Saturday, January 04, 2020

Passport fee of $90

Is it acceptable for the passport fee to be $90? I share my view here.

Wisdom of the Crowd

Vote on these issues and win a prize.

WOTC - Waiting time at pedestrian crossing

Wisdom of the Crowd: The respondents prefer the green man at pedestrian crossing to appear within 30 seconds (21%), 1 minute (33%), 2 minute (16%), longer if there is heavy traffic (30%).

See the details in

WOTC - Streamline the bus network

Wisdom of the Crowd: 95% of the respondents prefer the govt to streamline the bus network to reduce the inefficiency and wastage. 5% prefer to maintain the existing network and are willing to pay higher fares.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Do not accept nonsensical requirement

A few people mocked me by being confused with the instruction to submit an passport size photograph to renewal a passport.

I was confused because I was thinking of a physical photograph. How can I submit it online?

These "smart" people knew that ICA only required the to submit an image that is cropped to passport size. Surely they should know that other people might be confused? Why can't ICA ask for an image to be submitted, instead of a passport size photo?

Why are these "smart" people so arrogant and unempathetic? It is a bad behavior trait, but quite common.

Some of them are quite helpful in suggesting that I could download an app to do the work. I followed their suggestion and download an app. It contained detailed instruction and would probably take me 1 hour to understand it and get the photo suitable for ICA.

I realize that if ICA allowed me to submit an ordinary photo that is front facing, they could use a software to do the work, i.e. zoom, crop and change background, and get it done for 2 minutes. Why force the public to spend 1 hour when their staff could get it done in 2 minutes?

Here is my message to the "smart" people. You know how to get around the troublesome process implemented by ICA. By so doing, ICA does not realize that they could change and improve their process to benefit the community. Are you really that "smart" to accept the nonsensical requirement?

Online renewal of passport

I was confused with the instruction in the ICA website to upload a passport size photo for renewal of my passport.

Increase in public transport fares could have been avoided

The increase in public transport fares could have been avoided if we (the govt and the people) are prepared to accept changes and streamline the bus network to improve its efficiency.

Friday, January 03, 2020

Ban on PMD using foot paths

I expect to see more accidents on the road when the food delivery riders use motor cycles or scooters.

We will see what happens.

E-wallet linked to RFID card

Should we continue to use cash for payment when many other countries are moving to e-payment? Do you agree that a payment card is more convenient than using QR code payment with mobile phone?

Read this

How to get e-payment adopted quickly

Should we continue to use cash for payment when many other countries are moving to e-payment? Do you agree that a payment card is more convenient than using QR code payment with mobile phone?

Read this

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Which description best fits Heng Swee Kiat?
2. How will most food delivery riders respond to the ban on using PMD on footpaths?
Vote in

WOTC - How to deal with climbing vet fees

Wisdom of the Crowd - the respondents chose the following methods to deal with climbing vet fees: learn how to take care of pets (43%), check the fees charged by vets (27%), ask govt to regulate fees (27%), buy insurance (3%).

See the detailed votes in

WOTC - Qualities for next president of America

Wisdom of the Crowd: The respondents voted for the following qualities as being most important for the next president of America - need to reduce inequality (50%), preference for female (22%), preference for continuity (19%), preference for age and experience (9%).

See the detailed votes in

Thursday, January 02, 2020

A long term investor has a different approach from a short term speculator.

My friend has an interesting strategy for investing. He said - what what Temasek and GIC are doing and do the opposite. When they buy, you sell. When they sell, you buy.

He said that he had observed their investments for many years. They often buy at a high price and sell at a low price. He quoted a few examples, e.g. the global banks during the financial crisis.

He quoted a recent case where Temasek or GIC bought Bayer at 95 euros. It is not trading at around 70 euros. He thinks that it is now a good time to buy Bayer. At this lower price, I agree.

He is a good friend and has many years of experience in investing. But I do not agree with his approach.

Temasek and GIC are long term investors. They have to buy in large quantities and that will move the price up. When they stop buying, the price will come down. So, a correction of 10% or more can be expected.

Their approach has to be different from that of a short term trader.

I think that Bayer may be a good share for a long term investor at the current price.

Let me quote another example.

Another friend told me that GIC bought China Molybdenum at close to HK $3. It dropped to around $2.40. I decided to buy this share at around the price. I found that it has good fundamentals, and has a strategic value as a rare earth mining company.

The share price stayed below $3 for several months. Towards year end, it jumped sharply above $3. I sold my holdings, having made a gain of 20%. It has since increased further to $3.30.

WOTC - Next President of USA

Wisdom of the Crowd: The respondents voted in favor of the following persons as the next president of the United States - Bernie Sanders (31%), re-election of Donald Trump (28%), Elizabeth Warren (22%), Joe Biden (9%), another Republican (9%).

See the details of the voting in

WOTC - Communicate by email

Wisdom of the Crowd: 95% of the respondents said that organizations should make it easier for customers to communicate with them using email. 5% are worried that emails are not secure.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Which description best fits PM Lee?
2. Which description best fits Dr. Mahathir?

Vote in

WOTC - State surveillance in public areas

Wisdom of the Crowd: 48% of the participants said that it is all right for the state to conduct surveillance in the public areas to combat terrorism. 52% disagreed.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC: MOE will review the need to withhold certificates where fees are in arrears

Wisdom of the Crowd: 81% of the respondents reacted negatively to minister Ong's statement that he will review the practice of withholding the education certificate to force payment of arrears in fees.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Wasteful to create a retail electricity market

Is it wasteful to create a retail electricity market and ask consumers to speculate on the pricing of electricity?

