Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I Was Fat part 2

Previously.. I went for a fortune telling session with my friend and was told my size was double. Not only I did not take what the fortune teller said with a pinch of salt, I aggravated it further by joking about it. I was confidently fat.

Then in 2014, I had a friend that invited me to a small little workshop on weight management. I was told everything I needed to know about nutrition and weight management. I was told it all begins with a healthy digestive system. I was told my eating habits of 2 meals a day is one of the reasons I am putting on weight. I was told to do this and not do that. I was told I have to eat more (great!) but reduction of some of my favourite stuff (bummer!). After the 3 hours workshop, I left. In my head I told myself, it's too much sacrifice and I ain't going to do anything about it. I am confidently fat..

I love my food! How is it possible to change that!? I love my rice I cannot eat my veg and meat without my rice! I also need to cut down on my rice??!! Told myself it's impossible and went home.

The next day, there was a notification I was being added in a WhatsApp chat. My friend and a few of the participants from the workshop last night have started a group chat so that they can log their food they are taking and the trainer is able to help suggest food to eat and what not to eat. I was like 'ok, I'll just stay in for the ride. I mean it's kinda rude to leave the chat, right?'

Lunch time, there was a few notification from the group and when I opened the message, there were pictures of everybody's lunch.. fish soup, Yong tau hu, mix veg rice without the rice... Wa! This people discipline sia.. let's go for chicken rice!

While in the lift, I reopened the chat and looked at the pictures and I thought, you know what, if they can eat like that then why not try.. went and have fish soup instead.

Tea time, a reminder to take a snack.

Dinner time, notification came in and there we have again pictures of other people's dinner. Wa.. 'ok la.. try..'

Breakfast.. photos again.. 'ok la.. try..'

Brunch.. snack time..

And the cycle repeat itself. After a week I started to notice my pants were getting loose. After a month even looser. After nine months, I have lost almost 20kgs. Up to just recently, I have people still telling me they think I am still losing weight. Not drastically, but got lose.

I have made new shirts and pants since 2014. I have also been able to fit into some of my old pants that was left in cold storage after I had put on weight.

I had once spoken to a fitness instructor at Amoy food center. It was one of those times when it was really crowded and we had to share tables. This guy in his singlet and shorts asked if he could sit at my table since I was alone. Invited him to sit and got chatting with him. This was in the beginning of 2014 before I went for the workshop. I causally asked him if I needed help with fitness and all , could I call him (actually I just wanted to get a number so that I can follow up with him). He asked me, what is my objective, muscle or lose weight. Told him, lose weight first la, can lose weight then we talk muscle. Actually Tang if you want to lose weight, it's 80% diet, 20% exercise.

Sure or not? You mean it is possible to lose weight without the exercise?! He said it was possible. I did not believe him then. The number of people who are paying gym fees to manage weight is enormous! The slimming centers boss are driving Ferraris and Lamborghini and you are telling me that all you need is to eat right?!

In 2015, I am a believer. I will tell you I lost almost 20kgs by eating right. Though I cannot say I did not exercise cos my job needs me to be walking daily and often throughout the day. I ride a 200+ kg bike and there are articles online that suggest bike riding IS an exercise (so is love making).

Ever since 2015, I have been asked numerous times what I have done to lose the weight. My usual answer change lifestyle... Change the way I eat. The usual answer ... Change the way I eat!! Cannot la!!

This had made me realise that many people know the benefits of losing weight and eating healthy but not willing to make the sacrifice. In fact, there are many people want to achieve but they are not willing to take the pain to get there. They are also not clear what's the objective they want to achieve. They are unsure how they are motivated.

Different people are motivated differently. Some you scold them, they do. Some scold them, they leave. Some people love recognition. Some people love money. Some just want to do things in groups. Do you know how you are motivated?

This experience has also prompted me to dabble into starting a training service provider Mitig8 Singapore. I intend to run holistic training encompassing beauty, health and wealth. I am also currently searching for like minded people to bring this vision forward and if you may be interested please contact me.

Please check out the website, and checkout the programs in store and register your interest. More info will be posted when scheduling is done. Programs can be run in Singapore and Malaysia at this moment. Looking to penetrate Indonesia next. So if you have a damn good idea how to bring this forward, please contact me.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Last Medical

Being a trainer, I have been trained to keep my trainings fun. I have been trained to ensure participants are kept engaged all the time with different approach and methodologies. One of my favourite icebreakers during my trainings in the insurance industry is to ask participants to introduce themselves , where they are from (agency) and one memorable experience they have as a financial adviser representative.

