Friday, August 23, 2019

Electric cars are about lifestyle

I am confused with the statement by the environment minister that electric cars are about "lifestyle" and does not help to combat climate change. Read the article here.

Let me deal with the points raised by the minister.

Wisdom of the crowd

1. Should the salary of the CEO of a state owned company be disclosed?
2. How can the judiciary be independent of the government?

Give your vote in

Erratic bus schedules

Some of my fans would have noticed that I report regularly on erratic bus arrivals, and add the cheeky comment - Tell KBW (KBW is the initial of our transport minister),

Here are my reasons.

Alternative solutions to the problems faced by the people

The PAP supporters' most common argument is besides Singapore, where in the world can you get a
Home Improvement / Upgrading in which government pays 90% and residents just 10%?

Other than that, they said past and present opposition only know how to complain but don't know how to find and present solutions.

If you want to look for alternative solutions from the non PAP parties, here is a place you can look.

The SDP provides alternative solutions for housing, education, healthcare and many other areas.

Huawei and Americ's trade war

Hi Kin Lian,

Consider this video report from RT America on Huawei and Amerika's trade war. IMO, this is why Huawei will overcome and Amerika will face long term issues. This is also why Socialism with Chinese characteristics works, even for a multinational corporation like Huawei. 100,000 employees who are part-owners of the company and other points.

WOTC: Protest in HK

Wisdom of the Crowd: 27% of the participants in this survey said that the protesters are brave in fighting for changes to their government. The other participants have other views.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC: Should females do national service?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 27% of the participants in this survey said that females should be required to do national service but given the option of non combat duties. The other participants opted for other options.

See the detailed results in

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Wisdom of the Crowd

New issues for voting:

1. Should the govt provide pneumococcal vaccination free to citizens?
2. What are your views about the People's Voice Party (under Lim Tean)?

Give your vote in

How will the HDB home improvement program affect the general election?

Mr Tan,

What are your thoughts on PAP's Home Improvement Programme?

Here is an article for your better understanding:

This is also an explanation on what Lee Hsien Loong talks of VERS, HIP1 and HIP2 in last year's National Day Rally.

About 2-3 weeks ago, Dr Chee and his SDP went to my Jurong East or Yuhua constituency in reaching out, networking and connecting with my residents.

I don't mean to be negative but while I appreciated their efforts, I don't think they will win.

Reason is because we have had a Home Improvement Polling Day last Sunday in my area by my MP Grace Fu. Most residents supported the programme wholeheartedly. After all, the government pays 3/4 of the costs or over $15000 while the residents pay the rest.

The Hip Improvement Program is attractive to the HDB residents, as a large part of the cost is paid by the government.

When it comes to voting at the general election, the voters have to consider many other issues, such as cost of living, jobs, CPF, health care cost, etc. I think they will not be voting based on the benefit that they get from the upgrading program only.

Quora: Will China make concessions on the US trade deal or will the US and Trump have to back down?

Ridzwan Abdul Rahman, Self employed (2000-present)
Answered Aug 8

China is not about to give any more concessions. In fact, it appears that they don’t even care anymore whether there is a trade deal or not.

They have stopped completely buying agricultural products from the US and have allowed the value of their currency to be determined by market forces.

Despite the tariffs, China’s exports are increasing. Worldwide export was worth $2.26 trillion in 2017. It increased to $2.48 trillion in 2018, despite the US tariffs. The US tariffs did not stop China from growing. This means that China has found new markets to more than make up for the drop in US purchases.

This puts the pressure on Trump. With China having stopped completely from buying US agricultural products, Trump will be under pressure to regain the support of the agricultural community who have now lost a good customer!

But that’s not all.

Boeing has built a manufacturing facility in China, hoping to win some of the 7,240 new planes that China will need over the next 20 years. The trade war may well work against them.

There are several US car manufacturers in China. Among them are Tesla, Ford and General Motors. The Chinese might ignore them and buy European cars instead.

There are many US technology companies in China. Among them are Apple and Dell. China has been a huge market for them. But they too might face a Chinese boycott.

Trump is wrong in considering only China’s imports from the US, because the bulk of US products that are bought by the Chinese are actually made in China! If the Chinese were to stop buying, then the US companies’ profits would drop significantly.

WOTC - Females vote for PAP?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 66% of the participants in this survey said that females are more likely to vote for the PAP.

See the breakdown of the votes and their reasons

WOTC - US presidential election 2020

Wisdom of the Crowd: 33% of the participants who voted in this survey prefer Donald Trump to be re-elected as the president of the United States. the other 67% chose one of the three Democratic candidates.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Quora: Is Trump correct to say the longer the trade war goes on, the weaker China gets?

Mike Madore Answered

If you take the time of following this simple reasoning, you will be stunned when you realize what is really happening.

