Saturday, March 28, 2020

Big loss due to speculative hedging practice

We cannot blame SIA for the loss caused by the ban on flights during the pandemic.

However, we should hold the management and board of SIA (and its parents Temasek Holdings) for the losses due to their speculative hedging practice. It is very bad.

Read my reason here:

Friday, March 27, 2020

Massive loss caused by triple whammy

Singapore Airlines is suffering a catastrophic loss of $2.5 billion. This is the result of a triple whammy. See the details here.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. What is a good way to do contact tracing
2. Is the social distancing regulations necessary?
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WOTC - Stop the spread of the virus

Wisdom of the Crowd: 60% of the respondents said that the social responsibility of the citizen is responsible for stopping the spread of the virus. 30% said that it is the actions taken by the government.

WOTC - Hold general election during a pandemic

Wisdom of the Crowd: 91% of the respondents said that it is unacceptable for the government to hold a general election in the midst of the corona virus pandemic.

Wear a mask

Someone asked the question - why do I wear a mask now, when I said earlier that there is no need to wear a mask?

That person is obviously stupid!

Give useful comment

Here is a way to give useful comment to a view expressed by another person:

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Lock down may not be the right strategy

It is now fashionable for governments to implement lock down to stop the spread of the corona virus. This requires people to stay at home for several weeks. This will be very costly to the country. Will it work?

If it works and the virus is eradicated, the economic cost may be worthwhile. But if it does not work, the price is too high.

There is no point in paying a high price to reduce the spread only to find that the virus is not totally eradicated and may return through a subsequent round of infection.

What is the alternative?

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Which method is best to reduce the spread of the corona virus?

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Three weeks to get a refund

I made a booking for massage service provided by the club to members.

The therapist resigned. I had a booking that was canceled. The club arranged to refund my booking fee. It took three weeks for them to write the refund cheque.

WOTC: General election in Singapore

Wisdom of the Crowd: 46% of the respondents expect the general election in Singapore to be held by June 2020. 21% expect it to be held in the third quarter of the year.

WOTC: Export of test kits for corona virus

Wisdom of the Crowd: 60% of the respondents said that China is already exporting the test kits for the corona virus in a large way.

UK approach towards containment

I like the approach that is adopted in the UK to contain the corona virus.

Wasted 1 hour to make a payment

I wasted one hour to make a payment to my employee for their salary for this month.
DBS has a ridiculous system under the online platform for business customers. It is called Ideal 3.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. What is the best way for a business to cut cost during an economic downturn?
2. What is the main reason for the increase in covid-19 cases?

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Quora: How come there is a sudden increase in COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases in the USA all of a sudden?

Clanton Sim, Ph.D Philosophy & Economics, University of California, Irvine (2019)

There’s no suddenness to this. Even at this late date, when S. Korea is doing up to 10,000 tests a day, and China is doing door-to-door swab tests, we, in the USA, have less than 75,000 test kits—with an additional 1.2 million test kits promised sometime next week. All this for a nation of 327.2 million people. My wife volunteers at an ER, and has witnessed hundreds of sick people, who wanted tests, being turned away because they did not meet the criteria. One man, who was Vietnamese, wanted his brother, who was visiting, to get tested. His brother was sick. He was turned away. This was two months ago. Now that test kits are slightly more available, all you need is a cough and an ok from your primary health care doctor to get tested.

There is no sudden surge. We only discover what we test for, and we have not tested but a handful of our population. They say we are low risk in the US. Based on what tests? Based only on the pittance of tests we have managed to give. We don’t know how far the contagion has spread, and that’s a fact.

Death of a young person from this virus

There is a report that a child under 18 has died from the coronavirus in California, Los Angeles County health officials announced Tuesday.

I expect the social media to be circulating this report as if it is dooms day.

The fact is that the death of young people from this virus is small, relative to the number of elderly people above 70 who have died. Maybe, the ratio is 1000 to 1.

Young people do die from many causes, so we do not need to be alarmed with a small number of deaths from the virus. We have to take it as an accident.

We only need to be alarmed when there is a large increase. I do not expect this to be the case.

So far, I have seen the government in many countries taking strong measures to stop the spread. I believe that many of these measures are over-reacting to the risk. The justification is - better be safe. OK, go ahead.

I expect that the governments will soon realize that the risk from the virus, while worse than a flu, does not justify the extreme measures that are being taken.

In a few weeks time, they will reduce the extreme measures.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

How South Korea tackle the corona virus epidemic

What South Korea did is remarkable. I hope Mr. Orange and his team learn from their experience.

They did contact tracing with existing electronic records, which are more effective than the wasteful manual recording of contract tracing details adopted under his Orange protocol.

And where are the 60 testing centers in Singapore (in proportion to the 600 testing centers in South Korea?

From New York Time:

How South Korea flattened the curve

South Korea reported its lowest number of cases since last month on Sunday — a remarkable turnaround from the several thousand cases that exploded there in late February and early March.

Its strategy was not the full lockdown that China employed, or even the widespread restrictions that the U.S. and Europe have implemented. Instead, it focused on swift, widespread testing and contact tracing, our Interpreter columnist writes.
In the week after its first reported case, South Korea moved rapidly, eventually opening 600 testing centers and keeping health workers safe by minimizing contact.

