It's only this afternoon that I stumbled upon another conversation taking place in the Channel News Asia forum. The remarks about me and about my wife are pretty cruel but I really can't help having a big smile on my face after reading the exchanges. Discussion about my investment method and savings regime has reached 21 pages all thanks to one guy who just could not stop making personal attacks against me.
I'm starting to suspect that this guy is a my friend or a bookstore owner who is covertly helping me drive sales. It's actually hilarious how a person can get so pissed off with my article so much.
See for yourself:
Well I'm done defending myself so today I'll try to guess why people are so heated over my appearance on the papers. Let's just assume that this guy is not some IT engineer I released out of contract years ago ( hey, when you lead a team of 100+ engineers, you do these things every now and then... ).
What makes my ideas 'dangerous' and so offensive to some people:
a) Singapore is actually a welfare state.
If someone who is not a career high-flyer can generate dividends to cover living expenses. Welfare is not only possible, it can be paid even while you have a job. Singapore's low tax rates and single tier dividends taxation allows investor a chance to buy freedom from the need to remain employed. This means that if one can sustain himself indefinitely, he may be able to demand better treatment from his employers or even buy time to take a political stand. $2,000 a month is a small figure but consider how difficult it would be to get the government to give you $2,000 in this country. Someone has shown that this is possible in this little red dot.
b) People who are in the upper 20% bracket can spend at the lower 20% bracket.
I won't reveal my income but I'm comfortably in the upper quintile of earnings in Singapore. My expenses are well in the bottom 20% quintile of expenses. The idea that a Singaporean can reject material consumption yet excel in accumulation is not something people are comfortable with. For one thing, folks like me hardly contribute to the Consumption variable in national GDP.
Some may find it unnatural and perverse to do it. It's almost like an "alternative lifestyle" the fundamentalists are complaining about. I reject material consumption for security. I reject goods for experiences. And I really like what I do.
c) Fundamentally most Singaporeans can do this if they are willing to focus on it.
Our society want to perpetuate the Singapore Dream that only scholars get rich, buy big cars and achieve self-actualization because they have above average intelligence or have Ivy league qualifications. Otherwise, you have to be a rich business man, take risks in the markets or be an excellent salesperson who hit the MDRT every year.
I am none of the above.
I'm just an IT guy who has a mildly decent salary, who invests about as well as anyone else and actually, can save money only slightly better than my peers as many working class Singaporeans can live on much less than I have. I might be special because I can do all three slightly better than others all at the same time.
This means that most people know deep down inside that all this is possible which I think explains why people overwhelming think that my news coverage was undeserved and nothing special to harp about.
Anyway, to that very fierce critic. I am going to offer a fig leaf of peace. Write to me with your name and address, not only will I promise not to sue you ( I don't work that way ), I will in fact send you a set of all three of my books for the excellent marketing I've been getting so far.