Saturday, May 30, 2020

Attacking people based on wrong assumptions

I want to share this story to show how evil some people can be. They do not check the facts. They make wrong assumptions and attack other people based on these assumptions.

Recently, I advertised for a software developer for a salary of $1,800 to $3,600. I offered the position to citizens, permanent residents and dependent pass holders.

The dependent pass holders are spouse of employment pass holders and are now living in Singapore. 

Although the job holder has to develop software based on the Microsoft .NET platform, I am prepared to take a person who does not have the working experience and provide training. 

Actually, the main duty is to provide support for the software platforms that have been developed. As this is not a full time job, I wanted the person to develop software as well.

I advertised on Facebook and on Career Future (which is operated by the Ministry of Manpower).

I did not get any single application from locals. No locals wrote to ask for more details of the job. 

I shared my experience on Facebook.

Several people criticized me for offering an inadequate salary. I cannot understand why they should take that view without knowing the facts. 

I received a few applications from foreigners who are now working in Singapore, including a dependent pass holder.

I interviewed the dependent pass holder. She is suitable for the job, although she does not have the required experience on the development platform. She has knowledge of the platform but not the actual working experience. She can be trained. She has excellent work attitude and is willing to learn. 

I offered her a hourly rate which she considered to be adequate. It worked out to a full time monthly salary in the range that I had indicated.

I would love to pay a higher salary, but I have to keep my expenses low to be within the revenue of my company.

I shared my experience on the difficulty of applying for a "letter of consent" in the MOM website. This is the same website that is used to apply for an employment pass, which commands a minimum salary of $3,600.

A few people assumed that I was employing a foreigner on an employment pass for a salary of $3,600 per month and attacked me for not offering the job to a local. They did not check the facts and are ready to attack somebody on their false assumptions.

I was actually employing a dependent pass holding at a much lower salary.

I would have preferred to give the same job to a local, if they take the trouble to find out what is required, and have a good work attitude.

I hope that the unemployed locals who found it difficult to get a job offer can learn from this episode. They need to have a positive work attitude and be willing to learn. They also need to understand that the employer can only pay them as well as the business can afford. They have to be an asset to the company.

Maintaining my weight at 72 kg

During the two months of the circuit breaker, I managed to keep my weight at 72 kg.

On some days, it increased to 73 kg or 74 kg, but I exercised more to bring the weight back to 72 kg.

I frequently go on 90 min walk in the hot sun and wear a mask (as mandated by the insane ministers). Insane or not?

Shhhh. Don't tell them. When nobody is around, I take off the mask.

The insane ministers want me to get obese and to die from heart attack. Liddat? Why are they so bad?

Changing to a new computer

My friend approached me on a problem. His computer died. He wants to find someone to help him to buy a new computer and to transfer his files into the new computer.
I told him that I have changed my computer (home, office, laptop) several times during the past years. Each time, I changed to a new computer, I never bother to transfer my files.
Why? I stored my important files in the Cloud. I use Google Drive.
My friend has a Singnet account for his email. I will also advise him how he can access that account from GMail.
I will also give him some tips on how to use Facebook, as he is afraid to use it. He found it too complicated.
I will create a video to cover my tips on "How to upgrade your Online Skills".
Good or not?

Retrieving a letter of consent after approval

I got the approval for the Letter of Consent. I still have to go through a complicated process to get the letter of approval. Insane or not? APPLICATION OUTCOME NOTIFICATION Name of Employing Company : TAN KIN LIAN & ASSOCIATES PTE. LTD. Your EP Online application for xxxxxxxxxx on 29/05/2020 is approved. 1. Select "Apply > Check Status - Application Outcome" or "Renew > Check Status - Renewal Outcome" on the left menu bar. 2. Enter a Search Criteria (e.g. FIN or Application No) and click "Retrieve". 3. From the Search Results, either select the radio button or click on the Status hyperlink. 4. Print the Outcome letter - LOC Issuance Letter.
Why can't they just send the approval letter to me? I now have to look for my mobile phone to sign in to the website.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Buying a Dell All-in-One Computer

My 10 year old computer in my home died. I think the display board failed, but it could be replaced. As it was quite old, I decided that it was time to buy a new computer.

In this post, I share a secret on how you can get the same computer at a lower price and save $400.

An alternative response to the covid-19 pandemic

Someone asked me how I would have responded differently to the covid-19 pandemic, in the context of what has happened in Singapore.

My views have been stated in several dozen posts in the website called #HearMeOut.

I will summarize the key points here. You can check the earlier posts to verify the accuracy of this summary.

At the initial stage, PM Lee said that the virus will kill 0.2% of the infected people. He was looking at the global statistics available at that time. I agreed with that view. I was not concerned about the virus.

I agreed with the government's view that it was not necessary to wear a mask. I also agreed with the view that the limited stock of masks should be reserved for the health workers who were highly exposed to the risk of infection. The risk to the general public was negligible.

I changed my view about wearing of masks after a few weeks. I decided, out of common sense, that the mask can be washed and re-used and that the limited protection offered by the mask is better than no protection at all.

I would not consider it necessary to impose a rule to make it compulsory to wear a mask outdoors. The public should be advised to wear a mask when they are in crowded places. I would leave it to their common sense.

The government was alarmed when they found the large number of infected cases in the foreign worker dormitories. They were worried that the virus would spread in the general community.

They were also worried that the increase in cases would "overwhelm the healthcare system".

I think there were also worried that it would upset their contact tracing strategy.

They decided to call the circuit breaker and closed down workplaces and business outlets.

I publicly expressed in strong terms that it was a bad judgment on the part of the ministers. The cost to the government in relief measures and to the livelihood of several hundred of thousand families was horrendous. It was not necessary at that time.

