Saturday, June 29, 2019

Improving the political environment

When can be done about improving the political environment in Singapore, if a new government comes into power?

I suggest the following measures:

Tariffs and disruption to supply chains

A major impact of tariffs is the disruption to the supply lines.

What can be done in the future to stop this harmful effect of tariffs?

I suggest the following measures:

Wisdom of the Crowd

Vote on these issues and contribute to a reliable survey.

WOTC - Military action against Iran

21% of the participants in this Wisdom of the Crowd survey expect America to take military action for downing its drone.

The remaining 79% expect other outcomes.

See the details in

WOTC - Rule of the law

17% of the participants in this Wisdom of the Crowd survey said that the rule of law is fundamental to the proper running of society.

The remaining 83% set other requirements that make the proper operation of the rule of law.

See the details in

Friday, June 28, 2019

WOTC - Chief exective of HK

71% of the people who voted in this Wisdom of the Crowd survey said that Carrie Lam will remain as chief executive of Hong Kong or be replaced by another person who is more pro-Beijing.

This is not what the protestors like to see.

See the detailed breakdown in

WOTC - Cope with economic slowdown in Singapore

77% of the participants in this survey said that the government should suspend GST to cope with the economic slowdown in Singapore.

The remainder chose other options.

See the detailed results in

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Wisdom of the Crowd

Add your vote and voice on these issues:

WOTC - Best type of government for a developing country

55% said that a socialist government with market characteristics is best for a developing country.

42% prefer a full democracy while 3% preferred a flawed democracy.

None prefer a government with a religious base.

WOTC - Future of Hong Kong

50% of the respondents to this Wisdom of the Crowd survey said that Hong Kong will be adversely affected if it does not get the support from China.

The other 50% said that Hong Kong will do well, for three reasons.

See the detailed results in

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Allow more flexibility on use of CPF to buy short lease HDB flats

The current CPF rules require the remaining lease of the property to be at least 20 years and to cover the youngest buyer up to age 95 before full CPF can be used.

This forced the buyer of a resale property to buy a property with a long remaining lease.

This is inflexible. It is also unwise for the following reasons:

Allow workers to opt out of contributing to CPF

The current regulation on CPF forces workers to buy a HDB flat or private property. This cause the property prices to escalate to a high level.

Is there a better approach?

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Wisdom of the Crowd

Restore court review of ISA detention

I searched the Internet for an answer to this question - can a person detained under the Internal Security Act apply for his or her detention to be reviewed by the court?

The answer is - No. It is disappointing.

The law only requires the president to be satisfied that the detainee is a security threat.

Hey, I recall that the president has to act on the advice of the cabinet, right?

I suggest that a detainee should be allowed to apply to the court for the detention to be reviewed.

The court can act as an independent check against abuse of power by the state.

Wisdom of the Crowd

You can contribute to getting more reliable results in the Wisdom of the Crowd surveys by voting on the issues here.

WOTC - US China trade war

55% of the respondents to this Wisdom of the Crowd survey said that the leaders of America and China will agree to a truce in the trade war when they meet at the G20 summit in Osaka.

The remaining 45% see other outcomes.

See the breakdown of the survey in

WOTC - HK extradition bill

60% of the people who responded to this Wisdom of the Crowd survey said that the extradition bill is bad for ordinary people as it exposes them to the risk of unfair trial in China.

The other 40% have different views.

See the detail of the votes in

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Scam involving taxi licence in New York

The phone call that ruined Mohammed Hoque’s life came in April 2014 as he began another long day driving a New York City taxi, a job he had held since emigrating from Bangladesh nine years earlier.

The call came from a prominent businessman who was selling a medallion, the coveted city permit that allows a driver to own a yellow cab instead of working for someone else. If Mr. Hoque gave him $50,000 that day, he promised to arrange a loan for the purchase.

After years chafing under bosses he hated, Mr. Hoque thought his dreams of wealth and independence were coming true. He emptied his bank account, borrowed from friends and hurried to the man’s office in Astoria, Queens. Mr. Hoque handed over a check and received a stack of papers. He signed his name and left, eager to tell his wife.

Mr. Hoque made about $30,000 that year. He had no idea, he said later, that he had just signed a contract that required him to pay $1.7 million.

Over the past year, a spate of suicides by taxi drivers in New York City has highlighted in brutal terms the overwhelming debt and financial plight of medallion owners. All along, officials have blamed the crisis on competition from ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft.

But a New York Times investigation found much of the devastation can be traced to a handful of powerful industry leaders who steadily and artificially drove up the price of taxi medallions, creating a bubble that eventually burst. Over more than a decade, they channeled thousands of drivers into reckless loans and extracted hundreds of millions of dollars before the market collapsed.

