Friday, June 19, 2020

WOTC - Should the govt continue financial help>

Wisdom of the Crowd: 45% of the respondents said that the govt should continue financial help during the next phase of the circuit breaker. 45% said that the businesses should be allowed to resume.

WOTC - Where did the corona virus start?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 34% of the respondents said that there were many strains of the corona virus that spread in different countries. 25% said that it occurred in Wuhan, China. 25% said that it was brought to China from America. 16% said that it was produced in a bio lab.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Who will take up the 100,000 new jobs that CCS wants to create?
2. What will happen after the second phase of relaxation of circuit breaker?

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Helping the unemployed

Do you like this suggestion of how to provide financial assistance to unemployed people?

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

WOTC - Spread of virus after circuit breaker

Wisdom of the Crowd: 71% of the respondents expect the coronavirus to spread rapidly within the community after the lifting of the circuit breaker. 29% are optimistic that the virus can be controlled through the gradual measures.

WOTC - Relaxation of the circuit breaker in phases

Wisdom of the Crowd: 67% of the respondents disagree with the relaxation of the circuit breaker in phases. The other 33% think that it is a wise step

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Is it safe to invest in the stock market now?
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Is America moving towards socialism out of necessity?

The US stock market rallied last night because the Fed is buying individual bonds.
In effect, they are converting many businesses into state owned enterprises. It may not be fully state-owned, but the state may be holding a substantial stake.
This is an interesting phenomena. It is a modern way of nationalization. America is moving towards socialism.
I am in favor of state owned enterprises - provided that it is being run to reduce the cost of living.
However, it could be abused to benefit the corporate executives who enjoy insane remuneration packages.
It depends on the leadership of a country and the level of corruption.
America may turn out to be more corrupt than third world countries.
Alternatively, they may turn out to be a good model of government for state owned enterprises.
We have to see what happens in the future.

Duty of the government

The eye clinic in KTP hospital prescribed 5 bottles of 15 ML Refresh Tears to me. I paid $25. The cost is $5 per bottle.
I checked online for the retail price at the pharmacy. I was surprised that it retailed for $15.20.
The government probably bought it at a lower price due to bulk purchase and gave a further subsidy to the patients.
In this instance, the government has done what it should be doing, i.e. to provide the benefit to the citizens through bulk purchasing.
They should adopt the same approach to many other cost of living. That is their duty.

A sense of proportion

I said that the corona virus is mild in a warm climate, like in Singapore. It does not cause the same harm as in cold climate. Someone commented - Going by your argument, Beijing is now hot and in the beginning of summer....the virus would have died a natural death, yet 100 cases were detected! Here is my response to him: Alamak. 100 cases? How many deaths? In a city of 10 million people? Where is your sense of proportion? How many people die in Beijing every day from other causes? Not only ministers are insane. Many sinkies are also insane!

Monday, June 15, 2020

Look at both sides

Many workers look at the employment contract from their own perspective. They want the best terms for themselves. They seek the employer who can provide the best terms. Some of them were able to find an employer who can pay them well.  If they are fortunate, they will have a good job for many years, maybe for their whole working career.  Some may not be that lucky. The may lose their job when the employer finds another person who is more capable, more productive or less expensive. Some struggle to find a good employer who can pay well. In their search for their ideal job, they may overlook good opportunities. These come from employers who may not be able to pay them well now, but can offer a good future to the right candidate.  What do I mean? Instead of looking at what the employer can offer to the worker, the worker should also look at what they can offer to the employer and how they can really contribute to the growth of the business. If the business grows and become successful, the hard working workers who have contributed to the growth will be valuable to the business. They will have to opportunity to be promoted to better paying jobs in the company. The workers who think only of themselves, and are not willing to think of the interest of the employer, will miss this opportunity. My advice to young people - be aware of this opportunity.

WOTC - Joe Biden's pick for vice president nominee

Wisdom of the Crowd: 32% of the respondents expect Joe Biden to pick Michelle Obama as his vice president nominee. 21% expect him to pick Elizabeth Warren.

WOTC - Few deaths among infected foreign workers

Wisdom of the Crowd: 73% of the respondents said that the infected foreign workers are young and healthy, resulting in few deaths. 27% said the the virus is mild in a warm climate.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Will TKL get infected with the coronavirus?

