Saturday, 25 March 2017

The Speed of the Internet and The Promise of the PAP


I recently upgraded my internet speed from 200 Mbps to 1 Gbps. With 1G speed, subscribers are expecting a higher and faster speed than before. However, it is not the case. When I feedback to my internet service provider, surprisingly, my internet speed is normal and within the range of regular performance.   
After the upgrade, the service provider provided me an upgraded router (ASUS AC1200) but without upgrading the modem (Huawei Echolife). At first, I suspected it might be due to the modem. The provider’s technician said no and suggested I tried to test the speed with cable connection between laptops and modem. With three older or lower quality laptops, I could only manage to get 90 Mbps.
In fact, the technician told me whether you are using M1, Starhub or Singtel, my feedback wifi speed of 50 and 190 Mbps for different laptops is normal. I got even lower speed of 90 Mbps when I used cable connection. About 1 week ago, I got a new laptop. With cable connection to the modem, I finally managed to have a speed of 800 Mbps.  Here is the result:
Laptops
Year, Quality (based on purchase price)
2.4G (Mbps)
5G (Mbps)
Cable connection (Mbps)
ASUS 550C
4 year old, higher
50
Not available
90
Lenovo G50
2 year old, lower
50
Not Available
90
Lenovo ideapad
3 month old, lower
50
190
90
ASUS Zenbook
1 week old, higher
50
290
800





Internet Provider
Normal speed
50-60
180-200
800-850


The technician also explained that 2.4G can cover longer distance with lower speed, 5G shorter distance and higher speed. To test the 1G speed, you have to connect the laptop to the modem. But modem has only one port for connection either to the router or to the computer. If I want to have 800 Mbps speed, I have to sacrifice wifi service.   
When PM Lee Hsien Loong talked about ‘fastest internet accesses’, is he referring to 1Gbps or 50 Mbps? A subscription of 1 Gbps can not give you a wifi speed of 1G or 500 Mbps.

"We are completely open; we have one of the fastest internet accesses in the world; we have no great wall of the Internet. Where is the restriction?"
http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/pm-on-bbcs-hardtalk-singapores-position-will-become-tougher-if-us-china-tensions-rise


Fake or real news?
fake or real news new.png


Depending on your situation and the type of computers, without cable connection, the advertised 1 Gbps will certainly never provide a wifi service that you expect. It cannot even reach the 50% mark of 1 Gbps. Similarly, higher range iphone or Samsung smart phones can reach 200 Mbps but 50 Mbps for lower range Lenovo handphones.    
Perhaps, experts in internet service know how to reach higher speed and fully utilizes the 1G service. However, most of us are ordinary consumers with no technology or technical background, should we content with the advertised 1G service or think negatively about the service providers?
In fact, with 50 Mbps, we can do quite a lot of things, e.g. ibanking, investment in stocks market, Singpass, CPF, fine payment, air tickets booking, facebook, youtube, etc. Maybe this is what PM Lee’s reference of the ‘fastest internet accesses’? You may not need 300 Mbps or 800 Mbps to get things done.
My service provider’s technician said there is little difference for internet speed between my old router (ASUS N600) and the new router. This is especially true when the laptops and smartphones are in the lower quality and cheaper range. Sometimes, I find my old laptops can reach higher internet speed when I use the old router.
It may be not so easy to pinpoint fake or real news.
To the government, when they promise to give you a Swiss standard of living, they are referring to the top range of Singaporeans, residents of Tanglin, Bukit Timah or Sentosa. These Singaporeans can achieve a standard of living even higher than the Swiss. These are the 1G ‘fastest internet accesses’ people. While the rest of us should be content with 50, 90, 190 and some lucky ones 300 Mbps.
The PAP government, in fact, does provide ‘fastest internet accesses’ in the world. This is a real news but depending on your situation, you can also view it as a fake news. The PAP sets a 1G target but only few can achieve.


