you learn something new every day

Just found out that before salt and pepper shakers, there were salt cellars (used with salt spoons) and nefs.


Happy Midautumn Festival, everyone! The moon is beautiful tonight…… :)

saving $100k by 30

On 7 July last year, the Straits Times published an article titled ‘Is it possible to have $100k by 30?‘ As I was pursuing my 100k by 26 goal at that time, the headline immediately piqued my interest to read on. In his report, journalist Jonathan Kwok made a few assumptions and calculations and declared that it was completely possible. I recall reading plenty of sceptical and cynical responses to his piece online.

Some time later, I stumbled upon two local finance bloggers who also wrote about Kwok’s article (Cheerfulegg and Investment Moats). Each proposed their own set of assumptions and calculations, and also concluded that saving $100k by 30 was indeed possible.

(Incidentally, I recently came across a rather interesting post at Singapore 2B – on how to save $400 000 in 60 years.)

And as for my take on this……

Continue reading ‘saving $100k by 30′

achievement unlocked

Have never been prouder or gladder to say…… as of 31 August, 100K BY 26: ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED!!!!!!!

As previously mentioned, shortly after I started my working life in December 2010, I set myself three financial goals:

10k by 24
100k by 25
1000k by 26

To make them more challenging, I decided that I would not be counting my CPF monies.

The first goal was reasonably simple to realize. All I did was save close to 60% of my monthly salary (after the 20% CPF deduction) and stay home every weekend. (My mum actually asked me a couple of times why I didn’t go out.) And seven months later, in July 2011, I turned 24 and hit $10k.

Continue reading ‘achievement unlocked’

my very first dividend

Just checked my Phillip POEMS portfolio, and realized that my modest holdings in a Straits Times ETF just earned a dividend…… the princely sum of $9.55 (after deducting a dividend charge of $1.07)!!!

(Incidentally, dividends will be reinvested automatically – that’s one good thing about Phillip’s Share Builders Plan.)

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…… This is really exciting! My very first dividend! And hopefully there will be many more to come!!! :D

arrange by colour

Israel is 以色列 (Yiselie) in Chinese. 以 (yi) can mean ‘by'; 色 (se), ‘colour'; and 列 (lie), ‘arrange’.

The very first time I encountered the term ‘以色列’ was in a cloze passage from a Chinese exam paper in primary school. I did not realize that it referred to a country and simply thought that it meant ‘arrange by colour’. Which did puzzle me a little bit, as that intepretation did not seem to fit into the context of the entire sentence. I only found out what it was quite some time later. :)

first foray into investing

After to-ing and fro-ing with Phillip Securities (and the Singapore Exchange, to a lesser extent) for about one and a half months, I finally got my CDP and POEMS accounts successfully set up. And so, my Share Builders Plan, tagged to my POEMS account, finally made its first purchase of two blue chips on the 18th of last month.

Like most other newbie investors, I would check my portfolio religiously – every other day or so. And I would feel a frisson of pleasure when the prices had risen, which meant that I was sitting on a small (although unrealized) amount of profit.

Two Wednesdays ago (6 August), I signed into my account and saw, for the very first time ever, that the prices of both stocks had fallen. My portfolio was worth less than what I had originally invested in it! Although it was merely a slight paper loss, I still felt a twinge of panic, before recovering quickly.

Well, this is the nature of investing…… There may be price fluctuations in the short term, but hopefully, a stock’s value will go up and up and up in the long run. And I need to develop the right mindset to deal with these situations.

All right, back to reading financial websites. :)

in a land of homemade names, tiffany doesn’t cut it

Hatred got his name the way millions of other children here have — as a means of recording an event, a circumstance or even the weather conditions that accompanied their births.

“For instance, if it was windy, the name may be Wind. If it was rainy, it may be Rain,” said Matole Motshekga, the founder of the Kara Heritage Institute, based in Pretoria. “If there are problems in the family, they will use the appropriate name. So you cannot just name someone out of the blue. It has to relate to something.”

