Duties and Responsibilities; Honest Lies

August 30th, 2012 Posted by General No Comment yet

Duties and Responsibilities – Honest Lies

Today is the first time in my life when I felt trapped. I felt as if all of the choices in life were just; that choice, one that you can’t possibly make; not at all real, there to fancy my intellectual mind – a willful carrot to reward me one fine day; but not now; not when I still have some youth in me; not when I have time and interest; not when life is at its most meaningful.

Duties and Responsibilities

I can’t say that I can actually choose anything. But I always thought I’m the master of my destiny and I lived it as if I really am.  I have duties and responsibilities that I thought I have to fulfill. I’m a son, a brother, a husband and a friend.  Sure, my choices are not the title I inherited but the actual relationships I have. I choose the kind of relationship I have as a son, a brother, a husband and a friend. I did that.

I kept my end.  Tell me that I didn’t do all of that with effort; that my idle ways must have brought about it; that it just is.  No, I say, it is with some effort and duties and responsibilities fulfilled. It must be, not, my action is in vain. Did I not endure the parties that go on long after I was tired; the boredom conversation that passes like a slow, dreary, drifting windless night in Singapore?

I believe that life is what we make of it. Am I mislead, like a child and some honest lies tailored for youth? I have outgrown my youth and believe. Is this too, another one, I dare not say, but true; another believe have departed. I didn’t cheer it as I did when knowing that I had known something back then that my younger siblings didn’t, because I’m older; what joy that was; simple joy in knowing, a passage or status achieved.  Something was different about knowing that life is not what I can make of it. I met it as if a dear friend have departed and I was left, among, a sea of youthful innocence, only now there is no joy in being older. No joy at all.

No Choices

I have no choices in life because I have to fulfill my duties and responsibilities.  It is easy for a soldier to know of one’s duties and responsibilities. I found it extremely hard for a selfish soul like me. I’ve done what I thought was best, at the time, what more could I do? I did what I was told; play, learn then work. I remembered. I tried to keep the play, learn and work in everything I do, honest.

I’ve tried. A lifetime of tried, empty and useless, but all is not without effort.  Am I foolish; not all is for nothing? Can you tell me with a clear scene what are my duties and responsibilities?  What must I fulfill before I’ve given my all and the will of my soul vanished one fine summer day while my decaying bones mark an untraceable tale of duties and responsibilities fulfilled?

I just want to go somewhere; to have a new start, a place where a new beginning is possible, not down the street, where the neighbors are different and the lights are better. Somewhere I can stretch and lay my tiresome head; full of worries, doubts and fears.  Is there a place like that, it doesn’t exists?  It must.  I will find it, you will see. Reality is different; I can’t, so I’m told.


I have duties and responsibilities. I have a car payment; insurance bill; debts from the past accumulated from stupidity and ignorance.  Must my mistakes be my eternal burden? Can’t I have a fresh start?  What if I give you all that I have, my tormentor and friend; you my duties and responsibilities; you, who are still unclear, even after all of my worries, loomed large and unsure. Am I but an animal trapped thinking I could do what I want, that I am my own destiny, like a child believing in honest lies?

Copyright 2012 by fartingcamel.com

Olympic Gender Inequality in London 2012: Women Still Stride Behind

August 9th, 2012 Posted by General No Comment yet

Olympic Gender Inequality

It is obvious that women still get discriminated against in many areas in the world, including many of the most developed nations. However, I’m actually shock to know that gender inequity still stares in your eyes glaringly under the Olympic spot light!

I’m not just taking about the female athletes wearing hijab on the track and field in the Olympics. Granted, taking into the consideration their starting point, their attendence itself is already a leap. I’m refering to Australia and Japan. Seriously? In Australia? Where the Prime Minister’s first name is Julia?

The current world champion, the Japanese female football team flew premium economy while their less successful male counter flew business. The Japanese Football Associate (JFA) has suggested that its women footballer may get an upgrade on their way home. “May” is not good enough, JFA! There is an online petition on change.org for JFA to change their discriminating treatment towards its female players. Support it here!

And do you know that there are 5 men’s Olympic canoe events but none for women?  A female canoeist, Samantha Rippington, the current British champion in canoeing, has launched a legal challenge last month to the Olympics organiser for a good reason for the exclusion. Would there be?

When I first read the Straits Time article on July 21st, “Fury Over Second-Class Trip”, I could not believe that this disparate treatment is right in the open. And that the chirvalous Australian male basket ballers let that happened to their female counterparts! (Ok, I should stop being sarcastic here). Not to forget that the Australian men basket ball team (ranked 9th) has not gotten an olympic medal before while their female counterpart has won 3 silver and 1 bronze and is currently ranked 2nd in the world.

The disparate treatment is also mirrored in Australian soccer and cricket team. And the poor excuse given by the Football Federation Australia that “The Socceroos tend to be scattered all over the world and need to be flown into various locations on short time turnrounds…” Yes, the last time I check, you do not fly faster when you are seated in Business class.

Cricket Australia’s excuse was that “the men’s team generated a high percentage of the revenue that is then plunged back into the game to develop women’s cricket.” Obviously, the “plunge-back” was not enough.

If there were so many “unjust” events happening in the open, guess what could be done in the dark? I do not call myself a feminist but hey, it is 2012! Women were first allowed to compete in Olympics in 1896, 116 years ago. It’s about time the stride towards gender equality be taken with more Olympic gusto! Olympic gender inequality persists.  Note that one of the key missions of the International Olympic Council is to “Encourage and support the promotion of women in sport at all levels and in all structures with a view to implementing the principle of equality of men and women.” I cheer to that!

Employer Water Test; Did your company pass?

July 8th, 2012 Posted by General No Comment yet

Employer Water Test

A few years ago, I received a few job offers and could not decide the one to accept. My friend, Jyunko asked me a question, which I called the “Water Test”. She asked me how each of the company offered me water , what kind of beverage they offered or even offer any at all.

So here it goes:

Company A asked me if I would like a drink? Yes please. Cold or hot? Hot. Green tea, hot chocolate or tea? Green Tea. With or without sugar? Without. Concentrated or more diluted? …… Between the interviews, someone came to offer me more green tea and asked me if I would like another drink!

Company B already had a glass of water ready in my seat in the interview room.

Company C did not offer me a drink until the end of the interview when I was given a bottle of chilled Dasani.

Company D did not even offer me any drink at all. And it was a 2-hour interview.

Jyunko’s theory is simple: How your potential employer offer you drinks during the interview is a big sign how they will treat you on the job. And that, of course, should be one key factor to be considered in deciding the job offer to accept. In this case, Company A should be the employer of choice and calls/emails from Company D should be gently rejected! One point to note is that how the company treat its employees will be mirrored in how they treat others (current and prospective colleagues, vendors, etc) on their job. Goodness begets goodness and vice versa!

I did not believe her simple test fully. Too bad for me! I learnt over the years that she is quite right!

