Sunday, August 31, 2014

Death Valley Moving Rocks

I just joined more than a million folks over the last couple of days wanting to understand how those rocks moved. The mystery has finally been solved.

In another life of course not in Singapore, I imagined myself to be a scientist trying to understand and explain how this world and the universe work. That would have been the trajectory of my life from upper primary school if I were American. But as I grew older I felt the pressure to be more practical minded. I kept the thinking skills but apply them to business problems instead. Perhaps we will create the conditions for the children not yet born to follow their curiosity. I am simply not born at the right time and place. This is true even for my children especially when I get to hear how research at A*Star is managed. It's alright, our responsibility and joy is to serve our purpose and then return to our maker.

Friday, August 29, 2014

ACSI, SMRT, the Silent Majority and the Elites

First there was the predictable elite bashing and then a few disagreeing and explaining ACSI had not only done nothing wrong but was even smart to choose the MRT over buses.

This morning this topic was discussed on FM 93.8. All except one were in agreement with ACSI and SMRT. I thought this was the occasional voice of the SILENT MAJORITY in Singapore.

The silent majority isn't always silent. To me I think they only are because they are mostly busy people with the usual life's priorities to attend to. So busy till they are silent. Count me among them. I don't even care to try to write clearly for those who drop by this blog because there is no time. However you can draw out their voice like the elite bashers just had.

I am not sure if the government think about such matters because it is imperative for them to hear through to the silence of the silent majority. For starters they could try to understand what causes the silence to become vocal. In this instance it was the irrational and petty elite bashing. We aren't naive enough to believe a society without its elites.

A healthy society must have its elites. The healthiest societies have an informal elite class. Let's keep our elites and encourage them to be informal. You know they are informal when they are usually invisible except the moments when they have to lead. If we get it right our elites would be less ostentatious. Some of our old wealth families had it and when the newly rich arrived we lost it. There are many ways to begin. One possibility is for fewer luxury marques irritating us with their noise as they speed along our roads ignoring speed limits and red traffic lights.

So if you have it, don't flaunt it. The time has past when people admire or envy you. The time has come when people begin to disdain and even hate you. What for? And if you think you can relocate to another city, that new home is likely to offer you a worse reception than here. This is a global phenomenon.

Lovely Mid Autumn Lights @ Chinatown

If I didn't get this quick and dirty shot, it would be the fourth year I failed to make a trip here to enjoy the Mid Autumn Festival lights.

This evening on the way back, I purposely took a detour into Chinatown. I was lucky the lights turned red and I was the first car. I hurriedly took many shots.

This year's lights are unusually pretty with its flower theme. Should I make the time to pop by again, walk the streets and get better shots? But I can always go and download some good ones at Flickr etc.,

Second Notebook for the daughter

I had planned to get her two Notebook PCs. One work horse at home and a highly portable one to carry to campus. Her old machine is subjecting her to a slow torture test breaking down a little at a time. I decided it is about time to replace it especially when we can get good deals at COMEX. So we bought her a V5 i5 PC for $999 which comes with second year extended warranty. At Challenger I would have to pay $1099 and another $159 for two years extended warranty.

Here are the two Notebooks. The Acer Switch 10 on top of the Acer V5. 15.6 inch vs 10.1 inch.

The machine below is going out. It had served her well for almost 5 years. I am surprised it lasted so long.

The Switch 10 is at least as fast as this old trusty fellow and the V5 is at least twice as fast.

What? A levels exam timetable

I have forgotten about this A levels exam calendar the daughter pinned to the glass door behind her desk. Just as well it gave me to the opportunity to have a pic of it. This was one terribly demanding exams and she was just glad it was over and even happier a few months later when she got her results.

This is the sort of photos and I have collected many which means little to most people but special to her and us. The older the more more valuable.

A card from Fremont

She has surprised us with a lovely card once more. All the way from Fremont California. She must be more than 90 years old now.

The next time we visit San Francisco we ought to drive over to her convent and pay her a visit! Yes, when we are able to bring the family to Yosemite. I would like to see my former teacher living in San Francisco again too.

Toys from Comex 2014

No time to make it to Comex so I asked wifey to help me buy these stuff yesterday.

We now have far too many USB charging points and the Charger Doc would be useful. I already discover that the Tab S charger is ill advised for the other gadgets we have. ($10)

The Wifi Disk is quite wonderful. This was my idea for wifey so that she can access all her hard discs with her tablets and phone now. ($40)

The micro SD is for my Tab S. Strontium made a design mistake. Unlike other brands it is almost impossible to extract their card from the provided reader. We had to use tools to pull it out. ($50.90)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

ISIS pervert Islam, Kong Hee perverts Christianity

We can tell a tree by its fruits.

