Friday, July 08, 2016

Sharp increase in violence

There is a sharp increase in violence around the world. A large part is due to terrorist attacks. Individuals are also carrying out violent activities on their own.

It is a matter of time before it happens in Singapore. We have to be on our guard. We have also to be prepared for the worst. This may be inevitable.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Need to reform the legal process

I observed that a few criminal and civil cases in Singapore took a few months of hearing.
This must be extremely wasteful of resources for the prosecution, plaintiff and defendant.

Does it really need to take so long? The case may be dragged in court due to actions or failure of actions by the lawyers.

It is strange that the lawyers who caused the delay are also the parties to benefit from the process. They are able to bill their clients for the time spent. If the case drags on longer, they can send a bigger legal bill.

There is no need for the case to drag on for long. It is time for a reform of the legal process. One approach is to set a cap on the amount of legal fees for a case. If there is a cap, it is likely that the case can be settled more quickly.

The court should also play a role in refusing to allow the lawyers to keep dragging a case for such a long time. It is wasteful of the time of the judges and the court officials.

There is one more reason why the case can be resolved more quickly today, than in the past. With modern technology, it is possible for the discovery of the facts to be completed before the court hearing. The judge only need to seek clarification of the facts and can close the hearing to give their verdict.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

How to prepare your business strategy

Here is the answer to the business strategy of the chocolate manufacture, shown in this problem.

If you are Player 1, you made a profit of $77,800 during the past year. The highest profit $11,500 is made by Player 8. Both players produced and sold 357 cartons, but Player 8 made a bigger profit by charging a higher price $968 (compared to $888 charged by Player 1.

As there is good demand for the chocolate, the higher price charged by Player 8 did not affect the sales.

Lesson 1: Do not underprice your product when there is a good demand!

The price of $1,000 charged by Player 2 is too high. The sales went to Player 8,leaving an unsold stock with Player 2.

The market demand for next year is expected to be the same as this year. The cost is also expected to be the same.

A good strategy is for the players to follow the price, capacity and advertising of Player 8 because it produced the highest profit.

As the profit margin is 33%, some player may decide to reduce the price and increase the capacity. This may upset your strategy and may reduce your sale, if you price the chocolate at $968.

Lesson 2: Do not take things for granted. Be ready for a competitive and dynamic market.

Will this happen?

You will know the result, when you play the business simulation game.  The game will be ready by next week.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Overview of bus service

Here is an overview of bus service in Singapore. I suspect that the Minister for Transport is not aware of these summary data;

Number of distinct bus services: 375
Number of bus stops: 4,625
Number of bus stops/ service number combinations: 22,496
Average stop for each bus service = 22,496/375 = 60 (both directions) or 30 (each direction)
Average number of bus service for each stop = 22,496/4,625 = 4.8

Waste of educational resources

I spoke to a poly student who is studying an IT course. She does not like software development. She prefers to go for a marketing career.

TKL - Why did you take the IT course?
Student - My grade is poor. I cannot be accepted for a Marketing course. I can only enrol in IT.

How wasteful for the student and for Singapore!

Job Bank from MOM

Is the Job Bank operated by the Ministry of Manpower achieving its goal? Does it help workers to find jobs with local employers? Does it help the employers to find suitable locals for their jobs?

My experience has been disappointing. I have posted applications for software developers over the past three years.

Initially, I received applications from foreigners, even though I specified that I needed local employees.  In recent months, I did not get any response at all, not even from foreigners.

It is possible that our locals do not like software jobs. But, is the Job Bank helping the locals to find other jobs?

Business strategy - chocolate manufacturer

Are you good at running a business? Do you like to make and sell chocolates. Do you know how to analyze the strategies of your competitors? Do you know how to read the market trend and set the business strategy to increase your profit for the following year?

Improve your business skill

Are you good at running a business? Do you know how to analyze the strategies of your competitors? Do you know how to read the market trend and set the business strategy to increase your profit for the following year?

Monday, July 04, 2016

Reduce the number of bus services in Singapore

There are 375 bus services in Singapore. Most commuters only know a few services that they take regularly. They will be lost when it comes to taking any of the unfamiliar services, if they do not have a mobile app.

Why do we need so many bus services for a city of 700 sq km? After all, we have only 5 MRT lines and they seem to be able to cover most of Singapore.  There is a vast difference between 5 and 375. Somehow, the traffic planners do not know the difference!

it should be possible to have 50 bus services (i.e. 10 times of the MRT lines) to provide connections between all the towns in Singapore.

Within each town, the commuters can change to a feeder bus. The feeder bus can be a light bus, with 16 seats, that operates at frequent intervals - similar to the system in Hong Kong. As it has a small capacity, it does not have to travel a winding route to take up many passengers to fill up the bus. This will reduce the travelling time on the feeder service.

We need to organize Singapore into 8 regions. This requires 56 services to provide direct connection from one region to another. A region can comprise of a few towns that are closed to each other. For example, Tampines and Simei can be treated as one region. The services that serves this region can stop at a few stops in this region before travelling to another region.

