Do you care that Google knows what you buy?

Do you know that Google knows what you buy? Or rather, Google tracks what you buy. Not entirely everything because some purchases were made by cash, some by online banking, some by credit card, as long as the receipts don’t get sent to your email, Google won’t be able to capture those spending. So it’s only receipts, invoices or any type of purchase acknowledgments that are emailed to you will be tracked by Google.

Click here to see your purchase history to see what Google knows about what you buy:

Here’s a screenshot of my purchase history:

Google gets this because I bought the ebooks via and all receipts were sent to my gmail.

According to this article by CNBC,  Google told them that customers/users can turn off the tracking entirely but it’s not as straightforward as it seems and when CNBC tried to do it, there was no such option.

Do I care if Google knows what I buy? For the time being, no as I’m not getting any negative side effects. If anything, I feel that page of Purchases on my Gmail account is a useful summary for me.


If you are tired or bored with Bloomberg, try Koyfin for a change. It’s a graphing and analytical tools for investors. The layout is clean, user-friendly too, easy to maneuver and fast.  But at the moment it is more useful for those who cover the US markets. I tried looking up some of the Malaysian stocks but they only have the warrants.

They have a “factor analysis” section too. So you would be able to tell how does each factor performed in ETFs vs. the broad market, i.e. S&P 500. See the screenshot below.


Have fun exploring!


It’s been a hectic week for me. More so because of fasting. I know it’s not right to say that but I’m so not strong this time. I just did what I needed to do and that’s it. I have stopped reading for a week and I have been blogging either at night or when I’m on LRT. So I feel that the quality is not there.

Now I’m just counting hours to break my fast.

When work is crazy

Work is at the peak right now I just want to shut down for awhile. And that’s what I’m going to do now. Taking the LRT to work now. Turning off my inbox, kindle, work app and just turning on Spotify, and close my eyes, dreaming of a holiday destination.


Growing quants

There’s been a growing trend of quants trying to make superior returns against benchmarks from the highly inefficient Chinese stock market. And the quant models, algorithms that they developed are very different from the established hedge funds we have in the US.

The key driver is Chinese retail investors, the moms and pops which dominate the trades by more than 80%. The quants are trying to understand the behaviour of retails investors to gauge the sentiment – what do they like, what do they no longer like, what’s their mood etc. All these through structured and unstructured data – online posts, tweets, chat rooms, ie social media.

Here’s the Bloomberg article that explains in more detail about this trend. Interesting indeed.

I wonder how different my career would be had I continued being a quant analyst which what I started of as. But I was in London then so the market is more developed and more receptive towards quant methods, unlike Malaysia. I came back after 1 year and applied some of the techniques but managed to develop only screening tools. Fund managers were still relying on fundamentals in choosing stocks.

Setting Expectations

You know how we stress ourselves on daily basis just by our own many little personal expectations? For example, (1) I want to get up by 7am to do some readings ahead of my meeting later, (2) I want to respond to that particular email before anybody else does, (3) I want to get the work done by 5pm so that I can leave on time, (4) I want to post about something I read yesterday, (5) I want to cook my husband’s favourite food today. I could go on, but you get the picture right? Then as you go through the day, the unexpected happens and ruins all your plans. And you get stressed about not meeting all your little personal expectations.

Then we ask ourselves, is it worth it? Is it worth the stress and anger when your own family, spouse and/or child (or children) are the ones that caused you not to meet your expectations? You are after all doing a favour for your loved ones which above anything else, matter most.

We are all wired to be ambitious, to achieve our goals and dreams because it makes us feel good about ourselves, we receive great pleasure from being successful where the successes are all defined by our own self. We are responsible for setting all those expectations. But the psychologist in the “Danish way of Parenting” book highlighted that human beings receive greater pleasure from making other people happy. True, but as human beings we tend to forget, we get so engrossed in our world and our little expectations that we forget what really matters most in our lives. And before you know it, the time is gone.

