Saturday, March 21, 2020

Do we need to re-think our strategy of dealing with this pandemic?

It seems that a large number of residents returning from Europe has been found to have the virus.
This suggests that the epidemic is already quite widespread in Europe.

Death from pneumonia

Each year, 3 million people die from pneumonia world wide. Most of the deceased were elderly people who suffered lung infection by a germ.
The covid-19 virus may be a new strain of the virus, but even if it does not appear, many people who still have died from pneumonia.
Even though there is vaccine for the common flu and other known virus, it does not stop the 3 million deaths in a year.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Should the government call an early general election?
2. Is America helping the world by promoting "freedom and democracy"?

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WOTC - Has the government handled the epidemic well?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 55% of the respondents said that the government had handled the corona virus epidemic well. See their reasons below.

WOTC - Should schools be closed?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 63% of the respondents said that there is no need to close the schools at this time. See their reasons here.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Reckless to hold an early general election in the midst of the epidemic

The govt minister said that the corona virus is likely to be around for more than a year, so if the general election is delayed until April 2021, the voters will still be exposed to the risk of infection.

They use this argument to justify holding the election early, maybe within the next two months.

I find this reasoning to be ridiculous.

Many people are worried about the risk of infection during the election campaign and voting day.

Why take this risk, when we can wait for a better time within the next 12 months. By that time, a vaccine or cure could have been found for the virus. Maybe, by then, the virus would have been better contained or largely eliminated.

If the govt decide to call an early election, they are probably taking advantage of the fear and uncertainty to get more votes from the people. In doing so, they will be gambling with the lives of the voters.

I hope that the voters will see through the deception and deliver a shock result to the PAP. See the poem below.

Quora: Do you believe the US might be more efficient compared to China responding to an emergency like an epidemic virus?

Bob MacKenzie, former Business Owner and Manager. at Private Business Self Employed Thinker (1973-2019)

The A(H1N1) flue has been killing people in the USA since October 2019 and is still killing people there.

There are about 250,000 or more people hospitalized with it and about 14000 or more people have died from it. US travelers have been spreading the disease around the world since October infecting and killing unknown numbers of people.

Have you seen any attempts to stop the flu killing so many people in the US not to mention the world?

NO, of course not. The US MSM has focused your attention on the Covid-19 virus attacking China that has infected about 65000 world wide and killed about 1700.

China is not the problem, the USA is the problem.

This A(H1N1) strain is a more dangerous flu strain than the Covid-19 virus and was a pandemic virus in 2009. CDC estimates the A(H1N1) virus could kill as many as 30,000 people in the USA alone before it stops in 2020.

The USA government obviously does not have the ability to do anything for the people of the USA except feed them a line of feel good propaganda and watch them die.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Is it a good decision for Malaysia to impose a ban on international travel?
2. What is the best way to stop the spread of the virus?

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WOTC - Infected with corona virus

Wisdom of the Crowd: 93% of the respondents said that TKL would recover if he is infected with the corona virus. The remaining 7% wish him ill.

WOTC - PM Muyhiddin of Malaysia

Wisdom of the Crowd: 85% of the respondents do not expect PM Muhyiddin to continue till the end of the term.

See their reasons in

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Lippo Mall - selling at a big discount

I bought Lippo Mall Trust at the price of $0.22. It had a dividend yield of 8%. It owns several malls in Indonesia. During the past five years, the average price was $0.35 and the highest was $0.50.

The share price dropped to below $0.11 today. An existing shareholder had a large lot to sell.

I wondered if the company was in financial trouble. I looked at Yahoo Finance website and saw the past four years. The interest expense (to pay the borrowings) was only 20% of the operating income. Even if the rental income dropped by 50%, it could easily cover the interest payment. The debt to equity ratio is 60% (which is acceptable).

I do not know if they have a large borrowing that is due for re-financing. Even if they have, they should be able to refinance it.

I do not know why the existing shareholder is keen to sell the shares at such a big discount. Maybe, he need to raise cash to pay off some debt elsewhere.

So, I bought the shares.

Maybe the covid-19 virus is already widespread

I wish to make an observation. I am aware that many people will disagree with me. Before they challenge me, I ask them to read my points carefully and consider them. I also ask them to verify the evidence for themselves.

There is widespread fear about the corona virus. Many countries have decided to ban international travel and impose control over local movement and workplaces. They want to stop the spread of the virus.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Is it good for a country to provide unemployment benefit?

Most developed countries provide unemployment benefit for workers who lose their jobs due to factors beyond their control. It is usually caused by downsizing, bankruptcy or relocation of their employer.

The unemployment benefit can be a certain period, say 6 or 12 months, and is based on the regular income.

The cost of the benefit is usually funded by a payroll tax, e.g. 3 percent of payroll. It may also be supported from general taxation.

Provide housing for Malaysian workers

The Malaysian government decided to implement a travel ban to and from Malaysia to combat the spread of the corona virus. This has affected 300,000 workers living in Malaysia and working in Singapore.

It highlights a problem that has existed for a long time, even before this travel ban.

Coping with the economic downturn

Paul Krugman wrote in the New York Times ....

If we think the worst will pass in a few months, it actually makes sense for most workers in the afflicted sectors to stay where they are and not work for a little while. That also means less G.D.P., but again, so be it.

So what’s the role of economic policy here? Two things. First, reduce the pain. Universal sick leave at close to full pay should just be the start; we should also be doing what Denmark is doing, and subsidize firms that keep paying wages. We should also dramatically increase aid to the unemployed.

Second, we should be funneling money into the economy to sustain spending on things that shouldn’t be affected by the virus. Job losses brought on by inadequate overall demand serve no purpose.

None of this would or should prevent at least a few months of economic contraction. But we could do a lot to make this plague less painful economically. I wish I had any confidence that we’ll do more than a small fraction of what we should.

