Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Quora Why have Malays constantly dominated the bottom streams of Singapore's education system?

Muhd Syahir, lives in Singapore replied.

You know…when I was about 15 years old, I was actually wondering why are the Malays seem so dumb compared to other races in Singapore. I just turned 20 yesterday, so it has been about five years since I pondered about this question.
I’m not a sociologist or a psychologist so you can disagree with me. I’m also interested what other Malays or Chinese have to say about this.
Let’s start off with the fact that I have Malay friends from all educational background-ITE/POLY/JC/UNI. I have seen some of the brightest Malays that I have met and cannot even comprehend what they do during their free time and at the same time, I have friends that lepak 24/7. Nothing productive. Absolute zero. I do know one thing for sure, things will change for the better.
Based on personal observations in real life as well as online on social media and various online forums, many Malay families in the past do not have the mentality AND wealth to pursue higher education compared to today’s Malay families. Life doesn’t need you to be a degree holder back then to survive. My mom is the sole breadwinner of the house. She failed O levels. My family members and I are still alive and well.(Amin)The mentality that finishing ITE or POLY being enough is still there in 2020. I can still feel it. It’s this Malay culture that I do not know how to express on why we are not hungry for higher achievements in life such as getting a degree or becoming the boss. (Okay I’ve answered it after some thought. Look under Calvin Kong’s comment.)
Money may not be the main determinant why we are so bad in education but it is a major contributor. Let’s face it. Malays are much more poor compared to the Chinese. If you are a wealthy Malay, you’re not part of the majority that live in 3/4/5-room HDB flats. It is really hard if you’re bad at math(I am terrible at math) and you don’t have tuition to catch up with your classmates. My mom had to struggle putting me for math tuition since primary 2 till secondary 3 because I just could not grasp the concepts. At this point, maybe it’s just because I’m a Malay and most Malays suck at Math. Like I said, it’s always the blame-Malay-community-attitude problem.*Literally LOL-ed while typing this*
Anyways, the tides have changed. Malays in Singapore are catching up with other Singaporeans in terms of education and social standards(slowly). I can see more Malays entering universities, both local and private. Malays venturing overseas and doing well in their career. It is really up to one’s mindset to achieve whatever he wants to achieve in life. I would just like to remind my fellow Malay Singaporeans that just because we see the statistics of Malays being in normal technical and academic streams, pathetic number of Malays in JC and in universities doesn’t mean that we should have this low self-esteem that we are retarded and stupid. It just means that we have to work more on improving the foundations for our future Malay generations to prosper in life.
Hopefully my generation will break that Malay excuse mentality and get out of that cycle to pursue further studies.
Before I die, I have a few wishes that I hope would be fulfilled. One of them would be to see the Malay community in Singapore to thrive in most aspects especially in education. It would be a dream come true honestly.
-Your friendly Police-NSF officer

A better way to stop the spread of the virus

The measures implemented under code Orange has been quite chaotic and led to panic and waste of productivity.

Is there a better way to deal with the need to stop the spread of the virus?

I suggested the following steps. Do you agree with my suggestion?


Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Is it safe to travel to Johor during this period?
2. Should the state provide hand sanitizers at public places?

Vote in

WOTC - China's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic

Wisdom of the Crowd: 58% of the respondents expressed a positive view towards China's handling of the Covid-19 epidemic. 42% held a negative view.


WOTC - Electronic tagging

Wisdom of the Crowd: 71% of the respondents said that people under home quarantine or leave of absence should be tagged electronically. 29% said that this is not necessary.


Use e-tagging for people under Stay Home notice

I suggest that the authority introduced electronic tagging for people issued with the "Stay at Home" notice.

It is not costly to implement and I believe that the people involved do not mind. We can design a tag that is not conspicuous.

It will be more effective that policing them with non-electronic means and impose heavy penalty.


Be prepared, in case we move to code Red

We are now at code Orange and the situation has improved somewhat in recent days. It may still be too early to expect a change in the response level to code Yellow.

However, there is still the risk that the situation may worsen and the response level may change to code Red.

At that time, there will be another panic, with people rushing to stockpile food.

It is important for the govt to announce the plans for the distribution of food supplies under code Red. This will prepare the people and avoid the scramble.

What should be the plan? Here are my suggestions.


I hope that we will not get into this situation. (Actually, I think that this is unlikely). But, like the boy scouts say, "be prepared".

Encouraging news from Singapore

The news from Singapore has been quite positive. Several cases have been discharged after being found to be negative. Two severe cases previously in intensive care has now been taken out of ICU.

My best wishes for the four cases that are now still in intensive care. I hope that they will recover.

Our appreciation goes to the hard working doctors and nurses.

Most of the newly diagnosed cases are likely to be of a mild form. If they are discovered early, they will not face the risk of severe or critical illness. I hope that I am right.

If anyone has a high temperature, it is best to go to a clinic and see a doctor.

While we have to be careful, there is no need to be alarmed. There is no need to rush to stockpile food or other staple products, or queue up for face masks and hand sanitizers.

Oh yes, I almost forgot to say. There is still no need for me to put on a face mask. Let me enjoy the fresh air and bright sunshine, OK?

I am still hopeful, maybe confident, that this epidemic will be over in two months time, when winter is over in China.


Monday, February 17, 2020

Do not issue code Orange next time!

The health minister issued code Orange and caused the following outcomes:

a) There was panic with the public at large rushing to stock up food and other supplies.
b) Many workplaces have to set aside many workers to do temperature scanning and collect data for contract tracing
c) Some countries started to impose restrictions on travel to and from Singapore.

