Friday, June 26, 2020

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Is it difficult to submit transactions with govt websites?
2. Are badly designed govt websites costly to the nation?
3. Your reaction to the news that Goh CT is retiring from politics.
4. Why does Khaw BW decide to retire from politics?

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WOTC - National security law in Hong Kong

Wisdom of the Crowd: 24% of the respondents said that the people will accept the national security law that is passed by China. The other 76% expect unhappiness, protest and violence over this new law.

WOTC - Increase in US employment in May

Wisdom of the Crowd: 95 of the respondents are skeptical of the increase in employment in America in May 2020.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Is it difficult to submit transactions with govt websites?
2. Are badly designed govt websites costly to the nation?

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Difficulty faced by public over a simple transaction

Dear Ms Huang

I share with you my recent experience in applying for a Letter of Consent to employ a Dependent Pass holder. 
Up to now, I am still unable to download the approval for the LOC.

Please read the several posts that I made giving my experience. 

Feedback 1

Feedback 2

Feedback 3

Feedback 4

Feedback 5

Up to today, I am still unable to retrieve the approval for the LOC.

I experienced similar problems with the MOM website many years ago. 
Subsequently, I did not make any application to MOM.
The problem that I encountered many years ago continued until today.

 I must state that I faced similar problems with the website of ACRA, SAF and IRAS.

The problem is caused by the "standard design" of the website - which is inconsiderate of the public.
It is made worse by the website being buggy and non-responsive quite often.

I hope that Smart Nation really look into this matter. The loss of productivity to the business sector over
the years must be horrendous.

I invite you again to call me at (number). I am happy to relate my experience and to cry in frustration of 
a public service that does not listen, and do not care. It applies to the ministers as well.

Bad design of govt agencies websites

The websites of many govt agencies are badly designed. They include MOM, ICA, IRAS and ACRA. It is troublesome to login to the website. After that, it is troublesome to search for the form that is required to be completed. The search is done through layers of links. These agencies provide a detailed FAQ on how to navigate the website. Reading the FAQ could take maybe half or one hour, and the public will still be confused. Searching for the outcome of a transaction can also be a hassle. The public has to provide NRIC/FIN or sometimes an application number that is not readily available. Why can't the website allow search by partial name? Even downloading a PDF reply can be a big hassle due to the need to use a specific outdated browser. In past years, the govt agency provides a well manned hotline to guide the public through a tedious and complicated process. This hotline is no longer available. To reach a person for help, it may take half an hour on the hotline. I suspect that the hotline has been overwhelmed by the large number of inquiries from the public. The underlying problem is the bad design of the websites. This problem has persisted over many years. I raised this feedback on several occasions with several agencies over a period of ten years. Nothing was done. The problem persisted till today. The bad websites must have resulted in a horrendous cost to the country in the time that the public and business has to spend on submitting transactions with the govt agencies.  It is not difficult to design a website that is easy to use and does not take so much trouble for the public. There are millions of websites that achieve this standard.  It is shocking that the websites of our govt agencies continue to be so painful to use. I will be happy to elaborate more on my terrible experience over the past years and to suggest areas for improvement.

Quora: Is the United States’ disastrous trade war with China the reason we don’t have Covid-19 test kits by the millions like most other countries seem to have?

Ridzwan Abdul Rahman replied
The shortage of test kits in the US has nothing to do with the trade war. In fact, despite the trade war and despite the US not helping China when China was fighting the virus, Jack Ma of Alibaba, China, has donated 500,000 test kits to the US.
The reason for the shortage is Trump’s insistence that US should develop its own test kit. CDC did develop the test kits but the first batch turned out to be faulty. Then, further production was delayed by a shortage of some reagents that need to be imported from Europe.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Another ridiculous website of a govt agency

I sent this email to ICA.

I logged into MyICA using SingPass to ask about how to collect my passport.
I gave my NRIC as requested.
I was asked to give the APPLICATION NUMBER.
Hello, how can I remember my application number?
Surely, the NRIC is sufficient?
How many passports can I person apply?
Your process is ridiculous.
Please be considerate to the public.

