Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Government really pro small businesses?

The Singapore government has always highlighted that they are pro small businesses, helping SMEs but is that really felt on the ground? The key issue for small businesses is always about cash flow, where you may get lots of deals but unable to get any cash because of the constant changes in requirements or because of outside competition from other countries who are not affected by the manpower quota and can charge much cheaper than Singapore based countries. 

In the United States, very often quoted as a hub of innovation, has bills that allow banks to make loans to qualifying small businesses, and the agency in-charge guarantees them, allowing lower interest rates and companies with short credit histories to obtain capital.

That is something that is missing over here. Is it because we have policy makers who have no idea the issues that the SMEs really feel on the ground?

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Inflation is down by 0.3%

These are the Singapore inflation rates for 2015:
January: -0.4%
February: -0.3%
March: -0.3%
April: -0.5%
May: -0.4%
June: -0.3%

For the month of June, both Education & Food rose by 3.1% and 2% respectively year on year. Inflation has been quite stable compared to previous month but it is slowly ticking up as mentioned previously. The trend will continue, bearing any external shocks.

However, US is going to slowly raise their rates so we might be in a state where inflation is low, but interest rates are ticking up.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Result of withdrawing bus routes parallel to train routes

What does the recent breakdown of the North South Line and the East West Line tell us? It was a wrong call to withdraw bus routes that duplicate the train routes. When the line is down, there is absolutely no way that a person can get home and all the buses deployed is of no use because there are just too many people stranded at the same time. 

Don't go comparing with other countries having train breakdowns because I know for the fact that at least one of the countries, Japan, has parallel train routes and their railway is designed in such a manner that they can bypass certain stations if need to. 

Immediate need is to reinstate bus routes that run parallel to the train routes. That would also incentivized the train operators in doing preventive maintenance properly, not corrective maintenance. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Reap what you sow

For those who were quick to criticize about the Amos Yee issue, just remember one thing. It was his choice to be remanded. 

Amos Yee had previously rejected the option of probation and a term in the Reformative Training Centre as a sentence, sticking to his original plea for a jail term.

Be objective in your criticism.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Inflation is down 0.4%

These are the Singapore inflation rates for 2015:
January: -0.4%
February: -0.3%
March: -0.3%
April: -0.5%
May: -0.4%

Apologies as I was quite busy the past few months, so much that I forgot that I have not yet posted last month's inflation rates. For the month of May, both Food & Education rose by 1.8% and 3.1% respectively year on year. Transport inflation was surprisingly trending higher, even though inflation seems to be tame in many parts of the world.

As mentioned, Transport inflation has trended higher but surprisingly, housing & utilities inflation is trending lower than usual. Inflation is slowly ticking up but looking at the inflation trend, it seems that it is still on a downward trend.

Inflation is going to be negatively impacted this year. We have not yet have any months with positive inflation so far, so we might be having near 0 experience

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Inflation is down 0.3%

These are the Singapore inflation rates for 2015:
January: -0.4%
February: -0.3%
March: -0.3%

Both Education & Communication rose by 3.5% and 2.5% respectively year on year. Both Transport and Housing & Utilities inflation has trended lower, continuing the trend from last month. Surprisingly, food inflation has also went down, which may be due to the lowering of the oil price which has a knock off effect on almost everything.

Inflation has already started trending higher and the price of oil has steadily increased.This trend will most probably continue until May when the April results are out. Transport inflation and housing inflation should also start to trend upwards from there on.


Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Truth behind famous Amos?

The news that keep cropping up recently is Amos's Youtube rant online. I did not have a chance to see the video but I did see his post about his secondary school life, which to my surprise, something I can relate to.

It has been decades since I left secondary school and I'm quite surprised that the problems I faced in school last time still exists in this current day. Let me bring up 2 main points.

In school or even in the working world, there always seem to be a trend to be socially acceptable. And to be socially acceptable, it means you must blend in with a group. If you are not able to find a group with the same thinking as you, you will be ostracised, which is the best thing that can happen to you. The worst thing that can happen to you is that you'll be bullied or in this generation, cyber bullied because you do not fit in with the "norm". Although Amos does have an issue of having almost 0 EQ, this should not be an excuse for others to take advantage of.

I am surprised that till now, this kind of teaching still exist because I can relate to it personally. No matter how much rote learning is done, it would do no one any good if the foundation is not built up properly. Giving me 50 variations of a question is totally useless if I do not understand the foundation behind the question. What's the goal of going to school? The goal is to learn. How do you know that you have learned enough? There are exams. So what happens if whatever that you were taught is not good enough to pass the exams? Regardless of what issues the teachers are facing now, we need to go back to the objective of learning in school. I would like to issue a challenge to anyone, if a student can go through the entire syllabus for the year without tuition and still get an acceptable score that allows you to proceed to the next stage.

Can anyone do that now? Seeing the complaints I hear from my friends with kids, I seriously doubt so.

Do not be distracted by the style that Amos used to write his rants. Look beyond that, and look at the essence of what he said. Are you sure the essence of what he wrote has not struck a chord within you?

By the way, he writes remarkably well for a secondary school graduate.

Inflation is down 0.3%

These are the Singapore inflation rates for 2015:
January: -0.4%
February: -0.3%

Both Education & Food inflation again rose by 3.6% and 2.5% respectively year on year. Both Transport and Housing & Utilities inflation has trended lower, continuing the trend from last month.

This trend will most probably continue until May when the April results are out. Transport inflation and housing inflation should also start to trend upwards from there on.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

How does independent accountant safeguard spending of public monies?

I read with interest on the Singapore Government’s unprecedented move in seeking to appoint independent accountants to safeguard its grants to AHPETC. My question is simple. If AGO's audit is insufficient in guaranteeing that the monies are well spent, why is this move only specific to AHPETC.

What's the assurance that the other town councils are also spending the monies wisely? Has MND forgotten about the investment of the sinking funds in Lehman Brothers? Is this investment wise? Aren't those monies public funds? Why wasn't there an independent auditor appointed for that case?

Instead of appointing independent auditors to audit AHPETC again, I feel that MND  should take the chance now to have a overall framework in place to govern all the town councils to prevent misuse of grants for all, not only specific to AHPETC. I don't see the point of consistently trying to audit AHPETC and diverting their attention away from the normal work done by town councils.

With all the talk about over payment, MND should instead take over the calling of the procurement for the town council system instead of letting individual town councils call their own, especially when the town council system is owned by someone closely affiliated with a political party. You don't see Oracle using SAP software if their own software can do the same functions right?

Seriously, in the real world, no one uses a competitor's product for their core business and I don't see why this is called overpayment when the other party didn't even submit a bid.

This year is obviously an election year because the government has spent their surplus accumulated over the term. No leader will take the risk of spending all the surplus in a period of slow growth.

If the auditors are appointed, the results would most probably come out around Sep, which is right about when an election may be called soon, looking at the busy calendar in Singapore and around the world. This court order is not depoliticalising the issue. My take that this is further politicalising the issue.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ominous omen for downtown line

All along I've been wondering why on earth the authorities would even think of ending the downtown line at an LRT line, and to top if off, the most frequently broken down LRT line in Singapore as of today.

The issue with the LRT line this week is an ominous omen on what is to come when the downtown line is finally open. Just imagine. If the LRT line is down, think of the repercussions on downtown line and all the other connecting lines to it.

It will cause a massive slowdown for all the affected lines and there's nothing we can do about it because there is no additional rail to bypass affected stations. To top it off, the authorities removed most bus routes that duplicate the train routes making it even worse because there are no alternatives.

Is everyone only thinking of the positive scenarios and did not think of the negative scenarios?

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