Thursday, June 04, 2020

A platform to improve private tuition

A private tutor, who more than 20 years of experience in giving tuition, attended my briefing on the Online School platform. She gave the following feedback. At present, she has to travel to the home of the student and usually teach one student at a time. As she has to take into account her travel time and the teaching time, she needs to charge a high fee for the tuition to earn a living. The online platform allows her to give the tuition from her home. It uses the Zoom teleconferencing platform. She says that the ideal size of the tuition class if 4 to 7 students. It allows the students to interact and make the lesson more interesting. A larger group will be difficult to manage. The Zoom platform is quite good. It allows the group to interact and the teacher to communicate with the students easily. It is as good as a physical class. She said that the platform will allow the tutor to charge lower fees and still earn more. It may be possible for her to reduce the fees by half and still earn double her normal income. The platform allows her to manage the lessons. It will automatically remind the students about the class. This saves time in reminding the students on her own. She also likes the ability to upload the notes of the lesson for the students to read before the class and to upload the exercise for the students to do after the class. The answers are marked automatically by the platform and saves her a lot of time. She will also be able to keep track of the progress of the students by looking at their attendance and the marks that they get for each lesson. All of this work is done automatically for her. She said that we have to keep up with the times and use technology to improve the way we do our work. I agree. Although she is not familiar with computers, she finds the platform to be quite easy to use. She want to encourage other tutors to try the platform. I am encouraged by her positive feedback.

Monday, June 01, 2020

Have a broad perspective

I want to share a story to show the narrow perspective of many people. These people cannot see an issue from the perspective of the other person. They can only see it from their selfish perspective. It is a common weakness.

Constitution of China

This is the 1954 constitution of China. 1954 Constitution Main article: 1954 Constitution of the People's Republic of China In accordance with the Common Program, preparations soon began for convening the first National People's Congress and the drafting of the first permanent Constitution of the People's Republic of China. On 24 December 1952, a resolution was moved by Premier Zhou Enlai on behalf of the Communist Party of China at the 43rd meeting of the first CPPCC Standing Committee to draft the new, permanent, Constitution.

Why I banned a group of people

I have deleted the comments and banned a group of people who attacked my views on my preference for the political system in China over that of America and other democratic countries.
They said that they were challenging my views in a polite manner.
They were not. I find their comments to be rude, personal and arrogant.
They probably did not read my view as I have stated. They attacked me on the following points:
a) The Tiananmen Square incident
b) The Chinese system is corrupt
I find the first point to be irrelevant. Each country had its dark history.
I do not accept the second point. I believe that there are different degrees of corruption in all political systems and China today is not worse than many other countries.
These views were presented to challenge me. I did not say that the system in China is perfect in all respects, but they challenged me on that wrong assumption.
They must have thought that they were clever in being able to challenge people - even if they distort my view.
There were other nonsensical comments that were personal. These were deleted. One of them asked why I did not migrate to China.
A few people presented their views to disagree with my views. They stated the reasons for their views and were polite. They did not engage in judgment of my views. I accept their disagreements.
Finally, I do not accept the practice of a gang of people acting in concert to challenge me. They have an ulterior motive and are not entitled to their say in my space.

Prerequisite for the right to vote

Nearly all countries require their residents to have a driving license before they are allowed to drive cars on the road. They do not allow any person to drive without a license.

They have the individual right to drive a car, but they must prove that they will drive the car responsibly by getting a license.

This practice is well accepted. Nobody argues against this loss of freedom to drive a car without a license.

This concept also applies to voting for the leaders of a country. In order to vote, the resident must be eligible. In most countries, the right is based on being a citizen and above a certain age.

I prefer that an additional requirement should be imposed. The eligible person should also pass a test on knowledge of the country's constitution.

If a person does not know the constitution, he or she should not be allowed to vote.

In the communist party system in China, the right to vote is given to members of the communist party. The membership represents 9% of all adult citizens. There are 90 million members in the party.

A member of the party is required to study and understand the constitution of China. The constitution enshrines a socialist system under the leadership of the communist party.

If any Chinese citizen does not like the constitution, he or she is free to migrate to another country which is willing to accept them. China does not stop people from leaving the country. They did stop them in the past, but this has changed.

Hundreds of millions of Chinese nationals travel each year out of China. They return to the country willingly.