WOTC - Trust in the government in Singapore

Wisdom of the Crowd: 33% of the respondents said that there is a high trust in the government in Singapore. 67% disagree.

WOTC - Ministerial task force handled the corona crisis poorly

Wisdom of the Crowd: 83% of the respondents said that the ministerial task force has handled the corona crisis poorly. 17% said they handled it well.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. If you get a new flat, are you willing to engage a surveyor to check on defects?
2. Is the Safe Entry exercise useful?
3. Are you worried about corona infection due to the general election
4. Will Lee Hsien Yang make a big impact in the general election

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Make Safe Entry more efficient

The ministerial task force require all businesses to implement Safe Entry protocols.

These include workplaces with a small number of workers and retail outlets.

It involves a large use of manpower. In some cases, the existing workers can take time off to do the Safe Entry recording, but it still takes their time and involve some cost. 

Large retail outlets and supermarkets have to employ several part time workers to manage the queues, take temperatures and record the Safe Entry.

The public has to record Safe Entry several times in the course of the day. 

I suspect that the data can hardly be used. If this is the case, we are spending several tens of million dollars each month in manpower cost that do not produce any useful result.

If, indeed, the data collected is useful, we should at least streamline the work to reduce the cost to businesses and inconvenience to the public and still get data that are useful.

It is better for the Safe Entry recording to be coordinated centrally. The central body should decide on the locations that need the Safe Entry to be captured and arrange with the workplace or business outlet to do the work.

It may be feasible to replace some of the manual work by self service stations for the Safe Entry to be recorded by scanning the identification card.

This will reduce duplication of effort. The central body can monitor the cost and benefits of the entire effort. It should replace the current arrangement where a large part of the cost, which is incurred by the businesses, is not recognized.

I hope the ministerial task force will consider this suggestion.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Large increase in premium for Incomeshield Rider Plus

Dear Mr Tan
Please see attached table of premium rates from NTUC Income for its IncomeShield Rider Plus 2017, 2018, 2019.
I would like to draw your attention to the age group from 51-55.
The premium in 2017 was $608. In 2018,this went up to $956 (57% increase). For 2019,the premium increased to $1587(66%).
How is this justified?
I am reaching out to you on this matter to raise awareness to the public on the big increments that a normal working class citizen like me have been bearing quietly.
The insurance plan is not portable, unlike the telcos.
Would really appreciate if this email finds your attention.
The Rider Plus covers the co-payment under the IncomeShield integrated plan.
The premium is indeed very costly and has been increasing sharply in recent years.
It can be more costly that the integrated plan itself.
I have advised consumers to avoid buying the Rider Plus as the premium is high and the coverage is modest. It is better for you to pay the co-payment (which can come out of your Medisave account), rather than buy insurance to cover it.
The amount of co-payment in most cases should be quite affordable. There is no need to buy insurance to cover it.
NTUC Income must have seen large increase in claims under the Plus Rider cover in recent years. They have to increase the premium to match the claims.
As you have not made a claim, you are paying for the other policyholders who are hospitalized. The hospitals probably charge high fees and this has to be borne by every insured person.
Actually, the insurance plan is portable. You can downgrade to Medisheld Life regardless of your health condition.
If you wish to transfer to another private plan, you have to meet their underwriting requirements.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Is the Safe Entry measures giving good results?

I read a news report today about the covid cases, possibly quoting from a news release from the ministry of health. It mentioned the places where the infected patients had visited and asked members of the public who had visited these places to be alert about the possibility of being infected.  However, it assured the public not to worry, as it does not necessary mean that they had been infected. It further advised the public to see the doctor if they have some of the symptoms of covid, such as experience difficulty in breathing or fever.  I was quite confused about the message that the news report was trying to convey.  If there was no need for the public to panic, why mention the places that the infected patients had visited? If a patient had some of the symptoms mentioned, surely they would have visited the doctor, regardless of whether they had visited the infected places? The news report also mentioned that the close contacts, possibly identified by the Safe Entry records in the database, will be approached by the contact tracing ambassadors. But it did not mention how many people were identified from the database or the outcome of past tracing of these close contacts. I suspect that the Safe Entry recording is probably not producing useful data, in spite of the large cost of implementing this measure. It probably involve several thousand of ambassadors who man the stations to record the Safe Entry data. I estimate the cost of these ambassadors to be several tens of million dollars a month. Apart from the manpower cost, it is also adding  lot of inconvenience to the public who visits shops, malls and workplaces. I hope that the ministry of health will publish the results of the contact tracing efforts to justify the cost of carrying out the Safe Entry measures.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Herd immunity at work?

