Hi! I'm Jared Seah, a Singaporean currently on sabbatical from full-time work. It's play time! I aspire to be like the swan that's here and gone. And if need be, I'll rather be the hammer than the nail. Yes, it's from that song. 123, Away, I rather sail away
Of course we humans are one of the two species on Earth that can manipulate and change the environment we live in.
Just look around and you can easily see how humans can totally transform our natural habitat the moment we decide to settle in a place.
Can you guess which other species of animals cando what we do?
This one definitely not in our school syllabus!
I'll give you sometime. When finished, you can scroll down and see the answer.
Its the beaver!
Did you guessed it?
The beaver can turn a little stream into a pond by building a beaver dam.
Pretty much like how we clear the land to build human settlements. Wink.
In Japan, women who prioritise their careers face a lot of obstacles. These women enjoy their craft, have dreams of their own, and do relish being financially independant (no need to depend on husband/father).
Like the beavers, the strong-willed ones will create their own environment by starting their own companies. Little startups with like-minded women employees as the majority. And no, you don't have to pour tea for your male colleagues!
Its not new.
In Singapore, the old Chinese Nantah graduates and the no study; no paper school leavers shared a common fate - being treated 2nd class in a England speaking first environment.
The more defiant ones will not play by other people's rules; they jumped to the deep end by creating their own "environments".
In our community, I've notice there's one "beaver" I quite like and admire.
Starting out as a freelance self-employed tuition teacher, he had to brave Singapore's harsh weather and take public transportation to his students' homes.
Sometimes already on the way students may suddenly cancel lessons at the last minute...
What to do? Everyone has to pay our dues starting out. Ar ber then?
Then a wonderful thing happened. He got married.
Yah, got woman dare to marry a guy with no formal job, no CPF from employer, and no health and dental plans for immediate family members!
Bought a HDB 5 room resale flat for their love nest.
Convert one bedroom to be his "SOHO" (small office; home office). Now students come to the mountain.
Productivity increased. Can teach 2-3 students at the same time or charge more for one-to-one sessions.
Time saved on travelling can now be used for preparing lessons or spending with people that matter.
All the examples above are alternatives to the - when I have X, then I'll do Y goal settings adopted by so many seeking to escape...
Come on. We all know its can be one of those little lies or excuses to kick the can down the road once again!
Wait! I can't start Y now... I've not achieved X yet!!!
My time, it was fashionable for some high achievers to muse about retiring in their 40s.
These people are usually doing very well in their corporate career earning high incomes.
It wasn't difficult for them.
Just start saving a bigger share of their high incomes, then convert them to dividend stocks, bonds, or rental properties and they can retire... Yeah, just like that!
Investing acumen optional.
Now the youths of today seek to be financially free by 35. Power!
Imagine leaving university at 22 or 24, and in about 10 to 13 years, you have earned and saved enough money to last you till your 90s!
Still don't believe the power of youths is they don't know what cannot be done?
That's only the money part.
Often when we have achieved whatever we wanted, we begin to have second thoughts...
We all had this experience before right?
That girl you always wanted. When you finally had her, you begin to question were you really into her in the first place...
Or that "toy" you always wanted. You know, that luxury watch you saw others having, you tell yourself when you arrived you also must have! Then like that lor... No feeling when you have it. Now it sits quietly in the drawer. Long time never wear...
Remember when we were in school, one year seems like an eternity?
And if you failed your exam and have to be retained, one year lost and behind others is a BIG GAP. Or so you thought...
Then there are men who complained about National Service... How they have lost 2 years compared to girls. Wow. Really?
Girls, besides giam siap gui men, stay away from these whiners too. What kind of men will use NS as an excuse for losing out to women in the corporate world!?
Funny thing though. Once we are in the corporate world, time pass super fast!
Before we knew it, decades just flew by...
And being stuck in the same job for 10 years is normal to you.
1, 2, 5 years difference? They don't matter now.
Especially when you see your peer "wastes" 2 years taking sabbatical to study MBA fulltime, come back got promotion; you still doing the same job.
Your junior took up the challenge to work overseas for 5 years, come back now at a higher payscale than you; you still at the same payscale.
Precision is good. But too much black and white can give you depression if you too anal about 2 decimal places.
Would you be happier if you had achieved your financial freedom goal to retire by 35, but go sell salted eggs a few years later?
(In our community we got that self-styled guru who wanted to create lots of millionaires and the investing doctor who sold his business. Financial freedom is not a free pass to immortality...)
Or is it that bad if you had missed your financial freedom goal to retire by 35 and only able to retire at 50? You know, the more you planned, the more things backfired?
But you get to live to your 90s and beyond? Like lao lee and Mahatir?
I personally think Mahatir must be smiling to sleep every night. He has outlived his political rivals for the win!
I don't know.
I would love to live till 90 and beyond, provided I'm in good health. I've this greed to enjoy life!
However, If invalid or in pain, I would much prefer to go as quick as possible!
And if the doctor says I got one more year to live, I'm mentally and spiritually OK too.
You know what?
Right here, right now, I'm OK (typical Singaporean response). I have a reason to get up every morning.
I don't have to worry who will take care of mom and dad as I have 2 others siblings to take over.
