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Posts Tagged ‘Fun with numbers’

Footie: When team losing, don’t sack mgr

In Footie on 30/03/2014 at 10:13 am

MU owners and fans are still behind Moysie despite a season that is worse than the worst nightmares. Nice of fans to cheer him at Old Trafford last night. And they may be right to remain sanguine.

Graph comparing performance

Ter Weel analysed managerial turnover across 18 seasons (1986-2004) of the Dutch premier division, the Eredivisie. As well as looking at what happened to teams who sacked their manager when the going got tough, he looked at those who had faced a similar slump in form but who stood by their boss to ride out the crisis.

He found that both groups faced a similar pattern of declines and improvements in form … he argues that this finding is not specific to the Netherlands. Major football leagues in Europe, including England, Germany, Italy and Spain also bore out the same conclusion – teams suffering an uncharacteristic slump in form will bounce back and return to their normal long-term position in the league, regardless of whether they replace their manager or not.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23724517

As PM now watches the LionsXII (at least when they are winning), he may use this “fact” as a Hard Truth on why we shouldn’t give the PAP the sack.

Finnish education system aimed at creating unemployment?

In Casinos, Economy, Financial competency, Uncategorized on 26/03/2014 at 4:38 am

S’poreans who laud the Finnish education system may want to think again. Look at the unemployment figures in this chart. Look st the Finnish the S’porean figures. Finnish education better than ours leh? Our system not that bad leh? worse for rapid PAP haters, govt is promising change. LOL

Here’s another inconvenient fact for those who want us to be more Finnish. A S’porean studying there tells me that slot machines are everywhere: in convenience stores, shopping centres etc.

On gambling on per capita basis and because of our casinos, we juz behind the Ozzies. Restrictions for locals? What restrictions? Only restricted if cannot pay and pay. OK, OK, terms and conditions even then apply. Finland is a distant third.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2014/02/daily-chart-

Coming back to education, the fact that PISA ranks China (OK Shanghai as tops) in education, doesn’t deter wealthy Chinese parents from wanting a posh, private British education (think s/o JBJ). No they want potatoe speaking, half Chinese, half ang moh sons: they want a better education for their kids.

My serious point, is that education is a very complicated topics. And we shouldn’t trivalise a debate on education with throwing data willy nilly to support an ideological position, even if one LKY (the PAPpy haters tremble and cross their hearts at the mere mention of his name) does it. Remember his remarks about the kids in neighbourhood schools that gave the govt grief?

In fact, data has to be analysed, not used as sticking plaster to support or denounce any given position on any issue. There are no “right” facts, juz facts.

 

We really poor? Why we don’t have Swiss standard of living?

In Economy, Hong Kong on 19/02/2014 at 4:51 am

The u/m perhaps explains why the PAP despite the triumphalism  of itself  and its wallies of our Swiss standard of living, our massive (but  “secret” reserves), and massive budget surpluses (last yr’s estimated $2.4bn is likely to be $6.5bn according to economists. Gd TRE post on this http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/02/18/sg-surplus-for-this-fy-may-hit-6-5-billion/) refuses to spend our money on ourselves. I’ve always blogged that a Hard Truth born of meanness is, “Don’t spend money on making life more comfortable for S’poreans, better to cheong on markets”. But maybe we juz don’t have the $. It belongs to MNCs.

Incidentally, the article shows why local investment is preferable to foreign investment: the profits stick around. The PAP govt rightly takes credit for attracting MNCs here in the 60s and 70s to create jobs. So it should accept responsibility for not diversifying away from this reliance on MNCs, especially as attracting MNCs is not conventional wisdom. In the 60s and 70s, attracting MNC was seen as neo-colonialism.

In Singapore, personal consumption expenditure has steadily fallen over the years as a percentage of GDP and, at 35 per cent, is now barely half of what it is in Hong Kong. This is an oddity characteristic of a startup economy, not of a wealthy town like Singapore.

But it means that, on the basis of our money-in-your-hands measure, Hong Kong at US$24,000 per capita still outranks Singapore at US$21,000.

The second chart gives you a clue as to why the two economies are so different on this measure. Industrial investment in Singapore, always predominantly foreign, has become even more so in recent years, accounting for an average of about 80 per cent of total investment over the past 10 years. I do not have the equivalent figures for Hong Kong but, at a rough guess, the foreign-local ratio would be the reverse.

This foreign investment in Singapore has in turn produced a huge trade surplus in both goods and services. Over recent years, it has run at about 30 per cent of GDP. And most of this money goes right back out again to pay foreigners for all the confidence they have shown in Singapore by investing in it so heavily.

In short, Singapore’s high GDP numbers are mostly an anomaly created by very generous industrial concessions to foreigners. They do not really reflect domestic wealth.

In another way, however, these GDP measures of Hong Kong and Singapore do not mean much as a yardstick of the comparative efficiency of either system. The fact is both are parasite economies feeding off much larger neighbours, the mainland in Hong Kong’s case and Indonesia and Malaysia in Singapore’s. They are both wealthy because they perform services that their neighbours cannot or, for reasons of policy, will not perform.

http://www.scmp.com/business/economy/article/1420215/singaporeans-not-wealthy-gdp-figures-suggest

“Why Government Should Not Be Run Like A Business”

In Infrastructure, Political governance, Public Administration on 05/02/2014 at 4:29 am

The above article from Forbes has been making the rounds on Facebook following the public tpt fare increase. Meanwhile, the WP is now saying, “The WP believes that public transport should be provided as a public good and not for profit”*

The Forbes piece explicitly says, while the WP’s motherhood statement implies, that if only public services are run sans the profit motive, everything will be fine. Profit is the evil. In its place, would be a serious of targets that would in PR jargon “enhance the users’ experience”.

