Thursday, 18 August 2016

Crisis – Is it really useless to know it earlier?

I remember about a year ago in a dinner conversation with my family and siblings. It was the first time I was sounding alarms of the imminent crisis ahead.

Yeah yeah yeah… not just my siblings, friends, relatives, colleagues, my blog... Throwing stones at me and thinking “Not another Ho-Hum script” from me. You just have to search the word “crisis” in my blog here, and you can read them all. Haha…

My siblings will be considered by many today, as “successful”. They were living in huge landed properties, holding positions at the top of work hierarchy and most importantly, were still doing really well back then.

They were of course skeptical of my comments. There, there were having talks about Ferraris to more posh houses to own, and about this rich man or that rich woman... Here, I am talking about crisis, and asking everyone to deleverage.

In fact, I was scolded by my sister I respected and cared.

She retorted to me, “What is the use of telling us there is a crisis?”  She further added “Even if there is a crisis, everybody will need to go through and there will be no escaping.” She carried on to describe her new business venture and how to earn more money NOW. I opposed to the new business idea as I think it was unethical at its core. Anyway… I give in to her and shut up to avoid squabbles.   

I then turned to my brother and tried to explain about how the possibility of a  hike of interest rate “eventually” is going to affect our homeloan servicing and re-financing, advising that it was still a good time to cash out his property back in 2015. Obviously big house normally comes with big mortgage loan, which is what I am concerned. The reply “I like to live in a big house”. 

The dinner continued and I just have to shut up on topics about my gloomy outlook and everything that night continued as usual. I was not bitter, just worry but still hoping that the future will be brighter than what I foreseen. 

Where are the facts to overturn the truth?

Those who read my blog will know that it was not just my siblings laughing off my chants. The chasm was also found between me, and some of my colleagues, friends and readers here. 

Of course, I was not simply blowing trumpet and shouting, “Wolf is here, Wolf is here!” It was always with justifications and facts. In fact my truthful intention (that is if you believe) always ended with solutions and actions too.

Strangely for those who were not receptive, NONE is able to overturn the veracity with facts and logical reasoning.

The frequent heard, “Hey, everybody is entitled to his or her own opinions!” 

Who am I to comment that others is wrong and I am right? 


To be honest, whether I am right it is truly not important. It does not really bother me. What is important is if I am telling the truth. And by speaking the truth, it will help my loved ones around me, probably not you who are reading right now, but there are certainty people who I cared who believed in me, and reading right now! This is all it matters!

Opinions not supported by justifications strictly pointing to the subject matter are just opinions and cannot form the truth. Well….if opinions are supported by logical reasoning, I am ready to accept the truth and admit I am wrong and apologises from the bottom of my heart. 

You are entitled to call me, critical, commanding or a stubborn bastard, but I will by all my means defend what is the truth that will be unfolded when we are not blinded.

Why are we blinded?



So why and when will we be blinded? 

When we run out of logics and facts to overturn TRUTH, and yet refuse to admit, then we are blind. To me, there are 3 reasons why people can be blinded:

“Ignorance”
This means truly lack of knowledge to comprehend truth or simply bo-chup!

“Emotion”
This is anger because they are biased against the person speaking the truth.

Then there are fears and worries because this is going to affect the person adversely and he/she has no clue whatsoever what to do in a difficult situation they are in.  Hence it will often lead to covering up all of one’s actions with reasons not relevant and logical to the subject matter. Instead the response will be excuses based on self-pity or self-ego or self-stubbornness which eventually led to anger, putting the blame on the person speaking the truth. It always happen. 

Another reason that we can be blinded is because we are emotionally attached to people who can shield us from seeing the truth, even if the person influencing us is not harbouring any bad intentions. 

“Greed”
This includes not just greed of money, and more money. It also includes the trait of high ego especially for people who are at the echelon of the society. Then there are some who for all their life always think they are correct without any facts and proofs to back it, but instead pure abstinence!  

Stop telling us crisis is imminent… Give us solutions?

“STOP TELLING US ABOUT CRISIS OR RECESSION COMING, TELL US WHAT TO DO! “

“STOP SCARING US….”

“WHAT IS THE USE OF SAYING ALL THESE THINGS?”

Ok ok ok ….. I thought I already mentioned so many times in the past! I just thought we are smart enough this time to know what to do and I should stop the spoon-feeding. Moreover, everybody’s situation is different, how can I possibly know exactly what is best for each and everyone of us. I share the truth and the knowledge, and you can decide what is the right medicine to your problems.

