Monday, September 18, 2017

3 buckets of time revisited

Haven't really blogged out any article for nearly a month because I was busy with work. It's my peak season now before I can have my well deserved rest towards the end of the year. This year is qualitatively different from any years that I've been through, but I will blog about such things when my work for this year truly dwindles down.

I want to talk about the 3 buckets of time and I've been spending quite a while thinking about it. I had written an article on it last year, here. Each day has 24 hours, and if we divide the amount of time we have daily by 3, each bucket of time will have 8 hours.

The first bucket is meant for sleep. That's like 8 hours down the drain. The second bucket is for work so that we can earn money to buy the necessary things needed for life, like food, shelter and a lot more beyond survival. That's another 8 hours down the drain. It's this 3rd bucket that I'm most interested in right now.

Before I had a child, my last bucket of time is mainly spent on the following activities:

1. Gaming
2. Reading
3. Shopping/cafe/walking around in malls
4. Exercising
5. Friends
6. Household chores

With a kid, my last 8 hours of time is spent on:

1. Family (and kid)
2. Gaming
3. Household chores
4. Netflix
5. Grocery shopping




I introduced to myself another sort of bad habit, which is watching Netflix. Gaming is still in the list of activities, but the quality and quantity of gaming is much much reduced. I only have a small segment of time to game, much less than what I would have without a kid. Reading is thrown out of the window and there's just no way to do it. At least not for now. It's not that I don't have the time, it's just that it's extremely tiring to do it, so I could only hope to vegetate myself in front of a tv binge watching on Netflix. It's a bad thing, I know, but until I'm still in survival mode and not yet in a steady state to move out of this comfort zone.

I suspect more and more, I would have to take some time out of my work and sleep bucket to increase my third bucket of time. I would increasingly have to spend more time with the kid, sacrificing sleep and work along the way. I think this might last for the next few years until the situation is stabilised but till then, any 'me time' would have to be reduced. I'm not complaining; there's joy in taking care of the kid. I think a lot of people don't want kids because they are not prepared to sacrifice personal time for another person, namely the child. It's a personal choice, so I'm not here to make judgements. But better to open both eyes to know the consequences of the decision. It's the worst case scenario to want a kid but not prepared to sacrifice, or not want a kid but not prepared to be lonelier in the future. Can't escape the cause and effect of actions.

But back to the 3 buckets of time. I think it ties in with the concept of frugality. I define frugality as the efficient use of limited resources, which also includes time. I've to think of ways to streamline my work flow and make it better. Somehow, in between all these, I also have to slot in time to do homework for stocks. Thankfully the two systems I implemented towards the end of last year is bearing fruit. I blogged about it here. I'm very used to the work flow now and I must say it saves me a lot of time. There's less time looking at my watchlist to see what stocks to buy, because I only do my homework once every week (more if needed), and I'll just stick to my plan.

We can't increase our daily bucket of time beyond 24 hours, but we can optimise and waste less time, and that's the best we can do, isn't it?


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The 4 Seasons (part 2)

I wrote a article about the different seasons using the MACD (moving average convergence divergence) indicator here. In it, I talked about how the four seasons can be characterised objectively by looking at the slope and the positivity/negativity of the histogram. Let's see if we can replicate that into another indicator - the moving average.

There are a few kinds of moving average, and usually I'm using exponential moving average (EMA) because they are more sensitive to the latest price movement. Moving average should be drawn in a pair, one shorter and one longer term with the longer one being twice that of the shorter one. That means if you use 10 days MA, you should include 20 days MA as the longer term line. It doesn't really matter which days you're using, it could be 50/100, or 100/200, but for the purpose of this article, I'm using my 13/26 days EMA. 13 days EMA is my short term line and 26 days EMA is my longer term line, unless otherwise stated.

Here's the matrix:


I'll illustrate with an example: Singpost
(The red line is the short term line - 11d EMA and the green line is the long term line - 22d EMA)


Different stocks are like different countries in different hemispheres. Some are freezing in deep winter while others are sweating in hot summer. Some have longer summer and shorter winters, while others have longer winters and shorter summers.