We have got from ISIS hatred, murder, theft etc. and the latest is sexual lust. Every evil thing they do they have to clothe it in religious legitimacy. They are children of the Devil who had dressed him up as God in order to be holy, their perversion of holiness that is.

Very unfortunate for our Muslim friends that ISIS misappropriated and abused Islam. They should be in the forefront confronting this threat. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Iran the larger neighbors should march on ISIS and save the innocent Muslims ISIS is killing. Yes, ISIS has been killing more Muslims than any other people

Sadly these Muslim states have lost their moral authority and also do not possess the means to decisively deal with ISIS. In the first place their religious fecklessness created a vacuum filled now by ISIS perversion of Islam. Saudi Arabia the birthplace of Wahhabism was most culpable. Leaders of these Middle Eastern Muslim states ought to all hang their heads in shame especially Iraq erstwhile PM Maliki. Your peoples and us deserve better.

The Americans, Europeans, Russian and Chinese should jointly act against ISIS even as every nation hunt down their sleeper cells within its borders.

Unlike Al Qaeda, ISIS is unrestrained. We can expect more perversions from them to the point it becomes so evil even many evil people cannot bear with it and will refuse to join them. My fear is that this end point is too far away to be meaningful but yes left to their own devices, they have been immorally built into them to self destruct were civilized people fail to act. Nazism and Hitler would have faced its own destructive end too on their own. Fortunately our forebears didn't wait for this to happen and instead took up arms and defeat them.

Closer home Kong Hee is facing judgement in our courts where his perversion of Christianity is daily on public display. For those who still keep faith with him, you can test what he is made of by the fruits he bore. This is not a good tree as it had been bearing counterfeit fruits. Bite into his fruits and see for yourself if it is sweet or bitter. But we can't help you if you are in self denial and insist on calling bitterness sweet. Those who claimed Kong Hee's ministry had been a blessing to them are non specific and unsubstantive about those blessings. To me they are living a lie because they fear the truth and passing off the fake for the real they could hide from the truth. In any society there are people who just want you to tell them lies, sweet loving lies. The first lie we tell ourselves is many of us thought more highly of ourselves than we ought to. Fortunately many do not venture farther than that but that is the germinating point for trouble.

ISIS version of Islam and Kong Hee's brand of Christianity if you care to do the work and understand were simply different branches to the main trunk of evil. Well one takes your life the other your money. True religion is about giving and false religion is about taking.

Update: 2:25pm

Those who perverts religion always start innocently. Often it takes a long time for the founder and purveyors to show their true colors. This happened when the leader is satisfied that he has emotionally captured a large enough following. Like in the CHC case, outsiders can see the misdeeds and distorted doctrine easily even without the benefit of knowing the right doctrine but the lost flock could not. In ISIS case this is really tragic as like the duped have become practically zombies. Often you are forced to destroy than rehabilitate them.

I wrote earlier that true religion is about giving and its impostor is about taking. However they all lure you in by giving but adherents might prefer to call it blessings. Once you are in their net, the giving turn to taking. In this sense it is pretty much like most scams promising big reward but you must first make a small investment. The end story is you are not getting a big reward but suffering a huge loss. It is heart breaking to see the brain washed ask the organization what more can we give. Some misled Muslim women are making their way across the world to ISIS to offer their bodies as sex toys to the jihadists. This is so devastating that I am sure some will kill themselves over this if and when they discover the truth.

It is just convenient for me that Singapore Daily today listed a Facebook post: City Harvest - Why I am no longer here, which is pertinent to the observation I have made about false religion repeatedly. Not an example I like but sufficiently explanatory.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Underdogs in the civil service

This is happening fourth quarter this year. It is happening across many parts of the civil service. I was watching CNA earlier that it has already arrived at IRAS.

Keep doing is and don't give up. Eventually the allure of getting into a top school will weaken. I am not sure how much the attractiveness of those schools would wane as people are often suckers for status.

This is the minister who decided we will  not give national publicity to our top academic scorers but to overcomers. I had supported him wholeheartedly on that. Never mind if I was quite unhappy with his recent speech at HCI gala dinner in RWS.

We all love underdog stories and always will.

It is too difficult even foolhardy to take away the prized trophies of getting into a top school or bagging a prestigious scholarship but we can subvert it by making other trophies and instead of a few lamps we have many lamps until everyone has a lamp they can be proud of. Again never mind if this takes infinite time. Just in a mood for some mathematical thinking.

In fact the best journeys are those that cannot end so that people may learn that the journey is the reward.

