Three Days


Finely Poised
  • The graph of the total number of Covid-19 cases in CN (middle panel) has flattened indicating the number of new cases is lessening. However, the situation is still finely poised as CN is looking to scale back quarantines and restart work. If containment is successful, the graph should remain flat or head south, but if not, it could rise again.
  • The graph for the rest of the world (right panel) has gained a steep upward trajectory due to emerging cases in KR, IT, IR and JP (left panel). The US joins the chart due to returnees from the cruise ship Diamond Princess.

Mask Economics
  • As more locations, countries and continents catch the bug, the demand for face masks will likely accelerate as even countries not affected will look to buy ahead or stock pile.
  • Ditto sanitisers, protective gear, certain drugs and possibly even groceries.
  • Producers will be under great pressure and could fulfil orders on a first-order-first-served or highest-bidder basis.

Three Days
  • It would not be amiss to keep an eye on food, medical, industrial and liquidity supply chains, in case a global quarantine or run disrupt these.
  • Particularly food. Although people need air and water more acutely, these two have shorter supply chains, whereas food supply chains are longer.
  • How critical is food? According to some commentators, three days. Three days without food and chaos will ensure. You can test this yourself. Tomorrow, skip breakfast, lunch and dinner (you can drink water) and extrapolate to three days.

[This post is opinion, not by subject matter experts, and is intended for thought exploration only,]

Strontium Titanate

UM is looking for co-founders to team up with its researchers for commercialisation opportunities. Attend an acceleration meetup happening Monday next [ 9 Mar 2020, 9am,, tix ] @ KL to listen to 15-20 pitches, among which will cover: [Image: strontium titanate info via]


  • Bioreactor - Turn organic materials into hydrogen then electricity
  • TigerMilk - Relief for asthma attacks from cultivated mushrooms
  • ScolTech - Device to diagnose and measure bent spines
  • EcolightCrete - Concrete and building blocks augmented with biomass
  • PowerBank - Uses strontium titanate instead of lithium cobalt

Pick of Events (W1-Mar-2020)

General
Link EndearHer Dialogue @ KL tix
Link Islamic Digital @ KL also
Link Southern Retail @ JB
Link Entrepreneur Meetup @ KL
Link Influencer Taxes @ KL

Arts & Misc
Link Women Filmmakers @ KL tix
Link Who's Hu @ KL vid tix
Link Design Meetup @ KL
Link Sharing Economy @ KL
Link Asean-Oceania Markets @ KC also

Around The Region
Link Quality Assurance @ BKK
Link Anglo Saxon Philosophy @ SG
Link Data Science for Startups @ JKT
Link Transit Oriented Development @ JKT
Link Build a Search Engine for Profit @ JKT

Ode to Ophelia


Singer, songwriter Skylar Grey covers Stand By Me to mark the end of the US hurricane season of 2017 when the Atlantic coast was threatened by hurricanes Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Natia and Ophelia [post title].

These hurricanes recall Katrina, which inundated New Orleans in 2005. One memorable image was of a highway filled with cars fleeing New Orleans. Though Katrina was barrelling down on the city, drivers kept their nerve and discipline and did not stray into the shoulders of the highway.

This song is for those in the trenches in the current public health situation, wherever they are.

Fintech Startups


A sample of the latest fintech startups: 1 2 3
  • Slyp - Digital receipts with clickable links to seller, product, warranty
  • Dyme - Track and manage recurring costs eg. subscriptions
  • Kontist - Digital bank for the self-employed, has tax compliance focus
  • Propel - Banking for the low-income, including benefits, food stamps
  • OakNorth - Earn more interest compared to high street banks site
  • Element - White label insurance, from product development to claims
  • Built - Construction finance ecosystem: lenders, builders, inspectors, buyers
  • Solaris - Banking platform used by TomorrowPenta
  • TrueLayer - Open banking used by MonzoRevolut
  • SaltEdge - Global banking platform: 5107 banks 70 countries

Machine Art Curation

Idea into Reality
Interested to know more about your favourite homegrown brands? Meet and chat with the founders who will share tips and experiences learnt through running their brands: Nelissa from Nelissa Hilman, Dahlia from So.Lek, Joseph from WonderBrew, Adrian from The Apothecary [post image]. For tix, see 'Idea into Reality'.

Machine Art Curation
Can't decide what to include in your art exhibition? Have a machine assist you. Explore machine curation in an event by MDA and Goethe, featuring Hans Bernhard of ubermorgen and etoy. Topics: intersection of art & machine learning, machine curation, what to feed machines, algorithmic bias etc. For tix, see 'Machine Art Curation' below.

Pick of Events (W4-Feb-2020)

General
Link Idea Into Reality @ KL
Link Face Recognition @ KL
Link Turkish Business @ KL
Link Lean Manufacturing @ KL also
Link Corona Economy @ KL also

Arts
Link Machine Art Curation @ KL
Link Kampung Painting @ KL
Link French Cooking @ KL
Link Visual Arts Projects @ KL
Link Ludwig Virama @ KL

Around The Region
Link FinTechNite @ JKT
Link Digital Telco @ JKT
Link Digital Footprint @ JKT
Link Data Storytelling @ SG
Link Celtic Bangkok @ BKK

Contactless Conferences


Major Conferences
With the cancellation of Mobile World Congress 2020 (Feb 24-27), if Covid-19 rages on, other major events might be under review as well, for example:
  • Mar: SXSW [ post image | source ]
  • Apr: Hannover Messe
  • Apr: Facebook F8
  • May: Google IO
  • Jun: Apple WWDC
  • Jun: Cannes Lions
Organisers might make a decision a month or more ahead of the event for the benefit of exhibitors and delegates (ticketing, bookings, accommodation, flights etc). If June events are cancelled or postponed, Euro 2020 and Tokyo 2020 could be in jeopardy too.

