Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pirate3D for me?

I vaguely recall reading about Pirate3D, which is one of our local creations sometime back. I came across it again this evening on NYT with a YouTube insert

I wish them every success. Give us another Sim Wong Hoo.

Nobody knows if they will make it big. They are just another player among thousands reminiscent of the early days of car makers and nearer our time the craze. Too many to count will fail.

I wouldn't buy a 3D printer for the purposes they are suggesting, and my guess is that eventually people will put it to use in ways practically none of these creators and entrepreneurs imagine. What would I want a 3D printer for? Firstly, I would like it to print myself a mouse. I have thrown away or rejected so many of them, I think I need a custom one. However this is not going to work unless I can also buy some working parts to put into a printed mouse. I would also like a pairs of shoes made to fit me perfectly. Nice to have but not a must, may be include a new case for my phone or even my very own spectacle frames. You see, I don't want to print any of those things in the video screenshot above. I want to produce somethings to use quickly and well. Then for the printer to make sense, it must be used fairly often or else I would opt for a 3D printing service to create bespoke products for myself, family and friends.

I hope they would also not try to imitate Steve Jobs making presentations. They give me the goose bumps. It's distracting. Better to find your own style, or shall I say print it your way!

Our Cameras

Let me see, I think we have seven cameras at home. We used to own only one in the days of film loading cameras. The ones in service now curiously are all black in color and naturally the newer ones.

We would probably retire the Powershot SX150 and mostly use the Lumix (bought on Monday) and the Powershot S110. As for the other four cameras, I think overall our smart phones make more sense for picture taking.

I have always toyed with the idea of owning a DSLR and later a mirrorless camera. I think I will just keep toying. From what I can tell, most people buy these higher end cameras and give their gadget a bad reputation.

We are no cruise ship

I agree completely with the PM on this one. We are no cruise ship. I am not sure we are Sampan 2.0. There are other possible metaphors but they are all small crafts. Perhaps we have an outboard motor too. The lack of a consensus metaphor is perhaps why we have so much discussion and arguments too.

When I read Koh Buck Song article on Monday, I was just aghast. I kept looking for the crew especially the waiters and cleaners. Yes, I was thinking of people in the lowly paid jobs that are not even getting a living wage. To me Mr. Koh was just out of touch.

Sure glad his article made the PM's eyes popped out and came out with his rejoinder.

Update: 3:25pm

Good one from Bertha Henson at Breakfast Network

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Pope and the Boy in Yellow

I caught this from George Yeo. They remember Jesus example, they will never turn away a child. In fact the Pope is more than happy to have him. Given that I so often criticize the big issues I welcome the opportunity for balance. Daily living offer many small and beautiful things and experiences but you don't blog about the sweet mundane. They are just background or canvas.

Here is the video.

Update: Nov 1, 9:20am

Someone left this in a comment for me. Thanks! This is the official and HD version.

Update: Nov 1, 9:30am

Made our ST front page today too.

Singtel Called

Singtel is getting serious about understanding why customers leave them. As I gave up each of their service they had consistently very nicely asked and try to understand why I have given up on them. Yesterday they called again over my quitting their ADSL and not upgrading to fibre broadband with them. I told them my story of how I had lost confidence in their service. Basically I cannot afford them to tell me in the event my ONT kaput I had to wait days for replacement. In the past when their ADSL modem spoils, I could just go out and buy another. Oh, I will never forget how the tech appeared on my door with a reconditioned and poorly working ADSL modem. He was very nice and helpful but basically he told me Singtel message to me was: take it or leave it.

I have finally decided to leave it.

Good bye Singtel. Separation is never forever and we never say never. Be good and I might come back. Cheers!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Why Deepavali on November 2 and not 3?