As I did more and more trainings, I started to realise that in almost every session I conducted, these advisers are sharing about critical illness claims for clients who are young! Stroke, cancer, leukemia.. one adviser even shared a client's kid of 7 years old having leukemia! That got me scared and made me wonder when my last medical checkup was. It also made me realise the importance of having sufficient coverage.

One fine morning as I woke up, I sat up on my bed and felt a tingling session running down my left shoulder. My first thought ' OMG! Is that the early signs of stroke?!' I panicked recalling all the experiences of those advisers in my training. I made a medical check up appointment once I got into office. I chose one of the more comprehensive package that cost almost $400.

The day of my medical came. As I walked into the clinic, I eyed the sandwiches and the coffee machine, my stomach rumbling. I have been fasting the day before to facilitate the check up today. Height and weight taken. Eyesight checked. Stool, blood and urine samples submitted. I was told to grab some sandwiches and coffee for breakfast, suspiciously wondering if I had to pay for it. It seems all those have been included in my package. After I finished breakfast, I was told to wait for the doctor to see me. While waiting , I was told to fill up some questionnaire regarding my lifestyle. Filled in my name and the normal stuff but there was this particular question that I had to think a bit. How often do you exercise? 1. Never 2. One year one time, 3. Monthly, 4. Weekly or 5. Daily. Hhhmmm... I have to do IPPT for NS one year one time so the answer is 2.

My turn came, the doc sat me down and went through the questions with me again, then I was told to pull down my pants and lay on the bed. Alamak! Pull my pants down? The doc is female and relatively young some more. Looks like just graduated from med school. Sheepishly, pulled down my pants and was told to lay on my side with my ass facing her. She mentioned about having to check for growth and before I can register her fingers have inserted into my anus! Sob..

The check took less than a second but it felt like forever.. I never knew that was part of the checkup. The doc told me I can put my pants back on and sit down. As I sat back down I could not look the doc in the eye knowing what she has just done to me. She explained that they will now send all the samples to the lab and if all is normal, come back in 2 weeks time and collect the report and a review. But.. if there is something abnormal, they will call me immediately and I will have to drop everything and come straight away.. wa! Sounds serious.. Date set for review and I left the clinic no more a virgin.

The 2 weeks is a torment. I needed to know if the tingling meant anything. I needed to know if it really was a stroke and how many more years I have to live... It felt as though I am waiting for my 'O' level results. Every phone call without a name displayed sent me into hysteria.

The 2 weeks came without any call from the clinic, I felt good! I felt invincible, knowing all will be normal though still somewhat apprehensive. I walked into the clinic, pressed for my queue number to see the doc, eyeing the sandwiches and coffee again. Could have the coffee but not the sandwiches...

When my number was called, I walked in and sat down in front of the doc. She began.. 'Mr Tng, your cholesterol is...' 'ok 'ok tell me all about it' interrupting her, resigning to the fact that I have high cholesterol but not high enough for them to call me in immediately...

'… is normal.' she continued. 'Really!?' I asked, simultaneously snatching the report from her hand. The line that says 'Cholestrol' and the number next to it is black! Invincible! Yes!

'But...' still got but?

'You got minute traces of blood in your urine. Your blood sugar is slightly high and your liver reading also high. I suggest you do an ultrasound of your liver.' Now? Yes now.

Did the ultrasound and 30 minutes later I was back in front of the doc. She told me 'You have fatty liver, but it's very common with Singaporean nowadays. It say here in your questionnaire you exercise one year one time, I think you should start exercising more.'

Start exercising more? Huh.. sure or not. 'ok doc tell you what. What's the worst that will happen if I don't exercise?' 'Then you may get hep A , hep B symptoms lor.' 'Ok, thanks!' took my report and left.

Whatever the doc said did not sound serious.. slightly high, minute traces, hep A  hep B symptoms. Reached home and googled hep A and hep B, damn! You can die from it! Told myself it was time to buy the rider for my shield plan.

Submitted all the med report and application. Declined! But didn't the doc say everything is slight and minute and fatty liver is common, why decline!?

Lesson learnt then: buy your insurance early.

But took awhile only for the frustration to subside and I was back leading my normal life. Invincible! My friend's could not believe I have normal cholesterol and blood pressure the way I am eating. And I eventually found out the tingling sensations was because of me sleeping on my side to prevent snoring...

