Saturday, July 13, 2019

Develop your character and be confident of your own views

I wish to share this observation about a young person, who probably reflects behavior of many young people in Singapore.

This person passes a rude comment in my Page. I clicked on his link to see his profile.

He made a post in his profile to express an opinion on another issue and ended it with this message - This is just my opinion. Don't bash me if you do not agree.

I wondered - why is he so afraid of expressing his opinion and being bashed by his friends. He was not offensive (unlike his comment in my Page).

I guess that many young people get courage when they get act in a gang with their friends. If one of them come to pass a rude remark in my page, his friends will join him in this behavior.

However, they are not confident about their own views.

I am not talking of a teenager. I am talking of a person who has completed NS and is now working.

I hope that our young people learn about values (of which is right and wrong, what is proper and improper) and have the confidence to express their views without being afraid of being bashed by their friends.

We need our young people to grow up to be people of character, who can stand on their own.

Will people vote PAP during an economic recession?

The conventional thinking is that the people will vote PAP during an economic recession.

By voting PAP, they hope to see stability and allow the PAP to find the solution to deal with the challenges.

But they are mistaken.

Here are my reasons:

Measures to cope with the economic slowdown

The typical approach of the government to an economic slowdown is "train workers with new capabilities".

We have tried this approach before. It is largely wasteful and ineffective.

Are there other ways to deal with the situation?

Here are my ideas.

Wisdom of the Crowd

Vote on these issues and make your voice heard.

WOTC - Living in Singapore

Wisdom of the Crowd: 45% of the people who participated in this survey have positive view about living in Singapore, 55% have negative view.

See the detail in

WOTC - Double murder in Woodland

Wisdom of the Crowd: 97% of the people who participated in this survey said that the double murder in Woodlands could have been prevented. 3% said that nothing could be done.

What are the measures that could have prevented this sad episode?

See the details in

Friday, July 12, 2019

Wisdom of the Crowd:

Vote on these issues and win a prize. Your vote will also contribute towards a better understanding of the issues.

WOTC - How should ministers deal with feedback

Wisdom of the Crowd: 59% of the participants in this survey said that the ministers should ask their assistants to engage the public on the issues brought up.

18% said that the public should use other channels to reach the ministers.

The remainder said that the ministers do not have the time to deal with these issues.

See the breakdown in

WOTC - How should civil servants deal with feedback

Wisdom of the Crowd: 95% of the participants in this survey said that the civil servants should change their approach towards dealing with feedback from the public. Only 5% said they should keep their current approach.
See more details about the changes needed in

Thursday, July 11, 2019

DBS - Inconsistent and crazy approach

DBS Bank adopt a crazy and inconsistent approach its in online transactions.

Read here.

Quora: Don't say we didn't warn you

Quora: How should the US prepare itself for the consequences from Beijing's statement 'Don't say we didn't warn you' regarding trade war?

Robert Molyneux, former STEM Practitioner And Consultant (1973-2012) answered.

The logical step would be to consider what 1.4 billion energetic humans might do, when led by a single national government full of expert managers and STEM experts, against a nation of 325 million humans led by 51 different governments full of white lawyers pissing on each other. Stop laughing.

The nearest thing to China would be a nation with a “government of national unity” facing some national crisis or a war.

So the USA should have considered the effectiveness of the scatter gun of tariffs applied to all imports from China, when China has (1) alternate markets and (2) can simply direct entire industrial sectors to move in strategic directions.

It is difficult to start with where the USA and its dimwit leaders have gone wrong.

For example, the entire world understands the impact of climate change. Not the USA. Let’s pass a law that makes climate change illegal.

The entire world understands that the internal combustion engine (ICE) is old technology, and is looking to move to the new technology of electric vehicles. Not the USA, and its fixation on gas-guzzling “Yank Tanks”. Let’s allow car manufacturers to move to Mexico and China and Thailand, and close down Detroit.

The entire world understands that the “Levelised Cost Of Electricity” shows that renewable energy is becoming cheaper than the old technology of large central coal fired stations surrounded by an expensive network of high voltage distributors. Let’s prevent laws that include the cost of pollution in the price of old energy production.

Let’s give tax breaks to the wealthy, and leave the majority of the population struggling.

China has its Made In China 2025 strategy, which sets out very clearly where its economy is being directed. Trump and his fellow wind-bags want China to give this up. Fat chance.

China has the One Belt One Road strategy, which sets out very clearly the idea of building infrastructure AROUND THE WORLD to allow for all nations to trade with China AND between themselves. And incidentally, to make its trade routes by land, rather than by sea, which would expose them to the US navy’s tender mercies.