It follows that the guiding principle of target setting should be an analysis of function—ie, what something does, not what it is.

Sounds good but as usual the devil is in the details: here the devils (legions of them) are in the the targets set.

The flaws in setting targets in public services have long been apparent. The single-minded pursuit of them in the NHS has contributed to some of the scandals in treating patients. Hospitals became so fixated on meeting national targets that they lost sight of their overriding responsibility to look after the people they were treating and to make them better.

Now the London Underground offers another example of the perverse effects of targets, especially when they are pursued in a simple-minded way. Green Park is one of the busiest tube stations in London. It has three escalators to the station concourse from the Piccadilly line, which serves not just London commuters but international businessmen and tourists travelling to and from Heathrow. Yet routinely one is closed at peak times.

The reason? According to station staff Green Park has been set energy targets and this is the way that it is meeting them.

What folly. Whether or not this is intended by the top brass at Transport for London is unclear. But this is what happens when stupid objectives are set and managers are either pressured into meeting them come what may or follow them without paying heed to their primary responsibility, which in the case of a tube station is to convey passengers as swiftly and as safely as possible to and from the trains. (http://www.economist.com/blogs/blighty/2014/01/trouble-targets)**

Another problem with the attitude articulated in the article and the WP’s motherhood statement is that they are quiet about the danger of “capture” of public services by the people working in the public sector.

As a student in London in the late 70s, I saw this capture at first hand. The London public tpt system and the state-owned British Airways were run for the convenience among other nationalised industries)ce and benefit of the employees (managers, executives and workers) not the commuting public.

The real issue when discussing the improvement of public services is finding ways to quantity the “public good”, something which Bloomberg tried hard to do when he was mayor of NY City. Bloomberg who recently finished two terms as NY city’s major, leaving office with a reputation as one of the best mayors the city has ever had, has said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

He used data to do boring things well—an undervalued virtue. His analytics team pools data from different agencies to inform decisions. For instance, it tracked complaints from 311 calls, a municipal hotline, and linked them with information about such things as tax irregularities to pinpoint illegal building conversions, which are fire hazards, quickly and fairly accurately. Mr Bloomberg listened to ideas if his staff had supporting evidence. (Economist)

(http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/culture-ministry-morphs-into-quant-ministry/)

Even the mystic and poet Blake who portrayed in his poetry Issac Newton, the scientist who discovered the maths behind the universe, to an evil god wrote, “Generalisation and abstraction are The plea of the hypocrite, scoundrel, and knave.”

The profit motive, while not perfect, and often misused (to benefit mgt, and shareholders) at least forces measurable quantification. It’s all about quantification as Bloomberg said. Note that his successor during the election campaign talked of ditching quantification. He was supported by the public services unions.

Of course quantification can go wrong like in our Arts ministry and the Vietnam War, http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/culture-ministry-morphs-into-quant-ministry/

*This is not the nationalisation it once called for. In its election manifesto, WP called for public tpt nationalisation, something Low reaffirmed after the Punggol East victory. Now, it says “public transport should be provided as a public good and not for profit”. In its manifesto for GE 2011 it said,

  1. Instead of public transport being provided by profit-oriented companies, all public transport including the MRT & public buses servicing major routes should be brought under a National Transport Corporation, a public body, to ensure a smooth integration of the overall national transport network and to avoid unnecessary duplication of services and overheads incurred by multiple operators.
  2. The Public Transport Council should be dissolved. Government accountability for public transport matters should be via a unit under the Land Transport Authority. This unit should receive feedback, audit services, review productivity and examine the need for fare adjustments.

**BTW, maybe someone in SMRT reads me? Further to this where I promised to report if the escalator at Eunos stn is working, last Wednesday when I was there, it was functioning.

Chinese zodiac’s animals: global distribution per capita

In Humour, Indonesia, Malaysia on 01/02/2014 at 4:33 am

To herald China’s most important holiday, we [Economist] have taken a light-hearted look at the global distribution of the animals of the Chinese zodiac. The Middle Kingdom is home to some of the world’s largest herds, flocks, packs, and broods. It has the second-largest number of horses, 6.7m, after America’s 10m (although neither feature in our charts, which account for population). Instead, Mongolia, where horses are integral to its nomadic tradition, tops the ranking. Similarly, there are four times as many pigs in China as anywhere else, but Denmark’s huge pork industry means it has the highest pig-to-person ratio. Of the ten animals shown, China is among the top nations in total numbers for all but tigers, dragons (Komodo) and rats (guinea pigs in Peru and Bolivia, the only numbers available from the FAO). Snake (the departing year) and monkey are omitted for lack of data. Xin Nian Kuai Le!

Asean countries– Brunei (Rooster), M’sia and Thailand (Tiger), Indonesia (Dragon) and Laos (Tiger and Ox) — appear on several of these charts.