I Was Fat! Part 1

The year is 2006. Here I was, a sceptic, standing in front of a HDB flat in Redhill. Beyond the doors is a supposedly accurate fortune teller. A colleague of mine has mentioned about coming to visit and he had asked me to accompany him. During lunch time we have made our way down to Redhill and here we are. I have told myself that whatever the fortune teller told me, I will take it with a pinch of salt. If she says good things, great! If she say bad things, I will take it as rubbish!

I was a team leader in a bank and have done sales and did relatively well for the past 6 years and I will not have somebody dodgy telling me otherwise! We walked into the flat, it was sparse. There was like a waiting room with stools and a curtain separating the living room. There was nobody in line and very quickly we were served.

She sat us down in front of her and mentioned in Mandarin: 'You guys are not happy with work and is coming to ask about your future career.' my sceptic self though 'Abuden! We wearing office attire, any idiot could have decipher that..' She helped my friend read his fortune first and she turned to me after.

She said '你会越老越有钱' .. (loosely translated: you will be richer as you get older) duh! Of course leh..

She continued reading my fortune, which was generally good, though I cannot remember exactly what she has said but there was 2 things she mentioned that stood out. Firstly, she mentioned '你这个人天不怕,地不怕,只怕你爸爸.' (translated literally: you this person, heaven not scared, hell not scared, scared only your father.) Somewhat true...

Second, '你现在的size以后会double' (My size will double in future). We paid like $20 in a red packet and went back to work.

In the following years, my size did double and by 2014 I was weighing in at 106kg. Accurate or what! Actually I would rather think it was something called a self fulfilling prophecy.

Though I have told myself to take what the fortune teller said with a pinch of salt.. I didn't. I was eating like there was no tomorrow, I visited buffets almost weekly. My friends will tell me to control myself but I will always jokingly tell them, never mind la, the fortune teller say my size will double. I use to be athletic in school but when I started working I stopped exercising. I have not as much output but my input has remained the same. With work, meals also tend to become irregular and when opportunity arises to eat, I eat a lot.

Being in sales and a team leader aggravated the situation. I had to meet clients almost daily and when we meet we eat or we drink (usually coffee). On days we weren't meeting clients, I was eating or drinking with my colleagues. I left the bank and started doing training in 2006. And in training, I train people to believe in themselves. I train people to not care what other people think as long as they know they have done their best. And it does not help that I practise what I preach. Yes, I was fat.. so who cares, I still am able to carry out my duties to the best of my abilities. Yes I eat a lot, and I don't care if you are gonna judge me cause I'm fat! I was confidently fat! My self esteem has not been dented even when I am fat, I know I am still handsome . (I apologise if you have just completed a meal and reading this). It did not matter even when my medical report came out to show I have fatty liver, slightly high blood sugar and minute traces of blood in my urine in 2008. Read about why I went for medical check up here.

To be continued. Stay tuned for part 2.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

My Genting Horror Story

It's about 3am on a Thursday morning and I just requested for a change of room...

Earlier we had just checked into the hotel in Genting after coming up from Legoland. The kids had a whale of a time and we stayed at this spanking new Condotel in Bukit Indah. It is a 3 bedroom condo unit that is managed by KSL. I love the Bukit Indah area in Johore because of its amenities there and it's relative closeness to Legoland. We even managed to catch Finding Dory after Legoland Water Park!

We arrived Genting on a Wed afternoon and was absolutely impressed by their checking in system. It's all automated! Queues were minimised by the sheer number of check in machines there. Got our rooms in less than 5 mins.

Left our bags in the room and off we go to enjoy the cool air. As you know, Genting is going through a billion RM revamp of their out door theme park so there was nothing much to do but playing the arcade and like 5 kiddy rides... Yawn! With the kids we couldn't visit the casino too. We attempted to watch another movie but there were only 3 cinemas and the movie selection wasn't fantastic. By 11pm we were back in the room to prepare for bed, at least me and my daughter... My wife and her sis were planning to go for some drinks downstairs so I decided I will stay and be guardian to m y daughter.

My wife left the room about 1130 and my daughter was already in her PJs all ready for bed. She hugs her 'ah bu' (a doll which we have affectionately named) and fell asleep almost instantaneously. I took my shower and dressed only in my boxers layed down on the bed.

When you are alone at night in a Genting room, your thoughts automatically will recall all the horror stories you have heard or read others have experienced. I vividly recall my wife telling me about one of her relatives who also visited Genting was in the room in one of the hotels. The son being a kid was using the mom's phone and playing with its camera function. He snapped photos with the phone randomly. After the mom took back the phone wanting to delete all the rubbish photos the son took decides they had to go home thwat very night, forfeiting the room they have paid for. I brushed the thoughts aside affirming myself , I look too much like Zhong Kui (methodological character who can vanquish ghost and demons) for the supernatural to dare come disturb me. I have always been told I have 杀气 about me so the ghost don't dare come close.

