Monday, March 30, 2020

Give a soft loan instead

During an economic downturn, it is difficult to decide on who should or should not get financial assistance from the government.

The government is reluctant to give money to people who can cope, so there have to draw a line somewhere to determine who are poor and need assistance, and who can do without assistance.

Wherever the line is drawn, there will be people on the margin that are left out. They will be unhappy.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Social distancing in public transport

Dear Kin Lian

With the safe distance measure being put in place , not only staff from the shopping mall being activated to help out, but also police officer to assist in crowd control management like assist in people queuing or either taking their temperature but with precaution taken ?

Should MRT and Bus queuing also have the 1m social distance

How serious can the pandemic be?

According to statistics from the World Health Organization, there were 30,879 deaths out of 663,740 infections around the world as at 29 March 2020. This implied a mortality rate of 4.6%.

Some people calculated that is the entire global population of 7.8 billion people become infected, the total deaths would be 351 million. If half of the population became infected, 175 million people would die.

WOTC - Where did the corona virus originate?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 37% of the respondents said that the corona virus was prevalent in the US before it was discovered in China. 32% said that it originated in Wuhan.

WOTC - Best way to use Tap Card

Wisdom of the Crowd: 47% of the respondents said that it is best to use the transit card as the tap card. 41% prefered to use the mobile phone.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Should schools be closed now to stop the spread of the corona virus?
2. What cause the big loss suffered by Singapore Airlines?

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Quora: Why didn't China setup medical tents?

Why didn't China set up medical tents instead of constructing the new hospitals for the Coronavirus? Even if the new hospitals were constructed quickly, the lag time early in the outbreak made the situation worse.

Answered by: Jean-Luc Liu, MSc Power Systems, Colleges and Universities (2022)

I actually asked a government official in Wuhan who works on repurposing public facilities into temporary hospitals the same question. He told me that while it is easy to set up tents, setting up sufficient waste processing capacity for the field hospital is much harder. If unprocessed waste from hospital goes into the Yangtze river by accident, all Chinese cities between Wuhan and Shanghai would have to be placed under quarantine. That is why the government rather set up temporary hospitals in the exhibition center (where 1000 patients have to share a bathroom) than planting tents in riverside parks.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Big loss due to speculative hedging practice

We cannot blame SIA for the loss caused by the ban on flights during the pandemic.

However, we should hold the management and board of SIA (and its parents Temasek Holdings) for the losses due to their speculative hedging practice. It is very bad.

Read my reason here:

Friday, March 27, 2020

Massive loss caused by triple whammy

Singapore Airlines is suffering a catastrophic loss of $2.5 billion. This is the result of a triple whammy. See the details here.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. What is a good way to do contact tracing
2. Is the social distancing regulations necessary?
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WOTC - Stop the spread of the virus

Wisdom of the Crowd: 60% of the respondents said that the social responsibility of the citizen is responsible for stopping the spread of the virus. 30% said that it is the actions taken by the government.

WOTC - Hold general election during a pandemic

Wisdom of the Crowd: 91% of the respondents said that it is unacceptable for the government to hold a general election in the midst of the corona virus pandemic.

Wear a mask

Someone asked the question - why do I wear a mask now, when I said earlier that there is no need to wear a mask?

That person is obviously stupid!

Give useful comment

Here is a way to give useful comment to a view expressed by another person:

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Lock down may not be the right strategy

It is now fashionable for governments to implement lock down to stop the spread of the corona virus. This requires people to stay at home for several weeks. This will be very costly to the country. Will it work?

If it works and the virus is eradicated, the economic cost may be worthwhile. But if it does not work, the price is too high.

There is no point in paying a high price to reduce the spread only to find that the virus is not totally eradicated and may return through a subsequent round of infection.

What is the alternative?

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Which method is best to reduce the spread of the corona virus?

Vote in

Three weeks to get a refund

I made a booking for massage service provided by the club to members.

