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Deconstructing the Singapore Dream

Posted by intellisg on August 21, 2007

This essay talks about the Singapore Dream. It will be integrated into Christopher’s current project Sowing the Seeds of Prosperity, a beginner’s guide to personal finance

There is a lot of talk about what the Singapore Dream is. Books have been written about it but there are seldom any specifics on what it really is. Could the Singaporean Dream be one where a person becomes a millionaire? Is it the accumulation of all the 5 Cs? Or is it is a complicated journey involving Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and reaching self-actualization?

“Living the Singapore Dream”, a book written by Tan Yong Soon, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, attempts to highlight the lives of 23 Singaporeans who are living the dream. The stories were originally meant to inspire fellow Singaporeans to stretch themselves to achieve personal success and happiness in their lives.

The original intention of the author was a very good one. His chapter headlines were all universally good advice. We are encouraged to “Triumph over life’s imperfections” and “Pursue your goals with passion and persistence”.

But sadly, this piece of work failed to inspire me. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted in Chris Ng | 14 Comments »

A Speculation on the Sex Lives of Speculators

Posted by intellisg on July 21, 2007

This titillating article explains the concept of dominance and hierarchy in Singapore society. It should not be misinterpreted as an article which advises readers to speculate in stocks to improve their sex lives.

A colleague of mine, a 33-year-old storage engineer which I will call G, was a happy man last week. After purchasing 100,000 shares of a construction company using contra, he watched the stock rise 2 cents and then promptly unloaded his position to make about $2000 in less than 3 hours.

These are indeed happy days supported by a strong bull market.

G wanted to know if this market will rise further and promises that if he makes $6,000 the following day, he will give other engineers in the account a karaoke treat after National day (And it’s more like the kind of karaoke found in Kabuki rather the mellow kind of karaoke found in K-Box).

All my years studying finance has told me that technical indicators are not fully reliable in a market which is steadily increasing in terms of market efficiency. In fact, as my interest in evolutionary psychology is now beginning to eclipse my interest in finance, I believe that it’s actually easier to predict G’s sex life than what would happen to the markets tomorrow. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chris Ng, Economics, Science | 4 Comments »

20 Minutes to a More Philosophical You

Posted by intellisg on July 16, 2007

This article represents a completely amateurish effort to engage in philosophy and is an appeal to the intelligent public for suggestions and feedback.

From the horror stories told by my colleagues, speed dating sessions can be a mind numbing experience. Once my friend asked this lady from SDS what her interests are. She replied that she likes to “eat and sleep” (I can also confirm that she was not trying to funny). On a different occasion, my friend asked another lady what are her aspirations to which she gave the deeply profound reply,”I don’t know.”

Some studies actually show that under the influence of alcohol, men gave higher ratings to the women they met at a singles bar. Since most dating events do not actually involve alcohol, it is already quite hard for singles to get into groups to appreciate each other’s physical appearances.

Hope should not come in the latest advances of cosmetics surgery. Why not try to become a better conversationalist and a more interesting person for a change? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chris Ng, Philosophy | 3 Comments »

Rising costs in Singapore? Capitalism to the rescue!

Posted by intellisg on July 12, 2007

This independent article presents a solution that a capitalist would choose against rising costs.

“Not again !” said Geraldo Gan, 34, “The last time we have transport fee hikes, now I have to pay more to watch the sports channel on Starhub and it doesn’t change the fact that some special matches are still pay-per-view !“ The voices calling for a boycott of Starhub grew louder as more people reacted negatively towards the news. The company defended itself by citing evidence that prices have not risen once since 1995 and this adjustment, in view of past record, is a reasonable one compared to many other cable operators around the world.

11th July 2007 marks the day Starhub will increase subscription fees for its cable services. The basic group package monthly costs for cable subscription will increase by $4 every month. The sports channel subscription package will have its cost increase by a fairly substantial amount of $10. Like all previous price hikes, news alike this are often greeted with a lot of unhappiness and accusations of Starhub being a monopolizing entity hell-bent on squeezing every little penny from the consumer is flaying all over the Internet forum.

The truth of the matter is that all Singaporeans have to live with price hikes from time to time. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chris Ng, Economics | 21 Comments »

According to college women : Seventy Percent of men are not marriage material ?

Posted by intellisg on July 1, 2007

This article by Christopher Ng celebrates his last day as a bachelor. He ties the knot with his long suffering girlfriend on July 1st 2007.

This is a very naughty article. The author did not get a bachelor party.

This lady friend I know is a Ph.d Candidate in the NUS electrical engineering department. I love to tease her (in a way an older brother would.) about dating all the men in her life. Normally I would choose the shortest and ugliest guy in the public speaking group I’m in and then ask her,” So what do you think of this one? ” What would then follow would be a round of protests.” Too short!”, she would say, or “ Listen to way he talk I know he cannot make it! ”

Initially, during the bad old days when I had to hunt for a mate as a lowly paid IT engineer, I would think that Singaporean women are at fault because of high expectations. After all, after quite a few bad experiences and heartbreak, I quit the Singaporean graduate woman market completely and at the time of writing I should already be married to Malaysian girl.

But recently after reading a book on Evolutionary Psychology, I realized that I was wrong. Some things are simply not subject to negotiation. It’s not about Singaporean women, it’s about our ancestral roots and how as a species we adapt to hostile natural environment of the prehistoric age.

The field of evolutionary psychology is a multifaceted one which touches on almost all aspects of human existence. Many behaviors come about not because of social conditioning but due to our minds adapting to the harsh living environments in the past. As such, we’re prehistoric Neanderthals when we subconsciously make decisions about how to live in spite of the amount of progress we have made as human beings. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chris Ng | 25 Comments »

Yes! You can have welfare in Singapore!