Thus a Zimbabwean baby born to parents who had spent years trying to start a family might be named Tendai, which expresses thankfulness, and a child born in a time of troubles may be named Tambudzai, which literally means no rest.

Or, just as likely these days, a baby will be named Givethanks or Norest. If a Sotho-speaking girl becomes pregnant before marriage, her unhappy parents may name the baby Question or Answer — an answer to the question of why their daughter was behaving so strangely before the pregnancy became known.

Read about a man called Hatred and other intriguing Zimbabwean names here!

a metaphor for our time

A metaphor for our time, perhaps…… or maybe not?






the grand budapest hotel

I enjoyed comedy film The Grand Budapest Hotel (though I disliked the ending, which was too Life Is Beautiful for my tastes) and was therefore quite amused to see this article in the Telegraph:

At the time of writing, the Grand Budapest Hotel was rated 1 of 1 hotels in The Republic of Zubrowka, having received 46 reviews which described it as “excellent” and only five that found it “terrible”.

Someone calling himself TheSamSolomon said: “My only complaint is the staff seem to be living in a different century- no one could find me an iPhone lightning cable nor did they know what an iPhone was. Also, the internet connection was almost non-existent. Zero was a great help though and he had many great ideas, he seemed a little bit deluded at time. But that must be the altitude.”

Click here to read the article, and click here to read the TripAdvisor reviews on this amazing institution! :D

visiting the banks

I’d been using POSB’s MySavings Account (MSA) to pay myself first since I started working way back in 2010. Then in March this year, I switched to a variant of this scheme, eMSA (which was available for only a limited period), as the interest rates were slightly better.

But then, over the past few months, as I started my journey of growing wealth, I began to realize that I didn’t really need this special account anymore as I had the discipline to do it myself. Also, because I kept withdrawing funds from it, so the remaining money earned very low interest.

So early afternoon last Saturday (19 July) I popped by the nearby POSB branch to close my eMSA account, and informed the teller that it was because I had outgrown it. I had already transferred everything inside to my normal POSB account, but to the greatest amusement of both the teller and me, there was actually still $0.02 in interest left.

Continue reading ‘visiting the banks’

hong kong loves weird english names

Devil. Whale. Chlorophyll, Violante, Treacle — you name it, Hong Kong probably has someone who goes by it. The former British colony is obsessed with weird English names.

Unusual appellations have been found on people of all kinds. The secretary for justice is Rimsky Yuen and the previous secretary for food and health was York Chow. Among celebrities, there is a Fanny Sit, Moses Chan, and Dodo Cheng. Models? We have a Vibeke, Bambi, Dada, and Vonnie. But lawyers take the prize. There is a Magnum, John Baptist, Ludwig, Ignatius, Bunny and four — yes, four — Benedicts.

Odd names make for odder situations. Last July, police arrested a woman named Ice Wong with 460 grams of ice — the drug, not frozen water. Months earlier, the law caught up with Devil Law when he was brought before a judge for drug possession and crashing his car into a bus. In 2010, a woman called Cash Leung was jailed for paying cabbies with fake cash.

I agree that most of the monikers that the writer mentioned are pretty peculiar, but why ‘Moses’ or ‘Benedict’? Anyhow, check out other unusual English names that Hong Kongers gives themselves here!

his friends know him as petroswickonicovick

Then there is Petroswickonicovick Wandeckerkof da Silva Santos, a 12-year-old soccer prodigy who has begun training with Corinthians, one of Brazil’s leading teams. Even in a country flooded with amazing names, his 19-letter first name and 12-letter middle name have raised eyebrows.

The boy said it took him awhile to learn how to pronounce his own name. His father, José Ivanildo dos Santos, a soccer coach, has been repeatedly questioned about the choice.

“The woman at the notary public’s office thought it was terrible and called me crazy,” Mr. dos Santos said in a televised interview. “But I told her I’d name my son my way.”

Read about the weird and wondrous variety of Brazilian names here!


Yesterday I was 26 and today I begin my 28th revolution around the sun. :)

counting down the days

Five more days to go!!! :D

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