The therapist resigned. I had a booking that was canceled. The club arranged to refund my booking fee. It took three weeks for them to write the refund cheque.

WOTC: General election in Singapore

Wisdom of the Crowd: 46% of the respondents expect the general election in Singapore to be held by June 2020. 21% expect it to be held in the third quarter of the year.

WOTC: Export of test kits for corona virus

Wisdom of the Crowd: 60% of the respondents said that China is already exporting the test kits for the corona virus in a large way.

UK approach towards containment

I like the approach that is adopted in the UK to contain the corona virus.

Wasted 1 hour to make a payment

I wasted one hour to make a payment to my employee for their salary for this month.
DBS has a ridiculous system under the online platform for business customers. It is called Ideal 3.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. What is the best way for a business to cut cost during an economic downturn?
2. What is the main reason for the increase in covid-19 cases?

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Quora: How come there is a sudden increase in COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases in the USA all of a sudden?

Clanton Sim, Ph.D Philosophy & Economics, University of California, Irvine (2019)

There’s no suddenness to this. Even at this late date, when S. Korea is doing up to 10,000 tests a day, and China is doing door-to-door swab tests, we, in the USA, have less than 75,000 test kits—with an additional 1.2 million test kits promised sometime next week. All this for a nation of 327.2 million people. My wife volunteers at an ER, and has witnessed hundreds of sick people, who wanted tests, being turned away because they did not meet the criteria. One man, who was Vietnamese, wanted his brother, who was visiting, to get tested. His brother was sick. He was turned away. This was two months ago. Now that test kits are slightly more available, all you need is a cough and an ok from your primary health care doctor to get tested.

There is no sudden surge. We only discover what we test for, and we have not tested but a handful of our population. They say we are low risk in the US. Based on what tests? Based only on the pittance of tests we have managed to give. We don’t know how far the contagion has spread, and that’s a fact.

Death of a young person from this virus

There is a report that a child under 18 has died from the coronavirus in California, Los Angeles County health officials announced Tuesday.

I expect the social media to be circulating this report as if it is dooms day.

The fact is that the death of young people from this virus is small, relative to the number of elderly people above 70 who have died. Maybe, the ratio is 1000 to 1.

Young people do die from many causes, so we do not need to be alarmed with a small number of deaths from the virus. We have to take it as an accident.

We only need to be alarmed when there is a large increase. I do not expect this to be the case.

So far, I have seen the government in many countries taking strong measures to stop the spread. I believe that many of these measures are over-reacting to the risk. The justification is - better be safe. OK, go ahead.

I expect that the governments will soon realize that the risk from the virus, while worse than a flu, does not justify the extreme measures that are being taken.

In a few weeks time, they will reduce the extreme measures.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

How South Korea tackle the corona virus epidemic

What South Korea did is remarkable. I hope Mr. Orange and his team learn from their experience.

They did contact tracing with existing electronic records, which are more effective than the wasteful manual recording of contract tracing details adopted under his Orange protocol.

And where are the 60 testing centers in Singapore (in proportion to the 600 testing centers in South Korea?

From New York Time:

How South Korea flattened the curve

South Korea reported its lowest number of cases since last month on Sunday — a remarkable turnaround from the several thousand cases that exploded there in late February and early March.

Its strategy was not the full lockdown that China employed, or even the widespread restrictions that the U.S. and Europe have implemented. Instead, it focused on swift, widespread testing and contact tracing, our Interpreter columnist writes.
In the week after its first reported case, South Korea moved rapidly, eventually opening 600 testing centers and keeping health workers safe by minimizing contact.

Once someone tested positive, officials meticulously traced their movements using security camera footage, credit card records, even GPS data from their cars and cellphones.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Which country has a good political system in dealing with its challenges
2. Which country adopt a good approach to deal with the corona virus?
3. What cause the low spread of the corona virus in Singapore

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WOTC - Collapse of global stock market

Wisdom of the Crowd: 54% of the respondents said the spread of the corona virus to Europe and America caused the collapse of the global stock markets. 26% said that it is due to the collapse of talk on oil production cuts.

