Sunday, January 29, 2017

Marginal utility of Time vs Money

I'm always fascinated by my earlier 'miserly' behaviour, like how I used rusty shavers to save some money or how I worked like crazy to save my first 50k until I get so burnt out. I framed it as a growth mindset, where I grew bigger than my problems, hence it's not that my problems became smaller and therefore manageable, but rather I grew bigger, so the problems no longer affect me that much.

This three articles I blogged about has the same underlying theme:

1. Frugality isn't just about saving money
2. Being frugal with your time
3. Of Dragons and Men

Recently, while reading Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss (I could not recommend that book enough), I came across another interesting framework to use. It's the idea of the marginal utility of an extra minute vs an extra dollar.

The idea is simple: Imagine you want to go to another place, and you can go by either taking a cab or walking there. Taking a cab is definitely faster but more expensive, so you spend money to save time. On the other hand, walking is slower but cheaper, so it allows you to spend time to save money. By comparing the marginal utility of time vs dollar, you can make a rational decision. If the utility of one extra dollar is more than the utility of one extra minute, save the dollar and spend the time i.e. walk there. If the utility of one extra minute is more than the utility of one extra dollar, save the time and spend the dollar i.e take a cab there.

Here's a few more illustrations:

1. In the past I used to go all the way to Pennisular Plaza to get sports shoes. The reason is that because there are a lot of similar shops there, so the greater competition combined with the great variety makes it a cheaper place to shop. However, the savings is probably not much, perhaps only 10-20% only. So to save that few dollars, I would spend the time to go over there, because I have more time than money, so the utility of that extra dollar is more important to me than the utility of that extra minute, hence I spend my time to save the dollar.

2. Until about 5 years ago, I used to go to my student's place for lessons. These days, I would charge a lesser amount if students come over to my place for lessons instead, because I don't have to spend the extra time travelling. Even though I can earn more if I go over, I normally don't do that anymore. The reason is that the utility of an extra minute is now much more than the utility of an extra dollar, hence I would rather spend money to save time by letting students come over to my place instead of the other way.

But please do not treat this as a mathematical model. At best, it's a philosophical concept. If you want, you can valuate your hourly rate, but I think it will be hard to valuate your time. So agar agar (estimate) will do and there's no need for complex computation to derive whether your marginal utility of time is more or less than that of your money.


Because the marginal utility of your time is more valuable than the marginal utility of doing the computation LOL

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Circular for Bullythebear shareholders


in relation to



For the purpose of this Circular, the following definitions apply throughout unless the context otherwise requires or unless otherwise stated.

“BullyTheBear” : The award winning website that talks about personal finance and finance related information

“cbox” : The tiny little community space right at the bottom of and below the blog posts of BullyTheBear, where shareholders can type in messages and discuss the mundane and important issues of the day

“Chairman” : Chairman of BullyTheBear website, known popularly as La Papillion, or LP

“Exchange rate” : Exchange rate of 1 USD to 1.46 SGD, taken conservatively.

“Premium” : The paid, upgraded version of the free cbox, which is the current version.


To: The shareholders of BullyTheBear

Dear Sir/Madam



1.1 The Proposal

The Chairman of BullyTheBear would like the shareholders to consider this proposal of the continuation and funding of the premium cbox. The cbox had been an integral and important part of the culture of BullyTheBear. Despite several major facelifting and structural changes that had occurred and will occur in the future, the cbox is one feature that will be set in stone. In fact, BullyTheBear will not be where it is today if not for the bond building and sharing that took place among shareholders, many of whom are regular users of the cbox.

However, the premium version of the cbox is going to end in 8th Feb 2017, hence the proposal to shareholders to decide on the continuation and funding of the premium cbox.

1.2 Purpose of this Circular

The purpose of this Circular is to provide shareholders with relevant information relating to The Proposal, and to seek shareholder’s approval and feedback for this exercise. Shareholders are requested to give honest feedback, but it is to be noted that the decision of The Proposal lies solely on the Chairman. That being said, the voices of the shareholders will taken into consideration on the final deliberation of the decision of The Proposal.