Let's have a look at the different index:

DJI : after a prolonged summer, it's autumn now


S&P: autumn had given way to winter. The first snow just fell a few days ago.


HSI: It's still bright and sunny, but to the observant ones, some of the leaves on the trees are turning brown and starting to fall


Nikkei: strange weather phenomenon. Very long summer, a fake autumn, another shorter summer and a brief autumn, bringing us to winter now


STI: winter is coming (or had already come).



This is neither a rally to buy or to sell, it's simply weather reporting. I'm not even forecasting. Doesn't matter whether it's summer or winter, we just make sure we fatten ourselves during summer to prepare for winter, and do the necessary prep work to plant the seeds just when the last snow falls to prepare for the bright sunlight during summer.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

My little life coach

Time flies. My son is nearly 7 months old now and personally, it feels like I've had him for like 7 years. They say that the day passes slowly, but the years spin by fast. I totally agree. Each day leads to night and the night merges into day again, so while you're doing your routine and trying to get by each day, you'll realise that months or years had gone by without you noticing.


Now that the 'honey moon' period for being a first time father had died down, it's all about the daily grind. I think I spend a lot of time with him, but it's always not nearly enough. From a needy and helpless baby, my son has grown to become opinionated. If the milk is not nearly warm enough, or if you didn't hug him in a way that he is accustomed to, he will make his displeasure known to all within a 500 m radius. He is getting harder to take care, because he is less like a rag doll and more like a human now. When the day is bad, I'll remind myself this: would I rather a listless, unresponsive child for me to assert my will onto, or a cacophonous crying baby that is alive? Easy choice there.


He is getting heavier with all the tonnes and gallons of breast milk, expressed so painstakingly and patiently by his mother, and sucked through his tiny toothless mouth. My arms and back muscles are also getting stronger in order to carry him for longer and longer periods of time. The journey thus far might be difficult, but I always remind myself that my son will not be a baby forever. One day, he will grow out of hugging his not-so-cool parents and not wishing for one more kiss or one more bed time story. Everything has his own time and season, so dance in the rain while it's raining.


On reflection, I think everything about having a kid is antithesis to being financially free. Here's a list of things:

1. I get to work lesser hours because I need to spend more time on family. Less work less pay less savings. You can compound the lost savings @ 5% over 30 yrs and see how much you actually 'lost'.

2. My electricity and water bills rose up faster than STI over this year. It used to be about $100 to $120 per month, but now it's dangerously hovering around the range of $180 per month. That's like a 50% increase.

3. I'm such a shopper these days that I qualified for GOLD member for qoo10 for several months now. To qualify for a GOLD member, you need to spend certain amount and consistently. And that cost money. Babies consume a lot of disposables. I'm sure all the diaper, wipes and milk formula companies are smiling all day because they are earning money while my son eats, poops and sleeps all day.


The 'baby monster'

But these things no longer concern me. Loving and nurturing my son concerns me. I think if you're thinking about me, me and me, you're not ready for a kid. It's nature's way of doing a filtering and selection process for parents, sussing out those that are not ideal to take care of the helpless, pinkish little humans. Only crazy irrational people who don't mind delaying their financial freedom plans by sacrificing their income and ramping up their expenses will want a kid. And most importantly, those same irrational human being must have a spirit of self sacrifice for something other than yourself (you can argue that your kid is but a vicarious extension of yourself, of course, but that's a different fight for a different day). But now and then, nature screwed up and let certain people slip through the cracks, to the detriment of their child, and perhaps their parents as well.


If you can survive the financial bombs that are sure to hit in your general direction, and also survive the daily grinds of taking care of the kid, you get to taste the sweet fruits. You get to see the world in the eyes of the child again, but this time, with a matured and hopefully reflective mind. You will join your child to giggle at ordinary things viewed with extraordinary innocence. Every sunrise marks a brand new exciting day of discovery and adventure, shortened only by sun set. You'll see the really important things in life - a heart to love, a hand to hold and a warm megawatt smile. Those simple things will take you all the way up the highest mountain and down the deepest sea and back.