I first discovered that Deepavali is mostly known as Diwali elsewhere when we were in Dubai. Now I learned that Diwali falls on November 3 but Deepavali here is on a Saturday, November 2. Not so good. Lots of Indians and Hindus would prefer a Sunday isn't it? Those who have to work Saturdays for half a day would too feel the same. Why did our Indian Heritage Board fix it on November 2?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Got the Lumix DMC-TZ40 Camera

Wifey helped me picked up the Lumix DMC-ZS30/TZ40 today from Harvey Norman.

The salesperson opening price was $479 but wifey produced the website pic I sent her that it is only $438.

I rejected the extended two year warranty. It is expensive at $67 and I don't have the time to use my cameras very often anyway.

This camera has wonderful specs. Far better than my Canon Powershot SX150 I bought two years ago. It also possess another significant advantage. I can charge it on the go using its proprietary USB cable tethered to any of my power banks.

Now I have to condition the battery for over 8 hours.

This would be a most welcome gadget for our upcoming holidays in Japan.

Koh Poh Koon: More than an MP

I was just complaining about Raymond Lim yesterday calling him out as a paper minister. Koh Poh Koon whom the PM feels can be more than an MP (wrong words PM because MPs are not less than Ministers) needs to be educated by experienced admin officers that what he had proposed here is good only for programming a computer game. Real life is not like that.

Just a simple thought experiment. We all move to Finland and the Finnish relocate here. What do you think would happen to education? This is a deep issue and our smart people are treating it too superficially.

Smart guys need between one to three world class smart guys to lead them. That's what we are missing. Government by committee History have told us is ultimately an oxymoron.

Update: 11:20am

Kishore Mahbubani was one of our top diplomats. He was also a ranked intellectual but alas he is just one of our very smart but not smart enough guys. For him to perform, he needed to be guided by even smarter bosses as when he was representing us. Now as his own man running the LKY school of public policy he has turned into an impractical idealist.

He asked his wife if they should not get out of the USD totally but forgot where do you go then? He didn't notice that Gold wasn't moving up. People remember 2011. It was a somewhat similar script. The US is not defaulting but Congress need to know just in case they didn't that we notice or care that not paying their debts is not an option.

Kishore is very smart but you are only useful if you carry and think of yourself less smart they you are and what others think of you. That in the end is the truer reason why Americans do not read your three books.

He complained of American insularity, oblivious to how the world's opinion of the USA is changing and that they need to know but conveniently ignore that here in small and open Singapore, we never succeeded at getting most people beyond bread and butter issues. America today have a far greater challenge at putting food on the table and wondering if they are not evicted from their homes.

Go help the poor and if you can't pray for them often. You will find that when you help them in their mysterious ways they give you even more than they received from you. You will be more practical and useful. You wouldn't have written this article because you will also feel more acutely for the Americans on food stamps.

It is bad to be poor. It is no good to be rich. It is best to be poor on the way to becoming rich. Let's do that again but cleverly. Help the poor generously. Our KPIs will start to look stupid as you surprise yourself with the many unexpected blessings coming.

Update: 11:50am

Alvin Lim CEO of Bizlink Centre. It's the Meaning.

Update: October 30

Here is something for Kishore Mahubani who believes that the Americans only read their own. See Pastor Joseph Prince, e.g.,

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The 'funnest' paper today

I can't remember when was the last time it was so fun to read the papers. Yesterday had many aggravating articles but today is completely different.

I like the way John Lui writes. It is difficult to write well in short sentences and he is very good at that. He is also always fun to read, especially today.

Quoting the man last paragraph today.

Great dumb ideas are tough little beasts. You can spray them with proof, you can blast them with statistics, but they will not die. People protect, feed and care for them. A great dumb idea is a thing of beauty.

A very heartening read from the stories of principals, and there are so many of them who had a made a big difference in the schools they once headed.

Makes me wonder why the Education Minister didn't use such stories when he was trying so hard to sell every school is a good school.

Of course my experience is understandably different since one of my children regularly fall through the cracks. However it will not detract me from the benefits they have created for many others.