2.1 Listed below are the features that shareholders are used to in the premium cbox:

(a) Higher capacity – the premium cbox can store up to 600 messages (as opposed to only 100 messages for basic cbox) with up to 1000 characters long each. Each and every post are also archived.

(b) Users can delete their own last messages in the event of typos. The administrator can also delete messages and ban users with a single click.

(c) Ad-free

(d) Dynamic auto-refresh – The rate of autorefresh is dynamically adjusted to the rate at which new messages are being posted.

(e) Sound notification in the event of new messages. This complements the auto-refresh.

(f) A ‘who’s online’ display lists who is viewing and who is chatting

(g) Advanced style editing

(h) Custom word filter

(i) Allows users to password protect their names to prevent impersonation

2.2 Cost of the Premium cbox

Cost of The Proposal depends on the period of time for which the premium cbox is purchased. Generally, the longer the period, the cheaper the cost. Here are the costs for different periods:

Period(months)----------Cost(USD)------------Cost per month (USD)

Shareholders can verify the cost in the cbox website here.


In evaluating The Proposal, the management of BullyTheBear had taken into account the pertinent factors set out below which will be considered as they are deemed to have significant bearing on the assessment.

(a) Rationale of The Proposal

(b) Financial effects of The Proposal

(c) Possible effects of The Proposal

3.1 Rationale of The Proposal

As a responsible company, BullyTheBear believes in involving shareholders in its major decisions. While sole responsibility and decision eventually rests on the management, the Chairman still believes in seeking honest and prompt feedback. Below are the key reasons for The Proposal:

(a) As mentioned in the Circular, BullyTheBear is a shareholder friendly company. There is almost no advertising in bullythebear now, unlike the past. The ads revenue had been dropping steadily as the readership of Bullythebear dwindles. Hence, the need to ask shareholders for funding. It is not that The Chairman cannot pay for the cbox, but as a community, it is important that everyone contributes so that there is a sense of belonging and communal sharing. The Chairman would like to take this opportunity to once again thank all the regulars and not-so-regulars who frequent the cbox daily like the neighborhood’s kopitiam.

(b) It is the wish of the Chairman to give back to society what it had been given to him. Through the tiny space occupied by the current cbox, a lot of important discussions had been debated and ideas thrown around shareholders. By The Proposal, it is hoped that such active discussion will continue to be an active feature of BullyTheBear. It would be a travesty to go back to the ancient days where there are ads, and no auto refresh of messages again.

(c) Though this is not a serious and prevalent problems yet, The Proposal will prevent impersonation of regular users of cbox as the premium version allows the user to password protect their nickname. This protects both the integrity and credibility of users – two of the important tenet that is held closely by BullyTheBear’s management.

3.2 Financial effects of The Proposal

The cost of The Proposal should be borne by everyone. To get the best value for money, the 12 months plan with the cost of 20 USD should be selected. Based on the rate of 1.46, the cost in SGD is $29.20 for 1 year. Donations by shareholders are most welcomed. Everything is strictly accounted for.

Should there be excess donations above SGD $29.20, shareholders do not have to worry about the issue of fattening the Chairman's bank account, because there will be proper accounting and the excess money will be rolled over to fund the next continuation of the premium cbox.

Should the be insufficient donations to cover the SGD $29.20, and as long as there is one single donor of any amount for The Proposal, The Chairman will undertake to pay for the remaining amount. As long as there is a supporter, the premium cbox feature will stay.

For illustrative purpose:

i) Donations amounted to SGD $50, which is above the required SGD $29.20.

SGD $29.20 will be paid to cbox website for the premium cbox, while the remaining SGD $20.8 will be rolled over to fund the next year's worth of fees. There is a historical data for this. Back in 2013, due to overwhelming response for the call of funds, the amount of donations is 4 times the required amount. Hence The Proposal in 2017 now.

ii) Donations amounted to SGD $5, which is below the required SGD $29.20

The Chairman will top up SGD $24.20 to pay for 12 months of premium cbox. The principle is that as long as there is one supporter, the premium cbox will remain.

