Sunday, 25 April 2021

Life is So Vulnerable!

Recently, my best friend's nephew who was only two years old just passed away. The poor little baby boy was just fine and the next moment he lost his consciousness and after arriving to the hospital, his heartbeat stopped! 

Prior to the tragedy, there was no big sickness or symptoms that worries. It is an unnatural death. Autopsy was performed, but doctor can only conclude that it was heart failure without any other reasons found. The family was desolated! 

My friend who is always being cautious about his financial, suddenly confided in me that after this incident, he started thinking that life is so vulnerable and short, and maybe we should also just enjoy the current moment a bit more than what we do now. 

One lament includes the saying that maybe we should just buy a big house with a nice sea view and enjoy the living with our loved ones, before it will suddenly become too late? 

This episode also brings me back to seven years ago when I blogged on my second post “Life is unpredictable”,  after my then broker just collapsed and died of brain stroke. 

In that post, I also refer to Dennis Ng, a local Singaporean financial adviser who passed away at the age of 42 in 2012. Dennis is very frugal and always live within or below his means. Even though he is multimillionaire and founded several businesses, he continue to stay in HDB, and take "BMW" from home to work. BMW = Bus, MRT or Walk.

It left me wonder that if life is really that vulnerable?  

Should we really be so calculative in planning our finance, being extremely frugal, saving every cents, and being worrisome about the extra dollars we are going to spend more? When perhaps one day, all these numbers does not matter anymore? 

Yes, we are happy if we see the growing numbers on our portfolio or in our bank accounts! 

That said, if I don’t spend it, it will only be a mere number that perhaps guard my continuous hidden pride within myself without doing anyone else good? Of course, we need to keep a part of it for rainy days, and unexpected events! This is common sense! 

What I am saying is that sometimes from our over emphasis on money, there are too many times when we can make our own life, or the lives of our closed ones really miserable. 

Perhaps we should spend and do treat the people around us good with our financial prowess? 

Perhaps we should help those who is really in need? Our small donation can mean a lot to those who is in need of money for survival. 

Perhaps we can have a treat for our family members and loved ones with some money spend?  

After all, we come to this world naked and we will also leave naked. 

Saturday, 17 April 2021

Will Mapletree Industrial Trust & Keppel DC REIT Benefit from Facebook’s Transpacific Data Connection (Bifrost and Echo)?

Recently, Facebook announced plans to build two new data submarine cables between Asia-Pacific and North America. They are dubbed Bifrost and Echo. The transpacific cables will connect Singapore, Indonesia, and North America, and are expected to increase overall transpacific capacity by 70%.

Source: Facebook. 

For Bifrost, Facebook will partner Keppel T&T of Singapore and Telin (aka PT Telekomuniskasi Indonesia International) and XL Axiata of Indonesia and is due to be completed by 2024. 

For Echo, Facebook will partner Google and XL Axiata, and is due to be completed by 2023. 

Will this increase in transpacific capacity benefits the Mapletree Industrial Trust and Keppel DC Reit? 

Mapletree Industrial Trust “MIT” (SGX: ME8U) 

MIT has just completed acquisition of US data centre located in Richmond, Virgina in March this year for US$208m with 100% occupancy, freehold status, and an initial NPI yield of 6%. 

The company has a medium term vision of allocating two-third of its S$6.8B AUM to data centres, meaning acquiring of S$1B worth of data centres per year in the next 5 years. The current data centre AUM is 40.8% after the recent acquisition. 

Out of MIT’s  data centres, 34.5% are located in North America and only 6.3% is in Singapore. 

MIT’s FY20/21 DPU of 9.25 cents based on current price of S$2.79 gives a yield of 3.3%. 

However 3Q FY20/21 DPU is 3.28 cents. If MIT can maintain this result, then average DPU per annum will be 13.12 cents translating to a yield of 4.7%

NAV per unit as of end 2020 is S$1.70. 


KDC acquired Amsterdam DC on 24 Dec 2020 for S$48.1m with 99.1% occupancy and an initial NPI yield of 5.1%. 

KDC’s core market is in Singapore accounting for 56% of its AUM of S$3B as of end of last 2020. 

FY2020 adjusted DPU of 9.17 cents based on current price of S$2.69 gives a yield of 3.4%. 