SG living under real short term pressures

For me nothing shouts as loudly the short term pressure we face to keep this place going, to have positive GDP growth every year than charts like these. I mean, you can really feel how the numbers might go down and how hard it is to grow them.

And this one is even more intimate. You can walk into any branded shops along Orchard Road look at our current sticker prices disdainfully because we are losing competitiveness.

So even as I press on and off that we really need to think and act long term, I am not unsympathetic to the short term pressure the government face and can appreciate whey the PM and his ministers often talked about balancing the various push and pull.

Nevertheless these aren't good enough excuses for not working for the long term. However this government has become so used and smug at optimizing the short term it is not willing to become sub-optimal for the  long term especially when it has lost the ability to craft a long term objective function to optimize. On the other hand the hard core supporters of Singapore are all long term thinkers because they are always factoring their children and their old age in their analysis. Unfortunately most people cannot work these hard stuff out all on their own. They can recognize a good long term plan though, not something like the population white paper of course.

Retiring my desk clock

I got this at the pasar malam near my brother's place for a few dollars. That was probably about ten years ago and if my memory serves me well it was not long after my mom passed away.

I had often used its temperature reading to decide when to turn on the aircon. Time to get a replacement or may be just a room thermometer eh? These days we have far too many devices telling us the time.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Top schools to remain closed circles

It was only the Education Minister speech to HCI 40th anniversary dinner. It was also a speech not to be taken too seriously, a wishful speech which alumni of the top schools and the government do not want badly enough to rectify. Such closed circles are cozy corners for winners. We don't know and really don't want everyone to be winners but that is not politically correct to say so in public.

So I wished Heng Swee Keat never made this speech. There are so many other topics he could use, why this one when you and the government do not have enough political will or courage to fix? This is yet another credibility losing speech, and this guy could is a potential PM. How can we not feel a little sad for the future of this place?

But this problem will be fixed when it is very late, on pain for losing elections and the solutions will be bad band aid measures. In other words, it will be like what 'good' government elsewhere would do. In future, some of them visiting us will say in private to our leaders, "I thought you had it all sewn up, what happened? Why did you ape us? For a long time we will trying to copy you without success"

What is the hard truth here? I am sorry it had to come from LKY again.

As I understand it from LKY, such closed circles are inevitable and there is nothing you can do about them. If you don't want them then don't even let them happen. We would also have to accept a materially poor society and on top of it we will also have little control over our fate as we get pushed around by others. Politics is the art of the possible.

Unfortunately people cannot think in counterfactuals and the present leaders lack the confidence and courage to even try. Yet on the other hand they foolishly sometimes publicly scold us when they never earned the respect and right to do so. That was really dumb especially coming from the PM. Only Tharman was wise enough to avoid this.

Can we stop these closed circles? Yes, but only very slowly with results achieved over decades, not unlike our bilingual policy. Sadly today's government are actually too short term to think and act by the decades horizon. Long term thinking is increasingly only our branding, it is getting less real every year as the PAP worry more and more about how to win elections.

Yet the Singaporean way to win elections is not to worry too much about them but to do what really matters for the long term. We are probably the only electorate in the world that is smart enough to understand this. If we did not, would we have supported LKY from the beginning? We would have gone Communist.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

If you love something let it go

On my own I wouldn't be led to an article like this in the Washington Post. I got to know this from NYT email: What we are reading.

This is a painful but extraordinarily beautiful love story. It is a story that reminds us to be more humble and open minded to learn what is love and how it is discovered and deepened. As I read this story, it was resonating with me why in death we part as spouses. Marriage ends but the love relationship will never.

In my late teens I learned this from a friend,

If you love something let it go.
If it comes back to you, it is yours to keep.
If it never return, it was never yours before.

The story of Leslie Hilburn and David/Deborah Fabian is also a story of found, lost and partly found. Yes, somethings are lost forever and that is what makes this so poignant.

I wish them well and God willing may what they have lost be replaced which will have to go beyond what they can offer and receive from each other to Him too. If not here, definitely in the hereafter.

If you love, you always love because it isn't the real thing otherwise. Yep, few people know what love is. Even fewer know what really went into John 3:16. Many can recite it, moved hearts with their testimonies but that is often not love.

Bluedio Bluetooth arrives

$19.90 and 9 days later this stuff I ordered for wifey arrived. Unlike most of my eBay purchases this one came via registered mail and in a good box. Pretty pleased with it.

Wifey told me the sound quality was good.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Singapore vs San Francisco etc.,

San Francisco is my favorite dirty city in America. I am amazed like Paris, London and New York their streets can be so dirty and they get away. Nobody is saying I am relocating to clean Tokyo because New York is so dirty. In Singapore our clean, tree lined streets are a major attraction to be here.

