Wednesday 31 January 2024

Month of January 2024

Without fail, a new year is a much celebrated event as everyone attempts to forget the old and refresh the current state. I was home having dinner with friends and indulged in some good wines, with beef and pizzas complimenting as sides. It's amazing how conversations can flow for hours only to be punctuated by a glass refill. All you need are topics revolving around PTFS (Parenting, Travel, Food and Spouse). My kids were more enthusiastic about remaining awake for the countdown but in the end, none of us made it as we were in bed by 1030pm. I didn't even catch a glimpse of the television entertainment shows. 2024 welcomed me at dawn which hopefully brings a meaningful reset in another year of my mid life journey.

I was seated in a hall, next to my wife, and glanced straight ahead. There was a sea of blue and black. It was noisy as chatters rang out like bass concert music. One can hear it but cannot make out the words. The animated expressions received immediate reactions. Some were delighted faces, fingers cupping over their head, a number of shocked expressions or simply a clenched fist. Then, it was our turn. Seeing the lanky frame of my eldest son at the teacher’s desk, my heart beat really hard. He was about 20 meters away and walked towards us. Then the all important digits appeared. Two seconds later, there was a sense of relief. He had done better than expected for his ‘O’ levels! His decision in May last year paid off as Combined Science result was an A2. I gave a few pats on his shoulder and said, “Well done, Kor. This is great!” Around us, other parents continued their anxious wait. Inevitably, there were a few sobbing students who at that very moment, required no words but just a supportive arm. This was as nail biting as my time.

There were a number of events to highlight this month. The second son went on his 4D3N school adventure camp, came back sunburnt and flat out after canoeing, trekking and staying outfield. Most importantly, his attitude was positive. More good news was in store when the younger sons received their Edusave awards. Hopefully, such encouragement can spur the youngest one in his PSLE this year. My wish is for him to be in the same school as his second brother next year. I made a business trip to Selangor for a site visit and discussion on an old power plant that required maintenance. It's partly coal fired and budget was tight. Being environmentally friendly was not in consideration. Climate change will continue to hang around when state actors are oblivious to certain actions.

I probably over ate due to the following reasons. My family celebrated twice, one for good results and the other for the second son's birthday. My wife and I tried out new restaurants at Angie's Oyster Bar and Grill (for its cheap oyster deal) and Bistro Gaston (for something different). We also dined at past favourites such as Tapas 24 (happy hour drinks), Xiao Long Kan (good for value) and Chingu (bbq craving). Last but not least, the CNY lunches and dinners were in full swing.

Tip: Gallo Signature Cab Sav 2018, medium bodied, juicy and chewy tannin, fine expression

Monday 15 January 2024

Finance Investment Movement 41

We began the year with financial markets welcoming the latest product entrant by way of the Bitcoin etfs. There's eleven of them approved and trading had already started. Well, this gives legitimacy for fund managers to gain exposure to a previously sidelined market space and I think there's more to come. As I have only a minor position in Bitcoin, it's not impacted me but if Ethereum etf goes the same way, that would be exciting. Finally, after 18 months leaving cryptocurrencies alone, I'm reviewing my portfolio to see if something needs to be done. This segment is going to heat up.

As interest rates plateau and likely to taper downwards, there's anxiety to find a longer term product to lock current rates in. I got a sizable fixed deposit that's about to mature which include Aud. Hoping that some banks come up with a CNY promo and I will be first in line to apply. Meanwhile, I still believe in the narrative whereby the SGD is overly strong against certain currencies and there's still room to exchange more.

Tip: Simon Bize Et Fils Beaune Blanc 2019, delicate white flowers with some zest, uncomplicated