Instead of issuing code Orange, the health minister could have taken the following steps:


Provide hand sanitizers at public places

The medical experts advised that people should wash their hands frequently to get rid of the virus.

I suggested that the govt should provide hand sanitizers for use by the public at all public places, such as MRT stations, bus interchanges, malls and markets.

Some people said - the sanitizers will run out quickly.


Measures to stop the spread of the virus

Under code orange, the govt implement the following strategies to stop the spread of the virus:

a) Have workplaces implement temperature scanning
b) Record contact details for contact tracing.

A lot of work is done, but I sense that these measures are not effective. What are better ways to stop the spread of infection?

Sunday, February 16, 2020

A keyboard warrior

Someone, probably a PAP troll, accuse me of being a keyboard warrior.

He forgot that besides warring on the keyboard, I do the following:

a) Walk 90 minutes to the office once a week and meet and talk to people on the footpaths, including those who ride PMD (in defiance of the LPM ban)

b) Walk 6 bus stops every day to deny XXX of $0.14 in bus fares and from the grassroots club to my home, denying him of $0.60 each time.

c) Spent one afternoon fitting a cabinet DIY in my home, and now offer my time and expertise to change the cabinet in Parliament House.

d) Conduct two surveys every day to listen to the "wisdom of the crowd" and pass many feedbacks to the leaders who are too busy to listen. (But they engage scholars to monitor my social media and take ideas from me, without giving me credit).

e) Set an example of not wearing a face mask to help the country cope with the embarrassment of not having sufficient stock of this essential medical supply.

I probably do more walking than his hard working MP who visits his/ her constituents once a while with a lot of fanfare (also called "wayang"). And I do not get any cent, compared to the $192,500 that his hero MP gets each year.

OK, I am a keyboard warrior. hehehe.

MP wear a mask to visit an infected person

Mr Tan
I am not taking sides but I think Mr GMS does have a point. A ruling party MP has responded to a Facebook post by an opposition politician that criticized her for wearing a mask during a visit to a block with one of Singapore’s coronavirus patients. In her response on Facebook the same day, Ms Cheng said: “One of our residents here at Tampines East is a confirmed patient of the nCoV.” She explained that she had gone to the patient’s block to help the Tampines Town Council with its cleaning operations there. She added: “I also stopped by the quarantined home briefly, and dropped the family a card with the CC’s contact details should they need help. I left them some freshly baked bread and groceries at their door for them to bring in after we left.”


Saturday, February 15, 2020

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. How often should temperature be taken for every person?
2. Who should take the temperature?
Vote in

WOTC - Will you wear a face mask?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 22% of respondents want to wear a face mask when they go out, 27% will wear only when they go to a crowded place. The others do not find it necessary.


WOTC - Will the coronavirus epidemic disappear by summer?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 55% of respondents expect the coronavirus epidemic to disappear by summer. The others expect it will last for a longer time.


Temperature should be taken once or twice a week

Dear Kin Lian

With the COVID-19 now in orange , do you think that almost all In camp training,Enlistment and etc should be temporary suspended/ cancel ? Or should they be carried on with temperature taking or reducing the number of those who are about to enlisted ?

The second is on temperature taking,should all places like shopping mall ,bus interchange,mrt stations have temperature taking like those we see in the airport?

With warm regards.

Yes, all incamp training should be suspended.

Temperature taking should be done at all places with many people. but it should be done by specially trained people (supervised by M of Health) and only once or twice a week. The person who has been screened should be given a sticker to last a few days.

There is no need to duplicate the work and take temperature several times a day.

Agree or not?

US govt - a model of inconsistency

Yahoo Finance briefing.

The U.S. government has never been a model of consistency—these are the folks who brought us ‘military intelligence’ after all—but maybe that makes sense. With something as big as the federal government, there’s bound to be some conflicting interests. (And we all remember our Emerson, right? “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds…”)

But lately the inconsistencies—foolish and otherwise—emerging from Washington directed at the tech industry have become truly mind-blowing.

“Some chaos is normal, [but I’ve] never seen an administration this unpredictable,” says Larry Downes, an author and fellow at the Georgetown University Center for Business and Public Policy.

Spot on Larry, though I have to add, it’s getting worse.

In fact this week has been particularly insane. Enough to make a fair mind fairly reel.

Chapter One.

Let’s start with the most jaw-dropping development, the U.S. government charging Chinese telecom giant Huawei with violating the RICO or Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which is usually reserved for prosecuting the mafia. I say usually because while the Feds tapped RICO to go after the Gambino, Lucchese and Bonanno families in New York, it’s also been employed against the likes of the Hells Angels and Michael Milken, as well as Major League Baseball, the LAPD, oh and don’t forget, Donald Trump (in the Trump University case). Where RICO hasn’t been used is against a major corporation, never mind a foreign one.

DOJ alleges Huawei was acting as a criminal enterprise by conspiring to steal secrets from a number of unnamed U.S. companies, including perhaps the likes of Cisco and Yahoo’s parent company Verizon. (Huawei is also suing Verizon over alleged patent violations.)

‌Does it make sense to use the same statute against Huawei that was used against John Gotti and Donald Trump? Who knows.

There’s more news on the Huawei v. U.S. government front to consider though.

On Wednesday the Wall Street Journal reported that “U.S. officials say Huawei Technologies Co. can covertly access mobile-phone networks around the world through ‘back doors’ designed for use by law enforcement, as Washington tries to persuade allies to exclude the Chinese company from their networks.” Huawei denied the allegations and those ‘U.S. officials’ didn’t provide much evidence, though they could well be right.