It didn't matter much to me if SF streets is clean or dirty. In a perverse way I am kinda of glad SF natives are up in arms over rising real estate prices and cost of living in general. In a relative world this gives Singapore space.

We can be spoiled and unreasonable but as long as lots of citizens in other cities are worse, we are alright. Investors and talent have to choose an available destination and not one they fancy in their imagination.

We must calibrate and pace ourselves less we get over extended and become our own greatest competitor and enemy. At that time our enemies would be most delighted to see us hang ourselves for nothing. In this sense I do not buy the paranoid of the Old Guard. That's no way to live.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

COEs: Year end bumper crop

This is from yesterday's papers.

We have been lucky many times over with getting COEs at good prices. The next time we mustn't make it as unpredictable as counting on lady luck. I think I have a couple of earlier posts which had recorded the wisdom of Chris Tan on this topic which I must definitely refer to before buying the next car.

Retiring the children's bowls

I wasn't expect such a result from filling this bowl with Indian Rojak gravy. The bowl is stained to beyond recovery. Just as well it is time to retire them. These two bowls have fed the children from when they were very young. They are practically grown up now and ought to use the same type of bowls we are using.

Our Second Galaxy Tab S

Wifey bought me the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 today. No more bronze book cover and so had to settle for the white one which is very good looking. We all know why we avoid white despite its good looks.

Will condition the battery tonight and set it up tomorrow. First app to go in: Touch Draw.

Using Mulitple Tablets Together

Many moons ago in a dream I had while asleep, I saw myself using several tablets to draw my mental maps. I thought it was an silly act so absurd I still remember. Now it is no longer silly but very useful. I need to join the various sub maps to form a sufficient microworld. It has always been difficult to create a complete microworld which is vital for managing investment risk. Without bespoke tools it often require exhausting effort and time. I had often wished I could do this in a team instead of on my own.

A work in progress map, sufficient to clarify that Larry Summers is probably nearer the bulls eye than most others about secular stagnation.

I joined two sub maps last week. Last night using two iPads and my ZenFone, I plugged in the third. Even without going further I could already tell the other ideas are peripheral to Summers' insight. 

Now I have decided to go out and buy another Tablet. It must be one with the highest resolution. I am getting the Galaxy Tab S soon. I am quite tickled by wifey regularly using three tablets at the same time. I never imagined that I would be doing the same. Imagine the additional demand for tablets if more users are like us! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

CHC and Deviant Islam

I just visited the CHC Confessions page and I am not writing about the trial of its six leaders and latest allegations by its former investment manager against Kong Hee which is scandalous enough to go viral. No, my thoughts are about the version of Deviant Islam we are confronting right now. They are visible in the Middle East and hiding here and our neighbors waiting for the chance to create maximum havoc through the death of innocents and the massive destruction of infrastructure.

I know too little about Islam to quickly understand to my satisfaction the process of twisting its teachings into a deviant self serving form.

I have also not done the study how civilized and high performing German society could be seduced by Adolf Hitler. I guess the reasons can wait because the fact of the matter is that overwhelming evidence is shouting at us how easily people can be misled especially under the right circumstances. For Islam, enough Muslims and for too long they saw their religion under threat. Armed Jihad has become their response.

Ever since ISIL emerged, and seeing how eager their fighters are for martyrdom, I have been wondering why don't we oblige them by executing in a humane way everyone we capture or just killed off in fights. They keep recruiting we keep hanging eh? These demon possessed characters cannot be exorcised and it is not right that they should be martyrs by bringing along with them innocent people. They are leaving us no choice. Throwing them in jail where Kong Hee and his ilk are likely to end up will not solve the problem.

The longer term solution demand that we rectify and correct the perception among Muslims that their religion is not under threat. And we must do this with haste because too many vulnerable and poorly grounded in Islam Muslims are being seduced away and brain washed for armed jihad. Once possessed by deviant Islam, many turned into hard nut cases, impossible to rehabilitate. The Islamic teachers have their job cut out for them to save as many of their flock as possible even as they root out the deviant teachers among them.

With deviant Christian leaders you mostly just lose money and time. We would be paying with our lives if we are not quick, firm and thorough in our campaign against Deviant Islam. The time has probably come to hit them in every way and on every front including armed engagements to destroy them on the battlefield. President Obama must not tunnel vision this issue as one peculiar to the Middle East when it is a global and existential problem.

Throwing old books again

I had to throw these away to make space for the daughter's new textbooks. When I compare them with the prices charged at Amazon, I was really glad that university textbooks here are so much cheaper. Even the Kindle versions are more expensive! It is a rip off over there.

