Wednesday, May 20, 2015

China's first app for Autism

Finally the Chinese are paying serious attention to Autism.

Dr Wei Liping had this experience, I quote from the article.

She recalled that at a meeting of autism intervention centers in 2012, she gave her usual one-hour research update to a “politely nodding audience” — but when she spent the last five minutes demonstrating a prototype of an app with eight icons, the crowd burst into applause.

Monday, May 18, 2015

What former Civil Service Chief missed

I was informed recently practically everything Bill Gates predicted in his 1995 book had come true. Sadly that misses the point. What was pivotal are the defining trends and features he missed. Not much use if you spotted the mice, birds, cats and dogs in the room but missed the two elephants. They were the Internet and the Smartphone especially the iPhone.

So is the same with Peter Ho's article to the ST. You can't disagree with the three big trends he had shared with us but what he and us cannot tell are the elephants in our room that we are still missing.

Always better to have a sense of ignorance and vulnerability than a sense of knowledge. I ranked his predecessor Eddie Teo ahead of him because he is a wiser man. Peter Ho on the other is a techno geek.

More Hedge Funds close shop

So much of these hedge funds performance is just dumb luck but so well dressed up as skill. If they were that good than they ought to have seen the writing on the wall and return money to investors when they were riding high, but no they thought very highly of their skills. As usual pride goes before a fall and prior to that they were converted to their own self myth. Myth and reality just met each other.

Now they are using the regulatory hurdles as the scapegoat but if you have good performance that is never going to be a big enough reason for failing to perform. That is why some lucky ones are still in the business waiting for their turn to become unlucky.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Didn't know friend passed away

How could I have missed this and for two years?

This morning I was thinking of which nice picture to use to send him birthday greetings when I decided to check his Facebook page only to learn that he had passed away!

This is the risk you run when the friendship is long distance and you do not have a common friend to know and tell you. So sad.

I have so many friends overseas who started out as partners or customers. Jim was my earliest foreign partner. He helped me write my user manual for a program (these days we call it app) in the late 80s. I wrote one of the earliest PIM (personal info manager) for Windows. That was Windows 2 and the development environment then was primitive and buggy.

Over they years I have lost quite a few foreign friends to death. Seems like I had a knack for striking up such friendships with people much older than me. But Jim and I failed to stay in touch because we started on Compuserve and then went on to different things. Had it been the internet age already we would have stayed in touch more regularly.

I lost Lloyd Jenkins first, almost a decade now. I didn't actually know when he was gone but he told me he was going to the nursing home soon as his Alzheimer's become more advanced. Then shortly after he was unreachable. It was sad to read his email as they gradually get more confused and finally quite incoherent. In the last few years Glenna passed away from kidney failure and her husband told me about that. Recently it was Anne N. which I got to know from her daughter. She had written to me of her impending surgery and told me she might not survive. The operation was a success but her body was too weak to make a recovery. Glad she was well enough for a while to say goodbyes to family.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Vincent Law couldn't cope

Well said Tommy Ong and Eddie Fernandez.

Vincent Ong took on a case that was beyond him. This experience must be quite revelatory for himself.

I sometimes tell my children you can't sit under a tree to think and discover who you are. Life will reveal your true nature. Indeed we don't know ourselves.

So what should Vincent have done? He should have ignored that miscreant and stay safe. At the very least have the self confidence to brush off and ignore that miscreant molest allegations. This whole episode feels like an analogue of a story from the Acts of the Apostles. Easier and faster for me to borrow from somewhere than write my own story right?

Acts 19:11-17New Living Translation (NLT)

11 God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles. 12 When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and evil spirits were expelled.
13 A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!”14 Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. 15 But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” 16 Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered.
17 The story of what happened spread quickly all through Ephesus, to Jews and Greeks alike. A solemn fear descended on the city, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored.

Update: May 16 4:55 pm

I had made it a point to ignore Amos Yee but this little devil has a knack of entering the places where I usually am. Damn him.

I will not be wasting my time reading his 6,000 word rant. That would be one of the stupidest use of time.

But Amos has also turned out to be surprisingly useful for revealing the true colors of some people, especially the thoughtless free speech advocates. Amos hasn't vindicate them one bit but only proved that they were quite wrong.

Now Amos is too radioactive for anyone to handle except the Law. Punishment is the only counseling he will understand. Prior to that he cannot be successfully educated.

I feel deeply sorry for his parents.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

PM Lee: Religion always a potentially sensitive issue

It was lucky for Amos Yee he didn't pick on Islam to deride in his videos. Even if the Muslims here said nothing others in the region will and knowing that our Muslims will definitely have to respond to him.

If Amos had insulted Christianity at a different moment in history like he did, he might have been executed. But Christianity is in a different phase today.

The more we succeed as a secular state the less religion is a sensitive issue because we do not allow it to run our public life. However this is neither realistic or possible in the long term. From time to time personal religious values will enter the public sphere especially for Islam and to a lesser degree Christianity.

We cannot tell in advance with any precision when religion becomes a sensitive issue. You only know when a seemingly innocuous incident leads to a wider conflagration. It might be too late for a small place like our by then. On the other hand, America is a big place. They can and in fact in the longer term benefit from spots of burning over any issue. From natural fires in their national parks, to the latest racial riots in Baltimore and so on. Because for them the country is too big to go up in flames at any one time. Their worry and they have learnt the hard way is that financially they could go up in flames but not over race, religion or acts of God in nature. So just as as the battled and raced toward passing laws to secure their financial system, should we be stupid not to do the same for racial and religious harmony here?

The PM's message fails to reach and persuade me. I had already thought through this long ago and feel that to help our people understand you have to repeat why others could take the risk and we can't. Expose their hypocritical preaching to us too and demolish the arguments of the fools telling us that the sky above us will also hold up.

The government also do not seem to appreciate the difference between forms of religion within a religion. As always some religious followers would be inclusive of outsiders and other exclusive to maintain purity. The former is tremendously good the latter is a time bomb. The former emphasize love the latter their religious laws. Such an internal dichotomy is most obvious today in Islam.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Leaders failing to bring along their own people

It is worse elsewhere but looks like Asia is also infected with the disease of failing to produce great leaders that can carry their people along with difficult but right decisions. With the passing of LKY I also think differently.

In HK your have the feckless CY Leung. At home the PAP government seems to do better but not as good as before.

Tony Abbott is an Ah Beng in Australia, Jokowi struggles not to be a puppet. Malaysia's Najib is becoming a joke. In the Philippines a worse person is likely to succeed Aquino who must leave office soon. Thailand is a mess if you want a quick description.

Today leaders are missing that spine that help them to be courageous and stand tall. People are always looking for real leaders. The question remains is if they are even there.