Sunday, 21 January 2018

Bike sharing scam

Suspicious of bike sharing? Wondering how this business can be viable or sustainable?

Follow the money.

Looking at all those bikes in the bike graveyard, at all the bikes piled high in "bike mountains" (not mountain bikes), and abandoned indiscriminately and you have to ask yourself, how is the bike sharing companies making money? (The short answer is, they are not. The answer in this video is, they made their profits by "selling" the idea of bike sharing, and taking their share of the investments pouring in. Which is probably the simplest part of the equation to understand.)

Thousands of share bikes laid to rest in the south-eastern Chinese city of Xiamen.Thousands of share bikes laid to rest in the south-eastern Chinese city of Xiamen.
Some info on their fund-raising:
Mobike... using a newly-raised $600m fund... now has a foothold in Singapore and London, and is penetrating Washington DC as its pilot city in the US.
Ofo, on the other hand, has received $700m new investment for future expansion.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

NDR 2017 - The Unbearable Lightness of Themes

[Some thoughts on 2017's NDR that I have been sitting on. ]

I still miss LKY's National Day Rallies.

Those covered matters of import.

Unlike the recent NDRs.

This year's (2017) was particularly pathetic, IMHO.
I for one, am underwhelmed by this year's NDR. So apparently mosquitoes were a big enough problem that they deserved to be featured at the NDP. And Diabetes is a big enough problem that it needed to be featured at NDR. And three years ago, MOM and the CPF board were so bad at their communication that the PM had to use the NDR to explain how CPF Life worked. Just as this year, he had so little faith in the HPB that he had to use the NDR to explain why we need a war on Diabetes. Right. What does it say about the PM's confidence in the MOH and the HPB that NDR was co-opted for their public education programme?

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Wedding wishes

Wedding wishes from a married man to his younger... let's call them "friends"... who were about to get married.
Congratulations on this monumental (emphasis on “mental”) decision and change in your life! Anyone who decides to get married must be crazy. But anyone who doesn’t must be stupid. So what would you rather be? Crazy or stupid?

(Spoiler alert: I went with crazy)

Friday, 13 October 2017

A Reserved Election for a Reserved President for Reserved Singaporeans

According to hyperbole, Singaporeans are feeling "muzzled and angry" over the outcome of the Presidential Selection.

Much like how HKers were angry about China's proposal to "pre-approve" candidates for their Chief Executive election (selection?)

And HKers protested that proposal which they saw as instituting a false democracy.

Singapore and Singaporeans? How would we respond if this happened in Singapore? Would we also take to the streets in protest?

From this opinion piece from Oct 2014:
What determines if Singaporeans will march on the streets?
I think it depends ultimately on whether there are fair rules, and whether government and people play by those rules.
If a society has fair rules to govern elections, there’s no need for people to take to the streets. The vote gives people voice and power.
If people think rules for elections are  too unfair, that’s a trigger point, because they will lose faith in the democratic process and decide that street politics is better than ballot box politics.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Walk. Over. The Conspiracy Theories.

So Chan Chun Sing was either prescient when he called her "Madam President", or he let the cat out of the bag - that PAP was going to stage manage Halimah into the Istana. (Or Walk her over to the Istana, except that she's staying put in Yishun.)

The conspiracy theory is that this election was declared a Reserved Election to shut out Tan Cheng Bock.

Let's just say that like all good conspiracy theory, there is no way to disprove that.

So I won't even try. But I'll get back to that later.

The second conspiracy theory concerns the stage management of this Presidential "(S)Election".

Maybe it was planned as far back as 2012, when Halimah took over as Speaker when Michael Palmer had to quit because of "personal indiscretions". As Speaker, Halimah automatically meets the eligibility criteria.

Then the criteria for "private sector" candidates was raised to managing a $500m company. To shut out any other candidates. Not just by raising the bar, but also raising the opportunity costs to the potential candidate:
an eligible private sector candidate would, in all likelihood, be someone running a “very successful and sizeable enterprise” and there would be personal trade-offs involved to “assume a role which essentially has very limited responsibilities”.
In other words, you run a $500m company, you have a job with challenges, you have important and strategic decisions to make, you have deals to close, and you probably have a remuneration considerably more than the $1.6m that POTROS is paid.

Why would you want to "retire"? Because that's what the Presidency is equivalent to - retirement.

Friday, 8 September 2017

What would Tan Chuan Jin do now?

I can't quite pin down how I feel about his nomination as Speaker of Parliament.

Firstly, there are ample comments about how this is a "demotion" for him. From a minister with a million dollar salary, to Speaker of Parliament with about half that salary/allowance.

From a contender as a future PM, to an also-ran, an early drop out. This was a consolation prize at best.

I feel for him because these comments could hurt.

The views of people who see him as a failure can be disheartening.

If one allows oneself to be disheartened.

Monday, 28 August 2017

CPF for those who need it (Update)

This is an update of a post from Jan 2015.

Firstly, everyone thinks they can improve the CPF scheme. I am sure you have a grand idea for improving the CPF scheme.

So take this with a grain of salt, and if you think you can improve on these ideas, feel free to suggest tweaks. Or write your own blog and post your own suggestion. You could be the next CPF Blogger!

This update considers changes to the CPF scheme and the CPF Life projections.

And this hopes to address two issues: "CPF is my money", and the original intent of CPF (to finance our retirement).