My Rambling Thoughts

Spending on TaoBao

I discovered "by accident" that I have spent over 100,000 yuan on TaoBao recently. That's over S$20k! :horror:

(I know I spent a lot, but not by this much — with some self-denial involved. :-/)

I decided to go through all my orders to see where the money went.

YearTransformersBricksToysAstroOthersShipping
201500147.940213.52238.00
2016377.009,416.55379.300357.702,564.00
20171,494.0013,304.70001,029.773,353.70
20183,208.501,019.00768.907,5351,011.101,241.00
201913,684.333,956.76247.007362,492.673,022.36
202013,764.271,562.560371787.441,134.00
202118,895.93436.20315.8604,488.161,487.10

I was already winding down buying Lego-compatible sets in 2018, but when Lepin was raided in 2019, I bought several sets I was holding out on. I went a little overboard. :sweat: Even so, I missed Lepin 21007 (Horizon Express) which had been OOS for a while. It was one of my regrets. :-P

Assessment books 2021

The assessment books I used this year. These are meant to cover the basics and to practise regularly. I got a separate Grammar and Vocabulary book to cover English more in-depth. I did not get any Science books.

Update: I got an English Composition book that was a compilation of sample compositions. The idea is to learn what are considered decent compositions.

For next year, let's start with these first :lol::

I may get a separate Grammar and Vocabulary book later. For English, there is no sequence, so it is alright to finish one book before buying the next. There is no need to be in sync with the syllabus.

For Math, I like to follow the syllabus, so it is easy to run out of exercises (for a given topic). It is necessary to buy more books, but five may be a bit too many. :sweat:

I got one Science book for revision purposes.

I don't want to get too many assessment books because it takes time to mark and go through them. :lol:

Closing the net for the unvaccinated

Once the majority of the population is vaccinated, it is possible to put pressure on the unvaccinated.

DateAnnounced
Aug 10Aug 6 Lifted no dine-in restrictions. Allow 5 vaccinated at F&B establishments. Unvaccinated cap at 2 at coffee shops and hawker centres.
Oct 13Oct 9 Unvaccinated not allowed to dine-in at coffee shops and hawker centres. Not allowed to visit attractions.
Oct 20Oct 9 Unvaccinated not allowed to enter malls (due to one week grace period).
Dec 1Nov 20 Unvaccinated not allowed to enter libraries.
Dec 8Nov 8 Unvaccinated "by choice" has to pay own medical bills if admitted to hospital or treatment facilities for covid-19.
Jan 1Oct 27 Unvaccinated not allowed to go to workplace.
Jan 1Nov 20 Unvaccinated not allowed to use negative PET to enter venues.

Did the measures make the unvaccinated take up the vaccine?

DateTwo doseOne doseBooster
6 Aug68%79%
20 Aug78%82%
9 Oct83%85%
27 Oct84%85%14%
8 Nov85%86%18%

Somewhat. The first no dine-in restriction added some 3% (79% to 82%), the no-mall restriction added less than 1% (85% to 85%). That's it.

In a separate note, MOH says that 85% of the total population means 94% of the eligible population (12 and above). It continues to be difficult to persuade the die-hard 6%. The pressure will increase. There is no need to worry about backlash since they are the minority.

The booster take-up rate is pretty good, for now. Consider that the vaccination rate on Apr 18 is 14.9% (one dose 24%), and on May 10, 22.6% (one dose 32.6%). These are the early adopters, there is no doubt they are pro-vaccination.

How about me? When the no-mall measure was announced on Oct 9, I started to look for clinics offering non-mRNA vaccines. Unfortunately, the usual ones were all fully booked or out-of-stock. One even had appointments going to Dec! Luckily, I found one that allowed walk-in.

Yup, the no-mall restriction got me. It's not that I want to shop in malls (although it is inevitable, given that many shops are in malls), but the usual places I tabao food are in malls. I can find alternatives, but my family is quite fussy. :lol: Believe it or not, there is only one Western outlet that sells bolognese spaghetti near my place, and it is in a mall.

I was not able to enter malls for 4 weeks. Well, I lived. :-D

But the writing was on the wall. When MOH announced only vaccinated are allowed to go to workplace starting from Jan 1 2022, that was the end of holding out for all except for bosses and the retired.

MOH is closing the net, but it is not dealing with the crux of the matter: the elderly.

MOH has also stated that booster is now a must. So vaccination is not compulsary but booster is?

As long as the booster rate is high (70% of the vaccinated rate 5 months ago), the non-boosted will become "unvaccinated".

Who wants to lose access to dine-in and malls?

Drawing wrong conclusion from statistics

In Singapore, 80% of covid serious cases (needing oxygen) and 70% of critical (in ICU) for >60 years old.

We should do our utmost to protect this age group, but we aren't.

Instead, there is emphasis to "protect" the unvaccinated through various restrictions, and this happens to include unvaccinated seniors. According to last available statistics (now hidden), 60 to 70% of the serious cases for seniors are unvaccinated, and they are taking up the bulk of hospital resources.

The idea is that if they are vaccinated, they won't fall into serious situation, and only 30 to 40% are left (serious despite being vaccinated).

What if, the numbers don't fall at all? That these seniors will have serious condition despite being vaccinated?

This is where statistics can be misleading. You think that you can solve the issue by targetting it, but actually, it is not solved because of an underlying cause. In this case, it is that seniors are susceptible to covid, whether vaccinated or not.

Now that the statistics aren't looking too good, MOH no longer separates infection/death by vaccination status.

TtR trains from Little Plastic

After so long, someone finally created professional-quality trains!

Still in progress, to be delivered by end of year.

This was a Kickstarter campaign. I found it after it has closed, but luckily I was still able to join it.

It costs US$69 for a set of 5 and US$20+ for shipping.