Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Fill in excel form to register with MFA?

I've been repeatedly seeing the MFA encouraging Singaporeans in Bangkok to register with MFA. However, does MFA realized that their eregister system is not yet functional and the webpage only ask the person to fill in a complicated excel file and email to an email address? Who will bring a laptop overseas so that they can fill in the excel form? Shouldn't they provide an easier way to do it for this situation???

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Friday, August 7, 2015

Lack of creativity and collaboration

Just read a Bloomberg article that pretty sums up the major issues that Singapore faces today, most importantly, the education system which is going down the wrong direction for a long time with its obsession in theory tests, which is in reality useless in the working world. 

Below is a snippet of the Bloomberg article: 
The rapid buildup in the immigrant population, from 5 percent in 1980 to 29 percent in 2014, has spurred a fierce backlash. Rising living standards have led to plunging fertility rates and longer lifespans: Singapore is now one of the fastest-aging societies in the world. The emphasis on big multinationals and government-linked companies has held back the development of small and middle-sized enterprises. In education, standards are world-class -- except when it comes to creativity and collaboration.

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?

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.

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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.


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.

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