Thursday, March 30, 2023

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Should China give up its claim on South China Sea?
2. Should China object to western leaders visiting Taiwan?

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Monday, March 27, 2023

Letter to China's ambassador to Singapore

 27 March 2023

Excellency Sun Haiyan
Chinese Ambassador to Singapore
Dear Excellency
I have read your article dated 23 March 2023 posted in your website ( You have addressed your remarks to Singapore’s public and asked the question “What should we do?”
I wish to respond to your question and give my personal views as a member of Singapore’s public. My views are not the views of the Singapore government, but they do reflect the views of a large number of people that I interact with in social media platforms.
I have followed closely the impressive progress made by China over recent decades on its internal development and its diplomatic activities with countries around the world.
Global Security Initiative
I am impressed with China’s proposal of the Global Security Initiative, as set out in the GSI concept paper, and believe that it is a good framework to achieve peace around the world.
I also support China’s efforts to seek a political settlement to the Ukraine crisis and hope that it will eventually be accepted by the parties involved in the conflict.
I do not share the skepticism expressed in some quarters about the GSI or China’s approach to resolve the Ukraine crisis. These efforts will take time to be realized, and I am confident that the goals will be realized with patience and untiring effort.
I believe that the positive role and contribution by China can be appreciated more widely, if China takes steps to address the concerns of countries and peoples (who are otherwise positive towards China) on two issues, namely the South China Sea and Taiwan.
South China Sea
On the South China Sea dispute, many countries in the region (which are generally positive towards China) have concerns over the “nine dash line” and its impact on the UN convention on the law of the sea (UNCLOS).
There are different views about the legitimacy of the claim by China on the areas covered by the “nine dash line”.
Rather than continuing with this dispute, I would suggest that China takes a magnanimous approach by allowing the neighboring countries to claim their exclusive economic zones within UNCLOS, in return for recognition by these countries for the China's right to retain control of the islands occupied by China for its military facilities to protect its trading routes (e.g. from being blocked by unfriendly powers).
If the neighboring counties accept the arrangement on these islands, China will recognize their right to develop the fishing, mineral and other resources within their exclusive economic zone for the benefit of their national development.
China has now reached a stage of its development that it can generously give up the rights to these resources to the neighboring countries.
Some countries, rightly or wrongly, hold the view that China is impatient to take over Taiwan within the near future. This appears to be the source of the tension over Taiwan and could be the excuse for some countries to engage in unfriendly activities towards China.
I would suggest that China remove this “excuse” by taking a more patient attitude towards Taiwan, as it has done in the past.
There is no need to allow other countries to harbor the impression that China aims to take over Taiwan in the new future. If political and military leaders from other countries wish to visit Taiwan, let them do so. They cannot do much harm (over and above what they have already done) and their visits may help the Taiwan economy to a small extent.
I hope that the people in Taiwan will realize that it is foolish to spend a lot of money to build a military capability against the mainland, when the money can be better spent to improve the living standards of the people.
As China continues to make good progress in its development and governance structure, many people will realize that China has a better governance model compared to the liberal democracies in western countries (which are falling apart and getting worse over the years.)
Given time, the people of Taiwan will also realize the advantage of the China governance model. I hope that the day will come, in the near future, that the people in Taiwan will elect a government that seeks to integrate with the rest of China.
I hope that the leaders in China can consider my suggestions regarding the South China Sea and Taiwan.

WOTC - Ukraine war

 Wisdom of the Crowd: 87% of respondents said that America and Europe wants Ukraine to fight Russia to the end.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

WOTC - Ukraine War

 Wisdom of the Crowd: 53% of respondents said that Russia will win the war in Ukraine within the next few months. 47% said that there was be a peace settlement.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

WOTC - Recent failures of banks

Wisdom of the Crowd: 69% of the respondents said that the recent failure of a few banks will cause a major problem as other banks in America and globally are likely to follow. 

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Should a country increase its pension age in line with increase in life expectancy?
2. Is it fair for the government of France to increase the pension age from 62 to 64?
3. What is a better way to save for retirement?
4. Did Leong Mun Wai made allegations without checking the facts.
5. Did Leong Mun Wai act irresponsibly in Parliament?
6. Did minister Shanmugam acted fairly and objectively?

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Tik Tok in America

 The US Congress is currently scrutinizing Tik Tok's operations to assess whether the app poses a security threat that warrants its prohibition in America. The concern is that the data collected by the app could be accessed and used by the communist regime of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

In response, Tik Tok has clarified that the information belonging to American users is stored in the US, beyond the PRC government's reach. Tik Tok is a commercial enterprise that provides a valuable service to its users.
Approximately 150 million people in the US, representing almost half of the population, use Tik Tok, with most of them belonging to Gen Z, although there are also older users and small business owners. These entrepreneurs have found Tik Tok to be an effective and affordable tool to promote their services to customers.
If Tik Tok were to be banned, the users would likely feel angry towards the government and their representatives. They argue that the purported security risks are unfounded, and that those responsible for the decision are disconnected from the reality of modern technology. Many of them do not use Tik Tok anyway.
Tan Kin Lian

WOTC - China's role in Ukraine

 Wisdom of the Crowd: 56% of the respondents said that China will fail in its effort to find a peace settlement in Ukraine because the western countries would not allow this outcome.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Should a country increase its pension age in line with increase in life expectancy?
2. Is it fair for the government of France to increase the pension age from 62 to 64?
3. What is a better way to save for retirement?

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Thursday, March 23, 2023

A new currency for BRICS - Rix

 In this article, I suggest how the BRICS can introduce a new currency, called the Rix, to be an alternative to the USD for international trade and by used as a reserve currency by other countries.