Promise or empty promise?
Another example is CPF. It is even more complicated than the speed of the internet. Minimum sum is one problem, many cannot reach the target of minimum sum when they reach 55. CPF investment in stocks or property is only for those having extra savings in Ordinary Account. There is a limit on Medisave withdrawal, you cannot any how withdraw your money. MediShield's claim is another complicated issue. ElderShield may be simple. There are also different interest rates, from 2.5% to 4%.
It is hard to understand CPF. An educated friend of mine told me he had visited CPF Board 5 times, each time with different questions. But he still has unsolved questions.
For Singaporeans who want to have Swiss standard of living, you have to look beyond CPF. If you can live without CPF savings and have other financial arrangement, you are in the best situation, enjoying the fastest internet accesses. The PAP government welcomes you as you don’t need any subsidy but pay taxes.         
To many Singaporeans, it seems to be an empty promise. But you cannot deny there are Singaporeans who really can live without CPF savings. These, of course, include our millions-dollar ministers, senior officials, and chief executive officers of government-linked companies.      
So whether it is a promise or an empty promise, all have to do with your fate, your situation. If you are using a cheap and old laptop, you must either content with 50 Mbps or upgrade your laptop. This is why the PAP government introduces SkillFuture. Singaporeans must take advantage of this scheme to upgrade. However, even after the upgrade, there is no promise you can get the Swiss standard of living.
Similarly, the government promises affordable HDB housing, affordable and comfortable transportation, every school a good school, no great wall of the internet (the BBC interview), etc. However, the actual perception can be very different depending on your situation.  For some, it is a promise achieved.  For many, they are still using old computers, old technology, even they upgrade themselves, it is still an empty promise or half full promise.       
What can the PAP government do to make you believe their 'real news? When you view youtube, you can see all those .gov.sg advertisements. The PAP is buying space in the internet with government revenue and is trying very hard to sell you the ‘real’ news - their promise just like the 1G advertisement.

govsingapore   YouTube.png  

Saturday, 18 March 2017

高等教育定型后,如何面对失业、失意的难题。


新加坡的高等教育在人民行动党政府宣布第六所政府公立大学后,基本上已经成型、定型了。未来10、20年,将会根据这个模式开展大专教育,毕业生人数会继续增加。而这个模式也遇上了新加坡经济发展面对缓慢增长,甚至负增长的困境。


新跃大学改名为新跃社科大学   联合早报.png
为什么叫新跃?为何其他以Singapore(新加坡)冠名的大学,都用新加坡,而单独只有这所大学叫新跃?


因此,为大学毕业生寻找适合的工作,适合的薪金,适合的发展机会,将是未来政府必须面对的艰难挑战。事实上,这种情形在几年前已经发生,而去年和今年的毕业生的就业情形,或者说失业情形,已经明显的反映了这一事实。
新加坡失业率6年来最高.长期无业大学毕业生增至1    新闻   星洲网 Sin Chew Daily.png


