Sunday, January 7, 2018

Life Is Too Short - Experiencing The Pain Of Life

This week has been an extremely tough week for me as well as my family. On new year's eve, I received information that my cousin could have got into an accident. Moments later, his passing away was confirmed which was a devastating news for me personally. He was only 27 years old and just celebrated his birthday a few days before the incident happened.

This cousin was close to me, very close in fact. 2 days before his passing on, we still communicated on the phone and I said that when he comes back from his overseas trip, we can arrange a time to meet. But, he didn't manage to come back. The whole of this week was very tough. We tried to help out for his wake as much as possible. It was an emotional 3 days as his friends came one after another. Hundreds of them came from all across Singapore. Some gave their eulogy and I could sense my cousin made an impact in his short 27 years of his life.

It is painful to lose someone close to you in life. We grew up in the same neighbourhood together for the past 20 over years. I would go over to his house and he to my house as we stayed quite nearby. A lot of things I do now still reminds me of him. Even going to the gym this morning reminds me of him because we went to gym together before and he would always encourage me to do more sets and tell me how the exercises should be done. We also had late night chats at one of the benches at the sports complex. Its hard to forget someone close and really now I understand what it means to lose someone.

My cousin was special. He was passionate about finance and investments as well. We often talked about life, about investments and the dreams he had to have his own business. Knowing I had a financial blog, he got me involved in the investment club he was in at NTU. I attended a few events organised by NTU interactive investment club back in 2015 such as FINEX which is a financial amazing race style event, Singapore Financial conference and lastly the National Cashflow competition. Some of you may have attended these events too as I posted it on my blog.

The national cashflow competition used the financial boardgame cashflow 101 for many years but some of the concepts were not that applicable in the Singapore context. One of his NTU professors whom he respected a lot came for the wake. The professor said he was a special student, often standing out among the class. When the professor said maybe we should have a Singapore version financial board game, my cousin was quick to take up the task and created a whole new financial board game for use for the competition. To this day, I'm impressed with the concepts he came out, the game flow and the many late nights he spent just to complete the board game in time for the competition. The financial board game was named Asset Finesse which means having the skills and ability to manage our assets with ease. I was told by the professor that the game is still used in the national cashflow competition till this day. He has indeed left a legacy behind.

As you can see, the board game was played by hundreds of students all across Singapore, 500 to be exact every year. I am proud of the achievements he has made. Even though he is no longer in this world, the ideas he left behind is still making an impact.

He was also very hardworking in his life. He made it to the deans list during his studies in a local Polytechnic. In army, he made it as an officer. In University, he was actively involved in the investment club and still got a first class honours for his degree despite his busy schedule. At work, he got a scholarship from Spring Singapore and started work in an SME under their management associate program. For his life, I would think he has lived a fruitful one. He went to Indonesia to start a business for 6 months and he managed to speak fluent Bahasa Indonesia in a short time. He also went travelling to many countries, making new friends and was also able to pick up and speak fluent Japanese.

I'm sure he is in a better place now with no sorrows or worries or burden. We are both Christians and we believe in eternity. When I received news of his passing on, a passage from the bible just pop up in my mind which I reproduce below:

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. 

A time to be born and a time to die. 
A time to plant and a time to harvest. 
A time to kill and a time to heal. 
A time to tear down and a time to build up. 
A time to cry and a time to laugh. 
A time to grieve and a time to dance. 
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. 
A time to embrace and a time to turn away. 
A time to search and a time to quit searching. 
A time to keep and a time to throw away. 
A time to tear and a time to mend. 
A time to be quiet and a time to speak. 
A time to love and a time to hate. 
A time for war and a time for peace. 

What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him. What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

Life is short. Experiencing this episode has changed the way I see life from now onward. Who would have expected that a young man in his 20s would pass away so quickly. Rest in peace my dear cousin and till we meet again in heaven. 


  1. In your "How I Save Almost 100% Of My Salary In 2017 And How You Can Do It Too" post, u replied to a comment that "Yes balance is the key to life. Easier said than done though." What's the difference between u see life at that time and now?

    1. Hi,

      We should never take life for granted. While planning is important, now I think we should really live the life we want and make an impact as much as possible.

  2. My deepest condolences to you and your cousin's family! Take care....

  3. Hi SGYI,

    My deepest and sincerest condolences. I for one in my 42 years of my life have lost many loved ones, both families and friends. I have questioned my own identity and the real meaning of life and came to the exact same conclusion as the one you mentioned in the Bible passage. I’m not a Christian but I do believe that what the passage says is very true. Where there is light there will be darkness and when there’s life there will be death. Life is indeed very short, so cherish every moment of it and make it as meaningful as you can, love as much and give as much as you can. I’ve been on your mailing list for over a year now, I’ve been reading all the financial advice and investment tips you have provided and I thank you for them as they have given me the confidence to setup my own CDP account and thought me the importance of savings and financial planning.

    As for leaving behind a legacy, you should be proud of yourself as well, as your investment blog is proof of a living legacy for it does help to change and improve lives. For that, I thank you.


    1. Hi MT,

      Thank you for taking the time to write this comment. When i read it, I felt more assured that I'm not alone in this. Your words helped to encourage me.

      I'm glad my blog managed to make an impact in your life. This ia really encouraging and will motivate me to write more good articles for the people out there. Yes life is really short. I'm just beginning to understand what life is about. I'm sure there will be more as we joirney through life. Thank you.

  4. Replies
    1. Hi Jaded,

      Thank you for your well wishes!

  5. SGYI

    My condolences.

    I am a believer in Christ and trust he is now in God's good care.

    1. Hi B,

      Thank you for your assurance. Yes i believe he is with God now resting in peace.

  6. Hi SGYI,

    My condolences to your family and your cousin's family. Take care and God's peace be with you.

  7. Who can really understand fully how God works?

    i can only understand from a anonymous Christian's prayer that says,

    "No one reacts to things as they are but to one's own mental images. It is not what happens to me in life that matters, but rather how i react to what happens.

    To me we all have to accept we are only mere mortal no matter how great we think we are.


    1. Hi temperament,

      Thanks for your wise words. Indeed its how we react to what happens that matters.

  8. Hi SGYI,

    Thanks for sharing your life experience. Your cousin is in a better place and watching you from above. Stay strong!


  9. My condolences to you Sir. May your cousin rest in peace and be free of suffering, and may you be healthy, free, safe and free of suffering. Take care and best wishes ahead.