So let it go. Readjust your expectations according to what is realistic. If you couldn’t meet one or all of your many little expectations today because your loved ones need your attention and help, be happy about it. 10 years down the road when you look back, that’s all that matters. The only regret you will have is not because you couldn’t respond to that email first, but it’s the time lost helping the people that matter that we didn’t treasure today.

Tough ISTP

I’m answering a few interview questions and one of the questions is “How would you describe yourself in a few sentences?”

This is a tough question even though no one should be able to answer this question better than myself. So I decided to google my personality type based on MBTI which is ISTP which stands for Introversion, Sensing, Thinking and Perception. Apparently female ISTP is extremely rare – pragmatic and logical but also calm and nonjudgemental, strong and independent and thrives to work in a male-denominated firm/industry. So far it does sound like me.

Checked my MBTI report done by HR and found this to be bizarre.

ISTP The chart above indicates that within the Thinking category, when it comes to making decisions or draw conclusions, I prefer to be firm and tough-minded.

I suppose there’s truth in that, when it comes to work, I have to be make decisions that benefits the organization not individuals. A good reminder to myself as I try to balance between being tough vs. being compassionate as highlighted in this post.

Happy Mother’s Day

My son, 18- months old, is still very young to show his appreciation to me. In fact he showed his tantrum over lunch whereby he refused to eat the food I cook. Picky eater this one! Hopefully next year will be worth celebrating Mother’s Day when he is able to say I love you, Mummy!

So I’m going to dedicate this post for my mom, to remind me about all the sacrifices she has made throughout her life, from the moment she held the title, Mummy, in 1982. She is the most selfless human being I’ve ever known. I guess it’s ingrained in her due to her upbringing, as an adopted child, where she had no choice but to put away all her needs and wants every time. I definitely saw that in her. The word “tired” is never in her dictionary.

The most apparent and critical time was when my late dad fell ill in 2012 – lost his eye sight in 2012 and he had to to be on dialysis every day from 9pm to about 8am. As the breadwinner, my mom still had to work during the day and then took care of my dad from evening till night. She even had to wake up early in the morning to prepare lunch and dinner. In early 2015, my mom had to stop working because my dad’s condition had worsened. She took care of him every day and night. My dad’s siblings felt indebted to her because they didn’t think someone would be able to take care of their brother as perfect as my mom. They didn’t even think they could do the same for their spouse.

There were many occasions when my dad had to be hospitalized a couple of nights, sometimes a week, and my mom actually slept on a plastic chair every night. My sisters and I tried to take turns but she refused to. So we helped her during the day instead. But whatever we did, could never commensurate with what and how she took care of my late dad, until the very end of his last breath in late 2015. And the most humbling part of her is that she never had any expectations or rewards from anyone, including her daughters.

I guess you can never separate the word ‘sacrifice’ from a mom’s title. For some people, it came naturally. For some people, they learn the hard way. For some people, they tried to find the balance between being selfless and selfish at the same time. But for my mom, it was never ever about her and that’s something that my sisters and I can never repay her. We hope that God will bless her with Jannah one day, insyaAllah.

Everyday, I pray for my mom’s health and happiness and I remind myself to be a better daughter. But as we all know, we can never be a perfect wife, perfect mom, perfect daughter, perfect daughter in law all at once, every day because life is not perfect as such. In the end, we carry the guilt as if we if we have not done enough. So this post is to remind myself  to take almost every opportunity that I have to be the perfect daughter whenever I’m with her.


Happy Mother’s Day Mummy dearest! Love you very much.

1st week of Ramadhan

After 2 years of not fasting, I have to say that sometimes I feel like I’m acting like a kid who just started fasting. The first day was manageable but that’s because I was on half day leave in the afternoon to run some errands. Second day was the worst – at 4pm I had gastric, my stomach felt cramped but I was determined to fast so I managed to hold on.

I guess my body had a shock.

So third day onwards I decided to make sure that I eat energy-rich food such as banana, oats, during sahur, and I felt better. It did give me the extra energy I needed. But still, after buka puasa, I was dead tired I could literally sleep anywhere I want. I didn’t sleep back after sahur in the morning so by 9pm I was super sleepy already.