Click link to see all all the charts or in bigger format http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2014/01/daily-chart-19

IE S’pore & Jos’ point about perfection

In Economy, Humour on 21/01/2014 at 5:24 am

Readers will know that I recently commented (here and here) on Jos Teo’s tots as articulated to ST: comments that have annoyed netizens no end. Juz read the comments posted by TRE readers grumbling that she gets so many things so wrong. “We cannot have the attitude that everything will be perfect from Day One. If we go in with that attitude, it can only mean that we have to build in a lot of redundancy, in particular came in for a lot of flak.

Well getting things wrong also seems to apply to her hubbie’s organisation (According to ST,”Her husband, Mr Teo Eng Cheong, is chief executive officer of IE Singapore …”)

IE S’pore has goofed big time. according to a BT report dated 18 January 2014:

ERRORS in trade data collection meant that International Enterprise (IE) Singapore wrongly reported two months of exports data, with possible implications for fourth-quarter GDP estimates.

October 2013′s non-oil domestic exports (NODX) was said to have grown 2.8 per cent, when in fact it had shrunk 2.7 per cent. Data for September was also overstated – NODX was initially said to have shrunk 1.2 per cent when the actual contraction was a larger 2 per cent – due to the “multiple counting of some trade permits”.

As trade data for both months have been corrected downwards, total trade and NODX for the full year 2013 will now come in lower than expected, IE said in an annex to its trade report for December, released yesterday.

IE will only announce Singapore’s full-year trade data next month, but UOB economist Francis Tan estimates that full-year NODX would have dropped 5.4 per cent, taking September and October’s erroneous figures, but could now fall a sharper 6 per cent. Both are worse than IE’s forecast of a NODX contraction of 4 to 5 per cent for 2013, last revised down in November.

It was an honest mistake. Maybe it was also example of what Jos Teo said, “We cannot have the attitude that everything will be perfect from Day One. If we go in with that attitude, it can only mean that we have to build in a lot of redundancy.

BT wrote: IE said yesterday that the errors were traced back to changes to a trade declaration system known as Access, which is used by four air express companies to declare their consolidated imports and exports. In August last year, changes were made to this system to allow the companies to make amendments to their trade permit records, such as flight details.

However, all amended permits were counted as new ones when transmitted from the Access system to the Singapore Customs’ Trade Statistics System, and then to IE Singapore. In nominal terms, the counting errors meant a difference between an originally tabulated NODX value of $15.599 billion for October, and a corrected value of $14.757 billion.

In response to BT’s queries, IE explained that the over-reporting was not immediately apparent as the values of the individual records still fell within the expected range. “When unusually large numbers were picked up, IE Singapore worked with Singapore Customs immediately to investigate and rectify the issue,” IE said.

For trade data, Singapore Customs conducts selective checks of trade permits against the commercial documents to verify the accuracy of data submitted by traders. “IE Singapore also conducts checks on a monthly basis to track trends based on the value of goods and large ticket items. Export and import categories with significant data swings will be picked up for further verification and analysis in consultation with Singapore Customs,”  …

One economist is annoyed:

DBS economist Irvin Seah thinks internal processes need to be tightened when it comes to collecting official data. “We have seen quite significant revisions, not just in NODX, but also in the advanced GDP estimates. Whether these are estimates or actual figures, there ought to be as little revision as possible. These numbers are important to everyone who wants a good gauge of where the economy is going, not just economists,” he said.

But another was relaxed,“no great damage was done”, said Barclays economist Joey Chew. “After all, the October red herring of a recovery was quickly refuted the very next month when November exports fell sharply, indicating that Singapore exports are clearly not yet out of the woods. The continued slump in electronics in December further confirmed that,” she said.

Whatever it is, S’pore’s reputation remains intact according to BT (But it would say that wouldn’t it?)

As for whether these errors undermine the reliability of Singapore’s statistics, Credit Suisse economist Michael Wan said that he sees them as inherent to the “messy affair” of collecting data. “I don’t think it raises questions about the integrity of Singapore’s statistical collection fundamentally. It’s always an ongoing affair to reduce the number of errors,” he said.

UOB’s Mr Tan said: “The good thing is that they are at least signalling that they are doing the right thing, by coming out and correcting the errors.”

A couple of errors ought not to affect credibility, said Barclays’ Ms Chew. “Especially if the errors are due to technological problems rather than data collection issues, or people gaming the system – for example Chinese exporters reporting fake trade.”

But IE S’pore should not be complacent: Barclay’s Ms Chew does have other issues to raise about Singapore’s data though. “First, the timeliness. We are one of the last to report CPI (consumer price index) in the region, and I don’t understand why. Also, IE Singapore does not release a lot of the export data they collect.”

Jos and hubby should be hoping that the recent bad publicity is part of the karma of the year of the Goat, not the karma for 2014. If the latter, expect more to hear more nad publicity from Jos and IE S’pore?

Culture ministry morphs into Quant Ministry

In Public Administration on 15/11/2013 at 6:01 am

Robert McNamara when he became Kennedy’s Defence Secretary expected everything to be quantified at the Pentagon. He was previously president of Ford Motor Company. A team of which he was a part had transformed Ford by using quantitative methods*.

