Saturday, February 01, 2020

Healthy 365 is complicated

The Healthy 365 app has many events, promotions, challenges and more.

I find them to be very confusing.

I only know that I have to clock in 10,000 steps a day to get points.

But I do not know how many points are awarded and if higher points are given for reaching a higher thresh-hold. I tried to look for the instructions but could not find them.

I am also confused with tier 1, tier 2, etc. I do not know how it works.

Why does the Health Promotion Board have to make this activity so complicated? How many people really understand what is going on?

I know that many activities in Singapore is complicated and convoluted. It seems to be our national culture. Perhaps, it is because our agencies are being run by scholars.

Treat foreigners equally and fairly

A few people suggested that I should patronise stalls run by Singaporeans and not foreigners. I do not agree with this suggestion.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. How should the govt deal with fake news on the Wuhan virus?
2. Should temperature checks be implemented at the Johor checkpoints?
3. What is the best way to avoid being infected by the Wuhan virus

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Large increase in infection in Wuhan virus in China

I saw a report that there is a large increase in the actual number of people who are infected in China.

This increase is not caused by the spread of the virus, but by the availability of test kits to identify the infected people.

Be prepared for the economic impact

Many Singaporeans are worried about the Wuhan crisis. 100,000 have signed a petition asking the government to stop the entry of people from China. The govt has now implemented this temporary ban.

They are now asking for temperature checks for travelers visiting from Johor.

I hope that our people are prepared for the economic impact that will follow the measures that are being taken.

Temperature checks at checkpoints for travel to Johor

Many netizens are now asking why the immigration authority are not imposing temperature checks at the checkpoints to Johore?

I give my views.

a) The large volume of travelers make temperature checks difficult to carry out.

b) The temperature of the travelers are likely to be higher due to the long time (up to four hours) that they have to spend in crossing the checkpoints.

c) After implementing the check, we should next ask for temperature checks on people taking the MRT train as well?

OK, in short, I think it is not necessary at this time. I will change my mind if there is an exponential increase in infections. This has not occured yet.

Are deaths from the Wuhan virus being deliberately underreported?

There is a post being circulated widely stating that the crematoria in China are working full time to cremate the bodies of victims of the Wuhan virus so as to underreport the actual impact.

I do not know if it was accompanied by a video showing how busy the crematoria are, and an interview with a worker who confirmed that the crematorium is indeed working at full steam.

Without the actual statistics, I believe that there is some truth in the statement. But it is only partially true.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

SpaceX will eventually send a rocket to Mars, but they have other things to do in the meantime.

Elon Musk started a company called SpaceX. The goal was to build a rocket that could take people to Mars. That goal was inspiring, but it might be too "far off".

I learned that SpaceX has some more realistic goals. They were to put 40,000 satellites into space to provide broad band internet connection to the world.

So far, they have launched four missions, each with the goal of launching 60 satellites. A total of 240 satellites have been launched.

Elon Musk also have the making the rocket reusable. Previously, each rocket is used for one journey and is discarded.

How can this be achieved.

I learned from the latest rocket launch of Space X that they use the same type of rocket as used previously. It comprise of three stages. Each stage of the rocket carries the payload up to the next level before the rocket stage is discarded.

Now, here is the difference. Space X has a drone to catch the rocket stages after it is discarded. In this way, the rocket stage can be reused for the next rocket launch.

I am not sure if I have described this concept correctly. I hope that you get the picture.

Just imagine. if a rocket can be used many times, instead of one time, the cost of space journeys with the rocket can be reduced considerably.

Wow. What a genuis.

The right approach towards settlement of insurance claims

Do you like to be insured with an insurance company that has the right approach towards settlement of insurance claims? their claims officers treat the genuine cases with compassion and are helpful to customers.

Cost of treating victims of Wuhan virus

Should the state bear the full cost of treating patients during an epidemic, such as the Wuhan virus?

While the minister for health is still undecided, let me share my views.

Self driving vehicles

I read some news that Tesla will soon be launching self driving trucks for transportation of goods.