3.3 Possible effects of The Proposal

Donations might deprive shareholders of buying an extra container of pineapple tarts for themselves, and thereafter end up slimmer for the new year. Donate for a good cause and end up with a good figure.


The Chairman would like shareholders to give honest and prompt feedback on The Proposal. Shareholders can do so by clicking the comments button at the end of this Circular and they can be sure that the Chairman will address their concerns and feedback within 1 working day. The Chairman would like to recommend:

(a) a period of 12 months of premium cbox, with an expense of USD 20.00 or SGD 29.20 based on the Exchange rate

(b) donations is to be transferred to The Chairman's posb savings account 543-60484-4.

(c) Absolute deadline is on 5th Feb 2017 to allow some time for the administration of The Proposal.

Updates: 29th Jan 2017

Here's a list of donors:
1. D - $50
2. S - $10
3. J - $10
4. O - $8
5. C - $10
6. J - willing to share half of cost with me if there's no donors

Really, thanks from the bottom of my heart!

As of 29th Jan 2017, I also managed to secure a better deal for cbox! The usual is 12 months for 20 USD ($1.67 USD/mth), but I managed to negotiate for a longer term at a cheaper rate that is not published. It's going for $40 USD for 27 months ($1.48 USD/mth). I'm going for that for the best value.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Gong xi gong xi

Some companies are wishing themselves happy chinese new year with their retrenchment exercises near the festive season. One of the more notable examples is given below:

Besides that, HSBC also recently closed some branches and cut some jobs (here). I guess we all have to strive for financial freedom one day, because there'll come a time where even if you want to work, you might not be able to, either because the economy had changed drastically or you are unfit because of health reasons.

Have career aspiration or not is up to you, but one must definitely have financial aspirations!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Is it a dream or a goal?

I was reading Tim Ferriss tome "Tools of Titans " and finding little nuggets of information here and there. It was such a great education reading about psychedelics, strength training and ketosis - things that I don't read about in general. This one by the famed wrestler Triple H stood out: Is it a dream or a goal?

A dream is something you fantasize about that will probably not happen. You can dream of being a world class DOTA player or get all As for your exams, but without action, it's just something in the potential near future that might not materialize. A goal is something you set a plan for, so that you can work towards and achieve. In other words, while a goal begins from a dream, the difference that sets them apart is that a dream has no follow up action. In our local parlance, it's just talk cock sing song.

But how does one convert dreams into goals? I think it's important to realise and understand what the cost of that achievement entails. If you want to get As for exam, you have to inch towards your goal. I've a lot of students coming in and telling me they wanted to get A for the subject but their work and attitude is not an A. If you want A, you have to put in A-class work and attitude and that always entails sacrifices. It might mean cutting short on gaming time, or television time or even sleep time, but something has to give in order to generate the extra hours so that you can input it to master your craft. If you want to be a good investor, you can't just play around. You cut short your you-tube time, focus and immerse yourself in that environment. In other words, no great thing can come without jumping deep into the rabbit hole and take whatever suffering you get on the way down.

It's a great question to ask myself if I'm involved or just merely participating.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Bullythebear's reflection post of the decade

The first post of Bullythebear is dated at 4th Dec 2006. Today is 8th Jan 2017, which means that 10 years 1 month and 4 days had passed since my very first posting here. I thought it's a good time to think and reflect about the long journey of me writing this blog and all the readers reading it.So here's the blog post that summarises my journey in Bullythebear so far.


1. I made a total of 1,203 (excluding this) over the entire lifespan of the blog. That's about 10 post per month on average. I progressively posted less and less articles over the years. The most active years is back in 2008 with a total of 348 posts, which averaged about 30 posts per month, or 1 every day!

