Categories
Books

《大女生》- 杨澜

Da Nv Sheng Big Girl

杨澜的《大女生》(英文翻译为 “Big Girl”) 在我的书架上已经放了好长一段时间了,我一直没时间好好读一读。这两天因为得了感冒,晚上咳的睡不着,刚好拿这本书来打发时间。

看这本书之前,我其实不太知道封面上擦艳红的口红、穿黑色蕾丝的女人是谁。原来她是中国有名的电视节目主持人,杨澜。她曾担任4年中央电视台《正大综艺》节目主持人,并于1994年获中国第一届主持人“金话筒奖”。她开创中国电视第一个深度高端访谈节目《杨澜访谈录》访问过600余名著名人物,在全球华语观众中具有很高美誉度。后来和她丈夫丈夫吴征开办了大中华区第一个历史人文电视频道——阳光卫视。2005年,杨澜创办了主要针对中国都市女性的谈话节目《天下女人》。好厉害的女人啊!

我以为这本书会很枯燥乏味,但却越看越爱不释手。杨澜用生动的小故事和名人的名句,构造出女人应该如何在现在的社会里做一个大女生。

这几段是我特别喜欢的,摘出来与大家分享,也提醒我自己:

我尽最大努力去倾听、理解、接纳她的世界,尽最大可能不加评判地提出自己的分析和建议,有时也直接承认束手无策。是的,有些事只有靠她自己去面对,有些事只有时间能够解决。成长是痛苦的,我的任务是陪伴、去安慰、去指导,但我不可能去代替。当她的情绪平复,需要自己一段时间独处,我就紧紧地拥抱她,说我永远爱她,然后离开她的房间。门在身后被关上,里面是她终究要自己面对的世界。爱,是有边界的。作为母亲,必须清楚这一点。

当我们不受外界眼光的驱使而做自己的时候,那份自在,就是幸福的模样。

踏出舒适圈不是盲目的,更不是跟风的。它源于自我认同和创造的渴望,懂得欣赏和感激,从积极的角度发现机遇,找到发挥自身优势的“甜蜜点”,在挫折中有承受压力、总结经验、改善方法的智慧,才是每个人都可以拥有的成长方式。

爱的关系,不是控制与反控制的博弈,不是你错我对的执念,而是一种深刻的共识:在这段关系里,你可以成为更好的你,我可以成为更好的我,我们共同成为更好的我们。

Categories
Review

Review of WS-858 Wireless Microphone

WS-858 Wireless MicrophoneMy father loves to sing, so I got him a pair of these WS-858 Wireless Headphones for Christmas this year.

How to Use

After charging the wireless microphone with the micro-USB cable provided,

  1. Switch on the wireless microphone by pressing the on/off button near the head for a few seconds. You will hear a loud voice that says “the bluetooth device is ready to pair”.
  2. Switch on bluetooth on your handphone or smart television and search for WS-858. Click on WS-858 in your list of devices and you will hear a loud voice saying “the bluetooth device is connected successfully”.
  3. You can now use the microphone to sing songs.

If you are contemplating buying the WS-858 Wireless Microphone as a gift or personal use, please note the following pros and cons before buying.

Pros

  • The WS-858 Wireless Microphone comes in four pretty colors – pink, black, gold and blue. The pretty colors makes the wireless microphones a great gift.
  • It’s wireless so there are no cables that can potentially trip people.
  • You can recharge the microphone using micro-USD cable so there is no need to buy batteries.
  • The microphone connects easily to handphone or television.

Cons

  • There is no way to lower the volume of the voice after switching on the microphone and upon successfully connecting to bluetooth device .
  • Due to proximity of microphone  and speaker, feedback loop often causes high-pitched squeal especially when singing high-pitch notes.

 

Categories
Books

Warren Buffet and The Interpretation of Financial Statements

I have been dabbling in stocks in the past few years. I have managed to pick a few really good stocks but there are also not-so-good ones. I thought to myself: “There has to be a better way of picking stocks than random guessing.” What better way to learn about investing than learning from Warren Buffet, the most successful investor in the world. I promptly bought a copy of the book “Warren Buffet and the Interpretation of Financial Statements” started learning.

