Saturday, July 06, 2019

Quora: What does Trump stand to gain from trade war with China?

If China retaliates, what would be the effect?

Lance Chambers Answered Jun 26

China is retaliating and quite effectively. Please be aware that retaliation isn’t always one slap given - one slap received. It can be a lot of different reactions to different attacks.

Trump place tariffs on China and then the Chinese government tells the Chinese people that they should reconsider buying Apple iPhones - iPhone sales in China drop to zero.

Trump tells the world that China steals IP (which isn’t true by the way) and China increase sales to Europe, aligns with Russia, stops buying American Soybeans and buys them from Brazil instead. America bans the purchases of Huawei equipment in the US.

Trump is trying to gain credibility as the American president while China is trying to grow so it can improve the quality of life of Chinese citizens.

America feels that China is a threat to their position in the world while China wants to expand the worlds trade routes to allow poor nations to trade more easily and cheaply.

So many different objectives with different points of view on how to achieve

Quora - Trump ease ban on Huawei

George Hsia, Freelancer (2003-present)
He smelled danger. His trade war with China pleases nobody except those cold-war hawks, who have been trying to fool him to fight China (and Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, etc.). But he seems to have realized that China is too powerful, and the trade war with China will leave him little chance to win the coming election (something that was already pretty low but the trade war will make his chance worse the longer this goes on) — because of the trade war, farmers are abandoning him, and so are business people, especially in the hi-tech sector, the manufacturing industry, and wholesale businesses.

Wisdom of the Crowd

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Wisdom of the Crowd - 70% of participants in this survey voted that owners should be allowed to participate in AirBnB as the stay is for a short term and can be managed by the owner or his agent.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Tax system

Wisdom of the Crowd - 63% of participants in this survey prefer a progressive income tax system with no GST.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Set up an agency to handle whistle blowing

We need an avenue for members of the public to make a report about alleged misconduct, such as sexual harassment and suspected corrupt practices.

Here are my thoughts about setting up an agency to handle whistle blowing.

WOTC - Tax system

Wisdom of the Crowd: The participants in this survey prefer moderate tax and moderate social benefits like in New Zealand.

They least prefer the system of low tax and low social benefits like in Singapore and USA.

See the details in

WOTC - Most admired countries

Wisdom of the Crowd: The participants in this survey chose Switzerland and New Zealand as the countries that they admire most.

Find out the ranking of the other countries and other details in

Helping families to deal with financial stress

You must have read the story of the double murder in Woodlands. The father suffered a severe drop in his income as a property agent and incurred a huge gambling debt. He killed his pregnant wife and young daughter.

What could be done to deal with this kind of problem?

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

State our grievance clearly

We should state our grievance clearly. We should not vent our anger on the wrong issue or against the wrong people.

An incident near Midview City

Yesterday, I was walking along the path from Midview city to the bus stop.

A young couple passed me. The man appeared to be a foreigner and the girl looked like a local. The girl appeared drowsy and the man was holding up her arm as they walked by.

Something did not seem right.

I stopped and looked back. They had stopped a few meters down the path. The girl seemed to be resisting the man who was trying to hold her.

What should I do?

I walked towards them. The man looked at me. I asked - is there any problem?
He replied - no sir.
I asked the girl - are you all right.
She hesitated and said - I am ok.
I walked away. I hope that she is all right.

I know that some people will advise me - be careful, do not meddle in other people's business.

I am willing to take a small amount of risk. What if the girl really needed some help?

Anyway, did you read in the newspaper that an elderly man was beaten up by a young man near Midview City. You did not, right?

Maybe next time! Hahaha.

Wisdom of the Crowd

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Monday, July 01, 2019

Wisdom of the crowd

Vote on these issues and contribute to a more reliable survey result.

Listening to customers

When I was running an insurance company, I got my staff to adopt the 3 level escalation approach.

The staff at the first level answered the questions posed by the customers.

If the customer did not accept our answer or practice, the staff escalated the issue to the manager.

The manager talked to the customer and tried to find a solution.

If this was not possible, the manager escalated the issue to me.

The manager wrote the details of the issue in the email and described the source of the dispute.

I gave a reply to the customer. Sometimes, my reply was - call me at (this number).

Usually, we were able to resolve the issue.

Often the customer accepted our position, and was happy that his point of view was heard and properly considered.

I did not get many issues raised to my level - maybe an average of one issue a day.

That was how I get to know what was really happening on the ground.

Sometimes, I decided that our practice was unfair to customers. I changed it and issued a new FAQ to guide the staff.

This worked well.

Dealing with inflammation

Some 7 years ago, I suffered from pain in the leg. I thought that it was due to gout.

My doctor said that it was inflammation. He prescribed NSAID - non steroid anti inflamation drug.

It worked. I saw the doctor on subsequent attacks. He continued to prescribe NSAID.

Recently, I bought the drug (declofenac sodium) when I visit Malaysia. I don't know if the pharmacy in Singapore allows it without a prescription.

I have been using NSAID whenever the inflammation comes back. It works all the time.

I just check - what is steroid. I found this explanation:

Steroids are a man-made version of chemicals, known as hormones, that are made naturally in the human body. Steroids are designed to act like these hormones to reduce inflammation. They're also known as corticosteroids, and are different to anabolic steroids used by bodybuilders and athletes.

Now, what is non-steroid? Here is the explanation:

Non-steroid hormones are made of amino acids. They are not fat soluble, so they cannot diffuse across the plasma membrane of target cells. Instead, a non-steroid hormone binds to a receptor on the cell membrane (see Figure below). ... Most endocrine hormones are non-steroid hormones, including insulin and thyroid hormones.

High handed civil service.

I submitted a suggestion to the minister for law to allow third party funding for legal expenses involved in collected sales.

