Sunday, April 09, 2023

To my beloved friend CW8888

It is with infinite sadness that I came out from my hiding hole to blog about the passing of a dear friend, CW8888, whom I affectionately call senior bro. 

I've known him for as long as I am blogging. How long was that? A decade? Probably around there. He was here when Bullythebear has a chatbox, where a lot of old bloggers gathered in the past. It's like what SMOL would have perfectly said - a tavern for adventurers. From the tiny chatbox, we had conversations that lasted from morning to night. Up to this day, whenever I thought of the chatbox, I felt a strong sense of nostalgia and perhaps mixed with what I can best describe as a longing for past fond times.

It was there that I met senior bro. I continued to meet him many many times throughout the years, usually once a year to catch up. I would have done so if Covid didn't disrupt it too. Just very recently, I thought of meeting up with the old gang just to catch up. If only I had done so in time...

From him, I learned a few important lessons in life:

1. Taking care of yourself and taking care of your family is most important. I'm sure his family is well taken care of since he is an avid planner for all kinds of scenarios

2. Having an active life continues. He is the crazy old man who walks around Singapore after retirement. Wished to join him one of these days, but alas...

3. Have the courage to quit your job and enjoy life. I'm sure he has no regrets about working a few more years instead of enjoying life doing the things he wants and spending time with the people he likes. He quit when he can and that is truly courageous.

But that's life, isn't it? Treasure your loved ones. To senior bro, I know you've worked hard all your life. Time for your well-deserved break. You truly embody the spirit of working hard, and playing hard and you're a real survivor in every sense of the word. 

You'll be missed.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Learning from Asta (Black Clover)

I seldom watch anime, but this year it seems I watched a fair bit from Netflix. While waiting for more episodes of Demon Slayer, I started watching Black Clover. It just happened to be in the feed so I clicked on it and realised how great it is. It's very inspirational. 

Pic from Amazon

One of the main characters in the anime is a young boy called Asta. He lived in a kingdom where everyone can use magic. It's like us using smartphones - everyone has one (or two), once they had reached a certain age. However, Asta did not have an ounce of magic inside of him. It's extremely rare to find such a person. The kingdom is governed by a magic emperor who once slewed a demon with his powerful magic. And in spite of all his limitations, Asta's goal is to become a magic emperor. Most people would have censored themselves and realised that in a world of magic if you are not a magic-user, you have zero chance of being a magic emperor. But certainly not Asta. 

He trains and trains until he can run as fast as if he is aided by magic. He trains physically until his reflexes and capabilities are no less powerful than a magic-user. And that's what so interesting about this anime. It's super inspirational. I'll watch it at the end of the day at night and will feel recharged and motivated. I make it to point to follow his way of getting through difficulties or obstacles. You just try and try again, even if you are 'beaten' till half dead. You get up and try again. 

But it's not like Asta will never give up on anything. It's more correct to say that he will never give up on the goals that he set for himself. There are so many people asking him to give up on his goal to become the magic emperor but he didn't care about that. I think setting his own goal makes all the difference to him. From here, we know a thing or two about setting goals:

1) If the goal is not set by you, you'll likely give up. This is the key difference between being intrinsically motivated or extrinsically motivated. Finding the point of trigger to activate a person's internal motivation is the number one thing that I am preoccupied with when I'm teaching my students. Not imparting knowledge, not correcting habits, not preparing them for exams. If I can find the correct button to press, they will fire themselves up and exceed even my expectations. I've seen that before.

2) Even if the goal is not set by you, as long as you don't give up, I think you've internalised the external goal. Well, somewhat. Otherwise, the instance you face obstacles or difficulties, you'll surrender. So I guess for all goals, try attempting more times than comfortable. Fail better. Learn from it and have another go. Sometimes the act of attempting more will also force you to internalise the goal, making it intrinsic. Why? Sunk cost. Since you've spent so much time attempting it, maybe you're 1 more try away from being successful!

I've not finished the anime series (from Netflix, there are 3 seasons there) so no spoilers in the comments! Looking forward to seeing how it goes. Now who says watching Netflix is a waste of time? lol

Live long and prosper.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Closing techniques applied to Parenting

Recently I read a book on sales, called SPIN selling by Neil Rackman. It's a pretty good book that talks about the differences between the traditional methods of selling low-value items and high-value items. I read such books because ultimately, we all need to be good salespeople. Either we need to tout our own horns or persuade someone to do certain things, we ought to be able to sell off an idea to anyone. 