Come to think of it, I think it's a fair trade. I feed, shelter and nuture my son, and he in turn teaches me life lessons.


Monday, August 07, 2017

Surviving vs Thriving

There's a difference between surviving and thriving. When you're surviving, you care only about the bare essentials to maintain status quo. When you're thriving, you strive to exceed and improve the current situation. Both requires different mentality and preparation. I share with you some examples in our daily lives:

1. Taking care of children

I think I'm still at the surviving mode. I feed, shower, change and make sure the baby is alive. But I wouldn't go so far to say that I thrive yet. I'm essentially doing the basic things. Now that I'm used to the routine and the demands of taking care of a baby, I must say that it's getting comfortable. Not comfortable in the sense that it's easy, but comfortable because I'm habituated into the different task and I'm reasonably skilled in the different skillsets needed. It's time to go to the next stage where I thrive. I've been reading and researching on the various things to stimulate the baby so that it will have maximum synapse connections. It will no doubt demand even more energy and effort that I'm currently putting, until I'm used to it, so at least for the initial stages it's going to be hard and tiring.

2. Portfolio

We always think that when the crisis hits us, we're going to make it out of it like Alibaba. But it might not be the case. To survive a crisis is hard enough, because usually more than one bad thing will happen. You might lose your job for example, so are you sure you can put in your investible cash into the market and watching it sink lower and lower and lower? Are you sure you won't need it for other things? To thrive after a crisis, you must be psychologically AND financially prepared for the downturn. You must have psychological and financial reserves. I wasn't prepared in this two aspects the last few rounds, so hopefully I am in the next coming one.

3. Work

We can survive our work by doing the bare minimum requirements not to get fired. But to truly thrive in it, we must put in the extra effort and take the initiative to do things that we are not in our pay grade yet. We do this to improve and also to prove to others that we can take on higher responsibility, which hopefully, comes with a higher pay as well. It might not be just about job scopes, but it could be relationships as well. Are you just surviving on the current relationships with co workers and your bosses, or are you thriving? If you're wondering why others are always getting promoted over you, why others are favoured over you, maybe you are merely surviving in their eyes.




Those are a few examples of surviving vs thriving. But all of these examples have the same underlying commonalities. They are:

1. To thrive, you must first survive. 

2. You must have something steady in your lives before you can take the necessary risk in order to thrive. 

3. You must be prepared to put even more effort and energy to thrive, because the game rules for surviving and thriving is different.


The 1-2-3 steps can be looped in a feedback cycle for improving any aspect of your life. First you learn how to survive. You master the survival skills needed, and after a while you no longer need to think or use much energy. That's when you know you reached steady state. You're ready to learn how to thrive, if you so wish. Not everyone wants to go on the next stage and it's perfectly okay. Next, you need to unlearn all you learned during your survival state and learn how to play the big league game of thriving. After a considerable time, you again reached a steady state where you don't need to expend much energy and effort. That is the new state of 'survival'. This process keeps looping 1-2-3 continually until you stop wanting to go further or you can't master the necessary skills to go up one level or you just run out of life.

How much effort do you need to do all these? Some people count it by hours, so citing some expert out there, it requires about 10,000 hours to reach a certain level of mastery. I prefer it count it by the sacrifice needed. To reach mastery level, you need to be sufficient obsessed over it to sacrifice everything in the midst of learning. Maybe it's called passion, but I find it too vague and over-used. Everyone is using 'passion' to talk about some things that they just acquainted with in the last 5 minutes.

Passion should be defined as wanting to thrive in something by sacrificing your energy and time to the exclusion of everything else. Most people wants the mastery without the sacrifices, and it can't be done. Maybe they don't want it badly enough. Everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

CDL Htrust rights are out

The CDL H trust rights are out. I applied with DBS atm and I've received the refund this morning already.