Warren Buffet and The Intepretation of Financial Statements

The reason Warren Buffet is so good at picking stocks is because he reads thousands of financial statements everyday. I thought I knew how to read financial statements, but in this book, Warren Buffet gives detailed breakdown of each component and what to look out for:

  • consistently high Gross Profit Margins (Gross Profit / Total Revenues) >40% = durable competitive advantage (check for last 10 years)
  • Selling, General and Administrative Expenses should be between 30-80% of gross profit
  • Don’t have to spend heavily on R&D
  • Low Depreciation Cost as a percentage of gross profit
  • Little or no Interest Expense <15% of operating income
  • Increasing Retained Earnings = durable competitive advantage
  • Treasury Shares/Stock = durable competitive advantage
  • Buy back stocks = durable competitive advantage
Categories
Product

Dr. Beckermann Stain Remover Oxi-Power Foam

Dr. Beckmann Stain Remover Oxi-Power Foam

Dr. Beckermann Stain Remover Oxi-Power Foam has now become my go-to stain remover.

I often dirty my clothes while eating so a good stain remover is essential to me.

I used to use Chlorax 2 for Colors Stain Remover but it was discontinued. I tried a dozen of stain removers but none really worked until I found Dr. Beckermann Stain Remover Oxi-Power Foam.

You just need to spray on the stain 20 minutes before putting it in the washing machine to wash as per normal. It works best on fresh stains, but I was able to get out some really old stains by spraying and washing multiple times.

This power stain remover is available in all major supermarkets in Singapore.

Categories
Books

“Awaken Your Genius” by Ozan Varol – The Purpose of Life

For as long as I remember, I have been asking myself this question: what is the purpose of life?

Is it to finish school, get a job, get married and have kids? Is it to become a bolt of the big machine of society and contribute my worth? Is it to  procreate to ensure the existence of our human species?

Is that all to life? That sounds so boring and I just want to wilt and die at the thought of that life.

I think I might have found the answer to the question of what is the purpose of life after reading the book “Awaken Your Genius” by Ozan Varol.

Awaken Your Genius by Ozan Varol

There is one quote in the book that I really like:

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what make you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

I think I have read this quote by Howard Thurman in another book and it really speaks to me.

We are not going to be of any use to society if we are living zombies. We need to be alive and to do that, we need to explore the things we are curious about and let our inner child come out to play.

This knowledge gives me such joy. It’s almost as if this book gives me the permission to try the things I have always wanted to do. Just because I have been a nurse for over 10 years don’t mean I can’t become someone new. And I don’t have to do it in a drastic way by quitting my job, I can slowly ease the transition or explore other opportunities.

The book “Awaken Your Genius” by Ozan Varol shows many ways to make us come alive once again.

I strongly encourage everyone to read this book. It will alter your thinking and potentially transform your life. At the very least, it will be an entertaining read.

Categories
Investment

15 Hong Kong Custodian Brokerage Fees

In Hong Kong, there are no Central Depository (CDP) accounts like in Singapore. All brokerage accounts in Hong Kong are custodian accounts where the stocks are bought and held under the brokerage company.

While custodian accounts typically charge lower brokerage fees, there are many hidden charges when using custodian accounts such as:

  • Custodian fee
  • Account maintenance fee
  • Trading fee
  • Transfer fee

15 Hong Kong Custodian Brokerage Fees

Money Smart lists 15 of the best online brokerage platforms in Hong Kong. I want to do a more detailed breakdown of their respective (hidden) charges so you can choose the best brokerage platform with peace of mind.

Tiger Brokers

Tiger Brokers 0 CommisionYou may have seen Tiger Brokers’ advertisement boasting 0% commission on Hong Kong stocks, but that is only valid for 365 days for new sign-ups. After 365 days, the commission is 0.03% of trade value or minimum HKD7/order, whichever is higher.