WOTC - Stay at home

Wisdom of the Crowd: 67% of the respondents said it is better to stay at home or work from home.

Use existing drugs to treat covid-19 patients

This article in the New York Times said that nearly 70 drugs and experimental compounds may be effective in treating the coronavirus, as reported by a team of researchers.
Some of the medications are already used to treat other diseases, and repurposing them to treat Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, may be faster than trying to invent a new antiviral from scratch, the scientists said.

I agree with this approach.

Set up special medical facilities for Covid-19 patients

The ministry of health is arranging with private hospitals to take Covid-19 patients that are not critically ill. These patients have to be monitored for a few days and are discharged when they are tested to be negative for the virus.

I suggest that a separate approach be taken.

Quora: How do foreign soldiers view Singaporean soldiers and the SAF in general?

Bryan Mak Dewei, 3SG(NS), Infantry Sergeant (Res.) at Singapore Armed Forces (2015-present)

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting foreign soldiers during my time with the SAF and after, in civilian world I have met a fairly sizeable amount of Australian soldiers who have worked with or have interacted with Singaporean forces. But the most meaningful responses I received was from people that are/were Australian soldiers which I happen to encounter a fair bit of in my leisure events.

Its a question I myself like to ask them, “did you work with the SAF before? What do you think of us?” I tell them to be honest but frankly I don’t need to, they are very blunt people.

Most of the answers have been very positive, they found SAF personnel to be professional and well trained (by their standards). They complimented the SAF on its professionalism and competence mostly, a common metric being the efficiency. I’ve heard some Australian soldiers comment on our training culture which one said was “very angry” and “intense” which I attribute to the tekkan culture of the SAF and the Israeli-like obsession with ‘toughness’; lots of yelling, scolding and angry commanders.

I personally have never been “looked down upon” by Australian soldiers when they found out I was in the SAF and knowing the personality of those I interact with, they don’t seem to be people who mince words. Even as “just a National Serviceman” I’ve even had interesting conversations with these former or current Australian soldiers on military related matters and I find myself with my NS experiences alone able to keep up with these professional soldiers. Outside of just Australian soldiers, when I swap stories with foreign soldiers, sometimes I get reactions like “you did all that?” from foreign soldiers to which I reply “you didn’t???”

Infact I’ve often remarked to them that they have a higher opinion of the SAF then we do of ourselves.

However, they were particularly critical of one element of the SAF. Every year, the Australian Army hosts the Australian Army Skill at Arms Meeting (AASAM) and part of the competition involves inviting foreign militaries to compete, Singapore included. Several former long-serving Australian soldiers I met were very critical of many of the military delegations from Asia sent to AASAM to compete, including Singapore. As with many Asian countries sent for the competition, they thought poorly of the SAF’s Shooting Contingent as they felt the SAF, like many militaries were bending rules and not participating in the spirit of the competition by using non-standard equipment and only sending soldiers who were essentially competitive shooters whose job was solely dedicated to competition shooting, instead of selecting soldiers from line units. I find myself in agreement with the Australian soldiers, having been in the SAF’s shooting team briefly and witnessing the practices first hand. The competition is supposed to be a skill-at-arms competition akin to the Australian Army’s Duke of Gloucester Cup or the British Army’s Cambrian Patrol, not a shooting sports event.

For what its worth, I did visit an Australian Army reserve infantry unit’s open house once, and did ‘size them up’ a little by assessing their competence when interacting with the men from the unit and judging their drills during their demonstrations. I was honestly quite surprised to see how little difference there really was in terms of competence between the SAF and the ADF. A NSman or NSF could easily match and even outdo many of them!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Use cruise ships as temporary hospitals

During the current covid-19 epidemic, cruise ships have stopped their operations. Their customers stop joining cruises because of the fear of infection from other sick patients.

The government can charter these cruise ships to be used as temporary hospitals for the treatment of the infected patients.