What I have can be gifted to them to lighten the load, at least financially speaking.
Its quite fascinating looking at the Brexit process currently undergoing in UK right now.
Especially when I contrast it against how Singapore got kicked out of the Malaysian Federation in 1965.
I guess we were lucky we had strong leadership in 65 or what?
It brings to mind what I've gleaned from history - strong leadership is always about one - the Queen Bee or Alpha Male.
Weak leaders always got a council, a committee, a tribe, a horde... to hide behind.
UK joined the then EEC in 1973. Now it wants out... Maybe?
Its like getting a divorce 40 years into your marriage. Well, it lasted longer than the quickie shotgun wedding like ours!
Time can be quite the tempest after lulling us into complacency through long periods of calm and predictability.
Long established political parties that had ruled forever and ever can suddenly find themselves in the wilderness of being in the Opposition. Think LDP in Japan, KMT in Taiwan, and now UMNO in Malaysia.
Of course the next big one to watch is the CPC in China. I wonder whether it will happen in my lifetime?
Now that would be an interesting macro trade if I still around! (Singapore would definitely be 10 million with the influx of super rich immigrants! Property still boleh?)
Looking back more than 30 years when I started my jouney into the adult world at 16, comparing to the goals and dreams (or lack of) I had then, it quite amazing none of them were remotely close??? LOL!
My life definitely is not one of those who started out with goals and plans, and everything turned out as exactly as they've planned!!! They'll probably make good central planners?
No. Mine was more like a leaf in the wind.
I defintely did not expect to be bald! (But I look cool OK?)
Then again, some say luck is preparation meeting opportunity....
I've no control over opportunity; I can do preparation though. Wink.
Wah lau, what talking you?
I catch no ball!
Well, I don't patronise you by explaining everything in cartoon like the brochures pasted next to our HDB lifts.
You see what you want to see. Your take out may also depend on your own life experiences - whether you are starting your journey, reaching your mid-life crisis, or strolling down the mountain.
It can be harder for those who go toilet must jio others to go along...
Just saying, in case you didn't catch what I meant by leadership of one. Wink.
Who knew O' levels would be scrapped in my lifetime?
Subject-based banding to replace streaming?
Now that's what I call progress!
I'm happy for youths of tomorrow.
Respect to big daddy for recognising the unintended problem of "labelling" from the streaming model. Yes, streaming cuts down the number of school dropouts, but it created a "caste system" in its wake..
Regular readers know how I feel about "labelling". Yup, calling yourself an "investor" does not make you more competent or skilled.
For those of you who understand Mandarin, you can watch this Youtube clip:
No. What we have done is not "new" or revolutionary. Many other countries and education titans have discussed and explored it before. Both today and during ancient times - think Confucius and Socrates. Yeah, that old!
The biggest difference is big daddy dare to squeese the trigger and implement it on a nationwide basis. Power!
Feels good and proud we no longer need to rely on the Cambridge "halo" after so many decades...
Singapore is already an education hub for the region today. Just look at the diversity of foreign students that come to Singapore to study - from primary to the tertiary level.
I guess just putting Singapore on our certificates and diploma is enough to win academic respect from employers and foreign universities alike. Wink.
Don't pretend you were surprised with the changes. You knew it was coming.
Where got people during national day rally speech talk about competence and down playing of paper qualifications?
You forget the speech by pinky about O' level holders being generals and CEOs already?
Whenever we hear people say they are leaving their HDB flats to their children, what's our initial reaction?
Awkward pause right?
I mean its totally different if its private properties as in landed (good, better, best!) or condos (no fish prawns also can)...
But HDB flats?
There are several scenarios we feel uncomfortable digging deeper. People sad case already you still want to twist the bayonet?
1. We know new BTO HDB flats are affordable to 2 young couples who have worked for 5 years. Provided they not choosy or want something they can't afford.
And these young couples don't even have to be graduates. That's how affordable our BTO HDB flats are!
Not many cities in the world can do that. Its something we should not take for granted.
2. No. Your children won't want your HDB flat; they prefer to have one of their own.
You can give yours to them, but in accordance to HDB rules where you can't own 2 HDB flats at the same time, your flat will be sold off in no time!
In case you didn't get the memo, HDB flats will be taken back by big daddy once the 99 year lease is up.
So I don't think they will sell their newer BTO flat to move into yours with less than 50 years lease remaining...
3. That means you are aware your children have "special needs"; suffer from personal demons like gambling, drug taking; or have financial issues like business failure and/or the inability to hold down a job for more than 3 months...
4. Are you eyeing your parent's HDB flat right now?
If yes, life has not gone in accordance to your goals and plans, have they?
P.S. What is life without some exceptions?
If you lucky to own those Tiong Bahru walkup apartments or Queenstown landed terrace flats built by SIT (predecessor of HDB), you have struck gold!
Your children would be happy to get your hand-me-down!
These "3 room HDB flats" got money also may not get... Supply so limited and demand very strong amongst the well heeled.
And yes, these buyers don't mind the leases are below 50 years. Or the fact their properties will expire worthless in several decades later...
Not when you are not pursuing financial freedom. (That means you got it already)
When people are financially secure, a lease is just another word for rent.