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Common but admirable people.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Once in a very long while, we might get to meet people whom we are truly impressed with and, even rarer, admire. Today, over lunch, I found such a group of people.

Although I have promised to keep the information shared with me confidential (and it will be so), I just want to share with readers how I am heartened that there are selfless people in Singapore who are doing good and trying to do more each day.

Some people have told me that what I am doing here in ASSI is noble, that I share freely with everyone what I know, that I spend so much time replying to emails and comments from readers. In fact, some might wonder why I do it?

Honestly, this blog was started mostly out of curiosity. I did not start with the primary intention to share the importance of financial freedom. What I thought and what I felt, I just blogged.

Over time, the number of readers grew and I realised many people enjoy reading my blogs. So, somewhere along the line, I decided that if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well. Therefore, I started to write more seriously in an effort to inspire readers and to share what I know. A metamorphosis took place.

However, even though blogging feels like a second full time job for me by now, I have a day job that pays me a salary. So, I don't need to blog for a living and it doesn't matter too much that I am not being properly compensated for the amount of time I put into blogging.

Now, these people I got to know over lunch today are in a different league. They are paid very little money in their day jobs which are to share the importance of financial freedom with as many people as possible on a regular basis. Money made through their group efforts is put aside to do good in future for the underpriviledged.

I feel that this is truly noble and admirable.

I think all of us know how easy it is to feel cynical about people in this materialistic world that we live in but as we strive to become better people, it is good to know that there are people who are also striving to make the world a better place and they are making huge sacrifices to do so.

In the past, some readers suggested to me how I could conduct inexpensive and simple courses on investing in the stock market. I have, of late, thought how this could possibly be a retirement activity. Now, I am inspired that if I should do this, I could also possibly do something for the charities.

This has been a heart warming day for me.


meesiam said...

I want to be the first to sign up...learning and doing charity at the same time. So good. Put me in your participant list. :)

AK71 said...

Hi meesiam,

Experienced investors like yourself need not apply although donations to chosen charities are still accepted. ;p

LoveLocks said...

I be the second one :)

AK71 said...

Hi Jimmy,

At least I know there will be two people in the queue. Haha.. Thank you for the encouragement. :)

Steven said...

Hi AK,

I hope you will keep doing what you do best. Your site is extremely helpful to many ppl and i sincerely appreciate your efforts.

seth said...

Hi AK,

Me 3. :)


B said...

I'll second to that. I'm sure a lot will learn a much more valuable lesson with you in person :D

EY said...

Hi AK,

Let me volunteer to be the kopi ah soh when you run your courses, if I'm financially free by then. :P

Otherwise, I'll be an 'outstanding' student - stand outside your class to eavesdrop on your teaching like I do here on your blog! LOL~

Seriously, I support all altrustic acts. I endeavour to contribute more to help the underprivileged too. My boss told me yesterday that someday he would want to 'pull me back' and we'll start a social enterprise together. I'll work hard to make this a reality. :)


Unknown said...

Indeed, when our hearts are opened in that way, we meet people in the same league. There are many such people around, serving and helping people with their pure hearts, not through ego. Happy to be in this group sharing. :)

AK71 said...

Hi Steven,

I will do my best although readers should always examine what I say with a big magnifying glass. ;)

AK71 said...

Hi seth,

Oh my, the line is getting longer! ;p

AK71 said...

Hi B,

People might get a kick out of seeing Psy performing the Gangnam Style in person but how would seeing me in person help anyone better learn investing in the stock market? I cannot imagine. ;p

You are also an accomplished investor and I am sure I have much I can learn from you. :)

AK71 said...

Hi Endrene,

Outstanding! I like this. hahaha.. ;p

A social enterprise is a really good way to make a living. Do good every day while helping people!

I decided to become an affiliate of BetterWorldBooks instead of the hugely successful Amazon because I like BetterWorldBooks' mission to help the underprivileged and the environment. :)

We must never forget the less fortunate who do not have the same advantages we have.