I received a reply, after one reminder, that they will consider the matter.

There was no reply for more than six months. I followed up to ask for a reply.

I finally received a reply after waiting for another month. The ministry replied that they have considered my suggestion and decided that there will be no interest from third party funders for this service.

How do they know, if they do not want to give it a try? It is not difficult for the minister to use his authority (for which he has already been given) to make this extension.

During the past many months, there was no attempt by the ministry of law officers to call me to discuss the matter. After getting their final reply, there was no way for me to follow up.

This is a deplorable standard of public service. It is an arrogant attitude.

I am not anti-establishment. But if the public service continue to operate in this way, you can be sure that I will be speaking out against their arrogance and high handedness.

Change to Internal Security Act

The government's view is that they need the Internal Security Act to deal with criminals and terrorists, as it may be difficult to provide sufficient evidence to convince the court of their harmful activities.

I accept the position of the government that they need a separate law to deal with this matter.

However, many people believe that the current law has been abused by the government to put political dissidents and opponents under long detention, when they do not pose any security risk to society.

How an innovation panel can help to make changes

I have suggested the formation of an innovation panel to be the catalyst for change in Singapore.

Let me explain the need for this panel and how it can carry out its work.

Energy used in Mi smart band

Here is the latest update on the energy used by the Mi smart band.

The battery level was 70% last night. This morning, it still showed 70%. There was no energy consumed.

The smart band was recording my sleep night. It reported the hours of deep and light sleep.

I kept my mobile phone far away, so that it does not charge the band wirelessly.

It seemed that the band was able to carry out its monitoring without of the sleep without consuming any energy. Surprise!

Perhaps the reading is flawed. I wonder!

Anyway, I will not be charging the band until the battery runs out. I have used it for over three days, and it only consumed 30% of the battery.

I wonder if the Mi band found a way to charge the battery using the electro magnetic fields that must be created by other devices.

See an explanation of wireless charging here.…/basic-concepts-tutorial…

WOTC - State to employ mentors

Wisdom of the Crowd: 38% of participants in this survey prefer the state to employ mentors to advice them on financial matters. 38% prefer the mentors to advise them on taking care of children and elders.

Details here:

WOTC - Paid article on website

Wisdom of the Crowd: 31% of participants in this survey prefer to subscribe to a website to read all the article for a fixed monthly fee. 28% prefer to pay $0.10 for an article that they like to read.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Basic thinking skills to educate the electorate

I share this contribution by an anonymous person. I suspect that he wants the electorate to be thinking and not fooled by the PAP.

Improve governance

In this post, I have made two important suggestions to improve the governance of Singapore.

a) Appoint ombudsman to look into complaints of abuse by public officials

b) Appoint an innovation panel that hear suggestions from the public on improving govt policies. This panel has access to the ministers.

If we really want to make significant change, we need these two new tools.



Here are the feedback with the most views. Remember to vote and also give your comments.

Improve signs in Singapore

The signs in Singapore are helpful in some ways but there are too many instances where they are not helpful and poorly located.

Do you agree?

Share the walkway with cyclists and PMD users

I was walking on the pathway.

There was a bicycling ring behind me. I walked to one side. A cyclist rode by and said, "thank you".

I do not mind sharing the path with cyclist and PMD users, provided that they move slowly and give signal.

I do not want them to use the road. It can be dangerous for them. The cars drive too fast.

I do not agree with pedestrians who ask for cyclists and PMD users to be barred from using the paths.

Rise of China

Prof Richard Wolff explains the significance of the rise of China and how it adopted a different strategic from Russia.

You will be able to read this link tomorrow - as it is restricted to subscribers today.

You need to hear his full 1 hour analysis to get a better idea about the view from another side - different from what is presented in the western media.…

How can Singapore survive in the post-globalization world?

After attending the G20 meeting in Osaka, PM Lee said that the world leaders did not make much progress on the challenges facing the world - on climate change, trade, economic growth.

My comment is - That's right. We are entering into a post-globalization world.

Where will that leave Singapore? We need a new strategy to survive. Can the PAP find the solution? I don't think so. PM Lee should be open to ideas from the citizens.

Let me give my contribution.

Truce in US China trade war

New York Times:

A China-U.S. Trade Truce Could Enshrine a Global Economic Shift
President Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, meeting on Saturday in Osaka, Japan.

President Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, meeting on Saturday in Osaka, Japan.

OSAKA, Japan — The spin from President Trump and China’s propaganda machines on Saturday portrayed a truce in a trade war that has shaken economies and markets around the world. Tariffs won’t rise further, at least not yet. And the United States will loosen its potentially devastating punishments against Huawei, China’s most successful multinational company.

Yet the outlines of the tentative peace accord President Trump reached on Saturday with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, could further cement a broad reshuffling of the global economic order that undermines China’s decades-long role as the world’s factory floor.

The details of the discussions between Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, still are not clear. The two sides have agreed to resume talks, but the ultimate results are not guaranteed. Their differences could still derail a fragile peace in an economic conflict that has thrown a shadow over the outlook for global growth.

Even a fragile truce could have lingering implications. The United States would keep in place broad tariffs on Chinese goods for months or perhaps years to come. Global companies would almost certainly respond by continuing to shift at least the final stages of their supply chains out of China.

Wisdom of the Crowd

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WOTC - Online subscription to Business Times

31% of the participants in this Wisdom of the Crowd survey are willing to pay $5 or $10 to read online Business Times only. The remaining 69% are not interested.


WOTC - Online subscription to SPH papers

35% of the participants in this Wisdom of the Crowd survey are willing to pay a subscription of $5 or $10 to all the online newspapers of SPH. 3% are prepared to pay a higher fee. 62% are not willing to pay any subscription.


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