you learn something new every day

Was recently googling to find out the etymology of the Chinese idiom ‘马后炮‘ (ma hou pao, or ‘cannon behind horse’), when I stumbled onto this old discussion on a local forum. Someone wanted to know how to translate that Chinese idiom into English, and someone else suggested ‘Monday morning quarterback‘. I had never heard this term before, and after checking it out, I concluded it summed up the essence of ‘cannon behind horse’ perfectly! :D

you learn something new every day

Came across an article on an interesting psychological phenomenon, pareidolia, today.

another level of enlightenment

El Lobo Loco, who blogs at Singapore2b, on Singaporeans who want a slower pace of life……

They want a slower pace of growth and development, but they do not quite understand what that means. Or rather they SAY they want a slower pace, when what they actually want is contradictory or even illogical.

What do you mean by slower? Train runs every 15 minutes instead of every 2 minutes during peak hour? Then no. Banks only open from 9 am to 3 pm Mon to Fri only like in many developed countries? No. Shops open 9 am to 6 pm Mon to Fri, and 10 am to 2 pm on Sat and closed on Sun? No. Slower development? HDB flats waiting period to stretch to 6 years? NO! Or what did you mean by slower pace? Wait 30 minutes to get served in a restaurant? Walk to the McDonald’s 2 km away because you can get there in 30 minutes, and the feeder bus only comes every hour?

from here

I never saw this issue in this way before, and find that his analysis makes a lot of sense. I suppose when people say they want a slower pace of life, they usually mean themselves, not others. ;)


the grammar of a dinner

After lunch this afternoon, I returned to the office and somehow suddenly recalled this poem, by late Singaporean poet Arthur Yap. (A nice post about him can be found here.)

the grammar of a dinner

let’s have chicken for dinner.

somewhere else, someone else utters:
let’s have john for dinner.
we are alarmed by the latter
but a dinner, too, has its own grammar
& we are assured by grammarians
both utterances are in order.

john, + animate, + human,
couldn’t be passed off as repast.
chicken is + animate, – human,
& can end up in any oven.
if we combine the items of grammar
the way things in cooking are,
we would then have:
let’s have chicken for john for dinner,
let’s have chicken for dinner for john,
let’s have for john chicken for dinner,
let’s have for dinner for john chicken;
but probably not:
let’s have john for chicken for dinner,
let’s have for dinner john for chicken.

john is a noun holding knife & fork.
chicken collocates with the verb eat.
grammarians favour such words
as delicious & john eats happily,
but in a gastronomic dinner
taxonomic john isn’t to eat deliciously.

those were the days

Was at the MRT station near my house this afternoon, when I spotted a young man in a Tiffany blue tee emblazoned with these words in bold black:


last quarter

And we’re into the last quarter of the year! :O

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?






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