I don't have any mother shares before the whole rights exercise and before it goes XR, I bought 3000 mother shares at $1.645 each. My entitled rights for this 5 for 1 rights issue @ $1.28 means that I have 600 entitled rights. I applied for excess rights and got 500 shares. In summary:

Mother shares: 3,000
Price of mother share before XR: $1.645
Entitled rights: 600
Excess rights: 500
Total rights: 1,100 @ 1.28

Average price before comms: $1.547
Average price after comms: $1.55411




Since the price of the ex rights mother share is now at $1.610, it's already in the money. Damn, I love entering reits/trust when they exercise rights. Good quality ones will bounce back within months.


Tuesday, August 01, 2017

The 6 Errors in Month-end Accounting

Every first of each month, I'll do my month end accounting for the previous month. This means that I will do a bank reconciliation to make sure that all the accounts are properly tallied and accounted for. Today, when I was doing the same thing I had been doing for years, I realised I had a surplus of $1k. That is, my actual cash that I counted had about $1k more than the amount that is reflected digitally. This is usually a happy problem for some, but for me, any amount more than $50 is a huge major red flag. That means there's some major discrepancy somewhere.


Usually the problem lies with the income part. I must have forgotten to record some cash that I received. In the midst of trying to find out where the error occurred, I discovered yet another major error. I had 3 records of my income, and all three had to tally each month, if not it's another major red flag. Somehow, I had not received cash, but I had in my records that I had received it, and after some investigation and confirmation from the affected parent, I found out the error. It was rectified immediately and all records are tallied now.




This is all thanks to YNAB. If not for that software to do double entry accounting, I probably wouldn't have discovered the error. That brings me to the gist of this post. What are the possible errors that might happen when doing my month end accounting?


1) Error of omission

This is exactly what happened to me. I received cash, but I had omitted the transaction records in my books, so my actual cash holding is more than what my records say I should have. This is quite common. Oftentimes, it'll be some purchase of food or drinks that I had forgotten to record down, but if the difference is only a few dollars, I usually ignore that. It's not a major flag unless it's more than $50.

2) Error of commission

This is when you record things in the wrong account. For example, I draw out money bank A, but I recorded it as bank B. I've encountered this before too, and it's fairly easy to spot. Both accounts will be wrong by equal amount, so a little investigation will shed the light on where the problem area is.

3) Error of original entry

This is when you are supposed to record $11.60 but recorded $16.10 instead. If it's not a big amount, it's actually okay. But if it's a big amount, it's going to be hard to check the records. Especially when there are so many records on food transactions for me. Without the original receipt to counter check, I'll say it's quite impossible to find out, especially if it's cash transactions. Thankfully for bigger items that cost more, I usually use credit card, so there's already a paper trail.

4) Compensating error

This is when you received $500, but you keyed in as $300. At the same time, you also spent $400 from the same account but keyed in wrongly as $300. The positive error and the negative error cancelled each other out. This means that while the balance sheet is balanced, it's wrongly balanced. So far I've not had such errors. Or maybe I haven't discovered it yet...gasp.

5) Error of principle

This is fairly common because of auto-correct in hand phone. Sometimes when I spent $10 in my wallet, it'll deduct $10 from my bank account instead of wallet account. That's an error in principle. Usually a month end bank reconciliation will discover such errors.

6) Error of complete reversal

This is when you are supposed to take out $10 from account A and put into account B, but you keyed in that you take out $10 from account B and put into account A. This is not an issue, because the smart YNAB software will prompt you when such things happen. At least the obvious ones.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

A second that lasted for eternity

There's so many things to take picture of and to take videos of, especially when you have a kid. There are kind advice to take more videos and pictures so that you can remember those special 'first' that happened for your child. I remembered that when I was younger, I don't really have much photos to show for. But at the very least, I have some photos to show for. My parents had a lot lesser, and my grandparents even less so. Perhaps each major milestone, they will have a family portrait or so. Those formal, all suited events to commemorate someone's wedding or graduation. Significant events. These days, we take pictures of every little inane thing that happened in our lives. More is not more. As we have more pictures, each picture takes a smaller share of the significance of the collective pictures taken. It's like the last squeeze of the water colour pastel; it's not enough, so you add more water to dilute it so that you can paint the sky blue. But you ended up with a shade of blue so diluted that it's like a copy of a copy of a copy of the real azure sky.


