Tuesday 30 June 2020

Month of June 2020

Updated finance page.

The stock market is unbelievable. Even when Covid-19 cases continued to rise and re-emerge in some countries, people behave as if this was a footnote while egging on the indexes. From news outlets, I learnt many new brokerage accounts were opened and these retail investors probably had time on their hands to look at the markets.

Phase 2 in Singapore was implemented and the crowds gathered as expected. I chose to dine at Tuga (https://www.facebook.com/tugasingapore/), a portugese restaurant that served meats, pasta and potato. Interestingly, there were a number of eggs related dishes. I thought the roasted chicken was the highlight with tender pieces that slide open with a gentle pull amid well marinated sauce. Codfish was a little dry and picapau beef was slightly overdone. Everyone was after the potatoes that accompanied the mains. The manager had to nudge us to vacate and I understand the queue was healthily long. Overall, it was a pleasant experience.  

Life is also unpredictable. Two days ago, I received a message that an ex colleague committed suicide. Personally, I don't know him. He was a junior, we met maybe twice and our work locations were different. Still, there is a sense of sadness. By many accounts, he was a very likable character and left many stunned with no hint of the suffering he endured.

Half a year is gone just like that, people as well. Life, as with everything, is about balance.

Tip: Quinta Dos Carvalhais Alfrocheiro 2015, from Tuga above. Light to medium body, great freshness and smooth feel.

Friday 26 June 2020

Let the Party Begin!

How does it feel it have the weight of disappointment lifted?
When year after year passes by, that weight becomes heavier and there's nothing to do but hope and in the meanwhile, accept the taunts of others.
In total, 30 years of heart pounding and nerve racking moments.
This morning, the gloom finally lifted as Liverpool was crowned Champions of England.

Forget the records, put aside the recent titles. This one means so much more.
From the moment I watched football, I could never have imagined watching the last title triumph on the old SBC Channel 12 and witnessing the latest victory in the digital age of TV. Internet didn't even exist for me back then. I nearly lived the life of a footballer, training with the school team twice a week and then with the church team on Saturday before a match on Sunday. It was the routine for 6 years and mainly inspired by my professional idols. From the beginning, I tried to model my game on a certain GOD by practicing my weaker left foot and played almost all positions in order to gain tactical appreciation. But the title was still elusive and I "retired" along with another Kop legend, unsure whether I would live to experience success once again.

I can still recall the days of yesteryear heroes playing in the Candy sponsored jerseys, one by one leaving and pinning hope on newly recruited players complemented with local born ones. The reach for the title came close on multiple times and the heartache became stronger.

Today, I can go out wearing pride on the sleeve, telling all detractors that they have been wrong all these years. Just don't let me wait another 30 years for I would almost certainly not live to see it. YNWA!

Tip: Taittinger Brut Reserve NV Champagne

Monday 15 June 2020

Stages of Life

How Many Are There?

A pleasant surprise awaited me last Saturday as I went to maintain a lime plant that has been growing for 3 years. It's not the first time but still a happy feeling whenever these little caterpillars are discovered.

They belong to the Lime Butterfly species and strangely, the ones I found this time were at different life stages, meaning there had been a few visits from their mother(s) over an extended period. In total, eleven were present and will take about 2 weeks to transform into adults.

Separately, I have been observing the stock market situation intently over the past few months. At what stage is it now? Some experts mentioned a V-shape recovery, an inverted Nike swoosh, horseshoe etc.. in my opinion, it's more like an upside down square root. The scary bit is the market looks very much pumped up and peaking but the downward ride is yet to come. It would be steep and brutal. I better prepare for it by saving up.

Tip: Iced Teh-O

Thursday 4 June 2020

Dental Servicing

One of the things I missed during the Circuit Breaker was the availability of the dentist for general check up. How is this not considered an essential service? I heard a personal story where he had wisdom toothache for more than a month and yet had to wait.

In my case, a month ago, my gums started to bleed easily even with the gentlest of brushes. Normally, the bleeding would have stopped during day time but somehow, I could still taste minute amounts of blood seeping out whenever I suck on the gums. This just had to happen at the most inappropriate period and the only thing to do was to wait. Meanwhile, all food consumed had that extra bloody taste.

Finally, anticipating queues, I made an appointment two days ago. So I arrived on time, sat in the dental chair for thirty minutes and felt so relieved after the dentist proclaimed there was much plaque causing the bleeding but it would be fine from now on.

The cleaning fee cost $75 (reasonable) and as I was paying, the clinic phone rang. I overheard the conversation.

"What kind of service are you looking for?", the clinic assistant asked.
"General scaling and can I walk in today?" came the reply.
"No, we are full today and tomorrow. In any case, you have to make an appointment as we don't accept walk ins now."

Good luck to you who needs a teeth scrub, I hope your gums are not bleeding badly.

Tip: Asahi Draught Dry Black

Tuesday 2 June 2020

Saving VS Spending

Which way to go?
Which way to go?

It's been quite a while since the roads are crowded with commuters going to work or school. Besides a visual appraisal, the confirmation came as radio DJs repeatedly mentioned about broken down vehicles and busy expressway exits. This was to be expected of course. I'm sure many of us had been looking forward to this day. Is this the sign of things getting back to normal?

If one has been observing the stock market over the last two months, the initial losses were steadily being clawed back. This comes even though many sources reported shop closures, massive losses, expected rising unemployment and even affirmation of a recession by the government. Is this the sign that stock market participants know something to feel such optimism?

For me, I see the current world as one of savers versus spenders. Simply, there are now more savers, demand for goods and services are lesser and not good for economic numbers. So governments everywhere are throwing money into the system, lowering interest rates and creating jobs through fiscal investments to hopefully stuff your pocket such that you feel wealthy enough to spend freely. It's like the roads. Without an incentive, they just remain silent and empty with no productive use, like a dead economy. But there will always be people who take advantage of the situation and go out for a spin amid smoother traffic and cheaper petrol (not in Singapore's case). These are the ones putting their idle money to good use by spending in the stock market, looking for safe havens and income producing assets. When the size of this group grows, the party mood rises and the groove is on, like a champagne popping stock market. Sooner or later, as roads become crowded, the spenders will start to look for the next exit, only to find jammed arterial roads.

The reality is the world has a health situation that possibly cannot resolve quickly, an economic situation made worse by two alpha bears trying to outdo each other, various social situations impinging on people's lives and the next natural disaster looming. It's unique and in a tightly inter connected world, economic gravity will eventually catch up. Hopefully the spenders don't get crushed by its weight.

Tip: Coconut juice

Monday 1 June 2020

CPF Top Up Jun 2020

The mid year just begun and also indicate the final day of Circuit Breaker Singapore. Even though it's officially reopening the country towards normal operations, I feel indifferent. Most offices would be devoid of workers and even small gatherings are still not allowed. However, the next three weeks are crucial to test how well the system is implemented. I hope not to hear Covid cases start to increase.

I decided to mark this day by making a $500 contribution to my CPF Special Account. Besides, this will aid in my tax relief claim, attract early interest and forcibly lock away any spending thoughts.

So my updated CPF savings looks like this (Goal 2020).

Tip: Milo (3 spoons of powder, 1 spoon of condensed milk with hot water)