Wisdom of the Crowd

Vote on these issues and win a prize (to be distributed on 1st of each month).

WOTC - Landslide win for Boris Johnson

Wisdom of the Crowd: 65% of the respondents said that the landslide win of Boris Johnson is good for the UK. 35% disagreed.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Install water filtration system

Wisdom of the Crowd: 74% of the respondents said that it is advisable to install a water filtration system in the home. 26% disagreed.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Monday, December 30, 2019

A mess with opening up of electricity market

Hello, I want to pass this message to LHL.
Your open market for electricity is in a mess.
I signed up with Keppel Electric to have their supply to my office a few years ago.
Someone came a few months to renew the contract.
Today, another person came to my office, also wanting to renew the contract.
Does Keppel Electric have a proper record of the renewal?
I don't know what is the status now.
Why does LHL want to introduce this kind of complicated and costly measures?
He could have just asked SP Services to reduce the electricity charges by 20%, instead of opening up the retail market.

Get e-payment adopted rapidly in Singapore

I send this open letter to PM Lee on how to get e-payment adopted rapidly in Singapore.

Agree or not?

China will issue its digital yuan

I give my views on the impact of the digital yuan that will soon be introduced by China.

Singapore has a choice to continue its slumber, or to wake up. I suspect it will continue to sleep and fall backwards.

Risk and cost of using currency notes

My friend said.

Why are Singaporeans so slow in accepting electronic payment?

Do they realize that currency notes can be easily faked? What would happen if some crooks flood the market with fake Singapore dollar notes?

When you accept a US dollar note, do you realize that it may be faked? With so much US notes floating around, there is a high chance that you may be receiving faked notes.

Apart from fake notes, the handling of currency notes is also inefficient and costly. Merchants have to count the notes and give change. When they bank in their notes, they also have to count. The bank also has to count.

Apart from China, India is also moving to e-payment in a big way. And very fast also.

Will Singapore prove to be among the last countries in the world to move to e-payment?

Wow! This is serious.

Changes in habits are need to make streamlining work

We need to streamline our bus network to improve efficiency and reduce operating cost.

We have to change the current network of 350 bus services. This is too many. We need to reduce it to 150 bus services.

Change is needed. For people who say that the current network should be kept, there is no way that streamlining can happen without change.

Another important feature of the change is the need to have an additional transfer in most cases. Transfers between bus services are easy as it occurs at the same bus stop.

Commuters are already used to make transfer from bus to MRT service, and that is much more inconvenient. It requires a lot of walking.

So, commuters should accept one more bus transfer to improve the efficiency of the bus network. Indeed, if the network is efficient, the travel time will be shorter. The fare will also be cheaper.

I do not understand why some commuters insist on keep a large network of bus services and avoid transfers, and expect the fares to be kept low. It cannot happen.

For streamlining to work, commuters must be prepared to accept changes. True or not?

Road safety along Orchard Road

Is there a need to worry about traffic safety along Orchard Road?

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Should injured people in an accident be sent to a nearby private hospital?
2. Should children in Xinjiang be sent to state "education centers"?

Vote in

WOTC - World led by women?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 14% of the respondents said that it would be better if the world is led by women. However 86% do not agree.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Relax ban on footpaths for food delivery

Wisdom of the Crowd: 98% of the respondents said that the ban on the use of PMDs on footpaths should be relaxed for food delivery under certain conditions.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Do not allow extreme caution to cause inconvenience

There is a tendency to adopt extreme caution to the extent that it cause inconvenience. We should adopt a more practical approach, rather than to be restricted unnecessarily.

I will illustrate my point with an example.

Receipts are needed to recover GST

A person wrote to the St Times to complain about the wastage of paper in printing receipts for small purchases, e.g. supermarkets, etc.

I agreed. The receipts are hardly needed.

Another person replied that his company's accounts dept always insist on getting a receipt to recover the GST.

How wasteful. We are creating a lot of work, and wasting a lot of paper, just to handle GST. This is the hidden cost of GST that many people do not realize.

I call the GST system a "bits and pieces" system. We collect GST, refund it, collect again, etc. It is so wasteful and adds a lot of administrative cost.

I dislike the GST system of collecting and refunding "bits and pieces". I prefer that GST be entirely abolished and that the lost GST revenue should be recovered from income tax - if indeed it is necessary.

I believe that we can abolish GST without the need to replace the revenue, as the govt runs a big annual surplus.

If some revenue is needed, it can be collected as a tax on certain "luxury items", rather than collected GST in "bits and pieces".

Streamline the bus network

The govt has increased the public transport fare by an average of 7% on 28 Dec 2019. It is a hefty increase.

This increase could have been avoided if the govt reduces the operating cost by streamlining the bus network.

I have given this suggestion a few months ago. The revised network will reduce operating cost and actually reduce the travelling time. However, it does require commuters to make an additional transfer.

Read this

If you prefer to avoid the fare increase and accept a streamlined network - vote Agree.

If you prefer to pay the higher fare and enjoy the current wide network - vote Disagree.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Is it good for LTA to stop the car pooling service between SG and JB?
2. Shouild CPF release the name and details of the complainant?
Vote in

WOTC: POFMA will suppress free expression of views

Wisdom of the Crowd: 88% of the respondents said that POFMA will suppress the free expression of views. 12% said that POFMA is useful to correct falsehoods.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC: Elevated walkways to MRT stations

Wisdom of the Crowd: 69% of the respondents like to have elevated walkways to link MRT stations to nearby streets. 31% said that it is too costly.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Blog Archive