Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Hong Kong Trip June 2017

We got a minor scare prior to this trip when Misa Travel suddenly closed down its shutters. However all's well ends well when the two tickets that we bought for our parents were honored eventually. Kudos to all parties involved - Misa Travel, DBS and Cathay Pacific.

Especially to Misa Travel. I dropped them an email but wasn't expecting any reply. However they did and gave a positive reply. Thumbs up!

With that resolved, my brother and I took our early morning Tiger flight and met our parents at Hong Kong airport to begin our 4d3n trip.

As this wasn't our first time to HK, we did not visit the usual attractions like The Peak and Big Buddha. Instead it's more like a foodie tour this time.

Our lunch on the first day was a visit to Australian Dairy Co. where bad service is supposedly the norm rather than exception. Personally I find the food pretty normal tasting.

After that we went to the nearby Yee Shun Milk Co. for their double boiled milk pudding.

The pudding is pretty good I must say. But at about S$6 a bowl it doesn't comes cheap. Nevertheless we went back on the next day to try the other flavours.

The next two days were spent on visiting some famous food joints. Among these are Tai Cheong Bakery for their egg tarts which taste better than the branch in Singapore.

Lan Fong Yuen which is rumored to be the founding place of stocking milk tea. Their tea is indeed different from the others that I had in HK.

Also ordered their 'must-have' chicken chop noodles and pork bun. Not bad at all.

 Oh, happened to pass by this iconic place too and took a quick photo.

On the last night we went to our hotel rooftop to take in the sights. I took the opportunity to take this photo of the full moon using my old and still trusty LG G4. Haha..

Last day in HK, had this roast goose rice at the airport. It was surprisingly quite good.

However something is brewing while we were having our lunch...

A tropical cyclone is on its way while we were happily biting into our char siew and roast goose.

And things escalated quickly. After checking in, the notice was changed to No. 8. Thankfully our plane has arrived and we managed to fly back before the full effect was felt.

All's well ends well.

There you go.. A quick update for June..

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Recent Actions - April & May 17

Just a quick update on my stock related activities for the past two months.

S$1,282 contra loss on Rotary Engineering.

S$590 M1 dividends received.

S$121 Comfort Delgro dividends received.

S$400 Capitaland dividends received.

S$97 Suntec Reit dividends received.
On the watch list, some of the counters have been inching towards or have reached my buying target price.

I am keeping a close eye on:

ISOTeam - to add more on further dips

Raffles Medical, ThaiBev and Wilmar - to initiate position

Will enter when the time arrives.
I have not been that successful in trading recently. However at least I know what went wrong. Will definitely keep these lessons in mind.

Last but not least, I hope to be more active in the market in the coming months. But I won't buy just for the sake of buying. After all a bird in hand is worth two in the bushes.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

ISOTeam - Why I Like This Counter

ISOTeam has recently released its quarter results and there are many excellent articles online that discuss about the good and bad of this counter.

Hence I am not going to repeat the same thing. Instead I am just going to write about why I'm still vested and why I like ISOTeam.

Usually when a company caught my eye which led me to delve deeper into the good and bad, I would start with the macro environment and nature of business, and finally the several fundamental criteria which I look out for in a company.

Macro Environment

I like businesses that are in line with and that can leverage on the government's policies.

The outlook for the construction sector at least for the next two years looks promising with the push from our government.

Being in the construction industry though not directly as a builder, ISOteam is poised to benefit from the upgrading and A&A projects coming along as a result.

Nature of Business

Simply put, I like ISOTeam for its defensive and recurring business.

Being an environmental-conscious person, I also like the Green and Eco-friendly initiatives from the company such as the development of green products which could be a new source of income (E.g. enzyme-based pesticide).

Apart from their traditional core businesses, they are also constantly looking into building up other capabilities which ride with the trend around the world.

One example is their installation capability in renewable energy which is an area where the government is heading into (Synergy with government policies).

ISOTeam currently has an order book of more than S$94 million which will be progressively delivered in the next two years (Top line stability).

Looking at the list of current projects on their website (provided the list is updated), one can see that they have quite a number of ongoing projects that will contribute to the top and bottom lines in the near future.

The Management

One big plus for me is the bold and forward-looking management team of ISOTeam.

I like how they grow the company organically and inorganically (New products & services and M&As).

They have also proven to be unafraid to invest when the opportunity arises (Sunseap).

On the M&A side, they have also been aggressive when they deemed the target synergistic to IsoTeam.

One example is Rong Shun, which by the way has a profit guarantee as contribution to ISOTeam's bottom line.


Mr Goh Cheng Liang is a substantial shareholder of ISOTeam. And he happens to be Singapore's richest man as well.

When you invest in the same company with an astute man as Mr Goh, you tends to feel safer.

I'm not saying things will go smoothly for sure. But at least this can makes me sleep more soundly at night. Knowing that my vested interest is the same as this man.

Lastly, there is also a dark horse in ISOTeam. And that is their Myanmar's venture (Growth catalyst).

In my opinion, this has the potential to be the biggest contributory factor in the performance of the company in the mid to long term.

If you believe in the fundamentals of a company and if you don't buy in during the bearish trend, then when?

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Lessons from The Big Short

Some time ago I finally watched the movie 'The Big Short' which was about the subprime mortgage crisis that eventually led to the global financial crisis of 2007.

Though the subject is a heavy one which includes stuff like CDOs and such, the movie has comedy incorporated into the plot which I find it laudable.

I would recommend this movie to anyone.

