Friday, December 20, 2019

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Impeachment of US presidents

In 1973, the impeachment process started against President Richard Nixon over the Watergate scandal. The investigation took one year. The House of Representative decided to take a vote on two articles of impeachment for obstruction of justice, abuse of power and contempt of Congress.

Before that vote was taken, Nixon resigned as President. At that time, it was clear that the vote would succeed and the matter will be taken to the next level at the Senate.

In 1998, the House of Representative passed a vote to impeach President Bill Clinton for lying under oath and obstruction of justice over the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

The process went to the Senate but did not obtain the two third majority that was necessary to remove him from office. President Clinton served the remainder of his term of office.

In 2019, the House of Representative passed a vote to impeach President Donald Trump for abuse of power over the withholding of military aid to Ukraine for political gains and for obstruction of Congress over its investigation.

The process now goes to the Senate.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Ong YK will review the MOE practice of holding back certificates due to arrears.
2. Is it all right for the state to conduct surveillance in the public areas?
3. Should organizations make it easy for their customers to send emails?

Vote in

Beijing’s blueprint for a digital totalitarian state

New York Times:

Phone scanners, facial-recognition cameras and other technologies are heightening the authorities’ ability to spy on China’s nearly 1.4 billion people, according to police and private databases examined by The Times.

Individually, none of the tracking techniques are beyond the capabilities of other countries, including the U.S. But together, they could propel China’s spying to a new level, making its cameras and software smarter and more sophisticated.

The surveillance networks fulfill a longtime goal of ensuring social stability, but it’s unclear how well the police are using the capabilities, or how effective they are.

Big picture: The surveillance push has empowered the police, who are taking a greater role in China under President Xi Jinping and using fears of unrest to win power and resources. They can track criminals as well as online malcontents, sympathizers of the Hong Kong protests, critics of the police and more. It often targets vulnerable groups, like the Uighurs.

Quotable: “You’re uncomfortable with it,” said one technology worker. “But if you don’t do it, then there’s no possibility of living a life. There’s no way out.”

My view - we have to trust the state (whether China, America or Singapore) to use the surveillance for the right purpose, i.e. to preserve law and order).

Did not bank in a refund cheque

I received a refund cheque from SP Services on closing of an account some 18 months ago. I forgot to bank it in. I wonder where the money went? Maybe, it becomes part of the profit of SP Services?

Relax the ban on use of PMD on footpaths

I sent this letter to the Straits Times Forum Page, but they refuse to publish it. I wonder why.

WOTC - Parents send their children for tuition

Wisdom of the Crowd: 83% of the participants said that it is bad for parents to have to send their children for tuition.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Decision of AHTC on the 2 MPs

Wisdom of the Crowd: 59% of the participants said the govt should respect the decision of the AHTC council and stop harassing them. 41% said the council should respect the decision of Parliament in passing the motion for the two MPs to recuse themselves from financial matters.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Is there a solution to the HDB lease decay?

Should the government extend the expiring lease for a modest lease premium?

I give my views here.

Koh Brother results for 9 months of 2019

I have a significant investment in Koh Brothers. I saw their results for 9 months of 2019, i.e.

They make a net profit of 0.81 cents for 9 months or 1.08 cents for 1 year (pro-rata). Compared to the current price of $0.21, it shows a PE ratio of 19.4 times. This is somewhat high, so it reflects that the company is only marginally profitable.

The company has a net asset per share of 72.2 cents, which is 3.4 times of the current price of 21 cents.

The cash and bank balance is a healthy $53 million or 12.8 cents per share, which is 60% of the share price.

Koh Brothers have a large order book of $906 million which represents 2.6 years of their revenue.

I am quite encouraged by the results. The current price is quite low. I may increase my investment.

India targets the internet again

From New York Times.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is increasingly employing a tactic used by authoritarians, not democracies, to stifle dissent.

India severed connectivity 93 times this year alone and 134 times last year, more than any other country, according to a monitoring group. The closest competitor, Pakistan, had 12 shutdowns last year.

Last week, the authorities in the northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura shut down the web after protests against a new citizenship law that will ease the path of non-Muslim migrants. And Kashmiris have not had internet access since August.

Source:, a legal advocacy group in New Delhi, tracked India’s shutdowns since 2012 using reports from journalists, advocacy groups and citizens.

Government explanation: The authorities say they are trying to stop the spread of misinformation, which can outpace their efforts to control it.

Big picture: The shutdowns are part of the tightening grip of the Modi administration, which has jailed hundreds of Kashmiris without charges, intimidated journalists, arrested intellectuals and suppressed negative economic reports. Critics say Mr. Modi is chipping away at India’s traditions of democracy and secularism.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Should households install a water filter system?
2. Is the landslide win by Boris Johnson good for the UK?
Vote in

WOTC - AHTC refused to recuse 2 MPs from financial decisions

Wisdom of the Crowd: 92% of the respondents to this survey agreed with the decision of AHTC to refuse to recuse the 2 MPs from financial decisions of the town council, in spite of the motion in Parliament.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Police call Gilbert Goh for questioning over Hong Lim Park rally

Wisdom of the Crowd: 67% of the participants said that it is unfair for the Police to call Gilbert Goh for questioning in conjunction with the presence of a foreigner at the Hong Lim Park rally.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Does POFMA deals with facts or with interpretations?