The US response (as shown by the mindless mutterings on Quora) is to talk bullshit about how the cost of the infrastructure is a debt trap, into which the ignorant dimwits in charge of “shit hole” countries will fall.

The USA should simply accept the the laws of exponential growth (Hello Albert Einstein) mean that China will surpass the US in a decade or less, and be doing everything possible to promote free trade between the two enormous markets.

Instead of whining about how China requires companies setting up in China (to access their enormous market) to share their patents and IP (which are worthless unless commercialized), the USA should be asking for more please!

The two countries should be setting up Free Trade Zones (President Xi has already done this) with the USA setting up “sister-zones” in the red states to provide work to the poor bastards left behind by capitalism moving their (obsolete) jobs overseas.

Instead of having China buy up US government bonds to warehouse their enormous wealth, they should be encouraged to invest more in US industry, in areas complementary to China, or in synergy between them.

Exempt essential products from GST

Many people are prepared to continue with GST, but they like essential products to be exempted. This is not as easy as it appears.

WOTC - President Trump's impact on the world

Wisdom of the Crowd: 82% of the participants in this survey held a negative opinion of President's Trump impact on the world. 18% held a positive view.

See the breakdown in

WOTC - President Trump's visit to North Korea

Wisdom of the Crowd: 70% of the people who participated in this survey held a negative opinion of President's Trump historic visit to North Korea. 30% held a positive opinion.

See the breakdown in

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Give up Singapore citizenship

Is there a serious flaw in our government policy that encourages citizens to give up their citizenship?

Let me share some thoughts.

WOTC - Directional signs

Wisdom of the Crowd: 49% of the participants in this survey said that the signs in Singapore are decided by planners who are not able to think of the general public. Another 29% said that the signs are misleading or are hidden by advertisements.
22% said that the signs are quite adequate and helpful.

See the breakdown in

WOTC - Unemployed graduates

Wisdom of the Crowd: 79% of the participants suggested that unemployed graduates should take up skilled jobs instead of office jobs. Another 12% suggested that the pay of non graduate jobs should be raised. 10% suggested to leave it to the market.

See the breakdown in

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Give some value to a HDB flat when the lease has expired

I have a discussion with a friend about the HDB mess.

He said that the people who bought expensive HDB flats in the last 30 years paid too much and they will see their investment have no value at the end of the lease.

We agreed on this point. But we disagreed on the alternative approach.

Respect the privacy

A newspaper in the UK published leaked documents about the remarks made by the ambassador to the US on the situation with the Trump administration.

It was the duty of the ambassador to give a candid assessment. He did it in confidential documents to the UK government.

The publication of the leaked document caused a diplomatic row between the UK and US government.

I consider it to be wrong for the newspaper to publish what is obviously a confidential document.

Quora: Did President Trump just lose the trade war with China?

Quora: Did President Trump just lose the trade war with China, as he has declared a truce again?

Muhammed Borhanuddin, studied International Relations at University of Dhaka (1991) answered

The way Trump waged the trade war, the defeat was destined in itself.

As it went in, Trump started losing it immediately on the home ground. And now it’s not China who is about to defeat him, but the Americans themselves who are about to be badly affected by this war. You can’t fool the citizens by some instant cash gains.

So what has Trump gained from China, so far?

Mere two of the 100 sticks China holds in its safe.

One: China has agreed to address the patent piracy issue. Two: China has committed to reduce restrictions on foreign companies wishing to operate in China.

But these concessions were not made particularly to American companies, but to all in general. Other than that, Trump got a mere commitment of China’s more imports from the USA, which is even not straight-forward but conditional (unspoken, though). So, I can’t add one more stick on to Trump’s plate.

That’s all.

So, China still holds 98 sticks in its hands, and hopefully will give away a few more in exchange of Trump’s relaxations that must satisfy China.

And then in the end, what Trump will give away in exchange will constitute Trump a loser. He won’t win what he set to. That’s what I can predict based on the current standoff.

Well, I think this is not the end of life. There is still a way to gain a win. I mean both parties can fairly trade and win.

Just step up goodwill.

Let goodwill be in the core of diplomacy. Let goodwill and trust replace fear and arrogance. Relationships can turn beautiful that way and much of fair gains is attainable.

China is a grown superpower—at least economically. And you know it’s economy that steers other mights—political, military and technological. The USA itself is the living instance of this brutal truth. And in the USA’s position in this trade war, this truth brutally holds you down to accept that you just can’t ignore that China is a superpower and that you can’t just humiliate it.