Old Street Bak Kut Teh

Dinner with wifey at Old Street Bak Kut Teh last night in Funan Centre. It was our first visit and we were quite confused how to order. We couldn't even find the menu until I started toying with the the handles on the tables and discover iPads with which we could place our order.

Pull the drawer, flip the pages, choose the items you want and send it wirelessly to the kitchen.

As with everything, it is easy once you figure it out.

I think more and more of our F&B outlets should do this to raise productivity and reduce manpower.

What was the food? Not bad.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

NDR 2014: A shrinking Johari Window

Mothership has kindly summarized this year PM Lee's short NDR speech.

To me I see a PM that is trying really hard to do his job well and discovering after trying his best he could still do better! I give him an A+ for trying.

Others will as usual be writing detailed analyses or critiques of his speech but blogging for myself and family I prefer to record my impressions.

I see a shrinking bottom right quadrant of his Johari Window.

This is a leader who thought he cared for his people but setbacks and adverse feedback which he found very hard to understand eventually helped him realized he could and must care more. He is fortunate to have Tharman to assist him. I could see this deputy's finger prints in so many parts of this evening speech especially on education and pursuing success. I see the outline of a newer and better meritocracy or if I recall correctly, Tharman called it a continuous meritocracy.

Update: Aug 18, 10:05am

I hope he will do what he said because there will be huge obstacles in this path. Tharman was the first to come up with such ideas. If we keep at this over many years, the paper chase will become less intense and more meaningful. Our students in school will refocus and learn to think and acquire practical skills instead of looking good in exams, which is just a deplorable waste of time and resources.

By far nobody has explained that CPF is insufficient for retirement as simply and clearly as he had and in a way that would not create a backlash without weighing the merit of the argument. Two years ago my daughter tried to propose this as her team's topic for their A levels project work. She expended herculean effort to get her team mates to come along but her young and cocky tutor just won't bite. He just hated the idea of spending most of his life working with little prospect of a long and happy retirement. This bright young teacher thought with his heart and lost his brain. How are you going to fund your living if a quarter to a third of your life you are not working? If attitudes like this Gen Y teacher becomes entrenched, we are done for. 

The New myENV app

Yesterday, I removed the attractive updated myENV app on my phone and replaced it with the old one. Fortunately I had the old copy in my S3 and I could make an APK file out of it and install it on my ZenFone.

The earlier version of myENV doesn't look anywhere as good as the new one but it is far more useful to me.

Really unless you work in the basement and have no window to look out of, who cares what is the current weather? I am interested to know what might be coming in the next few hours and the rest of the day.

To me NEA had failed to understand how their app was used. However I remain open minded here. Perhaps I could still get the 3 hour and 12 hour weather forecast but somehow I just couldn't find it. If so, I would dearly have appreciated if VB had used that as his example screen shot. Show me you appreciate how users might be using this app, not just how good it looks.

Switching to cheaper mouse

I have given up on paying up for a computer mouse. The Arc Mouse bought in April last year no longer works properly.

Bought myself a cheaper mouse this afternoon for $27.50, the Logitech m235. Its battery is rated to last 12 months. I would be happy to use this only for as long before I need to replace it again.

The Real Singapore Story of a Local Paedophile

My nephew a Psychology student shared this on his Wall. This is the story of a self loathing guy who cannot resist the attraction of young girls. There are many and always hidden similarly afflicted guys like him who saw nothing wrong with their evil urges.

This is a cancer but you can't see it under any microscope. All cancers are involuntary. Some lifestyle choices can increase your risks but you could also be born with heightened risks factors e.g., BRAC mutation

Now the types of cancers invisible under a microscope is perceived by society totally differently from the sorts like paedophilia. But they are similar in the sense that they end up destroying its victims.

The common root of all forms of cancers broadly speaking is an ancient concept from the earliest of times: Sin. As the link back has become so removed and poorly understood especially separated by the chasm of rationality, the connection back to Sin is as good as lost. As Newton launched us into the Enlightenment he and those who came after also cut the bridges that connected us to the ancient wisdom.

To grasp the link back we need to travel back patiently without skipping steps how we got here. I am not going to do the very hard work of writing a long essay on this subject here but I am lucky to be able to borrow if metaphorically from what someone had done for Economics. See Economics of Good and Evil: The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street.

Those and that is most people who have no idea how we got here, and I mean folks with such vague ideas not even as clear as the refugees of Battlestar Galactica looking for mythical Earth cannot understand what has a congenital condition got to do with paedophilia or even homosexuality.

They thought if it was congenital, so you didn't have a choice in this matter, you cannot be responsible much less guilty. This justify, "I can't help myself". The former is incorrect but the latter is correct! Indeed Sin controls us.