If China builds a bicycle to export to the US, it is because their cheaper labor cost makes it economically feasible. And if the US president impose a tariff on those bicycles, an importer, who is a business man doing business in the US, will have to pay the original price to the Chinese manufacturer, and also the Tariff to the US government, and those tariffs will then be included in the purchase prices to the American consumers. So what is true is that the Chinese are not paying those tariffs, the Us consumers is who is paying those tariffs.

It also is that the Chinese are not much concern about buying manufactured goods from the US, and it is because cheaper labor in China, makes manufacturing all their goods cheaper in their own country.

It also is that the Chinese manufacturer might find a partner in France who is in the export business, and ship him those same bicycles with a tag on them that says “Made In France”, and voila, these same Chinese bicycles are back entering in the US as French Manufactured goods, and the tariffs imposed by the US president becomes a laughing matter.

But what they needed to import was farm product from the US, and we are all aware that American farmers are now paying an awful price after having lost the Chinese market, and it is going to be much too easy for the Chinese to buy their farm products from other countries in the world, and I am sure that these other countries will not miss the opportunity to secure and keep their Chinese customers.

So what is true is that the longer the trade war goes on, it is the US who is being driven to become weaker, and the damage after Trump, might not even be repairable,

After all, if you got a bad deal from a place you do business with, like where you buy your car, is there a strong chance you might never go back there to buy another car.

So you might now understand that it is absolutely stunning to hear Trump, repeatedly claim that the Chinese are pouring billions of dollars into the US.

WOTC - National Day Parade

Wisdom of the Crowd: 88% of the participants in this survey were not impressed with the National Day Parade. 12% were positive about it.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Reform the education system

Wisdom of the Crowd: 75% of the participants in this survey said, if they were the education minister, they would take the bold steps to reform the education system instead of making minor changes.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Firms look to govt to help meet higher CPF contribution for older workers

I read a report that the firms are looking towards the govt to help meet higher CPF contribution for older workers. The govt announced that they will phase out the increase over 10 years.

I suggest the following approach:

Trump imposed tariff on addition $300 billion of imports from China

Quora: Is President Trump's announcement of adding an additional $300 billion in tariffs on China starting September 1, 2019 mean that China is not backing down in trade talks?

Richard Haywood, An American who has lived in China since 2012 Answered

Wait a minute…he is NOT adding an additional $300 billion in tariffs (read taxes on the poor and the middle class). He is adding taxes to $300 billion of goods imported from China. Huge difference.

The actual taxes raised by the Treasury are $30 billion. CHINA PAYS ZERO DOLLARS IT IS THE USA THAT PAYS either importers or consumers and it is paid to the USA treasury.

It is a way of rising taxes on the middle class and the poor without calling it that while still allowing massive tax cuts to the rich and corporations.

Maybe China will loss some business (huh??? imports from China are up since the Trump taxes, exports are down) or bottom line it is hurting the USA consumers and employees not Chinese.

Many companies are not paying any taxes now so they can easily absorb the taxes Trumps has levied (it is a business cost deduction after all) or they just pass it on to the consumer who pays the tax (like a value dded tax but gets no deduction).

The $1,000 TV is NOT going up $100. Remember it is a tax levied on the imported price. Maybe the wholesale price is $500 so it is a $50 tax to the importer and they pay it to the US treasury to be lost in the $trillion deficit Trump admires so much and the GOP is so proud of that they have encouraged for over 40 years.

Or they absorb all or part of it but pass the rest on to the retailer who absorbs all or part and passes the rest on. Maybe you, the consumer will see no difference or maybe the price will go up by $20.

Chinese economic woes are self inflicted as it cuts infrastructure growth, and tries to promote consumer spending. Chinese GDP growth is 6%, inflation 2.6% for real growth of over 3% the USA inflation of about 1.6% and GDP growth of 2.1% or real growth of less than .5%.

China growth is much stronger than USA’s, it exports worldwide are up, it exports to the USA are up, its imports from the USA are down. So far the only impact is in farm goods and the Chinese have increased imports of soybeans from South American and locally grown as their needs have plummeted because of the Asian swine flue has killed off 25% of its pig herds which are the primary consumers of soybean imports. 25% of their herd represents a loss GREATER than the combined herds of North America and Europe so pork prices are up in China.

China does not rely on America for much of its critical needs wheres the USA does rely on China for much of its consumer driven market. Bottom line, the USA has shot itself in the foot, China may stumble but quickly regain its footing.

China looks 30–50 years into the future, the USA at the next quarter ot next year, Business investment in the USA has plummeted, even foreign business investment has plunged, economic growth is based on flooding the market with cheap money in the USA not strong business fundamentals. In China foreign business investment continue to grow at 3 to 7% unchanged, tech investments are up 40% in 2019.

China is eating the USA’s lunch. Guess who the smart money is on?

Troublesome to make a payment at the polyclinic

After my vaccination, the nurse asked me to go to make a payment for the treatment.

It was really troublesome and unproductive. It has been like that for decades.