These days, my young boy starts to get a mind of his own. He seems to realise the theory of the mind, where he discovers that he can form ideas and decision of his own that can be different from others. More and more frequently, he starts to assert his decision onto us, like the times when he doesn't want to go to school or don't want to brush his teeth. That's when I realised that I need to level up my selling and motivational skills. Young children are the worst kind of client because they are irrational, emotional based and acts on instinctual whims. They can be very hard to persuade, so we must resort to trickery lol

I learnt 4 closing techniques from the book. They are:

1) Assumptive closes - this assumes that the sale has already been made, so we ask questions like "Where would you want this product to be delivered?"

2) Alternative closes - this technique reduces the choice of a buyer, both of which are acceptable to a seller. It goes something like this, "Do you want it to be delivered on weekdays or weekends?"

3) Standing-room-only closes - this is the classic scarcity scare tactic. "We only have the last set left and that I have people on the waiting list waiting to buy."

4) Last chance closes - similar to standing-room-only closes, except that it is scarcity principle used on time. Early bird discounts are based on this principle. "The discounted price is valid till today and will go up tomorrow."

5) Order-blank closes - Fills up the customer's answers on an order form even though the buyer didn't indicate that he is buying yet.

The book says that all these tactics work on low-value sales, so it's a kind of pressure closing techniques. Wouldn't work for high-value sales, because those are based on relationship and that's what the rest of the book talks about. But as a parent, I think most negotiations are low-value type, so these should work well. I'll illustrate how I used some of these tactics:

1) Assumptive closes

When my boy doesn't want to go to school. I took his snack box and milk packet to show it to him. I told him that he can eat this in school later in the afternoon. This assumes that he has agreed to go to school, which he hasn't.

2) Alternative closes

When my boy doesn't want to brush his teeth, I'll ask if he wants to brush his teeth here or there. Both options are perfectly acceptable to me, but giving him a choice will allow him to commit to it. He doesn't know that there is another choice, which is not to brush. Fingers crossed if that happens.

3) Standing-room-only closes

When my boy eats too slowly or is distracted by other things when eating, I'll create some competition by trying to steal a bite. That usually creates a sudden urge to eat faster because the food is not only for him, there's another person waiting to eat it (that's me). I know it's evil, stealing food from young children, but hey, it works :)

This can be manipulative, I understand. There is a blurred line between manipulation and motivation. I do that to my students when I teach them too. Basically, the role of a tutor is also to persuade them to do something that they dislike. If I can't make them do that, nothing much can be changed. I see manipulation as changing the behaviour of others in order to gain from it, while motivation is changing the behaviour of others so that they themselves will gain from it. The difference lies in the intention behind the push for behavioural change and who benefits from this change. 

It might not be so evil when you know that children also employs such tactics to manipulate parents into doing things that they want!

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Richness far beyond that of Silver and Gold

During CNY, I went to my mum-in-law home for dinner. My son was offered 3 ice-cream cones, of which he was to choose 1 for himself alone. But he quickly grabbed all three and passed one to my wife, one for me, and one for himself. I wasn't really interested in the ice-cream so I wanted to pass it to another person, but my son took it back and pressed it in my hands. 

It's quite sweet actually that he thought of his family first. It's not the first instance when he did that. There was a time when we went up to take an MRT ride somewhere, and there were only 2 seats left. Usually, I'll just stand, so I told my wife and son to just sit at the two empty seats. They did, but when my son realised that I wasn't seated, he rushed out to grab my hands and pull me towards the seats. This is an indication that I should sit down together. Then he proceeded to squeeze his big butt in between the two of us, lol

Is my son selfish? 

Can't really say so, because usually selfish is reserved for people who think for themselves alone. But is caring only for your immediate family considered selfish behaviour? I will say that it is. But it is less selfish than those who cared for themselves only, obviously. It's just that I think the sense of 'self' should be defined a little broader. What if we treat 'self' to be inclusive of the weak and the defenceless? What if we include all other humans? Other species? The world at large? Some religious texts will say that the self is a self-construct and an illusion - everything is really just one.

I know that is an ideal case, but it's really a good goal to aim for. If he can include his 'selfishness' within his tribe, and we work to enlarge the size of the tribe to include more and more sentient beings, he will be more compassionate and empathetic. That is a far fetched goal but nevertheless a good value to inculcate to the next generation. As parents, I think it's our sacred responsibility to bring up kids that will make the world equal or better after they leave, rather than worse. I understand that as a single child, my son might inherit some characteristics associated with that status, like selfishness, self-centred, entitled etc. I'm quite determined not to make that happen.