Sin is congenital too and all humans are born sinners. Nothing we do is natural and everything we do is the result of congenital sin. We have and will always suffer from its fatal result regardless if the cause of death is biological or emotional.

Because we are all sinners we do not have the right to judge each other. To keep our societies together we establish laws, their enforcement and the courts to keep civilization going. On the one hand we try our utmost to prevent and help sufferers yet on the other hand they cannot beyond the line in the sand escape judgement and punishment.

Until a lion and a lamb sit together to eat grass when Sin is finally driven out of this world, we are confused about what is natural and unnatural when everything is in fact unnatural.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Heng Swee Keat: A 100 year old former principal

She is almost a decade older than LKY. She had served as a principal in her younger days and the school stories she has is worth telling over and over again!

"What I did was common, but I put meaning to it"

So true, completely consistent with my favorite: to do small things with great love.

When people obsess over success, to be a somebody then they start fighting each other for the very few positions. We have far too many of such types in leadership positions now. From the outside it is hard to pinpoint the specific characters but you can see it in the turf wars, the silo mentality....

One dollar ice cream

$1 for a potong durian ice cream. Most people prefer to have this with bread or wafers.

$1 for more than 20 years. Whatever happen to inflation? These sellers have utterly no confidence to up prices. I would have happily paid $1.50 or even $2 if only to show them my support. On the other hand I am quite unhappy about Swensen's prices. Even unhappier with Walls Magnums, which we don't buy any more.

Machine dispensed orange juice

A cup of juice for $3.60. You can easily find such in Dubai but far less common in our town.

I got a cup for myself just to try. Of course the quality depends on the oranges they use. Four fruits were needed to make this cup. So it is 90 cents per orange.

I think I still prefer to cut a navel one than drink the juice for Valencias

Govt respond to Tan Kong Yam

I hadn't expected the government to try to rebut Tan Kong Yam. I didn't think they were so insecure. After all Prof Tan left them so long ago. On the other hand beyond explaining his case to friends and colleagues I don't expect the good prof to do much more. We will not see a response from him in the ST.

It is always a risk to use numbers especially when they are not primary data. Clayton Christensen had a very simple and accessible way to explain how this is so at TED.

Without going into the details, the government track record here for self serving data analysis is no good. I am not going to bother. Many things unless it affect our livelihoods and pockets directly I take with a pinch of salt any explanation from the G. Basically we are trusting the government less and less. But some NGOs are often willing to press their point without let up and then the government eventually has to concede. Taken together the people's trust in government is gradually eroded.

Just bear in mind this. Behind the veil, Dr. Goh and Raja brought balance to the excess of LKY. Dr Goh thought engineering recessions was a necessary idea for our long term resilience but the vote getting politician in LKY would never agree. We read all about it during his short speech at Tanjong Pagar national day dinner. Although I don't agree a lot with Nassim Taleb, but his points on fragility is completely relevant to Singapore and one which LKY and the government simply did not understand. On the other hand the Animal Planet watching Dr. Goh learning from nature understood it only too well.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

LHL: A decade as PM

1. Why do we even need to reflect on his ten years as PM when the job is not finished? What's the usefulness of doing this except to try to move a 49% to 51%  for some to give him a pass mark or at 74% to 75% for supporters to give him an A? I don't recall GCT going through this exercise.

2. To me he was good for the country especially the financial side of things but for the average person he/she was worse off. The wealth and income divide grew into an unsconscionable gap. He cared for the rich but tolerated the poor until he realized he can't take the latter for granted because it will cost him his job.

3. I didn't bother to read anything on this subject yesterday except the very well written economic review by my ex colleague Prof Tan Kong Yam. Always appreciated his down to earth insight.

The next five to ten years is not going to be a break from the last ten. So I am sure Singapore will become more and more like an ordinary country. There will be less leadership and more populism. You cannot be special without unique thinking and character but we are quite unique in how we pay our leaders. Our greatest handicap is that we have no leader with foresight.

Remember if we look good to others it is only because we are the top boy in a class of failures.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams is gone

Heard over the radio early this morning on the way to school that Robin Williams had passed away. This is a huge loss to all of us. He was also one of my favorite actors. This is the guy you could just connect with.

His death will cause many to reexamine this dreaded disease: Depression. I bet many assume a guy like him performing in those roles he had would be the last person to be depressed. I hope people would be more open minded and understand depression better. It would really help to alleviate the suffering.

Depression can be so dark that the sufferer sometimes ended up choosing death over the unending darkness or perhaps unending death?

Monday, August 11, 2014, What for?

I thought William Wan was on the radio Talk Back program this morning. It took me a while to realize that the guest Mr. Lim was none other than founding chairman Lim Siong Guan.