Pneumococcal vaccination

I received an advisory from the ministry of health last year to have a pneumococcal vaccination. I carried out the follow up vaccination today.

The total cost for 2 jabs was about $200. It was expensive. There was no government subsidy.

I am not complaining for myself. I can afford it. But what are low income people?

New issues for voting

Vote on these issues in the Wisdom of the Crowd.

1. Does the PAP really care for the welfare of the people?
2. Should we spend $100 billion to protect Singapore from rising sea levels?
3. How do you find the SDP's response to PM Lee's rally speech?

Click here

WOTC - Will you vote for Li Hongyi?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 85% of the participants in this survey will not vote for Li Hong yi (LHL's son) in the general election. The other 15% are neutral or supportive.
see the breakdown of the votes in

Monday, August 19, 2019

Spend $100 billion to deal with climate change?

I agree that we need to deal with climate change. I am not sure if we need to spend $100 billion to achieve this goal.

What I know is that we have another goal that is more urgent and more immediate. We need to bring down our cost of living. We can bring it down by more than 7%, if we abolish our GST immediately.

How does a streamlined bus system look like?

I advocated that our current network of over 300 bus services be streamlined to a few number of local services and express services (that run on expressways to other towns).

This is how the streamlined bus system will look like.

Wisdom of the Crowd

New issues for voting in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

1. How do you find PM Lee's speech at the National Day Rally?
2. Will PM Lee's speech at the Rally win more votes for PAP?
3. Should voting be compulsory?

Give your vote in

WOTC - Preferred political system

Wisdom of the Crowd: 38% of the participants in this survey preferred to follow the Swiss system of democracy (direct democracy), 24% the UK system (single member constituency) and 22% the German system (proportional representation).

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Who manipulates the value of a currency

Wisdom of the Crowd: 67% of the participants in this survey said that the government manipulates the value of the currency in a country. The remaining 33% said that other parties are responsible.

see the breakdown of the votes in

Secret of Xiaomi battery algorithm

I wore the Xiaomi smart band for one night and observed that it consumed only 1% of the battery. How was it possible for the band to be monitoring my heart for one night on only 1% of the small battery (90 mAh)?

Here is my hypothesis.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Wisdom of the Crowd

Should Singapore release its stimulus package now?
Give your vote in

We Have Ruined Childhood

New York Times:

For youngsters these days, an hour of free play is like a drop of water in the desert. Of course they’re miserable.

By Kim Brooks

How to control wasteful expenditure by bureaucracy

There was some consternation in social media about the $170 spent on a toilet tap in Woodlands Police Station. Why does the Police spend so much on a tap? Click here.

I recalled that the Pentagon (defense department of USA) also had a bad reputation for excessive spending. I found this article. It spent $640 on a toilet seat.

We are catching up with America on the wasteful spending.

Quora: What has China underestimated about the US?

Peter Talbot, Worked 30 years as a trade specialist in marine logistics answered.

China has never underestimated the size of the US markets, nor the effectiveness of the dollar as the world’s settlement currency. China has never underestimated US technical development (and have copied and tried to surpass the US in many respects). In balance, the Central Committee has also never underestimated the short-sightedness and racism of much US foreign policy due to the USA’s need to sound “populist” to motivate some voting blocs in elections.

China has occasionally underestimated the capacity of the US to be self-destructive and violent without any clear strategy or tactic for their military bluster. Given the familiarity of the CCP leadership with US academia and intelligentsia, and the multi-lingual nature of their internal debate, the only thing that China sometimes underestimates regarding the USA is its stupidity and unwillingness to learn from experience. The current illiterate and moronic administration of the USA and even its Democratic “populist” progressive opponents are very depressing to the Chinese, because they see America clearly sliding toward a shooting war just in order to prevent dealing with the consequences of the USA’s own policies regarding trade, Taiwan and energy.

WOTC - University places for international students

Wisdom of the Crowd: 49% of the participants in this survey said that 10% of the places in the university should be given to international students who meet the academic standards. 33% opted to allow 20% of the places to be given to international students who pay full fees.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - University places for locals

Wisdom of the Crowd: 55% of the participants in this survey said that students who meet the academic standard should be given a place in the university. 30% said that the university places should be increased to meet the local demand.

See the breakdown of the votes in

My experience with a smart watch and smart band

I wish to share my experience with a smart watch and a smart band. I know that my experience may be different from other users, so they are free to share their experience separately.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Wisdom of the Crowd

1. Are Singaporeans generally complacent about govt policies?
2. What should the prime minister talk about at the National Day Rally?
Give your vote in

Streamline the bus network

Many people are used to the current bus network of over 300 bus services. They find that more services allow them a better connection to other parts of Singapore.

They do not realize that this is an efficient system and will eventually lead higher labor cost and higher fares.

They complain when the government wants to increase fares to cover the operating cost.

A better approach is to streamline the bus network to improve efficiency and lower cost, without sacrificing the convenience and connectivity.

