Sunday 31 March 2024

Month of March 2024

I was privileged to be invited for lunch hosted by a prominent local businessman. Among the twenty attendees were mostly seniors in my industry and a few of my age group. We were brought to the penthouse level of a building that gave a bird’s eye view of the city landscape and served a proper Bordeaux amid six courses of wonderful modern Chinese cuisine. But to me, there was something even better. Candid sharing by everyone which was facilitated by the host asking simple and direct questions related to business challenges. He wanted to know how well Singapore’s SMEs are holding up. The often heard remarks such as lack of labour, input costs, inflation etc were presented. Those are problems but what are the counter measures, he asked and then added, sustainability mindsets could help to frame everyone’s next business decision better. To that, the older gentlemen became uncharacteristically silent. The bright and airy room suddenly turned gloomy. What an effective comeback, to the point and might have hurt a few resistant souls. He rattled off a few concrete examples from his business operations to complete the story. It felt like a teacher schooling children except the teacher addressed several of his students as elders. I was just taking mental notes and observed the posturing each took. Like the saying goes, there's no free lunch in this world, yet I enjoyed a lunch that was not only free but one that also provided honest feedback and meaningful conversation.

Since my nose operation last June, I was due for a final review. The doctor noted my slight weight loss and recommended to stay away from egg and dairy related products. After a quick scan, he declared himself satisfied and cleared me in a medical sense. It's a relief and what happens next depends on my discipline and luck, hopefully there's no recurrence for the rest of my life.

The National School Games has returned once again. In the sweltering heat, the children competed for honours while parents watched on. I could see the youngest son performing well alongside his rugby teammates and their progress was clear. In fact, most schools showed improvements. However, the local sports scene is poor. With twenty schools in the competition, there were about seven head coaches (excluding teacher in charge) doubling up for referee duties alongside some paid ones. Essentially, one could referee a subsequent game opponent. Some of the coaches even worked for various schools that could potentially meet in a match up. When I asked my son's coach on his view, he lamented that the career as a sports coach was not great and the number of coaches decreased during Covid. He's in his early forties and doing this out of interest. In Singapore, there's only around fifteen full time rugby coaches and this pool is aided by part timers.

Tip: Bourgueil Gauthier Pere and Fils 2020, inky purple, sweet aroma and soft body

Friday 15 March 2024

Finance Investment Movement 43

We live in an amazing world full of flora and fauna that never ceases to surprise. The number of undiscovered species probably outweigh the current known numbers. I am also constantly bewildered by activities that go around the world. Hundred thousands fans flooded Singapore for a series of concerts. The humanitarian crisis at Gaza has many sympathizers yet no one seems to be able to lend a concrete hand. Nividia rises like a rocket to the moon. America can only produce two presidential candidates close to 80 years old. Together, they form a very odd impression to me. Gold, bitcoin and US stock market converge to hit all time high at the same period. For investors, it's a confusing time amid the differing signals. I believe in staying in the market although circumstances meant that entry timing play an important role.

While I await lower stock prices, money still needs to work. One of the best offers is the Moomoo cash fund subscription promotion. At 6.8% pa return, it's hard to beat. Considering that I had taken part in the previous campaign, therefore it was an easy decision to put fresh funds this round. Another is the HSBC ega which offered up to 4.65% pa with credit card spend. Then there is the latest Tbill yielding 3.78% pa and my CPF along with SRS went into it.

Tip: Chateau Lamouroux 2011, good grip of tannin with earthy undertone, past peak freshness