Saturday, May 02, 2020

Life will be different after the pandemic

After the covid-19 pandemic is over, we will see a different world. Life will be different.

Many countries will bring their production back home. They will rely less on China to manufacture the essential products.

There will be more online activities - schooling, work from home, marketing.

GDP growth will be slower. It will be better for the environment and reduce the harm from climate change.

I will share views of the new way of life from other thinkings. I will also share my views.​​​​​​​

Friday, May 01, 2020

Government act like monkey see, monkey do

Governments act like monkey see, monkey do. Singapore is worse. We follow other government blindly, even when our risk is quite different from them.

Swedish economy also suffered a downturn

Mr. Tan
You favored the approach taken by Sweden where they did not have a lockdown and suffer a smaller economic impact.

Can you read this report. It said that Sweden will suffer an economic decline that may be worse than other countries that have a lockdown.

What you say now?

TKL reply
Hello. The circuit breaker measures adopted in Singapore caused an estimated $60 billion for 6 million people. We also suffer a big economic decline.

Sweden has a population of 10 million people? Did they spend $100 billion (SGD) to provide relief measures? I do not think they spent money to this scale. I think that they real cost is quite modest, compared to Singapore.

Similarly America had to provide economic relief of several trillion dollars. Their spending per capita is similar to Singapore.

It was possible to reduce the spread of the virus through other measures, instead of a lockdown or circuit breaker. Our minister made a poor judgment to impose the circuit breaker measures.

Quora: After the covid-19 threat is over, will you be less likely to purchase Chinese-made products?

Lance Chambers answered:

I don’t have a problem with China.

They didn’t create the virus. They didn’t ALLOW it to escape their borders and infect others.

They worked as hard as they could to stop it and it seems that they have succeeded.

At the start when they first realised that Civid-19 wasn’t the regular flu that erupts in China it was too late. They let the world know that this was different as soon as they realised the truth.

They are donating PPE to a host of nations that are in dire need and even to the US. After all the insults being aimed at them by the US. I would not have sent America anything if I was in control of China. Maybe it a good thing I’m not in charge.

In fact I think I will start buying from Alibaba from now on and leave Amazon alone. Not only will that improve my bank balance but I will be buying from what I believe is a far more moral nation.

Why is NRIC now used for entry to malls and supermarkets?

Many people question why are malls and supermarkets asking people to bring their NRIC when private establishments are not allowed to ask for NRIC under the law.
My answer - the law is STUPID. The NRIC is the best way to identify a person. It should not be a secret.
The ban on the use of NRIC was another bad judgment by the government. We are now seeing problems arising from the bad law.
This government made a lot of costly policy mistakes that harm the economy, increase our cost of doing business and damage our competitiveness.

The ban on the use of NRIC has caused the private establishments to send tens of million dollars to change their computer system. It also increased their operating costs.

Dealing with the economic downturn

I have written several posts on I would deal with the economic downturn caused by the covid-19 pandemic.

My most important post is here:

Here are a collection of posts on dealing with the economic downturn.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Singapore's response to the covid-19 crisis

Someone asked me - what are my views about covid-19.

He was a regular follower. I am surprised that he had to ask this question. Maybe he was not paying attention.

I refer him to this website. I must have put up several dozen posts on this topic.

I can summarise my key view.

The virus is mild in Singapore. It resulted in 14 deaths. Only 22 are now in ICU. In comparison, America has 61,000 deaths.

Our death rate is 2 per million. America is 168. Some countries in Europe have a death rate between 300 to 520.

The virus is serious in other countries. It is mild in Singapore.

To stop the spread of the virus, we could have followed the practice in S Korea and Taiwan. They strengthen social distancing and encourage the use of face mask. They did not implement any lockdown or circuit breaker.

Our lockdown will probably cost the government $60 billion (my estimate). It is a LOT OF MONEY. It is not $60 million. It is BILLIONS. It could have been avoided.

Several hundred thousand livelihoods were severely disrupted. They involved workers and the self employed. Most of them do not get adequate compensation.

I know that there are many cases discovered among the foreign workers living in the crowded dormitories. It was possible to isolate the infected people and to quarantine those who are not sick.

We would have to stop work in the construction and other worksites which rely on these foreign workers as most of the foreign workers were isolated or quarantined.

There was no need to stop work in the workplaces for the locals. The risk of transmission is low and the impact is not serious.

My views are based on my reading of reports from experts all over the world and my special analysis of the data in Singapore and around the world.

I form my opinion after careful study and analysis. I do not give comments out of ignorance or prejudice.

I disagree with the logic put up by many people. They argue that the virus was dangerous in other countries. They said that we would see similar deaths if we do not implement the same measures that they did.