Unauthorised sign up by electricity retailers

When the retail electricity market was opened up, I wrote a letter which was published in the newspaper. i said that it was better to ask Singapore Power to reduce the electricity charges instead of opening up the market for competition.

I said that the market competition approach is wasteful and does not produce any real benefit. It created cost.

We are now seeing other bad outcomes from this decision to create competition. There are cases of unauthorised signing of the contracts.

This will not be the end. There will be many other problems that will follow from this bad and wasteful decision.

Leave it to the free market

When an issue comes out for discussion, I have often seen these statements that guide the views of many people:
a) Leave it to the free market
b) No bailout from the government.
We should not adopt these principles blindly. We should examine the circumstances where they are to be applied.

Lessons from history - capitalism and socialism

The lesson from history seemed to be obvious - capitalism succeeded, socialism failed. This was proven by the collapse of the Soviet Union and its adopted of democracy and capitalism.

This was the message that came out from the western world. They advocated democracy as the strategy to achieve economic progress and improvement in the standard of living.

Do not fall for this propaganda. The lesson is not as simple as it is made out to be.

Quora: Did the US just win the trade war?

Quora: Did the US just win the trade war by imposing tariffs on all of China's exports?

Mike Neville, 40 years in the customs brokerage biz. Answered

ALL of China’s exports don’t go to the USA so only a small fraction of their exports are affected.
Trump is now out of things to threaten to tax. What does he do next?

If Americans were buying less of China’s goods because of the higher price China just devalued it’s currency, or allowed it to sink a bit, so the price to the American consumer should remain the same. We’ll see, that will depend on the honesty of the American importers and retailers.
Further more, the currency devaluation has made Chinese goods even cheaper to every other country so we will be buying more. Thanks for the discount Trump.

Now let’s discuss China’s response.
China is buying no more agricultural products from the USA. This is not a drop in sales or a sales slump, these sales are GONE. Possibly never to return. 

The Republicans will bitch when the next Democrat President has to go begging to the Chinese to please buy a soy bean or two but remember who caused it. Russian and Brazilian farmers send their thanks.
China is buying no more lobster from the USA. The entire east coast lobster fishery depended on sales to China. Canada’s east coast lobstermen send their thanks.
China has canceled all purchases of American bourbon. When you live in a country of over a billion people you probably need a bourbon or two every night. Not sure who they will switch these purchases to as bourbon is a peculiarly American product. But it won’t be Budweiser.
China has canceled plans to buy new Boeing aircraft. Ouch that one has to hurt. Boeing is not doing so well these days.
And probably hundreds of others that I haven’t heard of yet, and thousands of little orders.

These tactics are causing drastic possibly permanent harm to specific parts of the American economy. These are not duty rates that are as transient as American Presidents. The Chinese plan in centuries, not 4 year Presidential terms. The Chinese President has no voters to answer to, he is in office for life.

While the American public and politicians dither about exactly who is paying Trump’s duties (not tariffs, a tariff is a book), or whether consumer prices are up a dime at Walmart. Thousands of farms are facing dire hardship or worse, hundreds of lobster boats are tying up for the last time, Jack Daniels is rolling over in his grave and Boeing workers wonder how secure their jobs are.

And China has just begun to fight. Their list of things they might not buy anymore is far from exhausted.

For the first time in 15 years Chinese tourism in the USA was down in 2019. That’s a 20 billion dollar a year business. Would be a shame if it dwindled to nothing. And the U.S. can’t retaliate. How many Americans vacation in China? Both countries have issued travel warning about each other.

So you think the U.S.A. is winning? You don’t own a farm or a lobster boat.

WOTC - Are Singaporeans compacent?

Are Singaporeans generally complacent about govt policies?
Give your vote in

WOTC: Should the govt help Hyflux?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 65% of the respondents in this survey said that the government should help Hyflux to find a solution. 35% said that Hyflux should solve the problem on its own.
See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC: approving securities for sale to public

Wisdom of the Crowd: 82% of the respondents said that the government should change its current approach in approving securities for sale to the public. 18% said is satisfied with the current approach.
See the breakdown of the votes in

Friday, August 16, 2019

How to regulate the ride hailing operators

69% of the participants in a poll like ride hailing operators to be regulated. 31% prefer that this matter be left to the free market.
See my views on the areas that need to be regulated.

Wisdom of the Crowd

How do you see China's response to the HK protests?
Give your vote in

WOTC: Trade war between US and China

Wisdom of the Crowd: 55% of the participants in this survey said that the trade war between US and America will drag on until the US 2020 election. 32% expect it to get worse.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Who has lost the way?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 75% of the participants in this survey said that the entire PAP cabinet has lost the way.
See the breakdown of the votes in

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Review loans to foreign workers

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has recently introduced some restrictions on loans given to foreign workers by money lenders. These restrictions do not appear to work, as the number of loans continue to increase.