Think of it, it is an excellent idea. The autonomous trucks can be used for long distance travel on highways. They can travel at a safe speed and does not need to be at a fast speed. It would be easier to program an autonomous vehicle to run on a fixed route, rather than to deal with many unforeseen variables.

Cancellation of flights due to unrest or epidemic

Dear Mr Tan,

I read a number of complains about a particular airline not willing to waive cancellation or rebooking penalties for people who want to defer or cancel their trip to Hong Kong (not China) in view of the current sentiments regarding the corona virus.

Many have accused the airline of putting profit above safety of its customers. Some have also cited reasons that HK has cancelled a number of tourist events and has closed Disney and Ocean Park.

I am puzzled why the airline would be asked to shoulder the full penalty/cost of the ticket cancellation through no fault of their own.

In the end the ones who might pay the price is the Airlines shareholders as well as their staff. Shouldn’t the traveler also shoulder some of the cost of his own safety? Perhaps a waiver of some of the cost of rebooking or cancellation rather than waiving all of it?

What is your view on this?

My reply:
The airlines expect their passengers to cover this risk through travel insurance. During this period, they are already suffering large losses due to the sharp drop in travel.

They are likely to stick to their contractual position and ask their passengers to bear the cost of change of flight or the loss of the entire fare.

I guess there are two sides of this coin. The passenger should take the risk or, if they are risk averse, buy insurance to cover this risk.

Read here

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. What was the biggest mistake made by LKY?
2. What is the biggest mistake made by LHL as PM?
3. Should the govt bear the full medical cost of treating citizens for Wuhan virus?
4. Should the govt evacuate the citizens that are stranded in Wuhan?

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WOTC - Are many PMETs losing their full time jobs?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 84% of the respondents said that many PMETs are losing their full time jobs and have to work as or delivery work.

WOTC - Property market in 2020

Wisdom of the Crowd: 64% of the respondents expect the property market in 2020 to drop due to the economic slowdown and oversupply. 36% expect the market to recover.

Do not believe in hearsay or rumors

In 1983, LHL was a colonel in the SAF. He directed an operation to rescue 13 people who were trapped in the cable car that got stuck when a drill ship collided with it. See here.

Many years later, a friend X told me that he heard from a friend Y that LHL was undecided and uncertain of how to direct the operations. He had to rely on the more experienced people to guide him on what to do. He related some incidents to color up his narrative.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. China is able to lockdown Wuhan and block travel.
2. Will the Wuhan virus get out of control?

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There is no need to worry excessively about the Wuhan virus

Most people like to worry excessively about the Wuhan virus.

I want to take an optimistic view, which are:

a) The health authority in China and Singapore are dealing with the problem quite effectively.

b) The number of infected cases and deaths are still increasing, but they are in a linear proportion and not geometric proportion.

c) Given some time, the medical research should be able to find a remedy for the virus.

d) If the situation does get worse, I am confident that the health authority will take any additional steps that may be necessary.

There is no need to worry excessively or to suggest extreme measures to be taken or to sign petitions asking for these extreme measures. We can leave it to the experts to decide what is necessary to be done. They will do their best. We have to trust them. We should give them the space to do their work and not distract them with unhelpful alarm.

To back up my words, I have just added to my portfolio of China shares, which has been badly beaten down during the past week. I believe that a good solution will be found. If I am wrong, I shall end up with a big loss on my portfolio, OK?

I just bought shares in CapitaRetail China Trust.

It is listed in Singapore and is described by DBS bank as a real estate investment trust which invests in income-producing retail properties located mainly in China, Hong Kong, and Macau.

It has a PE ratio of 9.73 and a dividend yield of 6.64%.

Make it easy for customers to give feedback

Most organizations in Singapore adopt a crazy way for customers to give feedback.

They make it very difficult. They discourage online feedback and ask many unnecessary and troublesome questions. And they follow up with an automatic acknowledgement stating that the customer will get a reply within several days.

WOTC - Global stock markets

Wisdom of the Crowd: 28% said that global stock markets will advance further in 2020 as it is US election year. Another 28% said that they will be supported by low interest rate. The remaining 44% expect the stock markets to fall.