I was flabbergasted when I saw their age difference but I kept an open mind and read on. This wasn't a real marriage as we would understand it. Marriage here was a mean to and end. The love affair is with paleontology.

Most aggravating articles yesterday. What a contrast.

Not just drive you crazy, makes you mad too. I make it a point not to use cabs except to go to and from the airport. LTA is doing a big F grade job here.

Christopher Tan is a first class correspondent on the transport beat. I bet he understand our transport system far better than anyone in LTA. Why don't they enlist his help instead of giving him ample opportunities to intelligently point out their shortcomings instead. Some silly ego thingy here?

Raymond Lim was the worst transport minister ever. So much of our problems with the system today was created during his watch. The problems Mah Bow Tan brought us with housing are far easier to solve and he got so much more brickbats compared to Raymond Lim. Well life is unfair.

The ex-minister was talking stupid isn't it? This guy is a paper only minister. Two-party system forging consensus? Get real! I would have thought he would have easily failed the LKY test. How did he get into Cabinet? To err is human but this was a really costly error.

No consensus. Real life is constructive engagement with honor and by the rules and frequently aggressive negotiations. Up front, in your face and refrain from Wayang Kulit. Then what about consensus? Look up the Constitution.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A pic for keeps

I like this pic I took with my S3 this morning so much, I didn't want it to be lost among my growing collection of photos.

Walking back to the car park at the Botanic Gardens around 7:15am

Chan Chun Sing: No to adultery site

I cannot agree more with the minister to keep this evil site out of here. I would have opposed homosexuality vigorously in another time and place long ago and far away, but that chance and in no small part is the failure of the Church had passed. Churches by and large have forgotten the message and impetus of grace. They don't even know where and how to begin.

I don't know if decades from now adultery might be accepted like homosexuality is increasingly but now we must spare no efforts to oppose it. Actually, I am not optimistic. Already marital infidelity is rampant but not in the public space. It is likely to become more public over time as the stigma fades and then we would gradually accommodate and then accept it. There is the superior way of grace but the churches by and large have no blinking idea what it is. My hunch is God will forget about the churches and as usual has his own ways to bring us back from the brink of destroying ourselves. At that time marital fidelity will be cool again as people missed getting married, staying married and bringing up children in strong families. It will come but not through our efforts. This is grace from above and very different from the post card Christian families who are more for show than substance. They look good but often you don't find them attractive. They can be good because they have navigated themselves into safe zones often with wealth and power, i.e., they are not inclusive and cannot stand the test of real life and its many trials. Sure they are boring as hell too and their bored children will end up making very different choices from their parents. That is where their Christian witness often end. No wonder many pastors have problem raising their kids in the 'fear of the Lord'.

Many of these kids would be promiscuous and adulterous....but some of them would come back to God but not in the manner of their parents - in truth. Many grand children and this is so many years later, would discover Grace but they will produce children, grand children or great grand children like their own grand parents or great grand parents. The cycle starts all over again. On and on this will go on till Kingdom comes. Nobody has the right or power to bring the world to and end except the one who made the world.

Update: 1:10pm

Why didn't I make it clear in my main post? Obviously Ashley Madison have judged that they will be profitable here, i.e., they are meeting latent demand. I did write earlier that marital infidelity is rampant. This society is one step away from indulging in extramarital sex publicly, that's all.

Friday, October 25, 2013

China uses Borg ways to get their way

Read this at the motor workshop and the bus this morning in the NYT magazine: A game of shark and minnow. I just checked it out on my PC and the experience is incomparable. Who says the PC has no future. There are so many things you can only do on a PC. Users will eventually have to replace their worn out machines.

The article ends most perceptively about the Chinese. They are the only guys who deploy such strategies. They are no different from their ancestors.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Singtel Bukit Panjang Unthinkable Fire

I have been watching and taking my time to make up my mind about the unthinkable fire at Singtel's Bukit Panjang exchange. Such incidents should never happen unless the building is bombed, but we all know the fire started from inside and lasted 10 times longer than the remotest possibility that a fire should even start. Talk of redundancy are from the majority of people who don't understand such matters because most of us are not trained as engineers.