Some people are calling for a total ban on these loans.

Here are my views:

Wisdom of the Crowd

How do you view the protesters in Hong Kong?
Give your vote in

WOTC - Who should take the blame for CECA?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 46% of the participants in the survey said that the leading of the negotiating team, Heng SK, should take the blame for the harmful effect of CECA. 27% said that the prime minister at that time, Goh CT, should shoulder the blame.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Is CECA beneficial to Singapore?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 98% of the participants in the survey found the CECA agreement with India to be harmful to Singapore. Only 2% found it to be beneficial.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Tracking of digital payment

Some people do not like digital payment because of the risk that the payment can be tracked.

I find this fear to be unjustified, for the following reasons:

China government is introducing digital currency

China has a successful cashless payment system involving e-wallets operated by AliPay and WeChat Pay. Still, the regulatory authority is rolling out their digital currency.

Singapore needs to learn from China about the strategy behind their move towards a digital currency. We need to use digital currency to replace paper currency and improve our payment system and reduce the cost of going business.

If China needs finds a need to introduce digital currency, surely the need is greater in Singapore, due to the heavy reliance on cash payments.

Invest in H shares of China blue chip companies

Prior to 1999, the blue chip shares in Singapore were separated into local tranche and foreign tranche for trading in the stock exchange. The local tranche can only be held by local entities. The foreign tranche can be held by local or foreign entities.

Due to the higher demand for the foreign tranche, the prices were higher than the local tranche by, if I remember correctly, about 30%.

Some local investors preferred to buy the foreign tranche because the prices were more higher and more active. They hope to make a "faster profit".

I was CEO for an insurance company. I insisted that all our shares were invested in the local tranche as it was cheaper, and the shares gets the same dividends and other rights.

In 1999, the government gave the green light for these blue chip shares to merge their local tranche and foreign tranches. They become just one tranche and both local and foreign investors are allowed to buy the shares.

The price of the merged tranche takes the higher price of the fireign tranche. Our portfolio of local tranche shares saw a large appreciation of 30%. It gave a hefty boost to our surplus.

I now see the same phenomena of blue chip shares of China that are traded in Shanghai and Shenzhen - the A shares, and those traded in Hong Kong - the H shares.

The price of the A shares are about 30% higher than the H shares. In the case of a particular share that I have invested, i.e. China Molybdenum (a mining company involved in rare earth), the difference is 80%.

I have decided to buy a large chunk of China Molybdenum shares in HK (HKG 3993) and wait for the prices to narrow. It will come one day.

Deal with the economic recession

The economic recession will be severe. We need to implement remedial measures to help the people of Singapore.

Tell Heng SK not to follow the expensive and ineffective measures adopted in the past.

We need new measures to deal with our problem.

He can take my ideas as shown here. He does not need to pay me any copyright, or worry that I will take over his position.

Why females prefer to vote for PAP

I have an exchange of email with another person. He asked why many Singaporean women - especially Chinese - still supported PAP?

He was referring to those who are highly educated and successful in their careers and holding positions in business development, professionals and top management.

They earn a high income between $6000-10000 per month and can be seen in networking events

Combined with their husbands' income, they have a total of over 1 million and more. They don't live in normal HDB but bungalows, semi-detached and condos and own cars.

I replied that I agree that most well educated women support the PAP. Perhaps one reason is that they do not have to perform National Service and have an advantage over the males.

They will suffer a disadvantage when it comes to raising children, but I understand that a high proportion opt to remain single. They also have the choice of marrying foreigners.

He replied that many of these women preferred to marry westerners because they communicate well and have better persuasion skills.

They married and moved out of Singapore and sometimes coming here occasionally to be with their families on Chinese New Year and National Day besides personal family occasions.

When he was a kid growing up in Holland Village during the 1970-80s, he had met many of them.

If you have ever been there and observed very carefully, you will soon realize the old shopping center is the dividing point between the rich and poor.

On one side are bungalows, semi-detached and condos while on the other are HDB, shop houses and old hawker center.

So even then, I already sensed elitism there.

The difference is obvious. The rich just entered the shops, see what they like and pay straight at counter while the middle income and poor just looked at certain items for a long time before deciding to buy or not to buy.

Most shop owners are friendlier to rich because the rich helped to generate more businesses and recommend their families and friends as well.

But again those are his experiences and opinions.

Wisdom of the Crowd

1. Are females more likely to vote for PAP?
2.Should females be required to do national service?

Give your vote in

WOTC - PSLE scoring system

Wisdom of the Crowd: 82% of the participants in this survey are not confident that the change in the PSLE scoring system will reduce the stress in our education system. 18% are more positive about this change.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Does Tan CB have a selfish reason?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 97% of the participants in this survey disagreed with Goh CT that Tan CB had a selfish personal reason to form the Progress Singapore Party. Only 3% agreed with that view.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Why females prefer to vote for PAP

I have an exchange of email with another person. He asked why many Singaporean women - especially Chinese - still supported PAP?

