Beginning of The Journey – 3 Lessons for Beginners



It’s not easy to change a habit. Really! This blog was born because I started to adopt a new habit. It’s been almost eight years now since I started to take investing seriously. And I’m still learning till now. It would have been a more fruitful journey had I documented my logic and thought process when making every investing decision. Anyway, it’s better late than never. So here it is. This blog will serve as my virtual journal to keep track and record.

Back in March 2009, I still remembered how I stepped inside the Phillips Investor Center in Toa Payoh Central. It all started from a spark of curiosity and a desire of improving my personal finance situation.

If I could turn back time, here are the top three advice I would tell my old-self:

  1. Never let others to be in charge of your finances – Somehow after reading so many books on finance and investing, I decided that one way to improve my finances is by taking it into my own control. It’s my money anyway.  I work hard for it. Why trust it to others? I used to have a portfolio of unit trusts managed by an independent financial adviser. But apparently, their interests are not always aligned to yours. I suggested to take profit, but he suggested to hold. It was January 2007. The peak of the market. After then, huge losses came in and I had no choice but to liquidate back then. Looking back, I could have just sit still and let the portfolio rebound. But I was not enlightened enough back then.
  2. Always seek to learn – Learn new knowledge. It can be from books, from a mentor, or from a community. With the internet era like now, it’s even getting easier to obtain information. I found that certain websites such as ValueBuddies has a collection of quality posts and ideas.
  3. Try not to lose a huge sum of money along the way – Your capital seed is limited. It’ll take a 100% gain in order to compensate a 50% loss of our portfolio. Never make huge risky bets with a substantial amount of your portfolio. Try to limit risky bets up to 10% of the portfolio. Here comes the important lesson of portfolio allocation. If your bet turns out to be a bad one (you never know Chris!), you won’t lose big time.

I am sure that there are other crucial tips for beginners who’re just about to embark on their journey. Will share them along the way.


Volunteering at Trans Jakarta – A Day of Service


Harmoni Central Busway Transjakarta 1

5.00am is definitely still too early to wake up on a Sunday morning. Most people would still be at their bed sleeping. Lazy Sunday. There’s no way I can enjoy this on normal weekday. My alarm clock rang at 5.00am today. It is definitely a reminder that today, 21 May 2017 is a day where the company organized the volunteer event in cooperation with Trans Jakarta. Trans Jakarta is transportation system Bus Rapid Transit operated by PT Transportasi Jakarta. The Trans Jakarta buses serve a total of 12 corridors.

On this day, we were scheduled to gather at 6.30am at National Museum, a very popular museum just a stone throw away from National Monument, a.k.a. Monas. Surprisingly when I arrived there, the area seemed to have started its day, busy with its morning hustle bustle. Two middle-aged men were jogging on the pedestrian walkway. Some ladies were walking slowly in their sports attire and sports shoes. Not all people are lazy, I said quietly.

The event started at 8.00am after our CEO gave his introduction speech about how important volunteering is. Volunteer is not just part of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). Instead it is part of the spirit that we belong to the same community. We were split into three tasks. The first task  is being the bus attendant, another is being the shelter attendant, while the last task is cleaning service. I picked the last task. Smart choice, Chris! I thought it would be easy ride all along. Considering bus attendant and shelter attendant have the responsibility of guiding the passengers.

It’s been a while since my last time holding a “kanebo” (the yellowish absorbent towel) and a cleaning towel and a pail of water. But what’s the fuss? Let’s do it anyway. We are here to volunteer.

trans jakarta

Cleaning the Trans Jakarta halte bus (i.e. busway terminal) is apparently not as easy as I thought. We were assigned to handle Harmoni terminal, which is the central interchange in Corridor 1 of Trans Jakarta. I met with Pak Enza, the cleaner staff. Together with all other volunteers and the cleaner staff, we cleaned all the windows and grills at Harmoni terminal. A simple task that could be quite tough, considering we have to operate under the stinging hot weather without air conditioner. I guess we are just too used to the office air-con environment. After 11am, we were called by our event coordinator. She must have taken pity on our sweaty filthy clothes. It’s time to end the activity. Such a short time frame of three hours, but it’s enough to make me sweating crazily and my body kept pleading for liquid.

In summary, actually we should be the ones to be thankful for being given this opportunity. It makes me fully appreciate their hard work, which sometimes goes unnoticed. It’s also a rare chance to meet and work together with the people of Trans Jakarta, those who relentlessly provide fantastic service, day in day out, to all the passengers. Thank you!