Dealing with a large increase in Covid-19 infections

There is a widespread fear in many countries that the increase in the number of people with the covid-19 infections will overwhelm the hospitals.

This possible outcome can be managed. This is how it can be done.

Network of underground walkways

I discussed with my friend the concept of a network of underground walkways to connect all districts to the nearby transport hub or town center. This allowed passengers to walk a long distance in an air con tunnel and not worry about crossing the roads or walking in the rain and sun.

My friend is a retired pilot and had traveled around the world for over three decades.

He said that my concept is already seen in Osaka, Japan. There is a network of tunnels leading the the MRT stations. There are shops along the tunnels.

In my concept, the tunnels are mainly for walking. There will be some shops, but not many. I do not want it to be an underground mall.

To build the underground walkways, the cost can be quite modest. We can use modern tunnelling technology to bring down the cost considerably.

Walking is good for exercise and good health. We need to encourage people to walk long distance. An air con underground tunnel can be quite attractive.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. When do you expect the global stock markets to recover?
2. How many people will be killed by the corona virus in 2020

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Forecast - the global stock market will recover on 9 April

I posted a forecast - the global stock market will recover on 9 April 2020. It attracted a lot of interest. Several readers asked me to explain my forecast.

Here is my explanation.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Do we need to re-think our strategy of dealing with this pandemic?

It seems that a large number of residents returning from Europe has been found to have the virus.
This suggests that the epidemic is already quite widespread in Europe.

Death from pneumonia

Each year, 3 million people die from pneumonia world wide. Most of the deceased were elderly people who suffered lung infection by a germ.
The covid-19 virus may be a new strain of the virus, but even if it does not appear, many people who still have died from pneumonia.
Even though there is vaccine for the common flu and other known virus, it does not stop the 3 million deaths in a year.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Should the government call an early general election?
2. Is America helping the world by promoting "freedom and democracy"?

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WOTC - Has the government handled the epidemic well?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 55% of the respondents said that the government had handled the corona virus epidemic well. See their reasons below.

WOTC - Should schools be closed?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 63% of the respondents said that there is no need to close the schools at this time. See their reasons here.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Reckless to hold an early general election in the midst of the epidemic

The govt minister said that the corona virus is likely to be around for more than a year, so if the general election is delayed until April 2021, the voters will still be exposed to the risk of infection.

They use this argument to justify holding the election early, maybe within the next two months.

I find this reasoning to be ridiculous.

Many people are worried about the risk of infection during the election campaign and voting day.

Why take this risk, when we can wait for a better time within the next 12 months. By that time, a vaccine or cure could have been found for the virus. Maybe, by then, the virus would have been better contained or largely eliminated.

If the govt decide to call an early election, they are probably taking advantage of the fear and uncertainty to get more votes from the people. In doing so, they will be gambling with the lives of the voters.

I hope that the voters will see through the deception and deliver a shock result to the PAP. See the poem below.

Quora: Do you believe the US might be more efficient compared to China responding to an emergency like an epidemic virus?

Bob MacKenzie, former Business Owner and Manager. at Private Business Self Employed Thinker (1973-2019)

The A(H1N1) flue has been killing people in the USA since October 2019 and is still killing people there.

There are about 250,000 or more people hospitalized with it and about 14000 or more people have died from it. US travelers have been spreading the disease around the world since October infecting and killing unknown numbers of people.

Have you seen any attempts to stop the flu killing so many people in the US not to mention the world?

NO, of course not. The US MSM has focused your attention on the Covid-19 virus attacking China that has infected about 65000 world wide and killed about 1700.

China is not the problem, the USA is the problem.

This A(H1N1) strain is a more dangerous flu strain than the Covid-19 virus and was a pandemic virus in 2009. CDC estimates the A(H1N1) virus could kill as many as 30,000 people in the USA alone before it stops in 2020.

The USA government obviously does not have the ability to do anything for the people of the USA except feed them a line of feel good propaganda and watch them die.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Is it a good decision for Malaysia to impose a ban on international travel?
2. What is the best way to stop the spread of the virus?