2. Here are the all time most viewed posts:

a. Aspial 5.25% bond - good buy or goodbye? - 19,408 pageviews
b. Hyflux 6% perpetual securities - 18,167 pageviews
c. Aspial 5.30% bond (AGAIN) - good buy or goodbye? - 14,451 pageviews
d. Perennial Real Estate 4.65% bond - good buy or goodbye? - 13,085 pageviews
e. Oxley 5% bond - good buy or goodbye? - 9,599 pageviews

It seems like my most viewed posts are all fixed income securities! I'm the James 'Bond' of the blogosphere? lol

3. Most of the search keywords to get to my blog is through the following:

Bullythebear must be quite a trademark for my blog :)


1,203 posts over 10 years involves a lot of my life energy. If each post needs 1 hr (bloggers should know it takes longer than this in general), I've spent 1,203 hours already. I think it's not weird to say that this blog is part of my growing up, maturing and evolving process. Each year is like the chapters of a book, with an appropriate title to reflect the underlying theme of that year. Let's have a look:

2006: The birth of the warrant price

This is where it all begins. Unfortunately it wasn't a good start to begin my investment journey. I started on warrant trading. "Trading" is too good a word to use here, since I don't know any technical skills by then. It's just rumor mongering, hoping and mostly just whacking. Almost all the posts here are about my warrant trading. It's not a good start, but it's still my past. I like to think that it continues to guide me in my decisions and choices now. There's a few interesting ones, like the first announcement of the Integrated resort (IR) here. Some of the younger folks had been born with the IR already built! I still remembered the intense debate over this thorny issues, and how it's going to impact the financial market, especially with regards to Genting stock price.

2007: Death of the prince heralding the dark ages

As I read more about warrants, and realized I know next to nothing, I eventually stopped doing it. Luckily it didn't wipe off my accounts (in fact, I made a small profit). On hindsight, that should be a sign that I should be stop punting, because if a newbie like me who knows no TA can make money by trading warrants, who the hell is going to buy up the market next? STI went up to 3665 as I blogged about it here, and I think after 10 years or so, STI still haven't reached that maniac level yet. I participated in my first rights issue this year (Pac Andes) and bought quite a lot of construction stocks because it's fashionable to do so. Lian Beng, Yongnam, CSC etc, I have it all. This year is also the year I cut losses on Longcheer after averaging again and again. I went into depression for a month. Work brought me out of the dark gloomy days. On hindsight again, it was one of the best periods of my life. It realigned my values and priorities so that I can have a much better attitude in life now. Everyone should have controlled depression once in their life.

2008: China milk soured, Ferrochina rusted and Hongguo hong kan-ed.

I started dabbling into value investing, at least my version of it. I spent the next few years reading intensely about accounting and all the various classics of investing. I thought I know a lot and I invested in s-shares like china milk and hongguo (I have a lot of post on the fundamentals of it, eventually it was taken private at a slight loss to me). Ferrochina killed a lot of people too but thankfully I wasn't in it. I sold a lot of my construction stocks when I realised there are cyclical in nature. I think this year and the last I trimmed a lot of nonsense in my portfolio. I was so into investing that I compared my discipline of engineering with the concept of margin of safety in this luminous post here. Looking back now, I feel like a headless chicken going everywhere the crowd is going. If investing is the right way to go, I'll go there too.

2009: Self discovery

I realised that investing is not for me. I could never have the depth of understanding with regards to accounting and investing as others, nor do I have the interest. Instead of following what others are telling me is the right thing to do, I discovered what my strengths are and what my weakness are. I started leaning less on investing and more towards technical charting again. In this post, I talked about how the pull of investing and TA made me go towards a zone where things are not so grey. More hybrid and dual class rather than single class. My philosophy towards the market gets clearer from that post onward. After a series of setbacks, I also started to rethink about the ambitious goal of setting 15% returns per year. I blogged about it here. I chuckled when I see some of the younger red-blooded bloggers wanted to reach this 15% pa goal, and I think whether they would also, in the future, change their stance. We shall see :) On a personal finance side, I think this year is the watershed year where I started on my 50k savings challenge. It started from here and I blogged about it here after I've completed it. I'm a lot more pig headed on my 50k savings challenge back then, with all the bravado "Whatever it takes, for as long as it takes". I smiled broadly when I read that post. Oh, if only the youthful me knows what I know now , haha