There will be a 5% chance that TKL (that's me) will be infected with the coronavirus. Maybe higher.  Why? Here are the infection rates in some major cities.
Wuhan - 60% New York City - 19.9% London - 17.5% Madrid - 11.3% Boston - 9.9% Sweden - 7.3%
Source: New York Times.
My guess is that the actual infection rate in Singapore in the wider community must be 5% or higher. There is inadequate testing (except for the foreign workers), so we think our infection rate is low. But I am not scared of the risk of infection. Why? Take a look at the 30,000 or more foreign workers that have been infected and tested positive. How many need to be hospitalized? How many need intensive care? How many died? The number is low. Actually, very low. This is why I am not scared. Even if I get infected, there is a low chance of it causing serious harm. I face a bigger risk of being in an accident or falling down the stairs. Some people observed that the foreign workers are young. That is why the casualty is low. They advised me to be careful, as I belong to the "vulnerable" group, because I am over 70 years. I ask these people to think more deeply. The coronavirus does not attack old people. They attack people in bad health, i.e. with pre-existing medical conditions of a serious nature. These are the people who are hypertensive, diabetic or have heart condition. Of course, many of them are also old. But there are older people who are in good health. Their risk is quite low, just like the younger healthy people. I belong to this group, as I do not have any of the high risk medical conditions. A fair proportion of the foreign workers are not healthy - they are obese or diabetic. Still, they do not die from the coronavirus. My reasoning is that the coronavirus is mild in a warm climate in Singapore. I make my risk assessment and judgment based on the facts that I can see.  I do not make judgment based on facts information that are relevant elsewhere, but are probably not relevant to us. I do not make decisions based on "what might happen" or "the sky may fall down". If people are dropping down like flies in Singapore, due to the coronavirus, I will also be scared. But they are not. So, I am not scared. The insane ministers dictate that I should wear a mask when I go out. They also dictate that I should be scanned several times a day for contact tracing. They threaten to impose a heavy fine if I do not comply with their insane requirements. OK, so I comply. But I do not need to be terrified of the coronavirus, even if the insane ministers are. We have to suffer a misfortune because we have voted insane ministers to be in power in this country. You know what? In spite of the low risk, there is still a chance that TKL will die from the coronavirus. However, there is a bigger risk that he will die from an accident or from a fall. There are so many ways that he can die. The coronavirus is probably not his biggest risk. He is more likely to die from suffocation or other consequences from using the mask, rather than from the coronavirus that the mask is supposed to keep out.  For people who think that the coronavirus is the biggest threat to Singapore in the past many decades, I say this - I agree. The harm did not come from the corona virus itself. The harm is largely caused by the circuit breaker measures imposed and extended by the insane ministers. It has led to a waste of $95 billion from our reserves, and perhaps more to come. It has also caused several hundred thousand of families to suffer large financial and economic loss. Some of them have died, or will die, from suicide and depression caused by the economic damage of the circuit breaker measures. Some will die due to neglect of their medical treatment while the whole nation focus on the coronavirus.

How to use the contact tracing data

Several tens of million dollars are spent each month to collect contact tracing data. This is my estimate of the wage cost of the "social distancing ambassador" that are employed at several tens of thousand tracing points, i.e. entrance of malls, supermarkets and business outlets. I suspect that the contact tracing data is not used for the purpose of locating the people that might have been in contact with an infected person. If the infected person has visited location X, should all the other people who visited location X on the same day be approached?  Some people argued that it will be difficult to locate the thousands of people that might be captured in the database. I agree. But if this is the case, why are we collecting the contact tracing data in the first place? Why are we spending (actually wasting) tens of million dollars monthly on this exercise, when the data cannot be used? Actually, we do not need to be locating thousand people at each location visited by the infected person.  We can narrow down to the people who were in the same tracing point within a time interval of (say) 10 minutes. This will reduce the potential contacts considerably and make the follow up tracing easier to handle. If the mobile phone of the traced person is available, a SMS message can be sent to notify that person. For example - there was an infected person at (name of tracing point) at (time). You were there at that time. Please call XXXXXXXX to get further instructions. When the traced person respond, they can be advised to be on quarantine and to visit a testing center to get a covid-19 test.  I hope that the people in charge implement this follow up measure immediately. Tan Kin Lian

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. The govt designs good schemes that cater to different groups of people.
2. Is means-testing a good approach to award subsidies from the govt?
3. Will you vote PAP at the coming general election?