If my son grows up well and becomes a positive contribution to the world, that will be a richness far richer than that of gold and silver. Live long and prosper.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Having a gentle mid-life crisis

I am at this middle age where I see others doing better than me.

Their careers are progressing well, getting more recognition and pay. Then there are others who are making more money and are deemed more successful than I am. Their kids are smarter than mine. Their cars are flashier, their watches have more diamonds than there are numbers.

If I keep on thinking along these lines, I'm quite sure I'll get a mid-life crisis. But here's the thing - that's the cue for me to take a step back and re-evaluate my life so far. The young should and must take over the old, otherwise, society becomes stagnated and takes a backstep and everyone suffers. It's a natural progression for the next generation to step up and eventually take over the previous one. But am I ready for this change? Cognitively, this is rational and logical, but I'm more than just rationality. 

I think I have it easier because I don't have colleagues. I work alone and that shields me from a lot of pressure from comparing with others. There's no water cooler gossip about whose kids did better in national exams, no rumours about who got a bigger bonus. My blog saved me too. It allows me to network with many people from different slices of society - some older than I am, some younger. This gives me perspective and also comfort. I think it's good to know friends younger than me so that I can guide them along with life's milestones and share my experiences. Mentor them and guide them so that we can also share their successes vicariously. Friends who are older than me provide me with the reassurance that things will turn out fine, and will help me when I face one of life's obstacles. If I am with my peers only, I'll have a much narrower perspective of life and that can only be bad.

I think it's important to see beyond the material world and find meaning. I mean, I'm middle-aged and have reached the halfway mark of my life, and what have we got to show? People at this age will start to think back and see if they still want to continue wasting the second half of their life doing something that they dislike. If not, the sudden realisation that time is not on their side might force them to do a career switch, become deeply religious or spend more time with their family and loved ones. These are observations that I've made.

For me, I don't have a full-blown mid-life crisis. It's just a gentle realization that the stream of my life is no longer in the white water region, all fast and furious, aggressive and relentless. The time for that has passed and my life-stream is now gently meandering around river banks. It is calm and peaceful. And that's how I hope to see my middle age defined as.

Live long and prosper.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Astrea VI bonds : Buy or bye

There is a new bond offering for Astrea VI bonds. The sponsors of the bond come from Astrea Capital VI Pte Ltd, an indirectly wholly-owned subsidiary of Azalea Asset Management Pte. Ltd, which in turn is wholly owned by Temasek Holdings. That name SHOULD NOT immediately give you assurance of the safety of this bond and is not in any way guaranteed by Temasek or Azalea, so please be aware of that. 


1. Maturity date: 18th Mar 2031

2. Scheduled call date: 18th Mar 2026

3. Expected raintg: A+sf / A+ (sf)

4. Interest rate: 3.00% pa, payable semi-annually on 18th Mar and 18th Sep each year

5. Special features: 

a) If the bonds are not redeemed back in full on their scheduled call date (i.e. 18th Mar 2031, which is five years from now), there will be a one-time 1.0% pa step up in the interest rate (i.e. to 4.0% pa)

b) A bonus redemption premium, not exceeding 0.5% of the principal amount of the bonds, is payable upon redemption if the performance threshold is met on or before the scheduled call date.

6. The bonds will be listed on the mainboard of SGX (on 19th Mar 2021, 9AM) so you don't have to wait till maturity if you need to liquidate your holdings. However, you have to sell at whatever price it is transacting on at that point in time, which depends on supply and demand. The bond will mature 10 years from now in 2031 at par value if it is not redeemed at the scheduled call date 5 yrs later in 2026.

7. The conditions to redeem back all the bonds on the scheduled call date is as follows:

a) the cash set aside is sufficient to redeem all the bonds fully

b) There are no outstanding credit facility loans

Once all the conditions are met, the bonds must be redeemed at the scheduled call date. Failing which, there will be a step-up in the interest of 1.0% pa, as stated above in point (5a).

8. Min amount to apply is S$2k and thereafter in multiples of S$1k, with an admin fee of $2 that is paid upon application. You can apply through ATM (DBS/POSB, OCBC, UOB) or internet banking websites or mobile apps (can't do it from OCBC mobile app).

