Thursday, January 22, 2015

This MRT Auntie power pack, she don't play play one!

I wanted to blog about this a few days ago when it happened, but I was preoccupied and forgot about it until recently. This post by AK about the role of government and financial literacy got me thinking about it again.


After work on Tuesday, I squeezed onto the MRT during peak hour. That day was a bit special, because instead of going home straight, I was going to town to meet some friends for dinner. Social life is important too, mustn't work all day and all night and forget about friends!

Usually I just stand around in the MRT, daydreaming and planning the rest of my evening and maybe even my weekends. However, since I knew what I was going to do the rest of the evening, my brain was not in a heavy thinking mode, so it was very active and observant about what was going on.

Within the carriage, 70% were playing their phones, 20% were sleeping and 10% were daydreaming like me. Very normal, right?

I see a lot of guys playing Clash of Clans. I see a lot of ladies playing puzzle games. A lot of people were messaging or scrolling through social media like Facebook or Instagram. Just normal stuff.

Then I noticed the auntie standing beside me.

What was that?

Is that a candlestick chart?

With moving averages and studies?!

It was!

This auntie that was standing beside me was using the UTRADE mobile platform by UOB to check up on stocks!

I know this is a super bad invasion of privacy, but she was very engrossed in her analysis so she did not notice my prying eyes. Plus, it isn't any personal info, I never saw her holdings. Still, I shouldn't have continued looking at what she was doing, but I was just so curious! It's not just me, the guy on the other side of her was also staring. We were both staring at her phone. Lucky smartphones these days all have super big screens, if not I won't know what I am looking at!

After she finished analysing the chart of her stock (it was M1, by the way), she shocked me by going to her watchlist with a decent list of stocks! There weren't the anyhow lup sup kind of penny stocks, she had a list of very decent and respectable stocks!

The next shocking thing? She had multiple watchlists of different kinds of stocks of each watchlist! This auntie is even more organized and systematic than me, noooo!

Once she was done peeking at a few other counters, she then logged out and went to the SGX website. She was looking to see how the index did, as well as the StockFacts info provided on SGX! Savvy!

I wanted to continue watching this auntie to see what she would continue doing, but I was already at my stop.

Bemused, I stumbled out of the MRT.


I know that almost all my friends are not interested in investing or even basic financial literacy, except for a rare few. Even then, they are mostly interested in only trading and quick profits, rather than a more holistic view of financial planning as the bigger picture.

I believe that not being financially literate is a massive disadvantage in the world today. Everyone should have basic financial literacy.
When should we have government intervention?  
When we cannot reasonably rely on everyone to act responsibly on a matter that has tremendous importance in everyone's lives, especially if irresponsible behaviour would result in the burden being shifted from such individuals to the rest of society. - AK
Since it is not possible for everyone to act responsibly, is it really such a bad thing that the government plays the role of nanny state and force us to save a basic amount for our own retirement? I think a government that really cares about the welfare of their aging citizens and the possible strain of society should. The mistakes or ignorance of one person should not drag down others.

This is a modern day Catch-22. If you save enough money, you won't complain about CPF. You know it is a safety net and that you should be saving for your retirement anyway. If you don't save enough money, you will complain about CPF. And that is reinforcement that you should be forced to save money through CPF, since you cannot be relied on to save enough on your own in the first place.

Call me a (insert your favourite political party) dog, I don't care. I can validate my stand. Can you validate yours?


  1. Excellent write up!

  2. Hi GMGH

    Shucks. I often did what the auntie does, reading financial statement and results announcement on the bus or mrt station. Some guys must have thought I am crazy reading all those info during the "spare" time.

    Next time, I bland with the rest and play Clash of Titans or wait... speaking of which I have not completed my Candy Crush level yet.

    1. Wa, I would like to see how you do your analysis! Next time if got a creepy guy staring over your shoulder, it might be me, ahaha! Candy Crush too complicated for me, I think I stopped at level 40 something, ahahah!


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