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WOTC - Infected with corona virus

Wisdom of the Crowd: 93% of the respondents said that TKL would recover if he is infected with the corona virus. The remaining 7% wish him ill.

WOTC - PM Muyhiddin of Malaysia

Wisdom of the Crowd: 85% of the respondents do not expect PM Muhyiddin to continue till the end of the term.

See their reasons in

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Lippo Mall - selling at a big discount

I bought Lippo Mall Trust at the price of $0.22. It had a dividend yield of 8%. It owns several malls in Indonesia. During the past five years, the average price was $0.35 and the highest was $0.50.

The share price dropped to below $0.11 today. An existing shareholder had a large lot to sell.

I wondered if the company was in financial trouble. I looked at Yahoo Finance website and saw the past four years. The interest expense (to pay the borrowings) was only 20% of the operating income. Even if the rental income dropped by 50%, it could easily cover the interest payment. The debt to equity ratio is 60% (which is acceptable).

I do not know if they have a large borrowing that is due for re-financing. Even if they have, they should be able to refinance it.

I do not know why the existing shareholder is keen to sell the shares at such a big discount. Maybe, he need to raise cash to pay off some debt elsewhere.

So, I bought the shares.

Maybe the covid-19 virus is already widespread

I wish to make an observation. I am aware that many people will disagree with me. Before they challenge me, I ask them to read my points carefully and consider them. I also ask them to verify the evidence for themselves.

There is widespread fear about the corona virus. Many countries have decided to ban international travel and impose control over local movement and workplaces. They want to stop the spread of the virus.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Is it good for a country to provide unemployment benefit?

Most developed countries provide unemployment benefit for workers who lose their jobs due to factors beyond their control. It is usually caused by downsizing, bankruptcy or relocation of their employer.

The unemployment benefit can be a certain period, say 6 or 12 months, and is based on the regular income.

The cost of the benefit is usually funded by a payroll tax, e.g. 3 percent of payroll. It may also be supported from general taxation.

Provide housing for Malaysian workers

The Malaysian government decided to implement a travel ban to and from Malaysia to combat the spread of the corona virus. This has affected 300,000 workers living in Malaysia and working in Singapore.

It highlights a problem that has existed for a long time, even before this travel ban.

Coping with the economic downturn

Paul Krugman wrote in the New York Times ....

If we think the worst will pass in a few months, it actually makes sense for most workers in the afflicted sectors to stay where they are and not work for a little while. That also means less G.D.P., but again, so be it.

So what’s the role of economic policy here? Two things. First, reduce the pain. Universal sick leave at close to full pay should just be the start; we should also be doing what Denmark is doing, and subsidize firms that keep paying wages. We should also dramatically increase aid to the unemployed.

Second, we should be funneling money into the economy to sustain spending on things that shouldn’t be affected by the virus. Job losses brought on by inadequate overall demand serve no purpose.

None of this would or should prevent at least a few months of economic contraction. But we could do a lot to make this plague less painful economically. I wish I had any confidence that we’ll do more than a small fraction of what we should.

TKL comment - I agree with this view. I have proposed similar measures here. Maybe, I should get the Nobel Prize for Economics also (P Krugman was given this prize in 2008)

Travel ban imposed by Malaysia

Malaysia decided to impose a ban on travel into and out of the country for a period of 14 days starting from 18 March. The reason for the travel ban is to stop the spread of the corona virus.

This affects 300,000 Malaysian workers that work in Singapore. After the decision was announced, some people wondered if exemptions would be given to these workers.

Surely, it would be proper for the Singapore and Malaysian governments to talk to each other and address this issue? There are valid grounds for the exemptions to be given. It will not create any health issue or cause any loophole.

Apparently, there was no such conversation. The travel ban went ahead, causing a lot of unnecessary disruption to the workers and the flow of food supplies from Malaysia.