Apart from the entertainment associated from watching a movie, I also derived some lessons from the movie which I felt are applicable to many successful persons around us as well:

1) The guys who got the windfall in the end are rich originally.

2) They have a 'gui ren' to help them (Brad Pitt helping the two guys). 
And this leads to another important point which is the power of Networking.

3) They have luck on their side (the wrong phone call to Mike Baum).

4) They did their homework and stick to their findings.

5) They remain steadfast in their belief even when the whole world goes against them.

Well, personally I feel these are useful guide lines for my investment journey and career. Especially points 2, 4 and 5.

Hope they can serve as a reminder to you too.

Friday, 12 May 2017

True Cost of Car Ownership in Singapore (My Case Study)

I bought my current ride in March 2009 and this work horse has been serving me well for the past 8 years 2 months.

Perhaps it's due to the expiring COE, it suddenly occured to me how much in fact is the total cost of my ownership of the car.

Hence I did a quick calculation to find out.

Of course due to various reasons, the calculated figure would not be 100% accurate. However it is 'more or less there' and serves as a guideline to find out the ownership cost.

1. Car price including interest: $45,000

This was the second lowest price historically for this model and I was lucky to get it at this price mainly due to two reasons.

COE price was low.
Korean won was weakening at that time.

Therefore I decided to seize the opportunity and purchased the car.

This mentality is somewhat similar to my stock investment mentality - I do not time the market. Instead I move in for the purchase once my perceived fair value for that stock has reached.

2. 10 year road tax: $7,200

3. 10 year insurance: $10,000

My insurance premium for the first few years of driving was about $1,200 per annum. Now is about $800.

4. 10 year servicing: $5,000

First three years of servicings were complimentary. After that I did the regular servicings in other workshops outside. Each servicing range from $108 - $128 depending on which package I chose. I send my car for servicing about 4 times a year.

On top of these I also went for the occasional comprehensive servicing which costs more.

5. 10 year ERP: $6,000

6. 10 year season parking: $10,800

7. 10 year petrol: $38,400

My mileage is averaging 14 - 15 km/l of petrol. And my monthly petrol bill is between $280 - $320.

8. Repair: $3,000

The car has no major issue in the first 5 years. After that I only changed 2 major components which were giving me problem - the aircon compressor and cooling coil.

Cost of both came up to about $1,200. Hopefully nothing more from now on.

9. Tyres: $5,000

4 tyres cost about $500 and I changed just about every year.

10. Misc: $2,000

I changed my rims once along with a set of new tyres for about $1,200 when my ride was still new.

To summarise the total cost of my car ownership, it costs me S$132,400 !! to use the car for a miserly ten years in Singapore.

This is enough to pay for the down payment of a condo unit.

Not that I am a strong advocate for cars. I usually take the public transport with my wife during the weekends.

However due to the nature of my job, a car has became a need, not a want in my case.

Given a choice investing this sum of money in the equity

Thursday, 4 May 2017

A Tale of Two Hawkers

Recently wifey and I went to Seah Im food centre for lunch before going to Sentosa.

Initially we ordered our favourite chicken rice which is tasty as usual. In fact this is my top 5 chicken rice stall in Singapore.

On top of that the aunty serving us is very friendly and courteous.

If you are interested, the stall name is Ding's Hainanese Chicken Rice.

After that we decided to try a hokkien mee from a stall with queue. So I went ahead to order.

Funny thing is the front of the stall has a placard that states 'One person one plate' and other conditions.

When my order is done I handed the money to the uncle and proceeded to take two pairs of chopsticks.

The uncle stared at me and with held my change. Then he told me one person one plate.

I don't really understand so I asked "cannot take two pairs of chop sticks?"

He said cannot so I put one pair back and walked away.

But what irked me are the words he said sacarstically before I walked off and I quote: "两块半已经很便宜了还要两个人吃!"

I have met some rude hawkers before but none as guai lan as this. To top it off, the hokkien mee actually tastes quite sucky.

The stall name is Cheng Ji Chao Xia Mian Hao Jian. It faces the main road.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Bangkok Trip April 2017

So wifey and I went on a Bangkok trip for 3 nights recently, taking advantage of the long weekend for some relaxation.

It was quite a last minute trip. We talked about it and made the bookings within a week.

Now Bangkok is not a new place to us since we have been there several times before. However what we didn't realised until much later, is that our trip coincides with the Songkran!

Needless to say, we were 'attacked' more than a few times by kids who look so happy and carefree with their guns and buckets, and by tourists who 'shot' at us while speeding past us on a tuk tuk.

However it was all in the spirit of fun.

I felt particularly happy to see those kids as they remain so cheerful and worry-free despite the environment they lived in. Kids in Singapore in general are very lucky indeed.

There are a few places that we will visit every time we go to Bangkok. These include Platinum Mall and Chatuchak for obvious reasons.

In addition for this round, we also went to some other places which we have never went before. E.g. Talad Rot Fai Ratchada.

It's an interesting place which sells... protein-laden bugs for example.

 And.. Guess what are these?

We also went to a smaller train market by the name Talad Neon. It's not as big as Ratchada but still worth a go as it's conveniently located near Platinum Mall.

We came across some dinner options that made us reconsider our options.. As far as I know Cellophane is not edible so we didn't ordered this.

I guess the oysters machine deliverer is busy so we didn't ordered the oysters either.

The crabs are busy as well? No wonder I always couldn't get through.

Not sure whether I want to swim under this waterfall..

We didn't attend this seminar but it must be interesting..

In the end we didn't eat much. But our damage is quite huge elsewhere.

Looking forward to the next soul searching trip. Cheers!