Wah. POFMA can now be used to handle "interpretations" and not only "facts". Really? It is getting ridiculous.

“PAP spends S$167 million on Grants & Bursaries for Singaporeans, but S$238 million on foreign students??” wrote Mr Lim, who is representing blogger Leong Sze Hian in a defamation case involving Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

This implies that MOE spends less on Singaporean students than on foreign students, which is "false and misleading", states the Factually article.

The annual budget of MOE is S$13 billion, almost all of which is spent on Singapore citizens, and the S$167 million cited by Mr Lim refers only to bursaries for Singaporean tertiary students.

What Lim Tean said is factually correct. The two figures of $167 million and $238 million are factually correct. What the government objects is the "interpretation" of the facts.

Since when does POFMA law, as it is passed, apply to "interpretations"?

I disagree with the interpretation of the government in addressing the issue. It is clear to me that the government does spend more on the foreign scholars, compared to the local scholars.

I also disagree with the government's approach to lump the full budget of MOE in the comparison. I think they are confusing the issue and misleading the public.

But, hey, this is just my opinion. Each person is entitled to his opinion.

POFMA is bad. And it has been abused against a few parties recently.

Tan Kin Lian

What are facts and what are falsehoods?

All politicians tell lies - regardless of the color of their party.

OK, they do not actually lie, but they misinform. They take some "facts" and "massage" it to give an impression that is favorable to them.

They have been doing it for decades.

It does not matter if the misinformation are given over TV, radio, newspapers, flyers, election rallies or social media.

It is unfair for them to stop the misinformation over social media, when they other channels are not blocked.

It is also unfair for one party, which is the government in power, to have the monopoly of decide what are "facts" and what are "falsehoods", especially when it comes into the realm of interpreting the "facts" to mold the perceptions of the people.

So, this is why POFMA is bad, especially when it is abused by the people in power to stifle a different perspective held by their opponents.

A case in point is the issue - is the government spending too much on educating foreigners at the expense of local students? This issue should be debated and not stifled by POFMA.


Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Does POFMA suppress the free expression of views?
2. Should the ban on use of PMD on footpaths be relaxed for food delivery

Vote in

Review the ban on PMDs using the footpaths

Over the past few weeks, I have seen several food delivery riders using their PMDs on the pavements.

They ride slowly, well within 10 kph, and do not cause any danger to pedestrians.

Among the riders are a young school girl (she looked like one) and three mature adults (of both genders). They have to make a living.

I like the government to allow registered food delivery riders to use the pavement provided that they ride at less than 10 kph and the food delivery platform takes up liability insurance for any injury caused by the use of the PMDs.

The platform should also modify their incentives to limit the number of deliveries per hour, so that there is no need for the riders to speed.

We have limited space in Singapore. We should share the space and use the space carefully and be considerate to other users.

WOTC - Route for Cross Island line

Wisdom of the Crowd: 63% of the participants prefer the Cross Island Line to skirt the nature reserve, in spite of the higher cost.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Change to national anthem

Wisdom of the Crowd: 98% of the respondents are unhappy with the change in musical composition of the national anthem.

See their reasons here.

Are foreign scholars treated better than local scholars studying in Singapore universities?

Dear POFMA office,

I invite you to check my statement and issue any correction order. Thank you.

Many Singaporeans have the perception that the government gives better funding for foreign scholars, compared to local students. Why is this the case?

The government said that education in Singapore is largely funded by the government. However, they require the parent to contribute to a small portion of the cost of education by paying a small fee.

Some parents are unable to pay the fee, or did not bother to pay the fee. This has led to the practice for the school to hold back the education certificate until the fees are paid. It has caused stress and embarrassment to the students.

Are foreign scholars required to pay the fee, as their contribution to the cost of education?

I suspect that they are not required to pay this fee, and indeed that the government gives them additional funding to cover the living expenses in Singapore.

So, the funding for each foreign student is very much higher than the funding for Singapore students.

What about the funding for local scholars, who study in Singapore. Do they get the same benefit as foreign scholars who study in Singapore? Are they provided with an allowance to cover their living expenses?

If not, should the local scholars be treated the same as the foreign scholars?

Please provide the facts in the Factually website and issue me with the POFMA correction order. I will be delighted to post the "facts" as decided by the POFMA office.

Tan Kin Lian

Monday, December 16, 2019

WOTC - System of democracy in Singapore

Wisdom of the Crowd: 98% of the participants are not happy with the system of democracy in Singapore. 2% are happy with it.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Is Batam an interesting place to visit?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 50% of the participants find Batam to be an interesting place to visit. The others find it uninteresting.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. MOM said that employment of PMETs has increased019
2. The ministers used POFMA fairly to correct falsehoods.
Vote in

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Wisdom of the Crowd

Vote on these issues and win a prize.

Elevated walkways

There is no need to quarrel about whether the footpaths should be shared with PMD riders.

Many cities have built elevated walkways, and they seem to work better than our footpaths.

Strong views

Do not give strong views out of ignorance or prejudice.

WOTC - Visit Batam

Wisdom of the Crowd: 57% of the respondents have not visited Batam or visited it more than two years ago. 43% visited Batam more recently.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Internal dispute in PKR

Wisdom of the Crowd: 63% of the respondents expect the dispute within the Partai Keadilan Rakyat to continue for a few more years.

See the breakdown of the votes in

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