In theory, every person who wishes to join the communist party as a member is allowed to do so. In practice, the party does have some additional restrictions on who they accept as their members. Perhaps they have a quota on the number of members in each locality.

I would prefer a system where everybody who wishes to join the party should be allowed to do so. But I am not aware if there are strong reasons to have the quota.

Even if there is a quota on the members of the party, I would not argue against that practice in principle. I consider 9% to be quite a high proportion of the population.

The members of the party vote for their leaders at the local level, maybe the village that they live in. The village leaders vote for their leaders at the county level. The county leaders vote for the provincial leaders. The provincial leaders vote for the national leaders.

I prefer this system of election. The party members can be expected to know the candidates in the village well and can make the choice. They are likely to elect the most capable people who are less corrupt and cares about the village.

The election at the higher levels are likely to produce similar outcomes.

There is no guarantee that this system will prevent the people in power from being corrupt. But if they are corrupt, the voting system can act as a check and the leaders can be removed from power.

There is also the discipline within the party to deal with corruption and abuse of power.

Within the party, we can expect leaders to form groups, or cliques. This is part of the natural outcome of social groups. However, this group is not formalized into a party with separate ideologies. All party members have to follow the national ideology as enshrined in the constitution.

I do not hold the view that the communist party system is perfect. I am sure that many people can point out its flaws and abuses.

However, I wish to argue that there are merits to this system. It is quite democratic, at least within the party, and is able to produce capable and honest (hopefully) leaders to lead the country.

If we compare the quality of the leaders produced by different countries, I would say that China comes out at or near the top. There are merits to the communist party system.

I am not saying that the communist party system is the best among all the political systems. I only say that it is a good system. I also like some other systems, such as the direct democracy adopted in Switzerland and the proportional representation system adopted in Germany.

I wish to summarize with the following main points:

a) We need a good system to produce the right leaders for a country
b) We should restrict the right to vote to people who are qualified to exercise the right.
c) The system of voting at various levels is probably better than voting directly for the top leaders.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Have an open mind about non PAP politicians

Several people have told me that they like to see a change of government, but they are not able to support the non PAP parties and their candidates.

They consider that the non PAP parties are not able to offer any constructive alternative.

I asked them if they have read the policy papers put out by these parties, such as the Workers Party, Singapore Democratic Party, the Singapore First Party or the Reform Party.

These papers are well thought out and are often better than the PAP policy papers.

They admitted that they have not.

I asked them - how can you expect to have a credible opposition if you have a negative opinion of the alternative parties and are not even willing to keep an open mind to understand what they stand for.

I also see another negative trait. Many people are more inclined to see the negative aspects of the non PAP candidates. I suggest that they should look at the positive aspects, rather than the negative aspects.

They should remember that the PAP candidates also have their positive and negative aspects.

How can they expect to see a change in the direction of the country when they are not willing to support an alternative.

Do they expect a miracle? Even if the messiah appears, will they be able to support him? They are likely to reject him.

Many people also fear that the future of Singapore will be uncertain if the non PAP forms the government.

This is not likely to happen. At the very best, the non PAP parties can only hope to capture one third of Parliament.

We do not need to see the PAP being toppled down. If we can vote non PAP to hold one third of the seats in Parliament, we can see a change in policy of the PAP. If they continue to hold more than two thirds, they will not change.

If the majority of the voters in Singapore have a closed mind and expect a miracle, Singapore will remain under the dominance of the PAP. The future for the young people will be bleak.

The problem is not the non PAP parties or their candidates. The problem is the closed mindset of the majority of the people in Singapore.

Why I prefer the communist party system of China

Most people criticized the system in China where the Communist Party is entrenched in the country's constitution. They prefer the multi party systems practiced in democratic countries. I prefer the system in China. It prefer a one party system. Under this system, the competition is within the party. The leadership of the party has to be elected among its members.

China has transformed its economy very well

In 1989 or thereabouts, I visited China as a member of a minister's delegation. We were received by the vice premier.
At that time, China was very poor and backward. Singapore was advanced.
The vice premier spoke in Mandarin. He said that the biggest challenge in China was to find jobs for the millions of workers in the state enterprises. These enterprises were inefficient and overstaffed. They are developing the service sector to allow the excess workers to be absorbed into the economy.
I was struck with the clarity of their goal.
Well, as things turned out, they succeeded very well in their transformation.
Singapore now face the same challenge - the transform the economy to face the future. Can we do it?

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