WOTC - Prerequisites for citizenship

Wisdom of the Crowd: 54% of the respondents said that the foreigner should have served national service before being granted citizenship. 28% said that they must have lived in Singapore for five years.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Very bad service from SingTel

I share my experience with SingTel customer service. It is very bad.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Will Li Hongyi participate in the general election
2. How soon will a cure for the Wuhan virus be found?
3. Is the health minister proactive in dealing with the Wuhan virus?

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WOTC - Experience with ghosts

Wisdom of the Crowd: 49% of the respondents know of people who have experienced ghosts. 14% have personal experience of ghost.

WOTC - Best outcome for the general election

Wisdom of the Crowd: 51% of the respondents preferred the PAP to be returned to power but to lose one third of the seats. 29% preferred the non PAP parties to form the govt. 20% preferred the PAP to be part of a coalition govt. Nobody wants the PAP to be returned with a strong mandate.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. How serious is the Wuhan virus epidemic?
2. Do you expect many people to die from the Wuhan virus?

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A democracy tends to favor the rich and the cronies

Singaporeans are very smart. They want to have a democratic govt that takes care of the people. They know how to choose.

Where can you find such a govt? Which country has this kind of govt?

Most of the democratic countries end up being corrupt. They take care of the rich and the cronies.

Why is this the case? It is in the nature of the democratic process.

Under a democratic process, one has to be elected by popular vote. The voters need to be "bribed" with goodies or with promises.

It is costly to give them goodies or promises. The candidates need a lot of money to run a campaign. They depend on the rich to finance them. So, the winning candidates are obligated to take care of the rich and the cronies.

Look at America. It is as corrupt as it can get. Look at one democratic country after another, including those nearer home.

If the democratic process is likely to be corrupt and the govt has to take care of the rich and the cronies, it is better to go for another govt. The alternative is a communist govt that has, as its core principle, the goal of uplifting the working class and the poor.

Can a communist govt be corrupt also? Yes, it can . But, it can also be relatively clean. In today's age, where many bad deeds can be publicized through social media. The obvious corrupt practices, such as demanding and collecting bribes, can be identified and dealt with.

It is more difficult to deal with the subtle corrupt practices, such as nepotism and cronyism, hiding under the guise of democracy and meritocracy.

Tan Kin Lian

Reliable information about the Wuhan virus

This is a useful report (thank you Straits Times) on the Wuhan virus. Up to now, it is not as severe as SARS or MERS (from Middle East), but we still don't know if it will grow worse. The fatality rate is low compared to SARS and MERS at this stage.

There are some videos going round that suggest that the epidemic is more serious and that the China authorities are understated the problem. There may be some under reporting, but the staggering numbers of fatalities and infected people being floated around are probably exaggerated and could be intentional fake news.

University in Iskandar

My friend sent his son to study in a British University campus in Educity, Iskandar. He said that the fees, without subsidy, is lower than the fees (after subsidy) in Singapore universities. He also liked the teaching method in the UK university.

He praised Najib for the progress in Malaysia during his tenure, including attracting the UK universities. He said that many universities attracted into Singapore closed down after a few years.

He brought me to the campus of the foreign universities in Iskandar. It was quite buzzing. In contrast, the campus operated by MDIS (a Singapore institution) in Educity was rather empty. He asked, why Singapore cannot make it?

Although most people think about the bad side of Najib (eg 1MDB), we should also look at his good side.

Betul, kah, bossku?

WOTC - Corruption in Singapore

Wisdom of the Crowd: 85% of the respondents said that Singapore has a high level of corruption involving cronies. 15% think that our system is quite free of corruption.

WOTC - The future for Taiwan

Wisdom of the Crowd: 34% of the respondents said that Taiwan will continue to prosper with links to the outside world after the re-election of President Tsai. 7% think that Taiwan will continue to work with China. The other respondents expect a difficult time for Taiwan.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

WOTC - Promoting freedom and democracy

Wisdom of the Crowd: 90% of the respondents said that the US is not promoting freedom and democracy. It is pursuing its own economic interest and agenda.

WOTC - US economic sanctions

Wisdom of the Crowd: 68% of the respondents said that the US is abusing its economic power and implementing economic sanctions in a haphazard and unfair manner.

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