The ignorance of the public will make it easier for the IDA to explain this without looking too bad. They now have an achievable task to do a cover up which is not a cover up - You will not have a truly independent inquiry. Already the police are out of this. It is alright if a small number of observers can see through and understand what is going on. They are too few to matter and most important they do not have a platform to shout from and explain to the people. Do engineers even know how to tell it accurately and simply for people to understand?

ST is as usual caught between a rock and a hard place when a government related entity screwed up. Irene Tham has the above short report on the front page to satisfy the one who gives them the newspaper printing licence and a more thoughtful, long-winded read to make the paper look better hidden in the inside pages.

Looks like our Temasek linked companies are being run like BP infamous for headline industrial accidents that should never have happened. Our leaders have been making the same mistakes of trusting the markets the same way Alan Greenspan had with Wall Street. You are likely to ape those you admire and Greenspan was hugely admired, perhaps also worshiped by some of the power elite.

We must always ask ourselves how we are using market forces. The market should be a servant and not the master. We tell the market to do its magic to optimize the outcomes we want. We never let the market tell us where we should go. It always take you to where you ultimately don't want to go and give you more trouble than is worth.

SIA botched website was an early and persistent warning that something is deeply wrong with how this place is run. Now there are too many bad examples to count ranging across practically all industries. Why can't we run this place more like Changi Airport than SIA or SMRT etc., Too expensive? Then learn to do it cheaper. The Americans are doing exactly that and now you will see them increasingly bringing home manufacturing they exported earlier.

Update: 11:20am

I just returned to my desk and found this good article by Breakfast Network on this issue. Those poor reporters must have been hopelessly confused by the IDA but what could they do in their stories? Call IDA confused and stupid or in less blunt terms preferred by Bertha Henson: mightily obtuse. Even she needed an adverb to go with obtuse.

The plot is simple because this is the time tested way to cover up without a cover up. The first step in the gambit is to confuse the public. There are too few engineers who know to matter. The issue is very simple: why was there a fire which is supposed to be really rare to the point of nothing (5 sigma event?) and why didn't the fire suppression system kick in? Did the company take a "boh anen suay" attitude like BP had with Deep Water Horizon and their refineries? Ditto SMRT too. Cutting costs and taking risks they don't  understand.

We are being taken all over the place for nothing but this is really all important for a cover up which is not a cover up. Watch IDA and Singtel complexify, confuse and divert the issue until it is at a safe distance.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chan Chun Sing: No to Poverty Line

I find Chan Chun Sing's reasons for not agreeing to a poverty line facetious. If he were minister in MTI there will be many hard indicators across many activities and deliverables.

Setting a poverty line only serves to add and not subtract from what we are doing to help the poor. On the other hand other ministries probably have far too many indicators, KPIs etc., euphemisms for 'Poverty Line' as an indicator.

They famously repeated as convenient what you can't measure, you can't manage. Guess they don't want to manage poverty. It would be callous but sometime one wonders if the government would not privately wish the poor would die off quickly and cheaply because dedicating resources to them is like wasting money since there is no hard returns. I think their attitude is like the American Republican Party. If you are poor it is because you are lazy and may be stupid as well. If we have too many of them then the average IQ and competitiveness of our society goes down. Familiar LKY's logic but only he has the candor to tell it to our face and the unfortunate stubborn as mule attitude when the science lacks the conviction of the physical laws. We paid heavily for his prejudice.

We will continue to help the poor in our own ways but we must also always keep up the pressure on the government on such matters. Inclusiveness is a convenient and political slogan. If ever we stopped watching they will also stop including the weakest and poorest among us. That is why social media is so useful.

