August In Review – Perceptions & Expectations

August was a relatively quiet month which I am thankful for. It gave me a chance to get back into trading regularly again. Nothing makes me a happier puppy than to be in front of my coms, watching charts, reading up on the latest economic bullshit that the analysts and economists dish out, catching up on the hottest conspiracy theories and trading crude oil which never fails to excite me. My old ATM, Goldman Sachs, is as predictable as it was before a year ago and it’s good to have my old reliable money making machine back at its peak performance. August also gave me time to spend with my kids and wife. My life and purpose would be meaningless without them. Most importantly, August gave me my life back after five hectic months that denied me optimum performance in that mini bull-run.

It’s good to live again. Too much teaching can take a toll on one’s health and mental strength. I am glad it didn’t affect my trading psychology. The one thing that those busy months showed me was that I was still vulnerable to people’s opinions and expectations. Not one to take unreasonable and unjustified criticisms, I found myself hitting back at people I don’t know and don’t matter. I found myself justifying and defending my cause to people who didn’t care. In the end, I became so blind with literary rage that I even lashed out at one of my students who only meant well but sent out the wrong signals. To Seetch, you have my humblest apology … but I gotta say that your timing sucked … and your feedback is now much appreciated.

PERCEPTIONS & EXPECTATIONS … these were the two concepts I was battling with in those five months. I find it very curious that people form ideas about others even when it is obvious that they know little or nothing about that person. Call it prejudice, call it judgmental, people form opinions about others based on what they think they know or “feel”. Often, such judgments are based on historical patterns (like in trading) from similar individuals from the past. It is often perceived that if the last fellow was like that, this guy must be the same. In such opinions, the new guy doesn’t stand a chance and is never given the benefit of the doubt.

I have been guilty of being like that in the past. The old adage of being “cut from the same cloth” must have some truth to it or that adage would not have stood the test of time. But I have learnt that there are occasions where certain individuals can spring surprises and kill the stereotype thinking of common perception. I have been surprised myself when certain students who seem to have no hope in succeeding do exceedingly well in trading and where students who show much potential fail miserably. I now abstain from pre-judging anyone till I have conversed with them at least twice to learn more about them and to know their objectives.

But there will be those few whose purpose in life is to drag everyone else down and whose thrill it is to make others miserable. They are the unteachable, the obstinate and the ones who will find eventual success the moment they take down their prejudices. Whatever their reasons for being so, it is not for me to judge. I will do what I will do and will make myself available should they ever need my help, if ever their pride allows them to. We are free to make our own choices – it’s the consequences that we are not free from.

You can choose to dodge your responsibilities but you will never dodge the consequences of dodging your responsibilities.

You can choose to do whatever you wish but you can’t wish away whatever you chose to do.

Another curious situation is how people will have expectations of others based on the historical patterns of other similar individuals before. Adam lives in a big house and has two cars including a fancy red Lotus. So people find it strange that I live in a three-room flat in Bedok and drive a Suzuki. (But I have more computers than Adam! So there! HA!)

Such expectations put unnecessary pressure on me. It is as if I am supposed to live in a big house and drive a fancy car in order to be accepted and to prove that I am indeed a successful individual. I know it may not be the case but the weight of the expectation is undeniable because I am the one living with it. Intentions may be good, honest or even naive but the very mention of such perceptions makes me uncomfortable.

The reason for my discomfort is simple. This form of perception and expectation puts me between a rock and a hard place. As a semi-public figure, I cannot run away from such ideals and like it or not, I have to deal with it. It is one thing to be advised not to be bothered by it but it is another thing to be constantly hounded by it every so often. If I decide, by my own choosing and not because of peer pressure, to move to a big house and buy myself a flashy new car, I will be perceived as arrogant, proud, boastful, complacent, etc. These material rewards will be seen as ill-gained and opportunistic. But if I choose to continue staying in my three-room flat and continue to drive my Suzuki till it becomes a jalopy, doubt will fester as to whether I am truly successful and worthy of being a Wealth Trainer.

There is only one way out of this predicament if I have to choose the lesser of two evils. I choose to stay humble, live prudently and preserve my wealth rather than flaunt it for the sake of pleasing the few who don’t matter and don’t really care.

Pride is buying and doing things for people who don’t matter and don’t care who won’t buy it or do it themselves.

Face is impressing people who can’t be pleased and won’t be satisfied who will never be impressed with themselves.

