My thoughts on private sharing apps in Singapore

Oct 02, 15 My thoughts on private sharing apps in Singapore

Posted by in Featured, Musings

So after Minister Khaw took up his post as Minister of Transport, one of the biggest news to come out was that the Ministry would be looking to review the private car sharing apps. However, if you just read the headlines and the news excerpt, it doesn’t say much. You would need to read Minister Khaw’s blog post to understand better. I feel his views are actually rather balanced. However, he seems to lack in-depth knowledge about how private sharing apps work and hence, the lack of detailed thoughts. 3rd party booking apps is a complex problem by itself. On one hand, it helps alleviates our current taxi congestion issue, on the other hand, there might be insufficient checks and balances on both the corporates (uber and grabtaxi), as well as on the drivers. Taxi services in Singapore is quite a unique one. Compared to most developed cities, taxi is actually decently affordable for the masses. Then you have the big confusing surcharges and what not. Another interesting characteristic of the taxi service in Singapore is that it is largely driven by people who tend to be older and more likely semi retired. The result of this is there is a mismatch of supply and demand at various times. During our peak hours, there is high demand, and although the supply is high, it seems to be insufficient. After all, if there are 100 passengers that need a ride at 8am, and there are only 80 vehicles, then it goes to say that 20 passengers would have to wait for a vehicle to complete a trip before they can get a ride. Given that peak hour demand tends to be directional (ie, from suburbs to town areas in the morning, and town to suburbs in the evening.), it is a tough incentive for a driver to want to drive from Raffles Place all the way back to Woodlands to pick a passenger at 8am, particularly when he could get a passenger at Outram or...

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The government paradox. After thoughts of the Punggol East by-election

Jan 27, 13 The government paradox. After thoughts of the Punggol East by-election

Posted by in Musings

And so the vote counting just ended and the results announced. Worker Party’s Lee Li Lian got 16,038 votes vs People Action Party’s Koh Poh Koon who got 12,856 votes. The other 2 candidates were fairly insignificant with Reform Party’s Kenneth Jeyaretnam’s 353 votes and Singapore Democratic Alliance’s Desmond Lim with 168 votes. The by-election was called when PAP’s Michael Palmer resigned after his extramarital affair came to be known. I would have to say I was a little surprised at the margins that WP won though. However, if you did look at the sentiments in the last couple of years, both in Singapore and Internationally, there are elements of social unrest everywhere. Everybody just wants change. In Singapore, this resulted in an opposition party winning a GRC for the first time in the GE2011. The problem with this is what I call the government paradox. In a stable system, the government is meant to instil confidence in that it is able to lead. As much as people realise that no solution is perfect, there is some form of compromise for the greater good. However, when a political party start to lose confidence votes, there is a growing need to address this and commonly, these are not long term solutions, but more of short term patches. Examples of these could be fixing immediate concerns such as housing issues, foreigner issues, transportation issues, or even general vote buying and promises. As much as it seems like it is the thing to do, the result can actually be counter-productive! The case of proactive VS reactive In management and leadership, it’s always been said that a leader is someone that has to have foresight and be proactive. A weak leader is reactive and only reacts to things that they see. In the recent incidents, the PAP government is seen as being reactive. When something happens, they come out and patch it. Housing prices going crazy? Flood the markets with supply. Implement cooling measures. Restrict property transactions. The same...