It is not true helping the poor has no returns. It is about being and staying human and giving ourselves a future. Its value cannot be quantified but is more quantifiable than the returns from the Youth Olympics and the F1. This government has its values in the wrong place. They are all invested in economics and engineering but impoverished in anthropology and I haven't even begin to talk about spirituality and investing in our souls. LKY thinks we don't have one. When you die, that is the end. I don't now what LHL thinks. Anybody cares to ask him?

Update: October 24, 3:00pm

Why the intangibles of taking the poor seriously far exceeds the Youth Olympics and F1.

A blessing of serendipity I come across this on my Facebook page. See full article at the Huffpost.

We can have our version of Danish society provided we first respect and enable our poor and weak. Just use your common sense. Can the Danish achieved their type of society by pretending not to notice the poor?

Huge continental size nations could not model themselves after Denmark but small states like us could. We cannot be their clone but they point the way to hope and give us faith that it can be done. We need to be mindful what is in our culture and politics that is preventing this. Remember our moral tank to keep going as before is nearly empty.

Final Starhub bill

Just paid off my final Starhub bill. Although we are advised to never say never, I really don't think I will ever go back to Starhub TV ever. At least not in this form and with their lousy programming.

The world of TV viewing has changed irrevocably just as nobody uses a CRT TV any more. In fact, I should be wondering why it hasn't come sooner.

Singtel is wasting their time and money chasing down the defunct TV model. But what would do you expect from organizations run by committees watching the stock price and balancing political considerations. This is the present scourge across so many GLCs.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Gintai could be you or me....

Gintai could be anyone of us. In fact more than a few readers without his name recognition had lived his ignominy before. Many more will tomorrow. I had seen it happened to ex colleagues across companies I had worked, so had wifey and my friends. Welcome to Singapore.

Policy makers look at each of us as digits. They make the tragic mistake to ignore that even as we stay rational, we ultimately connect to issues through human interest stories. Gintai's plight is one such powerful story because lots of us can see ourselves in him.

Public transport, telcoms, healthcare, utilities so many things here are privatized. Their priority is to make as much short term profits as possible serving monopolistically public goods with a brutally commercial agenda especially if the entity is listed. If you are a politician allowing this to happen you must be damn stupid. The senior management of these companies will pocket the huge pay and bonuses often exceeding ministers' salaries but given enough time when service and delivery falls through cutting corners and insufficient investment, the people will kick the government over this.

Although Gintai would not publish the reasons for his termination, he did not keep it to himself either. Eventually the stories will worm its way far enough for more than a few people to surface them publicly. Good luck SMRT because those stories would missed the mark and make you out to be far worse. You had an unrealized asset in Gintai but in your silly fears and poverty of imagination never knew how to leverage it.

Update: October 24, 5:00pm

Indeed reading this report on Gintai sacking, I still think it is reasonable guess that the company was out to get him. Still read like victims in other work places. In the past nobody cares too much as we could usually find another job and sometimes even better one, but this is  no longer true.

The point is if Gintai gets the sack, so should quite a few other train drivers. Why was he chosen for this ignominy? Often it reduces to if you get along with the boss or  bosses and if they like you. Seen it too many times.

Expensive Economist Download

I thought the display was behaving too vigorously when I downloaded this while waiting for the service adviser to show up - damn car problem.

I was right. This had cost me 50Mb of data just to download one issue of the Economist. I had assumed that the app give me the option to choose the article to bring down. Should make it a point to use WiFi next time. It was available there for free.

First Blue Nile Purchase

FedEx delivered wifey's first purchase from Blue Nile yesterday. Except with Amazon, I have always stuck to buying low priced stuff from the Web. Wifey told me Blue Nile offers great value, better than anything you can get locally. Now I am interested to verify the claim, which before I never bothered.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Education: The burden of being Chinese

I read this very good piece by Laurence Lien on Saturday but I think his ideas were impractical. He failed to go deeper and ask the question of what make us.

The next day Li Xueying wrote an excellent piece on the HK experience of doing away with a national exams until the 12th year. The HK government had hoped that it will ameliorate the stress students had been enduring. It didn't work and the tuition industry grew from strength to strength.

