Monday, October 26, 2020

Thank you Springfield Secondary School !


Thanks for the really forward-looking staff of Springfield Secondary school, I was able to conduct a successful talk to secondary 4 students via Zoom this morning. I don't believe that pro bono work is truly pro bono, I think I probably learnt quite a bit from my engagement today.

Do note that this event is attended by students who self-selected to attend. Unlike the RI sample space who are semi-obligated to show up, the students today all volunteered their own time to do this.

a) Pocket Money surveys do not show the massive difference in both samples.

The most curious question is whether neighbourhood schools have a significant financial disadvantage compared to an elite school. I did not find a significant difference in my pocket money surveys, but you should note that my sample is small and you cannot really compare apples and oranges.

So unless ACS has someone enlightened or insane enough to invite me, this will be a curious side project at best.

b) Participation was active and super-aggressive

Teachers who worked with me commented that they have never seen such aggressive participation for such talks in recent memory. Some Q&A could not even wait for the delivery to end. This is why I love doing this. 

The talk I designed is totally different from the clinical delivery I gave to RI. I gave the students a choice to choose their destiny and to do better even than there more academically well-endowed peers. Thanks to friends on social media and this blog, I think it succeeded in its basic mission.

c) The best question asked was whether I see myself as a happy person.

Make no mistake, the Springfield secondary who showed up for my talk were whip-smart! 

I entertained really thoughtful questions on the Supplementary Retirement Scheme (WTF right ?), the feasibility of leverage, and FOREX strategies. ( I suspect parents are prompting them! ) 

My favourite question, which took me off guard, was whether I considered myself a happy person.

I wanted to give as thoughtful an answer as possible, so I said NO.

In the pursuit of anything worthwhile, there will be pain and suffering. What is the point of getting grilled by a few super-kwailan Millenials half your age during International Moots if it did not teach you to stay calm and composed under fire? I told the students point-blank that I used to be able to process 20+ exams in a quarter because I had to update my Microsoft Certifications when studying for my Masters, CFA and FRM exams. 

Your state of mind while juggling so many balls in the air, cannot be happy at that time. I think I developed hyperactive thyroid after that.

But something happens as you are clocking your personal accomplishments. Instead of happiness, you get a sense of deep satisfaction. You see your finances taking off, your families growing, and if you are a wee-bit sadistic like me, folks from more elite backgrounds falling off the wayside as you methodically advance up the ladder.

So don't aim for happiness. 

Aim for satisfaction. 

In a future CNY gathering, some of them will be compared with that cousin who becomes a lawyer or a doctor. Whip up your bank account, and show them how much you saved because you started work after getting a diploma at age 21. Mathematically, you can maintain a wealth advantage with the right compounding rate for almost all of your years being single. Most lawyers gormlessly spend it all on alcohol anyway!

In my next pro-bono project, I will be speaking to Republic Polytechnic, I will be refining this speech I just gave to customise it to an older audience. 

Keep a lookout on developments on my blog. 

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