Sadly, for the US,using inappropriate quantitative methods was one reason why the US was defeated by the North Vietnamese. An example was the focus on the number of Vietcong guerrillas killed. This encouraged the US army to prefer “kicking ass” rather to “winning hearts and minds”. The latter didn’t show up on the army’s KPIs.

I was rereading something about Robert McNamara (inevitably the Whiz Kids and the Vietnam war are mentioned) around the time when a person familiar with the local arts scene posted a Facebook comment that he had never seen so much data from the culture ministry before. Feel free to skip the italics bit below: it gives the data that made got the “expert” commenting

Singapore’s arts and culture sector continues to grow, with more reported arts activities and more people attending and participating in arts and culture events compared to a decade ago.

According to the Singapore Cultural Statistics 2013 Report, there was an average of 23 arts performances and 49 exhibitions happening each day in 2012, as compared to about 10 arts performances and 30 exhibitions 10 years ago.

Ticketed attendance at arts events increased from just under a million in 2003 to almost two million last year.

Meanwhile, total tickets sold for performing arts events increased from 0.7 million in 2004 to 1.2 million in 2012.

Total gross takings have also increased from S$32.8 million in 2004 to S$80.6 million in 2012.

Year-on-year comparison showed that ticketed attendance and gross takings for performing arts events fell in 2012, after an all-time high the previous year.

The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) said this was due to the market adjusting itself after the initial spike of popular musicals brought in by the Integrated Resorts when they first started operations.

Non-ticketed attendance for heritage events dropped in 2012.

MCCY said this was a result of the National Heritage Board’s shift from large-scale events to more targeted ones with better quality of engagement.

The report also noted the growing interest of youths in pursuing an arts education in Singapore.

The number of students enrolled in full-time tertiary arts courses has also increased from 1,860 in 2004 to 4,492 in 2012.

More arts companies and arts societies are also entering the scene.

In 2012, there were 1,260 companies and 386 societies, compared to 302 arts companies and 247 societies in 2003.

Government funding for arts and culture has also increased to S$478.9 million last year, up 10 per cent from 2011.

(http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singapore-s-arts-and/867778.html)

Despite the failure of the US to win the Vietnam war by quantitative methods, there is a place for appropriate data collection and analysis, as the Ford experience showed. Bloomberg who recently finished two terms as NY city’s major, leaving office with a reputation as one of the best mayors the city has ever had, has said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”**

He used data to do boring things well—an undervalued virtue. His analytics team pools data from different agencies to inform decisions. For instance, it tracked complaints from 311 calls, a municipal hotline, and linked them with information about such things as tax irregularities to pinpoint illegal building conversions, which are fire hazards, quickly and fairly accurately. Mr Bloomberg listened to ideas if his staff had supporting evidence. (Economist)

But somehow, I don’t think the data cited above by our culture ministry cited above serves any purpose. It doesn’t even make the ministry look gd: except in the eyes of bureaucrats  and accountants ruled by engineering scholars led by a maths scholar. As Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong is in Hong Kong from November 13 to 15 attending a regional forum on collaborations in culture and arts,maybe he can pick up tips from cities like KL, Manila and HK on how to make S’pore less of a culture desert.

—-

*In 1946, Charles “Tex” Thornton, a colonel under whom McNamara had served, put together a group of officers from his AAF Statistical Control operation to go into business together. Thornton had seen an article in Life magazine portraying Ford as being in dire need of reform. Henry Ford II, himself a World War II veteran from the Navy, hired the entire group of 10, including McNamara.

The “Whiz Kids“, as they came to be known, helped the money-losing company reform its chaotic administration through modern planning, organization and management control systems. Whiz Kids origins: Because of their youth, combined with asking lots of questions, Ford employees initially and disparagingly, referred to them as the “Quiz Kids”. In a remarkable “turning of the tables”, these Quiz Kids rebranded themselves as the “Whiz Kids” and backed-up their new moniker with performance driven results. Starting as manager of planning and financial analysis, he advanced rapidly through a series of top-level management positions. (Wikipedia)

**The danger is that this often becomes, “If you can’t measure it, you can ignore it.”

Why rising inequality shows that things are working

In Economy, Humour, Political economy, Political governance on 24/09/2013 at 4:52 am

No, not the PAP or one of its running dogs talking; but the Economist (Err OK it is part PAPpy friendly ecosystem http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/sporeans-avoiding-low-paid-jobs-are-not-lazy-or-daft-juz-rational/, on economic and financial matters, though not when it comes to things like human rights, hanging, democracy, drugs, gays and media freedom.)

The regeneration of Manchester regeneration hasn’t benefited the whole population of the city equally. This is certainly true. The authors of the Manchester Independent Economic Review, published in 2009, found that in the first decade of the new millennium, while in absolute terms, every part of the city improved, inequality in the city had actually sharply increased. The richest bits of the city got richer at a much faster pace than the poorest bits.

I’m not sure that is a bad thing however. Even if we accept that growing inequality across the country is a bad thing, in this case, it strikes me as evidence of success. After all, as this Work Foundation report found, the most equal parts of Britain are towns such as Burnley and Sunderland. Those places are not more equal because the money is spread out more fairly. They’re more equal simply because everyone is poor. Manchester’s growing inequality, like London’s, is proof that it has managed to create well-paying jobs for at least a minority of its population.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/blighty/2013/09/manchester

Surprised our constructive, nation-building media, and the Breakfast Network and Independent are not telling us that rising inequality shows things are working. Maybe the media are waiting for media guidance.