NAV per unit as of end 2020 is S$1.19. 


Typically, the identities of the tenants for Data Centres cannot be disclosed due to the strict confidentiality obligations under the lease agreements. 

Hence we are not really sure how Facebook and Google’s Bifrost and Echo projects will benefit MIT and KDC in the years to come. 

Nonetheless, I am very certain that there will be a strong and resilient Data Centre demand in the years ahead. 

Below are some of the positive numbers on DC spending coming from research companies. 

Source: Keppel DC REIT. 

Therefore it is in my opinion that MIT and KDC will continue to grow in their top and bottom line. 

What are your views? 

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Be Wiser When You First Start Your Career - In Dire Industry, it is More Difficult to Find Success!

It was decades back, and I needed to decide on which university courses to enroll. My parents are uneducated and my elder siblings are diploma grads back then. They cannot help much in my decision. 


My childhood ambition is to be lawyer. Unfortunately, coming from poverty-stricken family and living in a less than desirable estate with hokkien or mandarin speaking environment, my “England is not powderful” enough for me to be a lawyer. This is despite my photographic memory and good analytical and debating abilities. 
I then look to my second choice as an architect. I did my research and find out that I probably need 8-10 years in university and apprenticeship, before I can earn enough. “My mum will be so old by then”, I thought! 


It was in the nineties and Singapore had so many developments ahead and engineers were highly sought after.  The newspapers headlined on the good prospects of being an Engineer by our government. 
Wow… I exclaimed! 

Being a teenager with limited experience in life, I heeded our government’s advice! Looking back, I think it was not a very a good piece of advice! 

Just go and ask all those who are still working as Engineer today? How many Engineering Head can you have, heading in a pool of engineers?

Government’s objective is always with respect to the country. It is impossible for them to cater to your individual career future. Back in 90s to mid 2000s, they probably need many Electronic, Mechanical and Civil Engineers, but after that… hmmm…. 

Ok, things do change…. 


Consider if most of my university friends who graduated in Engineering, who are still working as Engineers in electronics, mechanical and manufacturing (marine, aerospace, industrial) or civil and construction industry; 

Do you think majority of them will have an edge in their career? Or will they somewhat stuck if in their mid-career stage? 

Do you think they will have better salaries and benefits, compared to those in banking and finance and real estate or digital sectors? 

Even if you are very capable and hardworking, if you are in a dire industry that render your companies in losses or little profits for many years, your career will see less success and populated by more frustrations comparatively. And even if you find success, the remuneration will be considerably lesser than the better earning industries. 

For example, manufacturing, F&B and also hotels are sectors that highly competitive with lower margin. Hence, it will be very difficult for companies in these sectors to pay you too well. 

You can be a CEO or COO in your less profitable sector with never-ending workload and stresses, but your pay can be much than the Tom, Dick and Harry mid-level executives in better paying and highly profitable sectors. 

I know of many examples that even if your result during school days is below average and certainly not as smart or hardworking than some of your friends in Engineering, you will still find yourself doing much better than your peers who are in the Engineering or Manufacturing sectors. 

If you amassed a lot of technical skills over the years in Manufacturing sectors such as Construction, Aerospace, Marine & Offshore, your expertise will in fact limit you only to within the industries.  Or else, it is likely that you will see pay cut moving to other sectors. 

On the contrary, if you are working in banking, real estates, or big software companies, then you can see vast opportunities and it is easier to transit across sectors. Or at least within the sectors, companies will be profitable with better packages. 

Of course, there will be exceptions. I am generally making reference to the majority of cases! 
Otherwise, you can also be in mainly supporting functions such as in Finance, HR, Legal and IT etc, then you can easily move across industries. 


Singapore is a finance hub. Without doubt and by looking at STI components alone, you can see that we are in a country mainly driven by finance and banking and/or real estates. These sectors during good and bad times are still profitable. 

However, take a look at the manufacturing sectors, especially those cyclical ones, how many are already out of businesses. 

Singapore is inviting all the tech companies into Singapore. There will be bright future. 
Hmmm… but maybe in two to three decades time, it will not be so good anymore. Who knows? 

Therefore, make sure you can anticipate earlier than your peers if your industry is going sunset all the way. And even in these good industries now, try not to be over-technical and over niche in your job. 