“Huawei of course has the capability [to spy and steal secrets] but Huawei can say with a straight face that there’s no evidence of them having used the capability,” says Nicholas Weaver, staff researcher at the International Computer Science Institute, University of California, Berkeley. “Countries with 5G have a choice: Go with Huawei and let China have an easy mode [to access telco networks.] Or go with European competitors and spend more money.”

Of course the Snowden leaks showed that our very own U.S. government has been accessing telco networks to spy on foreign governments, a point which Huawei made this week.

Also this week came a blockbuster story from the Washington Post which revealed that the CIA—through an encryption company it owned named Crypto—had been reading the secret communications of foreign countries, some of them allies, for decades. A contradiction, yes, but maybe all’s fair in the world of spycraft, just understand we wear no halo.

Also remember that the Justice Department, led by Attorney General Barr himself, has recently been urging Apple to create a back door for the iPhone to help in its investigation of the Navy base shooting in Pensacola last year. Apple has pointed out that if it creates such a back door, inquiring minds from around the globe—including the People's Liberation Army—will look to crack iPhones too.

Chapter Two.

‌A federal judge ordered that Microsoft cease work on the $10 billion cloud-computing Jedi contract for the Pentagon, a victory for Amazon, which had challenged the awarding of the contract. Naturally the contract had been awarded previously to Microsoft by another branch of the federal government, the Department of Defense. That the contract was not awarded to Amazon, but to its crosstown-Seattle-rival Microsoft, came as a shock to those following the bidding, until one considers President Trump’s state of mind.

Amazon’s 103-page suit alleges the contract was awarded to Microsoft, because of “improper pressure from President Donald J. Trump, who launched repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks to steer the JEDI Contract away from AWS [Amazon Web Services] to harm his perceived political enemy-Jeffrey P. Bezos, founder and CEO of AWS's parent company, Amazon.com, Inc. ('Amazon'), and owner of the Washington Post.”

At some point this will get sorted out and either Amazon or Microsoft will be running the $10 billion contract, but consider what this litigious maw is doing to the competitive position of the United States in the meantime.

Wait, I know! It’s detracting from that!

Please note that President Trump doesn’t always hate on Amazon. This week POTUS delighted in pointing out that the first four letters of the trillion-dollar-market-cap tech giants’ names; Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Amazon, spell MAGA. (Sorry Facebook.)

Chapter Three.

‌Also this week the Federal Trade Commission announced that it would begin investigating all manner of acquisitions made by Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft. The point here is the FTC is concerned tech giants have been acting anti-competitively by buying up small companies and start-ups (the Feds typically review only deals over $90 million) to squelch potential threats to their businesses. It’s a point I made last year when I noted that FB, GOOGL, AMZN and AAPL had bought some 500 companies over the past two decades with much of that buying over the past five years.

Chapter Four.

‌While it’s nice to hear that the government is getting tough on antitrust, except that also this week a federal judge approved the takeover of Sprint by T-Mobile, clearing the way for a merger that had been in the works almost since the days of the princess phone.

Is the Sprint/T-Mobile deal different from Facebook buying British AI start-up Scape Technologies, which TechCrunch reported it did for $40 million late last week? Sure. Is the Sprint/T-Mobile deal better or worse for consumers than the Facebook-Scape deal? I have no idea. Bet you $40 million Washington has no idea either.

Of course a federal judge approved another big telco deal not that long ago—the AT&T-Time Warner merger—but did so over the objections of the Department of Justice, which to my mind and others’ was acting at the behest of President Trump because of his dislike of TimeWarner’s CNN. (See a trend here?)

For a moment I thought I saw some kind of logic or pattern to the greenlighting, blocking or investigating of these tech, media and telco deals. Then I realized it was just my hobgoblin acting up again.

Chapter Five.

This one may be the strangest yet if you can imagine. Are you up to speed on chipmaker Qualcomm and its bizarro legal battle which played out in a San Francisco courtroom this week? The twists and turns of this case will make your head spin, but the bottom line is that the Federal Trade Commission has accused QCOM of monopolistic behavior in the smartphone chip business. But get this, taking the side of Qualcomm and fighting the FCC is none other than the Department of Justice! That’s right. The DOJ is arguing that the FTC’s actions against Qualcomm “threaten competition, innovation and national security.”

Unbelievable right?

Yes, it is unprecedented.

Yes, it is your tax dollars at work.

I know what you might be thinking. That Donald Trump is a disrupter. That he’s shaking things up that needed shaking. Maybe. But that’s not what I see. What I see when it comes to oversight of tech, media and telecom companies is policy driven by personal vendettas and conflicting agendas.

“What have we done,” asks Downes of Georgetown University. “Nothing. Has Congress passed laws? None. [Any] court cases? Zero. A lot of sound and fury, noise. From a concrete standpoint, nothing.”

In January 2017 Denmark appointed the world’s first ambassador to the tech industry. It’s a new twist in the history of diplomacy and a bit of a gimmick, but Denmark understands that American tech companies are a force unprecedented in scale and scope. “These companies have become a type of new nations and we need to confront that,” said Denmark’s Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen. I bet Metternich would approve.

As for U.S. lawmakers, they 1) don’t understand the power of these companies, 2) are in complete disarray and 3) are using metrics and analytics from pre-digital times.

But wait, didn’t the government do something this week?

Chapter Six.

Two U.S. senators introduced plans (again, it was quite the week) to reign in big tech. Senator (and former presidential candidate) Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) proposed the creation of a new independent government entity, Data Protection Agency (DPA), to oversee Silicon Valley et al. “The tech giants — Google and Facebook among them—have been the clear winners of our transition to the digital age,” Gillibrand said in her blog post outlining the measure. Will anything come of it? Probably not. “Congress has been skeptical about the establishment of a brand-new agency for data protection,” the Verge writes.

Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has another idea. He put forth a plan to roll up the FTC, which he said “is in no shape to ensure competition in today’s markets, let alone tomorrow’s,” into guess where, the Department of Justice. Remember this is the same DOJ that’s snuggled up with Qualcomm and carried President Trump’s water trying to block the AT&T/Time Warner merger.


Is there a plan here, or any consistency at all? No and not a single iota.

Commentary by Andy Serwer, editor-in-chief Follow him at @serwer

Friday, February 14, 2020

Reduce overproduction and wastage

Maria May said:

I believe there is a collective urgent need to recognize our priorities and bring our focus right.

Today, the world is over producing, advertisements manipulate consumers to buying more then necessary, wastage etc.


Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Will Tesla shares hit $1,000?
2. Is it good to have autonomous buses without drivers?

Vote in

WOTC - Did the central govt hide the severity of the coronavirus epidemic?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 71% of the respondents said that the central govt in China was not involved in hiding the severity of the coronavirus episode. 29% think that they were involved.


WOTC - Should face masks be mailed to recipients?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 76% of the respondents said that the face masks should be sent to the homes by mail, rather than ask the recipients to queue up and collect them .


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Should manual jobs be reserved for locals?
2. Is temperature screening a good approach to stop the spread of the virus?
Vote in

WOTC - Source of the coronavirus

Wisdom of the Crowd: 46% of the respondents said that the source of the coronavirus is the wet market for live animals in Wuhan. Another 46% said that it escaped from the biological research lab in Wuhan. 8% said that it was planted by a malicious foreign power.


WOTC - Should Singaporeans support stalls operated by locals?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 77% of the respondents said that Singaporeans should patronize stalls based on the quality and price and treat all stalls equally, regardless of the nationality of the stall holder. 23% said that they should support stalls run by locals.


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Get everyone to have a temperature screen once a week

This is what I gathered from reading many sources.

When a person is infected with the coronavirus, it may stay in the body for several weeks or months before they become serious ill.

So, many people may be discovered quite late, way beyond the 14 day incubation period. If so, quarantine is not useful.

It is better to make everyone go through a temperature screen at least once a week. It will identify those people with symptoms of the coronavirus. They can be sent to hospital.


Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Should we allow PMDs back on foot paths?
2. Should we give a new name to footpath?

Vote in

An alternative approach to temperature screening

When DORSCON Orange was activated, workplaces have to activate temperature screening of their workers. Schools have to activate screening of their students. This has caused long queues and chaos at many locations.

The chaos can be described as "teething problems" and after a while, the problems can be sorted out. However, it will continue to require a lot of time to be spent by staff and teachers to carry out the daily temperature screening. Worse, it may not achieve the purpose of identifying people who are infected with the virus and sending them for treatment.

The same person may have to be screened several times during a day, e.g. at the workplace and the mall. Some people may not be screened as they do not visit the places that require screening.


Wisdom of the Crowd

Vote on these issues and win a prize.


MAS should give guidance to banks on how to observe money laundering regulations

This is based on my understanding. If I am wrong, the finance minister can apply POFMA and give a correction order.

I understand that MAS expects banks to observe the money laundering regulations but do not give guidance to the banks on what are acceptable and practical measures. They leave this matter to the banks to decide.


How to pay to a China manufacturer

Here is my finding on how to pay to a manufacturer in China (outside of the Taopao or Ali Express website).

a) Do not pay by PayPal - they usually charge a service fee of USD 18

b) The best is to get a friend to pay in RMB from a WeChat or AliPay wallet. You can reimburse your friend with SGD using PayNow.

c) Do not use DBS Remit. They ask you to give the bank code CNAP), bank account number, NRIC, name of the payee in English and Chinese and the address. (Actually, they only need the bank code and account number. the other details are to give hassle to their customer and chase them away. It is typical of kiasu Singapore practice).

d) Use Transferwise. They ask for the Union Pay credit card number. (This is easier than getting the bank code and account number).

WOTC - Intermedia media reporting on Wuhan virus epidemic

Wisdom of the Crowd: 54% of the respondents said that the international media has reported the Wuhan virus epidemic fairly. 46% said that they were biased and have sensationalised it.


WOTC - Beijing govt transparency on Wuhan virus epidemic

Wisdom of the Crowd: 54% of the participants said that the Beijing govt has been transparent in telling the world about the Wuhan virus epidemic. 46% said that they have not.


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

So much hassle to use DBS Remit

I wanted to send some money to a manufacturer in China through DBS Remit.

I had so much trouble. I am convinced that the person who design the system is an idiot.


Stop the spread of coronavirus

Here is a more efficient and effective way to stop the spread of the coronavirus.


What is the impact of coronavirus being airborne?

There is a post that the coronavirus is now airborne. The experts said that the spread through surface contact is more active than the airborne virus.


Monday, February 10, 2020

Are we adopting the correct strategy to deal with the spread of coronavirus?

I listened to this video where health minister Gan KY explaining about the coronavirus.

It seems to me that our strategy of quarantine and contact tracing is not a good approach. I offer an alternative.


Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. What are suitable as quarantine centers?
2. Should we intensify temperature checks?

Vote in

WOTC - How to avoid being infected

Wisdom of the Crowd: The respondents chose the following options to avoid being infected with the Wuhan virus - wash hands often and stay away from people who sneeze (50%), stay at home (28%), wear a face mask (12%), don't visit malls (9%).


WOTC - Temperature check at Johor checkpoints

Wisdom of the Crowd: 52% of the respondents said that temperature check should be implemented at the Johor checkpoint for our safety. 48% think that it is not necessary.