Closing date and time: 16th Mar 2021, 12:00 NOON

9. I'm not the best at explaining the cash flow and priority of payments for the investments. Here's a nice pictogram taken from the prospectus that I cut and paste here for your perusal:

Click to enlarge. Taken from the prospectus.

10. The nitty-gritty details can be found in the prospectus here.


1) The last publicly listed bond from Astrea is back in 2019 - that's for the Astrea V private equity Class A-1 bond. I wrote about Astrea IV bonds here and eventually subscribed to it, and it's doing pretty okay, even during the Mar flash crash where it plunged to the near par value of $1. It had recovered with the rest of the stocks in SGX.

2) Back then in 2018, the bond has an interest rate of 4.35%, with the possibility of stepping up to 5.35% if not redeemed 5 yrs later in 2023. I know it's different times now, but 3% seems to be a little hard to part with my money, especially if there is a real risk of losing your capital. Is it enough to risk your capital for 3% pa? You have to answer that yourself.

3) This is NOT a fixed deposit and must not be treated as such. Yes, it's a higher interest than a fixed deposit but the capital is definitely not guaranteed. Do not associate the safety of this bond with the name Temasek Holdings. 

4) I'm 70% sure that I'm not going to apply for this. I thought of getting some for my parent's retirement portfolio, but nah, better not risk it especially for 3%. I'm still holding on to the Astrea IV bonds though, and will likely hold until they recalled it back in 2023. The 30% why I am thinking of buying this is to replace the Astrea IV bonds that I'm very sure will be recalled back in another 2 years time (i.e. 2023). I'm currently using this as another place to park my emergency cash. I'm just afraid when the time comes to tap on it, the value might drop way below my principal, like during the Mar flash crash of 2020.

5) Based on a quick behind-the-envelope calculation, the already publicly traded Astrea IV 4.35% bond is traded at 1.056 at last close, so it's giving a current yield of about 4.1% pa, which is higher than the newly issued Astrea VI bonds at 3% pa. But don't forget that the Astrea IV bond is now trading at $1.056, which is above par value. So, when it's redeemed back at par value of $1.00, you'll lose $0.056 too. Capturing all these details, the yield to maturity of the Astrea IV bond is at about 1.5% pa, but we haven't included the bonus 0.5% of bond principal upon redemption at the scheduled call date. Included that bonus, we have a yield to maturity of 1.76% pa. Still lower than 3% pa of the newly issued bond. This means it's still better to apply for the Astrea VI 3.0% bond at par value.

All of the above information could have errors. I try not to do it, but it might still happen. Please do your own due diligence and I do not take responsibility if you act on the above information in any way. Not say you win money you'll donate some to me right, so if you lose money don't blame me!

(Update: I made a mistake and mentioned that the last time Astrea issued a bond was back in 2018. I was wrong. It's supposed to be in 2019 for the Astrea V bonds. I've already made adjustments to the post)

Monday, March 08, 2021

My naive views on financial independence

Last time I was quite naive. Probably still am, but hopefully less so lol. I thought that after reaching financial freedom, I can relax. No need to work, shake legs and spend my passive income and I'll be happy. I calculated my expenses to be $2.5k per month (that's before I have a lot more adult responsibilities like the current me), which works out to be $30k per year. Assuming 5% returns per year, I just need to get 600k capital and I'm settled. And that number just gets anchored in my mind for the longest time.

I am naive because:

1) On paper, having 600k @ 5% per year can settle my monthly expenses, but it just makes my life easier. I still have to work because there's no buffer. I can't sleep well with 100% invested in the market as well. In practice, I need more than 600k, probably 30% cash buffer will be very nice, which means a total of 1 mil is a more realistic figure to aim at.

2) 2.5k is really just good enough for me, at that point in time. I'm at a different life stage now, with more commitments, so 2.5k is just not enough. I didn't account for future life plans back then. Or rather, I didn't know what changes it will make to my expenses to account properly for it.

3) 5% returns per year - this is based on 'average' returns. I am below average because I'm not wizardry material. I know now, but I didn't know back then. I thought I can be Warren Buffett but I am just 我人不肥. I know myself better now and have a more grounded expectation based on data, rather than hopes.

4) Thinking I don't have to work after financial freedom is really naive. On paper, everything is fine but I did not have a more holistic view of financial freedom. In the past, it's all just about money, but progressively, I think financial freedom is more about philosophy. Ultimately it aims to resolve the question of what we are going to do with our lives here. It is more about meaning instead of materialistic pursuits. If we don't have a meaningful outlet to pour our life's best work in, we'll never end up free, regardless of whether materially we are financially free or not. 

