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December 2009 Pass Rate
Level I Pass Rate: 34%

Multiple Choice

Q#TopicMax Pts<=50%51%-70%>70%
-Alternative Investments8 - - *
-Corporate Finance20 - - *
-Derivatives12 - - *
-Economics24 - - *
-Equity Investments24 - - *
-Ethical & Professional Standards36 - - *
-Financial Reporting & Analysis48 - - *
-Fixed Income Investments28 - - *
-Portfolio Management12 - - *
-Quantitative Methods28 - - *

Stats about my preparation of CFA Level 1

Estimated Time Spent - 500 hours
Estimated Questions Attempted - 6000
Estimated Pages Read - 2500
Estimated Amount Spent - SGD$2000
Estimated Opportunity Cost - e^x (where x is time)


Starhub tsk tsk

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Last month Starhub made an announcement that they will be upgrading their cable to improve overseas speed, more notably mentioning that Youtube's speed will be improved at least 30-40% if I remembered correctly. In addition, they also mentioned that the speed will be "felt" in Jan 2010. Unfortunately, almost the whole of Jan has passed and I have not experience any improvement yet.

My MOL Express Plus contract will be up in March and if by then things doesn't improve, I will most probably cross the river to join the red army (Not the Thaksin camp!!).


Bill Malone - Sam the Bellhop

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Even animals appreciate car

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More "elite" than Commandos

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Heard of this Master Degree?

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Click to enlarge.


Elite or Mad Koreans?

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I came to know about the South Korean's academic scene when I was given an article to read during a SMU undergraduate admission interview.

I managed to find the article at New York Times dated 27th Apr 08.

Some main juices from the article below, but I suggest reading the full one here.
It is 10:30 p.m. and students at the elite Daewon prep school here are cramming in a study hall that ends a 15-hour school day. A window is propped open so the evening chill can keep them awake. One teenager studies standing upright at his desk to keep from dozing.

Kim Hyun-kyung, who has accumulated nearly perfect scores on her SATs, is multitasking to prepare for physics, chemistry and history exams.

I can’t let myself waste even a second,” said Ms. Kim, who dreams of attending Harvard, Yale or another brand-name American college. And she has a good shot. This spring, as in previous years, all but a few of the 133 graduates from Daewon Foreign Language High School who applied to selective American universities won admission.

“Going to U.S. universities has become like a huge fad in Korean society, and the Ivy League names — Harvard, Yale, Princeton — have really struck a nerve,” said Victoria Kim, who attended Daewon and graduated from Harvard last June.

And, oh yes. Both schools suppress teenage romance as a waste of time.

“What are you doing holding hands?” a Daewon administrator scolded an adolescent couple recently, according to his aides. “You should be studying!”

“Even my worst students are great,” said Joseph Foster, a Williams College graduate who teaches writing at Daewon. “They’re professionals; if I teach them, they’ll learn it. I get e-mails at 2 a.m. I’ll respond and go to bed. When I get up, I’ll find a follow-up question mailed at 5 a.m.”

“Preparing to get to the best American universities has become something of a national obsession in Korea,” said Alexander Vershbow, the American ambassador to South Korea.

Ms. Kim developed fierce study habits early, watching her mother scold her older sister for receiving any score less than 100 on tests. Even a 98 or a 99 brought a tongue-lashing.

Their average combined SAT score was 2203 out of 2400. By comparison, the average combined score at Phillips Exeter, the New Hampshire boarding school, is 2085. Sixty-seven Daewon graduates had perfect 800 math scores.

Kim Hyun-kyung, 17, scored perfect 800s on the SAT verbal and math tests, and 790 in writing. She is scheduled to take nine Advanced Placement tests next month, in calculus, physics, chemistry, European history and five other subjects. One challenge: she has taken none of these courses. Instead, she is teaching herself in between classes at Daewon, buying and devouring textbooks.

A banner once hung on a Minjok building. “This school is a paradise for those who want to study and a hell for those who do not,” it read. But it was taken down after faculty members deemed it too harsh, said Son Eun-ju, director of counseling.