I had not paid much attention to this new non-profit. Honour each other? Better drill down to something more tangible in clear verbs and nouns. Honour is just too abstract.

To me the squeeze in Singapore has increased the number of zero sum games in our society. Civil competition makes way for uncivil rivalry. In such situations you need faith to stick to your values because in your face you can see that you will in the short term lose to the unscrupulous. In the next round of competing you can see that the ones who had won by underhanded means are now at a competitive advantage vis a vis you. Do you play by the rules of honour or those of the jungle? Yes, by the old fashioned rules but only for those who live by faith. They are the minority and they do not need to buttress them. In short, this new organization can do nothing for the substance in Honour but plenty with form. Do not confuse honour with civility. The latter is what we will get.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Ebola: Right not to wait for the WHO

That's right, don't wait for the WHO. One airline trusted the ICAO that it was safe to fly over Ukrainian airspace to tragic consequences. Our plane was just lucky to avoid being targeted. People should understand and take responsibility for what they are doing. True, it isn't always possible to do so in everything. I don't understand enough about how the engine works underneath the bonnet but I didn't think the engine would explode either. On the other hand I have an idea what to do if there is an electrical fire in the car.

The problem with organizations like the WHO is that there is too much politics involved. You want to look to them for an epidemiological opinion which you can trust but that is only possible if you can hear and not quote someone in the know.

Look around us, interested parties are always trying to influence or worse capture regulatory authorities and professional bodies to further their narrow objectives. There is an invisible war going on and the masses are by and large clueless.

Lazy countries who don't want to take responsibility will wait for the WHO to rule on Ebola. If something goes wrong they could blame the WHO. That's just madness. The Malaysians have given up pinning blame on the ICAO. You can't blame another bigger than you. That's also how America got  away with big mistakes especially the financial crisis of 2008 and their reckless adventures in the Afghan and Iraqi wars.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

National Day Show 2014

I like this year NDP very much for one simple reason: they put it the work to get those from MINDS to participate. The President went out of his way to shake their hands after the show. I hope to see more of them and others with disabilities and challenges in SG50.

Their contribution to out continuing humanity is often not understood and unappreciated. We must always have special places for such as them because the converse in the extremis is a shocking place: our version of Hitler's Aryan race. The Japanese have this ailment even now and nobody but the Chinese understand this well. The rest of us don't understand the Japanese and the few that do are passing on. In particular, Lim Kim San.

ISIS: Fighting Intolerable Evil

Even in my feverish state I cannot stop thinking about the psychopath army of the Islamic State

My first unhappiness is that Muslim organizations the world over had allowed these miscreants to use the word "Islamic". That organization has nothing to do with Islam. It is totally demon possessed.

Just as China and Japan quarrel over the names of islands in the East China Sea, Muslim leaders everywhere should refuse to accept the ISIS or ISIL as the Islamic State much less the Caliphate. And they ought to keep drumming up this point until we are sick of it. This is the most powerful message they can send any potential recruits having ideas of joining these devils in Iraq.

I think we are past any peaceful solutions dealing with these jihadists except I am sorry to say exterminate them. Evil may remain dormant in our books to remind and warn us of the terrible things it can bring upon us. But when evil turn into flesh and blood there is no choice but to meet it with arms and destroy it. Dietrich Bonhoeffer understood this too and planned to assassinate Hitler.

I hope Barack Obama will grasp this and use the US military together with other world powers to put an end to the evil madness in Iraq.

Lest people forget, if Hamas were to exchange places with the ISIS, they will do the same. They and the Hizbollah are evil groups waiting for the opportunity to commit genocide. Hamas might score propaganda victories but I believe the truth about them will eventually prevail.

As I pound my keyboard in a hurry, I feel good that our F-15s just flew by outside my window. We must never let up investing in our own defense. You never know when they are needed. Had Probowo become President of Indonesia, we might have to use the SAF to talk to him. This is not a stretch of the imagination at all when you consider how idiotic he is fighting the results of the elections. That guy is delusional and a bully. With such characters you are force to give him a slap as nothing else would wake him up.

Update 9:35 pm

I have this book but not the time to get to it. Yes, the Israelis can do better, much better like I had written before. There will not be peace there until the circumstances is completely changed, i.e., Israel's enemies are completely unable to completely destroy Israel in a genocidal frenzy or Israel very existence is imperiled. In the former scenario, Israel will feel secure enough not to carry on with its excess. If the latter is the outcome, we will be checking our apocalyptic holy books again.

Three days of fever

I thought I had driven out the fever today but it has returned. This is the third day already. The last time I felt this unwell was I think in late 2006. That's a long time ago.