The evidence seems to suggest that herd immunity can work. See this post.

Stop the nonsensical instructions

Our insane ministers have been giving nonsensical instructions, such as  a) 2 people can visit their parent's home, but not more than 2 b) must wear a mask when you are out, but no need to wear mask for jogging or brisk walking Why are these nonsensical? What make them so smart that the risk of infection is high when more than 2 people gather? I have been walking 90 minutes a day in the hot sun. There are nobody around. Should I be required to wear a mask?  According to the nonsensical instructions, I have to wear a mask. They employ enforcers who go around to enforce the nonsensical instructions. Their followers go around social media declaring that people should exercise "social discipline" to follow the nonsensical instructions. What are more sensible decisions? In some countries, they give more sensible instructions: a)  Public gathering of more than 50 people are disallowed b)  Wear a mask when you are in a crowded place where many people are around. Do you think that our task force ministers and their followers are insane?

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Irrational thinking

Someone expressed a view that covid-19 is dangerous because his friend has a family member who died from the disease.  This is irrational thinking. My father died from pneumonia. My mother died from cancer. Pneumonia and cancer are also dangerous diseases. We do not need to over-react to these diseases just because a family member died from it.

We are still at risk

Why are there so many people (don't want to call them idiots) who applaud the government for giving financial relief to help people to tide over the circuit breaker. After wasting $95 billion, we did not change the situation. We are still at risk of infection after the circuit breaker is relaxed.

$90 billion was wasted

Why are there so many people (don't want to tall them idiots) who applaud the government for giving financial relief to help people to tide over the circuit breaker.

How come they cannot see that it was unwise to call the circuit breaker in the first place, causing $25 billion to be spent unnecessary. It was insane to extend the circuit breaker and waste another $40 billion. The final wastefulness was another $30 billion to relax the circuit breaker in three phases.

All of these money (total of $95 billion) need not be spent if the circuit breaker was not called in the first place.

How come these people (I will not call them idiots) cannot see that there was no need for the insane ministers to panic and call the circuit breaker.

If there was no circuit breaker, we do not need to take out so many billions to "give financial help".

The money can be better spent by suspending GST for 8 years or giving every person above age 70 a monthly pension of $800 for their lifetime.

What happens if the insane ministers did not call the circuit breaker? I agree that there was the risk of spreading the infection at that time.  But the same risk exist today, when we relax the circuit breaker. We are no better off.

The $90 billion that was spent (actually wasted) did not change the situation.

Don't worry about the spread of infection. More people will be infected but few, actually very few, will die. How do I know?

Hello, open your eyes and see what has happened during the past three months. How many people died after 30,000 over were infected?

Don't tell me that the foreign workers are young and healthy. Many are not. They are obese and diabetic. But they did not die.

Some people want to argue with me. I ask them to use their brains and look at the facts. They should not argue with nonsensical logic or spout out the rubbish propaganda they were fed with.

Tan Kin Lian


Work from home

The pandemic has caused a change in the working life. During the lockdown (or circuit breaker), people have learned to work from home. Schools have implemented home based learning. The new mode of work and study will continue after the crisis is over, but on a reduced scale. Maybe half of the activities can be conducted from home. Perhaps the workers can work from home for two or three days a week.

WOTC - Preference to work from home

Wisdom of the Crowd: 56% of the respondents like to work from home 50% or more of the time. 44% like to work mostly in the office.

WOTC - Productivity when working from home

Wisdom of the Crowd: 66% of the respondents said that the productivity will be lower when people work from home. 34% think it will be higher.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. How will voters react to the PAP's handling of the corona crisis?
2. Will life get back to normal after the circuit breaker?

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