Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lesson from an elderly man

I've always find it enriching to take a lesson from someone's life. So what is the story here?

Some 15 years back, as I toured the Victorian countryside, the idea of a country home and hobby farm was appealing. I would take note of properties for sale and make appointment for inspection.

One in which I was particular fond of was in Gippsland, a 1 1/2 hr drive south east from Melbourne. It is a 17 acre hill top property with a magnificent view of the surrounds.

The owner was a 76 year elderly man. The first question I posed him was how can he manage a property of this size at his age. A smile beamed on his face as he invited me into the yard and took me around on an ATV! I loved it, the beauty and fresh air all around with a dozen cows grazing.

Next I inquired about the cost of its upkeep and income it generated. Soon I learned his income model was to sell calves - he kept them on the property till the market prices are best. Good common sense, but only till you know about it!

I probed further. How did he get into it? Has he any farming background to begin with? It emerged he was a retired boiler engineer who came to this property 11 years before, learned everything from scratch with the help of supportive neighbors in the community. Never too old to start over again - I was very impressed!

As we headed back to his garage, I noted a fishing boat there. There is no lake nearby to take the boat out I thought. "The sea is just 1/2 hr drive away" he informed. Hmm.. isn't that a wonderful life style I thought.

Did I trot his path too? Seem like it. Got into bird nest ranching without prior knowledge. I am really fortunate to have very supportive locals like P'Jiap & P'Moo to get it off the ground.

More ideas are coming together now and my mental picture is getting clearer - I would like to take the farm in the direction of an Eco-village next. The pre-conditions do exist. The thought of it alone it pretty exciting!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Towards an eco lifestyle?

Well, construction of the new bird nest farm will complete within next 2 months. The property should further be develop for wider use. Where does it lead to next? I have been thinking about it for a while now.

A residence on-site seem appropriate. With some consciousnesses of human impact towards the environment - on climate change, carbon foot print of urban lifestyle etc. I have embraced the concept of eco-living for a while. This seem a worthwhile pursuit next.

Having witnessed how the dozen workers lived off the land, I was inspired to do the same. The land is very fertile with abundance of water around. Surely it will be self sufficient with produce even for a small community.

To begin with, the idea is to go organic. There will be vegies patch just as the workers did, a herbs garden and a fruit orchard with various tropical fruits. This is Thailand! Where on earth could be a better place than this? There will be a compost area to generate organic fertilizer too. These pics surely looks enticing, especially when produces by oneself - someday!

The deep pond will be be re-stock with more fish species. It has been self sufficient with food at present and will be supplemented with soy bean residues, available from a friend who made soy drinks daily.

As an electrical engineer, I am hook on renewable energy such as wind and solar energy projects. So achieving energy self sufficiency is another endeavor. Though initial capital outlay is high, I intend to embark on a small scale as experimental test beds. Thailand has a program to buy electricity from very small producers (known as VSSP scheme), it will be very interesting indeed if China's Suntech Power's ambitious goal of producing solar panels at grid-parity cost by 2011!

This is a rough sketch of the path to take and things to come - another journey of learning and experimenting ahead.

Frankly I did not anticipate so much coming together so nicely at the beginning, it simply develop and evolved along the way.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Another example of mobile lifestyle

I came across this newspaper article today... "Have Internet, will travel"

Read a little further.. eh, another forex trader leading a mobile lifestyle? Interesting isn't it?
Surely there are many more out there we don't know about.

Guess those who seize opportunity early are the new generation trend setters.
Answer to yourself and the market... not a boss!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Philosophical view towards life

I attended an event organized by the Singapore Forex forum last week. Interestingly I met people who find my blogs inspirational. I do feel flattered as I started blogging as a form of self expression to chronically track the next phase in life, a form of open diary.

When you wake up one day and realize time is ticking against you... you will treasure every day even more. We normally read accidents & illnesses that happened to others, not us.