Sunday, February 09, 2020

Take sensible measures to reduce the risk, but do not be alarmed

Up to now, I am still quite relaxed about the risk of coronavirus in Singapore.

It is still quite safe in Singapore, because the number of infected people is less than 100 and nobody died yet.

I know that there is a small spread of infection, but the scale is still small.

It may get worse, or it may not.

I think we do not need to worry excessively for these reasons:

a) Unlike Hubei which is now in winter, Singapore has a hot climate all year round. The harm from the virus should be lower. Many people died because of the cold weather and the infection from the virus causing pneumonia.

b) Most of the infected people will survive. Some will reach a severe stage, but they will also survive. Some may die, but it will not be in alarming numbers.

(Don't tell me about the rubbish that every life is precious - it is not a logical way to deal with the problem).

So, for the time being - no face mask for me. And no scramble for groceries. (I am speaking for myself. My family may not agree with me, but they are more typical Sinkie).

So, I don't agree with the code Orange, but anyway, the harm is done, and panic has been caused. Th groceries in most supermarkets are sold out.

Some people said that the situation in Wuhan and Hubei is very serious. I agree. But it does not mean that Singapore or the whole world is in that situation. We need to see what our real risk is. We should not use the situation in Wuhan as the basis to plan our response.

Looking ahead, I think the govt should use the army barracks in Pulau Ubin and Tekong, the university hostels and hotel rooms are quarantine centers to handle the 30,000 workers from China who are returning to Singapore.

I do not agree with the govt's plan to quarantine the 30,000 workers at home. It is too risky and unfair to the workers and their landlords.

We should allow the workers to return to Singapore in batches that can be accommodated in the quarantine centers. These centers should be manned by specially employed people who can manage the quarantine procedures.

Although I may appear to be unalarmed, I would support sensible measures, such as quarantine, to reduce the risk.

The situation may get much worse than I expect, but it may not. Let us wait to see what really happens. We should not project the worse case and plan on that basis.

So, i will not be wearing any mask for the time being But I will wash my hands 10 times a day - I promise.

Tan Kin Lian


Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Was it appropriate for the minister of health to issue DORSCON Orange?
2. How should the govt deal with 30,000 returning workers from China?

Vote in

WOTC - Stop the spread of fake news on coronavirus

Wisdom of the Crowd: 83% of the respondents said that the govt should give the facts of the virus to combat the spread of fake news. 17% suggested other measures. None opted for POFMA to be applied.


WOTC - Evacuate citizens from Wuhan

Wisdom of the Crowd: 84% of the respondents said that the govt should evacuate all citizens from Wuhan and bear the full cost of the evacuation.


Use hotels for quarantine

30,000 workers from China will be returning to Singapore after the Chinese New Year holidays. Some of them may be infected with the coronavirus.

The govt has decided that they should be placed under 14 days leave of absence. This is probably due to the lack of accommodation to place so many people under state supervised quarantine.

I suggest the following measure to deal with the challenge.

Give more information about coronavirus to assure the public

Give more information about coronavirus to assure the public

I hope that the minister can give the answers to the following questions:

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Install solar panels on roofs

Hi Kin Lian,

See my monthly report from my solar PV system. It shows the kwh my system has produced for me. In terms of trees, its like having 15 trees absorb the CO2 and that's just for my little home. It has also halved my electricity bill.

I think spore being on the equator, the govt should go all out putting PV panels on all public buildings especially those with large roof areas. They should use govt funds to deploy PV panels on HDB roof tops and try and offset the electricity consumed per block for common areas.

Do so on HDB roofs as there are no trees tall enough to drop leaves onto. The need to maintain the systems should also create not an insignificant number of jobs which I'm sure even ITE grads can take up.

Doing this on a large scale will help the economy move towards "new industries" and "post industrial revolution" sectors of the economy. The flow on effects (from an economist's perspective) should then be exploited to create even more jobs in the "new economy".

This is at least one way spore can capitalise on its location - being at the equator.

Of course the current govt will not listen, having already given Elon Musk the cold shoulder. I suspect they want to "protect" their oil refining industry. Or maybe they are just short sighted. But spore can and should have both. I also wonder if the oil refining industry on Jurong island employ PV panels on a large scale to help power their operations.


Minister Masagoes - are you listening?


Gilead Science - cure for coronavirus

Hi Mr Tan,
What do you think about Gilead science stock, the company may possibly be the only company now in the world which can provide effective cure to Wuhan virus patients?

My views here:

Get ready for food rationing

The minister for health issued DORSCON orange. It led to a panic with many people rushing to buy and stockpile food. What would happen when we get DORSCON red?

I suggest that the govt starts preparation for food rationing. It should work like this.

Introduce a common 2FA system for govt agencies and financial institutions

We need to introduce a common 2FA system for govt agencies and financial institutions.
I share my experience with Facebook and Google and suggest how it can be done.

Facebook and Google implemented 2FA authentication very well

Facebook asked me to implement a 2FA authentication for my page. They did it very well.

Here is my experience:

a) The target my page because it is a high profile page. Fair enough.
b) The 2FA authentication is required only if I use a device that is not my regular device. (Wow - that makes a lot of sense).
c) The allow me to use a third party authenticator and suggested two of them. I chose Google Authenticator. I have to scan their QR code to link the servers. It was easy.
d) The Google authenticator generate a 6 digit code which I entered to Facebook (it is easy).