2010: When two becomes one

This is the year I got married. I had wanted to do something sweet for that special day and I chronicled it here. I was stressed up with the whole thing, and also had to relook at some of the values and principles that had brought me thus far. I shared this interesting post regarding the burden of supporting one's family. Kids? I also thought deeply about that issue, especially after seeing so many people having kids but not knowing why I wanted to have one. This issue is especially relevant since our new family member is coming very soon now. I blogged about my concerns here and I think I will get back to that question to answer it from another perspective. Wait for it :) There's a post that I will likely not forget too- it's so bad that my readers and close friends starting messaging me asking if I'm well. It's this post that started it all. On an interesting note, Sabana and GLP IPO this very year. After nearly 6 to 7 years, Sabana had gone down the drain and GLP huat until no horse run. As the running joke goes, when you invest, make sure you buy only companies that goes up. If only we knew in advance!

2011: The march towards financial independence

This is the year that I started reading heavily on financial independence. I guess I've sorted out the investment philosophy (blogged about it here) by trying out both investing and trading, hence it's time to move towards the bigger picture of the 'why' in investing. I saw a paper trade of Singtel here, and the price was 3.05 thereabouts. I've set a target price of 3.19, so even if I had made the trade and made the profit, it's not going to play a big part towards my financial status. They key is in the longer term, bigger percentage gains over a long period, which is what investing should be about. But even so, unless I invested a huge chunk of my networth in it, it ultimately wouldn't affect me much too. The one thing that can affect my financial status is really just plain ol' work. That is an important realisation after so many years of trying to fight with others in the market. On the global scope, this year is where there is such a major earthquake in Japan that the nuclear plant suffered meltdown. This is not the only that that melted down; Nikkei responded by melting down 10.5% as well. See it here.

2012: Deep inside the rabbit hole

This year I hit a rough patch in blogging, and throughout the year, I only managed a total of 24 post, which is about 2 a month. I blogged about how the local pool of bloggers started dropping one by one, and I wondered if this post is going to be my swan song as well. I got really sick of my 50k challenge as well, because suddenly I don't have a reason to save anymore. That was about the time I moved into my new home, had very little work and suffered some business losses. Goodness, if I can go back in time to tell the past me, I'll tell him that good times are going to come soon, just bear with it! This year is the year where I explored my existence and wondered why I am doing what I am doing.

2013: The phoenix re-born

I broke through the rough patch in year 2012. This year I started investing for my parent's retirement funds. They initially just wanted to put in a fixed deposit, but I'm sure I can give better returns than that, hence I gave them a guarantee on their capital and also guaranteed their minimum returns. This is also known as LP's bond, and I chronicled many posts in the blog, starting from this. In the process of finding out about the allocation of their portfolio, I investigated deeply into STI here and found out that among other things, the probability of losing if you invest over 14 yrs is really really low. The average return is 8.8% pa, with median of 6.6% but with a sd of 29.1%, so that result might not mean much. I blogged about death and dying here and how my wife should act if I'm gone suddenly. This happened after lunch in a subway outlet. We might be great at investing, but our spouse might not be, so it's important to make things as simple and as stress free for them as possible. I started having a reason to save up again, and had wanted to save 30k at first (I didn't hit it, I saved $25k). I shifted a new paradigm and model of work, where students come over to my home for lessons instead of me going over. I had no idea how it will be received by them. It was a year of trepidation and anxeity, but also a great sense of peace and calm over because I know had a very good idea that I really like my work. Every time I have an existential crisis, I come out stronger and surer than before. A phoenix dies and is reborn from the ashes. On a personal finance note, I started using YNAB (you need a budget) to sync my expenses tracking with mobile and desktop easily. Never looked back to my trusty spreadsheet since.