Don’t believe me or Jyunko? Try the “reverse test”. Think about some companies you know of. Good companies that treat their employees right will not just treat their potential hires right, they will also treat their clients, customers and vendors right. Believe in the water test.

Think about it the next time you visit a company or more importantly, during an interview!

The picture was taken with iPhone in one of my interviews. Yes, it’s water I know, not green tea or hot chocolate

Starbucks is not Vegetarian!

April 3rd, 2012 Posted by General No Comment yet

I am never a big Starbucks fan. Since I’m transiting from being a lacto-vegetarian to vegan (read my article on vegetarianism here), I have been avoiding Starbucks for its lattes, hot chocolates and frappacinos. But one thing that I could never guess is that there is Beetle Extract in their Frappaccinos! How could you, Starbucks? No, it is not acceptable that you are using “we are moving away from artificial dyes” as an excuse for crushing the Beetles. Yes, we do not want artificial coloring, but we do not want any beetles either! I guess “no artificial coloring” is no longer a safe label for all health nuts, unless you are bug friendly.

What is alarming to me is that Starbucks acknowledges they cannot guarantee that their drinks are free from animal-derived products due to cross contamination. Yes, cross contamination with milk might be acceptable to many Vegans, but cross contamination with bettle juice? – NO THANKS!

Read more here. (Source: www.huffingtonpost.com)

“Starbucks enraged vegetarians this week after confirming that its strawberry flavored drinks contain a new ingredient of cochineal extract — a red dye made out of crushed cochineal beetles.A vegan Starbucks barista first leaked the news on thisdishisvegetarian.com by providing a list of new ingredients used in the Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino and strawberry-flavored smoothies.

Two years ago the company launched the”However-You-Want-it Frappuccino” and confirmed the drinks could be made vegan if made with soymilk.

Starbucks explained in a company statement that the new extract is part of a wider move to minimize the amount of artificial ingredients in its products. Though it can create a vegan ingredient drink, it can’t guarantee a completely pure drink thanks to cross-contamination of animal-derived products at stores. The company’s complete statement reads in full:

At Starbucks, we strive to carry products that meet a variety of dietary lifestyles and needs. We also have the goal to minimize artificial ingredients in our products. While the strawberry base isn’t a vegan product, it helps us move away from artificial dyes.

Many Starbucks ingredients can be combined to create a beverage free from animal-derived products; however, we are unable to guarantee this due to the potential cross-contamination with other animal-derived products in our retail locations.

Cochineal is nothing new. Deemed safe by the FDA, the extract is an additive found in a number of food and cosmetic products. The World Health Organization, however, found that cochineal extract can cause severe allergic reactions in some individuals, while asthma may be triggered in others. Co-founder and managing director of thisdishisvegetarian.com Daelyn Fortney took to Change.org to start a petition to stop use of the dye in the drinks. With 717 out of 1,000 signatures so far, the campaign is under way to get Starbucks to opt for other natural alternatives.



My Invisalign Journey Starts Again, for the Second Time!

February 26th, 2012 Posted by Beauty, Featured No Comment yet

My journey in invisalign stopped for a year and I’m embarking on it again. Yes, my SECOND attempt in invisalign, in three years!

Previously, I started invisalign on Sept 2008 and stopped around July 2010, 22 months later.

My last dentist was Dr. Ellis at Central Park Spa in New York City. The insurance company did not pay her when she submitted the claim forms late. She held my aligners hostage and I stopped my treatment with a few months away from the final aligner.

I wore my last aligners for months, read again, the same aligners for a few months before I lost them. (For those who have experience in invisalign knew that that is pretty disgusting.) How did I lose them, that’s another story, which I would like to share the blame with Dr. Ellis. To cut it short, Dr. Ellis did not give me a plastic holder and I eventually lost the aligners when I wrapped them up in tissue. As I have predicted in one of my previous posts. If you are interested on how I get started in invisalign, you could follow my first journey here.

I have three choices:

1. Forget about fixing my teeth. Let them be it and accept that they could be in better shape and I did not fix them.

2. Fix my teeth with traditional braces and save some money.

3. Restart my journey in invisalign.

I decided to choose between 2 or 3, leaning towards 3.

Having learnt my lessons from dealing with the previous dentist, I decided to be really careful in choosing a new invisalign dentist. That was back in New York, since then, I have moved to Singapore.

What have I learnt?

1. Work with an orthodontist (versus a dentist, note that Dr Ellis is a dentist.) if possible, unless you are talking to a very experienced dentist offering a deal-not-to-be-refused.

2. Pick an invisalign provider who have been given:

Platinum Elite Provider (at least 80 cases within 12 months) or

Platinum Provider (at least 40 cases within 12 months).

3. Interview a few providers and ask them about their specific experience in invisalign (versus their partners’ or their clinic’s experience).

So now, the self-professed-fussy-and-experienced-invisalign user is on her search for a new orthodontist/dentist in Singapore. Here we go, again…


Copyright 2012 by Farting Camel

Farting Camel’s Guide to Citigroup

April 29th, 2010 Posted by Stocks No Comment yet


Farting Camel’s Guide to Stock Picking – Citigroup, Inc (C)

Citigroup stock price has been very active lately not to mention how widely priced; trading as high as $5.06 to a low of $4.38 – just within the last month.

(Note: I assumed that readers do have access to Google finance or other finance media to look up company profiles and financial data.)


Citigroup, Inc. (C)


(1)   Return on Equity (RoE)

Citigroup is like two separate companies when I look at the performances of the company; one prior to the 2007 and another after 2007.  Prior to 2007 the company posted excellent and consistent returns averaging 16.7 percent.  However due to recent year’s performances the overall 10 years return was dragged to a low of just 9.7 percent.  The recent 5 years return is 4.9 percent; indicating a definite downtrend.  Worst of all, Citigroup loss money in both 2008 and 2009.

It doesn’t take a genius to see the trend – we just went through a major depression and the economy is still trying to recover.  In normal circumstance I wouldn’t even bother writing about a company going through a downtrend. However, the current circumstance is nothing close to normal.  Regardless, Citigroup is not making the grade in the returns area.

Grade: Fail

(2)   Intrinsic Value

Valuing Citigroup is more difficult than most companies; I have to side more on the art of valuation rather than on the science.  Why? Because if I strictly follow my model the valuation of the company is very low – indicating that perhaps the stock is trading at valuation, with a target buy price of around $3.9 per share.

However, I can’t simply plug in the numbers from the past years and ignore the potential return to a more normal circumstance in the banking sector – one in which Citigroup has a better then good chance of making a profit; the company did announced a $4.4 billion net income in Q1 2010 on April 19, 2010.  Perhaps things are turning around for Citigroup. As a result, I think in a normal market Citigroup is worth a lot more than $3.9 per share – my valuation for Citigroup is around $11 per share.