AK71 said...

Hi Ling,

Yes, you are right. The heart must be true and the ego should be buried.

Doing both at the same time is not easy but there are Buddhas amongst us. Of that, I am sure. :)

Steven said...

Hi AK,

We should always examine what is being distributed out there. Taking in information without thinking carefully is reckless...

Money dont come easily... there is always a price to pay... i m sure Warren Buffet will agree also.

Wisdom my friends, use it wisely.

AK71 said...

Hi Steven,

My "magnifying glass" is always close at hand. ;)

Making sure that the price I pay is giving me value for money is very important.

ivan said...

Hi AK,

I so happy to hear this. You are the ONE! and you have my support :)


AK71 said...

Hi ivan,

I am worried now that I might be getting readers' hopes up. I am just musing about it at this stage but thanks for the encouraging response. :)

ivan said...

Hi AK,

I always thought such endeavors are meaningful even if noone is stepping out to actually doing it. I am glad you think differently and hope that vision will come to be soon. You are a beacon of light, illuminating financial matters but certainly not limited to.

This is a great Ang Pow for many ordinary folks.


AK71 said...

Hi ivan,

I am really just another ordinary investor who happens to know a bit more than a novice. This is my honest assessment of my ability.

Although it will be hard to live up to your glowing assessment, I will try not to disappoint (too often). ;) said...

Hi AK, sorry this may not be the right forum for this - but did u get my email regarding Starhub blocking your site under their smartsurf service?

I was surprised to find out that i couldnt access your site today. Apparently this new premium package we signed up came with a blocking service that I was not aware of. I called customer service, they told me it blocked objectionable sites. So naturally I asked why is a stock investing blog objectionable ? No response. Why can't customers control this blocking service if we are paying for it? No answer. I hv to decide to remove it entirely or not, permanently. Was annoyed and puzzled. What kind of customer service is this??

Anyway, I waited an hour or so and now I can access your site :)

After some thought, I think I may know why it is blocked ....cuz the abbreviations of your site has "ASS"I in it! lol !

I am not sure, just speculating.

Just so glad I have access again cuz it's my favorite stock site :)))


AK71 said...

Hi EL,

Really? My blog was banned by Starhub? Amazing!

I was told that porn websites make the most money. So, maybe, if I take out the "I" and just leave "ASS", I could make more money from my blog? Could it be so? ;p

Anyway, I guess here will be some Starhub subscribers who won't be able to access my blog. :(

Definitely, I won't be subscribing to this Starhub premium service. Pay more to access fewer sites? Doesn't sound like value for money to me. ;p

Anyway, I have not checked my emails today. I will go take a look.

In the meantime, welcome back. :)

Singapore Man of Leisure said...


Fighting! (I'm trying to blend in with the K-pop younger generation. I guess I am in my lao hero phase. LOL!)

I am quite impressed with some of the social enterprises that has mushroomed in recent years - hiring ex-prisoners, empowering women of lesser means, etc.

You go girl! Wink. (At this point you should recoil in horror with yeeeeeee)

Singapore Man of Leisure said...


It's good karma what you are doing.

Most people have a Hinayana perspective of financial freedom.

Not many have your Mahayana heart and perspective.

I can't be "outstanding" student like EY, but with my bald head, I just need a pair of cool shades and a black T-shirt, I'll do well as "crowd control".

FOC just as long you provide barley water ;)

anon said...

Hi AK,
Since yours is an investment blog and since your musings are mostly inspiring, I'll take the liberty of sharing with you and your readers Buffett's homage to his mentor, Graham. Btw, these are some of my favourite Buffett's quotes.

Ben Graham hoped every day to do "something foolish, something creative and something generous".

In each relationship, there was an absolutely open-ended, no-scores-kept generosity of ideas, time, and spirit. If clarity of thinking was required, there was no better place to go. And if encouragement or counsel was needed, Ben was there.

Walter Lippmann spoke of men who plant trees that other men will sit under. Ben Graham was such a man.