These business practices generated huge profits for bankers, brokers, lawyers, investors, fleet owners and debt collectors. The leaders of nonprofit credit unions became multimillionaires. Medallion brokers grew rich enough to buy yachts and waterfront properties. One of the most successful bankers hired the rap star Nicki Minaj to perform at a family party.

But the methods stripped immigrant families of their life savings, crushed drivers under debt they could not repay and engulfed an industry that has long defined New York. More than 950 medallion owners have filed for bankruptcy, according to a Times analysis of court records. Thousands more are barely hanging on.

The practices were strikingly similar to those behind the housing market crash that led to the 2008 global economic meltdown: Banks and loosely regulated private lenders wrote risky loans and encouraged frequent refinancing; drivers took on debt they could not afford, under terms they often did not understand.

Some big banks even entered the taxi industry in the aftermath of the housing crash, seeking a new market, with new borrowers.

The combination of easy money, eager borrowers and the lure of a rare asset helped prices soar far above what medallions were really worth. Some industry leaders fed the frenzy by purposefully overpaying for medallions in order to inflate prices, The Times found.

Between 2002 and 2014, the price of a medallion rose to more than $1 million from $200,000, even though city records showed that driver incomes barely changed.

About 4,000 drivers bought medallions in that period, records show. They were excited to buy, but they were enticed by a dubious premise.

“The whole thing was like a Ponzi scheme because it totally depended on the value going up,” said Haywood Miller, a debt specialist who has consulted for both borrowers and lenders. “The part that wasn’t fair was the guy who’s buying is an immigrant, maybe someone who couldn’t speak English. They were conned.”

Source: New York Times

What's wrong with 'the FT policy"

Someone asked to comment on the govt "FT policy". I do not know what he meant by the "FT policy".

I suppose he wants my opinion about the govt's approach to allowing foreign workers to work in Singapore.

Making changes in Singapore

Someone asked me - I have read your suggestions on the many things that are wrong in Singapore and need to be changed. Some of your suggestions will take a long time to be implemented and some may not work at all. If you are in charge, what can you really do?

Here is my reply.

Make your voice heard

WOTC - Heng SK wants to consult the people

8% of the respondents to this Wisdom of the Crowd survey are positive towards the statement by Heng SK to consult the people more.

The other 92% are sceptical.

See the detailed result in

WOTC - Suspend the extradition bill in HK

The respondents to this Wisdom of the Crowd survey are equally divided on their opinion about the decision of the HK leader to suspend the extradition bill.

See the result here.

Monday, June 24, 2019

18 questions for candidates for the Democratic primary election in US

There are 21 candidates for the Democratic primary election in the US.

They are asked to state their stand on 18 questions.

It is difficult for the voters to choose their candidate based on their answers to these questions.

1. In an ideal world, would anyone own handguns?
2. Would your focus be improving the Affordable Care Act or replacing it with single payer?
3. Do you think it’s possible for the next president to stop climate change?
4. Do you think Israel meets international standards of human rights?
5. Who is your hero, and why?
6. Would there be American troops in Afghanistan at the end of your first term?
7. How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
8. Do you think illegal immigration is a major problem in the United States?
9. Where would you go on your first international trip as president?
10. Describe the last time you were embarrassed. Why?
11. Do you think President Trump has committed crimes in office?
12. Do you support or oppose the death penalty?
13. Should tech giants like Facebook, Amazon and Google be broken up?
14. Are you open to expanding the size of the Supreme Court?
15. When did your family first arrive in the United States, and how?
16. What is your comfort food on the campaign trail?
17. What do you do to relax?
18. Does anyone deserve to have a billion dollars?

Results of Wisdom of the Crowd

You can view the results of the issues that have been voted and closed in the Wisdom of the Crowd.

You can also give your comments on these results.

Learn from New York Times on getting subscriptions

I just subscribed to New York Times for $1 USD a week for 1 year. After 1 year, it increases to $3 a week. I am allowed to cancel the subscription at any time.
I find the weekly fee to be fair and attractive. That is why I signed.
I may continue after the first year at $3 a week, as I find it to be acceptable. However, I will decide later. It depends on how often I access the website.
The registration procedure is simple. I am allowed to sign in with Facebook, which I did. I pay using Paypal.
The entire process was completed within 1 minute.
I like to give this suggestion to Singapore Press Holdings. Follow the New York Times. You are likely to get more subscribers to your newspapers.
As a feedback. A week ago, I tried to sign up with Business Times. I gave up as I find the pricing (after the promotion period) to be too high. The registration process was complicated.

More credible results

I invite you to contribute by voting in the Wisdom of the Crowd website so that the results can be more credible and reflect a bigger sample.

WOTC - Attack on oil tankers

The respondents in this survey have mixed views on the party that was responsible for the attacks on the oil tankers in the Gulf.