Grade: Pass

(3)   Relative to Market

If you were the few fortunate and brave souls you could have purchased the company in 2008 at around $36.7 billion or $6.69 per share – price was prior to the dilution of the stocks in 2009.  The company has since increased the number of shares outstanding from 5.5 billion in 2008 to 28.5 billion shares in 2009. Even though current price is trading lower than in 2008 the outstanding shares are much more; hence market value is higher.  (Market value of the company is price per share multiply by shares outstanding.)

Currently, the market value of Citigroup is at $132 billion or $4.64 per share – considering the net current asset of $475 billion I think there is room to maneuver if there is a second wave of economic setback.  Citigroup holds a $293 billion loan portfolio at the end of 2009; if they are right about their potential loss being under 6.5 percent or just under $20 billion, Citigroup could still safely cover current cost. The company has $25 billion ‘cash and due from banks’ at the end of 2009.

On the upside, from 2003 to 2007 the company market value has never been this low.  I think with the current restructuring; returning to its core banking business is going to help Citigroup in the long run.

Grade: Pass

(4)   Ethical Issues

Corporate governance in my mind is okay.

Executive pay is another story, Mr. Vikram Pundit, the current CEO earned $128 thousand in 2009; a far different scenario as compared to his pay in 2008 which toped at $38 million.  I still can’t understand the rationale behind executive compensation with regards to companies receiving TARP money.  Sure, Mr Pundit is only making $128 thousand but his subordinates like Mr. John Havens earned $11.2 million in the same year (2009) when the company overall loss $1.1 billion.

Grade:  Fail


Citigroup fail to meet the grade required.  The stock is not cheap when I take into account the valuation.  In addition, the company performances in recent years are troublesome.  Lastly, I hate to buy financial institutions because in the past management takes most of the profit away from shareholders.  Nevertheless, I did purchased this stock for my portfolio as I can’t see any reasons why Citigroup can’t compete in the global economic recovery now and in the next few years; after the recovery is a different story.  In addition its net current asset exceeds its current valuation; a sign that the stock is worth more.

Ancient Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation Review – Week Four

April 9th, 2010 Posted by Five Tibetan Rites No Comment yet

In our rediscovery series on health, we examine the benefits of Peter Kelder’s Five Tibetan Rites.  As we document our experience and progress, we hope you could observe and benefit from our experiment and review of the five Tibetan Rites. Or maybe learn from our mistakes and hopefully look forward to the results, if we do see them in us!

Day 22


Got an email from a friend – she saw that we were not following the instructions after reading our blog; we are now back to doing 9 repetitions for this week (four).  We should have started out doing 3 repetitions of the Rites and increased it by 2 repetitions every week.  So, 3 repetitions on the first week; 5 repetitions on the second week… by the end of 10 weeks we would have reached our target of 21 repetitions.  This is now the plan.

Day 23


Second day of the fourth week went smoothly.  I noticed I have to shave more often; my facial hair is growing much faster as compared to before I started doing the 5 Rites.

Day 24


5 Rites was done without much effort.  I over ate today and had difficulties breathing – don’t know if there is any connections with the Rites.

Day 25


We didn’t have time to do 5 Rites – been too busy lately.

Day 26


I continued with 9 repetitions of the 5 Rites.  I’m loving it.  Not too much effort.

Day 27

If you think about it – the 5 Rites only takes 15 minutes a day to perform and yet I can’t seem to fit it into my schedule.  I realized that if I don’t do the 5 Rites in the morning chances are I won’t remember to do it the rest of the day.

Day 28


I continued with 9 repetitions of the 5 Rites.  I’ve learned my lesson I have to do the 5 Rites early in the morning or risk not doing it at all.

End Day

After four weeks, having missed so many days we felt we had to re-think the whole exercise again.  It is amazing to think; how simple it is to do the 5 Rites everyday – without lapse?  The truth is it is much harder than we thought.  For the short time we definitely felt the benefit from having consistently done the exercise of the 5 Rites.  However, we can’t be sure.  We will have to regroup and try this experiment again, soon.

Farting Camel’s Guide to Stock Picking – EOG Resources

April 7th, 2010 Posted by Stocks No Comment yet

This morning I received a lot of email alerts for EOG from my broker.  Perhaps it is a good time for me to focus on this company today.

Note: I assume that reader does have access to Google finance or other finance media to look up company profiles and financial data.


EOG Resources, Inc. (EOG)


(1)   Return on Equity (RoE)

Sales have been disappointing for 2009; it reverted to 2006 level while the net income was even worst – about the same as 2003-04 level.  Much worst is the earnings per share (EPS) . It has been diluting shareholders ownership since 2002.

The results are much better if you were to exclude 2009 results. The performance for the past 10 years as well as the most recent 5 years have been superior – averaging around 20 percent.

Grade: Pass

(2)   Intrinsic Value

Book value has been increasing at the rate of 20.9 percent in the last 10 years.  The company earns 20 percent on equity.  Using my discounted cash flow model I placed the intrinsic value for EOG at 201.  That means I would buy the company stock whenever the price is below 120.7. The price as of April 6 is $97.

Grade: Pass

(3)   Relative to Market

EOG market capitalization at the end of 2009 is about equal to 2007 level.  While its revenue and net income are much lower; the company earned a lot less in 2009 compared to 2007  and close to the earnings in 2004.  Outstanding shares have been increasing since 2002 from 229 million shares to 252 million shares in 2009. Book value has been increasing steadily from 2000 at 1.3 billion to 9.9 billion in 2009.  Quick ratio seems to be improving since 2007 at a low of  0.88 to what is now 1.37.

In the last 10 years, the prices of EOG have been hovering in the range from 25.8 to as high as 145 per share; putting the market value of the company at a peak of 36.1 billion in 2008.  Since then the market cap has gone down, trading in a range from 11billion to 25.6 billion for 2009. It is amazing the range that EOG stocks trades for: in 2008 the range was 13.5 billion to 36.1 billion. Interestingly, EOG net current asset at the end of 2009 was 24.5 billion; if you were diligent you could have purchase the stock for less than half (11/24.5) of its net current assets (cash, short term investments, receivables, and inventory). What a deal!

Grade: Pass

(4)   Ethical Issues

I don’t like to see the Chairman and CEO, Mark G. Papa being the same person.  The board is annually elected so I can over look this point.  They seem to have a policy in place for related party transaction.  I also get very uneasy when it comes to executives pay.  EOG pays the Chairman and CEO 7.9, 13 and 23.4 million for 2006, 2007 and 2008, respectively.  That is a lot of money in relative to other executives’ pay.  The net income of the company drop 13 percent in 2007 but Papa’s pay increased 64 percent; go figured!  Who do you think the compensation committee works for… the shareholders? You wish.

Even though EOG has issues in this area, their overall corporate governance is good enough to pass.

Grade:  Pass


This analysis was done a few months ago; the recent buzz expedited this post.  I did purchase this stock for my portfolio a while back.