This book had piqued my interest because it was among the top ten books at Popular. Through character sketches it explains how over more than two hundred years the Chinese struggled to cast off the burden of their culture that was preventing them from entering the modern age.

The point is we can rearrange the pieces of furniture in the education room but if the culture is not changed and this goes way beyond changing mindsets everything we do will not reduce school pressure. Education ministers can only offer palliatives at best but the focus remain on keeping education useful and relevant. It must provide people the means to participate in the economy, a point Laurence Lien seemed to have ignored.

Second thoughts on science research careers

This is to remind the kids that careers in science research today is very different from the many exciting and romantic stories they read about from the books they took from the library.

Today lots of people are researchers for the wrong reasons and there are just far too many of them. It boggles the mind that so many cannot even handle simple statistical analysis of their experimental results. Nassim Taleb is always gets into an apoplectic rage on this.

Science is now about prizes and career advancement. It is wonderful to love exploring and discovering but the bread and butter realities of this business will probably not permit that. Furthermore there are now more scientists than positions for them, something like 6:1 ratio.

If you want to explore, go to the undiscovered country. They are everywhere but often invisible. You can only see them with imagination.

I was told by more than a few friends that there are many unhappy scientists at our A*Star labs.

Chao Ang Moh Cyclist

I am changing my mind and blogging about this cyclist. Seems he will always have issues with motorists. He must now be infamous among his neighbors and colleagues or perhaps these two incidents only serve to confirm what they already knew about him.

The second incident as reported by TNP.

A high quality video of the first incident, much better than my cheapo could grab. I will be on the lookout for him whenever I am in the neighborhood!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

JP Morgan: O$P$ $13 billion

Jamie Dimon was one of those bank chiefs Obama famously said his administration is what separated these bankers from the pitch fork. Now on the block, JP Morgan is on the hook for $13 billion. I think this is only the base number but already more than twice what BP had to cough up for their historic oil spill in the Gulf.

JP Morgan is teaching us the limits to a bank size. More important shareholders realize that it is near impossible to find competent people to run a bank so huge and complex. Furthermore a behemoth like this become a juggernaut and bullies itself to huge profits. Besides being too big to fail, it is also too hard to find a competent CEO. I think this is the only reason why Jamie Dimon's job is safe. His bank as he seems to run it as such will have to be broken up systematically or the market will do it for you chaotically.

The days of the big banks are over. LKY and LHL were both wrong about the future of banks. I seethed at how LHL used us at great cost to our savings to execute his financial industry promotion plans. Think the toxic products which were sold to our 'sophisticated' investors. Fortunately we were never big enough and especially failed to attract the ablest but the least ethical into our banks. There were never enough responsible bankers to make a difference. Those who tried ended up resigning or just gave up steering themselves to safe corners. Welcome to the close of an evil age.

Update: October 21, 10:10am

BofA is the next bank on the block. Slowly but inexorably one by one they would be hauled up. I wonder when some top bankers will go to jail. This is a difficult one but might yet happen eh?

Update: October 23, 9:35am

SG: We increasingly need Plan B

It used to be you do not need Plan B here for things like these. Not any more, we are becoming more and more like any other city. We are becoming less exceptional but slowly and like a frog in slowly warming water we run the risk of getting killed unaware.

I am somewhat paranoid about this ONT box failing. From experience I know these devices usually fail from prolonged exposure to heat. I had run through a few ADSL modems and wireless routers over the years. I could not rely on Singtel, which made me wait for days for replacement and even had the cheek once to tell me they have no stock and persuaded me to accept obsolete reconditioned equipment. I ended up buying my own equipment and if they fail I just go out and buy a new one. Problem solved within a couple of hours but you can't buy off the shelf a usable ONT and we would be at the mercy of the performance of the telco. Best to sit the ONT on a fan.

