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Posts Tagged ‘Estonia’

Cashless payments system are passé for really smart nations

In China on 01/09/2017 at 11:21 am

Smart nations are moving on to blockchain-based currencies.

Estonia, a country that prides itself on being at the cutting edge of digital technology, is floating the idea of a currency called estcoins.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-41047744

And China’s central bank has declared its intention to issue its own blockchain-based currency.

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Lawrence Wong talked cock

In Uncategorized on 24/02/2017 at 2:56 pm

Speaking during Channel NewsAsia’s Singapore Budget Forum 2017, which was broadcast yesterday (23 Feb) Mr Wong said he drew inspiration from Sweden where the small country with a population of 9.6 million has produced technology start-ups like Spotify and Skype and further with iconic brands such as IKEA and H&M.

Erm Skype was an Estonian start-up.

Global champs in maths & science; so what?

In Uncategorized on 26/07/2016 at 6:54 am

If young S’poreans end up as chumps? Or rather unemployed PMETs, with FTs, some with fake degrees, getting the jobs because they are cheaper to hire?

FT had a long article (Article is on SgDaily’s FB wall) on S’pore’s education system: all the usual clichéd stuff that lazy journalists put out. The journalist should have read this post of mind before spewing BS.

But here be some gems in the muck.

This chart from the article shows that Israeli students are way, way behind our kids in maths and science tests. But where are IT, cybersecurity experts and entrepreneurs coming from? Certain;y not from S’pore but from Israel. Btw, NS there helps develop the relevant skills, not like here.

Take another example. Estonia is just below us, behind us but it’s a high-tech nation full of tech entrepreneurs. And it has a tinier population: 1.2m.

 

And one reader asked a relevant question:

How does Singapore do when creating people who can apply the maths they are so good at to actual progress? Theoretical physics etc? Are there are lot of top Singaporean research scientists using this maths around the world in leading research centres, or financial centres etc? Would be interesting to know. Otherwise you are just training people to pass exams, which is not exactly something to envy or emulate.

Another reader made this snaeky comment:

Horses for courses! Singapore’s requirements of its future citizens differ from the UK. Strategically Singapore, small and without natural resource endowments, has to think about attracting FDI and providing educated manpower towards meeting that goal.

As many commentators have raised, the Singaporean education system has not translated into any discernible  advantages in the theoretical sciences. Singapore also lacks the military-industrial complex, that has always proved crucial in funding – throwing money, at ideas. So as a future competitor the rest of the world can rest easy.

They’ll make good obedient workers – and students, though!

Then there’s this:

I used to interview a lot of students for the global graduate recruitment programme at my bank.  I came across a fair few from Singapore and think your comment is spot on.  You can tell that they would be very diligent employees and they were generally very competent at maths and the usual maths puzzles, but once you asked a question about for example geopolitical risks, they would often really flounder.  Since we were looking to recruit traders and risk managers, this was a big issue.

I’ll end with two S’poreans the author quoted, an unhappy, unimpressed parent, and a local academic:

A Singaporean bank executive and father of three, who asked not to be named, criticised a narrow focus on achieving top grades, which he regarded as the product of hard work as much as intelligence. “It’s a system that really channels you through the network as they deem fit. It’s their criteria, which is grades,” he says. “There’s nothing else. My question is: is that a fair assessment of someone’s capability? I don’t know whether you associate top grades with high IQ. I don’t think so.”

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One academic at a Singapore university said many of his students had been fashioned into ‘learning machines’

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He praised the system for developing good “technical skills” in maths and imparting facts but said there was an unhealthy emphasis on drilling children according to an approved method. In his experience, children were marked down for using their own methods to solve maths puzzles, even if the answers were correct, he said. “When they’re given a set of [maths] problems … some children turn to their own logic. And the answer’s right, but they’re considered wrong. You’re stifling someone’s ability to think for themselves. You’re like robots. You can’t think out of the box.”

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*Note I disagree with the parent on “using 0wnself logic” because it may not work. When I was in sec 1, we were taught a maths certain technique. I tot there was a short cut, and the teacher took the trouble of showing that while the short cut works most of the time (he had difficulty finding an example of where my trick didn’t work), it can lead to a serious miscalculation. `

 

 

 

 

 

NatDay wish: Govt stop aping other places

In Economy, Political economy, Political governance on 08/08/2014 at 4:37 am

S’pore’s govt is forever trying to copy the successes of other places. Examples

— Israel’ and Silicon Valley’s tech prowess (forgot about Estonia meh?);

— Germany’s SMEs’ structure;

— China’s internet, social media censorship practices (thank god we got Yaacob, a Malay, doing it, not the People’s Voice, TKL who wants S’pore to adopt the Chinese practice of all bloggers and posters registering their identities with the govt before they can comment);

— Scottish biotech prowess (the imported Scots went home);

— Swiss standard of living (apparently we reached it but don’t realise it; costs compared); and

— American social conservatives’ values on family (though not on abortion).

