Joy of Reading

Books by Enid Blyton were popular during my times in schools in 1970s. Enid Blyton wrote children’s books with captivating stories of young children and their adventures. She wrote series of books under such themes as Adventures, Famous Five, Secret Seven. These books, with some published as early as in the 1930s, are still being sold in bookshops, pop-up stores and on-line. We bought one recently – The Adventures of the Wishing-Chair. True enough it brought back memories for me some five decades ago.

This was a part of my growing up years and it introduced the lives of English people to me. Singapore was newly independent and the United Kingdom was our colonial master before with a long history of Kings and Queens. I learned the English Language from exposure to these English books.

While Enid Blyton (1897 – 1968) was a famous author for children, Agatha Christie (1890 – 1976) was famous for adult books on crimes and mysteries. I am currently reading Agatha Christie’s books borrowed from the public library. It was pure joy to be immersed in the writings of Agatha Christie’s books. Her strength was creating mysteries for readers to crack. It was so satisfying to come to the end of her books after the mysteries were de-mystified.

Copyright © 2018, limkimtong for Living Investment

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Temasek Bond – 5-year T2023-S$ Bond 2.70% fixed interest rate

There was much media coverage of this Temasek Bond to be issued by Temasek Holdings Private Limited. Temasek Holdings even put up a full-page advertisement in The Straits Times. Temasek Bond is purely a corporate bond with fixed interest payment semi-annually at 2.70% per annum. It matures 5 years later on 25 October 2023 with repayment of principal sum (subject to early redemption and cancellation).

One risk, as in any corporate bond, is the default risk should Temasek Holdings goes into financial difficulties in the future (if it ever happens). In this regard, credit rating of Temasek Holdings is AAA/Aaa by S&P Global Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service respectively.

In the past, small time investors would not be able to subscribe to Temasek Bonds. The institutional, accredited and other specified investors were the ones investing in these bonds. Unless you have at least S$250,000 to invest and depending on your luck, you cannot get a hand on them. For this new Temasek T2023-S$ Bond, Temasek Holdings is opening $200 million for the retail investors with minimum investment of S$1,000.

I would think that Temasek Bond would be oversubscribed with balloting for the retail investors. If one has excess cash sitting idle in the bank, 2.70% interest rate is attractive. One could sit out 5 years for the bond to mature and collect the full invested amount at the end (provided Temasek Holdings does not default on it).

Temasek Bond is expected to be traded on SGX-ST Main Board from 26 October.

Copyright © 2018, limkimtong for Living Investment

The material presented is intended to be general and written in layman’s language as much as it is possible. The author shall not be liable for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of material written. Please seek professional advice from your financial advisor or financial institutions on material written covering financial matters.

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Fears of Retirement

With Singapore’s life expectancy rate of 83.3 years, assuming if one retires at age 67 years old, he has 16.3 years of life in retirement. However, if another wants to retire at 62 years old, then he has 21.3 years ahead of him to live out.

Having experienced how it was like to be out of the workforce for 6 years now, let me share how it was like to retire. This blog post covers the fears of retirement. There are three aspects: Money, Health and Time.

Money
The fear is when money runs out. Your savings are being depleted year by year. Every big-ticket item like a vacation, buying home appliances, house repair, etc can set you back. One would be extremely lucky to be able to increase wealth by investment returns. More often it is the other way round.

Health
As one gets older, he may not be as healthy and fit as when he was younger. Common health problems increase over time. He is prone to accidents when his faculties are not so agile. Health care cost goes up. Without adequate health insurance, money is depleted as well.

Time
Time refers to how can one use his time meaningfully since he is not engaged with work in the workforce. Waking up everyday means that there is 16 waking hours ahead to be occupied. This is a bigger challenge than the other two above. It is real and happens every single day.

Fear Not
Time does not wait for man. Majority of us has to face retirement at some time. When the time comes, are we prepared?

Financial Planning, Retirement Planning and Money Management address the money aspect.

Health aspect includes physical health and mental health (mind and body). With regard to mental health, living a wholesome life and morally helps. One should be conscious of one’s body so as not to cause stress to it, such as alcohol consumption and smoking. Physical exercises must not be neglected. Suitable food intake is the other. Going for regular health check is necessary to address health issues that may surface.

On the aspect of spending time meaningfully, one has to draw out his own plan according to his interest and skills set. I like to read and I write. I watch over our investment portfolios. I do book keeping for two entities. My wife and I spend one day each week to help in TOUCH’s Meal-on-Wheels programme to benefit the beneficiaries. We also like to explore places in Singapore to visit. There are many places of interest and parks and nature reserves we have yet to visit.

Retirement can be fulfilling if some routine can be built into one’s life. Because we have seen through lives, we have wisdom to share. Pass this wisdom on. We can be useful to others and it is rewarding.