This is because later on, it can be more difficult to transit to other industries, when your industries becoming overly dire without much hope ahead. 

Don’t always think our Government is right and just obey their advice! Their interests may not be aligned with yours. 

It will be wise to seek advice from people you respect who has more experience in life and career, and can see further. 

And, that someone must really have genuine interest for your future, or at least someone who is less selfish. And, if you received something good, try to also be grateful and give back. 

While I was taught to be a cheerful giver, I have experienced countless people who only remember me when they are in trouble. They are normally only thankful when I help them to solve their problems. 
When their troubles are tide over and life is good again, they will never catch up with you or even say “hi”. They will only catch up when they need something from you, and when you are in need of help, they will bestow you with one sentence “take care” and fullstop! 

Please don’t be that kind of person who only ask and ask and take and take, and without giving at your end. 

Asking people for help is so easy. But when we ourselves need to help others… how many will go through the trouble of doing that? 

Therefore, let us help one another and learn to be mutual and win-win! 

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Invaluable Million Dollar Investment with No Monetary Return for a Long Time!

What is our one major investment that we will have to endure no monetary return for a long time? 

Oh yes…. For parents, this investment is unquestionably on your child/children! 

It not only includes the money spent on them, it is the time and energy on them, and the undivided love and attention for them guiding them during their grow up years. 


Recently I told some friends that so far, me and my wife has definitely spent more than SGD 1 million of expenses directly or indirectly because of our four kids. 

It sounds unbelieving, but it is definitely not bragging. 

I have been recording my daily, monthly, and yearly expenses.  Recently I extracted and compiled all the proof of spent. To my astonishment, our expenditure for the last decade on kids easily surpassed the million-dollar mark. 

In the following articles, I will just cite a few examples, and you can do your own math to see if I am lying. 

The more than 100K amount includes the direct kids spending and our household expenses such as all expenses spent within the household, including expenses on my helper and my parent-in-law staying with me mainly for the kids too. It however does NOT include mortgages, household vacation and car expenses, which in many ways are also indirectly for the kids. Hence, the actual expenses may be even higher.  

How can the expenses be so high?  Maybe you will think that we are a family that probably splurge on expensive education, unnecessary expensive meals or toys or apparels for our kids? 

Certainly not! 


Apparently, we are cautious spending on restaurant meal, and normally eat at home. Even when we eat out, my kids love to eat only pizza and Encik Tan drumstick rice!  We will try to share for most of the time in order not to waste food and money! I have little preference on food myself. I prefer Hawker or Kopi Tiam food, so low cost actually. 

For toys, my kids also have lesser toys compared to my friends. They also recycled some of their clothing, handing over from siblings to siblings. For phones, they also use our old and used phones. 

Yet, the expenses are still so high? 

Welcome to Singapore! 


In the old days, there are very little competition in enrichment classes. It will be rare that your friends are going for tuition, or swimming lessons or other paid sports or art lessons. Furthermore in the 80s and 90s cost of living in Singapore is really much lower, and everyone live a much simpler life. Parents care less for their kids’ education. After taking my PSLE and O Levels, my parents don’t even know I already taken these major exams. Instead, my mum’s primarily focus is for me to eat well! 

Therefore, back in those days, raising 5 or 6 kids is probably even cheaper than 1 or 2 kids of present times, taking into account all sorts of inflation, and average peer and environmental pressure. 

Let me cite a few examples in the following to prove my point. 


During my time, most of us will be schooling in PAP kindergarten at the age of 5 and 6 only. School fees and uniforms and books must be dirt cheap. This is because even our bottom few percent low-income parents can afford. 

Today, most kids go for N1, N2, K1, K2. Yes 4 years! Most with both parents’ working and no helper nor parents helping, it will be 6 years even. 

At the lower end, you will spend SGD5K per year just on school fees. That is approximately what I spent for my kids for half a day session in Church school. And this is definitely one of the cheapest in the entire Singapore. 

Before government subsidies, I reckon most parents will on average spend at least SGD1K per month and that will be SGD 12K p.a. Nonetheless, many pre-pri-schools are already charging SGD1.5 to 2K per month. MindChamps is charging close to 2K monthly for full day although working mum can have some few hundred subsidies provided you fulfil income criteria. 