Farting Camel’s Guide to Stock Picking – Investment Technology Group

April 6th, 2010 Posted by Stocks No Comment yet

Here goes my analysis on Investment Technology Group (ITG).  Today I thought it was long over due that I need to put down the words meant in good faith many months back; my analysis of stocks from my perspective.  I will try to keep to these points:  1) Return on Equity, 2) Intrinsic Value, 3) Relative to Market and 4) Ethical Issues.

Note: I assume that reader does have access to Google finance or other finance media to look up company profiles and financial data.


Investment Technology Group (ITG)


1) Return of Equity (RoE)

For the past 10 years RoE has been around 16.4 percent. This is good but when I separated the 5 most recent years I realized RoE has been dropping to just 12.8 percent.  The decline continues with 2009 RoE at 4.9 percent.  The main causes for the decline were due in part to lower margins and asset turnover.

I gave ITG a pass in this area because I value the long term outlook – nevertheless I’m concern about the short term outlook for the company.

2) Intrinsic Value

Using the compound return on equity of 16 percent and a book value of 19.81 per share; I figured the intrinsic value for the company to be around 59.25 per share.  With the margin of safety set at 60 percent, my target for the company is  35.55.  In other words, the price of the company stock has to be under 35.55 before I can buy. The grade for this area is a pass because the current price is well under 35.55.

3) Relative to Market

The market cap for the company swings widely from 1.2 billion in 2000 to 1.7 billion in 2002; drops steeply to 755 million the next year, rebounded two years later to 1 billion.  It gets better, at the height of the 2006 the company was worth 2 billion.  Since then it has fallen steady to the end of 2009 at around 968 million.

In contrast, the revenue of the company is more stable; from 2000 they earned 297 million and increasing from this number with not too much differences every year to the height of 654 million in 2008.  This same trend was reflected in the net income from 2000 to 2009; with lows and highs tracing the decline and rise according to its market cap.  More interestingly, the book value continues to rise without any drop since 2009 from 210 million in 2000 to 867 million in 2009.

What does it mean? If you were to take the revenue in 2009 at 532 million, assuming without the drop in margin the company should be worth around 1.9 billion; this is according to its historical market cap.  Would the company be able to increase their margin in the near future? I won’t be able to tell you that.  What I could tell you is that the company market price per share has been trading between 61.2 to 10.88.  At the current price of 17.92, the company’s market value is 784 million, while the book value at the end of 2009 was 867 million and the net current asset of 910 million (both more than market value!).

The grade for ITG is a pass with regards to how the market values the company going forward; lots of room to increase in value.

4) Ethical Issues

The company chairman and CEO are two different people; this i like.  What I don’t like about this company is that the top 6 executives earned 10, 11 and 14 percent of the company’s net income from 2006 to 2008, respectively.  Taking into consideration it had a fair corporate governance, so I gave the company a pass.


ITG received a pass for the overall grade and I quickly added this company to my portfolio.

Farting Camel’s Guide to Stocks – Investment Revision

April 6th, 2010 Posted by Stocks No Comment yet

Investing Principles and Methods Series (IPMS)

Earlier on I posted four critical areas I would look at in evaluating public companies for my own investment.  I’ve since revised from:

1)     Ethical Issues
2)     Owner’s Reward
3)     Debt Management
4)     Value Investment

The new version will only include the followings:

1)     Return on Equity
2)     Intrinsic Value
3)     Relative to Market
4)     Ethical Issues

I have chosen to stay with the pass or fail grading system.  Again, the final assessment of a ‘pass’ grade will only be rewarded to companies which passes all four key areas under scrutiny.

My previous goal was to present at least one company analysis per week.  However, I found this to be difficult in light of my schedule; no more goals – just going to wing it when possible.


Copyright © 2010 by Farting Camel

Ancient Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation Review – Week Three

April 3rd, 2010 Posted by Five Tibetan Rites 2 comments

In our rediscovery series on health, we examine the benefits of Peter Kelder’s Five Tibetan Rites.  As we document our experience and progress, we hope you could observe and benefit from our experiment and review of the five Tibetan Rites. Or maybe learn from our mistakes and hopefully look forward to the results, if we do see them in us!

Day 15


I can’t believe it we have reached the start of week three.  I still maintained 10 repetitions on the 5 Rites.  After one day off it was apparent to me I’ve done the 10 repetitions of the 5 Rites with much strain.  It seem very difficult to finish; as if my body is resisting.  I pushed on and soon was able to finish but I felt tired, physically and somewhat mentally.


With one day of rest, we are back to the 5 Rites! Currently it took us less than 10 mins to go through 10 repetitions of the 5 Rites, I guess at the end of our experiment, it will take us about 20 mins to complete the ‘recommended’ 21 repetitions. Not bad a commitment for all the health benefits we are expecting to reap! Surprisingly, I felt a bit of strain doing Rite 2, particularly in the abs. I felt weaker and I ‘cheated’ a bit by bending my legs by a small degree when I raised them up. Is it because of the one day rest?

Despite the slight weakness experienced today, it is ‘so far so good’ on our experiment. Jotting down my general observations in the beginning of Week 3:

  • Increased Energy (we only slept 5 hours on the average the past week and we felt ok.)
  • Improved Stamina (notice it when I was climbing the stairs in the subway.)
  • Increased Strength (for me, it was the arms.)
  • Increased Flexibility (particularly at the lower back)
  • Side note: Appearance (Friends commented that we look ‘fresh’! Coincidence)

Day 16


I had to increased my repetitions to 12.  I regretted the impulse because halfway through doing the 5 Rites I was struggling; my forms were off and I didn’t care.  My goal was to reach my target of doing the 12 repetitions and my argument was that I can always work on the form once I have achieved my target of 21 repetitions at the end of 10 weeks.  Lets hope that my bad form will be curable.


12 reps! Not as bad as I though. I tied to keep my legs as straight as possible in Rite 2. Definitely feeling it in my lower abs. I know that the book mentioned that this is not a physical exercise and we should not feel any strain. Maybe, after practising it for years! Not struggling with the rest of the Rites. Suggested to Howard that we should keep 12 repetitions for the week to build up our strength.

Day 17


I kept my repetitions at 12.  The difficulties lingered.  I took a walk around a park and felt my burdened feet were heavy like weights.  I felt okay but sore internally; as if there is such a thing.


Executed Rite 3 with lots of vigor today. I noticed that I could bend backwards much deeper with stronger control. I notice some ‘cracking sounds’ today from my back. Nothing to be alarmed I think. It just felt that I ‘realigned’ my spine. I also like the sensation of stretching my toes in this Rite, feel so good, especially if you do a lot of walking like me.

It is good that we decided to stay at 12 repetition for the whole week, allowing me to ‘fine tune’ my Rites.

Day 18

Howard and Mira missed their practice due to busy schedule.