Weekend is usually tougher because you don’t have work to do to distract yourself from feeling hungry. So right now I’m just going to chill. Probably take an afternoon nap.

Selamat berbuka to those of you who are fasting! We can do this for the next 3 weeks!!

Happy 1st Anniversary Malaysia Baharu

That was yesterday though, 9 May 2019. Proud to say that I was one of the 5.7m Malaysians who voted for the change last year. I was ecstatic, I was pleased, I got goose bumps when the results were announced last year.

Little did I know, it has direct implications to the organisation I’m working at.There was a change in leadership, change in mandate (not very different to be honest but clearer) and change in strategy. I was sad because the previous leader was indeed a true leader to me, one that is visionary and always think for the betterment of the organisation. He was able to gather and influence people to rise to achieve a goal that he truly believes in, a concerted effort that is, like in an orchestra.

But, I have faith in the new government and I have faith in the new leadership. Being a realistic optimist that I am, I marched on, helping the organisation to go through the changes in the realm that I am capable of because what I do, think or advocate is always in the interest of the organisation, not myself, not my department only. For someone who gets bored easily, I am always motivated to change, for the purpose of improvement and as part of progress. So change is good. But I have to say that transition is not easy, you have to learn how to adapt, you have to change the way you do and view things, just like in the first few months of marriage, the first few months after having a child and so on. At individual or couple’s level, it is less difficult, but at organisation level, it is difficult. You need the whole organisation to be aligned and move in a concerted manner. It takes time.

So just imagine the difficulty at a country’s level. It’s going to take time to see the positive impact. We have to have faith and patience. Rather than complaining, be part of the solution and think of how you can contribute. I get annoyed when people especially those who voted for the change feel unhappy with the progress made by the new government. Now that it is possible for a government to change, they think that they could do it again the next time in the next election. I hope we will all think rationally and not emotionally when we make decisions, I expect more from the educated ones. If it’s a corrupt government, then of course we should hope for a change. But if it’s not, why change course? At least not in the short period of time. While I believe that change is good, changing too frequently is detrimental to organisations. How many times do you want to change your strategy? How do you expect people to execute if you keep changing your strategy? Think about it.

As what our prime minister said yesterday,

Banyak yang telah kita lalui bersama di dalam negara yang kita panggil Malaysia. Ini negara kita. Kitalah yang akan menentukan nasib kita.

Bangunlah dan berjuanglah untuk mencapai matlamat negara tercinta ini.

Let’s strive together towards achieving Shared Prosperity 2030 shall we?

Happy 1st anniversary Malaysia Baharu!


The Danish way of parenting

I was at Kinokuniya on Tuesday looking for new books for my son. Then I decided to get one for myself on parenting. It’s been awhile since I last read from a hard copy book eversince I read the soft copy version through Kindle app on my iPhone. The only downside is I couldn’t read in front of my son because then he would think I am using my phone continuously when I am trying to reduce significantly his screen time. I don’t want him to think that if Mummy can use gadgets, why can’t I?

So anyway, I picked up “The Danish Way of Parenting” book by Jessica Joelle Alexander and Iben Dissing Sandahl. The former is an American mom married to a Dane while the latter is a Danish psychotherapist, also a mom. I chose the book because (1) it’s located in the best-seller section so it should be good and (2) just by flipping the pages I saw that the book relates to how the brain works which is something that I have always wanted to understand so that I can make informed decisions on what’s best for my son rather than just relying on what other mothers do.

I’m only halfway through the book but a lot of the things the authors said reminds me of how my parents brought me up. They are not Danish nor they are wealthy, but they have raised me successfully to be resilient and always positive, or as the book defined – a realistic optimist. These are the core characteristics that the Danes would instill in their children.