Most people agreed with the view of the government, but I did not. I did not get much support for my alternative view.

Here is my perspective:

a) I never agreed with the strenuous efforts made in collecting contact tracing details. I felt that it was a waste of time that could have been better spent on other useful activities. I do not mind contact tracing by asking the infected people who they had met within the past two weeks. It is not comprehensive, but it is adequate.

b) I preferred that hand sanitizers be provided at all public places - and be clearly visible to everybody. Instead, they were made available in only a few places and most were hidden away.

c) I also preferred that the temperature scanning should be carried out by a central agency, using proper equipment and trained personnel, rather than be left to the workplaces (which were unreliable and waste a lot of manpower).

After the first four weeks of the circuit breaker, the ministers decided to extend it by another four weeks. I declared them to be insane.

Here are my reasons:

a) Although a large number of new cases were detected each day, it was the result of large scale testing in the dormitories.

b) Most of these cases were mild. Most of the infected people did not need hospital treatment. They could be quarantined in the isolation facilities. They were not dropping like flies.

c) The hospital system was not overwhelmed, even after the infected cases went past 20,000 and later 30,000. The number of severe ill patients under intensive care remained below 30. It has since dropped below 10.

d) The death rate in Singapore was extremely low. It was only 2 per million of population (it has since increased to 4). It was nowhere alarming, compared to over 400 per million in some countries.

e) The ministers lost their perspective. They were so worried about 30 deaths from covid-19. They forget that 20,000 people die every year in Singapore from all causes.

f) It was quite clear by that time that the virus was mild in Singapore, probably due to our warm climate. It was nowhere as lethal as the virus in cold countries.

The ministers, with the support of the public agencies and the military, were efficient in to set up 20,000 beds in the isolation centers within a few weeks. I said that it was commendable but not exemplary. Many other countries were able to carry out similar undertakings with similar success.

I consider the ministers to be insane in extending the circuit breaker. They confirmed their insanity by relaxing the circuit breaker in three phases, which, in effect, is prolonging the circuit breaker.

Some people supported the extension of the circuit breaker by stating that the number of deaths would have increased, if it was not done.

We do not know if this will become so serious. We do not know how many lives would have been saved.

We should not overlook the lives that were lost due to the circuit breaker, from people who delayed their treatment for other serious illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease, and from people who suffered depression and other mental health issues.

One thing is clear. The circuit breaker cost $100 billion in taxpayer's money to provide relief to the affected businesses and households. This is only partial relief. It does not compensate them adequately for the full extent of their losses.

Many small businesses will not survive. Many families will have their finances completely ravaged.

The $100 billion could have been put to better use to waive GST totally for 8 years or to provide $800 a month to every person above age 70 for 25 years.

In the light of the uncertainty, what would I have done?

I would wait before calling the circuit breaker. I would see how bad the situation would develop, before taking extreme measures that are costly in economic terms and potentially more damaging in health and lives.

I would not act in haste or in panic. I would carry out my risk evaluation in a calm manner.

In the light of uncertainty, I would monitor and adjust our strategy in the light of new evidence. I would not take the extreme measures which may turn out to be the worst option.

I declare the ministers to be insane and that the government had wasted the $100 billion and cost a lot of damage to businesses and households.

Tan Kin Lian

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Poor design of websites of government agencies

The websites of most government agencies are poorly designed. They are complicated, confusing and often have bugs. They cause the general public to waste a lot of time in submitting transactions with these agencies.  Some people commented that the poor design is due to outsourcing of the development work to certain countries.  I disagree.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020


1. What will happen in Hong Kong with the new national security law?

WOTC - Reduce reliance on foreign workers

Wisdom of the Crowd: 73% of the respondents said that we should improve the wages and working conditions to attract locals to do the jobs now done by foreign workers, and also use tools to improve productivity. The other 27% said that we will still have to rely on foreign workers to do many of the jobs shunned by locals. 

Insane ministers

I made the following post - The ministers made a bad judgement when they start the circuit breaker. They are insane for extending it.
Why do I say this?

Monday, May 25, 2020

WOTC - International travel after the pandemic

Wisdom of the Crowd: 81% of the respondents expect international travel to resume after the pandemic is over, but will be below the level before the pandemic. 5% expect it to reach the level before the pandemic. 14% think that it will be seriously damaged permanently.

WOTC - Impact of corna virus in the future

Wisdom of the Crowd: 18% of the respondents expect the corona virus to be a serious problems in the years ahead. 82% expect the virus to be eradicated or be mild.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. There is a high level of trust in the govt in Singapore
2. The ministerial task force has done well in dealing with the corona virus.

Vote in

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Monitor work at home.

Some offices have several CCTVs to monitor different parts of the workplace. They record movements in the office. The owner can set the CCTV to send an alert when there is movement after office hours. 

The cost of the CCTV, including a SD card, is $60. This is a useful device to install in the workplace at home for the supervisor to monitor the workers. It creates a self discipline for the worker to work during the designated hours. 

Hardship faced by small business

This is an example of the hardship faced by small businesses during the Circuit Breaker lockdown.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Where did the covid-19 virus originate?
2. Do you like working from home after the circuit breaker is lifted?
3. Are people productive when they work from home?

Vote in

WOTC - International travel and tourism

Wisdom of the Crowd: 81% of the respondents expect international travel and tourism to recover, but will remain below the level before the pandemic. 14% are pessimistic and said that it has been damaged permanently.

WOTC - the Singapore economy

Wisdom of the Crowd: 98% of the respondents are pessimistic about the prospects for the Singapore economy, even after the pandemic. It is worrisome.

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