Just for Laugh (Singapore edition)

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IQ Test

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I came to know about this guy called Chris Langan who was profiled by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers. He was alleged to be the world's smartest person with an IQ level in the 190s range; Albert Einstein was 150 where the average joe is 100. Its a very interesting book and I strongly recommend anyone and everyone to read it.

I googled for more information about this guy. He appeared in a US game show "I VS 100" where he competed against 100 people for a million dollars. In the book, it was mentioned that after reaching $250,000, he did a mental calculation and walked away with the cash saying that the risk involved outweighed the potential benefits. Also, for every answers answered previously, he did not hesitate twice and never utter words such as "hmmm...", "erm..", "i think..". Below is part 1 of 3 of the interview video I found on youtube.

I also googled for IQ test and chanced upon this site. On that site, a list of people with the highest IQ level are given along with a IQ test. If you have got 40min to spare and are interested to know your IQ level, take this test. I got 118. You would probably take less than 40min to complete the test unless you have got the determination of South Korean kids. Why so? Stay tuned for next post about South Korean's academic culture.


Excellent Questions: Youth In Revolt

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Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

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Its been some time since I last read a good book and apparently, not many of the good books I have read are related to finance or investment though I preach that I have strong interest in them. hmmm.....

The previous good book I read is "Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School" by Philip Delves Broughton. It talks about a 2 years personal experience of an overage student in the MBA programme of HBS, rather negatively that is. And it even invited critics that talked about his motive for entering the programme (some jokers even accused him of entering HBS just to write this book! Imagine the time and effort needed.)

Now, my current read "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell is even more amazing! Just watch the interview below to find out more.

As a tease, the book answered question such as "Why are most Canadians in the top 2 teams in Candian youth league born between Jan and Mar?", "How much talent and IQ helps in Bill Joy and Bill Gates' path to richness?", "Why did Chris Langan, someone with IQ level of ~190 carry labour-intensive job such as bouncer, construction worker, cowboy etc?" etc etc.


Singapore updates

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SINGAPORE is one of the first four places in the world where Google's first 'own-brand' mobile phone will be available. Called the Nexus One, the phone was unveiled at a private press-only event at Google's headquarters in the United States on Tuesday


Toyota offering up to $6000 discount for its Altis and Vios models.


Also, the Lee family once again dominated headline with another of their prodigy. Crowned as top debater worldwide, 24-year-old Li Shengwu is a son of Lee Hsien Yang.



The world's tallest skyscraper unveiled - The Burj Dubai

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Skybridge at Pinnacle@Duxton opens for non-residents

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SINGAPORE: The Skybridge at the Pinnacle@Duxton offers a commanding view of the city.

Residents are definitely enjoying what they paid for, but from Friday onwards, non-residents can enjoy the view too for a price.

Non-residents can access the Skybridge, which straddles the 50th floor of the buildings, by paying S$5 per person.

As of 5pm on Friday, 26 people had taken up the offer, soaking in the panoramic view of the area.



Christmas Outing: Kranji Farm Resort

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As mentioned in my previous post, I booked a surprise package at Kranji Farm Resort to celebrate Christmas with little Bella.

Slight drizzle while on our way there

Took the free shuttle bus from Yew Tee MRT

Luckily, it never pour

Left: Our personal villa
Right: Each with own personal parking lot!

Interior is not big but not too cramp either

Left: The under-utilize "balcony"
Right: Open air bath anyone?

Bella's Christmas gift

Our first prawn fishing experience; 2 prawns an hour lol

Left: The seafood restaurant
Right: The long waited seafood dinner

This seafood dinner is included in the package. Nice food!

My supper

Grumpy bella with no supper

Left: How can bella resist food, especially when I have mine?
Right: The super nice cereal calamari from the seafood restaurant

After our nasi lemak breakfast, we took a walk around the farm.

Of course, just when everything was looking to end (imagine Bella's sad face), I whipped out another surprise when we reached Bishan. I took her to watch "Bodyguards & Assassins" that I made the reservation of the tickets few days ago. Not a bad show but if you are watching because of Donnie Yen, you would be disappointed.

After the nice history movie, Bella thought everything ended. And yes it did. :)