Does having more pictures mean that the next generation will have much more things to remember their childhood? Not necessarily so. A picture or a video can sometimes distract us from enjoying the moment as it happens. Imagine you are looking up the night sky to watch the national day fireworks. In order to enjoy that ephemeral moment for an eternity, you look away at your pocket, whip out your phone, turn to the camera app and look at the fireworks through the filtered lens of your hand phone screen. That picture you took of the fireworks is not the fireworks you actually experience without the distraction of taking a photo. First of all, it's a series of static pictures and is no where near what you can observe directly. Secondly, even if it's a video, there's the missing boom of the fireworks and the accompanying echoes that reverberate through your whole being, or the strange mix of your sweat and the smell of the smoke as the fireworks explodes up, lighting the night sky. Or the feeling of holding the hands of your loved one as you share this special moment together. It's just different from watching a grainy video taken from your phone.




Before my son was born, I was musing over whether to get a good camera to take pictures and videos of our shared experience. I decided not to, because I know I'm not such a person. In retrospect, and on hindsight, I think I made the right choice. I'm know that I'm not such a person, and I also know that I don't want to be such a person. The former is who I am, but the latter will define my future self and chart my destiny. Choice is important. Even if the everyone is doing it, doesn't mean that I should do it too. Why? Choice.


I'll still take my videos and pictures of my son, who is getting more vocal by the day. I'll still take pictures of his silly grins and videos of his funny times. But those are insignificant moments. For the really significant moments, like watching the fireworks with him under the night sky while holding his tiny hands, and watching his bright brown eyes brighten just as the fireworks exploded into a dizzying display of lights and sounds, I know I won't be whipping out my hand phone. I'll be busy enjoying the moment, soaking in the sight and the sound, and committing it to memory.


When I'm old and my vision fades together with my hearing, I know I'll still be there, holding his tiny hands, watching and hearing the fireworks together, like it's my first time.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

We all have our own poison

What's your poison?

Everyone has one. For some, it could be expensive branded watches. For others, it could be handbags with Italian names on it. But a poison need not be expensive things too. It could be something that is 'costly' to your free time, like painting or doing models of tanks etc. It's just something you would willingly go to in your free time.

For those who fuel their poison by spending a disproportionate amount of their salary into it, who are we to say that they are shallow and materialistic? They are not spending our money and they certainly not seeking our permission for it. However, I think as part of the bigger financial bloggers group, we tend to disapprove of such wanton spending. You must save a portion of your salary. Oh, you must separate between needs and wants clearly.




But there is another extreme, someone on the opposite side of the fence. Someone who knows only needs and do nothing to satisfy his wants. It's all the future that matters, and all the spending follows strictly according to plans in order to hit this milestone by that age. Maybe for these people, their poison is an insidious one - to be proud of their own frugality by thumbing down on others. It's something that I hate very much whenever people are talking about hitting x amount by y age. They treat savings like a sports, where everyone is competing with each other by subtle hints of how much they can withstand hardship and control their wants. What's the reward? Boasting rights.

I see financial independence as a more holistic ideal though, not just the cold hard math. To really reach financial independence, you must be free of money. Usually people take it to mean that they have all the money they need for their expenses without having to work ever again. But I think being free of money means we no longer treat money as a symbol to accumulate, to show off, or to satisfy some inner psychological needs, but to see it as a means to exchange it for something that serves a greater good. In that sense, a millionaire who holds his money so tightly is as equally shackled as a indebted man who spends all his money on material goods. Both are still controlled by money, but each is satisfied by different aspects of money, with the former treating money as a security blanket and the latter treating it as a power and status symbol.

Some people are so poor they only have money.