行动党政府几年前,已经意识到这个问题,当时,有好几位部长出来说明,没有必要一定要读大学,而拥有一门手艺,专业,可能更加吃香。这种情形在六所大学定型后,自然而然就会日渐严重,尤其是未来的经济局势和过去50年相比,很可能出现意想不到的结局。
在美国,欧洲,尤其是笨猪四国,这种大学毕业等于失业的情形,已经极为普遍。年轻人失业率居高不下,已经成为一个大问题。行动党政府要如何克服这个问题?尤其是如何创造高素质的工作机会给国人。同时,在处理问题上,不让国人认为,只为外国人创造就业机会,没有充分照顾国人。
尤其令人担心的是新加坡人过度依赖政府,信任政府,样样事情,行动党都可以迎刃而解,只要把选票投给行动党,就可以万事俱备,高枕无忧。这种几十年来培养出来的依赖心理,‘怕输’心理和‘怕死’心理,很可能就是新加坡未来的致命伤。当我们鼓励创业,鼓励企业精神,鼓励拼搏精神的时候,面对的挑战不正是过度依赖政府的后遗症吗?
令人好奇的是,新加坡年轻人在失业,失意,心理平衡适应不过来的时候,会做出什么反应?他们会把票投给反对党吗?他们敢不依赖行动党,独立思考,为自己的将来打算和打拼吗?他们愿意离乡背井,在没有行动党保护的环境里,和其他人竞争吗?
行动党的部长在提出大学文凭无用论时,已经意识到国人依赖政府,样样事情行动党可以安排的妥妥当当,迟早会出问题。随着经济局势的不明朗,行动党可以做的,事实上很有限。或许,它还能为小部分它的衷心支持者提供高素质,高薪的工作机会。但是。对大多数毕业生来说,却是无能为力。难怪,有一个时期,部长们鼓励人民从事小贩的工作,只要能够赚到钱,什么工作都应该做。这些话,毕业生听进去了吗?
不论小贩论还是文凭无用论,部长并没有鼓励年轻人要提升心理素质独立思考,不要依赖政府。我们想一想,如果不依赖政府,不依靠政府提供工作机会,那么为何投票给你行动党?害怕失败,怕输,怕死,所以才要依赖政府。既然依赖行动党的结果是一个‘空’字,那就何必投你行动党一票?这个票要投得‘物有所值’,这个依赖才能产生效果。如果部长把话说白了,行动党还能利用‘依赖政府’,来捞票吗?这几十年的努力,教育,思想误导,不是白费心机了吗?
这样一来,就变成有些话(文凭无用)可以讲,有些话(不要依赖)要收起来。这种选择性的说话方式,贯穿在行动党的治国理念,施政方针中。想一想,总统选举制度的变更,国家储备的多少,参加人民协会的好处,是不是如此,有些话,行动党政府大声的说,有些话却是不让你知道。

新加坡人依赖行动党政府有多严重,想一想有识之士拒绝发声,就知道连最具资格独立思考的人,都选择依赖政府,而自我封嘴看出来。

几十年的行动党思想教育,愚民调教,新加坡人选择了‘依赖政府’,而不是’制衡政府‘ 的策略思考。人家是一样的米养出百样的人,而新加坡却是一样的米,养出两种、三种人。这其实是违背生态多样化的发展模式。Image result for biodiversity in singapore
我们在环境方面要做到生态平衡,而对于人种的发展,却采取了违背生态平衡的做法。当我们在面对巨大挑战的时候,这种失衡将导致树倒猢狲散。



Saturday, 11 March 2017

Lessons from South Korea

Down of Park Geun hye and the post-chaebol era

Park Geun hye  from 1st S.Korean female president to 1st ousted leader 1   Chinadaily.com.cn.png
South Korea Removes President Park Geun hye   The New York Times.png
The removal of Park Geun hye as South Korean president is so remote and seems irrelevant to Singapore. Yes, indeed. How could we imagine such thing happening in Singapore? It is really beyond our imagination that our prime minister or president will have such an unfortunate ending.
Park’s father was a military dictator whose biggest contribution was his bold and ambitious industrial plan that had laid the foundation for today’s South Korean economy.     
The World Bank has recommended low and middle income countries to learn from South Korea. South Korea has successfully moved from a highly controlled state to a democracy. Without judicial independence, checks and balances and democratic movements, it is impossible to remove Park.  (Just comparing this to similar situation in other Asian countries).
The downfall of Park reminds us that when we go to the poll we must always judge the candidate’s qualification and not his father’s contribution to the nation. As part of the Confucian culture, Korean voters do value the past contribution of their founding father. We can see Park’s senior citizens supporters crashing with the Police after the announcement of the Constitutional Courts.
The father’s contribution cannot guarantee the success of the next generation. It can also be a ‘heavy’ liability as in the case in Taiwan.  We may not want to go the extreme case of Taiwan. But certainly, Singapore way of loyalty is also another extreme case that cannot guarantee our long term sustainability.
We need to seek a balance between the two extreme cases.
The Park case can provide such an direction.  Not only in politics, the South Korean economy will also see new alignment - post-chaebol era.
The chaebol system is like our GLCs (government-linked companies) as we don’t have a strong private economy.
The chaebol system has received many criticism for entrepreneurial development.  