There is also the universal truth to all life forms, the moment you come into being - the destiny is death. Something we all shared whoever we are.

A reality no one can escape from. Read about the First Emperor of China? Believed himself as son of heaven who seeked eternal life with all the means in his possession! Only to shortened his life through mercury poisoning in the end.

So it is the journey one should treasure during our brief existence.

Just a simple message here:

Friday, September 19, 2008

An Odd Mix?

Passing through Singapore offers opportunity to catch up with old mates each time.
Well, what's new this time?

I told a uni-mate I got into Forex trading & Bird Nest farming as retirement activities.. "Huh! What an odd mix", he quipped.

He is correct.. it is an unusual combination indeed, even sounds weird!

Looking back, my first premise was to look for activities that suit a carefree lifestyle. Much of our working life was to fit into what the market needs and opportunities it offers.

To have a freedom of choice doing something in leisure is a dream. I started out with the notion of a little resort, but soon as I gained insights into bird nest farming... it is obvious which is a better choice!

When I first came to know Dr. Chris, a kidney specialist in KL, with his bird farms few hundred KMs away; visits them only fortnightly or perhaps monthly. It rang a bell in me the viability as a hobby farm.

The pluses:
No staff hiring and keeping them headaches,
No worry about seasonal variation of visitors,
No day to day operational issues involved.. etc.

Swiftlets takes care of themselves; they fly off at each day break to feed and return timely each night!
All that is needed is to ensure a conducive & safe environment for them to nest and breed.
No workers needed! No bills for feed mills!
I can spend as much time I like on the farm or as little as I choose.
I have the freedom to be away anytime too.
How convenient!
Down side is the capital outlay involved and a gestation period of no income.

Forex trading share many similar attributes.. complete freedom!
Freedom to trade any where, any time;
Freedom when to trade or not to trade!
Forex offers opportunity of regular income, provide one trades more profitably.

As my friend CK once put it across to me:
One is production based.. once up and running, it is a source of passive income. Little on going efforts involved.
The other is activity based; no trading - no income (besides trading risks); period!
They do compliment each other well.

Well, I have this simple graphic to illustrate:

Two different pictures: A headset & a circle painted yellow ....
Combine them creatively forms another new image, isn't it?

A smiley face, NO.. I am not smiling to the bank yet!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Life is for Living and NOT Working

"Life is for Living and NOT Working"; a quote I picked up from a forex guru. A nice line isn't it? I suspect many would like to live it too. But how to achieve it?

Most of us gone through the process of professional education followed by a career in the work force. Soon we find ourself strap into a routine of work with life long mortgages to service. Sounds like a trap, isn't it? I felt it that way for much of working life. So life without a job is a big step away!

I believe every change begins with a paradigm shift to a new mindset. If we examine our basic needs, we need very little to live. Often people stretch themselves to the limit in buying a home that result in life long debt. Next are other pursuits of material needs that leave one tight with cash. So the first premise is to re-examine your own needs. A sensible way is to reduce long term debts and divert resources into shorter term investments to generate cash income.

There are many opportunities to invest and generate a passive income as an intermediate step. I am no investment guru but have found forex as a viable alternative. Guess some who have embarked on this path may concur. The high leverage can be exploited to advantage but is also a double sided sword. So this is no easy route either, another learning process from ground zero to pick up new knowledge and skills.

I have shared this approach with few people closest to me thus far. Time will tell if they too can find this a workable means to... break free from work!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Internet life

I wonder how I can live without the internet connection these days! It is such a powerful tool to search for information, links people up into a global village.. it made me feel to live in the best of times since dawn of human civilizations!

My learning process started with Google search of course. But in swiftlet farming, there is little useful information published. Surfing around for a while, one can still sketched an idea of what it is all about. Nonetheless, soon I come across some forum that hook up with real people engage in swiftlet ranching.

One introduction leads to another.. so gradually I develop a network of new friends.

It is the 'tool' I rely so much now I can't imagine living without it!