Meanwhile, here is the full breakdown of all the fees Tiger Brokers charges for using their platform:

Tiger Brokers Fees

Besides all these fees, there are also other service charges which are free for now:

Tiger Brokers Other Service Charges

Tiger Brokers presently holds brokerage licenses in Singapore, The U.S., New Zealand, and Australia. If you are investing in Hong Kong stocks through Tiger Brokers and the transaction goes through Singapore brokerage, Singapore government will levy a GST (Goods and Services Tax) at a rate of 8% on the above fees and charges.

Trading Tariff, Settlement Fees, Stamp Duty, SFC Transaction Levy and FRC Transaction Levy applies.

Webull Securities

Webull Securities only supports trades in the US, Hong Kong and China markets. The 0% commission is only applicable for US stocks, and only for 183 days from date of account approval.

Webull Securities Fees

Webull charges 0.02% commission on Hong Kong trades, as well as HK$10/order trading platform fee.

Trading Tariff, Settlement Fees, Stamp Duty, SFC Transaction Levy and FRC Transaction Levy applies.

Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers Fees

Interactive Brokers charges tiered commission fee depending on the monthly trade volume, from 0.05% – 0.015% of trade value.

Trading Tariff, Settlement Fees, Stamp Duty, SFC Transaction Levy and FRC Transaction Levy applies.

Huatai Financial Holdings

Huatai Financial Holding Fees

Huatai Securities is a securities company in China. According to Huatai Hong Kong Stock Services Fees and Charges, there is no custodian fee.

Trading Tariff, Settlement Fees, Stamp Duty, SFC Transaction Levy and FRC Transaction Levy applies.

Fosun Wealth

Fosun WealthAccording to this Terms and Conditions, all transactions carried out from their trading app have lifetime 0% commission on all Hong Kong and US trades but there is a platform fee of HK$15/order.

Trading Tariff, Settlement Fees, Stamp Duty, SFC Transaction Levy and FRC Transaction Levy applies.

Saxo

Saxo Fees

According to Saxo website, there is no platform fees, no custody fees and no inactivity fees.

Saxo Commission

Saxo charges a tiered commission fee based on whether you hold a Classic, Platinum or VIP account. The commission fee is 0.08% – 0.05% (minimum HKD18).

Trading Tariff, Settlement Fees, Stamp Duty, SFC Transaction Levy and FRC Transaction Levy applies.

Futu Securities

Futu Securities Commission

Futu Securities is an online brokerage platform that enables individual investors to trade U.S. and Hong Kong-listed stocks.

There is commission of 0.03% of transaction amount (minimum HK$3/order).

Platform fees is either fixed at HK$15/order or tiered HK$1 – KH$30 on accumulated monthly orders.

Futu Securities Fees

Trading Tariff, Settlement Fees, Stamp Duty, SFC Transaction Levy and FRC Transaction Levy applies.

Valuable Capital

Valuable Capital is an investment service platform for Hong Kong and U.S. stocks.

Valuable Capital

I can’t find any information on the fees on Valuable Capital’s website so I ca’t confirm if the 0% commission for HK stocks is true and for how long.

Trading Tariff, Settlement Fees, Stamp Duty, SFC Transaction Levy and FRC Transaction Levy applies.

uSMART Securities

uSMART Securities mobile application is an advanced financial trading platform for global investors which supports trading of HK, US & A Stocks, and US Stock Options anytime.

uSMART Securities Commission

uSMART Securities uses tiered commission 0.0025% – 0.08% (minimum KH$8/transaction), depending on total account asset. There is no platform fee.

uSMART Securities Fees

Trading Tariff, Settlement Fees, Stamp Duty, SFC Transaction Levy and FRC Transaction Levy applies.

LONGBRIDGE Securities

Long Bridge Securities (HK) is an online one-stop overseas asset allocation. Longbridge covers 5 major securities markets including Singapore, Hong Kong and US.

LONGBRIDGE Securities Fees

Longbridge Securities charges 0.03% commission of trading amount (minimum HKD$3). Platform fee is either fixed at HKD$15/order or tiered based on monthly order volume.

Trading Tariff, Settlement Fees, Stamp Duty, SFC Transaction Levy and FRC Transaction Levy applies.

Fulbright Securities

Fulbright Securities

Fulbright Securities charges 0.15% commission (minimum HK$80) for online transactions and 0.20% for phone transactions (minimum HK$90).