They don’t use praise as a default response when the kids achieve something but instead focus on the process or effort the children put in. By doing so, they believe that the children will understand that it’s the perseverance that matters most, not the innate ability. Too much praise will give the children the wrong motivation to be successful – i.e. to yearn for acknowledgement and praise, not because they willingly want to be successful. The idea is to mould the children’s inner drive so that they know that they are in control of their lives when shit happens. Of course in reality you can’t run away from being affected by external factors such as environment or fate, but those are beyond your control.  But when shit happens, we know that only we can help ourselves and steer back our lives to the right directions.

As I reflect back, I remember, when I was young, my parents never forced me to study hard. I remember, they didn’t tell me which degree course I should take. I did it willingly, and I always found myself happy studying. When I didn’t get an A like I always do (not bragging but trying to paint the picture here), I remember my late dad always said, “It’s okay, I know you will get it the next time, even if you don’t get it the next time, I know you will try harder and not give up until you get it”. Not just when I was young but also when I’ve started working and doing my CFA exams. I wasn’t among the ones who pass all CFA exams at one go, so when I failed the 2nd level for the first time, I remember my late dad said just before I opened my results, “It’s okay, I know you will pass, even if you don’t pass, I know you will keep trying and eventually pass”. And that’s all that matters to me and I eventually earned my CFA charter. I passed the 2nd level the second time I sat for the exam. Failed the 3rd and final level the first time too but passed the second time.

So I never felt the pressure from them, any pressure that I have all comes from within, which is not necessarily a good thing too but it is something that I have learned over time, to set realistic expectations. One thing to note is that, every willingness comes from a driving force. Something must have fire you to be willingly, to be wanting the success. For me, when I was young, while it wasn’t my parents forcing directly, it was the environment that I was living in that shaped my desires. My mom was the bread winner and she worked tirelessly, she was an adopted child who never got the chance to study, she could only hide under the table to do her homework when she can. Had she was given the opportunity, she may have earned a degree or even got the chance to study overseas, like me and her life may have been different. So ever since young, I vowed to work hard, to be successful, especially when I was given all the opportunities to study, unlike my mom and most importantly to always bounce back from whatever life throws at you.

I hope I could instill this upbringing to all my children (when I have more). I hope the kiasu in me will not drive them crazy, something that I must be mindful of. I shouldn’t set any expectations, but I should inspire them instead. They must earn their own driving force.




Learning as a way to avoid expertise trap

I don’t know how many times I’ve stressed the importance of learning continuously in my blog. You can type “knowledge” or “learning” or “education” in the search box or read this post – Self-learning Mindset. However, I’ve kept it opened for everyone, be it students, teachers, bosses, workers, parents, rich and poor, young and old etc and even for myself as a reminder. Learning is a must for everybody and it is a lifelong pursuit.

Today, I want to reiterate the importance of learning to people who are already in the workforce. In the recent HBR issue, there’s an article that emphasized the need to “rededicate ourselves to learning and growth” to avoid falling into the expertise trap. I would highly recommend you to read the full article here. When you think you are an expert in an area and you don’t keep an open-mind to other people’s ideas and views, the risk of you overlooking the blind spots is high, which can then lead to poor execution and subpar results, as highlighted in the article.

Here’s an excerpt from the article that describes vividly the impact of falling into the expertise trap:

When we begin to identify as experts, our outlook can narrow, both in daily work and in times of crisis. We become reluctant to admit mistakes and failings, thus hindering our development. We distance ourselves from those “beneath” us, making it harder to earn their affection and trust. And as the dynamics of our businesses change, we risk being bypassed or replaced by colleagues on the rise, outsiders adept at learning new things, or artificial intelligence algorithms that can perform rote tasks faster and better than we can. Over time the very expertise that led to our success can leave us feeling unhappy, unsatisfied, and stuck.

Hope this will encourage you to learn more to stay current in the area of your expertise or even learn new skills. It’s not easy to carve out time for this especially when you are drowned with day-to-day work, meetings, emails, presentations, and by the time you are done for the day you are just mentally tired.

But there is no shortcut to this. I personally find that the only way is to force yourself everyday and intermittently if you have to. If you wait for the right time to do it, wait until you apply for a leave to spend the time learning, something else props up and you will forever lose the time and stuck in the expertise trap.