... perhaps your blog already reflects the spirit of Ben Graham, hence your many and growing readership. We, your readers, truly appreciate the time and effort you give to your blog. Thank you.

Anonymous said...


I'll join in your long queue as well :D

Btw, There will be a seminar/talk coming sometimes in May, and will feature Robert G. Allen on how to develop Multiple Stream of Income.

He will be in Singapore to talk about this topic.

Maybe, you can help to publicized on the awareness of this talk, as I know Robert G. Allen shares some good guidance and principles on how to develop different streams of income.

Let me know if you are ok to blog about it once I have the details about the seminar/talk.

AK71 said...


Although I did Buddhist Studies in school, Hinayana is new to me. Googling this, I found out it is actually a very old form of the Theravada school which I know. Of course, there is Mahayana which is more popular in East Asia.

You have given me a hat that is too big for my head, my friend. Really big. Now, I have to hold on to it or it could fly away with the next gust of wind. ;)

Barley water brewed by AK71? That is a good idea. For that, I can charge an extra $10 per participant. Of course, Mr. Bouncer SMOL gets two bottles at no charge. ;p

AK71 said...

Hi Jojo,

I am sure I am not a man to plant a tree for others to sit under. I am not that altruistic.

I will give you a spade and show you how to plant your own tree so that you will have a tree to sit under in future. How well your tree grows will be due to your own efforts. ;)

Thanks for sharing your favourite quotations here with us. Also, thanks for the encouragement. :)

AK71 said...

Hi SC,

If a seminar is not for profit and if it something I believe in, I will gladly publicise it for free in my blog.

It is just like how I blogged for free about Singapore Children Society and Children Cancer Foundation before. These are charities and are not run for profit.

If the seminar you mentioned profits the organisers, then, I would expect adequate compensation in order to provide them with publicity in my blog. It cannot be free of charge.

So, if you know the organisers, perhaps, you could ask them to get in touch with me with regards to publicising the event. It would be similar to what I did for Value Investing Summit 2013 last month, I suppose. :)

Mr. IPO said...

Very noble indeed. :) someone from city index wrote to me asking if I am offering courses for "preview" and they can offer their premises for "free". Haha I can pass u the contact if u want.

ivan said...


I think i understand where u come from but can't help but notice the unfortunate use of the terms Hinayana and Mahayana as comparison in ur post. Then as I examine, think deeper into it from a Buddhist perspective both are but different sides of the same coin, and at some point the "coin" itself would ceased to have meaning. If we see AK as having started as Hinayana but graduated into Mahayana in the financial continuum, does that mean he is less one or the other?

With metta,

EY said...


By the time I start a social enterprise, I'll probably be in my twilight years! So change your cheer, 'You go, lao auntie!' and I'll give you a hi-five! Hahaha...

Hi AK,

Please hor, your niche is in financial planning/stock investing. For that, you can adopt a premium pricing strategy. But for barley water, you want to charge 10X the market price? Yours will have to be a very unique product. You wanna include your guru spit and market it as 'miracle' barley water? Eeeewwww... :P If people are willing to pay so much for SKII that smells like spit, then I think you might strike gold too! ROFL!


AK71 said...

Hi Mr. IPO,

Thanks for the kind offer. :)

I am still not comfortable to "show face". Not yet, anyway.

The availability of a free venue is a good start. Removes a big cost component. Will archive this bit of info. ;)

AK71 said...

Hi Ivan,

It seems that you are more advanced in Buddhism than I am. I am lost. Will wait for my fellow learned archer to reply. ;)

AK71 said...

Hi Endrene,

Aiyoh, this is called merchandising hor. I was thinking of rolling out T-shirts, mugs and baseball caps as well! ;p

I think I better throw the barley water idea out. I don't want to get into trouble with NEA. However, since SMOL would only do some free bouncing if I paid him in barley water, I would have to slip him a bottle under the table. ;p said...

hi AK I have given up on the telcos in singapore, its just a necessary evil for me cuz I want my cable TV channels, wifi etc, so I renew the package which is supposedly premium but doesnt cost any more than my expired contract. That's the problem with monopoly! They have the "moat" as you explained in your other blog. There is no incentive to improve customer experience or service :))
thanks for replying my email !