Copyright © 2018, limkimtong for Living Investment

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Kent Ridge Park

Kent Ridge Park is part of the Southern Ridges. It can be accessed from the western side of HortPark. Both parks are connected by an elevated boardwalk measuring 280-metres long called the Canopy Walk.

Kent Ridge (formerly known as Pasir Panjang Ridge) is significant historically. It was at this high ground where the Battle for Opium Hill (or Bukit Chandu) was fiercely fought on 14 February 1942 between the Malay Regiment and the Japanese Imperial Army. Singapore lost and came under the Japanese Occupation. The Reflections at Bukit Chandu, a black and white colonial bungalow, is set up to allow visitors to learn about this battle. (Please note that it is now closed for major redevelopment works until first quarter of 2021.)

Kent Ridge Park was not like other parks that are popular with visitors. When we were there this morning, not many people were around. I like it for its peace and tranquility. It is 47 hectares in size. From HortPark, we had to walk up to the top of the ridge. At the top, we could view Pasir Panjang Terminal and the habour in the southerly direction. Towards the north of the park, it was the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE).

Dotting round Kent Ridge Park are concrete cement shelters for people to rest. The shelters are so quaint. We walk among trees likeTembusu, Adinandras and Dillenias. It felt like walking in some countries with such tall shady trees.

There are two ponds to the western end of the park – Kent Ridge Pond and the smaller Dragonfly Pond close by. It is so called because you can see various species of dragonflies around these two ponds.

This walk requires some fitness to walk up to high ground and down the steps to lower level. You would be rewarded with view of far-away places mentioned earlier.

Getting there
One can choose to drop at Labrador Park MRT Station (Exit A) and walk the overhead linkway towards the PSA Building. Walk alongside Alexandra Road towards HortPark at Hyderabad Road. The walk to HortPark took about 20 minutes.

The round trip back to the MRT station was about 7.5 km of about 13,000 steps.

Copyright © 2018, limkimtong for Living Investment

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“Return to the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul” by Deborah Rodriguez – A Book Review

Sunny Tedder returned in this second book. Sunny left her Little Coffee Shop of Kabul in the first book of the same title. This time round she was part owner Screaming Peacock Vineyard on Twimbly Island off the coast of US. The book toggles between Afghanistan and US in two separate worlds where two parallel stories were being told on the same time zone.

Readers are brought up to date on the lives of Halajan, Yazmina and all connected with the family staying in the house that is the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul.

This book is rich in emotions with stories of past emotional sufferings of some characters in the story. Everyone had a past that he/she had to come to term with. The author Deborah Rodriguez wrote easily and told the stories plainly. It had a good story line and it kept me wanting to know how the lives of these people would end.

Copyright © 2018, limkimtong for Living Investment

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Are you constantly planning ahead or living in the past?

My mind is darting around. It jumps around three states – past, present and future. The nature of mind is such. Dwelling too much in the past and the future robs us of staying in the present. The key word is too much and worse still a person could get into a loop of dwelling constantly in them (past and future). There is nothing wrong if one plans for the future or if one reminisces the past. It becomes a problem if one gets stuck in one of the mind state and losing the present moment of daily living.

I am more the future oriented person. I habitually plan what to do in the future down to the details of execution. Occasionally, my mind jumped to things or events that happened in the past. Regrets and self-reproach of past events cropped up now and then. These two states took up disproportionate amount of time. I lost the pleasure of living in the moment. I lost to admire the wonderful nature that surrounds us – the sound of birds, the beautiful flowers, the smell of rain, the clouds in the blue sky. I lost to connect with my loved ones intimately.

I lost more of the present moments. If one can measure the proportion of time during our waking hours on all three states (past, present and future), I can safely say we spent too little on the present moment. We are good at multi-tasking and therefore this does not count into staying in the present task you are doing. Take the case of eating. One could eat and still one’s mind was somewhere else instead of on the eating process.

The joy of the moment was lost. Why not spend some hours walking a park (eg MacRitchie Reservoir Nature Reserve) and appreciate the flowers, the trees, the animals, birds, the water streams? If you into mindfulness meditation, spend time each day on it to train your mind to stay in the present. Be aware of what your mind is doing now. Is it in the present moment? Break the habit of looking into the future or dwelling in the past constantly and spend more time in the present.

Copyright © 2018, limkimtong for Living Investment

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Friends forever

We left our secondary school 45 years ago in the year 1973. Six of us got together today for lunch to celebrate a friend’s birthday. All six are now 61 years old and we have been meeting to celebrate each birthday during the month of that birthday. The birthday boy would be excused from paying for lunch and his share is covered by the rest.

We are friends who kicked a small ball in the basketball court when we were still boys. These are my true friends growing up. We joke freely. What I like about my friends is that there is no pretense in our relationships.

I am feeling thankful for years of friendship.

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