Again, if you have followed my blog, you will have know by now, that I already prepared for the worst a long time ago. Thereafter, I had devised for myself various options if the worst is to take place. So using my example as reference, you probably can understand even better to devise your own options/solutions. 

Maybe we are “blinded”, that is why we do not know or have totally forgotten!

Solutions if you need me to spell out explicitly….

If you want me to spell out what we should do if a recession is looming, here you goes.

Financially
It is obvious we should cut lavish spendings and avoid any new loan commitments. No more speculation of stocks or real estates or any other assets that give high returns but also high risks. In other words, be conservative, prudent and low risk.

We raise cash, by possibly getting out of the stocks and highly leveraged real estate we currently owned, so that in worst scenarios of loss of jobs or collapse of businesses, we are still in comfortable cash position to tide the crisis. Alternatively the cash can also be use to deploy during the right time when things become cheap.

We hide in precious metals because usually if the economy deteriorates, precious metals tend to go in the opposite directions. This is called hedging.  

Mentally
It is not just financially. It is also mentally, which is even more important sometimes. If we are mentally prepared, normally we will have more inner peace. When we have more inner peace and less frantic in the face of difficulties, we tend to make wiser and better decisions.

This can even led to better job performance, which can also explain why we can be the last to be retrenched in our job compared to our fellow colleagues.  

Having a level-headedness mind, we can also better appreciate our family members and loved ones around us, which means less straining of relationships. Less quarrels and more love in spite all the worries and stresses at work. It is not easy unless you are mentally prepared.

The day you can truly be blessed with mental preparation is when you start to be thankful. Be thankful to the loved ones around you. Be thankful to the people who share good. Be thankful of what you have, rather than covet the money, power and fame! Not easy……. Although it is just so simple!

Why?

Human nature being deceived by the system. 

Sometimes it is not bad luck
There is a reason why bad things always come in bundle. For instance, if economy is bad, work problems soared and if our cash is strapped, stress build up not only in work but also bringing all the anxiety back home. Our children who are supposedly so innocent and lovable will become irritating in our eyes. Our spouse will become our target for venting anger. Somehow we blame it on bad luck.

Perhaps subconsciously it is our negative stress build up as main culprit we are oblivious of? Health problems come knocking. In situation where cash is already tight or we are already are so burdened by the losses (from business, career, stocks etc), imagine we still need to pay medical bills? Inevitably, more worries arise. The already weakened body finally collapses!  

Bla…bla….bla…. the lists goes on….

So without any shadow of doubts, the earlier we know the imminent crisis, of course the better it is.

The real problem… making difficult decision in our life when we most needed

The problem is really not about me telling the solutions, the main problem is really “will anyone listen?” or “will those who listen” take actions which will often means “short-term” pain, but essentially long term benefit in our life.

Many times in a person life, the most difficult and painful decisions can often be translated to the best decisions in life. I had my fair share. At the peak of my career, I repented and decided to give up all my power in work and I am blessed with more time to understand what I could never have understand today – be it in investments and more importantly what life is all about!

Imagine, Lee Kuan Yew did not make the difficult decision on 9 Aug 1965 …..

Imagine my ex-boss who did not give up his business during the once in a lifetime O&G greatest peak, he will not have receive the tremendous joy he has today by serving god and helping all the people around him. 

Imagine, you are still staying with the wife or girlfriend you DO NOT love, and solely because of commitment…

Imagine Bill Gates still covet the wealth, power and fame and did not step down as CEO of Microsoft at age 45, today he and his wife will not doing all the good in this world saving thousands of lives.

Maybe Steve Jobs should have done the same, i.e. give up and do good. And perhaps he will have avoid his pancreatic cancer…

Imagine Swiber whose one of the owners is a staunch Christian will not have take so much debt to glorify the company and his ambition rather than to glorify god….

The fear and pain in losing our wealth, fame, power or unreal commitments etc….. so no decision.

So the real source of the problem is where we need to solve it.

Money….. don’t we already get it? 

Rolf’s final thoughts

I am not asking people to be lazy and be poor all our life. We still need the resources before we can help more people. What I am just saying is not to be overly blinded in our pursue of wealth. Be humble and mindful of our attitude and what we speak. 

There are definitely still rich good people around!

As for my siblings, one year has passed. We had our dinner recently. Things changed, reactions changed…. More receptive…. It was written in the eyes and body language! Although not entirely changed…. But….. 

I am happy that at least I did my part in sharing since the beginning. 

I was the “ah beng” in the past, never that benevolent. Many will say, “Stop all the pretending!”  

It does not bother me. It is strange, somehow there is this strong voice within me asking me to share the truth… to help...maybe...