Similarly, Woodlands and Sembawang can be treated as one region. Jurong East and Jurong West can be treated as one region.

For example, the bus service that travels from Ang Mo Kio to Jurong will stop at a few major stops in Ang Mo Kio and will also stop at a few major stops in Jurong. It will be easy for commuters to be familiar with these major services.

On reaching their transfer point, they can take a feeder service to their final destination.

By reducing the number of stops for the major bus services, and leaving the feeder service to the light buses, the traveling time can be reduced. This will lead to a better traveling experience.

Big bus is relatively empty

I took bus 162 to my office at 9.30 am. It was relatively empty for the journey. It was off peak but it still had to operate at a regular interval. Why?

Bus 162 also served as a feeder service between Ang Mo Kio and Bishan. It went on a winding route to pick up passengers from these two estates before making its way to the CBD.

This showed the disadvantage of our current system. We are using big buses to take a long winding route to pick up passengers along the way.

A better system is for the big buses to have fewer stops and to have smaller buses to serve as feeder buses. This is the system operated in Hong Kong.  They have a more sensible and practical approach.

Gave up smoking after a heart attack

My Malaysian friend was a heavy smoker and had been smoking for many years. I met him on a few occasions at a client's office. When I needed to discuss a matter with him, he is often not available. I learned that he had went outside to have a smoke.

Recently, he could not attend the regular meeting. His boss attended on his behalf. His boss told me that my friend had a heart attack recently and had several heart bypass operations. He had to recuperate for a month at least.

My friend had an "open heart" surgery. This required the ribs covering his heart to be sawed off for the operation to be carried out. After that, the ribs had to be screwed back.

It seemed like a very painful procedure. I had suffered a few fractured ribs from a fall, so I could realize how painful it would have been.

My friend had since recovered and is back at work. He has given up smoking entirely.

Time required to set up a business

A new stall operated at Midview City Canteen. It was operated by two young persons and offered chicken cutlet for $6.50., Their business was poor. I tried to help them by patronizing the stall with a few colleagues a few times.

Sadly, they did not make it. A sign appeared at the stall last week, "Sorry, we are closed". It does take a few months for a business to be established. But they probably could not last that long.

There were a few other stalls selling meals at around the same price - the Muslim stall and the Indian stall. Their prices are also higher than the other stalls that offer $3.50 and $4 meals. They could survive, because they had been operating for a few years.

Opt for smaller flats, like Hong Kong

Dear Mr. Tan
You have mentioned a few times in your blog about the wastefulness that is found in Singapore. I like to add my views.

Both Hong Kong and Singapore have the highest property prices in the world. In Hong Kong, the people live in small apartments. But in Singapore, they want to live in big apartments. Can the Singaporeans really afford to pay the high prices for big apartments? Should they be like Hong Kong people who accept smaller spaces?

Singaporeans were used to cheap HDB flats. That make them want to own bigger flats.

Although the prices are now so much more expensive, they think that property is a good investment. They do not mind paying the high price, because they can get back their investment and a profit when they sell the flats in the future.

The equation will change when the property prices stop rising. The owners will then realize that property is not an investment, but it is a cost of living. Should they continue to pay the high mortgages as a cost of living?

The day of reckoning will come. Our property prices have reached its peak. It cannot go up further. At best, it can remain stable. In the worst case, it could collapse.

When Singaporeans realize that the high property prices is a cost of living, they will look at their financial commitments differently. They will then opt for smaller flats. This is the case in Hong Kong.

Get ready for the next collective sale

Hi Tan Kim Lian,
My name is .... and me and my husband are owners of #.... in Thomson View Condominium.
We live in the US in New Jersey.
We just found out by accident that there is a proposal for collective sale for our condominium and are surprised that we have not been contacted.
We would appreciate it if you could get in touch with us directly and let us know the details of the proposal.

Dear .....

You can register here.

Right now, I am collecting the particulars of those who are interested. It has been a slow process. I do not have the contacts of the owners who are living outside of the condominium.

Vote against the establishment

The decision by British voters to lead the European Union during the referendum was a vote against the establishment and the elites in power.

The voting results in Australia refelct a similar outcome - a vote against the etablishment.

In the November general election in America, we can also expect a similar results - a president Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton represents "the establishment". She will suffer a similar backlash.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

SCMP: Singapore has a poor investment record

Taiwan comes in pretty much at what you might expect, a net primary income surplus running at 3.3 per cent of GDP. But in Singapore the figures are negative. Singapore shows a consistent primary income deficit running at 4.4 per cent of GDP.
There are two reasons it has happened. The first is that Taiwanese investors own Taiwan’s industrial base but Singapore’s is predominantly owned by foreigners. These people have done very well. “Thank you, Singapore,” they say and then they take the money they made in Singapore back home.
The second reason is that the Singapore government itself has a poor investment record with the consistently big fiscal surpluses it generates.
But it all comes down to one big reason. Singapore used to be an entrepreneurial place. It is now a nation of bureaucrats. The foolish thing about this is that bureaucrats easily fool themselves that they are good at business. And here is the wisdom: Wake up and smell the coffee, fellows.

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