Sunday, 5 December 2021

The other shoe drops...

Raeesah Khan testifies to privileges committee that WP leaders told her to keep to lie made in Parliament

  • Speaking under oath, former MP Raeesah Khan said she was told by WP leaders to keep to a lie that she had made in Parliament 
  • They also told her that if she and the party "could get away with it, there was no need to clarify the lie"
  • WP volunteers who testified said the party’s disciplinary panel was "self-serving"
  • This was because it was made up solely of the same WP leaders who knew Ms Raeesah had lied 
  • Ms Raeesah also disputed assertions by WP chief Pritam Singh that she was ordered to clarify the truth and that she would be expelled from WP if she didn’t resign 

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Open borders. Closed minds.

If you're like me and practically live on Facebook, this Monday (29 Nov 2021) was the first day of the opening of the borders between Singapore and Malaysia, and many people working in the other country can finally go home to the families.

In other related news, there is a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. 

Identified just last week, the variant now called Omicron (because WHO does not want to use "Nu" (pronounced "Nee") and "Xi". Because.) has been detected first in South Africa, and neighbouring countries, and now in Europe, Australia, Hong Kong, and Israel. South African doctors report that so far, symptoms have been mild and could be treated at home. 

Generally, viruses become more transmissible, but less deadly. Because a dead host cannot infect others (and further spread the virus).

Sunday, 28 November 2021

A Response to an "Anti-Vaxxer".

"... the big question is whether the current vaccine is still appropriate given the new variants."

The prevailing variant in Singapore now is Delta. It is more transmissible. And has been shown to infect Children more. So, your belief that "Kids immune are tip-top, unlike our half-dead seniors" is a fallacy.
Also, MIS-C.
And "Long Covid."

"what's the rush?" No rush. take your time. If you do not need to work for a living, if you child do not need to go to school, if you are prepared or prefer to isolate at home, and avoid social situations, if you would like to be a "hikikomori" (and wish your family to be hikikomori too), your best bet to avoid the Delta or Omicron (if and when it becomes prevalent) variant is to withdraw from society? Or did you have another viable plan?

Omicron: Variant of Concern

 So there is a new variant (of Covid-19) now.

  • The WHO on Friday named the variant Omicron, classifying it as a variant of concern
  • Singapore announced restrictions for travellers who had recently been to seven African countries believed to be at risk from a new Covid-19 variant
  • The variant is reported to have more than 30 mutations in the spike protein alone, of which four of them believed to be able to neutralise some treatment options
  • More studies are need to determine whether the mutation can diminish the effectiveness of vaccines, or if it is more contagious
  • Experts say if the variant spreads widely around the world, it will eventually arrive in Singapore

So, should we be worried?

Thursday, 25 November 2021

How Social Media (Facebook, Google, Youtube) is not good.

"The main culprit, Haugen said, is Facebook’s desire to maximize engagement, which has turned its algorithm and platform design into a giant bullhorn for hate speech and misinformation... For clickbait farms, getting into the monetization programs is the first step, but how much they cash in depends on how far Facebook’s content-recommendation systems boost their articles. They would not thrive, nor would they plagiarize such damaging content, if their shady tactics didn’t do so well on the platform."



Friday, 12 November 2021

Protecting "Gig Economy" workers

We should not treat gig economy workers as employees. (Unless they want to and their "employers" are willing to - mutual consent.) 

The current set-up provides a lot of flexibility for the workers as well the platforms (ersatz "employer") that offers the gigs. And changing that would affect that flexibility and advantage of that business model. (Which may well destroy that business model and business.)

BUT (and this is a VERY IMPORTANT BUT), these workers MUST HAVE BASIC PROTECTION!

Certainly, they need more protection than what they currently get. So there should be mandatory, basic protection for these gig economy workers.

But why? Why can't they just work in a regular job?

This assumes that regular jobs are a) still available in the future, and b) what the new economy workers want. And c) what new business models want or need.

So let's take it as a given that in the future there may be many "gig economy" jobs, and that some people may prefer "gig economy" jobs for the freedom or the fit with their life or needs.

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Living with Covid. Living with Singaporeans. Living with idiots.

There is a blogpost about how Singapore is coping or not coping with the current "transition" from containing Covid, to living with Covid. And it points out (eventually) that Singapore's policies are inconsistent:

"... there are actually more than 1000 patients admitted for Covid-19. Are our admission criteria too lax? By now we should have enough data to know what are the patient profile characteristics that will give a good prognosis and those that we know will not do well later on. This data should be carefully analysed and translated into better clinical practice so that we do not admit excessively and take up too many beds. At present, out of all patients diagnosed, 1.8% require oxygen, 0.2% are in ICU and the rest are either asymptomatic or mildly ill. Given our extensive experience in the last 20 months treating Covid-19 patients, can we extract more efficiency out of the system in terms of hospitalisations of asymptomatic and mildly ill patients?
On one hand, we say we are resolute on opening up and living with the virus. On the other hand, when we test almost everyone under the sun, we seem to be also going for a zero-case disease elimination strategy. As one public health expert put it, it is like asking each and every person caught in a downpour, “Are you wet?”
Another expert put it more starkly, “the pain of transition is made worse by being stuck in applying disease elimination measures to deal with an endemic disease. Much of what is being done in the name of disease prevention is counter-productive”."

He is right. The policy is to live with it, but the measures are for zero covid strategy. And the reason for this inconsistency: Politics. Or Political reality.