But unlike Manchester, S’pore doesn’t have Manchester’s culture life that students find attractive: Cultural life feeds off economic success. After all, Burnley and Sunderland are not known for their great independent record shops and nightclubs. And it doesn’t have too EPL teams. BTW, for MU fans, the explanation for the defeat is simple: Allah and the Pope had the better of Yahweh on Sunday.

On the clubbing scene attracting students, I knew a German gal who chose to study in Manchester because of the nightclubs. She hated the weather though when she got there. BTW, while she was a party animal, she did very well in the IB exams, a perfect score.

Related posts:

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/the-pap-govt-has-lost-output-legitimacy-discuss/

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/ingratitude-uniquely-sporean-blame-the-internet-not-really/

Parks: HK 67%, S’pore 8% of Land Use/ City in 2050

In Uncategorized on 01/09/2013 at 5:18 am

Remember this?

The Singapore government said it is committed to retain about a tenth of land for nature reserves and parks.

Acting Manpower Minister and Senior Minister of State for National Development, Tan Chuan-Jin, said this is significant for a highly urbanised city-state.http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1259158/1/.html

Well HK, which most of us would consider overcrowded, 66.6% of Land Use in the territory is classified as nature reserves and parks versus 8% for S’pore (ST data: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/hk-finds-room-for-7-2-million-people/). So 10% is “peanuts”, when a place with 7.2m people has more green space, a lot more.

If you’ve wondering how come HK has so much parks’ land, the answer is “Land Use”. HK is pretty hilly country and the sides of hills are included in the definition of “Land Use”. Even so in terms of territory, about 30% of HK’s territory is set aside for parks and conversation areas, still a lot more than S’pore’s 8% of “Land Use” or 9.8% of “non-development” land.  But the spin goes on

By 2030, 85 per cent or over eight in 10 residents will be living within a 10-minute walk to a park.

This figure will be up from the current 80 per cent, as mapped out by the Land Use Plan released on Thursday. The promise is that even as Singapore gears up for a population of up to 6.9 million, its urban landscape will still remain largely green.

http://news.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Singapore/Story/A1Story20130201-399404.html

BTW, 2 S’pore buildings shortlisted for World Architecture Festival 2013 Awards Both Included inside this http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-23151365

Now to the future

Have you ever wondered where you or your children may be living in 2050? Experts predict that by then three-quarters of the world’s population will live in cities. For part of its Tomorrow’s Cities season the BBC takes a look through the crystal ball to imagine what city life might be like in 40 years’ time.

ttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23524249

Would you like to live in a circular city? Or a city where there are no parks but lots of greenery? Check out this highly commended audio slide show.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23799590

SPH & MediaCorp agree with TOC on crowd size!

In Political governance on 09/06/2013 at 3:48 pm

And it’s a whooping 2,000++!

Wah lan! Pigs can fly!

I had predicted when I read that TOC reported “Over 2000 are at Hong Lim Park for the protest”, that, “SPH and MediaCorp will report, “Less than 500 turned up at Hong Lim protest”. Err I was wrong: CNA reported “Some 2,000 Singaporeans …”, while ST reported that between 2,000 and 2,500 people turned up.

So why did our constructive, nation-building media report numbers that tally with that of TOC’s, and not come lower? One would have tot that it was in the interest of the perceived PAP-sream media to downplay the extent of the unhappiness. Getting 2,000 to 2,500 S’poreans out at very short notice (less than a week) is a very good achievement, no a great feat, on the part of the organisers. And shows the extent of the unhappiness with Yaacob’s regulation to make sure S’poreans get the “right” facts.

Even the Pinkies only got out 10,000 people partying after a yr’s preparation, free buses, and the promise of the availability of hot, hotdates.

Sorry, back to the consensus (or “right”) numbers.

For starters, TOC really took the trouble to scientifically count the attendance (and not hazard a guess and spinning the issue as I tot it would). According to Ravi Philemon (via Facebook): [F]our people were placed at the four different entrances with people counters (device) to count the number of people streaming into the rally. The number from the four different people counters were tallied together at different times during the protest. According this people counters slightly over 2500 people attended the event, and at the peak, there were 2000 together at the rally.

Also, I’m sure SPH and MediaCorp reporters would have had the benefit of ISD’s or police intelligence’s similar accurate, methodical estimates.

Hence the consensus on the “right” number of attendees. No need to believe that there are journalists and editors sympathetic to the cause of internet freedom.

Wah lan! If pigs can fly, what next? S’poreans protest M’sian, Hongkie style? Or PritamS stops putting his foot in his mouth? After all Auntie is getting garang. No longer being contented to talk to the govt behind closed doors, like PAP MPs.

One thing’s sure, the MDA regulations will not be “tweaked”, in favour of freedom. This is S’pore where one of Harry’s Hard Truth is that the more unpopular a govt measure, the more brownie points a minister and his civil servants get. The more brownie points, the bigger the bonuses, and the ability to buy more $5m-$10m apartments from a TLC.

Spinning the attandance at “Free My Internet” rally

In Uncategorized on 08/06/2013 at 6:49 pm

(Opps I waz wrong about ST and MediaCorp, but maybe part of frame-up: see update)

As at 6.15pm, TOC posted, “Over 2000 are at Hong Lim Park for the protest.”