It is hence inevitably that for just 4 to 5 years, your one child school fees can already hit 50K to 100K or more. 

It excludes school uniforms, books, materials, and all sorts of extra costs that many schools will be charging. There is also extra school enrichment and year end concerts, all requiring $$$. Sometimes, it is difficult to explain here, but once you experience it, you will know what I mean. 

On yes…. School buses are not cheap either at SGD100 to 150 per child monthly, depending on distance.

Baby Bonus does help, but that can cover partially only the expensive pre-natal, delivery, confinement etc expenses. Of course you can choose public hospital, but I think among almost all my friends who are middle-class, it is almost unheard of that anyone choose public hospital delivery services. 

In the old days, only the top income can afford private hospitals, and all rest of Singapore are all going to the very affordable public hospital. 


As healthcare cost increase, we as parents also worried and started buying insurance for our kids once they are born. During my younger days, where got parents buy health insurance for their children?

For my kids, we bought NTUC income health insurance. For reference purposes, one is close to SGD500 and the other is SGD780 per annum. 


For Chinese enrichment classes, we sent them to Berries/Busybees. In a classroom setting primary school student, we pay ~SGD750 per 16 lessons per pax. 1 lesson per week. In one year, there are 52 weeks, so yearly charge will be 3.25 x SGD750 = SGD2.4K. Enrolment fees and materials for lessons are separate.  

By the way, this is just for Chinese hor….! Still have Maths, and other subjects. 2.5 to 3K per year is very common for each weekly enrichment classes subject. We only go for Chinese! 

You can find some of the pricing in this blog: 

For sports on my two kids now, I easily spent 1.5 to 2K per month, excluding shoes, apparels and rackets, courts booking fees, competition fees etc. Recently, I heard from my friend that his friend spent 4K per month just on one sport for his primary school kid. Crazy! Yet, this is how competitive the parents can be nowadays!  

Of course, you can also spend nothing on your kids. It is totally up to you. 

Personally, I do have my own reason in giving my kids this foundation of sport. 

Again, looking back to my old days when my parents spent nothing on me, and I am lucky to learn myself the sport I love and, in some way, excel in it without paying much! 

Nowadays, if you spend nothing on coaching, it is almost impossible that your kid can go up to national level in any racket sports or swimming or whatever popular sports! Tell me if you manage to find any example, unless the sports require only in-born talent! Very very rare! 


Then you have children’s shoes or apparels that are always needing to change as their feet and body grow so fast. The price of shoes, even those white ordinary school shoes without brand are at least SGD25 to 30. Those white shoes of Nike/Adidas are normally SGD50. 

During our time, panda white shoe is SGD5 maybe! Who wear panda to school nowadays? 

Clothing, school bags, pencil boxes, lunch boxes, water bottles are all very expensive nowadays compared to the old days. Toys are also more expensive! 

When you have more household members in the house, more aircons will be running incurring expensive electricity and maintenance fees. FYI, when I was young, I have no air-cons, no washing machine, no heater, no bed in my house until I am young adult. 

To be honest, we are still living frugally today, as I will not waste electricity unnecessary due to my humble upbringing. Still, our expenses are very hefty as everything in Singapore is really getting more and more expensive. 


Many years ago, when my kids are still at younger age, I use to tell my wife, 

any schools for my kids, who cares? They will grow smart themselves and character building is more important!”. “Don’t need tuition lar…! “Don’t need to buy insurance lar!” 

However, once you are in it yourself, and you experience today’s ever increasingly expensive and competitive Singapore, then you will understand that sometimes, it is inevitable! 

You are really NOT that kiasu parent, but it is just that you really love your kids and wanted them to have a good foundation to start with. Of course, I emphasize again that character building is even more important! 

Finally, raising a kid in Singapore today is totally different from in the 80s or even 90s, let alone, two, three or four.

I did a post last year on, 

How Much Does It Cost in Detail to Raise a Child in Singapore for Low, Middle and High Income Households

For middle-class, I suspect It can easily cost more than ½ million to raise a kid in their life time.  

Then there is also the intangible part of it. The huge amount of time you spent on the children, teaching them, driving them around, loving them, are all “pricey intangible expenses” that otherwise your time can be used to earn more money?  