Day 19


It was very difficult to get back to the 5 Rites.  However dire my schedule I must persevere, all along thinking to myself; you lazy #4#@!. Alright it wasn’t that bad.  I still find the second Rite to be the most difficult – cause I have a big belly.  I was so tired by the end that I took a short rest by lying flat on the floor with my face to one side, unknown to me; what an incredible resting experience; ever.  I make it a point to rest in between the Rites.  In the evening, I felt extremely tired and my body was unusually hot (temperature).


Again, just like last week, it was more strenuous to do Rite 2 properly. Felt that the abs were much weaker with just one day break. I wondered why. I also noticed that the body really heats up during Rite 4 and 5. Same repeated comment: I can feel that I’m getting stronger!!

Day 20


I struggled and my motivation seems to be fading, fast.  However, I will finish the 10 weeks as promised.  Seem to be struck at doing 12 repetitions – difficult to pass this ceiling.

Day 21


At the end of the third week I found myself extremely tired.  Our friend explained that we were not following the instructions.  The correct repetition starts with 3 and this number should be increasing by 2 every week.  Had we followed the instructions carefully we would have ended this week doing just 7 repetitions.  Instead, we have been doing 12 repetitions for the past few days now.  My logic and reasoning tells me to push the envelope because I’m still young; I saw people a lot older on the internet doing the Rites – back to the book.

Ancient Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation Review – Week Two

March 24th, 2010 Posted by Featured, Five Tibetan Rites No Comment yet

In our rediscovery series on health, we examine the benefits of Peter Kelder’s Five Tibetan Rites.  As we document our experience and progress, we hope you could observe and benefit from our experiment and review of the five tibetan Rites. Or maybe learn from our mistakes and hopefully look forward to the results, if we do see them in us!

Day 8


As the second week rolls on, I’m still doing 6 repetitions on the 5 Rites.  I noticed that my back is getting stronger; proof came from being able to sit up-right longer.  Other improvements came to my notice are: able to fully relax after each Rite and breathing slowed considerable.  My body isn’t producing a lot of heat as compared to the first few days.  I also noticed I’m not as hungry as before – I ate about the same as before but stayed fuller longer. Similar pressing issues remained: bulky stomach and now very mild tiredness.


Week two! I increased my repetition to 7. Surprisingly, it was not as much different from 6 repetitions except for Rite 2. I corrected my mistake and at the same time doing it slower than before. I actually felt some muscle ache in my abs in the afternoon. I am proud of ourselves that we have not rested for one day since we started 8 days ago.

I was trying to see any tinge of ‘youthfulness’ re-emerging in the mirror but I guess it is too soon! Another thing I noticed is that I get very HUNGRY soon after a meal. This is different from most people’s experiences I read. Howard, in contrast, felt less hungry in between meals since he started. I am also started to feel less giddy after Rite 1. But I still cannot imagine doing it for 21 times which we aim in a few months! Watch this space.

Day 9


I kept at it and I felt better, so I increased the Rites to 7 repetitions.  It was easy today.  I’m not sure if I had benefited from doing the Rites.  I’m just so glad that the jet lag feeling was now gone.


I increased my repetition to 8. Rite 5 is surprisingly easy. I don’t have strong arms and I felt it in my arms when I first started doing the rites 9 days ago. Today, I felt that I could just go on and do another 8 for Rite 5!

Day 10


I woke up as usual – no longer tired.  I increased the repetitions to 8.  I later realized I did Rites #3 incorrectly; did not bend at the waist.  I’ve gotten the wrong information for a website.  When I went back to the book and reread the instructions – I realized my mistakes; going forward I’m just going to follow the book.


It’s getting easy! Completed 8 repetitions in no time. Another thing I noticed is that I’m not as giddy doing the ‘twirls’ in Rite 1. It’s definitely a marked improvement when we first started when just 3 twirls already made me giddy. Howard pointed out a mistake I had in Rite 3. I kept my hands throughout at the back on my thighs. I should put them next to my thighs when I restart every repetition.

Day 11


I felt great this morning.  I had a lot of energy; rather unusual.  I decided to take the opportunity and increase my repetition to 10.  This is a stark resemblance to the first few days – felt mostly drained.  The opposite was true this morning – 10 repetitions was easy.  I could have done more; so I thought.  I didn’t realized how tiring my muscles were.  I had to climb flight of stairs a few hours after breakfast.  It was then that I realized I could barely lift my legs; yes, all true.  Incredible.


I also did 10 repetitions today. I can feel that I’m getting stronger, especially in my arms. I was already finding the last Rite, Rite 5, (which is similar to yoga upward/downward dog) getting easier a few days ago. I literally felt like an elastic band doing that Rite!

Day 12


I stayed with 10 repetitions this morning.  I didn’t noticed or felt anything different.


10 repetitions with no sweat!!

Day 13


Against my wishes I stayed with 10 repetitions again, and I was glad I did – felt tired in the end.  I realized that my abdominal muscles are getting stronger; the Rite #2 are done with ease now, while Rite #5 remained mildly difficult.  With almost two weeks into this exercise, my confident is increasing; perhaps I might be able to accomplish the daunting task of doing the Rites 21 times. In any event if I really wanted to, I can split up this now seemingly difficult task into two session; one in the morning and another in the evening.  Thinking about it at this very moment – I should have a definitive goal of the end date when I would be able to do the Rites 21 times a day; getting overly confidence now.


One thing that I noticed as we advanced onto our 5 Tibetan Rites experiment, all the Rites get significantly easier day after day. Even though we are only into week 2 of our experiment, my stamina and strength has noticeably improved! Today I noticed that I’m much less giddy doing the ‘spins’ in Rite 1. I still recall the first time I tried it on Day 1 with only 3 reps, I was so giddy I have to hold on to the wall after trying it out. I’m amazed at the progress, at the moment, just at the physical level: Stronger and more energetic. No one has mentioned we look younger!

Day 14

Howard and Mira took a day off from the 5 Rites.

New layer…
New layer…

Ancient Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation Review – Week One

March 20th, 2010 Posted by Five Tibetan Rites No Comment yet

In our rediscovery series on health, we examine the benefits of Peter Kelder’s Five Tibetan Rites.  As we document our experience and progress, we hope you could observe and benefit from our experiment. Or maybe learn from our mistakes and hopefully look forward to the results, if we do see them in us!

Day 0

The book arrived.  Mira and I read with much delight.  It was simple.  I couldn’t wait to get started. We made a pledge to practice the Five Tibetan Rites (5 Rites) for a period of 10 weeks.  This will be our personal journal.

Day 1


It took no time at all to complete the 5 Rites.  We follow the book as suggested.  3 repetitions of the 5 Rites were easy for me.  However, after I took a shower – strangely I felt refreshingly awake.  At night, I noticed my heart was beating rather fast.


The 3 repetitions was very easy for me. I did not feel any strain or exertion at all. Is it going to benefit me?

Day 2


Increased the repetition to 4 – Again, the 5 Rites were easy and in no time we finished.