With the recent change in leadership in Malaysia, and the close personal ties between the two prime ministers, the lack of a telephone call to discuss this issue was clearly disappointing.

What happened?

Ineffective to ban international travel

President Trump banned international arrivals from Europe to reduce the spread of the corona virus. This created serious consequences for the global economy. It disrupted travel and trade.

No immunity from hepatitis B

Twenty years ago, there was a scare with the Hepatitis B. The health experts recommended that every person should be immunized against it to prevent liver failure. It would be an painful episode leading to death.

Scary, isn't it.

I went for immunization against Hepatitis B. The result came back. If I remember correctly - the possible results were carrier, immune and no immunity.

I got no immunity. Apparently, it was okay to be a carrier (who has immunity) and to be immune. So, it was bad to be in the "no immunity" category.

The doctor advised me to go for another test. The same result came back - no immunity.

What should I do? The doctor said - there is nothing that can be done. Just hope that I do not die from hepatitis B.

I continued life as usual. I take cockles in my char kway teow and laksa. They are risky, right?

OK. I have not died yet. Maybe, I will die from liver failure caused by the hepatitis B virus before I reach 96. A few scare mongers are waiting to say - serve him right!

Lesson - accept life as it comes. Do not be too paranoid over matters beyond our control. Take sensible precautions and hope for the best.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. How serious will the corona virus pandemic become?
2. How will the covid-19 virus be eliminated?
Vote in

WOTC - Transparency in investments

Wisdom of the Crowd: 79% of the respondents said that a sovereign wealth fund should be transparent in its investments. 21% said that they should be allowed to keep some strategic investments secret.

WOTC - MPs should stick to the same political party

Wisdom of the Crowd: 74% of the respondents said that a MP should not be allowed to switch parties after an election. 26% disagreed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

How will the global stock market recover?

I like to give my views about how the global stock markets will recover. This will happen within the next few weeks.

Putting the deaths from corona virus in perspective

The fear of the corona virus is overblown. I wish to share some statistics to put this risk in perspective.

The fear about the corona virus is overblown

My friend shared a Facebook post from a university professor in South Korea. He said that he exercised daily at the gym and wash his hands several times a day. He still caught the corona virus. It was a mild infection, so he recovered and told his story.

Many fear mongers shared the story to suggest how dangerous the corona virus is. They are sending the wrong message.

How does South Korea deal with the corona virus?

The key factors in the South Korean approach are:

a) home quarantine
b) reduced social contact
c) free testing for corona virus, conducted on a wide scale.

Well done Korea.

Mr Orange, pay them a visit. Ask them if they also collect contact tracing details.…/south-koreas-coronavirus-response-op…

Monday, March 16, 2020

Measures to ensure that every citizens are employed

I carried out a survey and asked if it is the duty of the government to ensure that its citizens have jobs.

Over 80% said that it is.

If the government accepts this duty, here are the measures that it can take:

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. What is the best way to use the Tap Card?
2. Should we introduce driverless buses?

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WOTC - Corruption charges against Umno leaders

Wisdom of the Crowd: 93% of the respondents think that the corruption charges against the Umno leaders will be dropped under the Muyhidden govt. 7% think that it will continue.

WOTC - No confidence motion against Muyhidden govt

Wisdom of the Crowd: 48% of the respondents think that the opposition can pass a motion of no-confidence in the Muyhidden govt. The other 52% think that this will not happen.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Creating jobs in the age of automation

We need leaders who are innovative.

A challenge in the future is to create jobs for workers. Automation and artificial intelligence will destroy jobs.

When people are unemployed, they will not earn any income. They will not be able to buy the products that are being produced by the robots. The global economy cannot grow when the consumers are not able to buy the manufactured goods.

One way to create more jobs is to reduce the working hours. If working hours are reduced by 20%, the number of jobs will increase by 20%.

A new way to generate priority in a queue

Over 200 people registered in the queue to received 20 prizes for the set of 6 TKL books.

The winners were determined by a ballot. The ballot is carried out by an online algorithm. The platform is developed by TKL.