2014: The fire of the phoenix burns brighter 

After 2 years of in the dump for my work, I started getting the right mix of students who are willing to come over to my place for work. Because I don't have to travel, I can squeeze in more work hours and my income and savings exploded exponentially from this year onwards. I started kungfucatsacademy (blogged about it here) and even have a service standard for my tuition lessons (here). This whole exercise of starting a website for my tuition services makes me think and clarify the kind of work that I want to do. I started having fun with blogging again, and wrote a new series called short stories, where I wrote poems, short stories and lyrics to write about my thoughts and feelings. The first of which is a short story called An Empty House. After my clarity in my investment philosophy and the new found clarity in my tuition, I began to dream again. I set up near term plans and goals here, and even up to now, I'm still working on them. This year I broke my 50k savings goal and saved 68k,while skipping to work with a playful smile.

2015: Channeling the mana 

Started on spiritual journey and challenged myself to 100 days of meditation here. I began reading about all sorts of mantra and religious texts to discover the spiritual side of me, something that I've not explored till this far. It start off a series of exercises that began with meditation, eating healthily and intermittent fasting. What an amazing journey, and I must thank our founding father LKY for introducing meditation to me in his interviews. This year is also the year where many retail bonds started listing in the market, like Aspial, Oxley and fraser centrepoint ltd. Most of the post I've blogged about them ended being the most read posts in my blog, so there's immense interest in them. I must re-share this poem about realizing the value of our time here. Do you know what's the value of one year, of one month, of one hour, of one minute, of one second and one millisecond? Read it to find out.

2016: When two becomes three

I closed off the first tranche of my parents's investing, called LP bond that I started in 2013. I blogged about the returns here. I also updated my goals and streamlined the process in which my savings are chanelled to. I still haven't resolved the issue of what to do with my savings - to invest or to pay off housing debt, but at least I'm doing something that hedges both. You can read it here. I discovered Investingnote (here) and it changed how I handle my charting homework that I do almost every week. I'm still amazed at the kind of things that is shared over there and I'm glad I can learn a few tricks here and there shared by the generous bunch of folks there. For the very first time, I also shared my method of counter-trend trading here. I realised that most traders are trend followers and counter trend is about as different to trend trending as trading is to investing. This year is also the last year where me and my wife is going to spend Christmas together as a couple :)


I think not a lot of bloggers can boast having written a reflection post after a decade long period of blogging, haha! There is so much more that is left unsaid, and this is just a copy of a copy of a copy. While bullythebear is always here, my cbox had always been around. There are regulars in the cbox whom I've met and become friends through our various meals together at Beng Hiang, some of whom even attended my wedding. While some had come and gone, at least the memories of having fun together still stays in my mind. Thank you to all the readers, some of whom have gone on to start their own blogs, to all the cbox regulars and irregulars, even to the troll who really hate me but still loves to comment, thank you all for adding colour and texture to my life.

May there be more 10 years to come!

Monday, January 02, 2017

Reflection of year 2016

I think it's important to take stock of what had happened in 2016 and then reflect on the various pillars that make up my life. Let's have a look:

1. Finance

As a financial blogger, this naturally comes first. I'll break it up into two parts, personal finance and portfolio. In 2016, I pushed through my limit of how much I can work in a day. I didn't exactly plan to make a record breaking year, but things just happened this way. As a result, I worked in excess of 45 to 50 hours a week, and that's just the normal non peak hours. This included a 14 hours work on sat that takes me from 8am to 11pm (1 hr for lunch + dinner). I'm glad it's over, but because of the huge amount of work hours, my savings for this year also hit a record high of 70k+. No pain no gain I guess? With regards to expenses, nothing much had changed, except that now there is a new category of expenses labelled under 'Baby'. I think this will take front center stage for expenses in 2017. We shall see.