Acceptance. This is how history of power, or power-struggle, revolves in the world.

No empire is immortal, no nation holds the superpower-grid for ever. The UK has set the best example. When time was up, it accepted the reality, it recognized the USA as the next superpower of the world and finally became a friendly ally to it. So has been the case with all other superpowers that have ever existed.

The other fact is also compelling.

There are other production bases around for the USA, but China is the one that can adequately feed the hunger of the USA. At least until now. The USA is the wealthiest country in terms of consumption, technology and innovation. And its technologies and technological products still reign over the world. But without China’s hands, the USA stands nowhere to be able to maintain this global hegemony. So, it’s for the USA’s highest interest that the USA keep China stay up, and of course vice-versa.

And there is one big hope about China.

Though we really don’t know its future (ad)venture, historically China showed up to be a non-aggressive nation, both politically and militarily. So, as long as China doesn’t pose threats to global peace and security, it’s for the US interests [and for global interests as well] that we all maintain a cooperative relationship with China.

Disrespect and humiliation can’t be a long-lasting manner or policy to maintain prosperous and positive bilateral relations.

Arrogance never wins.

It is safer to make a change

I want to tell a story about this drain crossing and relate it to the need to vote non PAP.

When I first constructed this crossing, several people warned me that it might collapse and I might fall into the drain.

These people are afraid of change. They imagined what might happen if there is a change.

Well, more than six months have passed. The crossing did not collapse. I did not slip. I did not fall into the drain.

That is not all.

Suppose, I did not construct the crossing. Previously, it comprised of a few logs that were uneven. What could have happened?

I might have fallen into the drain due to the unstable logs. Do not think that no change is the safest approach. It may not be. You might get into trouble, if you refuse to change.

What is the morale of this story?

If you continue to vote PAP, you might get into trouble. If you vote non PAP and vote for change, it might be a safer option.


Wisdom of the Crowd:

Remember to vote on the issues here and make your vote count in the final outcome.

WOTC - Trump Xi meeting in Osaka

Wisdom of the Crowd: 50% of the people who voted in this survey are positive towards the outcome of the Trump Xi meeting in Osaka. The other 50% have negative views.

See the detailed breakdown in

WOTC - Cap on legal fees

Wisdom of the Crowd: 69% of the participants in this survey prefer to have a cap imposed on the legal fees, either by the rate per hour or for each type of case. 23% prefer to have a panel to check that the charges are reasonable. Only 8% prefer to continue the current arrangement.

See the details in

Monday, July 08, 2019

How do you expect your changes to be implemented?

Someone asked me - Mr. Tan, you have made many suggestions to change many government policies and strategies. How do you expect to get these changes implemented, if you do not become the prime minister? Frankly, you chance of being PM is quite low, isn't it?

Here is my reply.

Feedback - Most Viewed

Here are the feedback with the most view. You can also see the people who agreed, disagreed and their comments.

Why I appear to be pro-China

Someone observed that I appear to be pro-China in my posts.

He asked why do I support a communist country that bans Facebook, Google and other social media platforms and censors the flow of information from their citizens?

Here are my reasons:

Quora: What is China's strategy?

Quora: What is China's strategy in aggressively announcing it requires complete removal of all tariffs for a deal to end the trade war right after an amicable meeting at the G20 between President Trump and Xi where it already got concessions on Huawei?

Ridzwan Abdul Rahman, Self employed (2000-present)

China went into the G20 meeting with the US after having announced three terms that must be fulfilled before an agreement can be signed:

- Remove sanctions on Huawei
- Remove all tariffs (both sides)
- Do not persuade China to buy more than what was agreed in December 2018

Trump agreed to remove the sanctions on Huawei, not just because China asked for it but also because the affected US companies asked for it.

Trump did not agree to the removal of tariffs and we don’t know if the US team will continue to pressure China to buy more.

So China is not asking for something new other than what they presented to the US team at the G20 meeting. After all, what is the point of having an agreement if the tariffs remain.

Dealing with a fake account in Facebook Messenger

If you receive a message from a friend, e.g. through Facebook messenger, and you suspect that the message is being sent by a fake account, this is what you should do.

You should send a message, using Facebook or email, to tell your friend about the suspected fake profile.

Your friend can inform Facebook that the profile is fake. Facebook will be able to remove it immediately.

If someone created a fake profile pretending to be you, and you learn about it, you do not need to send a message to warn all your friends. Just tell Facebook about it, and Facebook will remove that profile.

