Sunday, August 12, 2018

Our Zero Sum Games

Zero sum games getting more common here because we have ran out of space. 

How do you manage this when there is no escape from winners and losers? You got to have a society of give and take. One which is always asserting their own rights, calling it human rights even will create tension and discord. Right now there is no so much give and take but whoever has money wins, followed by the majority wins provided they make a lot of noise which is also capable of pushing back those with money. The majority do not often raise a hue and cry but they will eventually when they learn from experience. Then what would we become? Some might say this is not going to happen. Well that is thinking of those who is also in the same breadth saying, "I will be out of office" 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Selecting leaders: Good is the Enemy of the Great

To me there are two minor stories on top of the main story focusing on Bitcoin (Finally someone is making sense of this thing when Jaime Dimon and Warren Buffett could not).

I am interested in the main character Jeff Sprecher ability to spot talent. Something which our leaders and system refused to admit (afraid to be honest about) they can't do without using very high pay as a screen. Jack Sim the maverick could have been a younger Philip Yeo but the post LKY generation would never be able to deploy his talent inside government. As for pay, he is willing to work for free, and he is doing exactly that now for global sanitation.

So we run a system where we pretend to have great people by hiring good ones. People cannot know what are the great leaders when the jobs are taken by good ones except to compare them against the better ones before. Indeed Good is the Enemy of the Great!

Read the Fortune Magazine story.

Pay: Right Policies+Bad Politics...

EW Barker's daughter pointed out how out of touch Goh Chok Tong and his club have become. I have a slightly different take on this. I do not assume the daughter could speak for her father unless he had left behind writings for her and siblings. Were Eddie Barker a young and rising lawyer now, he might adopt the attitude of let others serve. But he was a product of a different time. There may be no Singapore if men like him to do offer themselves. GCT had referred to a repeat of that if this place ever face an existential crisis again.

I think we have good policies and bad politics. That is a combination which eventually produce bad policies, and we are at that point now. The baseline for a competent and effective politician, and we are not even talking political leaders which is what the PM thinks his team is, is to be able to connect successfully with the people. When you are out of touch with voters in politics that is the beginning of the end for you. If you are able to stick around for a long time, that is because the dustbin is sealed shut. Then the place really begins to stink.

Right policies + Bad politics = Bad policies. It is only a matter of time.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Two National Pledges

On Singapore's 53rd independence day, I received these and shared them with others.

Update: 1:25 pm

I added this during discussions with friends across various chats.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Ministers Pay: The solution is also the problem

Goh Chok Tong thoughts on this matter is still stuck in the 90s. If high pay were a beautiful solution voters would have gladly accepted if after decades of this experiment. In fact the opposite is true.

Now we have a problem that clearly cannot be solved by money. The example of Edwin Tong suffering a pay cut from $2 million to $500K was just convenient because he is a senior counsel. Almost all the ministers cannot get what the government pay them if they leave their jobs today. They are fond of picking lawyers and doctors as their examples. What about the generals? What about retired permanent secretaries?

When these leaders by and large cannot get the pay government pay them if they leave the service, their big pay package is indeed a problem. Just ask their wives. And when they serve it is not a sacrifice for most of them unless they were former lawyers doctors and bankers or CEOs of the largest companies. This only read like some and not the majority of them especially former army officers.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Girls discriminated against for the GEP etc,

At least the Japanese know what happened. Medical school adjusted the test scores of women applicants lower so that way more men than women got admitted. We on the other hand are as clueless as ever when even at the level of primary schools, there are way more boys than girls in the GEP. For years I used to tease them. I asked which of you smart kids were actually girls dressed up as boys? Unless of course you believe as 9 year to 12 year olds God has made boys much brighter than girls. I think MOE discriminate against girls in the GEP selection test. At least the Japanese know why. We are still clueless. 

Should we be surprised that girls are paying a pink tax?

Friday, August 3, 2018

The First Trillion Dollar Company

Briefly woke up to learn two things.

1. My order for Facebook still not filled.

2. Apple is now a trillion dollar company, i.e., its market cap is bigger than Indonesia GDP, a member of the G20

We are now in the territory of what is good for Apple is good for the US stock market.