But let's get back to our poison. I used to spend quite a lot of money buying guitars and amps. I'm not that good enough to justify those purchases, so I inherently know it is wrong. After dabbling with it so some years, I hardly touch them now and they are all lying in cabinets and shelf, acting as re-purposed dust collector. Oh, before that, there was a gaming phase where I spend a lot of money buying sega games. Back then, I thought that if only I could have more money, I could spend the whole day gaming away without a care in the world. Little do I know that years later, when I have the means to fund my gaming adventures, living vicariously as an elf or a wizard blasting away at demons that threatened to destroy the world, I no longer have the time to play. How many years of my life had been spent chasing digital gold coins and collecting unique, digital swords, staves and shields?

While I don't regret the time and money spent on such poisons (oh, they are such joy), one must wonder what is it that I do love so much currently that will inevitably walk down the same path as my old sega games and my dust collecting guitars?

Do I want to continue doing it now, knowing that my passion for it might run out in the future? Or should I abandon it and embrace minimalism? Could minimalism be, by itself, a re-purposed dust collector in the near future?

That is a thought worth thinking about. Perhaps, like all medicines, the dosage makes the poison.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Bigscribe mega event of the year: Investors Exchange 2017

Bigscribe is having a mega event, called Investors Exchange 2017, this July. Those who know Bigscribe and had attended their value for money talk would know that everyone takes away something of value from attending the talk, so this mega event is no difference. Here's the line up of the speakers and their topics:

Teh Hooi Ling - Strategies for successful equities investing

She is a former SPH journalist and author of the "Show me the Money" series. She has her own fund now, called Inclusif Value Fund. I read her books and loved her articles on straits times, and found her to be sensible and always a delight to read.

Xeo Lye - Identify market trends the George Soros way (writes on Xeolyenomics blog)

I know him as a great runner and the designer and founder of the financial/economics game Wongamania. He is a macro person and has very deep knowledge of economics and how to apply it to investing on an individual level.

Vina Ip - 7 Deadly sins of Singapore property buyers (writes on Propertysoul blog)

If you want to find out about properties, she is the default blog to go to. She has many years of experience and offers great advice on everything related to property. Can't go too wrong if you are interested to learn more about property.

Joel Sim - Master your mind, master the market (writes on mrfinancesavvy blog)

I know him as a equities broker and is a great trader. He will share with you about his craft as a professional trader and what are the things we should look out for. His years of experience in his field makes him someone that I will listen to.

Christopher Ng - 50 Shades of dividends investing (writes on Tree of prosperity blog)

What a sexy titillating title. He is very much himself over here and he shares actual experience with his status as a financial free man. Chris always do his research and shares it with folks who attends his talks. It can be controversial and unconventional, but I guarantee it will definitely set you thinking.

Kenny Loh - How to use the 3 musketeers of REITS to find strong REITS (writes on MystocksInvesting blog)

I read his blog for so many years now, and he runs a REIT investing course for a while. Here, he will share with you how to avoid common mistakes that REITS investors make and introduce a very simple and free tool to cut down your REIT research efforts.

Elvin Liang - The Art of Scuttlebutt (writes on epsilonluxe blog)

Ex-banker, current remisier. I think he is one of the few who applies both FA and TA to his investing. Here, he will share with you about scuttlebutt, a concept first introduced by Philip Fisher. If you want to know how he applies it to investing, you might want to hear what he has to say.


With this kind of line up, I think you don't come to the talk with just a cup of Starbucks. You come here with redbull laced coffee, a pen and notepad to write notes! The details of the event you can get by clicking on the picture below:


The key details are listed here:

Date: 29th July 2017 (Sat)
Time: 1pm to 5pm
Venue: DBS Auditorium, MBFC Tower 3, Level 3
Price: $65 (regular), $49 (early bird fee)

The early bird fee of $49 represents a near 25% discount from the regular price, and it will end in about a week on 8th July. So book your tickets fast. Don't just spend $49 on a good lunch; spend it on some mind food as well, lol

Sunday, June 18, 2017

My first Father's day

Today is my first Father's day. It's usually a quiet event, unlike Mother's day, but I like it because it's a quiet event. I don't need fancy roses or wild celebration or chocolate cakes; just a nod, an appreciation and a pat on the back is good enough. It's a team effort, where the glory is not for any individual parent but for the entire family, together as one.