Hence, I adapted this FI (financial independence) koan:

On the outside, nothing has changed after FI. We still do the same things as before. But on the inside, everything has changed. Our mindset and attitude are not the same and we will approach the same task with more purpose and meaning. Don't expect life after FI to change drastically on the outside - it's all happening on the inside where no man can see.

Live long and prosper.

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Sharing my emotional upheaval

Whenever I'm feeling moody, or easily irritated, I try to correct my own biochemistry first. This means that I will settle all my physical bodily needs. Do I have enough food, water, rest and leisure time? If I don't have any of these, I will try to correct them first and see if I feel better. Most of the time, I do. Usually, I don't have enough sleep, and I'm always surprised by how much a good night's rest or even a short afternoon nap can do wonders for my emotional stability.

But if I did all these, and I'm still feeling miserable, I think there are some deeper issues at work here. There are a few types of issues, but I'm not an expert, so I will rather not mislead. I can only share the ones that I've experienced before. 

A long long time ago, the stock market crashed and I lost a large percentage of my networth. How did I lose it? I keep averaging down as it goes down, thinking that the fundamentals are still intact. Eventually, I can't take the losses and cut them off at a huge loss. That stock is Longcheer. Is it still around? I'm not sure. In hindsight, I lost more than the money - I lost confidence in myself and I was suitably depressed for about 3-4 months. I think it was quite serious because others around me can feel my gloominess and I even entertained thoughts of suicide. That's when I knew it was bad. I eventually clawed my way out of it by working hard. I realised that by working, I can put the needs of my students ahead of mine, and for that time being, I can forget my own troubles. But at night? Nighttime is the hardest period to go through if you're depressed. There are fewer distractions and you just have to deal with your own troubled mind alone.

I guess I'm lucky that I got out of it on my own. I might sink so deep that I can inflict irreversible self-harm. That episode made me stronger and more empathetic regarding such inner turmoil. It's quite useful in my line of work since students these days are so highly strung up that they might be just one trigger from crumbling catastrophically. I heard that more and more young adults too are facing tremendous stress and are suffering emotionally.

I have recommendations to make for anyone who needs such help.

I have a good friend Patrick, who did a mid-life career switch from IT to counselling. Counselling is not exactly a field that one associate with making big bucks, so you can be sure he switched because of his natural passion and affinity towards it. Nobody I know makes a career switch midlife because he wants to make more money as his primary reason (though it could be a 'side effect'). 

Patrick is now doing an internship, working for his clinical hours. He has started accepting clients for therapy and it is 100% free of charge and with no obligations, and no hard sell to sign up for packages. The sessions are conducted on Google Meet (fully HIPAA compliant) and will last typically 60 to 90 mins per session. If necessary, face to face sessions can be arranged near OCBC center on Saturdays.

What have you got to lose? At worst, you wasted your time only since there's no financial cost to this. At best, you find the right match for a person that can guide you out of your underlying issues. For people who needs this, I think it's a godsend. Patrick comes highly recommended by me since we've been good friends for many years. I might even consult him except that I can't, because he adheres strictly to SAC ethical guidelines so he can't do therapy for friends/family due to dual relationship issues.

This is not a sponsored post by Patrick. He didn't ask me to do this and I have no financial gains for referring clients to him. I just want to help him and believes that he can help others since I trust him enough to endorse him personally for his services. You can reach him through email at

Monday, March 01, 2021

I have a spate of good luck recently...

I had a spate of good luck recently in the past week or so.

Firstly, my car that was parked got bumped by another person (let's say that the driver is a male for convenient's sake). It's not a huge dent since cars that are parking are moving at a slow speed. The good thing is that he put an ang bao on the windscreen with his contact details and is willing to pay for the cost. That's cool. I have had people bumping into my car and running away. 

Secondly, my washing machine died on me. I had used it for 10 years so I guess it got tired. Thankfully it died when the water is maybe about 10% filled. If it's anything higher, the washing machine will lock up the door with the water inside and that will be disastrous. The good thing is also that there is only like 3 pieces of clothing inside, so it's not that bad to remedy the whole laundry situation. I always say that things that can be solved by money are a small problem. I've already ordered a new one, and hopefully, by the time this article is online, my laundry problem would have been resolved.

