Saturday, March 14, 2020

WOTC - Change of government in Malaysia

Wisdom of the Crowd: 55% of the participants said that Dr. Mahathir plotted the coup at the beginning but it went out of his control. The other 45% had different perspectives.

WOTC - Stimulus measures in budget 2020

Wisdom of the Crowd: 87% of the participants are disappointed with the stimulus measures implemented in Budget 2020 for three reasons. 13% are happy with the measures.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. When do you expect general election to be called in Singapore?
2. Is it acceptable to hold a general election in the midst of the corona virus epidemic?

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How to cope with driverless bus

The self driving buses, which are expected to appear on the roads in the near future, will destroy the jobs for drivers, but will create new jobs.

It is relatively easy to implement self driving buses as they run on fixed routes and can be programed to handle fewer contingencies. It is more difficult to implement self driving cars which have to deal with more unexpected situations.

Quora: Is the USA or China more trustworthy?

When China devised its diplomatic framework in the 1950s, it stayed the same till this day that is mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non aggression, non interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.
When other countries deal with China, they know exactly what China wants and where the bottom lines are. It’s predictable. And they don’t have to worry that years later deals or terms would change because it’s always the same government under the same framework.
The US policies with other countries can change in four to eight years and they can be in totally different directions. What Barack Obama promised to other countries can go into total bust when Trump took the office. Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement thrown in the water. Paris Accord out of the way. Nuclear treaties with Iran tossed out. Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty abandoned. Sanctions are everywhere now not just to China, but to allies and foes all around.
With China, you don’t have to worry about these changes. With the US, you worry about who is going to win the next election and what would hold in the future for the relations with the US even for US allies.
The fact that Belt and Road Initiative is joined by over a hundred countries by now is the living proof that China is widely trusted. They know when China does something, she is committed.
For China’s foreign policy, there is another important element. China practices non-aligned foreign policy. That means China doesn’t form allies. The best you get with China is strategic partner. Forming allies means the enemy of your allies also becomes your enemy.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Should the govt take on the duty to ensure that all citizens have jobs?
2. Will China export corona virus test kits to other countries?

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WOTC - Prime minister of Malaysia

Wisdom of the Crowd: 33% of the respondents guessed correctly that Muyhiddin Yassin would be the prime minister of Malaysia. The other 67% chose the other leaders.

WOTC - Disadvantage of using cash

Wisdom of the Crowd: 39% of the respondents said that the biggest risk of using cash is that the notes and coins can be dirty and transmit germs. 34% said that it is the counting of notes and coins. 20% said that the wallet can be stolen.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

How to use automation and artificial intelligence without causing unemployment

Will automation and artificial intelligence lead to severe job loss? Will self driving buses cause drivers to be jobless? Will cleaning robots result make cleaners jobless?

I like to suggest an approach for the advanced technology to lead to improved living standards and still offer job opportunities.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. What cause the collapse of the stock market on 9 March 2020?
2. What is the most important measure to deal with the economic downturn?
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What cause the collapse of the stock market?

What cause the stock market to collapse on 9 March 2020?

a) The spread of corona virus in Europe and America?
b) The collapse of the oil talk between Saudi Arabia and Russia?
c) TKL's birthday?

I have my theory.

WOTC - Reason to use Tap Card

Wisdom of the Crowd: 50% of the respondents prefer the Tap Card because of its convenience. 17% prefer it to avoid counting of notes and coins. 7% prefer it for its low cost. 25% have not heard of it.

WOTC - Record contact tracing detail

Wisdom of the Crowd: 51% of the respondents prefer to use an app to record the contact tracing details by scanning the NRIC. 33% prefer to rely on the infected person providing the details. 15% prefer the practice of recording contact tracing details.

My views about changes to the CPF scheme

I share my views about changes to the CPF scheme.

Quora: The Chinese government just reported a major drop in new Coronavirus cases. Do you believe they are telling the truth?

Ray Hart, Digital Nomad Co-Living Davao City and San Diego

No, that is not exactly what they have reported. That is what a bunch of western media types who neither read nor speak Chinese reported that that the Chinese are saying in hopes you will believe whatever they are telling you, because you don’t read or speak it either.

Here is the background and what they actually reported:

A few days before I wrote the original answer, (February 21) China went to using a new test that accurately identified the virus in a matter of hours instead of several days allowing them to more quickly get through a backlog of patients who were under observation thereby spiking the number of newly confirmed cases. They never hid the fact of how many people they had under observation pending test results. Now they have cleared the backlog which has taken them from 44k to 66k in just 2 days back to a few hundred new confirmed cases. The other thing that western media types aren’t mentioning is over that same time period they have cleared more than 300,000 people they had under observation.