Read the 2nd half of the book.  An interesting exercise caught my eyes – learned that one could use butter to message the scalp to increase blood circulation and stimulate hair growth.  I was excited.  After breakfast, I immediately took to the task.  I applied a few teaspoons of butter into my palm and proceed as instructed.  After a short period, I took a glance at my hair and noticed I had more hairs in my palm then on my head.  Gosh, I hope I will gain more hairs then I have lost this morning.


We completed the 4 repetitions in the morning. In the afternoon, I felt an insurmountable wave of sleepiness, I took a nap and ended up sleeping for more than 3 hours! It felt kind of similar to the ‘detox effect’ I experienced a few years ago when I increased my supplemental dosage of  anti-oxidants and minerals. I also felt a bit of ‘muscle ache’ in my biceps later in the evening. I did not expect that as I did not feel much exertion during the exercise. I guess the ache might be due to Rite number 4.

Day 3


Early morning I wanted to increase the repetition to 5 instead of 4.  Mira thought that we shouldn’t.  I argued that the books were written for people older than 50.  Why can’t we ‘push it up a notch’? We increased it to 5.

I finished the book – not too comfortable with the 6th Rites along with other practices. However, the part on food confirms with my other readings.  I thought about putting more efforts to control my diet.

Some observations: I normally take short naps but for some reasons it was very difficult for me to wake up.  My eyes were tired.  I felt as if it is easier to stand straight. Normally, hunching was more of my comfort posture.


I felt some strain in my lower back for the first time as I did the 5 Rites. I felt tired doing 5 repetitions. Again, I felt really sleepy in the afternoon and took another 2 hours nap. I just could not pull myself out of bed.

Day 4


I thought about recording my weight on a weekly basis.  It was very difficult for me to wake up this morning.  We increased the repetitions of the 5 Rites to 6 times.  I felt like going back to sleep.  I was dragging my feet.  However, I did it anyway.  It was rather difficult for me to finish.  I think 5 repetitions is my limit at the moment.

I noticed that I was not as hungry for some reason.  I had a late lunch today.  After lunch I noticed my stomach is bigger than usual – it was rather rounded.  Mira mentioned that I might have done the number two rites wrong.  Instead of sucking in my stomach as I raise my legs and head, I might have pushed my stomach out causing the stomach to bulge.   That was it.  I will need to do some crunches before I sleep to flatten my stomach.  In all, I’m terribly tired today. At night, my body was night an oven – heating up the bed, almost like a mild fever.


I was very tired in the morning and had to push myself to do the rites. 6 repetitions was not much different for me from 5 repetitions. I did not feel anymore muscle ache.

Day 5


I failed to do any crunches before I slept the night before.  I woke up rather tired.  The exercise was more bearable today.  I was more in control.  I noticed that I had a lot of gas in me.  I wasn’t hungry as often.  Still very tired.  I took a walk around Time Square – did not help much.  The bottom-line; tired, bloated, and a general lack of appetite.  I did not see any changes to my hair – hope this really works.


We stayed with 6 repetitions which was a breeze today. I was uncertain about some nuances in the rites, especially Rite 2 and 4. As explained in the books, the Rites should not be regarded as a form of Yoga even though the positions are similar. I remember one of my Yoga teachers, Karen, who is extremely particular of small details in our positions. Many times, little corrections she made in my posture made a hugh difference. Applying the same theory, I decided to read the five Rites instructions in detail again. I went to Youtube to check out some of the videos on the rites. It’s amazing how many varieties there are. Well, I think at the moment, we should just stick to the book we bought.

I realized that I did not do Rite 2 correctly. Even though I raised my legs slowly until it is extended beyond perpendicular, I did not “hold the position for one moment or two”. Correction noted.

The second mistake I made was in Rite 4. It was instructed that the second position (which I called the ‘staple position’) is to be held for a few moments before returning to the first position (the ‘L’). I did not. And when you are at the first position, you are supposed to “RELAX” for a few moments before performing the Rite again. (written in all caps in the book). Again, I did not do that.  It was also further elaborated that you are to “tense every muscle in the body” when you are in the second staple position. I will take note tomorrow.

PS: Did not take nap today. Felt normal.

Day 6


From Mira’s observation yesterday, I wanted to be more careful as I do the exercise – slowed down and paid more attention to the details.  I made an effort to relax after each repetition.  In general, I felt not as tired doing the exercise.  However, after the exercise, it was a different mater; I felt tired.  I’m not sure if my fatigue is a result of the exercise or a lack of sleep.  I normally get enough sleep – do not to make any changes to this variable for the duration of the 10 weeks. I think the general tiredness is related to the exercise, perhaps some form of detoxification effect.

I noticed that my stomach is still big – this could be normal.  However, before I started the exercise, the fat was more distributed on the sides, now it looked like the bulk of the fat has relocated to the front.  Mira pin-pointed exactly how I have been feeling these past few days – very similar to jet lag.


We did 6 repetitions. I incorporated the changes today. I took more time to complete the Rites and surprisingly, I did not feel more strain. Two observations: (i) I felt a teeny bit of muscle ache in my lower belly. (ii) Felt that my upper arms, especially the shoulder muscles (Deltoids) are firmer and definitely stronger. Is it Possible? Just after 6 days?

Day 7


This entry completed my practice and observation for the week. Please check out our results for next week.

I continued to stay with 6 repetitions.  The Rites are getting easier as I’m very hesitant to increase the repetition; don’t want to experience the jet lag feeling as before.  The book did mentioned to practice without strain – I will follow this advice.  Some positive observations are: noticed that I’m getting stronger and my posture is improving.  I’m hesitant to declare any positive effects from the butter message to my scalp.  But I noticed my dandruff problem is reducing (very much unanticipated but welcomed nevertheless). Also, my hair is much more smother.


The 7th day! I stayed with 6 repetitions. It’s getting easy but I realized that I cheated unintentionally in Rite 2! The book did not mention about titling your pelvic. I sort of ‘cheated’ as I tilted my pelvic so that the legs can go passed perpendicular. Anyway, mistake noted. One more observation, I am not as giddy now after ‘spinning’ in Rite 1. Still, I cannot imagine doing that for 21 times as we aim to do in a few weeks!

Check out our progress in Week Two.

Animal Lovers, I’m Not Calling You a Hypocrite

March 20th, 2010 Posted by Featured, Health No Comment yet

Omnivorous Animal Lovers. Omnivorous Environmentalist. Omnivorous Health Enthusiast. (Omnivorous: feeding on both animal and vegetable substances)

What’s do all of the above have in common? They are all oxymorons!

I have been a vegetarian for just over two years. Very often, I have been asked “why?” Intellectually, I knew that eating another animal or creature is not right. However, often times, because of convenience and/or pursuing my senses of taste, I did not stop consuming meat and fish for many years. And surprisingly, if you ask me what my favorite food is when I was an omnivore, I will tell you ‘tofu’. I was never a big meat eater to start with.