Posted by intellisg on June 23, 2007

Mohd Arif, 32, works as a technician and takes home $2200. He hardly saves and needs to support his three children at home. His wife, a production operator helps out but brings home only $900 a month. Below the median family income of about $5400, life is harsh. Things could easily get more depressing if you find out that after July 2007, your consumption will be taxed 2% higher.

The year 2007 will be remembered by the blogosphere as the one in which Singapore ministers declared a 32.5% salary increase for themselves from about $1.2 million to about $1.6 million. It is also a year where the good and services tax will be raised from 5% to 7%.  Clearly, declaring a tax increase and granting senior government servants a large pay increase in the same year has ruffled the feathers of many citizens, the most vocal being the bloggers in the Internet. The political capital expended in these initiatives is clearly a heavy one and only time will tell if this decision will impact the people’s support for the government in the years to come. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chris Ng | 23 Comments »

Singaporean Pragmatism

Posted by intellisg on May 30, 2007

The following is an extract from the book, “Harvesting the Seeds of Prosperity,” written by Christopher Ng Wai Chung. His own blog can be found in He can be reached at In chapter 1 entitled “Are you a scholar or a statistic”, he examines the concept of Kiasuism.


Singaporean Pragmatism

As an engineering undergraduate studying in the National University of Singapore, Chee Ming, aged 23, does not really care for anything else other than his examination results. After all, engineering students have punishing workloads, often requiring 25 – 30 hours of lectures and tutorials a week. Chee Ming’s philosophy as a student is simple – tune out all the extra-curricular activities and simply focus on his studies. For examination subjects, Chee Ming chooses only those subjects which he believes he would score in, considering complicated factors like the leniency of his lecturers and the feedback on course difficulty from his seniors. Chee Ming deduces that by scoring a solid Honours degree, he could land a good stable job. The technicalities of the work in the industry can come later.

In this country, there is a Chee Ming in everyone. From the uncle who carefully orchestrates the family on a proper strategy to attack a buffet table ( “ Ah Kow ! You go get a plate of prawns. Ah Zhu, you go for the fruits. I grab the fried rice for everybody ! ” ) to the middle-aged woman who positions herself next to school children in anticipation of a vacant seat in an SBS bus, Singaporeans are pragmatists – they do what works, optimise all their choices and alternatives and focus on their goals with religious fervour. In Hokkien this is known as being “Kiasu”.

Before we start to think that we invented “Kiasuism”, we should note that Pragmatism is largely an American invention. Pragmatism, first coined by William James, is the philosophy which emphasises the importance of results, consequences, utility and practicality as opposed to the navel gazing and intellectualism espoused by other philosophies.

If it works, it has to be true. That is the Singaporean way. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chris Ng | 15 Comments »

Status Anxiety

Posted by inspir3d on October 22, 2006

Too lazy to develop a blog of his own, Christopher Ng Wai Chung, 31, an IT Project manager who dabbles in personal finance and wealth management, has decided to spoil parts of his next book “Harvesting the Seeds of Prosperity” in the most intelligent Singaporean blogs in cyberspace. The book details his manifesto in reaching a state of Financial Nirvana, the ability to live within one’s investment income while still keeping day job to grow his portfolio even bigger. His own blog can be found in He can be reached at

In chapter 3 entitled “You are not your wallet”, the concept of Status Anxiety is explained with a very local spin.

Status Anxiety

John Koh, 26 loves showing his latest car to his peers. He eats at the best restaurants, lives at 6th Avenue, and his current hang out is being at Corduroy & Finch along Bukit Timah road (If only for a snack). Coming from a rich family, John does not really need to save to get his car or an apartment of his own.

His two friends, Gary Poh and Nigel Yong while not as well-endowed as John, have developed a different way of coping with the presence of someone truly rich in their company.

Gary always felt that he had to catch up with John to maintain their friendship. So he made brave attempts to emulate John’s spending habits, purchasing branded shoes while studying in JC and upgrading to a car the moment he got his first job. Gary always funded this lifestyle with debt. It seems that no price is low to keep himself ahead. Read the rest of this entry »

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About Chris Ng and the Prosperity Series

Posted by intellisg on July 16, 2005

Christopher Ng Wai Chung graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering (1st Class Honours) and a Masters of Science in Applied Finance. After having his job outsourced at Procter & Gamble, he joined Hewlett Packard as an IT outsourcing specialist and has built many IT support teams in Kuala Lumpur and Bangalore.

He is a qualified project manager and holds many IT qualifications which include the MCSE, MCSD, CISSP, CISA and PMP qualifications. Qualifications held in the field of Finance include the FRM and CAIA certifications. He has passed all three exams which form part of the requirements to obtain the CFA charter and has passed the local CMFAS papers 5 and 8.

Growing your Tree of Prosperity is Christopher’s first work and combines social commentary on Singapore along with tips on improving one’s personal finances. It is a guide on making your first $100,000 using financial products readily available in the Internet and local stock markets.

Harvesting the Fruits of Prosperity proposes a new mode of financial independence which is easily accessible to most Singaporeans and is a maiden attempt to synthesize many religious and philosophical ideas into the field of personal finance.

Christopher is now planning for his third piece of word entitled Sowing the Seeds of Prosperity, a book on postmodern finance written especially for students and young urban Singaporean professionals. This piece of work focuses on the basics on career management, coping with debt and dealing with information asymmetries in the financial landscape of this country. Plans are not firmly fixed but ideas in evolutionary psychology and post-structuralist critique will be employed to research this next piece of work.

Christopher loves cats and has been playing Dungeons and Dragons for the past 20 years.

Chris’ blog can be found at He can be reached at

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