Young, gifted and blocked


The Korean economy is dominated by the chaebol, huge conglomerates with tentacles in every stew. The biggest, Samsung, accounts for around a fifth of the country's exports. Although the chaebol have played a vital role in South Korea's development, they also suck up credit and obstruct the rise of start-ups. “Everyone knows you don't compete with the chaebol” is a commonly heard refrain.
Parents of bright young Koreans typically steer them into steady careers in the chaebol, the government or the professions. As in Japan, being a salaryman (or woman) is far more respectable than running one's own firm. “In Korea, stability is everything,” says one such parent.
http://www.economist.com/node/18682342

Many young Koreans voted for Park in 2012. Many also protest and want her to be removed in 2016 and 2107. Koreans now want political democracy as well as economic democracy.
Many voters linked their support – or dislike – for Ms Park to the record of her father, the authoritarian ruler Park Chung-hee, who is remembered as vividly for his human rights violations as for economic reforms that led to decades of rapid growth.

Now attention will shift to Ms Park’s efforts to live up to ambitious campaign pledges, including promises to rein in powerful corporate interests, revitalise the small business sector and boost social spending. Despite her promises of “economic democracy”, Ms Park’s victory will come as a relief to the leaders of the country’s family-controlled chaebol conglomerates, some of whom had feared a crackdown by Mr Moon, after he pledged to eliminate the “circular” shareholding structures that help founding families maintain control.
https://www.ft.com/content/bd001118-4982-11e2-b25b-00144feab49a

Look at Singapore, we have neither political democracy nor economic democracy. How long can we sustain?

###
{KOREAN INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT in brief}
Korea gained independence immediately after the end of second world war (1945) but since 1948, Korea has been separated into North and South. We focus our discussion in South Korean economy. Korean industrial development can briefly divide into the following stages:
[1950s: Anti-inflation and import-Substitution policies]
Due to Korean War, Korea needed to implement anti-inflation policies(currency reform, money supply restriction, government budget balanced, increased supply of consumer goods).
After the War, Import-Substitution policies (Protection of domestic industries, allowing monopolistic competition in the beginning, financial subsidy) were implemented. For example, promotion of 3 Whites (cotton, sugar and flour) to discourage import of these goods.
[1960s: Export promotion, EPB, foreign exchange]
Export promotion policies(export import linkage, subsidies & policy loans, tariff reduction and exemption for imports of intermediate input for export)
EPB (economic planning board - in charge of planning, budgeting, statistical functioning) was established.
Earning foreign exchanges (increasing exports, sending labors such as miners and nurses to West Germany, normalizing diplomatic relationship with Japan in exchange for fundings)
[1970s: HCI, anti-inflation]
HCI promotion - heavy and chemical industries in steel, nonferrous metal, electronics, chemical, machinery (including automobile), and shipbuilding
There were two oil shocks in the 1970s, the increase in oil price created inflation and foreign exchange problems. Korea had to implement anti-inflation measures and gain foreign exchange by getting construction projects and sending workers to Middle-east.
[1980s: Structural reform policies, Trade liberalization from the mid-1980s, expansion of existing industries, democratic movements]
Korea engaged in economic restructure (labor, loans, industrial development, infrastructure) to face challenges of 3 Highs (High oil price, high or strong US dollar, high interest rate).
In the mid-1980s, Korea took advantages of 3 Lows (Low oil price, Low or weak US dollar and strong Japanese Yen, Low interest rate) to expand her industrial power and promote export (automobiles, electronics, shipbuilding, etc)
After the success of export increased, balance of payments improved from deficit to surplus. Korea had more reserves and positive current accounts. Savings (taxation) also increase and so Korea had more money to invest and upgrade her economy.
[1990s and beyond]
Successful diversification of industry paved the way for a diversification of exports into semiconductors, computers, automobiles, chemicals, and ships. Despite the 1997/98 financial crisis, Korea recovered very fast and strengthened her financial and banking management. Since then, they have moved into service, information technology, green and knowledge based economy.
The government support of big business has led to Chaebol model of export growth, research and development spendings. But small and medium size businesses have not benefitted from economic success.