Portfolio is doing well. Since I started using sgxcafe, I've been tracking my XIRR through their site (I don't calculate xirr on my own). Here's my result:

2016 is an okay year I guess. I'll do more of what I do in 2014 to 2016 and less of what I did in my earliest years. I realised that as long as I don't have negative xirr (or too many negatives), I'll do fine. I think that's why Warren Buffett must be talking about when he says we shouldn't lose our capital. But enough of that, that's another story another time. Portfolio size increase to an all time high this year, with an estimated $700+ dividend income per month in 2017. It looks like my goal of reaching $1k per month dividend income is coming nearer.

Verdict: 5/5

2. Mind

If food is the nourishment for the body, then books must be the nourishment for the mind. I read 40 books this year, a little short of the usual 52 books a year target. I know it's not because of a lack of time - I can definitely squeeze in the time if I wanted to. I'm a little pre-occupied by games in 2016, so that is the true time waster. If I have to justify for this lack of reading in 2016, it's likely because of the long hours of work, so I'm doing something else to take my mind off it. I guess the last thing I want to do after dealing with mental work is to do more mental work by reading.

I bought the Koss Porta pro classic ($74.10) right at the start of the year. I wanted to get it because my speakers back then are failing and I need a pair of headphones to compensate. But my speakers did fail eventually, and I had to get the Logitech Z623 speaker system ($188.90) to totally replace the system. After that, I stopped using the Koss porta classic headphone. It seems trivial and that's how life is like. If you don't solve the issue, and find temporary solutions to solve it, eventually you'll waste more time and effort and you have to solve the initial problem again. I'll bear this lesson in mind.

But I'm generally happy with how my spending is. Most are aligned with my values and I don't find myself too fixated on the monetary part of the spending. I think if my mind is not ready for financial independence, I'll never be, regardless of how my actual finance situation is like. So for me, the problem is with letting go and not controlling so much on the money aspect. I think I did well on that.

Verdict: 3/5 (3 for failing to hit target for reading)

3. Body

I started the year doing my usual pull ups / push up. It came to a point where I feel I'm pretty strong. My system is to do either 30 pushup (standard but proper form) and/or 30 pull ups in a day (I've a pull up bar at home, so I do as many as I can throughout the day until I hit it. Overgrasp, wider than shoulder width). I consistently did that until about June/July period where I was down with severe diarrhea and stomache/vomiting. It lasted for a good month or so and totally killed off my momentum. I haven't been exercising regularly since.

On the diet side, I'm eating fruits every day for breakfast and every other week or so, I'll eat fruits for lunch too. Carbs I've reduced to half the usual portion (half a bowl of rice or lesser). I'm practicing intermittent fasting also, and all my bloatiness after eating carbs is all gone. That's really fantastic. At first, after starting to eat just fruits, I felt weak but still alert. After getting used to it, it's actually quite comforting. I think I've removed one huge paradigm of thought, that we don't have to keep our stomach filled all the time. It's amazingly liberating.

I'm stopping and starting a new regime of climbing up the stairs. I live on the 22nd floor, so will be doing to 13th floor and then up the lift from there. I do it every time I go up to my home, so that's minimally twice a day. We'll see how it catches on.

Verdict: 2/5 (failed exercise routine)

4. Spirit

I stopped the meditation challenge where I meditated everyday for 100 days. It ended in early Jan in 2016 and I thought it was the most powerful act I've ever done in my life. The effects are lasting and it helped me to overcome the urge to stay in my emotional state. For example, if I'm angry with my wife, I can last for a week to a few days in the past. My mind will start having fantasy argument and if she said this, I'll say that and all. These days, I recognise the onset of a bad emotional state, and re-wire it away as soon as I can. It's like you saw the bullet coming in, then you just avoid it away, so there's no need to deal with the wound and all that. It's fantastic.

One of the highlights of 2016 is to take extreme ownership in whatever I do. It helps me to go through lessons where the student is extremely irritable to me. I'll question and rethink what I can do to make the situation better rather than resign to fate. I can always do something about it.

If 2015 is a year where I began meditation, then 2016 is the year I began fasting consciously and taking control of my food choices. I think these practices creates a lot of mental clarity and sharpens my mind.

Verdict: 5/5

Good work! Attack of Takeshi castle - SUCCESS!