I took out my tablet to catch up on the games I was playing. As I lay there I suddenly have this feeling that I wasn't alone in the bed. I looked over at my daughter, observed her breathing, she has not moved or seems disturbed. I changed position on the bed. For a few minutes it was OK... Then it started again... The same feeling something was in the bed with me. I stood up went to grab some instant 'cham' (new Boh product, with coffee and teh tarik inside!) went out to the dispenser to get some hot water. Went back to lie in bed but almost immediately the feeling came back... I looked at my body and there were marks appearing , this is when I panicked! I quickly looked at all the exposed surface of my daughter to see if there were any marks but there was none. Could it only be me?

My wife returned about 1.30am and I told her about what I felt and suggested we change the room tomorrow depending on the situation. I layed down in bed again feeling relieved that if there was another situation, I had backup. Only after my wife have finished her shower and lay in bed did I also do the same. Tossed and turned in bed and the feeling came back. I sat up on the bed feeling frustarted, stood up and looked at the bed..... then I saw it....... BED BUG!!!! My suspicions were correct! I was not alone in bed!

I ran over to my wife side of the bed told her, we need to change the room now! Called the reception with my fingers and toes crossed that they had another room. They had .. phew! Within 30 mins a segway appeared at my room with my new room key. Scooped up my daughter and 'ah bu' and off we went to the new room.

Did a thorough check of 'ah bu' and my daughter to ensure they ain't carrying anymore bed bugs with them. Showered myself another time just to get rid of the itchy feeling on my back elbows and legs. The new bed never felt better..

Spent one more night in Genting before heading back to Pagoh. Told my mother in law, we had to change room on the first night.. her first reaction ' Why? Ghost ah!?'

I told her honestly if it was a ghost I also not so scared.. you bring a bed bug home in your bag or clothes, your house will be a living hell!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Your Retirement, My Concern

Just completed our Annual General Meeting on Wednesday to start planning for this year. In the meeting, our management invited The New Charis Mission (TNCM) to give a brief introduction into what they do and how we can help.

In the briefing we were shown pictures of apalling conditions some of our old folks are staying in. TNCM collects donations and have volunteers to help refurbish these living quarters so that these beneficiaries will have a better quality of life in the last few years of their lives.

Their mission to help the elderly is to better improve the living environment of the elderly, while benefitting their health and emotional state-of-mind. They have refurbished 1 home per month in 2011 and have increased it to 2 homes per month in 2012. Since then they have refurbished 120 homes!

If you will like to volunteer or donate please go to the link above. Words cannot describe the conditions some of our elderly are staying in. Check out some of the pictures on the website.

Their briefing and introduction also made me think of the job that I do. As a financial planner, my job though insignificant to many, plays a very important role in the lives of individuals and families, be it now or in the future.

Though we may be called financial planners, financial advisers but I will rather be looked as Personal Risk Managers. I deal with risk everyday:

the risk of hospitalisation
the risk of loss of income due to premature death
the risk of loss of income due to critical illness
the risk of loss of income due to disability
the risk of loss of income due to accidents
the risk of loss of value of our monies due to inflation
the risk of not being able to retire
the risk of not being able to send our children to school they want
the risk of investing with the wrong approach
the risk of having to compromise our lifestyle due to any of the above happening
the risk of losing your job with no emergency funds
the risk of having insurance thinking its enough

So if you are to check off all the risk mentioned above, how many of us can comfortably check off everything knowing the risk have been taken care of? What strategies have you employed to mitigate these risk? Who have you spoken to about those risk?

2016 should be the year you must start thinking more about your risk management. 2016 should be the year you asked yourself what your retirement is going to look like. 2016 should be the year you put in place strategies to get you there.

Planning for your retirement is like sailing a boat. Before the captain sets sail to his destination, he first needs to know where his destination is, to set the fastest course to his destination. He plots on the map so that he can follow the bearings on his compass to his destination, but with the advent of the GPS, the compass is almost obsolete.. BUT that does not mean you will not need the compass as the satellites guiding the GPS may breakdown or be shut down and therefore the GPS should still be treated as a supplement and complement to the compass and not take over completely. On the way to his destination, the captain must still check his GPS or compass to ensure the boat is on the right path, as a 1 degree off its course early in the journey could mean missing the destination completely later.