Some people asked me for the secret behind the algorithm. Do I have to use a random number generator to pick the next available person in the queue? Do I have to carry out this algorithm continuously until all the participants are picked?

I share this "secret". The algorithm is easier to use.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. What is the biggest factor in stopping the spread of the virus?
2. Where did the corona virus originate?

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WOTC - Healthy 365 app

Wisdom of the Crowd: 28% of the respondents used the Healthy 365 app regularly. 34% used it before but gave it up.

WOTC - Traitor to Pakatan govt

Wisdom of the Crowd: 50% of the respondents said that Dr. M is the biggest traitor to the Pakatan govt. 40% said that it is Azmin Ali. 10% chose Moyhidden Yasin.

Climate play a big part in the spread of the virus

An international media praised Singapore, HK and Taiwan for their successful effort in containing the spread of the virus.

They forget to look at the thermometer.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

WOTC - Change of government in Malaysia

Wisdom of the Crowd: 55% of the participants said that Dr. Mahathir plotted the coup at the beginning but it went out of his control. The other 45% had different perspectives.

WOTC - Stimulus measures in budget 2020

Wisdom of the Crowd: 87% of the participants are disappointed with the stimulus measures implemented in Budget 2020 for three reasons. 13% are happy with the measures.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. When do you expect general election to be called in Singapore?
2. Is it acceptable to hold a general election in the midst of the corona virus epidemic?

Vote in

How to cope with driverless bus

The self driving buses, which are expected to appear on the roads in the near future, will destroy the jobs for drivers, but will create new jobs.

It is relatively easy to implement self driving buses as they run on fixed routes and can be programed to handle fewer contingencies. It is more difficult to implement self driving cars which have to deal with more unexpected situations.

Quora: Is the USA or China more trustworthy?

When China devised its diplomatic framework in the 1950s, it stayed the same till this day that is mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non aggression, non interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.
When other countries deal with China, they know exactly what China wants and where the bottom lines are. It’s predictable. And they don’t have to worry that years later deals or terms would change because it’s always the same government under the same framework.
The US policies with other countries can change in four to eight years and they can be in totally different directions. What Barack Obama promised to other countries can go into total bust when Trump took the office. Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement thrown in the water. Paris Accord out of the way. Nuclear treaties with Iran tossed out. Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty abandoned. Sanctions are everywhere now not just to China, but to allies and foes all around.
With China, you don’t have to worry about these changes. With the US, you worry about who is going to win the next election and what would hold in the future for the relations with the US even for US allies.
The fact that Belt and Road Initiative is joined by over a hundred countries by now is the living proof that China is widely trusted. They know when China does something, she is committed.
For China’s foreign policy, there is another important element. China practices non-aligned foreign policy. That means China doesn’t form allies. The best you get with China is strategic partner. Forming allies means the enemy of your allies also becomes your enemy.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Should the govt take on the duty to ensure that all citizens have jobs?
2. Will China export corona virus test kits to other countries?

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WOTC - Prime minister of Malaysia

Wisdom of the Crowd: 33% of the respondents guessed correctly that Muyhiddin Yassin would be the prime minister of Malaysia. The other 67% chose the other leaders.

WOTC - Disadvantage of using cash

Wisdom of the Crowd: 39% of the respondents said that the biggest risk of using cash is that the notes and coins can be dirty and transmit germs. 34% said that it is the counting of notes and coins. 20% said that the wallet can be stolen.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

How to use automation and artificial intelligence without causing unemployment

Will automation and artificial intelligence lead to severe job loss? Will self driving buses cause drivers to be jobless? Will cleaning robots result make cleaners jobless?

I like to suggest an approach for the advanced technology to lead to improved living standards and still offer job opportunities.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. What cause the collapse of the stock market on 9 March 2020?
2. What is the most important measure to deal with the economic downturn?
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What cause the collapse of the stock market?