Ego is inflated by people who want something in return for something that didn’t cost them more than a few words who would never consciously return the favor without a fee.

I don’t need the aggravation. It has been a good August and I am a happy puppy again. In any case, buying a house or car now is madness. So the point is really moot, isn’t it?

AUGUST REVIEW

WAT31 (Singapore)

On 12 August, the 31st batch of Pattern Traders graduated, adding 25 new traders into our community.

Then on 22nd and 23rd August, AKLTG was at Investfair. (Picture to be posted later.)

And just this past weekend, I completed another Technical Analysis Masterclass in Singapore. It was indeed another fruitful session of sharing and discovering. I’d like to thank all who attended and joined in the discussions.

The August Monthly Special Report on Transportation was a real challenge as there were few Indices and ETFs to choose from. You would have expected such a significant sector to have more than just three indices and two ETFs. In spite of this, it was an eye-opening exercise in research and definitely an awakening to some “hidden” gems. (Those who attended the Masterclass would appreciate that.)

The added bonus in August was the time I spent doing something I’ve always loved … gardening. Okay, so I live in a small flat and I don’t have a garden. But check out my cactus garden which measures 1′ X 1′.

It is one of the few pleasures left in my life since I lost my dog in 2004. It’s been five years and I still miss her dearly. I still have a tuft of her fur so if anyone knows of a clone doctor, I have a proposition!

Toto 1994 - 2004

I won’t be posting a September In Preview as it is expected to be an uneventful month for me but in the case of the market … watch out! The sellers are in and the carnage is about to unfold as the cattle have now been fed and fattened for the kill!

Insider Trading and Investor Sentiment Signaling U.S. Stock Market Top

Interesting to note that in today’s Straits Times, page B16 in the Money Pages, the housing bubble is financially mentioned in its proper context … a Bubble. And it also mentioned something I wrote about in a previous post – Singapore is making the same mistakes now that America did years ago to bring on this current crisis – where easy credit in a shrinking pool of qualified borrowers in an economy that is increasingly greedy, is going to drag our magnificent economy down in the near future, especially if this recession takes years to recover from.

Should the U.S. dollar continue its rot, it is also likely that the SGD may well become the preferred regional currency. (Think about this for a bit … can you name me another regional currency that is stronger and more reliable than the SGD apart from the AUD? Even the AUD tanked below the SGD just months ago.) Just another similar pattern that led the U.S. into its mess. And at the rate our “advisors” are messing up our national investments, I am praying hard that the market maintains its current northward route because these “advisors” obviously don’t know how to handle a southbound train, much like the greedy Wall Street warriors that created this mess.

So as it stands, it’s going to be a rough month in the market, I reckon. Afterall, September is always screwed up for both the Bulls and the Bears. I can wait … and wait a long time if I could … for October to roll in.

So Happy Hunting, Happy National Day to our Malaysian friends and Trade Very Safe!

Cheers!

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Comments

Conrad,

thanks for another lights and reports.

BTW, do you know what car Warren Buffett drive ? :-)

Wilson Ong
PS: you are only responsible for the guy inside the mirrror.

Hi Con,

Stay who you are always…cos trust me you would never be happy being anyone else…

As for your dog…well with stem cell research getting more advanced day by day…who knows :D (Have faith)

Thanks as always for your guidance.

Rock on Bro!!!

Hi Conrad,

No matter where you live & what you own, you are always the best “Guru” I ever had. Noone can beat you.

Thanks for all the guidance!

annie

I’m glad it’s over Conrad and good to see you up and running now. I’m sure we both learnt a lot from it… and after all, that’s the most important thing isn’t it… learn, learn, learn!

As always, you touch on matters on the heart and mind, which is a lot more important than knowing what to do ;)

Well done!

Dear Master,

No matter what others said, I always regard you & Adam as my masters (as in teacher). To me, one who’s an expertise in the area of their profession should be call a master, otherwise who else is more worthy of such title? I’m not curry favouring or apple polishing the both of you. Anyway, why should I do such thing where there’s nothing I could gain from. It is the mere respect for the both of you who are really the expert in what you are doing. Anyone who take the responsiblities to do well in their profession is well worth our respect & salute, isn’t it!
Sometimes, I really pity those who are unaware of their own ignorantness & ineptness, yet put others down by speaking ill of them, sigh!! Cos for those who are wise, would see them as a laughing stock!!

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