The has been adding to global warming (all that hot air, and methane from BS) and a waste of effort, money.

The govt  should heed the words of a reader of the Economist (required reading of cabinet, civil service but apparently not Jason Chua and the other morons of that pro-PAP FB page, “Fabrications about the PAP”):

“What politicians and policymakers are looking for is a panacea. Imitating Germany will not work. There have been many attempts to imitate Silicon Valley, but no one has succeeded. It is impossible to copy the culture, thinking and collective experience found in a company or a country.”—on “German lessons”, July 12th 2014.

I could add that stopping aping might even help the PAP . I mean we like Israel got NS and high tech weaponry. But why we no got Iseal expertise in civilian high tech meh?. Btw, why NS and the welfare state go hand in hand.

The PAP should walk the talk of what DPM Teo said on 21 July

Singapore has to strengthen its track record of trust, knowledge, connectivity, and livability to attract global companies to set up shop in the country, but must also position itself where it can add most value, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

“To achieve sustainable growth, Singapore cannot simply continue to do more of the same, or to put in more resources in a linear fashion,” said Mr Teo, who was speaking at an annual scholarship award ceremony for the Economic Development Board (EDB) on Monday (July 21). (CNA)

The govt should remember that the world class port and the airport and the financial centre were developed without aping any other place. As was SIA, and Keppel Corp’s rig-building businesses. The starting point was the expertise already here, expertise that juz needed nurturing. And Dr Goh aped no-one when he developed Jurong and let the MBCs in.

 

 

 

A very high tech, inventive, low population country

In Internet, Political economy on 25/08/2013 at 4:46 am

No, not us. We are none of these, though we got many of the u/m conveniences, sort of.

Estonia (population 1.3m) is a world leader in technology. Estonian geeks developed the code behind Skype, Hotmail and Kazaa (a precursor of the Napster file-sharing software). In 2007 it became the first country to allow online voting in a general election. It has among the world’s zippiest broadband speeds and holds the record for start-ups per person. Its 1.3m citizens pay for parking spaces with their mobile phones and have their health records stored in the digital cloud. Filing an annual tax return online, as 95% of Estonians do, takes about five minutes. How did the smallest Baltic state develop such a strong tech culture?

Mr Ilves, a co-founder of Skype the president says Estonia’s success is not so much about ditching legacy technology as it is about shedding “legacy thinking”. Replicating a paper-based tax-filing procedure on a computer, for instance, is no good; having such forms pre-filled so that the taxpayer has only to check the calculations has made the system a success. Education is important, too: last year, in a public-private partnership, a programme called ProgeTiiger (“Programming Tiger”) was announced, to teach five-year-olds the basics of coding. “In the 80s every boy in high-school wanted to be a rock-star,” says Mr Hinrikus. “Now everybody in high-school wants to be an entrepreneur.”  Mr Hinrikus is a co-founder of Skype.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2013/07/economist-explains-21

Interestingly, some time back ST had a piece entitled “Generating bright ideas in S’pore”. It mentioned Google and Facebbok but not Skype. Wonder why?

Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/estonia-doing-it-spore-still-talking-about-it/

Related link on why S’pore can only talk cock: http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/02/07SINGAPORE394.html

Estonia doing it, S’pore still talking about it

In Economy, Infrastructure, Political economy on 19/05/2013 at 7:39 am

The inventors of Skype came from Estonia. More importantly, the economy there is using IT to leverage its productivity. Not like S’pore where FTs are thrown at any problem.

Estonian schools are teaching children as young as seven how to programme computers.

Estonia’s e-revolution began in the 1990s, not long after independence. Toomas Hendrik Ilves, then the country’s ambassador to the United States, now Estonia’s president, takes some of the credit … He read a book whose “Luddite, neo-Marxist” thesis, he says, was that computerisation would be the death of work.

The book cited a Kentucky steel mill where several thousands of workers had been made redundant, because after automatisation, the new owners could produce the same amount of steel with only 100 employees.

“This may be bad if you are an American,” he says. “But from an Estonian point of view, where you have this existential angst about your small size – we were at that time only 1.4 million people – I said this is exactly what we need.

“We need to really computerise, in every possible way, to massively increase our functional size.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22317297