Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

Singtel Starhub EPL Prisoner's Dilemma

In business, competition is suppose to bring down prices, right?

Well, not so in this case.

You might have read that Singtel won the bidding war to broadcast EPL matches for the next three years until 2013. In 2007, Starhub paid $250 million for the rights. This time, Singtel paid more than that, obviously.

This competition actually made the consumers worse off. So don't be surprised if you see sports channel getting charged more in the future.

This is also a classic case of Prisoner's Dilemma at work. The basic premise is, if the two parties just look to benefit themselves, they are actually made worse off in the end.

If you've studied Economics, you'll know the standard answer to solving this problem, and come up with a win-win situation for both.

There's a simple win-win solution to this. It's not to have the bidding war and have one of the party pay the other for not entering the bidding war. In this collaborative mode, Singtel can just bid the minimum amount and share the savings with Starhub. For example, Singtel can just bid $200m and maybe pass $50m to Starhub. Both of them can plaster their logos all over the TV. If the minimum sum is even lower, both can save even more. In this example I didn't take account into the potential earnings they can receive from the coverage, which can actually be greater than the savings, in which case, then they should bid anyway.

Of course, business isn't so simple, and people behave as if they don't know Economics in real life. So the consumers are the ones who are really paying for the bids in the end.

Prime Minister Lee on those who serve NS at 30, 40 and 50.

Serving NS at 30

"If we make it a requirement, we would not get the people we wanted. Secondly, if they did serve NS at 30, 40 or 50 years old, I would not like to be their platoon commander." - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long

Source: They are spice in the S'pore mix (

- PM Lee “would not like” to be your platoon commander if you’re 30, 40, 50 years old (
- Ungrateful Platoon Commander, Insensitive Leeder

If you read the response of the online community, you'll understand exactly why PM Lee would not like to be their platoon commander. Just look at all the negative comments and complaints. In this case, he probably won't want to be their platoon commander regardless of their age.

Anyone who has served NS, especially those reservist units, will know the attitude of older soldiers. They have other commitments in life other than NS so the lack of focus on serving NS is only natural, hence the difficulty being their platoon commander.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Any job should do ...Flexibility will impress future employers, Gan tells youth who raise discrimination concerns

Just take any job

I quote from

For example, an impressive c.v. should show how the candidate had carefully chosen each role, had gained good experience in it, and had then used this experience to progress to his next, higher value-added role. The c.v. should show how the candidate consistently secured jobs with the most reputable companies in each field. The job history should demonstrate that the candidate really has the kind of skills, strengths and interests that he claims to have.

In contrast, a poor, "patchwork" c.v. would show a candidate moving from job to job, without any obvious strategy or plan. After all, he's there just for the sake of having a job, not because he's genuinely interested in it. And his jobs don't build on each other in a helpful way. One year he's a MacDonalds waiter; next year he's a primary school relief teacher; after that he joins the SAF; two years later, he's selling insurance.

Gan calls this "flexibility". But sorry, such a c.v. is not impressive to me at all. It is merely what happens when you take the"any job should do" attitude to your own career.

If you take on any job, you at least are doing something productive during the job search period. You are earning some money, even if it's not giving you relevant experience.

If you choose to look for better jobs, you'll be looking for a longer period of time given the current bad economic climate.

So why not hold a part time job during the job search?

Note that you do not have to include your unimpressive (if it is) part time job if you don't want to.

Also note the termination rules for the part time job before you sign anything. It's good to give days advance notice to your current employer should you want to quit. Professional etiquette.

- Any job should do ...Flexibility will impress future employers, Gan tells youth who raise discrimination concerns
- Learn from the Regrets of the Flatulence Analyst

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bus firms fined over poor service

Bus Operators Fined $100

News source: Bus firms fined over poor service

Online response: PTC fines on transport companies are meaningless

I'm don't like the idea of giving out fines for punishments. The authorities should ask the CEOs to spend a few days doing community service. Or better yet, make them take their own public transport to work!

That will show them.

Also, driving related offenders should be punished by the suspension of driving license. No fines required. Money is cheap. Time is not.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Earth Hour 2009

Earth Hour 2009

This cartoon reflects my thoughts on Earth Hour 2009.

So what if the response is better than 2008?

If you want to prevent global warming and climate change, there's a need for something even more significant.

To quote Albert Einstein:
The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.

To achieve that, one just have to significantly reduce the main carbon dioxide contributors: the power stations and the vehicle emissions. Improving the efficiency in these areas effectively cuts down substantial amounts of greenhouse gases released.

Imagine if car engine efficiency is doubled.

Imagine if someone created a type of concrete that can absorb carbon dioxide.

Do you get where I'm going with this?

Entrepreneurship and businesses have better chances at making a green impact than any other bodies or campaign.