TKL comment - I agree with this view. I have proposed similar measures here. Maybe, I should get the Nobel Prize for Economics also (P Krugman was given this prize in 2008)

Travel ban imposed by Malaysia

Malaysia decided to impose a ban on travel into and out of the country for a period of 14 days starting from 18 March. The reason for the travel ban is to stop the spread of the corona virus.

This affects 300,000 Malaysian workers that work in Singapore. After the decision was announced, some people wondered if exemptions would be given to these workers.

Surely, it would be proper for the Singapore and Malaysian governments to talk to each other and address this issue? There are valid grounds for the exemptions to be given. It will not create any health issue or cause any loophole.

Apparently, there was no such conversation. The travel ban went ahead, causing a lot of unnecessary disruption to the workers and the flow of food supplies from Malaysia.

With the recent change in leadership in Malaysia, and the close personal ties between the two prime ministers, the lack of a telephone call to discuss this issue was clearly disappointing.

What happened?

Ineffective to ban international travel

President Trump banned international arrivals from Europe to reduce the spread of the corona virus. This created serious consequences for the global economy. It disrupted travel and trade.

No immunity from hepatitis B

Twenty years ago, there was a scare with the Hepatitis B. The health experts recommended that every person should be immunized against it to prevent liver failure. It would be an painful episode leading to death.

Scary, isn't it.

I went for immunization against Hepatitis B. The result came back. If I remember correctly - the possible results were carrier, immune and no immunity.

I got no immunity. Apparently, it was okay to be a carrier (who has immunity) and to be immune. So, it was bad to be in the "no immunity" category.

The doctor advised me to go for another test. The same result came back - no immunity.

What should I do? The doctor said - there is nothing that can be done. Just hope that I do not die from hepatitis B.

I continued life as usual. I take cockles in my char kway teow and laksa. They are risky, right?

OK. I have not died yet. Maybe, I will die from liver failure caused by the hepatitis B virus before I reach 96. A few scare mongers are waiting to say - serve him right!

Lesson - accept life as it comes. Do not be too paranoid over matters beyond our control. Take sensible precautions and hope for the best.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. How serious will the corona virus pandemic become?
2. How will the covid-19 virus be eliminated?
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WOTC - Transparency in investments

Wisdom of the Crowd: 79% of the respondents said that a sovereign wealth fund should be transparent in its investments. 21% said that they should be allowed to keep some strategic investments secret.

WOTC - MPs should stick to the same political party

Wisdom of the Crowd: 74% of the respondents said that a MP should not be allowed to switch parties after an election. 26% disagreed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

How will the global stock market recover?

I like to give my views about how the global stock markets will recover. This will happen within the next few weeks.

Putting the deaths from corona virus in perspective

The fear of the corona virus is overblown. I wish to share some statistics to put this risk in perspective.

The fear about the corona virus is overblown

My friend shared a Facebook post from a university professor in South Korea. He said that he exercised daily at the gym and wash his hands several times a day. He still caught the corona virus. It was a mild infection, so he recovered and told his story.

Many fear mongers shared the story to suggest how dangerous the corona virus is. They are sending the wrong message.

How does South Korea deal with the corona virus?

The key factors in the South Korean approach are:

a) home quarantine
b) reduced social contact
c) free testing for corona virus, conducted on a wide scale.

Well done Korea.

Mr Orange, pay them a visit. Ask them if they also collect contact tracing details.…/south-koreas-coronavirus-response-op…

Monday, March 16, 2020

Measures to ensure that every citizens are employed

I carried out a survey and asked if it is the duty of the government to ensure that its citizens have jobs.

Over 80% said that it is.

If the government accepts this duty, here are the measures that it can take:

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. What is the best way to use the Tap Card?
2. Should we introduce driverless buses?

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WOTC - Corruption charges against Umno leaders

Wisdom of the Crowd: 93% of the respondents think that the corruption charges against the Umno leaders will be dropped under the Muyhidden govt. 7% think that it will continue.

WOTC - No confidence motion against Muyhidden govt

Wisdom of the Crowd: 48% of the respondents think that the opposition can pass a motion of no-confidence in the Muyhidden govt. The other 52% think that this will not happen.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Creating jobs in the age of automation

We need leaders who are innovative.

A challenge in the future is to create jobs for workers. Automation and artificial intelligence will destroy jobs.

When people are unemployed, they will not earn any income. They will not be able to buy the products that are being produced by the robots. The global economy cannot grow when the consumers are not able to buy the manufactured goods.

One way to create more jobs is to reduce the working hours. If working hours are reduced by 20%, the number of jobs will increase by 20%.

A new way to generate priority in a queue

Over 200 people registered in the queue to received 20 prizes for the set of 6 TKL books.

The winners were determined by a ballot. The ballot is carried out by an online algorithm. The platform is developed by TKL.

Some people asked me for the secret behind the algorithm. Do I have to use a random number generator to pick the next available person in the queue? Do I have to carry out this algorithm continuously until all the participants are picked?

I share this "secret". The algorithm is easier to use.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. What is the biggest factor in stopping the spread of the virus?
2. Where did the corona virus originate?

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WOTC - Healthy 365 app

Wisdom of the Crowd: 28% of the respondents used the Healthy 365 app regularly. 34% used it before but gave it up.

WOTC - Traitor to Pakatan govt

Wisdom of the Crowd: 50% of the respondents said that Dr. M is the biggest traitor to the Pakatan govt. 40% said that it is Azmin Ali. 10% chose Moyhidden Yasin.

Climate play a big part in the spread of the virus

An international media praised Singapore, HK and Taiwan for their successful effort in containing the spread of the virus.

They forget to look at the thermometer.

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