Only time will tell….

Anyway, whether if there is a Crisis or not, I am not asking you to live each day as if it is the end of the world and fume, fret and worry the ass out of it. All I am saying is be prudent and yet we can still be happy be it in crisis or not! And if there is a crisis, remember we still have our health and the loved ones around us - That is the most important! 

14 comments:

  1. Hi, maybe because life is so stressful now. The last we want to hear is for someone to keep harping on crisis. I think most people know about the challenging environment we are in, For me, I know economy is not doing well and most likely could get worse, but if I have a lunch kaki who keep harping on the negative everyday, I will also get a bit buay tahan. Sometimes we just want to chill a bit and talk about less depressing things. Just my 2 cents worth.

    CK

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    1. Hi CK,

      I appreciate ur comments. I apologise mine is gg to be long, becos u bring up a very valid point.

      I totally agree with you. :-) The world today is not only stressful but chaotic. So we just need time to feel good and talk about other things like girls, beer, ktv etc... hahahaha... Nothing wrong.

      Precisely that is why there are articles in this blog about love, family, good food, good tour, hobbies, burst training, National day wishes, and about life too etc.

      And I can assure you that I am a person who everyday harp about crisis. That is why I am surrounded by my family of love ones and true friends (when in need), my children, who in my eyes are innocent and so adorable.

      Sometimes u can even tell from the face of a person in real life if he is a truth sayer or a doomsayer! The radiance is written on the face!

      That is why I mentioned this is only the second time I sound trumpet to my siblings in a year. And once my sis does not want to listen, I shut up and that night continued as usual as I mentioned in my article.

      And similarly in one of my articles I mentioned that I had only told my colleagues i.e. those eventually being retrench ONCE about the imminent crisis. Once I m so sensitive that people want to hear other things, I will keep quiet. The day when they left, I said nothing but wish them good luck and take care bcos it's already no use talking about why I said the previous time.

      This article seriously is written for people I cared in my life who know me in real life. This I reiterate again. Whether I am the lunch kaki they prefer to be with or not, I will let them decide! ;-)

      To be sincere and want the people u loved and care to understand and change, it's not just a temporary laugh about lunch and that's it!

      There are surface friends and true friends! You decide?

      Apparently then there are those (some of my friends) who wanted to know more what is happening and will appreciate my time, then the truth have to be said from the heart. It always ended with big smiles and tap. I think the effect is stronger than just a good laugh talking over girls. Not to get me wrong, I like to talk about "girls" too... I often combined them!!! Hahhaa

      All I can say that it is so bizarre that I had been meeting so many people recently compare to many years ago and each time the feeling was great and more sustainable after the lunch. There were even whatsapp of thanks from "big boys" who turned emotional.

      This is love!!!

      Many years ago when I was only work and work and work and feeling so stressed up by work. At that time I always wanted to meet with lunch kaki who give me a breather "temporary". After lunch time, when I go back work I continue to feel shitty! Then the vicious cycle continues.... never able to get out. Hmmm... maybe that is the feeling most of us have today, like u rightly pointed out.

      Ask yourself this question back to the core fundamentals of life, without biased:

      "why do we even need to feel stress in this world today. Isn't we in Singapore today already have most of the things we need on basic?"

      Just go to YouTube and Google the doomsayer Peter Schiff, Marc Faber, Jim Rogers, Bill Gross, Or even Ray Dalio, and many others, take a good look at them in real life, do they feel look like they are VERY stressed or do they look/sound like they are always VERY RELAX or smily during interview?

      Then u google Janet Yellen, Ben Bernake or Larry Fink... they never talk about crisis... u decide if they look tensed or relax during interview...

      It's all up to us to want to seek temporary relief or permanent cure. The permanent cure is understanding the truth, accept, repent if needed.

      This is the time that you will never feel anymore stress even if the word crisis is mentioned a thousand times. Because that is when u are most level minded and with inner peace - ENLIGHTENED! And most important of all, filled with love for your neighbors!!!

      By the way.. I can crazily fun n know n did many fun things before in my life...

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    2. Sorry I mean not everyday Harp about crisis in real life... hahahah

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  2. Great article. I like it.

    I do agree that a lot of people like rosy pictures or tend to ignore warning bells.

    I totally emphasize you.

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    1. Thanks Tat Yan,

      I appreciate you kind comments. You are very kind in ur words.

      But just like CK rightly pointed out prior, I am not those who keep sounding the bell until people get sick. I m prudent to sound bell to pple who does not want to listen in real life.

