Thursday, February 07, 2019

Financial Blogosphere as Wu Lin

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Happy Year of the Pig everyone !

I am now blogging from Kulai and I wanted to write an article that is whimsical and yet consistent with the spirit of Chinese New Year. 

For many years, I was unable to appreciate Jin Yong novels because they are written in Mandarin. Finally, thanks to a recent English translation, I was able to read about the Legend of the Condor Heroes, a martial art epic that makes Westerns like Lord of the Rings look boring by comparison.

And what an experience it is !

Today I will try to recast our financial blogosphere as the Pugilist World or Wu Lin of China. I am going to warn readers that this article will be hard to digest because not only would you need to be an investor, you will need to appreciate Jin Yong novels to really appreciate the subtle nuance of what I am trying to share today.

You see, like any Wu Lin, the financial blogosphere has its Five Greats -Martial artists who are admired throughout the Wu Lin. Let's us go through each great one by one and see how they map to the Singapore Financial Blogosphere :

a) AK71 is Double Sun Wang Chongyang, the Central Divinity

The most powerful of the Five Greats is none other than AK71. He is the blogger almost everyone reads and his investing skill is truly without peer. If you observe AK71 over the years, you might surmise that he made a lot of money in real estate before moving into stocks investing. It is very challenging to be good at both property investing and stock investing at the same, which is why AK71 is the First Among Equals in the Financial Blogosphere Wu Lin.

b) Investment Moats is Northern Beggar Count Seven Hong, Divine Vagrant Nine Fingers.

Is it merely coincidence that Ng Lip Hong is also a Hong ?

Investment Moats is also one of the most popular blogs in the blogosphere and the FIRE movement, being grounded in frugality and the austere lifestyle is very similar in philosophy of the Beggar Sect. Another reason why I think FIRE is related to the Beggar Sect is because we are the good guys.

Count Seven Hong is not just well known for his mastery of the 18 Subduing Dragon Palms, he is known for his sense of righteousness.

c) The evil part of the Commissioned Financial Industry is The Western Venom Viper Ouyang. 

You see a snake and a commission sales agent. You have two bullets in your gun ? Who would you shoot ? If you ask me, I will shoot the commissioned sales agent twice and I will spare the snake.

I would think that one part of the financial commissions industry to be like the venom that is slowly killing innocents in Singapore, just like the openly wicked and cruel Viper Ouyang.

Viper Ouyang has a staff which hides two serpents which can summoned to attack his foes. This is like having ILPs and Universal Life plans to churn the commissions at the expense of the  hapless consumer.

d) I am the The Eastern Heretic Apothecary Huang

I can't make a hilarious caricature without putting myself into the article. Even though The Eastern Heretic is quite an asshole himself and possibly one of the worst father-in-laws you can have, I find a deep affinity with his contempt for tradition and Confucianism.

Only a heretic will blog about a Polytechnic education and attack the orthodoxy of buying REITs with "good sponsors". I also have a deep dislike of "martial schools" that spout the pithy remarks of Warren Buffett.

e) A Nine Yin Manual for Finance does not exist.

The final question is whether a Nine Yin Manual exist. If so, anyone who reads the manual will become so rich, he would be able to become a billionaire instantly. The closest thing to a Nine Yin Manual would be a book on financial arbitrage.

Financial markets will address any imbalance in the markets quickly and any attempt to arbitrage an anomaly is short-lived.

There are certainly other comparisons. I reasoned that Brian Halim is very similar to Zhou Botong because Zhou mastered the art of splitting his mind into two and using a special martial art with one hand while countering with the other. Brian is the only guy so far who experimented successfully with a Short Portfolio. Brian is, of course, a nice guy and not half as eccentric as that literary character.

Unfortunately, I have only read the first two english-translated books by Jin Yong and cannot find an equivalent of the King of the South yet. This is something to look forward next year.

For this new year, I invite you guys to make comparisons with your favourite characters in Chinese Literature.


  1. Hi Chris,

    King of the South is one who don't care about the matters of the mankind. This is the reason why he became a monk. He must be someone who is non-chalent and zen-minded. He takes things lightly and does not take the things to heart.

    My two cents worth of views.


  2. Looks like 15WW may be King of the South.

  3. I take my previous statement back. King of the South is a tragic character !

  4. Hi Chris,

    I think that he might be happy with his way of choice, though this is one of the way to redeem his so-called sins. One will need to think back and ponder on the phrase "Who doesn't err" and
    "To err is human". I believe that one will have to take life easy in order to live life to the full fulfillment.


  5. 恭喜发财啊。 Interesting to find someone in kulai. Is your kampung from kulai? I was born there and have been staying in SG for 11 years. Not many financial blogs are worth reading but you named a few great ones. Action leads to motion. No matter how much one read one must start his action ;)

  6. Interestingly, that you personify yourself as Eastern Heretic Apothecary Huang. Your children/in law (GuoJing, HuangRong) and your students/disciples will carry on your sense of righteousness in the finance WuLi and set the next standard for generating passive income.