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Fergus Watch – Outlook 2012

Jan 02, 12 Fergus Watch – Outlook 2012

Posted by in Musings, Personal finance

Some of you may know, I work in the financial industry, and I usually write emails to some people for their reading entertainment. Here’s one that I wrote a while back, on my outlook of 2012. Originally sent out 26 December 2011. One of the things I wanted to do for this email was to amalgamate some of the views I have as well as others that I have discussed with. In a way, a snippet of things that happened this year, and what it means for the year ahead. That is, the outlook for 2012. 2011, the watershed year 2011 has definitely been a watershed year in more ways than one. We have the General Elections, we have Orchard Road floodings, we have MRTs breaking down dramatically, we have numerous dead bodies found in reservoirs, we have a new record price for properties, we have our 2 Integrated Resorts, numerous new shopping malls and numerous new office buildings in the CBD. We also have Lee Kuan Yew leaving active politics. In a way, 2011 is really extraordinary. How can so many things happen in the same year? Suay? Heng? Or is the world really ending in 2012? Complacency is a downfall of the Singapore model? Some of the viewpoints I have been hearing about is if the Singapore model is good to go for the next decade? In the last 10 years, the biggest issue in Singapore was.. no issue. We have taken a lot of things for granted. Things were meant to work. Jobs will be available as long as you studied to the best of your ability. We will always have housing, we will always have cheap transport, we will have accessibility to anything you want to buy. This has also affected the policy makers. Why fix things if there is nothing broken? Thus, I would say the last 5 years has been one of complacency. There has been some lack of foresight and planning. After all, you pay senior management primarily...

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Singapore sits moodily atop wealth pole

Dec 29, 11 Singapore sits moodily atop wealth pole

Posted by in Interesting articles

Haven’t posted anything for quite a while, but this is worth keeping. Sunday, Dec 25, 2011 The Business Times Last month, if Singapore had been a person, it would have stood above the unwashed tableau of Occupy Wall Street (OWS), watching from its penthouse and laughing into its cognac. But it has spent the year being a little down in the mouth, preoccupied with property prices, taxi fares and faulty trains. This gloom is hard to explain in the grander scheme of things. When OWS’s gross simplification of the one per cent trampling on the 99 per cent is contemplated, Singapore is practically part of the world’s one per cent. This is a country where, every single day, 25 people bought either a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW for the first 11 months of the year.  In the same period, every four days, someone drove away from the Ferrari showroom with a big smile on his face. (One assumes that, each time, it’s a different person.) When it comes down to it, Singapore can be almost as Wall Street as Wall Street. Last year, 8.5 per cent of New York City’s workforce was on the payroll of the finance and insurance industries. Singapore had about 6.4 per cent of its resident population on it, while Hong Kong had 6 per cent. If a demonstrator with anti-banking invective to expend were to imagine the two as corporate entities – which is not hard – he would therefore be more inclined to picket Singapore than Hong Kong. “One per cent” might be a dirty term these days, but would-be picketers here have to be careful about calling others names that might apply to themselves. On a per-adult basis, Singapore has the sixth highest net wealth in the world: a mean value of US$284,692, according to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2011. “Net wealth” here is defined by a person’s financial and real estate assets minus debt. The mean value, however, gets short shrift from experts, since...

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Benefits and problems of the Singapore GRC Parliamentary system

May 11, 11 Benefits and problems of the Singapore GRC Parliamentary system

Posted by in General

The GRC system in Singapore must be one of the most criticized point of the election system in the last many years! One of the main criticism is that it does not serve it’s primary pupose well, and it only serves the incumbent party in preventing opposition candidates from getting into Parliament. But before we judge, let’s look at the Paliamentary systems of various countries. Singapore follows a Westminister system from the British. This basically means there is an overlap of legislative and executive arm in the Government, as the ministers are typically chosen from the MPs or Members of Parliament. In simple terms, a Government typically consists of the Judicial arm which judges right and wrong, the Legislative arm which makes the laws of the land and the Executive arm, which basically consists of the Ministries and involves the running of the country. Theres also 2 main types of government, being unicameral, which means there is only 1 legislative chamber (such as Singapore), and bicameral, which typically consists of 2 chambers, being the Senate and the House of Representative. Most countries in the world would have a bicameral system, unless the country is small. In summary, Singapore has a Westminister system with a unicameral government, consisting of 87 Members of Parliament and 20 Ministers, ruling a 5 million population on a 710 km sq piece of land. Some people tend to be confused on how a MP and a Minister differ. Basically a MP, or Member of Parliament, is someone who takes care of a certain constituency in the country, bringing up issues to Parliament to debate, and voting on these issues. As a collective, they decide on the law of the land. A Minister is essentially the head of a Ministry in the civil service. They are like your CEOs and they would execute on the plans of the government.   In Malaysia they basically have a Westminister system with bicameral government of House and Senate. There are a total 70 Senators, 2 each from the...

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