convertibility, perhaps.

But then, there's always the possibility it can go the other way, too.  The closest thing to an oracle, when it comes to politics and economy would probably be political economist Dr Hoo Ke Ping, who should be able to give a sharper insight on this.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Black Swan

I woke up and read this Chinese Navy Holds Live Fire Drills in South China Sea

which makes me think about July 12, which is two days away, and whether the next US president is going to be a Democrat or a Republican.

Don't know how the financial market is going to react to all this, namely, Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong.

Still too early to tell, but be alert.

I suddenly feel like watching this movie again.

Be Mindful and Self-Reliant

source: Aviary Photo

Do we put on our jogging shoes only when our stomach sticks out? I'm not talking about Moms-to-be.

Do we start including fruits and vegetables only when we are diagnosed with some disease?

Do we dye our hair to cover the greys only when they start to show? Ok, in this case yes.

I just calculated my body mass index and I'm glad to say I am still in the normal range.

I still need to watch what I eat though. Who doesn't like fried food and bacon? But try to stay away from fried stuff.

If I need to fry, I will use only olive oil.  The extra virgin oil is for salad dressing, and is not ideal for cooking.

I recently also bought olives and blueberries. Next trip to the supermarket, I'll probably get strawberries, cherries.  The next trip salmon and avocado.

When it comes to health, we can loosen the purse strings a little. When you don't have good health, all the wealth in the world won't mean much.

Speaking of wealth...

Do we start saving money only when we need it? And we won't know when we are going to need it. Anything can just pops up when you least expect it. Even if you have been saving for a rainy day, diversification is the key. This is called risk management.

The FBM KLCI index closed at 1,644.54 points on Friday. What does this mean?  Opportunity beckons.

The market isn't going to rise yet, maybe not even in 2017, but it will rise again someday.  We just don't know when ... unless another Brexit occurs. But let's not be pessimistic.

Saving money is hard to cultivate, spending is easy,  I know.  Saving money doesn't release a dopamine surge like dining out and shopping does.  But if you're one of those who always complain "bulan belum habis gaji dah habis" it's going to be much harder to get by when you retire and there isn't much coming in then.

Invest as much as you comfortably can right now to ensure a tidy sum awaits you when you retire. 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Gardener Wannabe

do you know what plant is this?

I'm the green bee gardener wannabe.

I got this plant at the Pasar Tani Larkin Datin Halimah in Johor Bahru this morning at RM9.

I did some research and found that this plant --- from its fruit to the bark and seeds and leaves  --- has numerous therapeutic and medicinal properties.

It is also said to be anti-ageing and immune enhancing.

Well, I shall try to plant it first in my garden.  If you haven't guessed it yet, this is the kedondong aka ambarella aka balonglong. 


Growing Fun

By Gladys Tay Guest Blogger Last August, I decided to work on a project on my bucket list, which is to have an edible garden of my ...