Tuesday, July 20, 2010


** "BIAS" is a special feature in my blog where I get to say whatever I want with scant regards for your feelings. I'm not politically correct in this feature, so go ahead, judge me."

Most of the time, my thoughts are on various topics. It's not enough to blog a full article about it, hence there will be times that I would have to 'discharge' my thoughts out so that I can stop mulling over it. This is one of the times. I wonder what is the reason for me to start this blog. I looked back and see if my initial reasons are still the same. It's still the same reason - it's for my own record. I needed the blog so as to channel my thoughts into written words (actually, 'cyber' words). If it helps me defray some of my costs for maintaining it, that's good. I'm definitely not going all out to make passive income from blogging. This principle will prevent me from blogging 'commerical' stuff to please sponsors or to attract higher viewership.

For those who had been my avid reader, I thank you for reading my ramblings.  Here's more ramblings:

1. I thought it's very interesting to see that parents are wishing that exams for primary 1 and 2 to be done away and yet there are other parents who signed their kids up for enrichment centres that have tests. I guess it all boils down to the perceived ability of the kid to perform well in exams. Why perceived? It's because when the kids are that young, there are no history to show that the kids can perform well academically, so it's all guess-work here. If I'm a parent who thinks that my kid is going to do well, I wouldn't want to do away with exams. Conversely, if I think my kid cannot do well, I would want to do away with it.

So what do I think about this issue, being no parent and having no kids now?

I think it's good that exams are done away. It'll really be sad if in the process of knowing your standing among your peers, you actually destroy the joy of learning. I don't mind so much if exams are easy, but if you looked at the recent primary 1/2 exams paper these days, you'll be in for a shock. It's definitely not easy at all. If that's the case, I do not see what's the reason for putting unnecessary difficult test to demotivate and demoralise primary school kids. But I think I can understand the parent's concern too - if there are no tests, then suddenly in primary 3 there's a major exams, how do you expect the kid to perform? Sigh...grades inflation - I think it's a structural problem in the education system, not something that can be easily solved. At one extreme, you do want to differentiate the good students from the mediocre, at the other you do not want to demoralise them.

We all tread a thin line of balance.

Good but useless advice

2.  I can think of many good but utterly useless advice. Here are some examples:

a. Buy low sell high
b. Do not spend money on unnecessary things
c. Do not buy stocks that are overvalued
d. Bring an umbrella if it's going to rain
e. Buy more in a bear market

Do you see the similarities between all these advice? They talk about a certain truth but they do not tell you how to recognise the truth and so it's becomes overly simplistic and utterly useless. Take the first one - "Buy low sell high". The problem is not with buying low and selling high as a concept, but rather how to recognize a low and a high. Take the second advice, "Do not spend money on unnecessary things". Again, the concept of not spending on unnecessary things is sound and good advice, but pray tell, what exactly are unnecessary things?

If you read enough books on financial stuff, you can recognise a good and useful book from a good and useless one from the amount of such advice dished out in the pages within.  At best, the former serves as a good reminder not to do foolish things, but at worst, it makes you read a lot without knowing anything.


PanzerGrenadier said...


Sound principles are just that, principles to guide us in life by learning from other people's mistakes.

The main thing about the self-help industry is that everyone of us is unique and have to figure out for ourselves how to internalise and practice the principles preached by all these self-help resources.

We as personal finance bloggers are in the self-help industry as well and I realise that the value from my blog lies not in pontificating too much about the principles but sharing how they have (or have not) worked in my own life. :-)

Be well and prosper!

la papillion said...

Hi PG,

I like the way you put it, that we should put value in the blog by sharing how certain principles fit into our lives or not :)

Thanks for sharing!