Bet you, SPH, MediaCorp will report, “Less than 500 turned up at Hong Lim protest.”

The issue is “How do they know”? Did anyone do a count? No, is the answer.

It’s a guess, a guess that depends on what the guesser wants others to perceive. Happens all over the world, juz read what the Turkish govt and protestors say about the crowds protesting in Istanbul.

Update on 9th June at 5.45 am: Wah man, pigs can fly! CNA reported “Some 2,000 Singaporeans …”, while ST reported that between 2,000 and 2500 people turned up.

Great to see PAP-stream media using TOC’s estimate. Err maybe cunning plot to turn TOC into a “news” site, not a “noise” commentary site.

Update Update: Reuters said,”More than 1ooo”, while Aljazeera wrote, “Close to 2,000″. Looking as though PAP-stream media out to fix TOC with “news” label.

Update Update Update: This is how Ravi Philemon described the counting method four people were placed at the four different entrances with people counters (device) to count the number of people streaming into the rally. The number from the four different people counters were tallied together at different times during the protest. According this people counters slightly over 2500 people attended the event, and at the peak, there were 2000 together at the rally.

What our local media doesn’t boast about

In Economy on 30/05/2013 at 5:59 am

S’poreans punch above their weight when in comes to lotteries (and taz excluding the casinos) — 11th in the world because “The island-state’s 5m people spend about $1,000 each in the Singapore Pools”.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2013/05/daily-chart-16

The casinos juz add to the mix.

 

Numbers show GCT & Lee Jnr messed up?

In Economy, Indonesia, Malaysia on 27/03/2013 at 6:45 am

This chart shows all the economies that maintained 6% growth or faster over 30 years. S’pore’s run of 7ish% growthended in 1994, when GCT was PM and Lee Jnr was Deputy PM and in charge of the economy. Going by the things our PM is doing now, maybe GCT held him back? Or LHL has repented? And the changes he is initiating, is his way of saying, “Sorry”?. How about a claw-back of ministerial salaries? Esp of PM’sand DPM’s? If it happens to bankers, it can happen to ministers: after all ministers’ salaries pegged to bankers among others.

Why Muddy Waters’ attack on Olam failed

In Financial competency on 26/02/2013 at 10:41 am

Olam is not listed in US and subject to SEC scrutiny.

“Muddy Waters Secret China Weapon Is on SEC Website”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-19/muddy-waters-secret-china-weapon-is-on-sec-website.html

The success of Muddy waters in destroying Sino-Forest (also not listed in US) made it guilty of hubris?

Xmen and others Temasek-haters: Ang moh not always tua kee if they bet, bitch against Temasek. They may juz be plain wrong, like Muddy Waters and Balding.

PAP must read these

In Financial competency, Humour on 21/02/2013 at 2:33 pm

For one LKY

One must always be wary of spurious correlation! http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2013/02/correlations

For PM, cabinet ministers and their civil service minions

“As nations become wealthier, it is harder for them to sustain high rates of growth. That doesn’t mean that the United States is in decline, or even stagnating. When a nation is as rich as ours, it can realize larger absolute gains than it did in the past and larger gains than other nations even if it has lower growth rates. That’s because a growth rate of, say, 2.5 percent represents a larger increase in absolute wealth the richer an economy becomes. In 1900, a 2.5 percent increase in gross domestic product (GDP) per capita would have translated into about $150 in today’s dollars for every man, woman, and child in the United States. In 2010, it would have been roughly $1,200, reflecting the fact that in the aggregate, we are about eight times wealthier than we were 110 years ago.3 By focusing too much on growth rates and too little on absolute increases in wealth, we have failed to appreciate the magnitude of economic gains in recent decades.”

http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2013/02/growth

Population White Paper: 2030 will resemble 1959?

In Political governance on 15/02/2013 at 5:41 am

Why I see the White Paper no ak

A Citigroup report noted that the White Paper projects the dilution of Singapore-born citizens from 62% of the population to just 55% in 2030 based on number of new FT citizens that the govt plans to bring in projects to come in naturally: 15,000 – 25,000 annually.

In 1959, according to Singapore Correspondent. Political Dispatches from Singapore (1958-1962) only 270,00 out of the 600,000 voters were born here i.e. there only 45% of the voters were born here. The rest were the FT “new” citizens of the day.

Interestingly the author reported that when one LKY revealed the above fact in 1959, LKY also said,”we must go about our task (of building up a nation) with urgency … of integrating our people now and quickly”.

Maybe he repented of nation-building? And his son and the PAP is carrying out a policy of “return to the future”?

This isn’t the only example of back-to-the-future thinking. The ST managing editor “orders” us to trust the govt, saying that because we trusted it in the past, we “must” (his word) trust the govt on the issue of population. Great rebuttal by TRE. My critique of the piece by Lex Luthor’s double.

Problem is the White Paper as first published contains a simple, careless and stupid mistake that allows reasonable people to doubt its professionalism*.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————–

We apologise for the misrepresentation in the Population White Paper that nursing is a “low-skilled” job. We firmly believe and agree that nursing is a noble and caring profession that requires a high level of clinical skill, dedication and passion. The White Paper has been amended accordingly through a corrigendum issued by the Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean in Parliament today.

