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?

Vote in

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?

Vote in

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.

WOTC - Will the Wuhan virus get worse?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 41% of the respondents said that the Wuhan virus will cause a lot of concern from some time. 33% said that it will be worse than SARS. 26% said that it will be controlled quite soon.

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