Thursday, April 24, 2014

Roach egg case :-(

Found this today :-( This is a roach fighting setback. At least I destroyed this egg case.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

4G Plans: Money or Votes?

The government has got to decide which one: money or votes? You can't have both. For too long they have had their cake and eat it until trust between them and the people are damaged. They privatized these businesses with monopoly pricing power earning rich dividends for Temasek Holdings. Altogether these companies as rentiers significantly raise the cost of living here. It is nothing but additional taxes without calling them as such.

The government have finally wisely decided that they prefer votes to money. Today they carried a big stick and gently persuaded the telcos to behave better. To most of us, all three of them have negative brand value.

Next step, let's see if IDA is shrewd enough to successfully introduce competition and honest pricing into the consumer telco market. Of course unless these fat and complacent companies increase productivity and especially innovate, they will bring less dividends to the government via Temasek Holdings. The problem with them is that their senior managers are too comfortable but those down the line are badly led, over worked and demoralized. You have got to light a fire under their cushy chairs.

At the end of the day what is the use of collecting so much money if it means the support for the PAP is eroded away. You will end up handing power to a non-PAP government which never earned it. You are the stupidest political party to do that. That's is giving back to the PAP the sort of vibes we used to get from LKY.

Commodity Smartphones

Caught this on the paper version of  Digital Life early this morning. Xiaomi and Redmi arrived first, now this. Rumors had it that Amazon will be launching a smart phone too. Now the blind and deaf also cannot missed this: smartphones are now commodities. Meanwhile Apple has failed to find a blazing successor to the ageing iPhone and Samsung doesn't have a leader to follow. When it tried to lead, it did a bad job with Gear.

Basically the industry has to wait for innovative and curious new technologies to design the next generation of nobody is imagining product. There will be another Steve Jobs by another name just as you might see Steve as a version of Henry Ford or Akio Morita. I suppose he or she (why not) isn't with Apple, Sony and certainly not Ford. But I think that person is likely to be American.

Small things and Big things

The car ahead of me wouldn't wait for them and I guess many would not wait for the second pedestrian. She appreciated it and waved to me to say thanks :-) I don't usually get this. These days many see it as their right or entitlement especially the teenagers.

I always like to begin the day this way. It is the small things that count and the challenge is to persuade more people to get involved. William Wan is at his best encouraging little acts of kindness but often got it very wrong when he tried to tackle the big issues. At the level of the individual it is the relationships and trust between us than bind us. Scale it up to the size of the nation state, only self interest matter. Little wonder I have found far too many provocations from the bigger issues to criticize. Foreigners do not understand. They have left the worse back home for the better here. On the other hand, we are accepting the worse from the better before. It is still very good but the trend is bad, i.e., tomorrow will not be better unless we reverse the trends.

Policy making here had been relatively easy in the past because unlike most places, we were willing to make sacrifices for the long term good. That is now broken and the government is trying to recapture that because in the end that is our decisive advantage against everyone else. Unfortunately the ST instead of helping is making things harder and worse not just for the PAP government but all of us too. Increasingly they are running the paper only for the bottom line. They are not burning fat but eating their muscles. The future is not bright for them.

Nevertheless I like today. It has started very well.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

ST incredible response to Tan Chuan Jin

On April 21st, the ST news editor wrote this to Tan Chuan Jin. To me it was a self incriminating letter. If you are that august newspaper, THE newspaper then this is unforgivably sloppy work.

"Could we have phrased our sentences better...." Look, you are not in school, so why didn't you do better? Close reading? You didn't write a text book, why should readers be burdened with close reading? Why so defensive? ST should have apologized for their poor work and strive to do better.

As I have complained on and off in this blog, the standards at ST has fallen but now I think it keeps falling. Where and when will it hit bottom?

The game has changed. If they are not up to the task, as nature abhors a vacuum, it will in time be filled as long as readers are discerning and demanding high standards.

For my reference, TCJ Facebook post which elicited ST response.

Update: 4:30 pm

Read the Cheerleading association response.

Sloppy work is now the habit of the Straits Times. It is getting easier and easier all the time to discover people complaining that the facts in the ST is wrong or they have been misrepresented.

My guess for this ongoing rot in the paper is they are struggling to be a financial out performer (I had seen this coming and sold all my SPH shares). Staff salaries is one of their major expense and they could not hire and pay enough people to keep up standards. They are squeezing blood out of stones with journalists and editors taking short cuts. Not long ago after the A levels results came out, I told my daughter her schoolmate made a mistake to accept the SPH journalism scholarship.

Workplace happiness survey launched

Remind me not to trust the results of this survey when it is completed and published. They have totally no regard for taking an unbiased sample. This is a gimmick as anyone an just log in and participate. A cheap marketing ploy by the Align Group and SHRI complete disregard to its credibility and brand.

On the other hand everyone is doing these sort of useless projects these days. You lose out and die when people forget about you. In this sense you have no choice. Therefore readers and consumers simply have to learn to be more discerning and eventually call the bluff. It would be a long wait.

Everyone is so short term these days but they also claim to be long term focused because that is what the public want to hear. This government not excepted. We are going to pay a heavy price down the road.

The B777 isn't here. Where?

For a while I have been nursing the dark thought that this was a plot to bring down the Malaysian government. I always hope I was wrong and the search team have found the black box by now. We have watched many episodes of Natgeo Air Crash Investigations to know that you must find debris from the plane even as you are near the black box. So it is no surprise that they finally admit they could very well be searching in the wrong place. Where is the right place then? Who knows? In other words we may never locate the whereabouts of the Boeing 777.

I needed more 'evidence' for my conspiracy idea. MH 192 burst tire provided that.

Truly when no sensible hypotheses could be suggested for MH 370 disappearance, can you help not speculating. We must not take any of these wild theories too seriously but the ability to speculate is also how investigators might continue to investigate. How to begin if you simply say you do not know?

Time to consider who, what and why might be trying to bring down the Malaysian government.