Perhaps I ought to have been more careful and avoided lunching out today. I felt I had beaten the fever squarely but I was quite wrong. Instead of sweating because it was hot, my system chose to raise my core temperature instead.

We tell ourselves such detail stories of our symptoms but I notice the doctor never pay much attention to them. They were taught to medical school what to ignore. Such arrogance. Just as well I didn't go and see a doctor. I don't need an MC from them.

On a more cheeky note anyone who has caught the common cold is experiencing symptoms similar to the early signs of Ebola. Good thing we are not in West Africa!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Chan Chun Sing wasting time at ESS dinner

Chan Chun Sing wasted everybody's time with his rhetoric at the ESS dinner last night. It is not true nobody knows. Always post event you can find some people who had warned of the disaster but nobody listened. This story has been written up too many times for the sub prime crisis in 2008. Why don't he just admit that he and the government do not know. Please don't be so arrogant to think they know best! You don't. And if you do not know, then please step aside and look for some people who do.

I first read about his 4 million to 10 million in this morning papers.

Four million? The PAP must be doing a most incompetent job to get us there. Four million over two hundred years, I think that is possible. But if we get there in my lifetime, it is a disaster. How on earth did you come up with a number like this? This is not even worth discussing.

Then like his more senior colleagues CSS went on to enumerate the factors and imponderables. That's a basic mistake. The right way to take a peek at the future is not from lists but from driving forces and how these influences interact with each other and the limits and obstacles each society and interest group have to overcome. That's exactly what LKY used to do especially his famous essay on the future he contributed at the turn of the century to the Economist.

Good grief, even my freshman daughter knew better in her essay for the University Scholars Program: the myth of foresight.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A peaceful National Day from Mr. Brown

For someone is is often tired, I want something quiet for National Day. I don't need the rah rah or the booms from fireworks. I have found the peaceful mood for this National Day from a surprising quarter: Mr Brown productions. Thank you!

I have not taken a single day off except when on holidays overseas.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Geopolitical consequences of MH17

Link to NYT article.

I thought it was very simple minded thinking to talk about the return of the Cold War. That image is totally inappropriate because the conditions for returning to that no longer exist other than the Russians possessing too many nukes.

But the shape of the new permafrost in relations between the Russia and the West could be taking shape from the way which the Russians are retaliating against the sanctions coming on the them. None of these would have happened if they had not accidentally shot down MH17. When that happened we lose control of the situation and it now run itself on a dangerous dynamic. It was untenable not to respond to the downing of MH17 and the Russians would not bear to lose face without retaliating on sanctions against them. I am always afraid when nations are prepared to cut the nose to spite the face. This is the sort of prideful actions that leads to war. A similar dynamic could be incubating on our side of the world between China and Japan.

This situation bears very careful watching as it has the potential to destroy every assumption on how we are investing and running our economies.

MFA on the Gaza War

I have forgotten what Hamas want for itself and Israel or perhaps it didn't want anything but the total destruction of Israel. In other words, it wants genocide. K Shan said this about Hamas, "Hamas has cynically used civilians as shields". If Hamas cannot bother to protect its own people, we cannot expect them to respect much less protect anyone or anything else. They could swap places with the ISIS and be as evil.

The world demand Israel to live up to first world standard despite living as neighbors to butcher Assad and the ISIS. A regional power as in Iran also support its destruction. I don't know how you could keep up with European or American standards of human rights in a bad neighborhood. Sure, Israel can always do better but in the fog of war? But like everybody else I can't tolerate seeing the senseless deaths of innocents especially the children.

Some Singaporeans held a protest event supporting Gazans in Hong Lim Park recently. There is public pressure for MFA to state the government position which K Shan finally gave us in Parliament yesterday. Like the Americans and others, in public Israel face opprobrium over its action in Gaza but in private we all wish the destruction of Hamas. Obama had swiftly signed off on more ammunition for Israel despite his very public spats with Netanyahu.

Hamas have mastered the art of provoking Israel. If you ask me, I thought Hamas was simply borrowing Israeli guns to shoot its own people for the sake of Hamas. To them Palestinians lives were just chips to be spent. Yet because of the children the world media attention is focused on Israel's culpability of these deaths.

There will be no peace in this part of the Middle East until the situation changes further. Israel should figure a way to obliterate Hamas so that peace with Israel becomes a meaningful proposition. Because if Israel fails, it will be a slow march to genocide for the Jews there. Hamas is patiently working the world's opinion against Israel even if national leaders in private know better and support Israel. And if that happen, the Jews will die first followed by countless Palestinians.

Palestinians should turn on Hamas. Israel isn't your enemy.

The story made front page today.