The schools have Plan B for the O and A levels exams in case the MRT fails. I make notes of all the flood prone areas. The banks ATMs cannot be assumed to always work; the telcos  probably now have to budget for hefty fines given each their dismal track record....meanwhile many cities (I read in ST today in Taipei) have rental bicycles but we are still shouting at each other how vehicular traffic, bicycles and pedestrians could share the roads. We make it a point to invest ahead of demand expanding Changi Airport but not in many things else. Perhaps the government think we are spoilt and want to teach us a lesson. If so they are absolutely stupid and completely missed the lesson which side of the bread is buttered on.

Update: 10:10pm

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Govt begging for lower standards

This post will never exist if I had to hunt down various sources to make it happen, but this is all coming together in a day's paper - not a good sign.

GCT is fond of dichotomies. There are only two possibilities in his imagination. We are to choose if Singapore would be a global city or just a regional centre. There are huge trade-offs between them. No, we cannot have our cake and eat it. Even if we would do our part it cannot be done because the government has no idea how.

For some years now I have found it difficult to pick up a best selling economics, politics or business strategy book and locate Singapore or Lee Kuan Yew in the index. I am not surprised at all there was nary a mention of Singapore at APEC. What do you expect when we are only very good but not great. I am tired of hearing that we meet international standards for this and that but at the same time endeavor to be exceptional. Again a dichotomy but this time the choice had been made to be up to international standards but not exceeding.

Anyway the experts pontificating at APEC especially Ruchir Sharma from Morgan Stanley are likely to be wrong. Never check these things with a fund manager or economist.

This one is syndicated from the NYT. If you choose to be a global city then the London today is Singapore's tomorrow. Britons are leaving London because it is just simply too expensive. We are also living down that now and the Johnny come lately government had been trying to build public housing in a hurry; improve public transport as fast as they could etc., but guess what, the cost of living goes far beyond housing and public transport. Britons can leave for other cities but Singaporeans have no where to go.

This government don't know how to be exceptional or great and is begging us to choose a path they can deliver on. Both scenarios are bad and the happy middle path does not exist in a winner takes it all world. I just hope the Zeigeist shift away from here or we might not survive.

Update: October 21, 10:50am

Took this from the Forum pages in ST today. Singapore is too expensive and will get even more so.

Scott Adam's Secret of Success

Just read and shared this from the WSJ with my kids and also to a few friends for their kids.

I looked around for other stories promoting Scott Adams upcoming book but still found the one by WSJ to the best.

I am thinking of getting this for my children when it becomes available in a few days time. See Amazon Kindle.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Three Kipling's Bags

There was a sale on for Kipling's at Takashimaya. Wifey bought three of these for about $300. I was told this is a good deal but this is not something I have a passable understanding of.

I think wifey would have to continue to sell them to the girls to use them or nothing would happen. There is too much inertia as they are happy with what they are using now.

Retiring my ADSL+ modem

ADSL service from Singtel ceased two days ago. Just curious, I turned on my modem and indeed the obligatory four LEDs never lighted up. Tonight I packed this away. It has served as well but not Singtel. The service was always going down.

Wonderful slim power bank

Received this 5200 mAh power bank I ordered from eBay recently from Skit Solutions. It is so thin making it very convenient to slip into my pocket. If I need to I can carry this together with my S3.

Dinesh Raman tomorrow

Andrew Loh had a thought provoking article on the death in prison of Dinesh Raman at Yahoo today. I didn't think I would be blogging about this issue but as I am able, I had tried to read the articles Breakfast Network had produced on this one.

This post is to be kept for future use. The same reason why I had earlier blogged about Cherian George denied tenure at NTU. Dinesh inexplicable death inside our prisons hadn't caused public outcry like we saw with the Population White Paper. The government would not bother to respond but it would not always be like this. Things could be different in future. If you have skeletons in the cupboard they will pour out someday. If they were never there, well some people can go and wait forever. We must bide our time.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

PM on having more and more graduates

The political realist knows that you cannot hope to succeed at persuading graduates in a situation where there are too many of them that many will not have the jobs they aimed for. Therefore might as well not let them enroll and graduate from universities. This is the more practical way to ensure that they would not have unrealistic expectations and the PM doesn't want to tell you so. Opening a can of worms, too difficult to manage.