To be honest, I sometimes feel that it is better during our childhood days when there are fewer material comparisons, and the masses are all not so well to do, aside from the top few percent. 

Even when I belong to the bottom few percent lower income family, I still grow up in a very very decent environment comparatively without inferior complex. 

During my childhood, I did not feel “lacking”, because I did not have tuition or enrichment lessons. Even, when our family cannot afford to eat MacDonalds or take the occasional taxi, I still find it pretty normal as a kid without much complaints. 

It is so different today! 

How about you? 

How much are you spending on kindergarten? 

Will you spend on enrichment classes for your kids and how much?  

Will you spend to groom your children? 

Undoubtedly, kids are definitely one major investment that we will have to endure no monetary return for a long time? That said, the intangible returns of investments of the indescribable joy are huge for any parents!  

Saturday, 3 April 2021

20,000 Less People In Singapore Each Day During Covid Year?


From Singapore Tourism Board (STB) as below… 

"Singapore attracted approximately 19.1 million visitors in 2019 with receipts at S$27.1 billion, according to preliminary figures by the Singapore Tourism Board."

"Due to unprecedented global travel restrictions and border closures, Singapore saw a decline in both visitor arrivals and tourism receipts in 2020. Visitor arrivals fell by 85.7 per cent in 2020 to reach 2.7 million visitors (nearly all from the first two months of 2020), while tourism receipts declined by 78.4 per cent to S$4.4 billion in the first three quarters of 2020."

This translates statically to a net decrease of 16.4 million overseas visitors during covid year. 

And it pro-rates to 1.37 million lesser overseas visitors per month in Singapore. 


Prior to Covid in 2019, Singapore residents made a total of 10.7 million outbound departures compared to in 2020 where there were a total of 1.5 million outbound departures. See table below. 


This means that 9.2 million more Singapore residents stayed in Singapore during covid year. 

And it pro-rates to 767 thousand more Singapore residents in the country per month. 


Overall statically and for reference purpose, 

  • There were 7.2 million less people in Singapore during covid year. (i.e. 16.4 minus 9.2 million) 

  • On average per month, you will have 600 thousand less people in Singapore
  • On average per day, you will have 20 thousand less people in the country


Rolf's Portfolio Update - End March 2021


Due to the stock rout in February and March and falling gold and silver prices, my overall portfolio value fell 6%. However my cash position increase slightly from other sources and with higher USD to SGD exchange rate, overall net fall in portfolio is limited to 3%. 

As for portfolio mix, there are not much changes since last update from End January (click here). I am still holding on to ~75 percent shares and 25 percent cash - bonds - metals. 



My tech component saw its rout in the last two months affecting mainly my China tech stocks. My Tech mix fell by 2%. On the contrary REITS rose by 1%, and O&G rose 0.6% since end of January. 



Since my last update, I sold off Raffles Medical at losses, but recovered the losses by selling HKSE renewable stock GCL-Poly Energy (3800) at double bagger. I bought into SEA Limited and stake in it increase from 3.5% to 6.7% of my overall portfolio. 



In my last portfolio update on 26 Jan 2021, I closed the article with “How long can stock keep rising?” 

Indeed in less than one month after that, Market is bearish until recently. Tech and Growth Stocks started to tank, although STI started to climb more than 8% to as high as 3200 recently driven by the three main banks in Singapore and also recovery stocks. 

But why did tech and growth stocks fall even when the market is cheering for the vaccine drive and recovery optimism?

With improved economic outlook, investors expect a rise in inflation and US Treasury yields is rising. Rising yields is slowing the rally in technology and growth stocks as investors are worry about the rising debt costs for these companies. 

On the contrary, higher yields have lifted financial stocks and accelerated a rotation of funds into other Covid-beaten sectors.  

You may be wondering, will stock prices continue to rise or fall in the next quarter? 

I am not overly concern, as I intend to stay unaffected with little or no action. But if there is a significant rise in stock prices, I may cash out profits to stay with more cash. Personal preference! 


Thursday, 1 April 2021

Looking Back At My 7th Year Of Blogging – THANK YOU ALL OF YOU!

Seven years ago on 1st March 2014, I started this blog. So it is exactly 85 months ago. How time has flew just like that. 