I hope that our govt agencies, such as GovTech, learn from the real experts, such as Facebook and Google, on how to handle 2FA. They have common sense.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Should we introduce a system of rationing for food?
2. Is the minister for health managing the coronavirus crisis well?
Vote in

WOTC - Cost of treating the coronavirus epidemic

Wisdom of the Crowd: 42% of the respondents said that the govt should bear the full cost of treating the coronavirus epidemic. 33% said that the govt should bear what is not covered by medisave and medishield. 19% said that the cost of treating the coronavirus should be subsidised.


WOTC - LHL's biggest mistake as PM

Wisdom of the Crowd: 41% of the respondents said that LHL's biggest mistake as PM is to allow the large increase in population. Another 41% said that it is the bad social and economic policies that he introduced.


Friday, February 07, 2020

Not lucky with Tesla shares last night

I was unfortunate with Tesla last night. I placed an order to buy 50 shares at $680. It went to $685 but never hit my order.

Close to midnight, it suddenly jumped from $710 to $760. It was a large jump.

I bought the 50 shares at that price, thinking that it might lead to another bull run. (It happened like that three days earlier).

The price did continue to run to $795 but dropped after that to $750.

I am holding to a small paper loss. I will wait for the price to drop further before I buy another 50 shares.

I will keep them as long term investments. The current price of $750 is high, but I am afraid it will not drop back to $600.

I believe that Tesla will disrupt the car market and that electric cars will get a big market share in the future.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Are the people of China generally quite patriotic?
2. Are most democratic countries running their election process fairly and efficiently?

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WOTC - LKY's biggest mistake

Wisdom of the Crowd: 44% of the respondents considered LKY's biggest mistake to be the "stop at two" policy. 41% said that it is appointing LHL to be in charged. 14% said that it is continuing to be actively in charge after stepping down.


WOTC - Will the Wuhan virus get out of control?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 50% of the respondents said that the Wuhan virus is already out of control or will get worse as the time goes by. The other 50% expect the virus to be controlled soon.


How to provide an excellent call center service?

Are you fed up with the "terrible call center experience" that is provided by most organizations?

Do you like a new approach, e.g. one that is described here?


Be positive and supportive

If someone puts up a suggestion and I generally agree with the concept, I show my support for it.

I want to be positive and supportive. it is difficult for a new idea to be accepted. I want to encourage it.

If I have strong reasons to disagree, I will polite give my point of view and provide the facts (as I know them) and my reasons.

I will not suggest that the other person's view is wrong. I may have misread that view, or may not have the facts that the other person has.

I do not want to appear "clever". I also avoid judging the other person's view.

It is rude to disagree with another person's view just because one has a different view. This attitude is arrogant and disrespectful.


Thursday, February 06, 2020

Do not try to act "clever" when you are not

When somebody gives a suggestion to improve a situation and I agree with the concept generally, I support it.

I do not "modify" that suggestion on minor details. I am not that "clever".

I feel tired about people who try to show that they are "clever" when in fact they are quite stupid. These stupid people think that they can judge other people when their sense sense of judgment is flawed.

We have many of this kind of people in Singapore, It must be the result of our education system.

I would not agree with a view when I have fundamental reasons against it. It has to be a significant disagreement, rather than a minor "adjustment".

For example, I say "reduce full time national service to one year". Some "smart" people will argue that it has to be slightly longer than one year.

These people do not know that I have done a lot of research on the approach taken by several other countries before I come to my conclusion. They give their opinion without proper research or understanding. I consider their view to be "shallow".


How to handle an election fairly and efficiently

Many countries mess up their election process. Even the states in America have problems in carrying it out in an fair and efficient manner. There were disputes about election results that had to go to court.

Sometimes, I wonder if the mess was created deliberately to favor certain parties in power. Or they were due to plain inefficiency and stupidity.

The same kind of problems occur in many other countries using the democratic process. There were often allegations of vote rigging or outright dishonesty.

Let me suggest how the election can be carried out fairly and efficiently.

30,000 foreign workers returning from China

30,000 foreign workers, mostly on work permits, will be returning from China after the Chinese New Year.

There is a high risk that some of them might be infected with the novel coronavirus.

The govt is in a dilemma. What can they do?

Here are my views.

Quora: Is Trump's China trade war a disaster? If so, why is it still continuing?

Alan Higgins, Sole Prop at Self-Employment
Answered Aug 15

The defining feature of a megalomaniac is the inability to see his own errors.
And here we have Trump, the leader of a 250 year old country, declaring a trade war against a thousand+ year old international trading giant.
China has more people, minerals, oil, power, water and land, and more importantly a long term strategic development plan. Trump has? well he’s got to win the election next year. So his plan is to do what looks good for the electorate NOW, and fuck the year after next, he’ll think of something spectacular then. and he can always blame it on the libtards/media/wetbacks/camel jocks- if he shouts loud enough.

Respect the constitution

People should respect the constitution of their country - in Thailand, America, China and even in Singapore.


Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Should people under home quarantine and leave of absence be e-tagged?
2. China response to the novel coronavirus is laudable.
Vote in

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

The risk is still quite low in Singapore

I want to give my perspective about the risk of the novel coronavirus or nCOV infection in Singapore.

I am one of the few who said that the risk is quite small. There is no need to over-react to the risk.

I know that I may be wrong, as things may turn out to be worse quite quickly. But until that happens, I wish to say - do not worry excessively or over-react to this risk.

If you wish to wear a face mask, go ahead. If you wish to wash your hands 50 times a day, go ahead. If you wish to avoid crowded places, by all means. Do what you feel is comfortable.

For me, I will carry on life as usual, i.e. no face masks. And I will continue to take public transport and visit malls.

Maybe, I will wash my hands more frequently and avoid rubbing my hands over my face. And I will pay attention and avoid people who cough.