Pauline Tan (Dr) RN, FAAN, Chief Nursing Officer, 8 Feb 2013


I was taught when I started work that a single careless mistake or typo in any document undermines the credibility of the document: if there was one mistake, what other mistakes were there, is a reasonable assumption the critical reader could make?

Then there was the issue of whether the author cared about the quality of the work done, if he didn’t bother to be careful. This was another reason not to trust it. (Yes I trained as a lawyer, and for my transgressions, worked in a PR firm for a year.)

Seems poetic justice and appropriate for the Population White Paper to contain such a howler that DPM Teo had publicly to correct the howler and PM to apologise for it. If they didn’t, they and their loved ones would be safer in using M’sian hospitals? Juz joking.

Because one can reasonably wonder if the assumptions in said paper were thought thru, or juz “cut and paste” from conventional wisdom macroeconomics. We know that macroeconomics conventional wisdom was found wanting in the recent financial crisis, so it is reasonable if standard macroeconomics assumptions on the importance of demographics on growth will be found wanting.

(And if four leading true-blue (they all did NS) S’porean economists are correct, the economic assumptions behind the White Paper are myths: http://www.tremeritus.com/2013/02/09/economics-myths-in-the-great-population-debate/. BTW, all four are scholars, so all those TRE-reading scholar haters, “Sit down and shut up!”. Scholars are S’poreans too.)

What puzzles me is that  neither Mrs Chiam (she’s a British-trained nurse) the WP, nor NMPs, nor the “talk cock sing song” PAP MPs like Inderjit (see this earlier post)  who criticised the paper butwho  were whipped into voting for it, or who went AWOL on voting day) didn’t ask for this insult to nurses to be amended.

Now that would have hurt the White Paper’s and govt’s credibility more than their “sounding brass, or … tinkling cymbal”.

And before I forget, TOC has these two excellent pieces on more cock-ups in the WPW

http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2013/02/dubious-footnotes-population-white-paper/ (“Yet, the misrepresentation is not limited to just footnote 12. Here is a selection of other misleading footnotes in the contentious White Paper.”)

http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2013/02/statistics-population-white-paper-debate/(More FTS coming than they did in the past? Are it’s a reduction?)

Unlike S’pore Auntie, TOC is using the online equivalents of botox and other rejuvenating aids to refresh itself. But then S’pore Auntie needs more than botox or surgery to become S’pore Gal once more. She needs a time machine. But that and the rejuvenation of TOC are two more tales for another day.

*Donald Low, a senior fellow at the LKY School of Public Policy and a former senior civil servant, has criticised the white paper, “wasn’t even a References section to show what research the writers of the paper had done, what social science theories they relied on, what competing theories/frameworks they looked at … There was also a surprising lack of rigorous comparison with other countries that have gone through, or are going through, a similar demographic transition.”

$100 chicken if food tracked house prices?

In Property on 13/02/2013 at 7:16 am

Reading the u/m, got me doing some very simplistic calculations on the back of an envelope, and using some very simplistic assumptions, it would be plausible and reasonable to argue that  a chicken here would cost at least $100 if its price kept pace with the rise of the cost of a three-room HDB flat since the early 1970s.Maybe Coyote Chee’s economists could do a study? No point asking s/o JBJ. He now trying to be half-past six lawyer like dad, wanting to argue in person that the govt breached the constitution in funding the IMF.

If the price of food had risen as quickly as the price of houses over the last 40 years, we would now be paying more than £50 for a single chicken, according to the housing charity Shelter.

The charity says that since the early 1970s, house prices have risen far faster than grocery bills.

In 1971 an average home in Britain cost less than £6,000.

Forty years on, it had shot up to £245,000. BBC article

 

When 55% of voters were FTs

In Economy, Humour, Political economy, Political governance on 25/01/2013 at 5:03 am

(Update on 29 January 2012 http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-21/singapore-turns-against-itself-as-pressure-for-babies-irks-women.html

http://www.tremeritus.com/2013/01/29/population-white-paper-projecting-6-9m-u-turn-on-influx-of-foreigners/)

TRE readers are forever screaming that the PAP govt wants to swamp S’pore with citizens born overseas. They might like to know that  in 1959, according to the u/m book, only 270,00 out of the 600,000 voters were born here. If TRE readers are correct, the PAP is only restoring things to as they were when the PAP came into power. Is that so wrong? LOL.

Interestingly the author reported that when one LKY revealed the above fact in 1959, LKY also said,”we must go about our task (of building up a nation) with urgency … of integrating our people now and quickly”. Maybe he repented building up a nation?

Singapore Correspondent. Political Dispatches from Singapore (1958-1962)

(http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/mai/new-book-singapore-correspondent/)
by Leon Comber*

Publisher:  Marshall Cavendish International Asia

Singapore Correspondent Book CoverSingapore Correspondent” covers five years of Singapore’s colourful political past – a period of living turbulently and sometimes dangerously. It is a collection of eye-witness dispatches, sent from Singapore to London, spanning a time when Singapore was emerging from British colonial rule and moving forward to self-government and independence. Many of the early struggles of the People’s Action Party (PAP) are described as the focus is on the political struggle taking place in which the PAP played a major part. Many important events which have long been forgotten are brought to life. These dispatches prove that political history need not be dull, and indeed can sometimes be entertaining and lively.