It wasn’t until I met a teacher and many friends who are vegetarians. They recommended me some books that explained the consequences of eating meat, which finally convinced me that I was going to go 100% lacto-vegetarian.

I decided that it was time to stop consuming meat that inevitably causes animal suffering.  There is already enough pain and suffering in the world.

I was never a big animal lover or an avid environmentalist.  But after converting and being exposed to vegetarianism, I slowly realized the impact it makes in both arenas! Animals (meats, fish and poultry) suffer when you kill them for food. They can feel the pain. Can you imagine consuming your own dogs, cats or any of your pets? What kind of pain do we inflict on them?

I believe most people, at the back of our heads, know the inhumane methods of handling and slaughter that is going on in many animal farms. Animals are starved or forced fed or moved by electrified rods, etc. However, this knowledge has remained very often, at the back of our heads. So please do not preach to anyone about helping stray dogs, polar bears, dolphins, etc., if you are not at the very least, trying to eat less or no meat at all.

Some people argue that dogs and cats are different from pigs and cows. Are they really? If you are an animal lover, you obviously cannot group certain animals into a different category just because they are ‘not cute’. Or in a worse case, kill and eat them with no guilt because of that!  Let’s face it, you simple cannot be a true animal lover and consume meat, fish and poultry at the same time!

Health wise, probably as I wasn’t a big meat eater before, I personally didn’t have dramatic differences in how I feel.  However, as I read more about diseases in animals that are passed on to humans, and the toxins and hormones that are injected into livestock production, I was already thinking twice about eating meat even before I turn vegetarian. Remember Mad Cow, E coli?

Where do all these toxins and hormones end up in the animals’ bodies? They are usually stored in their fat tissues. With the catastrophic amount of toxins used nowadays, even when you try to eat organic meat most of the time, these toxins will find their way to your system and guess where they will mostly end up? It will be stored in your fat tissues, and probably in your most precious fat tissue of all, your brain.

Some people argued that you need proteins to live. Yes, we do, however I would rather get it from vegetables, beans, soy and other healthier sources than toxin laden animal proteins. Sometimes, I wonder if the ‘I-need-protein-to-live’ is a big excuse (for not being able to give up meat) or a propaganda that has been successfully instilled in our minds by the meat industries.

When I was a teenager, one of my friends told me that we are not ‘built’ to eat meat.  It made a lot of sense to me then. One of the clearest signs, she said, is the shape of our teeth; they are clearly teeth of herbivore (plant eaters), just like goats (think of the cheesy goat smile) and cows. They are obviously not shaped like the sharp pointed teeth of tigers and lions. Also, our digestive system is built ‘herbivorous’, we have long intestines with mild acid meant to digest vegetable matters and not the short intestines with strong acid in carnivorous animals that are meant to digest meat.

There were a lot of studies and claims that if everyone on the planet were vegetarian, we will have enough food to feed everyone and famine will not be an issue at all. Apparently, majority of the crops harvested in the world are used to feed animal livestock breed for our meat consumption.

According to an article in New York times, the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that  livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases. A fifth? That is more than transportation in total! Also an estimated 30% of the earth’s ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production.

In the same article, it was also mentioned that “the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that 2.2 pound of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days!”

Enough said, this article is not meant to list down all the reasons and supporting statistics or written to convince anyone of vegetarianism. It is meant to be just a spark of thought for some ideas, which we all take for granted at times. Ideas like, “Omnivorous Animal lover, Omnivorous Environmentalist, Omnivorous Health Enthusiast. “

I’m not calling you a hypocrite.

Are the above the reasons why I became a vegetarian? Maybe. But I guess sometimes you do not need reasons to do the right thing.

Lose It and You Will Run Better! – Bare Feet

March 20th, 2010 Posted by Health No Comment yet

For years I thought I was not built to run. In the military, I was often found behind the pack. It wasn’t because I weren’t in shape. I trained like the rest. As if life had dealt me a terrible hand – the hunched back of the running world.

I had the awkward stride; my bottom half looks as it was trying to race with my top. A few minutes into any run, my top leans forward as if for the last ditch effort to past the ticker tape. It is an unusual form. It is how I ran. Well, at least until now, the secret might be out. The truth it was said all along, ‘it’s the shoes’; lose it and your form will improve; naturally.


October 5, 2009, 12:01 AM

The Roving Runner Goes Barefoot


Photo by Vijai Singh/The New York Times

“My running form changed immediately. I was landing gently on the middle and balls of my feet rather than striking with my heel. I was more upright than before. My stride was shorter. I didn’t make any changes consciously; they just seemed to happen on their own.”

“My bad habits are so close to the surface that it’s really helpful for me to be in bare feet because it keeps me honest,” Christopher said. “When I wear shoes I get really sloppy, my form is all over the place. When I’m in my bare feet, I’m instantly reminded how to get upright and how to have a quick, light landing.” The full article here.

“I See Unemployed People”

December 5th, 2009 Posted by General No Comment yet

In reel life, there is a line from one of the scariest movies; The Sixth Sense, where the young actor Haley Joel Osment played Coal Sear said, “I see dead people”. In real life, there is an even scarier scene – “I see unemployed people.”

The New York Times reported today that “Jobs Report Is Strongest Since the Start of the Recession”. The unemployment rate in the States is ‘rosy’ at 10 percent, from 10.2 percent the month before. Well, yet another report on unemployment, but it does say A LOT on our current state of affairs when a 10 percent unemployment rate is termed ‘strong’ and maybe even a time to pop the champagne.

Despite the ‘good news’ in US, this state of unemployment is probably unimaginable for many Singaporeans at home.

I remembered vividly reading ‘grim’ reports last year in The Straits Times (The national newspaper in Singapore) when the unemployment rate in the country was ‘out of hand’ and the country ‘bracing for the gloom’. I was concern, only to realize that the unemployment rate at that time was 3.3 percent. I just checked back on Singapore Statistics website, the unemployment rate was 3.4 percent in September 2009.

USA versus Singapore
  • 10.0 percent unemployment rate versus 3.4 percent
  • 15,400,000 people out of work versus 84,000
  • 300 million population versus 4.8 million

Some people may say, US is so much bigger than Singapore, why even bother comparing the absolute number of unemployed people. Yes, that’s true, it probably does not make sense if both economies are doing well, as a big economy can churn out more jobs than a much smaller one.

However, when no one is hiring and there are no jobs around, it matters little that the country is big. Bumping onto 15.4 million unemployed people in the coffee shop is a huge difference from seeing 84,000 people in the kopitiam (Singapore’s version of coffee shop)!

I live in New York City where the unemployment rate is 10.3 percent in Oct 09. There was a point last year that probably half of my friends, who were mainly finance professionals, were unemployed. And sad to say, many of them are still unemployed now, more than one year later.

According to the report, 38.3 percent of those unemployed have been unemployed for more than a year, reflecting what I observed.