Thirdly, I put an order to sell a counter after my gym session in the morning. Perhaps I was too tired so I didn't check properly. I actually used a different platform to buy and to sell the counter, so effectively I'm doing a short sell. Thankfully after an afternoon nap, I woke up suddenly and had a sinking feeling that something is not quite right. I double-checked and realised my mistake, so I sent a quick buy order to neutralise the naked short sell. I lost $23 as a result of this dumb error, but the good thing is that I could have lost hundreds because of the penalty imposed by SGX for naked short selling. I'm also quite impressed by my sudden insight to check my sell order after my nap lol

Lastly, an ex-student of mine sent me an appreciation text. I taught him 10 years ago. Just the week before, I went by his address and thought about him, so it's really great to have him contact me again to tell me that he is going to start work soon. It's great to know that I did something right and changed someone's life for the better. That really made my day (and week).

Just always try to look on the bright side of things. Live long and prosper.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

How to save time?

To save time, there are really just three ways. The first way is to make our usage of time more productive, hence we use less of it, thus saving it. If instead of accomplishing just 1 thing, we aim to accomplish 2 or more things at the same time. That's saving time. The second way is to change our perception of how we utilise time to 'save' it. If we hate reading and doing any reading is perceived as a waste of time, then changing our attitude towards reading will make our usage of time more productive. Not doing something you dislike is time saved. Nobody wants to save time when doing something that they like. The third way is to spend other resources to save time. Usually, that means spending money to save on time, but not always. I can use relationship points to save time too. If I've accumulated many points to strengthen my relationship with a friend, I can ask my friend to help me to do something that saves me lots of time. 

This post complements the previous one. There are so many things to do and so many projects to accomplish that you might ask how can anyone do that? Here, I will share how I handle some of these tasks. It's easier to give examples:

1) Laundry/folding

Nobody I know likes doing laundry and folding clothes. You either outsource this to a domestic helper or you do it yourself. I like to do chores in front of my kid. Doing so will accomplish two tasks - firstly, I can teach my kid to do chores and not to take such things for granted. I believe in teaching young children without explicit instructions through modelling and setting good examples. There's no formal instructions or a PowerPoint presentation on folding clothes - he sees me doing it, if he shows a little more interest, I'll guide him and let him help me in what ways he can. So far so good. Secondly, I get to change my perspective on folding clothes, from an unpleasant but necessary task to a teaching moment for my kid. Thus, I saved time by accomplishing more things in the same duration (completion of chores and teaching kids) and also remove the unpleasantness of the task. Two birds with one stone.

2) Blog articles

I mentioned in the previous post that I give myself a quota of writing 2 articles per week. Until the experiment ends, I'm going to have to squeeze some time out to brainstorm for ideas and also to write/edit the articles. How to find the time for this? For the creatives out there, you should know that brainstorming is not something you can force out in a scheduled time. Just feed brain food (aka reading) then hopefully something good will appear at random when you're doing something else. So, the brainstorming part is already a time-saving activity, because it can't be scheduled anyway. When I shower, or when I'm falling asleep, some good ideas for an article pop up in my head, then I'll just quickly jot it down in my phone for future reference. What about the actual writing? This activity takes about 2 hrs, and I usually do it while working. There are some lull periods when students are doing work, so I'll just flesh out the articles (like now, lol). 

3) Reading

To reach my goal of 52 books a year, I have to read ebooks on my mobile phone. I very much prefer paperbacks, followed by a dedicated ebook reader like Kindle, but I've no choice. With a kid, I just don't have the time to sit down to read 1 to 2 hrs in one sitting. I've to do stealth reading - stealing minutes here and there to read. Quite irritating at first, but I get used to it by now. If I can, I'll also borrow a paper version of the same ebook that I am reading. I like to read in front of my kid, to let him see me reading. These days, I can see him picking up books to flip through and pretend to read, so I know it works. It's quite charming actually. Again, I want to stress that I'm trying to tick as many things as I can while focusing on one thing. 

I think giving three examples should be good enough to illustrate my point. I want to highlight the fact that I'm not multi-tasking. I'm just doing one thing at a time, but accomplishing many goals at the same time. Research shows that multi-tasking is not possible - what we're doing is actually just switching tasks frequently to simulate the appearance of doing tasks simultaneously. I don't recommend that because we'll end up doing things half-heartedly or absentmindedly. 

Live long and prosper.