The increases of several hundred in the early days were a combination of new cases which were a few hundred a day, plus newly confirmed cases from isolated people under observation. With the new test confirming or clearing up their backlog of cases they are only dealing with new cases, not ones that are weeks old with a person already well on their way to recovery. So few hundred cases simply looks like a drop if all you did was look at the graph without reading the information

Coping with the economic recession

What can the government do to help households and businesses to cope with the economic slowdown?

Here are my suggestions.

Helping workers to cope with the economic recession

I was aghast when I saw this report .…/firms-report-cost-saving-…

What is the point of this "reporting exercise"?

Surely the manpower minister must know that nearly all businesses need to adopt cost-saving measures? If they have to tell her, she will get hundred of thousand reports.

What can she do with the reports?

Can she learn from Italy and other countries what the government can do to help businesses and the households?

The Italian govt asked the banks to give a moratorium for the repayment of housing loans and other bills. This will help the households to tide over the current difficulties.

Can she learn from TKL?

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Excellent customer service from Amazon

I bought a steam iron from Amazon website. They sent the appliance from America. The voltage could not work in Singapore. I returned it.

I did not get a refund for a month. The forwarding agent had given me a tracking number (fortunately).

I contacted Amazon via their Chat. A staff answered promptly.

She checked and found that the appliance is still on transit. As it was exceptionally long, she took the initiative to initiate the refund of $313.63 before the goods arrived. This is to avoid "further hassle" for the customer.

I was delighted. It was an excellent service.

My experience with the Chat service conducted by organizations in Singapore is generally "terrible". They take a long time to answer, and are not empowered to address the concern of the customer. I hope that they can learn from Amazon.

Second stimulus package

The govt is now working on a second stimulus package. Clearly, the first package, disclosed in budget 2020, is way off the mark. It showed a govt that is out of touch with the real difficulties faced by households and businesses.

What should the second package be like? I share my views here.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Will the handling of the corona virus gives more votes to PAP?
2. Should everyone avoid going out?

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WOTC - Cost of treating corona virus

Wisdom of the Crowd: 90% of the respondents said that the cost of screening and treatment for the corona virus should be borne by the government. 10% said it should be borne by the employer or the individual.

WOTC - Use Singlish

Wisdom of the Crowd: 74% of the respondents said that we should use Singlish with a local audience. 26% disagree.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Avoid US stocks or ETF

QQQ is an ETF of good quality US stocks.

It has achieved remarkable growth and gave an excellent return over the past many years.

However I will not buy this ETF. Why?

It is far too high. It has a price earning ratio of 49.7 times and a dividend yield of 0.77%.

The price is 2 times of fair value. If it dropped by half, the PE ratio will fall to a more normal 25 times (which is still high) and the dividend yield would increase to 1.5% (which is not great).

If QQQ is not worth buying, so are most of the US blue chip shares.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Do you agree with the govt's approach towards the Costa Fortuna cruise ship?
2. Did the HK police acted appropriately in dealing with the protesters?

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WOTC - Buy shares for long term investment

Wisdom of the Crowd: 15% of the respondents said that they are willing to buy shares now for long term investment. The other 85% prefer to sell shares or to wait for a while.

WOTC - Will covid-19 virus come under control?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 56% said that the covid-19 epidemic is now under control and will disappear in three months time. 44% expect it to get worse.

How to deal with the cruise ship Costa Fortuna

The cruise ship Costa Fortuna left Singapore two weeks ago. The passengers were not allowed to disembark in Malaysia and Thailand due to the corona virus scare. The ship has to return to Singapore.

All disembarking passengers have to be temperature scanned. Those who have a fever or have travelled to northern Italy are required to go for further checks at the hospital.…/coronavirus-costa-fortuna-sh…

I find these measures to be adequate.

As the port of embarkation, it is our duty to the passengers to allow them to return to shore. We cannot leave them stranded.

There is a risk that some of the disembarking passengers might have caught the virus from other passengers during the cruise and the symptoms have not appeared.

Some worried citizens have asked for these passengers to be kept in quarantine for another 14 days from disembarkation.

Should this further step be adopted?

I would leave this matter to the people in charge. I do not join the call to ask them to be quarantined. I do not think that it is fair to impose a burden on these passengers or the front line workers who have to take care of them.

If I were to extend this argument, should we not call for all the people who attended the private dinner function at SAFRA Jurong be quarantined? I think that it would impose a burden on them, and perhaps quite unnecessarily.

Even if some of them had the virus, the risk of its spread and the harm that it can cause, is probably not alarming.

I suspect that the virus is already widespread in Singapore, and in most cases, it does not spread or cause much harm. It could be due to our warm weather.

If it was serious, we would already have got the large scale infection and deaths by now. We did receive many tens of thousands of visitors from countries where the virus was quite widespread.

I observe that many cases of infected persons in Singapore were mild and the patients had been discharged. There is no death so far.

There is the fear that large scale infection can overwhelm the medical facilities. This is a risk, but it has not happened, and is not likely to (I hope).

We should not be alarmed until there is evidence of a serious trend. So far, I do not see any need to be pessimistic.