Let me say why I think the risk is still very low in Singapore. If the infection is widespread, we will get a few thousand people who are infected by now. But we do not have this number. It is still just a handful.

The government has placed a few hundred people on quarantine or on leave of absence. I am not sure if this is really necessary, but I guess it is better to be safe, rather than sorry. Maybe these measures have been effective in stopping the spread of the virus.

I wonder what happens when someone is infected. If the person is healthy, he will not die from the virus. He will probably recover. the recovery rate is 98% but it does take some time.

Perhaps the risk is that during the time until complete recovery, he may infect other people who may be less healthy. this is probably the real risk.

OK, let us take the necessary hygiene measures to stop being infected and spreading the infection to other people.

A few people have spoken about the possibility that the virus may mutate and become more aggressive. There is nothing that ordinary people can do about this risk. We have to leave it to the doctors and the researchers.

I have seen a few videos and messages that are being shared that paint a dire situation. They are mostly exaggeration. Yes, thing could get worse, but it might not happen. Anyway, there is nothing that we can do about it, except to take the necessary precautions. It does not help to cause widespread alarm.

I am still optimistic that the infection and deaths will reduce in a week or two. And, like SARS, the nCOV will be forgotten by summer or later in the year.

Tan Kin Lian


Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Do you expect the Wuhan virus to disappear by summer?
2. Will you wear a face mask as a precaution?

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Tuesday, February 04, 2020

How to avoid the mess up in the Iowa caucus

The state of Iowa conducted a caucus (like an election) for the Democratic party members to select their candidate. It has a population of 3.1 million. Maybe the participants, being party members could be 500,000?

It was a big mess - also described as SNAFU (situation normal, all fouled up).

The New York Times explained it.

What is a good way to report the results? The app is a bad idea. It did not work. The telephone call is a bad idea. The lines got jammed up.

Why don't they consult me?

This is what I would do.

I would ask the caucus chair at each location to write the results on a piece of paper and signed it. Take a photo. end it by WhatsApp to the headquarters. Maybe there will be several WhatsApp groups for different zones.

The volunteer in charge of the WhatsApp group will enter the results into the server. Another volunteer will check the results. The entered results will be sent back by SMS to the caucus chair.

That's it.

Sure to work well.

Tan Kin Lian


Give the face masks to people who need them more

I saw some comments in the Internet - why are the people in China using face masks all over the place, and yet our own govt leaders said that there is no need to use face mask in Singapore. Are our leaders exposing our citizens to high risks?

I wish to address this question.

The level of risk is quite different.

a) In China, there are a few tens of thousand of known infected cases and many more that are not known yet. They could be under the incubation period. In Singapore, the known infected cases are just a handful. The unknown cases are probably quite rare.

b) It is winter in China. the risk of the virus spreading in a cold climate and causing a lot of harm to the victim is quite high. In a hot climate, like in Singapore, the risk is quite small. Even if a frail person is infected, the risk of fatality is much lower in a hot climate compared to a cold climate.

If a person is not sick, there is no need to wear the face mask. The risk of a healthy person being infected is very small. I do not wear the face mask. I do not see any need for it.

There is a shortage of face masks around the world. We need them much less than the people in cold climate. We certainly need them much less than the people in China where the number of infected people is the highest in the world.

Let us not hoard the precious masks. Let the people who need them more have access to them.

Tan Kin Lian

Do you agree with this view?

Use electronic tagging for home quarantine

About 30,000 work permit holders from China will be returning to Singapore. They are asked to be take leave and to stay at home on quarantine for 14 days.

There is the risk that some of them may not observe the home quarantine. They may move about the community and pose a risk to the public.

There are insufficient places in a quarantine center to handle such a large number of people.

What is an alternative? I suggest electronic tagging. Do you agree?

A cheaper way to buy from China manufacturers

I ordered a few samples of devices from manufacturers in China.

I was surprised that the shipping cost is very expensive, typically USD $80 per deliver. The fee to pay by PalPal is USD 15.

I found that I could ask the manufacturer to send the products to a vPost address in Shenzhen. From there, I could aggregate the items and get vPost to send them to Singapore.

I do not know the actual charges, but I suspect that it should be lower than USD $80. Furthermore, I could consolidate the purchases from a few manufacturers.

To avoid PayPal, I asked my friends to pay to the manufacturers using their WeChat accounts. I reimbursed them with PayNow.

However, this is troublesome for my friends. In the future, I will use DBS Remit. They do not charge any fee and the currency conversion rate is less than 1%. It is acceptable to me.

What did I order? Find out here:

Be considerate to pedestrians

In planning the pedestrian crossing, the planners are quite inconsiderate to pedestrians and made them wait longer than necessary.


Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Should the face masks be sent to households by mail?
2. Was China attempting to hide the severity of the Wuhan virus?

Vote in

Distribution of scarce essential commodities

Why did the govt distribute the 4 face mask per household by personal collection, rather than sending them by mail?

Most people felt that it would be more efficient to use the mail. The value of the distributed item is small.

My guess is that the govt wants to put into place the mechanism for distribution of scarce items in the future. I have mentioned the need to be prepared to have a system in place in this post.


Who knows? Maybe the govt has people who monitors my posting and recognize the need to have a system in place?

Today, it may be face masks. In the future, it might be food or water or other essential commodities.

We need to have a system in place. We need to learn from the practical experience Agree?

New York Times - lower death rate compared to SARS

New York Times:

China’s coronavirus death toll exceeds that of SARS
Only three weeks since emerging in the city of Wuhan, the new coronavirus has killed more than 360 people out of some 17,200 infected in mainland China, surpassing the toll of 349 there from the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s.
Though the virus seems to be readily transmitted between humans, its apparent death rate of about 2 percent is lower than the 9.6 percent for SARS, and recoveries have risen.

