Obike debacle never ends

As a disgruntled user of oBike, I am trying to get back my $49 deposit which I was then told it was used to purchase additional oBikes instead of being an deposit.

I came across the liquidators page (www.obikedepositholders.com) to process refunds and found it rather suspicious. Is it really coming from oBike’s liquidators?

Hosted off Google forms, I would have to provide:

  1. NRIC (I didn’t provide a NRIC/Identification Number when signing up. Why would you need this, FTI Con-sulting?)
  2. Upload Credit Card Statement / PayPal Statement / Proof of Cryptocurrency Transaction (What! Dont you even have this information?)
  3. Upload Telephone Bill (This is getting ridiculous)
  4. Upload Student Certification (if applicable) (I could skip this one but why does FTI Con-sulting need this information?)
  5. Postal Address (I didn’t provide Postal Address, why don’t you just send confirmation to the email address in your records?)

 

I could have built this page and gullible people would just send their personal particulars in hopes of collecting their deposits (quite frankly, it’s next to nil) If Singapore wants to enforce law and order, the authorities should extradite the founder (currently in China, and rumoured to have used the deposits to enter the cryptocurrency market) and make him pick up every road-clogging oBike as a CWO (Corrective Work Order). Alas, the chance of that happening would be one in a million.

Now, back to FTI Con-sulting. How is FTI Con-sulting managing my personal data? What processes they have in place to address the risk of loss and misuse? Likely zero.

Should I forgo my deposit? Perhaps.

Raffles Hotel Mooncake boxes and Soldering

Mooncake festival falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. It’s now the 17th day as I write, so the festival is officially over.

Baked mooncakes, snowskin mooncakes, yam mooncakes. Cakes and cakes!

Quite frankly, I had a slice of each type and I’m stuffed. No longer the days where I can eat an entire moon cake by myself. (Double yolk, anyone?)

Snow skin mooncakes from Raffles Hotel do not fail to impress buyers with their high quality standards every year, despite prices increasing from $50 to $75 over the last 5 years. Moon cakes with exotic ingredients – Champagne Truffle & Ganache, Chocolate Pearl Truffle goes well with a pot of hot Chinese tea.

Besides the mooncakes, the packaging containing them is unique. Just one glance, you will know it’s from Raffles Hotel. The pure metal square box is a good size and has the 60s look and colour.

After eating those cakes, what else can I do with the metal box? Yep, the cover can be used as a container for small screws and what nots, while I’m mucking around with the soldering iron.

76% of S’poreans positive towards new F1 deal: Report – Really?

Last weekend’s F1 race in Singapore saw a dramatic crash which took out the Ferrari team. Lewis Hamilton who started in 5th position, roared past other drivers to take podium while racing in the 1st wet night race in F1 history.

After the race, a British couple got onto the track and took selfies. Usually that would not bring any notice, except this F1 fan had to broadcast his enthusiasm on the Internet and of all, insisted he had bribed the security guard to get onto the track.

Bribe. The 5 letter word. BRIBE.

Probably lost his mind when he said the ‘Bribe’ word in the context of a high security sporting event.

Apart from these controversies, I read on the local online papers and saw this report (76% of Singaporeans positive towards new F1 deal)

An excerpt of the article as follows:
“A report by global media intelligence firm Meltwater — which tracked online reactions in the lead-up to and during the race weekend — showed that 76 per cent of Singaporeans had reacted positively to news of the deal, which was announced by Formula One, Singapore Tourism Board and race promoter Singapore GP last Friday (Sept 15).”

Keywords noted here. tracked online reactions, the lead-up, during the race weekend, 76 per cent of Singaporeans had reacted positively to news of the deal.

  1. Only online reactions (Likes, Twits, Mentions, etc) were tracked.
  2. 76 percent of Singaporeans reacted positively to news of the deal

For the uninitiated, the F1 deal was renewed before race day. The last renewal was a standard 5 year contract but this renewal was one year less than the standard.
Remains to be seen whether was the positive reaction attributable to the renewal of the the contract, or one year less of suffering to be experienced by 76% of Singaporeans.

Lastly, the misleading title by TodayOnline shows how Journalism in Singapore has gone to the dumbs.

By skimming the headlines and not reading into the lines, anyone could be have mistaken that 76% of ALL SINGAPOREANS agree to have the F1 race renewed. Let’s run some numbers here.

Statistics showing the estimated number of Singaporeans online, we get 4,699,204 (estimated) online users. Using these numbers, 76% react favourable to F1 race. This gives 3,571,396.