It's might be cool to participate in these events, but it doesn't really make a difference anyway.

And no, your Toyota Prius don't help save the planet. You'll need every one driving one of those.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sim Lim Square vs Newton Food Centre

Sim Lim Square and Newton Food Centre
I must say that this cartoon is bias. I've never experienced these situations in my life, but I'm a Singaporean.

And is $40 a fair price for a prawn? My colleague says yes, but both of us probably won't pay that kind of money.

The the problem here is how business is done, rather than how much was "swindled".

Sim Lim Square has been getting a lot of flake also. I can't understand why people have to resort to hard sell to make a sale. What ever happen to value sell?

Newton prawn saga: Stall owner play hide and seek
$239 for 8 tiger prawns
Fair deals at Sim Lim

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Promising shuttler quits

Foreign badminton talent chooses to leave

Link: Singapore Must Think That Badminton Players Are Very Stupid

I wonder who lost out in this case?

It's strange that Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) only gave out that ultimatum now. Riky Widianto, 17, has been in Singapore since 2005. That makes him 13 when he's here. If SBA is intend on grooming him, SBA seems quite confident that these four years will be enough to entice someone like him to be a Singaporean. Not so, as it turns out.

I'm also not sure if what kind of effect Singapore citizenship has on foreign players. Are they attracted by the idea or repelled?

Billions invested - are they safe?: MPs

A rising tide lifts all boats

Link: What Tharman said in Jan 2008...

Here's a quote from the blog entry above made by Lucky Tan.

How can good long term investments whose risks are thoroughly assessed plunge by 50-80% within 8 months?

I would have agreed with Lucky Tan if I haven't actually seen it myself.

Ever heard of a quote "A rising tide lifts all boats"? Basically, it means that majority individuals will benefit from the economy when it's doing well, and vice versa.

A stock that plunges 50-80% doesn't mean that the company isn't safe. It can also mean that the company is riding the low wave just like every other company in the current dire economic situation.

I follow Amazon's stock price closely, even if I don't buy it. They fell from over US100 to US35 per share after the Lehman incident. I call that market correction — a 75% drop back to reality. But I also know that Amazon's a strong company, with great management and leadership. That's not reflected in the share price drop. Today, few months later, the share price has increased to over US60 per share. That price represents the strategy Amazon has taken over the years, a more telling picture of how they are doing in the current economy.

If you ask me, good investments can plunge to near bankruptcy levels. But if the management is good, the investment is still considered safe, and is still good for investment.

What's more challenging is to single out companies that are doing badly not because of the current economic crisis, but because they don't have any sound business strategies.

One should not just look at numbers. More important are people inside the company who contribute to that number.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Internet not an effective self-regulated regime, says MICA

  Internet not an effective self-regulated regime, says MICA

Source article: Internet not an effective self-regulated regime, says MICA

It's always amusing to see someone without much knowledge of a certain field speak as if they know enough.

This time, the Singapore online target list is Senior Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts, Lui Tuck Yew.

Let me provide my views for some of the comments made by Lui.

First, the Internet is never meant to be a self regulating environment. It's a place where people speak their mind freely, with the focus on the word freely. It's as authentic as it can be. It's the only place where people can be who they really are. The truth is ugly, but it's only on the Internet where you can get the truth. Many people don't speak what they truly feel offline because they are afraid of consequences. The problem here is not so much of what people say, it depends on whether one is able to listen and handle the truth.

Heard of the famous movie quote, "You want the truth you can't handle the truth" from A Few Good Men. That's as real as it gets. Imagine if your friend has body odor, would you be brave enough to tell him/her? How about sending an anonymous email?

Being able to tell the truth is the most valuable attribute any person can have.

Many people in real life are in fact borderline hypocrites. By borderline, I mean those who say one thing online but can't say the same thing offline. If you don't say it, you're on the borderline. But if you say the opposite, you're a hypocrite - you can't say what you think.

Do I follow what I preach?

I always ask myself if I can repeat what I say online in the real world before posting comments.

But always ask first if the person is able to handle the truth, because most people can't.

Other links:
- Singapore Govt says: Internet very unruly and unkind, not self-regulated enough
- Behind Today's Lui story

Friday, January 23, 2009

300,000 jobs may be lost

300,000 jobs may be lost

Grim forecast? of 300,000 job losses Most expected to beforeigners hired in past 5 years

300,000 Job Losses is a Scary Thought

It's not a very happy cartoon, I know.

How to spend the Singapore Budget 2009

How to spend the Singapore budget 2009

This is what I hate about businesses in Singapore. We're either exchanging money between Singaporeans or just having the money stream out of the country.

Singapore should start creating companies that make more foreign money, take on the global economy.

That's what I've been saying to all my friends for years, except that now I have figures to give it context.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009