Now if you can be brutally rational then it is a huge plus to be able to bring the training you had received to obtain a degree to jobs and opportunities not otherwise regarded as graduate positions. That's is how you get innovative. The fertile places are the ones where before it attracted less well trained people to do and they could not brig their imagination and inventiveness to the tasks. Jobs that have always been accepted graduates, they are less likely to offer opportunities for doing it differently and better than those who had been ignored. To achieve greatness, consider starting small and humble.

I hope we have more political idealists with the courage to let as many people who are able go to universities and are able to persuade them to innovate in the humble spaces erstwhile ignored as ripe places for new opportunities. In this way you will create many paths to success better than what the PM is suggesting.

The trouble with this place is that once you have one or two well worn ways to success everyone fight tooth and nail to get in. We will never achieve the diversity we need and we will not be resilient as a result.

People must be given hope that there are unproven paths of success if you have the faith and determination. We can increase their chances of success with sensible college education, not just popular options, educating everyone to his or her limits rather than limiting enrollment based on forecast number of graduate positions.

Parenthood Journeys by our Govt

I saw that this was copyrighted by the government of Singapore. There were two clips, one each for mom and dad.

This one for mommy is more popular.

This one for dad

I don't know how many young people would be persuaded but my experience was of my father often telling me how difficult life would be for the next generation and my mother showing no interest for any grand kid. Well in my simplistic way I thought the community of families would be more influential and successful to persuade us to have kids. If they had been more supportive it would really help. And I think one of the most important influence toward having kids perversely could be your company and immediate boss. My boss refused to grant me leave for my first child was born and so I just walked out of the office. How many people just thinking about work pressures and demands are already exhausted with the thought of having children much less really having them? Chan Chun Sing was right to say stop adding the sums and just go ahead - We finally did just that, but I am sure many, far too many do nothing. Therefore as the demand of the workplace grows and more people are on call 24/7, the TFR of 1.24 looks set to go lower and the number of pet dogs and cats to go up.

At the end of the day you must choose what you want. Only a few can have the cake and eat it and this is due more to fortuity than ability. Some of them are so irresponsible to preach that is not true since like investment management and trading, people love to attribute their success as their talent and hard work rather than simple luck. Only the wishful buy that and there are far too many of them since nearly everyone think themselves better than they really are.

Historically the most powerful reason to have children are economic ones. We must also not forget that for much of mankind's history many children must be born because easily half or more of them will die before reaching adulthood. If human nature hasn't changed then love is a weak reason for too many people to be persuaded to have children. We are the first generation facing a declining birthrate. Understandably we haven't understood this developing tragedy well enough when in the first place we hate to see ourselves in such selfish economic terms, i.e, we are in denial.

William and Kate have a baby prince as soon as they got married. This is unusual in modern British society but their duty is not love first but producing the next king. My point is love is the last reason for having children even if rightly it is the only reason if families are not to fail at the numerous trials of life.

US Govt reopens, Debt ceiling postponed

America is rising and declining at the same time. She continues to break new paths, show extraordinary energy and innovativeness. At the same time the government is clearly dysfunctional to the point of global embarrassment. However if you want a system which ensure there is not tyranny of the majority in a democracy, this is it. A minority with very strong beliefs can use the system instead of going onto the streets to press their point in the strongest possible way.

America will be open for business tomorrow. There is also need to worry about default risk until early next year. The can has been kicked down the road once more and this will not be the last time. It is a matter of time we all get used to them until we shouldn't. Let's hope that day never comes, not in this form anyway.

They must do something about their ballooning debt. That's not an option.