Monday, February 03, 2020

Helping the tourism sector tide over the economic slowdown

How can the govt help the tourism sector tide over the economic slowdown caused by the Wuhan virus?

Here are my suggestions.


LTA should operate a network of local services

I passed my a private shuttle bus at Yio Chu Kang station. It was waiting for passengers who want to go to Grande Vista, which is near my home. I think they charge $1.

I walked home. After 25 minutes, when I was approaching my home, I saw the shuttle turn the corner into Cactus Road. It has a small handful of passengers.

This shuttle is costly and not convenient.

I believe that hospitals also operate shuttle services to the nearby MRT stations. It is also costly to operate and not efficient. The travelling time is long, as it has to loop to many side roads.

I prefer the LTA to operate a network of local services, so that these private shuttles are not necessary. We need to have a more efficient network and to use our resources more efficiently.

Do you agree?


Build a network of underground walkways

For the past few years, I have been thinking about the concept of building an elevated walkway for pedestrians. They can walk on the elevated walkway for a long distance and do not need to cross traffic junctions.

I know that this is costly, but it is also costly to construct footpaths and controlled crossings.

There are problems with building the elected walkways because of the trees that are planted on the side and middle of the roads.

How about building underground walkways that can stretch for long distances?

It can be build below the level that carry the electric and communication cables. It does not matter that the tunnel is lower, as the access will be by elevators and lifts.

There are technology that can be used to bore tunnels, so the cost may be acceptable. These tunnels can also be used to carry cables, so there will be less need for road work to install cables.

Should the tunnels be air conditioned? Maybe yes, maybe no. I think it should be possible to have the tunnels well ventilated and kept cool.

We can build some stalls along the way for people to have a meal or coffee.

What about security? There should be no problem, as cameras can be installed along the underground walkways to prevent crime.

What are the benefits? Many people can use the tunnel to cross many roads to reach the train station and bus interchange. Walking is good for their health.

Does this make economic and social sense?


Wash and re-use the face mask?

During my 70 min walk to the office, I observed about 1 in 7 pedestrians wearing the face mask.

A thought crossed my mind. We have been told that the face mask should be used once, and then disposed off.

Maybe, it is OK for the user to wash the face mask in hot water and re-use it? Why?

The mask helps to some extent to prevent the wearer from catching the coronavirus that may come from an infected person and be floating in the air. I know that it is not perfect, but it help to some extent.

If the wearer is sick, the hot water could remove the virus. It may not remove the virus totally, but it does come from the body of the wearer, so it does not cause any further harm.

I am not talking about the masks that are used in the hospitals. They should be disposed after each use. But it should be approached differently for the ordinary users.

The manufacturer will like the masks to be used only once, so that they can boost their sales. Maybe, the masks can be re-used quite safely? What do you think?

Wisdom of the Crowd - win a prize

Vote on these issues and win a prize.


Healthy Lifestyle app

I wear two fitness bands. One is the Xiaomi band, which I have been using for a year. The other is the Axtro band issued by the Health Promotion Board.

I asked the HPB to allow the Xiaomi band to be linked to the Healthy 365 app to record my daily steps. The HPB replied that they are not able to cater for Xiaomi, as they have to be selective. So, I end up wearing two bands.

What is the real reason? Read on.


Sunday, February 02, 2020

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Is the Beijing govt quite transparent in handling the Wuhan virus episode?
2. Was the international media fair in reporting on the Wuhan virus episode?
3. Should Singaporeans patronize stalls run by locals only?
4. What is the likely source of the Wuhan coronavirus?

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Quora: Is Trump’s trade war hurting farmers?

Roland Temmerman, masters Social Sciences & Political Science (1990) Answered Dec


The answer is absolutely!

This reckless, ineffective trade war has forced many farmers into bankruptcy and the ones who’re still around are required to apply for food stamps due to their plunge of income.

A new Washington Post story about the difficulties American farmers are facing under President Donald Trump’s trade war reveals that some farmers have had to significantly reduce their food consumption to make up for plummeting incomes.

The story describes the struggles faced by Andy and Anne Lee, two dairy farmers who live in upstate New York who received a federal bailout check of $4,100 this year but who nevertheless recently applied for food stamps because they were still having trouble putting food on their table. Trump’s farmer bailout is now twice as big as the auto bailout as Trump begs rural America not to leave him: report

However, Lee so far has been unable to get her family’s SNAP benefits approved despite the fact that her net farm income was -$12,979 last year. After getting turned down in her initial request for food stamps, Lee went to her local food pantry to pick up necessary groceries.

According to the Post, the Lees are not alone in finding difficulty in getting financial assistance buying food during a tough times for farmers.

“An estimated 197,000 farmers, farmworkers, fishermen and forestry workers use SNAP, according to a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, but farmers say they sometimes find it difficult to qualify because of complicated rules governing self-employment income,” the Post explains. “And the Trump administration has long-term plans to tighten SNAP eligibility for many.”

The Lees said they voted for Trump in 2016 because they believed he was right to call out America’s trade imbalances. They still believe he has their best interests at heart, even though they acknowledge his trade war has harmed them.

“I know a lot of people don’t like it but, you know, this was going to have to happen in order to make U.S. products become more competitive,” Andy explained to the Post. “It’s going to hurt for a while.”

WOTC - Should the SDP case on POFMA be held in open court?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 55% said that the hearing of the SDP case on POFMA should be held in open court. 36% said that the court appeared to be bending to the govt's wishes. 7% said that it is better for the hearing to be heard in chambers.


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