      I hope that there are more smiles on the face of the readers "eventually" and have permanent cure with action, rather than more fear, worries or even hatred!

      If it happens, I am sorry...

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    2. Well, you can ring the warning bells when asked. There is not a need to do that when you are on any topic chat. I thought it is a common sense.

      I don't think much about stress. Build up the attributes you want to have. By then, you can manage the stress to the point you look comfortable inside and outside.

      I feel that there is no need to be apologise for that. You have given your due care and concern for your friends and family. The onus is always on them whether they want to take appropriate action to mitigate or diversify the risks.

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    3. Hi Tat Yan,

      Thanks for the encouragement. I like what you say about managing the stress inside and outside! 

      There were times in the past, that people said to me….

      “why be so kaypoh, just let them see the consequences themselves, and as long as we know about it ourselves, we are fine and safe ourselves. Why bothers about the others. Anyway, the world is so selfish today and even if people know and benefit from what I say, they will also not appreciate one lar……, maybe only attract more despise?”

      Then my wife and my ex-boss told me….

      “I think we should show more grace and be less bitter and ignore what others said. Just share it what you know and be yourself. Whether they listened or not, it is up to them, but at least you do your part in showing the grace.”

      I think about it. It makes sense. Anyway, I have never caused any stirs of quarrels or any harm in my beckoning. Face to face meeting was all well, except maybe in blogosphere to readers who do not know me and who like to interpret in a way they deem fit.

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    4. That is why we should care about inner scorecard and do not place too much care on outer scorecard.

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  4. I like your article. be prepared; anticipate crisis in the offing and create a margin of safety if it does happens.
    I standby you.

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    1. Hi goldmansion,

      Thank you for the kind words. And I know you will be prosperous in abundance too.

      :-)

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  5. I think its more like people would like to continue the good life and so would not want to entertain the thoughts of a more humble living in the future. Everyone likes to have better things in life, what most people may not realise is there is a time for everything. What u hope to have all the time is never realistic there are good and there will be bad times.

    The solns sometimes people refer to really is crisis come already so what can they do. essentially its codeword for misery loves company. since everyone in hard times so what's the problem. much like when good times come everyone will huddle and talk about it.

    Essentially no one wants to be the one to have sold the property and have it rise higher. On the flip side is u really dont want to sell an investment when u need to sell.when that time comes and it becomes really bad there can be the case where there are no buyers at any price or weird markets that are much like in a stasis mode. u have a asking price and a buying price but very little transactions. Its inconceivable as of today but that doesnt mean it wont happen.U buy an investment because u believe it will make u more than what u pay for. If u dont believe that's going to happen why would anyone buy it anymore.

    Another worry is the singapore dollar what i read was its suppose to be a stable currency for trade to take place.But no where it says its suppose to be strong. Just look around the neighbouring countries does the sing dollar have a reason to be as strong as it is is now?If it tries to creep downwards in a orderly manner everything we consume the prices will go up.

    If u remember the iraq war? i still remember the war isnt even taking place near us but the supermarket rice and staples were all gone. Ended up there was no shortage of food.So besides putting yr assets with precious metals maybe stocking up abit more food than usual can be a hedge as well. Another example is the Haze the guys just bought all the 3M masks they could find and put the price up several times the cost. can that happen to food as well?Its unlikely but it doesnt hurt to buy abit more.

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    1. Hi workhard,

      Thanks for ur lengthy comments. It exudes depth and experience. I am simply overawed by your well expressed and remarkably wise words.

      I agreed with everything you said, no loopholes and all with logic and justifications. I am touched deep down.

      (What u hope to have all the time is never realistic there are good and there will be bad times.)
      RS: That is why we have the story of 7 yrs harvest and 7 yrs famine.

      (The solns sometimes people refer to really is crisis come already so what can they do. essentially its codeword for misery loves company. since everyone in hard times so what's the problem. much like when good times come everyone will huddle and talk about it.)
      RS: This has been the story since evolution of mankind that the majority are always blinded and only a small group is able to see the light!

      (About Property)
      RS: Many believe it will only goes higher and higher. Hence almost everyone believe their property is an investment rather than a mere roof over head.

      (About SGD)
      RS: It's all perception and confidence level over truth and fundamentals.

      (About Iraq war / Haze)
      RS: Too young to remember Iraq war for me (still in sec sch), but I will rem now and thanks for highlighting. Yes, Haze I remember, but now that u mentioned, it reinforces.
      Venezuela is the best (tragic) example now!

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    2. By the way, Iraq war is the one in 2002/3 or the one in 1990? The one in 2003 i remember.

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