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The people are at fault also

The problem faced by Singapore is largely due to an arrogant government that refuse to listen.
But the problem extends beyond that leaders. It is also caused by the majority of the well educated people who also refuse to get the facts to make a proper judgement. They form opinions that are wrong facts and on their bias.
So, don't blame the PAP alone. Blame the majority of the people who are blind. Like my friend here.

An arrogant government that refuse to listen

A friend asked me a question about Medishield Life during a zoom meeting. I gave an answer to his question. I also said that there are many practical issues about Medishield Life that confuse the ordinary people.  A friend said - Kin Lian, you are an expert in insurance. If you know of the problem why don't you bring it to the people in charge. Surely that is more constructive than complaining about it? The remark made by this person reflect the thinking of many people in Singapore. They pass judgment about me, without understanding the facts. I told him that I had sent a few dozen suggestions to the government on many issues, including issues where I am an expert.  The government agencies and the ministers do not care. They are just arrogant.  In most cases, they do not even reply or acknowledge the feedback or suggestion. When I send the same feedback two or three times, they will reluctantly give a reply to acknowledge it. But they do not wish to engage in any discussion to understand the issue. Many years passed and I hear nothing about this matter. My message is to the majority of the people in Singapore - this is the arrogant behavior of the PAP government. They don't know or maybe they don't care about what is really happening in the ground.  It has been happening in this manner for more than a decade under PM Lee HL. It might be the outcome of his bad attitude. Or it might be the attitude of the ministers and top civil servants that he appoints to help him to run the government.

Take contact tracing to an insane level

I consider that the ministers in the task force are insane. They have taken contact tracing to an insane level. The most recent example is to require the taxi drivers to issue receipts to their passengers and to ask the passengers to keep the receipts for 14 days for contact tracing. They even want to impose a fine of $50 for non-compliance. It is impractical. It is wasteful. It is ineffective. Already, the country is spending tens of million dollars every month (this is my estimate) to employ "social distancing ambassadors" to capture the contact tracing details of people who visit malls, supermarkets and more business outlets. How much of the contact tracing data are being put to use? I suspect hardly. Why do I say this? I often read reports in the media that highlight the places visited by the infected people. It suggest to me that the people who visited these places should now be alert that they might be infected?  If the authority checked the contact tracing data, they would be able to identify the people who had visited these places at around the same time and ask them to go for testing. Why is this not being done? If this is being done, what is the outcome of this follow up? I did not read any media report about it. If the contact tracing data (that has already been collected at great expense) could not be used, why is the people in charge asking the taxi drivers to take the additional trouble to issue the receipts for the purpose of contact tracing? I feel that they ministers have taken their obsession with contact tracing to an insane level. I also think that it is wrong for them to impose the fine of $50 for non compliance with an insane requirement. It is an abuse of their power.  Do you agree?

WOTC - Will the second wave be more serious?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 38% of the respondents said that we need to continue social distancing to stop the spread of the virus during the second wave. 36% said that the second wave will be less serious as the majority of the population has already been exposed. 15% expect the second wave to be more serious. 10% said that the countries that implement lockdown will be more seriously affecte during the second wave.

WOTC - Best way to stop the spread of the virus

Wisdom of the Crowd: 40% of the respondents prefer to implement the lockdown early to stop the spread of the virus. 35% prefer to implement social distancing and avoid the lockdown. 25% prefer to isolate the elderly and let the rest of the population develop the herd immunity.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. The govt designs good schemes that cater to different groups of people.
2. Is means-testing a good approach to award subsidies from the govt?

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Give feedback to the govt to simplify their schemes

Many govt schemes are very complicated. The citizens are confused.  Some of the confusing schemes affect millions of people - such as CPF, HDB, Medishield Life and CPF Life. The confused people have to approach other people for advice and guidance. I am often approached to give answers to many questions.   Some of the questions are about the details of the scheme. Some are about the rationale of the scheme. I try to answer some - if I know the answer. At other times, I ask them to refer to the relevant agency, e.g. CPF, HDB, etc. I often get a reply - they did approach the agency but the staff is not able to give a clear answer, or the answer is inconsistent. So, they approached me. This has been going on over the years, maybe more than one or two decades. As residents affected by these confusing schemes, we should not allow the matter to continue. We should bring them to the attention of the ministers and the members of parliament. They should be aware about the problem faced daily by millions of people. We need to put pressure on the leaders to make fundamental changes. They have to simplify their complicated schemes, so that the people know how to use the schemes to meet their daily needs. Do you agree?

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