Fake profile in Facebook messenger

Someone created a profile in Messenger pretending to be me.

A friend spotted it and informed Facebook that the profile is fake. Facebook contacted me. I confirmed that I did not create a new profile.

Facebook removed that profile.

I expect Facebook to implement measures to verify the identity of the person who created a profile. This will probably take them some time.

I did not send any message to my ten thousand over fans to warn them about that fake profile. If they come across a profile that does not appear to be from me, I am sure that they would just ignore it or they could alert me. I will be able to tell Facebook that it is fake.

I do not over-react to people who create fake profiles by sending large number of messages to warn my friends.

Lessons from the Woodlands double murder

If the accused had gambled in the integrated resorts, many people would use it as a reason to blame the government for the tragedy of the double murder. He did not. So, the government did not get the blame. But he did gambled in other conventional ways.

I do not want to blame the government for allowing this tragedy to happen.

However, I like to point out that this tragedy highlights the weakness in our support system.

Let me share my views.

Wisdom of the Crowd

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WOTC - More funding for child care centers

Wisdom of the Crowd. 93% of the participants in this survey said that the government should provide more funding for child care centers and take other related measures. The remaining 7% is satisfied with the current arrangement.

See the breakdown and give your comments in

WOTC - Is President Trump doing a good job?

Wisdom of the Crowd. 58% of the participants in this survey said that President Trump is erratic and will create chaos for America. The remaining 42% think that he is doing a great job in bringing jobs back to America.

See the detail breakdown and add your comments in

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Give up a child for adoption

If a family is in financial distress and is not able to provide for their children, it is better for them to give a child for adoption by other parents who can better provide for the child.

I share this story of a wealthy family who have adopted children.

Double murder in Woodlands highlight need for financial planning

You must have followed the news about the double murder in Woodlands and the criminal trial of the husband and father who had admitted to the murders.

He was in financial distress partly due to gambling. But I suspect that the main cause was the loss of income from his job. He must have taken to gambling in the hope of earning some income.

I do not wish to comment on the relationship within the family.

However, I want to point out that the risk of a severe loss of income due to loss of job or poor business affects every working person.

The consequence can be quite harsh in the absence of a good system to provide support and financial assistance to families in need.

It is very important for every young family to have proper financial planning to deal with this big risk.

I advise young people to attend this talk on financial planning - so that you can be financially strong to deal with this risk.

Do not ignore this risk. Attend this talk and follow the simple ten tips. They are usually.

Parents should send their adult children to attend this talk as well.

Quora: Will Donald Trump win the trade war against Huawei?

Stephanie Smith, Council on Foreign Relations answered.

Donald is such a strange character.

On Saturday at G20 he announced US companies would be allowed to sell goods to Huawei. On Tuesday he sends email to Commerce Department to reiterate there is no change in policy.

So basically he wants the election support of US companies and workers suffering under his trade war. And he needed something to announce from the meeting with Xi, under which is threatened to throw another crazy tantrum if Xi didn’t meet him to give him a photo opportunity at G20. But really, Donald has no idea what he is doing. If he keeps up the tariffs and doesn’t repair some bridges, China completely cuts US out of its entire technology stack and ecosystem. If he allows US companies to trade with China again, he faces a backlash from his support base, that are convinced that all their problems are because Chinese people are working too hard.

I think why this issue is such a central issue globally, is because is strikes to the heart of globalization. Take for instance microchips. The microchips that US produces at Intel, Qualcom, etc are not so high tech that they cannot be produced in China. It is just because they have been around for so long, that it doesn’t make sense for China to build all the factories to make them, when there is already scale production in USA. These are commoditized products. It strikes to the heart of globalization, specialization and trade.

Once China is forced to make even its own chips to replace all these little commodity products of Intel and Qualcom, the US companies are in a world of pain. Investors are too short-term minded to think or care, but it basically has doomed the US companies, it is practically impossible for them to compete cost/profit wise with Chinese manufacturers.

Wisdom of the Crowd

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WOTC - Foreign workers

Wisdom of the Crowd - 66% of the participants in this survey wanted Singapore to adopt the approach used by Canada and Australia to allow foreign workers to work in Singapore. The remaining 34% want to keep our current system but make changes to control the inflow.

See the details in

WOTC - Internal Security Act

Wisdom of the Crowd - 97% of the participants in this survey wanted to allow the detainees under the Internal Securities Act to apply to the court for an independent review of the reason for the detention. 3% preferred to continue the current system.

See the details in

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