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Form a separate board to review the population policies

I suggest that a separate board should be formed to review the population policies.

The members of this board should be given the responsibility and the authority to think outside of the box. It should not be constrained by the past policies.

It is vital for Singapore to improve the fertility rate of our local population. We cannot remain at the current level, which is among the lowest in the world.

Online surveys by national Population and Talent Division

The Straits Times reported the findings from the online surveys:

Somehow, the surveys did not ask the right questions. My "common sense" tells me that many families cannot afford to raise children due to the high cost of living.

Vote on these issues

1. If you were education minister, will you reform the education system?
2. How do you find the 54th National Day parade?
3. Who do you prefer as the next president of the United States?

Give your vote in

Win prizes

You can win these prizes by voting in the Wisdom of the Crowd.

WOTC - Prospects for global stock market

Wisdom of the Crowd: 44% of the participants in this survey expect the stock market to muddle along in an erratic manner. 40% expect it to suffer a big drop. 15% expect it to remain robust.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - New PSLE scoring system

Wisdom of the Crowd: 73% of the participants in this survey were negative about the change in the PSLE scoring system. 21% were neutral and 6% were positive.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Launch of Progress Singapore Party

Wisdom of the Crowd: 78% of the participants in this survey were positive about the launch of Progress Singapore Party. The other 22% were not.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Rap by Nair siblings

Wisdom of the Crowd: 68% of the participants said that the rap against the Chinese made by the Nair siblings were light hearted and only mildly offensive. The Chinese would laugh it off.

The other 32% found the rap to be offensive.

See the breakdown of the results in

Monday, August 12, 2019

WOTC - Stimulus package for Singapore

Wisdom of the Crowd: 69% of the participants in this survey are not confident about the stimulus package that is hinted by Heng SK to deal with the economic downturn. 26% wish to see more details of the package. 5% are confident about the package.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Will China send in troops to deal with HK protest?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 37% of the participants in this survey said that China will probably have to send in troops to deal with the HK protest. 28% said that China was probably responsible for paying the thugs to beat up the protesters. The remaining 35% said that the protest will cease due to internal reasons.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Funding of HK protest

Wisdom of the Crowd: 50% of the participants in this survey said that the protest in Hong Kong were probably funded by foreign and vested interest. The other 50% said that the protesters were acting on a genuine concern for their future.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - First time voters

Wisdom of the Crowd: 67% of the participants in this survey said that the first time voters will vote against the PAP due to difficulty in getting a job and a bleak future. 33% said they will vote for PAP.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Friday, August 09, 2019

Should we continue with the competitive education system?

Over the past decades, we have adopted a competitive education system.
It has its advantages and drawbacks as explained here.

Which type of democratic system is better?

Should a country adopt a democratic system and which system should it adopt? How can Singapore change its political system?

How the Chinese Communist Party make their major decisions

I have been following this two week meeting of the Chinese Communist Party to understand how decisions are made within the CCP.

President Xi may be very powerful in China, but he still needs to get the support of the party leaders, including the previous leaders who have retired from the government.

Some of the hard liners wanted China to take a harder stand against America. President Xi has to convince them to support his approach.

Read this report from South China Morning Post

After Communist Party summer retreat, Xi Jinping is sticking to his policies

President has held at least four high-level meetings since the Beidaihe session wrapped up, but analysts say there are no signs of any big changes

President Xi Jinping appears to have successfully rallied the party around him at the Beidaihe meetings.

The annual gathering allows the leaders to break from their day-to-day work and engage with each other in a relaxed, informal setting where they can socialise and have discussions.

It has taken on an almost mystic status in Chinese politics, known as the place where major decisions are made while the country’s two dozen most powerful people are on their summer break.

This year, amid an escalating trade war with the US, a slowing economy and growing discontent at home, some China watchers were expecting Xi would face more pressure to make changes.

“Some people are saying, we are getting ourselves into trouble because we have been too tough, or we have been overly ambitious, we have become too impatient in showing that we are strong enough to resist US pressure,” said Wang Zhengxu, a professor of Chinese politics at the University of Nottingham’s China campus in Ningbo.

But Wang and others agreed that signals coming out of China after the Beidaihe retreat showed that Xi had things tightly under his control.

This is what happened in Beidaihe.

First, the president called a meeting with the country’s top generals and demanded that the military show absolute loyalty to the party. He also vowed to deepen the anti-corruption campaign to clean up the world’s largest fighting force. 

Two days later, Xi chaired a five-yearly propaganda and ideological work conference. Speaking to top officials, media chiefs and editors, the president called on them to close ranks around the “party core” and unify minds.

He followed this with another key meeting on law and order, asking officials to deepen reforms and safeguard the constitution. That call came after major constitutional revisions were made in March, including the controversial move to scrap presidential term limits.