I invite comments.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Which name do you prefer for the new currency introduced by BRICS nation
2. Should the BRICS country introduce a new currency as an alternative to the dollar?

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Credit Suisse AT1 Perpetual

 An investor bought the AT1 perpetuals issued by Credit Suisse. It offered a coupon of 5%.

His broker told him that, following the forced sale of Credit Suisse to UBS, the Swiss regulator exercised the non viable clause and wrote off these AT1 perpetuals to zero. Currently the value of the AT1 perpetuals is zero and illiquid so cannot be sold.
Shareholders also could not vote on the merger with UBS. They saw the value plunge from $1.86 to $0.72 overnight. It is unprecedented and that’s why there is talks on legal action as stated in the article

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Expense ratios of sovereign wealth funds

I obtained these figures from ChatGPT. The ratio of management expense is about 0.06% of investment funds for Norway and Saudi Arabia.

The ratios are much higher for GIC and Temasek, being 0.17% for GIC and 1.9% for Temasek.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues


1. Should Lee Hsien Yang be disqualified from contesting the presidential election.
2. Is there double standards in the authority treating the KOM and LHY issues?
3. Will Xi Jinping be able to help find a solution to the Ukraine war?

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WOTC - Interest rate hike in US

 Wisdom of the Crowd: 64% of the respondents said that the US Fed should continue its interest rate hike to bring down inflation.

Monday, March 20, 2023

WOTC - President of Singapore, LHL

 Wisdom of the Crowd: 83% of respondents said they would not vote for Lee Hsien Loong as president of Singapore.

WOTC - President of Singapore

 Wisdom of the Crowd: 94% of respondents said that they would not vote for Ho Ching as president of Singapore.

WOTC - Silicon Valley Bank

 79% of the respondents expect the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank to spread to other banks and the wider economy.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Will China be able to help a peace settlement to the Ukraine war?
2. Will Russia win the Ukraine war?
3. Will America and Europe support a peace settlement in Ukraine?

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WOTC - President of Singapore

 Wisdom of the Crowd: 93% of respondents said that they will vote for Lee HY as president of Singapore.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Tiresome to register a warranty

 I install a new air conditioner from Mitsubishi Asia.

My contractor asked me to register for a warranty.
I have to scan the QR code on my mobile phone and went to their website. It was the home page, and not the registration page. I had to go through the website and finally found "Register your product".
Why can't the use a QR code that lead directly to the registration page?
It was difficult to submit the registration details using a phone. The process was interrupted by many popups, which make the submission quite difficult. After trying it a few times, I gave up.
I went to the website (by reading the website address from the phone).
It was much easier to submit the registration details from the website. I manage to complete it, but still with some trouble.
Mitsubishi should have just directed the customer to register on their website on their laptop or desktop. By providing a registration through the phone, with a small screen, they made the process quite complicated.
Finally, before confirmation the registration, I have to agree to allow my private data to be used for marketing, etc. This was supposed to be an option, but I could not uncheck it. It was mandatory.
If I do not agree, I could not submit the registration. I think that Mitsubishi is breaking the law.
Anyway, I am used to bad business practices in Singapore. I am tired of lodging a complaint, when the authority does not care. Businesses are treating customers unfairly and get away with it.
Tan Kin Lian

WOTC - Lee Hsien Yang

 Wisdom of the Crowd: 94% of respondents have a positive opinion of Lee Hsien Yang.

Digital display of stop number

 I suggest that the bus should have a digital display of the stop number,

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. If US stops importing from China, which country will suffer more?
2. How will the failure of a few banks recently impact the financial system?

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WOTC - Presidential election 2023

 Wisdom of the Crowd: 94% of respondents said that they will vote for Lee Hsien Yang if he contests in the presidential election.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Large losses on mortgage loans

 American banks may suffer large losses on the mortgages, due to the sharp rise in interest rate.

This is explained here.

I expect US bank stocks to fall sharply in value.

Penalty on early withdrawals

 Silicon Valley Bank faced a "run on the bank". Due to premature withdrawals of deposits, they faced a liquidity crisis and had to sell their bonds, ahead of maturity dates, at a loss.

Their planned to raise additional capital to cover their loss of $1.8 billion USD. Given some time, and with the right price, they would be able to raise the additional capital.

They did not have the time. Their customers panicked and withdrew their deposits. They could not meet all the demands.

One problem faced by a bank is that they have to invest the deposits to earn revenue to pay the interest on the deposits and have a margin to cover their expenses and leave a profit.

To prevent a "run on the bank", the bank should be allowed to impose a penalty for early withdrawal. Currently, the penalty is rather small (e.g. forfeiture of interest for the current period).

While this forfeiture may be adequate under normal times, the bank should be allowed to impose a large withdrawals to prevent a run on the bank. For example, the bank should be allowed to impose a penalty of, for example, up to 30% of the deposit.

If depositors have to pay a high penalty for premature withdrawal, especially at a time when the bank faces a liquidity crunch, they may decide to keep their deposits until the maturity date. This would give sufficient time for the bank to raise additional capital and prevent a collapse.

If the customer does not wish to face this penalty, they can keep their money in the current account and earn no interest.

Another arrangement is for the central bank to provide liquidity to the bank (at the market rate of interest) to meet withdrawals.

Maybe, it should be a combination of both measures, i.e. tap on central bank for emergency funds and impose a sufficient penalty on premature withdrawals.

Tan Kin Lian

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Will the collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank lead to more problems?
2. Should the US Feb cause its hike of the interest rate?

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Messy system of business mail

 I sent this suggestion to the Smart Nation Office and the Minister to clean up the messy system of receiving business mail.

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