Their views ignore the facts. The virus is mild in Singapore. We are not seeing the same kind of hospitalization, intensive care and deaths.

I disagree with the circuit breaker when it was first introduced and when it was extended.

NTUC website for SIRS application is down

My friend tried to login to this website, operated by NTUC, to submit an application for the Self Employed Income Relief scheme. He was not able to login.

He has been trying several times for a few days. He was not able to login.

He has wasted a lot of time. This is probably the experience of several tens of thousand of applicants.

Maybe several hundred thousand applicants are trying to login .

I can make a guess what has happened. The website was designed to carry out the entire process flow. This is a complicated process, as it probably requires to check the entered data against many government websites. Any of these links could be a cause of failure.

The complicated system can probably handle a limited number of transactions every minute. When the volume exceeds this capacity, it is likely to crash the system.

This is probably what had happened.

If I were to design the system, I would create a light weight website that allows the applicant to enter just the essential details - name, email, telephone, occupation.

It will not attempt to ask for documents to be uploaded or to verify the information.

My lightweight website is considered as stage 1.

I will then send an email to the applicants with a link to go to the full website to go through the entire process. I will time the sending out of the email so that the volume is controlled to a level that the system can cope. This will not crash the system.

Stage 1 can be considered to be a queuing system. It will manage stage 2 to spread out the actual processing of the applications.

I hope that a person in charge can work on this this suggestion soon.

WOTC - Vote in the general election

Wisdom of the Crowd: 90% of the respondents said that they will vote non-PAP at the general election.

WOTC - Performance of ministers in Task Force

Wisdom of the Crowd: 88% of the respondents have a negative opinion about the performance of the ministers in the task force.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Is the rally in the global stock market justified?
2. Do the infected foreign workers pose a serious danger to the general community?

Vote in

Do not be caught looking like an idiot

Think before you make your comment or ask stupid questions.
Do not be caught looking like an idiot. OK?

Read this post

Testing of 300,000 foreign workers

I have seen comments by many people - why can't we test all the foreign workers in the dormitory at one go? Why are we testing them in small batches every day?

The answer is simple.

Herd immunity among the foreign workers?

We may already have achieved herd immunity among the foreign workers. What does this mean?

Sale of regulatory credit by Tesla

The average forecast of Wall Street analysts was a loss of $0.36 per spare for Tesla for 1Q 2020. The actual results showed a profit of $1.24 per share.

Why were the analysts wrong? One contributing factor was the income of $354 million from the sale of regulatory credit, which is 64% higher than 1Q of 2019.

What is this regulatory credit? It is given to a car manufacturer based on the qualifying vehicles that it sold. This is to encourage manufacturers to move to electric vehicles.

If the car manufacturer did not achieve its quota, it has to pay a penalty on the shortfall. Alternatively, it can buy the credit from another manufacturer like Tesla.

As Tesla makes only electric vehicles, it has a lot of regulatory credit to sell to other manufacturers.

The question is - why does Tesla sells more credit during 1Q 2020 than normal? The answer is simple - Tesla lowers the price of the regulatory credit to get the revenue booked in the quarter, so that it can show a profit.

It is a simple business strategy. All businesses lower the price to increase the sales, right?

In spite of the challenges for 2Q 2020, I expect that Tesla will continue to make a profit. They will then qualify to be included in the S&P 500.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Why are some foreign workers not infected?

I have revised this article about the infection of the foreign workers living in dormitories. Instead of creating a panic, I wish to suggest that the findings actually suggest some good news.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Was it wise to extend the circuit breaker?
2. Will the second wave of covid-19 be more serious?
Vote in

Win a book prize

A book prize will be given out to all participants who submitted at least 10 votes for the Wisdom of the Crowd website for this month. It will close tomorrow.

To win this prize, you can vote now.

WOTC - Extension of circuit breaker

Wisdom of the Crowd: 67% of the respondents support the extension of the circuit breaker by another month. 33% disagree.

WOTC - TraceTogether app

Wisdom of the Crowd: 19% of the respondents have tried the TraceTogether app and like it. 17% tried it and gave it up. The others are not aware about it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Will there be a second wave of the covid-19

Many countries have implemented strict lockdown measures and have seen a reduction in new cases.

They are worried about the risk of a second wave of infections after they relaxed the lockdown or when the weather becomes cold again after another six months.

My reasoning is that the second wave will be less severe. Here are my reasons:

a) After the current wave, a high proportion of the population would have been exposed to the virus and have developed some form of immunity. During the next wave, the virus will cause less harm.

b) It is likely that the more vulnerable segment of the population, i.e. the elderly and those with underlying conditions, would have died during the first wave. Those who survive would probably be stronger.