I wish all the passengers of the Costa Fortuna a good rest from your unpleasant experience and a good stay in Singapore.

Bus app gives wrong bus arrival time

On many occasions, I saw that the bus app was giving the wrong bus arrival times.

It is not just a minute or two - which I find to be acceptable. It is that a bus was "missing".

I have to scold stupid XXX again.

Monday, March 09, 2020

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Did the government handle the corona virus epidemic well
2. Why is the corona virus less harmful in Singapore?
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WOTC - E payment card

Wisdom of the Crowd: 66% of the respondents prefer to use an e-payment card, if it is accepted widely. 34% do not like this new platform.

WOTC - A new way of queuing

Wisdom of the Crowd: 59% of the respondents prefer to have an online platform to register and have the queue determined by a ballot. The other 41% do not like this approach.

Helping businesses to cope with the economic slowdown

I put up three suggestions to help businesses and households cope with the economic slowdown. We have to protect jobs and help businesses to get through this difficult period.

Do you agree with my suggestions?

TKL poems on corona virus

The corona virus is now causing a scare around the world. The World Health Organization may soon declare it to be a pandemic.

I have written some poems to give my observation on this virus. I believe that the fear in Singapore is overblown. It is probably the case around the world as well.

By the summer in the northern hemisphere, the virus will become quite mild. It may cause havoc in the southern hemisphere then.

By that time, a vaccine or test kit would be ready.

You can get a copy free here of my poems here.

Sunday, March 08, 2020

Vaccine against coronavirus expected in April

South China Morning Post

China says research on coronavirus vaccines is well under way, and some will be available for emergency and clinical research use next month.

Zheng Zhongwei, director of the National Health Commission’s Science and Technology Development Centre, said the five approaches to vaccines were being pursued and advancing steadily.

But China was still learning more about the new coronavirus, and difficulties were expected during the research, he said.

Separately, Ding Xiangyang, a central government official who is part of the team overseeing coronavirus containment in Hubei province, the epicentre of the epidemic, said applications would be made next month for some vaccines to advance to clinical trials.

Children at ‘same risk’ as adults

Children are as likely to be infected by the new coronavirus as adults, according to scientists analysing infection data from the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

The researchers found a household attack rate – the probability of disease transmission from an infected household member – of 15 per cent, much higher than the population average of 7.9 per cent. But the same study found the rate of infection in children aged under 10 was very similar to the population as a whole, at 7.4 per cent.

“There was no significant association between the probability of infection and age of the index case,” the researchers said, after studying data from 391 confirmed cases in Shenzhen, from January 14 to February 12, as well as 1,286 people who had been in close contact with patients.

The researchers – from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Shenzhen Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Harbin Institute of Technology at Shenzhen and Peng Cheng Laboratory in Shenzhen – published their preprint paper on medRxiv, an online sharing resource for the medical and scientific communities.
The paper said only nine per cent of the 391 cases were severe, with most patients in either mild or moderate condition, but 84 per cent of cases presented with fever at their initial assessment.

New Hubei infections confined to Wuhan
For the first time since China started publishing national infection data for Covid-19 – the disease caused by the coronavirus – there were no new infections in Hubei province outside its capital Wuhan, where the outbreak originated.

China’s National Health Commission said on Friday all of the 126 new cases in the province were in Wuhan. There were 29 new deaths in Hubei, of which 23 were in the provincial capital, bringing the province’s total death toll to 2,931.

The latest figures follow a prediction on Thursday by senior Chinese researcher Zhang Boli – one of the 14 members on a research team working to control the outbreak – who said he expected cases in Hubei to peak in mid-March.

“According to our analysis of the statistics, we expect cities other than Wuhan in Hubei province to be basically free of coronavirus patients in the middle of March,” Zhang was quoted as saying by People’s Daily. “The hope is that Wuhan won’t have daily new cases in late March.”

Overall, there were 143 new cases and 30 new deaths on mainland China, bringing total infections to 80,552 and deaths to 3,042.

No need to close the schools now

Many people have asked for our schools to be closed temporary to stop the spread of the corona virus. They pointed out to the decision adopted in some countries, such as Japan, South Korea and Italy to close their schools.

The education minister Ong Ye Kung has explained why his ministry had decided to keep the schools open for the time being.

I share my views on this matter.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. How do you react if TKL is infected with the virus?
2. Should schools be closed to prevent the spread of the virus?

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WOTC - Top the spread of the virus

Wisdom of the Crowd: 37% of the respondents said that contact tracing is the best way to stop the spread of the virus. 30% said that it is more likely to have infection in places where contact tracing details are not available. 30% said that it is a lot of work to collect the contract tracing details that are hardly used.

WOTC - Remove a fallen tree

Wisdom of the Crowd: 41% of the respondents prefer to send a specialist to the site on a motor cycle to cut down the fallen tree. The other 59% prefer other options.

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