AK71 said...

Hi EL,

Although we have 3 telcos in Singapore, the government has substantial stakes in all three one way or another.

So, although it seems like an oligopoly, it could really be a monopoly like you said. ;)

Singapore Man of Leisure said...


Hinayana is not Theravada. Most western scholars have mixed the two terms up in their past publications.

I would like to think there is a reason why the 18 schools of Hinayana died out in India while Theravada and Mahayana survived (religions rise and fall just like Darwin's survival of the fittest).

The revised terminology in Chinese for Mahayana as Bei Chuan (Northern transmitted) and Theravada as (Nan Chuan (Southern transmitted) are more appropriate. This I totally agree.

I deliberately used the word Hinayana to AK as comparing Mahayana to Theravada would be slapping my own face ;)

As you have some interest and grounding in Buddhism, may I engage you in a bit of "Dharma combat" to help my cultivation?

Zen poke 1: "If you believe they are both sides of the same coin, what motivates you to write to me that it is really the same coin?"

Zen poke 2: "If AK practices Hinayana (self-cultivation), where would you be when there's no ASSI blog?

Just having fun! I do sugar-coat some of my Buddhism biased posts in my blog.

I'll be most grateful if you can "super-poke" me over there too.

Cheers from a flower monk ;)

AK71 said...

Hi Ivan and SMOL,

This is very interesting. Let me get my popcorn and raincoat. I definitely want a front row seat for this one. ;p

ivan said...


ASSI was the effect of AK doing self-cultivation until karmic effect caught up with everyone. Did anyone observe how the shinny coin spins when he masterfully does it?

It just keep reminding the need to go back to the basic and to happily rejoice in and apply AK's sharing, whom i truly believe is a great teacher from a past life.

Let me also take this opportunity to wish everyone many great returns in this New Year of the Snake :)


AK71 said...

Hi Ivan,

I am very much humbled by your assessment of my life, past and present. Thank you but the hat is way too big for me. :)

Now, to show everyone how non spiritual I am, remember to buy TOTO for 22 Feb! $10m! Huat ah! ;p

Singapore Man of Leisure said...

1) Thanks for the well wishes Ivan!

2) AK,

You think too much! What big hat? I merely said you were altruistic. (Must deflate your ego a bit least you think of growing your head to fit the stupid hat. Not a pretty sight.)

Great reminder for me to buy Toto too! My last Toto "sniff no smoke".

Foreplay is good. But instant gratification can allow me to engage in many different types of foreplay.

Ah! Sweet contradictions!

Elaine said...


It's doesn't matter if you are spiritual or not. You have a good heart - and you are willing to act on it!

As they say - Faith, without works, is dead.

AK71 said...


Aiyoh, I thought you might be able to throw some light on Ivan's first paragraph which I don't quite understand. Oh well, I guess we don't have to understand everything in life. ;)

Now, as if saying I am altruistic is not giving me a big hat! Still a big hat! Anyway, I shall stop here or else it might look as if I am fishing for more compliments.

Thanks for the big hat and it shall go into a hat box. Doesn't fit my head. Don't wear lor. ;p

Good luck in TOTO. The nice thing about TOTO is that there can be more than 1 winner for the top prize. So, I hope both of us win! ;p

AK71 said...

Hi Elaine,

OK, this is something I agree with. I do have a good heart, figuratively although with my weakness for chocolates and sweets, I don't know if I might have a bad heart or not, physically... Well, this is where the health insurance I bought comes in. :D

I think that most Singaporeans have good hearts. I really think so. We just have to see how people donate money to others in need every time an unfortunate accident is reported in the papers and we will know this is true. :)

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