Once someone tested positive, officials meticulously traced their movements using security camera footage, credit card records, even GPS data from their cars and cellphones.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Which country has a good political system in dealing with its challenges
2. Which country adopt a good approach to deal with the corona virus?
3. What cause the low spread of the corona virus in Singapore

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WOTC - Collapse of global stock market

Wisdom of the Crowd: 54% of the respondents said the spread of the corona virus to Europe and America caused the collapse of the global stock markets. 26% said that it is due to the collapse of talk on oil production cuts.

WOTC - Stay at home

Wisdom of the Crowd: 67% of the respondents said it is better to stay at home or work from home.

Use existing drugs to treat covid-19 patients

This article in the New York Times said that nearly 70 drugs and experimental compounds may be effective in treating the coronavirus, as reported by a team of researchers.
Some of the medications are already used to treat other diseases, and repurposing them to treat Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, may be faster than trying to invent a new antiviral from scratch, the scientists said.

I agree with this approach.

Set up special medical facilities for Covid-19 patients

The ministry of health is arranging with private hospitals to take Covid-19 patients that are not critically ill. These patients have to be monitored for a few days and are discharged when they are tested to be negative for the virus.

I suggest that a separate approach be taken.

Quora: How do foreign soldiers view Singaporean soldiers and the SAF in general?

Bryan Mak Dewei, 3SG(NS), Infantry Sergeant (Res.) at Singapore Armed Forces (2015-present)

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting foreign soldiers during my time with the SAF and after, in civilian world I have met a fairly sizeable amount of Australian soldiers who have worked with or have interacted with Singaporean forces. But the most meaningful responses I received was from people that are/were Australian soldiers which I happen to encounter a fair bit of in my leisure events.

Its a question I myself like to ask them, “did you work with the SAF before? What do you think of us?” I tell them to be honest but frankly I don’t need to, they are very blunt people.

Most of the answers have been very positive, they found SAF personnel to be professional and well trained (by their standards). They complimented the SAF on its professionalism and competence mostly, a common metric being the efficiency. I’ve heard some Australian soldiers comment on our training culture which one said was “very angry” and “intense” which I attribute to the tekkan culture of the SAF and the Israeli-like obsession with ‘toughness’; lots of yelling, scolding and angry commanders.

I personally have never been “looked down upon” by Australian soldiers when they found out I was in the SAF and knowing the personality of those I interact with, they don’t seem to be people who mince words. Even as “just a National Serviceman” I’ve even had interesting conversations with these former or current Australian soldiers on military related matters and I find myself with my NS experiences alone able to keep up with these professional soldiers. Outside of just Australian soldiers, when I swap stories with foreign soldiers, sometimes I get reactions like “you did all that?” from foreign soldiers to which I reply “you didn’t???”

Infact I’ve often remarked to them that they have a higher opinion of the SAF then we do of ourselves.

However, they were particularly critical of one element of the SAF. Every year, the Australian Army hosts the Australian Army Skill at Arms Meeting (AASAM) and part of the competition involves inviting foreign militaries to compete, Singapore included. Several former long-serving Australian soldiers I met were very critical of many of the military delegations from Asia sent to AASAM to compete, including Singapore. As with many Asian countries sent for the competition, they thought poorly of the SAF’s Shooting Contingent as they felt the SAF, like many militaries were bending rules and not participating in the spirit of the competition by using non-standard equipment and only sending soldiers who were essentially competitive shooters whose job was solely dedicated to competition shooting, instead of selecting soldiers from line units. I find myself in agreement with the Australian soldiers, having been in the SAF’s shooting team briefly and witnessing the practices first hand. The competition is supposed to be a skill-at-arms competition akin to the Australian Army’s Duke of Gloucester Cup or the British Army’s Cambrian Patrol, not a shooting sports event.

For what its worth, I did visit an Australian Army reserve infantry unit’s open house once, and did ‘size them up’ a little by assessing their competence when interacting with the men from the unit and judging their drills during their demonstrations. I was honestly quite surprised to see how little difference there really was in terms of competence between the SAF and the ADF. A NSman or NSF could easily match and even outdo many of them!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Use cruise ships as temporary hospitals

During the current covid-19 epidemic, cruise ships have stopped their operations. Their customers stop joining cruises because of the fear of infection from other sick patients.

The government can charter these cruise ships to be used as temporary hospitals for the treatment of the infected patients.

Dealing with a large increase in Covid-19 infections

There is a widespread fear in many countries that the increase in the number of people with the covid-19 infections will overwhelm the hospitals.

This possible outcome can be managed. This is how it can be done.

Network of underground walkways

I discussed with my friend the concept of a network of underground walkways to connect all districts to the nearby transport hub or town center. This allowed passengers to walk a long distance in an air con tunnel and not worry about crossing the roads or walking in the rain and sun.

My friend is a retired pilot and had traveled around the world for over three decades.

He said that my concept is already seen in Osaka, Japan. There is a network of tunnels leading the the MRT stations. There are shops along the tunnels.

In my concept, the tunnels are mainly for walking. There will be some shops, but not many. I do not want it to be an underground mall.

To build the underground walkways, the cost can be quite modest. We can use modern tunnelling technology to bring down the cost considerably.

Walking is good for exercise and good health. We need to encourage people to walk long distance. An air con underground tunnel can be quite attractive.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. When do you expect the global stock markets to recover?
2. How many people will be killed by the corona virus in 2020

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Forecast - the global stock market will recover on 9 April

I posted a forecast - the global stock market will recover on 9 April 2020. It attracted a lot of interest. Several readers asked me to explain my forecast.

Here is my explanation.

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