WOTC - 5G infrastructure

81% of the respondents to this survey prefer the state to build the infrastructure for 5G while the remaining prefer to leave it to the operators.

See their reasons here.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Wisdom of the Crowd

Vote on these issues and help to get a more reading reading of the Wisdom of the Crowd.

A better network of buses

Here is my suggestion on creating a better network of buses to complement the MRT system.

Employ contract inspectors to check for mosquito breeding

I suspect that we have a mosquito problem due to the large numbers of construction sites.

Households can also be contributing to this problem.

NEA is probably overwhelmed and cannot cope with the inspection work.

I make this suggestion to deal with this problem

Allow members to take out CPF savings at 55

I suggested that CPF members be allowed to take out all of their savings at 55.

This suggestion has the support of about 86% of respondents to a poll. The other 16% were worried that some of the members will spend away all of their savings and have to rely on welfare from the state. Roughly, one in six has misgivings about this idea.

This is how the risk can be managed, so that the members do not waste their savings in bad investments.

Create jobs as mentors

As the economy changes in the future, many existing jobs will be replaced by automation and higher productivity.

We need to create new jobs to allow people to be usefully employed and to improve the quality of life for the population at large.

What are these new jobs?

Wisdom of the Crowd - survey results

You can see the results of the Wisdom of the Crowd surveys and also the comments made by the visitors. You can also share your comments.

ASEAN pact to reduce marine waste

Well done, Thailand, for getting ASEAN to agree to this pact to reduce marine waste and protect the environment.

Asean has committed itself to reduce marine waste at both the nation and regional level.

The transboundary nature of environmental challenges, from marine debris to haze pollution, makes it impossible for any single country to solve the issue alone.

The first of its kind, the Bangkok Declaration that was adopted yesterday stressed Asean's concern over the rising level of marine debris, in particular marine plastic litter, on marine life, fishing, fisheries, and tourism. It said there is also an urgent need to understand the impact of microplastics on people.

Among the ways Asean aims to tackle the problem is to adopt a more holistic land-to-sea approach, strengthen research capabilities, enhance regional and international cooperation, and increase public awareness.

Thailand, which is Asean chair this year, chose sustainability as its theme for this summit, with delegates getting recycled paper notebooks and tote bags.

TKL posts in Twitter

Here are my postings in Twitter. You can follow me there.

Suggestion to deal with youth unemployment

Youth unemployment is a serious problem in many countries and also in Singapore.

I have some suggestions on how to deal with this challenge.

Young people are concerned about the environment

The young people around the world are worried about the environment.

I first observed this in the campaign by Bernie Sanders in 2016. He was able to attract many young people to support his campaign as he talked about the environment and climate change.

The young people in Singapore are also passionate about this issue.

Recently, I posted a simple message about not using plastic straw. It reached out to over 98,000 people. Many young people shared this message which went viral.…/a.6901471077246…/2791347647604536

Most of the comments were positive. The young people appreciated this simple effort to pass the message

While we talk about the cost of living and jobs, we should also remember to talk about the environment, which is of great concern to young people.

Quora - can China effectively retaliate against Trump's tariffs?

George Tait Edwards
George Tait Edwards, Student of Asian Economic Miracles
1 Answer These Chinese leaders are not wrong.
Trump is turning the USA into a low-speed internet society. The 5G nationalised system Trump wanted is not going to happen. Instead, a fragmented US 5G system will be built by various enterprise and perhaps completed about a decade behind that of China.
2 Speed of the Hongmeng Ark OS
And have you noticed the Hongmeng Ark OS appears to be 60% faster than Android? See
The upgraded Huawei 5G and 6G is the way to a faster internet future of things and services, but that can no longer happen in the USA. But it will happen in China.
If China bans the use of Chinese software and hardware in the USA, and produces its own world-reaching high-tech components and systems, then America loses the only manufacturing advantage it now has in high-end computer devices.
3 Discussion: The Only Power Trump Possesses Is To Decrease the US Economy, and he’s doing that.

Working in the gig economy

Many people have the opinion that driving a private hire car or deliver food is a job of last resort. Older people who lost their jobs or young people who cannot find a job are forced to take up these jobs because they have to make a living.

We need to change this mindset.

WOTC - Infrastructure spending

7% of the participants in this Wisdom of the Crowd survey said that Singapore should continue our current high rate of spending to build the best infrastructure in the world. The other participants said that voted against this idea and gave other reasons, as stated here.

WOTC - US China trade war

70% of the participants in this survey in the Wisdom of the Crowd said that President Trump will not end the trade war unless China agrees to his demands, while the remainder said that he is keen to strike a deal.

See their reasons here.

AI and self driving cars

If you are interested to know about artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning and self driving cars, you can follow this development

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