That’s scary news! More than 1 out of 3 job seekers in the States have been looking for work for more than a year!

Well, some of my Singaporean friends might judge that, “If you are out of work for more than a year, you are either lazy or stupid.” Well, all I can say is that, I hope that Singapore will never see the days of 10 percent unemployment.

Sharing with you one eerie statement from the article, “Many companies have reached the point that they can’t extract more work from their existing employees,” Ouch, I could almost visualize myself like an olive, being squeeze between two pliers, for the extraction of ‘olive oil’, aka ‘more work’.

To pile on the gloom, if you quote the broader measure of unemployment, the one that includes those who are forced to work only part time and those who have given up looking for work, the ‘real’ unemployment rate fell from 17.5 percent to 17.2 percent, according to the article.

Oh, don’t even try to get me going comparing 17.2 percent to 3.4 percent. I’m not in the mood.

17.2 percent? You are talking about over 26 million people wanting full time job in the States! It’s no wonder ‘I see dead…opps, I mean unemployed people’…

Take a break and have a good weekend.


Copyright 2009 by Farting Camel

Mark Twain’s Recipe of Success

December 5th, 2009 Posted by General No Comment yet

“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure.” – Mark Twain, 1887

How do I know what I should do in life?

I see the world differently – everything before today is only a blink, a tag line of one kind; an uninteresting one at that.  Sounds familiar? I now see everyone as a Mark Twain, having read a book on the famous author yesterday.

I have a fine education; I can still show you the expense to prove it. I can spin a tale on many topics, but in my own mind; I am a legend in business.  I always thought I could put together any business: the unearned confidence, built from years of attending our modern day education system; a naive trait shared by many of my peers.

There lays the Mark Twain in me.  I am an idiot – every business venture I ever committed in earnest, all have turned out to be a complete and utter failure.  Like Mark Twain, I only have one talent; unlike Mark Twain my one talent is questionable.

Seemingly, the only optimistic part was I knew what that one talent is: I have more than my fair share of luck as a stock picker; it seems whenever I was in need of money I could simply put some time into researching and investing in a few value stocks; this has rescued me far more times than I care to recall. To me my one talent: rare, like an old friend, always there to lend a supportive hand, sadly, the same friend who could easily be lost to us; one never realize what one has until perhaps it’s too late.

Completely like Mark Twain, I spent the great deal of my time doing businesses I had no reason to be in – I am utterly incompetent; to put it mildly.  In Mark Twain’s life he always wanted to be rich; as if being a famous author wasn’t enough.

This obsession Mark Twain had: like a strategically trap leading him to form one business venture after the next – the curse; that almost destroyed his illustrious reputation as an author; put him in contentions among friends; one could even argue – almost killed his profoundly admirable and very supportive wife.  All of these things happened because selfishly, he simply wanted, to be rich enough to comfortably support his family; terrible isn’t it.

I thought to myself – here is a remarkable man unequaled, perhaps no other person can confess to possess his monumental talent as a writer, here wasting his time on things he knew nothing of (building businesses), simply because of greed; might I label it so.

It was obvious from the book with much help from the author, implied directly; how illogical.  Why? All Mark Twain had to do to earn a living or even to amass wealth was to use his God given talent; write a few great books, easily at will. Nothing else is needed in this simple recipe, to any observer of Mark Twain’s life, but oddly, this is undoubtedly a very secret recipe of success to this otherwise brilliant man himself.

Now, maybe you can see in your life, a few Mark Twain characters, driven by mad ambitions of the seemingly logical kind; in disguise really, the logical part, maybe not.  For me, the apparent truth of Mark Twain’s trouble, as I read, came fast as a falling brink from a construction site; accidentally, not from any effort on my behalf, maybe incidental because the author summarized the obvious.

I realized, I am indeed that very crazy fellow too, the entrepreneur side of the famous Mark Twain; again pointing out that my similarity has one difference; his talent was assured whereas mine is still in question.

I have wasted considerable time and money I don’t have going for things I do not need.  I have pursued and tried my best to court all kinds of businesses, only to appreciate, like an ill-faith couple, ending in less than complete satisfaction; not even close; a close observer might utter.  All my pursuit of wealth finally succeeded in giving me a life of poverty.

The lesson to partake in life if you happen to have Mark Twain’s ‘good’ business judgment is to reflect seriously.  Failing which I suggest you follow what Mark Twain did after his bankruptcy experiences, focus on what you are good at and to a lesser extent on what you are interested in.

Interest is like one of those crazy desires we all have – the one that we can never satisfy.  Like the kind of thirst that makes you drink, the kind of thirst that you can never quenched.  After a while you are forced to give it up or face with a revolt and have a major bolt of pain.


Copyright 2009 by Farting Camel

Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?

November 20th, 2009 Posted by Stocks No Comment yet

I was looking through my files and saw an old Excel file on the accumulative effect of a good investment plan.  I thought it would be interesting to show you.  If you want to be a millionaire it’s either easy or extremely difficult – mostly, it depends on your age.  There are other factors that are much more flexible but there is no getting around the ‘age’ thing.

My friend Henrik told me a story he read about a guy struggling to get by on a million dollar a year salary.  I was dumb founded having heard the story but I can understand the premise behind the rational. However, I felt sorry for myself because I can’t relate. Luckily for the rest of us and surprisingly, you don’t have to be born with a silver spoon to retire rich.  It is also interestingly, you don’t have to have a job that pays very well neither. Don’t get me wrong it wouldn’t hurt to be born rich or to have a high paying job if your goal is to become a millionaire.

Two Simple Plans

The Installment Plan

You start with just investing $200 per month every month in an investment that gives you a return of 15 percent annually.  It would be difficult to find this kind of returns but it is not impossible.  The hardest part is if you are procrastinator like me because you will need to invest this money every month for 30 years.  Here’s what your investment would be at the end of thirty years.  Look at the big difference if you only have 20 years.

10 Yrs

20 Yrs

30 Yrs




PV 3% Inflation


PV 3% Inflation


PV 3% Inflation

















The Lump Sum Plan

You start with putting $20,000 in an investment that will give you a return of 15 percent per year.  Yes, the investment duration is also for 30 years.  The result is surprisingly similar.  Here’s what your investment would be at the end.  Again, if you only have 20 years left – difficult.


10 Yrs

20 Yrs

30 Yrs




PV 3% Inflation


PV 3% Inflation


PV 3% Inflation

























































The moral of the investing story is start early, very early.  Make sure you have more than 30 years left. The sad truth of only having 30 years on this plan is obvious.  If this is you, think of the more positive aspect, it wouldn’t be so negative for your kin.


P.S.  Value investing is the only way to invest.


Shia_LaBeouf_Carey_Mulligan_holding_hands Shia_LaBeouf_Carey_Mulligan_Memorial_1 Shia_LaBeouf_Carey_Mulligan_Memorial_2 Shia_LaBeouf

Topics on Farting Camel