Saturday, April 25, 2015

Survived another round of exams...

Yipppeeeee ! I just finished my last paper yesterday...

The sad thing is that my summer term starts next Monday so I have about 4 days to take it easy and then the intensive reading assignments start all over again. I have signed up for two summer terms, which mean about 9 hours of seminars for 8 consecutive weeks.

There is some perverse logic to spending as much time having active lessons every week during the holiday season. The most important reason is that I save more money when am actively engaged in school, I just have to pay for bus rides and eat at the cheap hipster cafe that gives SMU students a discount.  School then throws legal problems at me to solve which I thoroughly enjoy so I will not find have to pay for any other distraction to keep my mind occupied.

Anyway, I have many things to talk about over the next few days so here's a quick update.

a) Markets seem too good to be true.

I have no idea why the STI index has punched through the 3500 mark. There seems to be no resolution to the Russia-Ukraine war. There is a fair chance of a Greek default and China is facing slower growth. Even more illogical to me is that my REITs are doing well when supply is inching up for industrial properties. Maybe it's the low oil prices behind the optimism.

I have not been buying any more counters and have been carefully socking my dividends away to pay for my final instalment of my school fees, with some luck, I would be able to sock away all my planned 2015 expenses in a separate account before end-June. This means that I can start accumulating wealth again in September. I just hope that the market will not be above 3600 by then.

Finance-wise, so far so good, I'm still in a better financial position today than my last day of paid employment. This is my insurance against workplace agism when I finally graduate from SMU.

b) Not reading very much. Reading The Economist just takes up all my reading time. 

I finally took the plunge to take up a long-term subscription on the Economist and it is replacing the usual non-fiction readings I normally have for the holiday season.

The Economist is now a fairly credible source of ideas for me these days. My legal training now allows me to absorb the material with a new pair of cognitive lenses. My finance training has always made reading the Schumpeter and Free Exchange section with ease and my engineering background makes the Science sections a breeze to digest.

My readings have, thus,  slowed down dramatically.

I am only reading one book right now, The Rich by John Kampfner, a history book which documents how rich folks accumulate their wealth across the centuries. After this, I'm going to read The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu, kinda like a Game of Thrones in fantasy China.

c) Not gaming much either

Summer term is not a good time to game as my schedule is packed. Instead, I'm just taking it slow and indulging in a bit of nostalgia. I am slowly getting into vintage games and managed to get myself a copy of Up Front, an Avalon Hill wargame of squad level combat.

I also managed to order a battered copy of Squad Leader from the same company.

These games are not playable because you can easily write a piece of software incorporating game rules these days.

On the RPG I am getting pretty hyped up on the Fantasy AGE system by Green Ronin games. I am also fairly excited by the work to reinvent the Pathfinder RPG through the Pathfinder Unchained book. While I do not play these systems, they will influence I am doing to create some house rules for D&D5E campaigns.

d) My community service work

I have been working with my girls on their maths for close to two months. I think this deserves it's own blog article at a later time.

Anyway, this is what's been happening to me.

There'll be more articles over the weekend.

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