Friday 30 June 2023

Month of June 2023

It's the school holidays and many families were heading out of Singapore, away from the heat as well. Last month, we planned for a trip to Desaru in mid June and after booking the hotels, then realized the eldest son's passport was expiring. Quickly, the renewal application was done in end May and we reckoned there was enough time. As for me, I had to make a different trip in the first week of June. Some cousins and I arranged to visit our Aunt C's family in Australia. She had passed away three months ago (as mentioned here). In the day time, we visited places like South Melbourne Market, Queen Victoria Market and Mornington Peninsular. At dinner, it was spent with one or more of the family members, depending on who was free after work. Our final night coincided with my late Aunt's birthday. So it was a large gathering with hotpot and BBQ, one of her favorite activity and a celebration of her life. But the tears would not hold back as we sang a birthday song for her, toasted using her self kept 30 year collection, a Martell Cordon Bleu. I think we achieved closure of sorts and my sister in Singapore later told me she dreamt of my Aunt that night who looked happy before walking off without a word.

After returning home, the email from ICA finally came to collect the passport. Alas, I had mixed up the passport renewal! Somehow, my blur self input the details of the second son and there was probably no time to make another one. But we tried and hoped for the best. In the end, it was futile and we had to miss the Desaru beaches. It's my fault, I should have double check. So I promised the kids there would be a trip at year end.

Since the above happened, with a week of break, an appointment to the ENT doctor was made to diagnose my snoring problem. It was a Friday morning when the visit was made, a quick half hour endoscopy and the doctor concluded I had to do a sleep test that night. A device was issued and I just followed the instructions before going back the next morning to submit the results. The two main points I heard were; my sleep breathing stopped an average 14 times an hour and oxygen level was terrible, not the worse but getting there. A reading below 95% indicated concern and my situation certainly belonged to the more serious spectrum. Medically, I had sleep apnea and affected about 30% (and growing) of local population, the doctor said. The options were clear, it was either machine assisted breathing or surgery. I chose the latter. This was scheduled two days later. It was my first surgery under general anesthesia as it involved straightening of the septum, shrinkage of turbinates and adenoids, uvula reduction and shaving of tonsils. Lying on the surgical table, I looked up at the many hands moving around and heard the quick commotion to set things up. Then, the oxygen mask was put on my nose and a voice said, "Now I need you to give me five deep breaths. One....two....three..." I didn't make it to count four. Recovery is now well underway.

It's been a wish of mine that kids need to at least learn swimming and cycling as life skills. While my kids achieved the former in their kindergarten age, the lack of bicycle and space delayed the other development. Starting four years ago, the eldest began riding. Today, they can hop onto two wheelers without fear after the youngest completed his lesson recently. Next, I hope to bring them together for short PCN rides to cafes and explore our sunny island.

Tip: Chief's Son 900 Standard Single Cask, balanced sherry with slight oak, noticeable spice and smooth going

Thursday 15 June 2023

Finance Investment Movement 34

For at least two months now, I had been contemplating an overseas property purchase either in Australia or Japan. It could have been for rental income purpose or perhaps used as an accommodation if one of the kids ever needed it for overseas education. Also, I had a good experience investing in UK property previously having made some money but lost the gains in an ill-informed venture. The most preferred option would have been to invest in Singapore property but ABSD basically destroyed the appetite. This time, my budget was around half a million SGD on a leveraged basis. After a long internal debate, factoring in exchange rate, tenant and liquidity risks, slowly the idea became rather unappealing. That's because I'm looking at yield in the immediate period. My opinion is that good consistent yield that could comfortably offset loans, fees and expenses is difficult to sustain in view of inflation and interest rate stickiness. Hence, I have decided to suspend the investment property dream and turned my attention to other instruments.

As mentioned in other posts, there's a war chest on standby but the anticipated stock market crash has not materialized. I don't think it's good to sit idly and wait although recent bank savings promotions helped to attain helpful returns. Ideally, I would have liked 5% net yield but this was a tough barrier to cross. CPF aside, what else is there to make 4% or more in this situation? I reckoned some risks have to be taken and consider whether to self manage or by third parties. It came down to options trading, ETFs or unit trusts. Maybe I could split among them but in what proportions? No decision yet but one clear thing is that I will only touch a small portion of the idle funds while waiting for a bigger opportunity. Meanwhile, the Fed decision is a sensible one, giving room for a breather and allow the market to recalibrate.

Tip: Chateau Phelan Segur 2016, great rounded texture underlined by soft dark fruits