There is no custody fee and no platform fees. Please refer to this table for reference (written in Chinese).

Trading Tariff, Settlement Fees, Stamp Duty, SFC Transaction Levy and FRC Transaction Levy applies.

SoFi Hong Kong

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, SoFi is one of the largest and fastest growing fintech companies in the US. SoFi is now licensed in Hong Kong.

SoFi Hong Kong Fees

SoFi Hong Kong does not charge custody fee and there is no commission on Hong Kong and US stock trading.

Trading Tariff, Settlement Fees, Stamp Duty, SFC Transaction Levy and FRC Transaction Levy applies.

EBSI Direct

EBSI Direct Fees

EBSI Direct charges 0.088% – 0.138% commission based on the monthly turnover. Phone orders are subject to a HKD20 surcharge per executed order.

Trading Tariff, Settlement Fees, Stamp Duty, SFC Transaction Levy and FRC Transaction Levy applies.

Direct Spot

Direct Spot

I can’t find the website for Direct Spot so we will just have to make do with the information I found on MoneySmart. According to this chart, the commission fee for Hong Kong stocks is 0.05% (minimum KH$30) for online transactions and 0.25% (minimum HK$200) for phone transactions.

Trading Tariff, Settlement Fees, Stamp Duty, SFC Transaction Levy and FRC Transaction Levy applies.

Metaverse Securities

Metaverse SecuritiesAccording to Metaverse Securities website, commission is 0.059% (minimum HK$39.9) for online transactions, o.15% (minimum HK$100) for phone transactions.

Metaverse Securities Fees

According to this chart, there is no custody fee and platform fee but there is an inactivity fee of HK$20 per month.

Categories
Investment

The Lazy Man’s Way of Picking Stocks

Many people are scared of buying stocks because they don’t know how to pick stocks. I learned this method of screening stocks from an investment newsletter and it has helped me tremendously. I call it The Lazy Man’s Way of Picking Stocks.

The Lazy Man’s Way of Picking Stocks

The Lazy Man’s Way of Picking Stocks is a set of stock screener values that I learned from an investment newsletter I signed up for years ago (I forgot the name of the newsletter).

The criteria are as follows:

  • Return on Equity > 15%
  • Debt to Equity Ratio < 2
  • Dividend Yield > 1%
  • Market Cap < 1 Billion

… let me explain the reasoning for each criteria below.

Market Cap < 1 Billion

Businesses valued over 1 billion are all big companies, and big companies have expensive stocks and slow-to-no growth. As a small time investor, we are looking for small-capitalisation companies that have growth potential.

Look for companies with market capitalisation of around 999 million.

Debt to Equity Ratio < 2

The debt-to-equity ratio (D/E ratio) shows how much debts a company has compared to its assets. A higher debt-to-equity means the company may have a harder time covering its liabilities.

Since we are looking for quality companies to invest in, we want the debt-to-equity ratio to be as low as possible, preferably less than 2.

Return on Equity > 15%

I use return on equity (ROE) to gauge a corporation’s profitability and how efficient in generating profits. The higher the ROE, the more efficient a company’s management is at germinating income and growth.

Dividend Yield > 1%

Dividend yield shows you how much dividend payout per year for every dollar invested in a stock.

My main objective is to generate passive income from my stock investments so dividend yield is crucial to me. If you are not buying stocks for dividend income, you can choose not to use this filter.

How to Use The Lazy Man’s Way of Picking Stocks

It’s simple! Go to the stock screener of any stock exchange site and input these criteria and you should get something like this:

The Lazy Man's Way of Picking Stocks

You will only get a handful of company that fulfill such stringent criteria. I will do a stock screen every month and down the companies that make the cut. If a company consistently appear in the results for 6 months to a year, I will strongly consider buying the stock.

If anyone needs step-by-step instructions on how to use a stock screener with the above-mentioned criteria, leave a comment below and I will do one in a separate post.