Xi chaired a meeting on his signature “Belt and Road Initiative” at which he defended the trade and infrastructure strategy against criticism from Western countries.

Amid this flurry of activity, there have been subtle changes indicating a softer tone, but there has been no sign of any fundamental change to Xi’s key policies.

Analysts said it showed that Xi had successfully rallied the party around him at the Beidaihe meetings.

“So far, it hasn’t gotten out of control. After Beidaihe, [Xi] needs to continue to signal that things are still in order – that I am still in charge, and the direction the party points to is still the right direction,” Wang said.

While the trade war has given his critics more leeway to articulate their concerns, Xi remains the most powerful leader in China for decades, and any political dissent is too weak to substantially change the policy direction, said Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute in London.

“When things get tough, some noises will be made, but it doesn’t change the basic equation of the power balance,” he said. “Xi is still very, very powerful. What I think we may be seeing is that because these kinds of noises are now being heard – and much sooner I think than Xi was expecting – he will probably do even more to tighten up his power.”

After Tsinghua University law professor Xu Zhangrun criticised Xi’s administration in a widely circulated article, Beijing rolled out an extensive campaign to promote a “patriotic striving spirit” among Chinese intellectuals.

Meanwhile, the latest commentary from party mouthpiece People’s Daily on Wednesday said Xi “profoundly analysed the domestic and international situation” and had taken the right steps to safeguard the country’s security during a “critical period in China’s national rejuvenation

Analysts say Xi’s rhetoric appears to be an effort to play down China’s technological advances – given US fears that Chinese industrial policies will allow it to overtake America – as well as the belt and road plan amid “debt trap diplomacy” fears, particularly after the Malaysian government suspended two key projects.

“The Belt and Road Initiative is an economic cooperation initiative, not a geopolitical or military alliance,” Xi was quoted as saying by state news agency Xinhua. “It is an open and inclusive process,
and not about creating exclusive circles or a China club.”

But while Beijing has sought to allay suspicions about the belt and road plan, even softening its outward posture on the strategy, observers say it is unlikely the government will make any substantial policy changes to Xi’s pet project – or to China’s approach to the trade war with the US.

In fact, his recent speeches “indicate that he’s not satisfied with progress and wants tighter party control and better management of propaganda, the military, the legal system, and the belt and road”, said Michael Kovrig, senior adviser for the International Crisis Group.

Zhang Baohui, a political science professor from Lingnan University in Hong Kong, also said there had been no major changes.

“People who were expecting policy adjustments were proven to be wrong,” Zhang said. “Xi cannot afford to admit mistakes in his policies – that would further embolden his critics.”

Wisdom of the Crowd - choice of prizes

You have a choice of prizes when you win 10 points for voting in this website.

WOTC - Vote of adults with families

Wisdom of the Crowd: 70% of the participants in this survey said that the working adults with families will vote against the PAP. 30% said that they will vote for PAP.

See the detailed result in

WOTC - Vote of less educated older folks

Wisdom of the Crowd: 72% of the participants in this survey said that the less educated older folks for vote for the PAP. 28% said they will vote against the PAP.

See the detailed result in

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Feedback from the public

Read the feedback given by the public on the issues affecting Singaporeans and vote if you agree or disagree with the feedback.

Wisdom of the Crowd

Vote on these issues and win a prize.

WOTC - How will the older educated Singaporeans vote?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 70% of the participants in this survey said that the older educated Singaporeans will vote against the PAP at the next general election. 30% said that they will vote for PAP.

See their reasons in

WOTC - Does PAP take governance seriously?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 88% of the participants in this survey said that the PAP does not take governance seriously. 12% said they did.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Feedback with most views

Here are the feedback with the most views. They include letters written to the newspapers.

Financial support for foreign students

The education minister said that the government spends $238 million a year on scholarship and tuition grants for international students. This is only a small part of the $13 billion that the government spends on education, of which a large part is spent on educating local students.
Some Singaporeans are unhappy that they or their parents have to take up study loans while the government funds international students. Furthermore, the places taken up by the international students could have been given to local students who otherwise have to go to overseas universities to pursue their university degree at high cost.
I wish to share my views on this issue:

Wisdom of the Crowd

Vote on these issues:
1. Did the govt dealt with the Hyflux problem correctly?
2. Who should be given a place in the university?
3. Should university places be reserved exclusively for local students?
4. Who manipulates the currency of a country?

Give your vote in

Should PMDs be allowed to use the pavement?

The minister said that if PMDs are not allowed to use the pedestrian pavement, the riders will be forced to use the road and many accidents would happen.

An opponent commented - is it better to have accidents happen on the PMD riders or the pedestrians?

Here are my views

Swiss standard of living

I dedicate this song to all those people who are still sore that GCT did not give them the Swiss standard of living that they were "promised".

WOTC - section 377A of the constitution

Wisdom of the Crowd: 59% of the participants in this survey said that section 377A of the constitution should be repealed. The remaining 41% voted to keep this provision.

