[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Saturday, December 30, 2006

[An Unbelievable Bargain]
1. I have been trying out a new phone Bee Lan's friend bought for me from Shenzhen. It is very attractive, slim, with the keys arranged in a circle, looking like an I-Pod, with a function wheel in the middle. Measuring 5cm by 10cm, it is about 8mm thick and has a camera which takes pictures of 2 Mega Pixel quality and can play MP3 and MP4. There is a dictionary built in, Eng-Ch and Ch-Eng, with a menu of input systems. Lots of other interesting features. And all for the price of S$50!

2. China's low cost of manufacturing is scary. We are no longer talking low tech. A handphone like the one I described has a lot of technology in it. This is a big challenge to countries, companies and individuals. If we try to compete head-on against China's strengths, we must lose. The Singapore Government has been worrying about this challenge for some years now. The only way to keep our wages being dragged down to Third World levels is to move into greater system efficiency which is harder for bigger countries to replicate.

3. Greater system efficiency requires a value system which is honest and rational. The efficiency of our logistics is a great advantage. Our protection of intellectual property makes us attractive to industries like biotech and software. Investors don't like capricious regulators. The virtual absence of corruption in our system is an enormous advantage. The financial industry has been growing rapidly because our system is trusted. Trust is an intangible quality but real. Without trust, we have nothing.

4. Education is key. We need not only to maximize the potential of every Singaporean, we need also to safeguard a group culture which enables us to combine our separate efforts so that the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts. There are any number of Chinese and Indians who are smarter than us as individuals. But, as a group, we are much more effective and efficient. That's why the money we earn has such high purchasing power outside Singapore.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG


Anonymous Jennifer said...

Surely the price tag of S$50 will tell you that most of the software that makes the phone/mp3/mp4 functions work has been pirated. Lenovo is making the IBM Thinkpads now, do you the prices of their laptops drop to $500? How dumb can one get!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007 4:48:00 pm


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