Saturday, February 29, 2020

Panic buying of groceries

It is natural for people to over-react and to hoard groceries and other essential commodities.
This happens in many countries, including Singapore. Singapore is not unique in this behavior.
The hoarding of these commodities will itself cause shortages and create a real crisis.

No need to be alarmed with this virus in Singapore

All along, I have been unalarmed at the coronavirus risk in Singapore. So far, the events have proved me to be right.

Why was I not alarmed?

Loan to cover loss of income

A good way for a business to survive the economic crisis is to cut down on expenses, of which a large part is on wages. They should encourage their workers to take no pay leave.

The workers will suffer a loss of income, but remain employed. There is no need for the business to retrench any of its workers.

Some workers have savings and can cope with the loss of income. But some cannot. They have financial commitments.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Who is likely to be the next prime minister of Malaysia?
2. Is the stimulus measures in Budget 2020 encouraging?
Vote in

WOTC - Hand sanitizers

Wisdom of the Crowd: 67% of the respondents said that the govt should provide hand sanitizers at public places and replenish them regularly. 33% disagree.

WOTC - Safe to travel to Johor?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 74% of the respondents said that it is safe to travel to Johor and the risk of infection from the covid-19 virus is low. 26% think it is unsafe.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Who should bear the cost of screening and treatment for the covid-18 virus
2. What is the best way for contact tracing

Vote in

WOTC - Temperature checking

Wisdom of the Crowd: 37% of the respondents said that the temperature checking should be taken at MRT stations, bus interchanges, malls and workplaces. 37% said that it should be supervised by a central agency. 27% prefer the current arrangement.

WOTC - Frequency of temperature checking

Wisdom of the Crowd: 58% of the respondents said that the temperature should be taken twice a day during the current covid-19 spread. 33% said it should be taken once a day. 9% said less frequently.

Helping unemployed workers in a recession

This is my suggestion to PM Lee and the minister for manpower.

The economic slowdown caused by the covid-19 epidemic and other factors, is causing financial problems to many people.

Do not bury your heads in the sand. They need financial help and they need it early.

Here are my suggestions.

A broad minded approach to coping with this financial crisis

Under code Orange of the disease outbreak framework, workplaces are required to implement measures to take temperature of workers and visitors and to collect contact tracing details.

I hope that the government realize their approach is short sighted and harmful.


Helping workers who are affected by retrenchment

I share these articles about helping workers who are affected by retrenchment.

I hope that the minister for manpower has an open mind to consider these suggestions.

A better way to help retrenched workers get employment

Retrenchment in a German company

Create jobs, not training

If you agree with these ideas, be sure to vote [Agree]

Quora: Trump said the US built China. What did he mean by that?

Choi Julian, M.S. from Cornell University answered Feb 16 ·

China’s foreign spokes person Hua Chunying actually answered this very question posed by an American journalist in a news conference.

She replied as follows:

”Look around the world, which country in the world has the ability to use money to rebuild another China? It is ridiculous! The achievements of China's development did not fall from the sky, nor did it depend on the gifts of others or countries, but the entire Chinese people did it with their own hard work, sweat, wisdom and courage. "If anyone hasn't seen this clearly, I can only say that there is too little education."

Hua Chunying pointed out that since China has statistics on foreign investment in 1987, China has actually used more than US $ 2 trillion in foreign investment, of which the US has invested more than US $ 80 billion in China, accounting for only about 4% of China ’s foreign investment. That's it. But we all know how much the United States has gained from Sino-US cooperation.

Hua Chunying emphasized how many American families have significantly reduced the cost of living because of Chinese goods? American companies have made huge profits. 97% of U.S. companies surveyed said that doing business with China was profitable. According to a report by the US-China Business Council, US exports to China alone have supported more than 1.1 million US jobs. In 2017, with a global loss of RMB 11 billion, GM took nearly 13.4 billion yuan from its two joint ventures in China! Qualcomm's sales in China accounted for 58% of total operating income.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Build underground walkways to MRT stations

I like the concept of a network of underground walkways to connect the MRT station to the neighboring districts. This allows the commuters to walk underground up to 1 km to the MRT station, or to another district within 1 km of the MRT station, without having to cross any road.

How much does it cost to build this network?

Autonomous buses

I expect that autonomous, i.e. self driving, buses will appear on the roads before self driving cars. These buses run on fixed routes, unlike cars that are expected to drive to on demand destinations.

It is also possible to set the autonomous buses to run on a safe speed, to avoid causing serious accidents.

The planners in Singapore probably have the same view. I recall that they are now working on getting the autonomous buses to run on the road.

The autonomous buses have to overcome two challenges:

Get ready for code Yellow

Minister Gan gave this reason for the possibility of changing Dorscon level from Orange to Yellow.

Many people were puzzled by the logic. It seems nonsensical that when the virus becomes more widespread around the world, it is possible for us to be more relaxed.

Let me guess the real reason.

The experience in Singapore is that the community spread of the virus is not serious. Although a few people were infected, the number remains quite low and the infection is mild. So far, there were no deaths from the infected people.

Although a few were described as "critically ill". I suspect that it is also an exaggeration. (I hope that I am right - I don't want to see any reported death).

The harm to the economy from Dorscon Orange is clearly quite serious. It affected the taxi drivers, food outlets and the travel industry quite badly.

I had said earlier, and maintained all along, that it was premature to trigger code Orange as the infection was low. I also rejected the reasoning that we should be "better safe than sorry".

I prefer the decision to be taken from a rational angle, after weighing in the facts and the cost and benefit of each option. I do not accept the motherhood statement - better safe than sorry.