See the detailed result in

WOTC - Charging of PMDs

Wisdom of the crowd: 59% of the participants in this survey said that the owners should not charge their PMDs at residential premises. The other 41% asked for adequate safeguard to prevent fires.

See the detailed result in

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Reform the education system

90% of the participants in my Facebook poll said that we have to reform the education system, and not tinker with it.

In this post, I suggest how the education system should be reformed. Do you agree with my suggestion? If not, how do you want to reform it?

Reduce suicide rate among youths

To reduce the high suicide rate of youths, we need to give everyone a chance to make a living by doing any of the jobs - academic or non-academic, that is needed in our economy.

Here is my suggestion. Do you agree with this approach?

Why is customer service in China so much better than Singapore?

want to share my experience of customer service in China compared to Singapore. You call the big difference.

What is the source of the problem? It is just, may a say, a stupid SOP adopted by Singapore organizations.

Read this post

Improve customer service

We need to improve customer service in Singapore.

Many organizations provide bad customer service, as follows:

a) They take a long time to respond to customers
b) They make it difficult for customers to contact them by e-mail. The customers have to use their call centers, which is very difficult to get through to talk to a person.
c) They refuse to call customers by telephone

What can we do to improve customer service? Let me share my suggestion.

My journey to lose 10 kg in weight

A few people have asked me to share my experience of my journey to lose 10 kg in weight. What am I doing to achieve this goal?

Here is my story

Transport Hub

I created this website to make it easy for Singaporeans to plan their travel by ferry to the Riau Islands and by bus to the towns in Malaysia.

Select Singapore as your starting point and Batam as your destination. You can see the various ferry services and the departure times.

If you click on the operator, you can go to their webpage, view the fares and make a booking.

I hope that you find it useful.

Wisdom of the Crowd

New issues for voting:

1. Do you expect the trade war between US and China to be settled soon?
2. Does the government have a duty to scrutinize securities offered to the public?

Vote here and win prizes

Leaving debts to the next generation

Minister Chan Chun Sing said that accountability means not leaving debts to the next generation. I think that a better term to describe it is - financial responsibility.

This implies that a person is not financially responsible when he or she have to leave debts to the next generation.

But the government has to play its duty and responsibility to protect the interest of the people.

Here are my views

Win prizes by voting in Wisdom of the Crowd

You can win these prizes by voting on the issues in this website.

WOTC - How will the UK perform as an independent nation?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 81% of the participants in this survey said that the UK will do well as an independent nation, similar to Japan and South Korea. 19% said that their economy will suffer.

See the details in

WOTC - How will UK leave the EU

Wisdom of the Crowd: 50% of the participants in this survey said that the UK will leave the European Union without any deal. 46% said that there will be some deal. 4% expect a second referendum to be called.

See the details in

Monday, August 05, 2019

Accountability and financial responsibility

At a National Day speech in Tanjong Pagar, minister Chan Chun Sing said that accountability means not passing debts to children.

I don't know where he got this definition.

I would use the term "financial responsibility" to mean not passing debts to the next generation.

So, what does accountability mean? Read my views here.

Should older people step forward to cause change in government?

Dr. Tan Cheng Bock is 79 years old. He has stepped forward to form a new political party, the Progress Singapore Party, to effect an change in government in Singapore.

Is he too old? Should he leave this matter to younger people? Surely, the younger people have a stronger stake in the future?

I share my views.

Is alkaline water good for health?

My friend introduced me to an water ionizer which produces alkaline water. He found that it encouraged him to drink more water. There was a study in Japan that showed people who drink alkaline water had longer lifespan.

I bought the ionizer and found that the water does taste different, and I ended up drinking water more regularly. However, I am not able to determine if it improved my health condition.

I have been taking some non steroid anti inflammatory drug for occasional pain in the foot. My doctor advised that I have to take the drug after food or to accompany it with another drug that "protect the stomach". It seemed that the NSAID drug produced acid that can harm the stomach lining.

If body acid is the cause of damage to the stomach lining, would alkaline water help to prevent it?

My common sense suggest that it should.

I searched Google for information on "will alkaline water help to counteract body acid"?

I found this article

It mentioned an opinion from a doctor that it should be helpful, although it does not solve the underlying problem of the cause of body acid.

I wonder about this advice. Surely, most drugs are intended to address the immediate symptoms and do not solve the underlying cause? The NSAID remove the pain but does not stop its recurrence.

However, there is a mention about the lack of medical evidence on the benefit of alkaline water. Furthermore, alkaline water is not regulated by the Food and Drug Authority of America.

Why is the FDA not interested in researching alkaline water? Perhaps, the patent for the production of alkaline water is held in Japan. Furthermore, the American drug companies are probably more interested in selling their drugs to counteract body acid.

I wonder if there is commercial interest in guiding the work of the FDA. I suspect that this is the main reason.

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