The same in planning for your retirement, you must first know how much you need at retirement and plan accordingly how to achieve it starting from today. As you move through life towards your retirement, you have to ensure you are still on the right course and make adjustments to be on track to ensure reaching your retirement in future.

I am sure many have done some planning towards your retirement therefore let me be your GPS, let me be the complement and supplement to what you already have done. Lets work together to achieve your retirement goals.

I am also on a mission to do lunch time talks in offices. If you ate interested to have a talk conducted in your office. Please direct the person to this blog or drop me a mail tngjinyau@gmail.com

I know it could be daunting speaking to me one on one, so get your colleagues together! I will visit the office, bring lunch and we can discuss how we can all achieve our retirement!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Wa! Markets like that! Buay tahan.. I want to ……

Unless you have been living in a cave, not read the papers at all, not on social media or don't watch the news.. you will have noticed the economy is in a sea of red, currency is falling, interest rate seems to be increasing and commodities is falling.

So in a situation like this what have happened to you emotionally. If you have monies invested, how do you feel? From the sea of red we have seen, alot of people have panicked and sold off their positions in the markets. Are they really investing or speculatiing

As of last night, markets in the US have rallied and most markets in Asia today rallied once it opened. How do you feel now? Probably sad if you had decided to sell to 'cut loss', because you heard somebody tell you that the crisis is coming...

You probably feel happy if you did not sell, at least now there is a glimmer of hope that your losses can be recovered. You probably be happiest when you saw the past few days as discounted price to invest into the market.

So is the rally sustainable? Is this the calm before the storm? I do not know. But I do know that if you have really decided to invest then these small distractions in the market is just a 'glitch in the matrix'. What I do know is that almost every country in the world, (probably other than Greece, just kidding) wants their economy to be good and growing. Every countrt will try their best to be competitive in the world to boost their economy. They will take measures to ensure the economy will not take a straight line southwards and never come back up.

For example, China, the RMB had to be devalued to ensure their goods become cheaper to drive export. Singapore dollar have to go down too to ensure our currency is not too strong that our goods and services becomes too expensive relative to our neighbours or competitors. China has put in measures to ensure the stock market does not crash too much.

With all that said I do know that in a longer term, your returns on your investments WILL make money but following some simple rules:

- Always stay invested
- Do not let your sentiments get the better of you
- When the market is down, hold your investment or invest more
- Have a proper asset allocation strategy, diversify
- Do a balance sheet for yourself and family (eg. Net worth, cash flow)
- Speak to a reliable adviser

Its always tempting that when you hear someone has made heaps of money in the markets and you want a piece of the pie. When that happens the good times are already over.

Its also tempting when you hear 'inside information' and invest. Hoping to make heaps if money in a short time. That's specualtion and not investing. Speculation is almost gambling.

I has an experience at the turf club once. I am not a gambler and I do not know what horses to buy. We had an event at the turf club and while standing around one of the horse trainer came and told us to buy Flying Stallion (really cannot remember the name but horses names in these races tends to be cheesy) for the last race. Wow! 'Inside information' from the horse trainer! We bought the horse and waited and waited and waited.... finally its the last race!

The gates flew open the horses came out of the starting line. My heart was pounding, the crowd was going wild! I looked for the horse I have placed my bets on. Its in second place! Yes its a good chance now!

Then 3rd place.. it ain't over to the fat lady sings! Come on you can do it! 4th.... 5th... crap.. inside information my ass! I can't believe I have waited for the last race just to see my horse lose..

In summary, its about time in the market and not timing the market that will ensure that you will be profitable in investments. So relax, have faith in the markets and invest.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Sabah 2015 Earthquake. Singapore?

So when did we last hear of an earthquake happening in Sabah, Malaysia? Never! At least not in my life time. This morning a 6.0 magnitude earthquake hit Sabah neat Mt Kinabalu leaving some climbers still stranded on the mountain.

It also peaked my interest to actually find out why will Sabah be hit by an earthquake. Earthquake hapens when rocks underground breaks suddenly and the sudden release of energy creates earthquakes.

But as I googled it dawned on me that even though Singapore has been relatively earthquake free, it does not mean its not going to happen. If you look at the photo attached, we sit very close to the Eurasian plate and Australian plate that caused the 2004 Tsunami... and Sabah is still quite a distant from the Ring of Fire. So yes there are many types of earthquakes and my fears maybe unfounded, but hearing earthquakes happening around us is unsettling.

Hope everybody in Sabah is alright..