Categories
Lifestyle

How to Pray for Love and Marriage at Yueh Hai Ching Temple

Yueh Hai Ching Temple - Front

Many people in Singapore call Yueh Hai Ching Temple the “Temple of Love”. This temple has a statue of Yue Lao (God of Love and Marriage) which has successfully granted many love requests.

How to Pray for Love at Yueh Hai Ching Temple

When entering the grounds of a temple, it’s important not to step directly on the threshold of the main gate. Women should enter with their right foot first, while men enter with their left.

Yueh Hai Ching Temple - Hall

There are two halls in Yueh Hai Ching Temple, the Yue Lao (God of Love and Marriage) statue is in the right hall.

Yueh Hai Ching Temple - Counter

There is a counter to the left of the entrance. Tell the staff that you are here to pray for love and he will give you three sticks of joss sticks, a piece of red thread and a red envelope.

The Yue Lao (God of Love and Marriage) statue sits at the right and of the main Buddha statue in the room.

Yueh Hai Ching Temple - Outside

Follow these steps to pray for love and marriage:

  1. Light the joss sticks using the fire in the hexagon-shaped glass tower outside the hall. If there are excess flames on the joss sticks, do not blow out the flames with your mouth. Instead, flick the joss sticks to the side to extinguish the flames.
  2. Put some money into the red envelope as a token of appreciation to Lue Lao for helping you to find love and marriage.
  3. Put the red packet in front of the Yue Lao statue.
  4. Kneel on the padded stool in front of the statue with the three joss sticks in between your hands.
  5. Keep your eyes open as you pray to Yue Lao so that the God of Love and Marriage can see your face and find you when he has the right match for your you.
  6. Tell Yue Lao your name, age, address and job as well as your requirements for your future partner. Be as specific as possible so that he can find you the right person.
  7. After you have finished praying, bow three times and hang the piece of red thread on the statue.
  8. Take 2 sweets from the bowl in front of the statue and eat them on the way out. One sweet represents people and the other represents love.
  9. Put the three joss sticks standing in the urn outside of the hall.

That is how you pray for love and marriage at Yueh Hai Ching Temple. Do let me know if this has helped you to find your boyfriend/husband and I will write another post on what to do after your wish has been fulfilled.

Categories
Books

Are You on Sidewalk, Slowlane or The Millionaire Fastlane?

The Millionaire Fastlane

I keep buying self-help books but The Millionaire Fastlane is the only one I managed to finish from cover to cover, in a long time.

The way the book classifies people’s lifestyle into sidewalk, slowlane and fastlane is interesting.

People who live on the sidewalk live paycheck to paycheck. All they want is a steady job and television after work. As I was reading about the sidewalk, I was reminded of the time my mother blew up because I used up all $900 that she gave me for allowance. Till this day, I can’t remember what I bought with that $900. And there’s also the time when I borrowed money from licensed money lender to travel with then-boyfriend.

Most people naturally graduate to the slowlane as they become wiser with age. I thought I was so smart by investing in stocks but it turned out investing is the slowlane. Warren Buffet accumulated most of his wealth after 65 years old. As long as you invest in reliable companies year after year like Warren Buffet, everyone can become a millionaire given 40+ years. But do I want to become a millionaire when I am too old to enjoy my success?

I want to be on the fastlane. To be exact, I want to be on The Millionaire Fastlane. It can be done and it has been done by many young entrepreneurs like Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos. They are all less than 40 years old and billionaires, so what’s stopping me?

To be on The Millionaire Fastlane, I need to create and solve people’s problems. The more people I solve problem for, the money money I will make. I remember writing an article that life is about creation, but I didn’t know what I was to create. Now I know, I should be creating solutions to people’s problems.

Categories
Books

The Complete Guide to Living in Singapore

I know it can be disorienting and scary starting a life in a foreign land so I wrote a guide which I hope will give you some help and guidance.

This book is not your usual tourist book about the Top 10 Attractions in Singapore (although I will touch on that in the later chapters). This is a manual about living in Singapore, from a naturalised Singapore citizen who has been living in Singapore for more than 20 years. I have come to love this tiny island country which may be small but has everything you possibly need, if you know where to look. 

The Complete Guide to Living in Singapore
You can buy it here on Amazon.