I rehashed this old post, which I still think is very meaningful. Perhaps now, as a newly minted father, it's even more meaningful. I still get touched reading this. Happy father's day to all the daddies who might be earning the money for the family, or the chores they do to take care of the family.

Enjoy :)




My Father
========

When I was a kid at 5, I never liked my father. He wasn't there when I needed him, to teach me how to bike. Each night I want a kiss from him, before tucking me to bed. Wasn't there to comfort me, as I cry myself in bed. When I grow up as a man, I don't want to be like him.


When I was a teen at 15, I seldom see my father. He was sleeping when I leave at dawn, at work when I sleep at night. Two persons with the same surname, a stranger inside my home. When he took leave from work, stayed at home to rest, he'll often yell and shout at me. His work can't even earn enough, to buy the coolest gadgets, or bring me to exotic countries, that my friends had been since six.


Teenage years was over, and I just turned 25, but when I think about my father, I still hate him very much. When I graduated I didn't invite him - don't want others to know. I'm ashamed that he will arrive, with the smell and sweat of his toil. What's the point anyway? He'll just stand and not mingle. He'll be in a corner and not smile, maybe his time spent is not worthwhile. But I'll start work soon and earn my keep, I'll find a wife and have a kid.


When 20s flew past and I turned 35, I despise father very much. He retired with white hair and tired eyes, does nothing on a couch he sits all day. He keeps calling me to come home for dinner, but I'm too busy with life and has no more vigor. He asks often for more allowance, but I couldn't give him more than just a pittance. "How can I give you more", I said, "when I have my own family to care for?" Despite working all day and night, I just barely earn enough to get by. But that's okay cos my kid's the reason, for me to live and work hard till I too am beaten. I promise to teach him how to bike, and a kiss on the forehead before he sleeps at night. I know I've said that since yesterday, but work as always keeps me at bay. But I promise again my child one day, all the promises I've made I'll pay.


I was 45 when my father left, didn't attend his wake I must confess. Hardly had time to rest after work, but there's still a duty I cannot shirk. So I took leave and stayed at home, to make sure my kid is not alone. I may have raised my voice a little, but my love for him you cannot belittle. I know his friends travel, and their daddies buy them gifts, so that's why I've saved up a little, for a surprise on Christmas eve. I hope this savings won't be used up, to pay for emergencies. But sadly I'm ashamed to say, that it had always been that way.


With tired eyes and greying hair, I struggled at 55. I never thought I'll say this, but I think about father all night. Wasn't invited when my kid graduated, and I don't think I'll find out why. But I'm still proud of him and it's okay, as long as his future's bright. Besides I'm too tired from work to smile, I'll probably stand in a corner. A few more years I'll be retired, and then things will be all right.


I retired from work, aged 65, and there isn't much things to do. So I sit on a couch and wait all day, for the time my kid comes home. There is oft one pair of chopsticks, though I cook his favourite dish all day. I know why my allowance is so little - he's got his family to take care of. Sadly between his kid and his father, I know quietly I'm ranked down further. Father sometimes I'll think of you, calling me home to eat your stew. Father sometimes I miss you so, why didn't I call to say hello?


Now I lie bedridden all day, my age is 75.  What I really want to see, whenever I opened my eyes, my kid my grandson surrounding me, to tell me everything's alright. But the closest thing I'll get, is not the warmth of gentle hands, it's an old faded photo, trapped in a cold and sullen frame. How could things begin so right, in the end become so wrong? I can't stand, can't do anything, except to reflect and think what's wrong.


Kiddo, when I leave this world, don't ever be like me.

Daddy, you'll see when I join you soon, I grew up just like you.