Perhaps the minister has now realized that the raising of code Orange was a mistake. It has caused much more harm than he had expected. Perhaps he now wants to find a reason to reverse it without losing face.

Maybe TKL is right that, being a hot climate, the virus is actually quite mild and the harm is much lower than in the north Asian countries, which are now still going through the winter season.

It would have been better for him to be honest about it (if indeed it was the case), instead of using a strange reason to justify the change of assessment. It would spark distrust and skepticism.

Earlier on, TKL called the minister, Mr. Orange. Maybe he was embarrassed about this description and preferred TKL to call him Mr. Yellow. (Hello, this is joking only, ok?)

I look forward to code Yellow as early as possible.

A more effective way to stop the spread of covid-19 virus

I share my views of how to be more effective in using our resources to stop the spread of the covid-19 virus. I hope you watch it and agree with my suggestions.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Will covid-19 epidemic get worse?
2. Should we use Singlish?

Vote in

WOTC - Autonomous buses without drivers

Wisdom of the Crowd: 29% of the respondents said that autonomous buses without drivers will save on the cost of labor. The other 71% are somewhat negative about this development.

WOTC - Will Tesla shares hit $1,000?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 20% of the respondents think that Tesla shares will hit $1,000 and stay above than. 29% think that it will hit $1,000 but will drop soon after than. The remaining 51% do not think it will hit $1,000.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

My posts on covid-19 epidemic

Here is a list of my posts about the covid-19 epidemic

Be prepared for the economic impact

Give the face masks to people who need them more

The risk is quite low in Singapore

Take sensible measures but do not be alarmed

Get everyone to have a temperature screen once a week

Measures to stop the spread of the virus

Provide hand sanitizers at public places

Do not issue code Orange next time

Controlling the spread of the virus - Singapore's approach

Contact tracing is an ineffective and wasteful activity

Why the spread of covid-19 is slow in Singapore

Why I support temperature screening

No need to worry excessively about the spread of the virus during the incubation period

A good way to do contact tracing

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Do you prefer a new way of queuing using an online platform?
2. Will you adopt a e-payment card if it can be accepted widely
3. Is it time to buy shares for long term investment?

Vote in

WOTC - Temperature screening to stop the spread of the virus

Wisdom of the Crowd: 36% of the respondents prefer the temperature screening to be supervised by a central agency using specially trained workers. 13% are happy with the current arrangement. 50% support temperature screening as a way to stop the spread of the virus.

WOTC - Reserve manual jobs for locals

Wisdom of the Crowd: 88% of the respondents are in favor of reserving manual jobs for locals by paying higher wages and making the jobs dignified. 12% prefer these jobs to be done by foreign workers.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Helping businesses to cope with the economic slowdown

Many businesses in China are facing serious cash flow problems. Due to the lockdown, they could not earn any revenue to pay their workers and other expenses. Their credit lines have been exhausted.

The govt asked the banks to reduce their interest rate. But this does not help. The businesses need credit lines to continue operating.

The govt also ask the banks to give financing to the businesses. But the banks hesitate because the businesses may not go bankrupt anyway and cannot pay back their borrowings.

The only way to get the banks to give credit to the businesses is for the govt to guarantee the borrowings. But this is not happening.

So, slowly and slowly, many of the businesses have to fold up and the workers will be retrenched.

Businesses in Singapore will face the same problem. We can expect many of them to go bankrupt and workers to be retrenched.

Did our Budget 2020 provide sufficient help to the businesses. I think it is too little. It will not help the businesses to tide over the difficult times.

Let us see if China or Singapore realize the seriousness of the problem and start to give a guarantee to the banks to extend liquidity to these businesses.

One way is for the govt to guarantee the wages paid to workers for the next few months, until the economy recovers. The businesses will still have to take care of the non-wage expenses.

A good way to do contact tracing

There is a good way and a bad way to do contact tracing.

A good way is for the infected person to state who are they people they have close contact with during the past two weeks. The relevant agency can trace these people. This type of contact tracing makes more sense.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. How should the authority deal with a fallen tree to remove the traffic congestion
2. Which statement do you agree on contact tracing

Vote in

WOTC - Keep the name of footpath

Wisdom of the Crowd: 53% of the respondents want to keep the name of footpath. 47% want to change it to other names.

WOTC - Ban on use of PMD on footpaths

Wisdom of the Crowd: 57% of the respondents want to keep the ban on the use of PMD on footpaths. 43% want to remove the ban or not enforce it.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Which measure is best to stop the spread of the virus?
2. What is the best way to stop the spread of the virus?

Vote in

WOTC - Will locals take up jobs as nurses?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 95% of the respondents said that locals will be willing to take up jobs as nurses if the pay and work conditions are improved. 5% said that locals will not take up this job.

WOTC - Temperature check

Wisdom of the Crowd: 51% of the respondents prefer to make it convenient for every person to check their temperature frequently at convenient locations. 49% think that this is not necessary.

No need to worry excessively about the spread of the virus during the incubation period

There is no need to worry about the spread of the virus during the incubation period. The spread is quite low. In most cases, the infection is mild.

Why do I say so? There must be several thousand visitors from Wuhan and Hubei in Singapore during the past two months. Many of them might have the virus. But we did not get an uncontrolled spread of the virus. We did not carry out contact tracing of these unknown cases. But we know that only a small handful of people were infected.

Most of the infected cases that were detected turn out to be mild.

Why I support temperate screening

I support temperature screening, but not contact tracing. Here are my reasons.

Blog Archive