This is my reasoning based on logic, common sense and my reading of many articles on the virus. I hope that I am right.

Why is only 25% of foreign workers is tested positive?

During the past two weeks, about 3,000 tests are carried out each day with the foreign workers living in dormitories. About 750 are found to be infected. This represents an infection rate of 25%.

Many people panicked and worried about the 750 new cases (or thereabouts) that are identified each day.

I like to ask the question - what happened to the other 75%? Surely, if the virus is so contagious, the foreign workers are living so densely together, and a large number are already infected, we should expect 100% to be infected?

I have positive news to share with you.

Circuit breaker caused economic downturn

Bad news for Japan and Singapore. Economic problems ahead
Japan, Singapore could be the worst-hit Asian economies in the coronavirus pandemic, says Moody's Analytics -…/japan-singapore-worst-hit-asian-econ…
TKL comment. Singapore would not be badly hit if it had just continued its containment measures, i.e. safe distancing and wear face mask, without calling the circuit breaker for four weeks. It is insane now to extend the circuit breaker for another four weeks.
The impact of the virus is quite mild. Although there was a large increase of over 10,000 new cases over the past three weeks, the death rate remained at 2 per million (compared to 200 to 500 in America and some countries in Europe) and the ICU cases is steady at less than 30 (actually 22 today).

Monday, April 27, 2020

Contact tracing in Germany

We can adopt this approach to carry out contact tracing more efficiently and ensure that there is proper follow up and avoid duplication of work and confusion.

Mobile app from DBS

When DBS introduced its mobile app for personal banking and corporate banking, I tried them and gave up.

I found the setup process to be too difficult and troublesome. the instructions were confusing.

A few months later, I tried the mobile apps again. This time I have to get the help from the support staff. I managed to overcome the difficult set up process.

I have now got used to these apps. I find it to be quite convenient and useful.

I still find the apps to be quite complicated. They have too many functions that I do not need and add to the confusion. But I managed to identify the functions that I need and learn how to use them.

I will give DBS a good rating for their apps. But I wish that they had kept them simpler and most certainly have a simpler set up process.

I hope that they will learn, but apparently, they do not listen.

Deaths due to covid-19

As at 26 April, a total of 207,000 people have died from the covid-19 virus around the world. Based on projection, this number is likely to be between 500,000 to 1 million by the end of 2020.

In my view, this is not the additional deaths caused by the covid virus. Most of these deaths would have occurred anyway, but many are being blamed on this virus.

Let me explain my view.

About 3 million people die from pneumonia each year, before the appearance of the covid virus.

Most of the people who died from the covid virus come from this group. If the covid virus did not appear, these people would still have died from pneumonia, caused by a virus, bacterial or fungi. The actual germ would probably not be identified. This year, the covid virus will get the blame for many of these deaths.

It is possible that the covid virus is directly responsible for some of the deaths.

But for many of the deaths outside of the hospital, the covid virus will get the blame if it is found in the body of the deceased - even though it might not be the main cause of the death.

We have to wait for the total figures of death from pneumonia and covid-19 to appear. If this total is higher than the 3 million that is counted in prior years, the virus would have caused the additional deaths.

I react to the pandemic with a sense of calmness. Even though I know that it is dangerous, I do not wish to exaggerate its impact.

I agree to the precautions that have to be taken to avoid the spread of the virus to the elderly and the people with underlying health conditions. But I do not react with panic about the spread of the virus to the young people.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Most new cases are mild

Today, 26 April, is day 19 of the circuit breaker.

The ministers panicked and called the circuit breaker when they saw the number of new cases jumped up. Over the past two weeks, the cases jumped by several hundreds and some days over one thousand a day.

The total cases must have jumped by by almost 10,000 during this period.

I monitored the number of patients in intensive care unit (ICU) due to covid virus. It remained stable at the current level, which is less than 30,.

In spite of the large number of new cases that have been reported, we did not see any large increase in ICU cases. Most of the new cases are mild.

The number of deaths increase by 1 or 2 during this period, to reach a total of 12.

If the virus is serious, I would expect the ICU cases to jump up by a large number during the past 2 weeks. It did not happen.

As of today, the message from showed the following:

total cases: 12,693
hospitalised: 1,214 (24 in ICU)
in community facilities: 10,465
fatalities - 12
total discharged: 1,002

Most of the new cases are being monitored at the community facilities. Our hospitals are not overwhelmed.

There is no need for the public to be alarmed about the large numbers of new cases that are reported each day. Even the large number of unlinked cases are not important - because they do not lead to the increase of the critically ill (i.e. ICU cases).

It seemed the the covid virus is rather mild in Singapore, unlike the case in other countries with cold climates.

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