Today, I take some time to re-look into my initial blog articles when I am still a newbie blogger back then. It is definitely nostalgic and a ride back to memory lane.  

There are several reasons why I started blogging back then. I wanted to do something different. i.e. start a blog! I wanted to go against my comfort zone as I was (or still am) deemed a “computer idiot”. Starting a blog may be easy-peasy for many, but for me it was an uphill task. Above all, I wanted my children one day to read my blog, and to learn something out of it! 

Read: Reasons for Blogging

Read: Purpose

Why did I choose Rolf Suey as my nickname? 

This blog is for me to find the true “myself” or “Yourself”. Do you realise that “Rolf Suey” with all the letters re-arranged can become “Yourself”. And the best way to find who your true self is, is to invest in Yourself! 

It was also my mid-career crisis that triggered this blog. I do felt old at the time of starting this blog and hence, I also gave the blog title a caption “Better Late Than Never” to encourage myself, and those who start late. Today, I have changed the caption to “Invest in Yourself”, although in you can still see it as “Better Late Than Never” 


Back then, there were already many established bloggers such as AK of ASSI, Dividend Warrior, Alvin of BigFatPurse (Dr Wealth) Jared of SMOL, Uncle Jacob of CW8888, Thomas of Bully the Bear, Kyith of Investment Moat, Brian of FFF, Kevin of Turtle Investor, Mike of Silly Investor, and Andy of Tacomob probably started his blog around the same time as me. And many more…. 

Feeling the need to differentiate myself from these established bloggers, Hmmm… then I think and think…. And since I worked all my life in the Oil & Gas (O&G), Marine Offshore industry, I decided to focus more about this industry’s counters. After all in early 2014, it is the golden years of Marine and Offshore stocks listed in Singapore Stock Exchange. 

So very quickly, I was given the nick name of “Oily Blogger” from Jared aka SMOL. 


One principle I laid down for this blog in the beginning is that it will be “non-commercial”. This means that I do not write for brands or products to generate advertisement income. 

Please do not be mistaken, I am absolutely not against blogs with commercial contents! It is just a personal preference. I wanted to keep this blog “commercial-free”, something like a journal for my kids, myself and for my readers, where my one hundred percent honest opinions will be expressed.  

I am glad that after seven years, this principle is still intact. 

Oily Articles Still…
As I mentioned earlier, I was called the “Oily Blogger” because I started my first year of blogging with quite many Oil and Gas (O&G) articles, providing insight into the market, the relevant companies in general. After the oil crisis in 2015 many O&G marine/offshore counters had become non-interesting or had actually went bust. 

Still, after all these years despite the downturn, I and not tired of blogging about this market. I still write about companies like Keppel and Sembmarine and occasionally also overseas companies like US and China Oil counters. And I thankful for the readers’ support. 

Perhaps in a matter of time, more O&G companies will also transit into Clean/Renewables companies. I did wrote an article on that.  

It is about Life! H2F3
Aside from investment and stock analysis, this blog is definitely about life. Over the years, topics often converged into these 3 categories of Health, Wealth & Relationships. 

Then in August 2015, I devised my own formula of “H2F3”. They refers to “Health, Family, Finance, Friends, Hobbies” and are what matters most to me. Every now and then, I will write about my H2F3 updates. The writing helps me to look back clearly, in order to move better forward. 

Refer here for what does H2F3 (Health, Hobbies, Family, Finance & Friends) means.

Today, it is still very much alive! Read: Rolf 2020 (H2F3) in Review

Travel, Property, Kids’ Expenses, Biography etc
Prior to Covid, I also enjoyed sharing my travel experiences on this blog. Once traveling resumes, I will continue my sharing. 

I also have great interest in the property market in Singapore as well as topics on children since I am a parent myself. 

One topic that I have blogged lesser nowadays is biography of great people. Since 2016, my focus had turned from many great people to just ONE.  


The past 7 years of blogging has been nothing but fruitful and enriching. 

And it is NOT possible without all my blogosphere people. Many of the bloggers and readers become my blogosphere friends or “comments sparring partners”. 

I also met up with a few of them in real life. 

Knowing all of you here has been one of the most fruitful reward of blogging. 

Thank you to all of you. 

Wish you all a Happy and Blessed Good Friday and Easter Holiday!