What cause the stock market to collapse on 9 March 2020?

a) The spread of corona virus in Europe and America?
b) The collapse of the oil talk between Saudi Arabia and Russia?
c) TKL's birthday?

I have my theory.

WOTC - Reason to use Tap Card

Wisdom of the Crowd: 50% of the respondents prefer the Tap Card because of its convenience. 17% prefer it to avoid counting of notes and coins. 7% prefer it for its low cost. 25% have not heard of it.

WOTC - Record contact tracing detail

Wisdom of the Crowd: 51% of the respondents prefer to use an app to record the contact tracing details by scanning the NRIC. 33% prefer to rely on the infected person providing the details. 15% prefer the practice of recording contact tracing details.

My views about changes to the CPF scheme

I share my views about changes to the CPF scheme.

Quora: The Chinese government just reported a major drop in new Coronavirus cases. Do you believe they are telling the truth?

Ray Hart, Digital Nomad Co-Living Davao City and San Diego

No, that is not exactly what they have reported. That is what a bunch of western media types who neither read nor speak Chinese reported that that the Chinese are saying in hopes you will believe whatever they are telling you, because you don’t read or speak it either.

Here is the background and what they actually reported:

A few days before I wrote the original answer, (February 21) China went to using a new test that accurately identified the virus in a matter of hours instead of several days allowing them to more quickly get through a backlog of patients who were under observation thereby spiking the number of newly confirmed cases. They never hid the fact of how many people they had under observation pending test results. Now they have cleared the backlog which has taken them from 44k to 66k in just 2 days back to a few hundred new confirmed cases. The other thing that western media types aren’t mentioning is over that same time period they have cleared more than 300,000 people they had under observation.

The increases of several hundred in the early days were a combination of new cases which were a few hundred a day, plus newly confirmed cases from isolated people under observation. With the new test confirming or clearing up their backlog of cases they are only dealing with new cases, not ones that are weeks old with a person already well on their way to recovery. So few hundred cases simply looks like a drop if all you did was look at the graph without reading the information

Coping with the economic recession

What can the government do to help households and businesses to cope with the economic slowdown?

Here are my suggestions.

Helping workers to cope with the economic recession

I was aghast when I saw this report .…/firms-report-cost-saving-…

What is the point of this "reporting exercise"?

Surely the manpower minister must know that nearly all businesses need to adopt cost-saving measures? If they have to tell her, she will get hundred of thousand reports.

What can she do with the reports?

Can she learn from Italy and other countries what the government can do to help businesses and the households?

The Italian govt asked the banks to give a moratorium for the repayment of housing loans and other bills. This will help the households to tide over the current difficulties.

Can she learn from TKL?

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Excellent customer service from Amazon

I bought a steam iron from Amazon website. They sent the appliance from America. The voltage could not work in Singapore. I returned it.

I did not get a refund for a month. The forwarding agent had given me a tracking number (fortunately).

I contacted Amazon via their Chat. A staff answered promptly.

She checked and found that the appliance is still on transit. As it was exceptionally long, she took the initiative to initiate the refund of $313.63 before the goods arrived. This is to avoid "further hassle" for the customer.

I was delighted. It was an excellent service.

My experience with the Chat service conducted by organizations in Singapore is generally "terrible". They take a long time to answer, and are not empowered to address the concern of the customer. I hope that they can learn from Amazon.

Second stimulus package

The govt is now working on a second stimulus package. Clearly, the first package, disclosed in budget 2020, is way off the mark. It showed a govt that is out of touch with the real difficulties faced by households and businesses.

What should the second package be like? I share my views here.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Will the handling of the corona virus gives more votes to PAP?
2. Should everyone avoid going out?

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WOTC - Cost of treating corona virus

Wisdom of the Crowd: 90% of the respondents said that the cost of screening and treatment for the corona virus should be borne by the government. 10% said it should be borne by the employer or the individual.

WOTC - Use Singlish

Wisdom of the Crowd: 74% of the respondents said that we should use Singlish with a local audience. 26% disagree.

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