* MAI Adjunct Research Fellow
 

.

For 007 fans: Holiday treat

In Uncategorized on 30/12/2012 at 5:32 am

How the various Bonds stack up against one another on booze, violence, gals

Great piece: warning only those who know something the main UK political figures will appreciate the jokes.

How S’pore can win Nobel Prizes, and pushy parents’ kids ace exams cheaply

In Financial competency, Humour on 12/12/2012 at 5:17 am

(Or “Uniquely S’porean: Correlation = Hard Truth)

Forget about spending money on R&D or attracting FT researches. Or spending money on tuition.

The govt should juz give S’poreans lots of free chocolates, and parents top up the govt’s supplies to their kids.

I kid you not. Look at this chart: The Swiss who eat lots of chocs are runaway winners when it comes to winning Nobel Prizes. So do the Danes, Austrians, Norwegians and Brits.

Graph showing countries' chocolate consumption per head and Nobel Laureates per 10 million people

“When you correlate the two – the chocolate consumption with the number of Nobel prize laureates per capita – there is an incredibly close relationship,” Franz Messerli of Columbia University says.

“This correlation has a ‘P value’ of 0.0001.” This means there is a less than one-in-10,000 probability of getting results like these if no correlation exists.

Link here and here.

My serious point is that juz because there seems to be a correlation (like 48% of druggies are Malays) doesn’t mean that we should get worked up. This is something that the Malay MP who highlighted the issue and ST who headlined it should appreciate. And so should the ladies who bitched about the ST report, who I criticised. Article

There may be cause and effect somewhere in a correlation, but there may be not. This is a genuine Hard Truth of Science.

Maybe the PAP and the ST should send its MPs and journalists (including the Deputy Editor who tried, but failed, to talk sense on the issue of Malay druggies) to a course in stats and causation. And the PAP should include one LKY in the course.

Have kids, live longer

In Humour on 06/12/2012 at 6:27 pm

Not having a child “may increase likelihood of early death”. This is not government propaganda or a LKY Hard Truth.

Dr Helen Nightingale, a clinical psychologist, said: “Being childless without a doubt reduces your fight for life.

“If you draw on cancer as an example – the support of a family, the focus on your children – your grandchildren and the desire to watch how they will turn out drives your psychological resistance to survive. 

God’s a Jew, and polls aggregators face same bitch as fund indexers

In Financial competency, Humour on 12/11/2012 at 10:29 am

Because he’s not a Christian, Catholic or Mormon. And Muslims don’t matter in US elections. In fact Pakis voted for Romney.

Aggregators got it right. And the bitching sounds familiar. Could be an “active” fund mgr speaking: “If we don’t do the polling these aggregators have nothing to put into their model, [but] they sit back and take the benefit of our hard work and our toil.

Already the number of state polls conducted this year was lower than last time. If everybody decides they’re just going to aggregate in the 2016 presidential election they’ll have no polls left to aggregate.”

Finally: “So I think as an industry we really have a little issue here about the virtues of doing original polling versus just sitting back and taking other peoples’ polls and putting them in models.”

Horrible possibility: if the geeks are right about Ohio, might they also be right about climate?

 Daily Beast writer David Frum (@DavidFrum) examines the consequences of the 2012 election. Namely, if the statistical analysis so accurately predicted the winner of a tough swing state, might statistical analysis be correct on climate change predictions? (via BBC)

MFA is not as productive as its US, UK counterparts?

In Financial competency, Humour, Political governance on 31/10/2012 at 6:04 am

I came across the above table in a Special Report on India in the Economist. Tharoor was using this data to show that India was shortchanging itself diplomatically because it had about the same number of diplomats as S’pore. From my perspective, it is not productive that S’pore, a little red speck, has one diplomat for 6,000 S’poreans. Even the hegemon makes do with only one diplomat for every 16,000. people. It isn’t only SMEs that contribute to the productivity gap.  And the British, supposedly overstaffed, have one fat toff per 10,000 people.

No wonder the photo in ST of one George Yeo shows a rather thin man. No more living off the fat like his diplomats?

Wonder what our Asean neighbours’ per capita numbers are? I’m sure that they have numbers  closer to that of China or India than to the US.

Yes, yes, I left out the fact that the population of S’pore is “peanuts” compared to the US etc, and that there is likely to be an absolute minimum number of diplomats needed for efficiency, but if ministers and the local media regularly boast about S’pore’s per capita numbers, I’m juz using the same stick: to beat the BSers.

Finally, I wonder if our NS men are given the same line I waz given yrs ago. When I waz doing NS in the mid 70s, I waz told that we, had to fight, to buy time for our diplomats, to get the UN, USA etc to intervene. In the early 80s, I attended a course with some senior diplomats. I told them what I was tot. They rolled their eyes and said if the SAF had to go to war, MFA had already failed. No point asking US, UN for help.

Given one LKY liked to annoy the neighbours regularly, maybe MFA was doing a good job?

Scandis, Dutch, Germans & Poles speak better English than us!

In Humour, Media on 29/10/2012 at 6:41 am

In the light of the ongoing PSLE debate, I tot I should draw readers attention to this chart.

It is no surprise that our constructive, nation-building, 30-pieces-of silver media did not reproduce this chart. But I’m surprised that our alternate media too did not, despite a very anti-PAP blog being given this (by me).

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