With the mid year estimates from Statistics Singapore, the total population in Singapore is 5,607,300. This gives 63.6% which is more than 10% difference from that headline number.

But the foot note in the statistics indicate “Total population comprises Singapore residents and non-residents. The resident population comprises Singapore citizens and permanent residents.”

So let’s look at the resident population only – 3,933,600. Doing the calculations gives an estimated 90.7%. 90.7% on the Singapore online population approved the F1 race? Even if the the calculations from the “global media intelligence firm Meltwater” is off, its more than 10% off from the reported numbers.

This begs the question. Are the numbers provided by “global media intelligence firm Meltwater” correct? If they aren’t correct, why are this ‘news’ being reported?

One last thing – Counting 4 years, the next contract review will be up in 2021. Ahh, another big event coming up there. Care to take a guess?

HelloPay becomes Alipay (MAS regulation in the works)

I came across an Bloomberg interview with Jack Ma about Alibaba. Pretty much firing a salvo across the broad side of most global payment providers, despite what he said.

Looking into Alibaba’s payments platform, Alipay, I was not surprised to find it has bought out HelloPay in Singapore. But what caught my eye was the blurb at the bottom of the homepage.

“Consumer advisory: Alipay Singapore Investment Holding Pte. Ltd., the holder of Alipay’s stored value facility, does not require the approval of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Consumers (users) are advised to read the Terms and Conditions carefully.” – Alibaba Singapore
Looking into this, I found the formation of a National Payment Council on the MAS’ website on 2 Aug 2017 (here). That’s the reason why there’s no regulation on such payment platforms in Singapore yet. (it’s forming its forming…)

Making Orchard Road great again (aka Retail is dead)

I was watching the nightly news when I saw an interview with a Urban Planning  expert say Orchard Road needs to do this, Orchard Road needs to do that.

  1. Was there no other news to report? (Strangely the Presidential accolades appear to have died down. Wow.)
  2. Why does this remaking of the Orchard Road keeps coming back every year like a cold sore, and nothing happens? If you are new to Singapore, the remaking of Orchard Road has been broached for the last ten years. The same solutions had been brought out over and over again…
  3. Why does Orchard Road need a foreign Urban Planning expert to give his advice when the advice was the same ten years ago? (Hope the Singapore Tourism Board didn’t pay this “Urban Planning expert” fees. I could have given the same and the actual solution for free!)

On hindsight, I realise humans don’t treasure free and well intentioned advice. As such, there has to be a price tag on the advice. Ah. I’ll be charging consultation fees then.

Retail is dead. Don’t you get it? I got it, most people got it. Perhaps those hadn’t gotten the memo would be th marketers, full time influenzas (sic) spreading their shopping disease around and those who will die if their money doesn’t leave their purse.

Here’s the ST link to the same interview.

Walking

Went Macritchie for the treetop walk last weekend. It was a short walk, with a fair bit of people on the trails.

I saw a few Gurkhas walking the trails as well, with a backpack behind them. I’m sure it’s part of their training regime.

I recalled jungle training during my army days and kinda missed the navigation in jungle bit.

Feeling inspired, I reached out to my army buddy and found he’s part of a group organising such trail walks.

I’ll be starting with the walks on the following weekend. I’ll be reusing the old army fieldpack (no webbing) still in serviceable condition. The fieldpack took me from Singapore to Brunei to Thailand, sustaining only superficial cuts.

On a side note, I can’t fathom how a person can get his fieldpack damaged beyond recoverability. Did I get my fieldpack from a good batch? Hmm…

Camera function in Whatsapp main page

[Update July 8th 2017] Surprise surprise! WhatsApp added filters for photos!

Just noticed I can access the camera from the main page in the latest WhatsApp update. I guess there are more people using WhatsApp to send pictures.

After taking a picture, the segue (/intent) transitions to the WhatsApp contact list. Select the contact and the picture is sent.

A copy of the picture resides in the image gallery.

NRIC validation via IVR

Quick blurb! Was making a banking transaction when I was prompted to input NRIC via IVR. Keyed in an incorrect NRIC number and to my surprise, I was informed immediately to rekey! What a good way to test for valid DBS bank accounts (since the NRIC is linked to your bank accounts)!

Thanks DBS!

*There’s likely to be some analytics run on the background to temporary block phone numbers. I have not tried. I will not be held responsible for anyone testing this out.