Boutique Events
Smaller or boutique events can probably still proceed as they are mainly attended by locals Or try contactless events (online events). Some suggestions based on a few we attended:
  • Short and sweet presentations.
  • Clear audio (more important than vivid video).
  • Clear slides (as and when they are referred to by the presenter).
  • A producer or moderator to direct and pace the event along.

Miss Cellaneous


After a break of almost twenty years, watchmaker Solvil et Titus rehired the filmmaker who helmed The Flying Tigers (1993) to direct a sequel titled 'Miss Cellaneous' (2011). Although the dialogue is in Mandarin, the film is eminently watchable without knowing the dialogue or the plot.

Batik Girl


Irwan Junaidy the producer of Batik Girl [vid], will be speaking at a PechaKucha event next Thursday [20 Feb 2020, 7pm @ PJ tix] along with a host of other speakers. Batik Girl's honours include Digicon6 and Festival de Largos plus numerous official selections.

Pick of Events (W3-Feb-2020)

General
Link GeoCorona @ KL
Link Zalora Petronas @ KL tix
Link EtherGecko @ KL tix
Link Digital Payments @ KL
Link Golden Dinar @ KL tix

Arts
Link SugarLeet @ KL
Link Fat MY-FR @ KL
Link Silent Book Club @ KL
Link SocMed Dominate @ KL
Link Kalimba Making @ KL vid

Around The Region
Link WooPress @ SG
Link Airflow Spark @ JKT
Link Wordpress Asia @ BKK
Link Terraform Dagster @ BKK
Link US Presidential Elections @ HK

Nutcracker Rampage

Covid
WHO has officially named nCoV as COVID-19 ('corona virus disease of 2019'). Not sure if this has anything to do with it, Corvid is a family of feathered friends which includes the darkly foreboding ravens and crows, and the more cheery jays, magpies and nutcrackers.

Data
Numbers are still grim, including those thousands of folks stuck in ships, but there is a bright spot in a downward trend in the increase in new cases in CN [post image, source]. Still early days yet, the outbreak may reignite or flare-up elsewhere. [Update: big jump in the count of cases overnight due to the inclusion of the 'clinically diagnosed' - people exhibiting symptoms but not lab tested yet.]

Battle
The scary bit about nCoV is its steep infection rate once it takes hold. It took the effort and might of a whole country to bring it under some semblance of control in CN. Other locales might not have the same depth of resources, thus it would be useful to prepare ahead, run trials, simulations etc.

Continuity
Many businesses rely on their IT systems to run 24x7, managed by admins and techies. Since they work as a team and perhaps closely together, if one of them gets the nCoV bug, it might mean the whole IT team could be quarantined. Thus, mission critical teams may need to be split into two or more physically separated ones. ref

Measures
For other forward preparations, one possibility is to draw on the lessons from Wuhan as a practice guide. There are many details, for example:
  • Only 1-2 persons from an apartment block may exit (to buy groceries) at any one time using a token-ring like system (essentially there are only two exit cards, it has to be handed back by a shopper before it can be used by the next person to exit).
  • During a quarantine, health inspectors go door-to-door everyday to check the temperature of the residents of each housing unit. This helps uncover persons who may need further testing and to ensure residents stay home and not break quarantine.
  • Cab and ride hailing cars are putting airtight plastic shields between the front and back seats. The rear windows are lowered for ventilation and sanitation, while the driver can still use his or her aircon. Even in the tropics, naturally ventilated cars are tolerable though not necessary comfortable.

Public Holidays 2020: KL & SEL

Labuan, a Federal Territory of MY, celebrates Federal Territory Day on Feb 1st each year. Image: TBP

January
  • Jan 01, Wed, New Years Day
  • Jan 25, Sat, Chinese New Year 2 days
February
  • Feb 01, Sat, Federal Territory Day KL
  • Feb 08, Sat, Thaipusam
May
  • May 01, Fri, Labour Day
  • May 07, Thu, Wesak Day
  • May 10, Sun, Nuzul Al-Quran
  • May 24, Sun, Hari Raya Aidilfitri 2 days
June-July
  • Jun 06, Sat, Agong's Birthday
  • Jul 31, Fri, Hari Raya Haji
August
  • Aug 20,Thu, Awal Muharram
  • Aug 31, Mon, Merdeka Day
September-November
  • Sep 16, Wed, Malaysia Day
  • Oct 29, Thu, Maulidur Rasul
  • Nov 14, Sat, Deepavali
December
  • Dec 11, Fri, Sultan's Birthday SEL
  • Dec 25, Fri, Christmas Day

FIFO Grocery



Data
  • The 'knock out' rate of nCoV is currently quoted at around 1-2%. This has led to some suggestions it might only be slightly worse than flu. The rate could be after extensive hospitalisation, not the rate 'in the wild'.
  • What also isn't much reported is the 'debilitation' (severe symptoms) rate. 'Debilitation' can be more logistically intensive than 'knock out', like a wounded soldier will require rescue, evacuation and treatment. One report quoted a nCoV 'debilitation' rate of around 15%. 1 2 3
  • Thus, it is not amiss for individuals, businesses and countries to take nCoV seriously, depending on their risk appeitite, unless it is otherwise proven to be just another flu. 4 5

Buffers
  • Say, a remote island has its groceries delivered by ship every month. One day, at the beginning of the month, news arrive via satellite internet of a possible shortage of groceries at the source. Islanders quickly rush to supermarkets to stock up.
  • In a few days, a whole month's groceries are snapped up. But the next delivery ship is only arriving in three weeks' time. Those who did not have the chance to stock up are now faced with the prospect of a bare larder for three weeks. That's why 'runs' are inadvisable.
  • At normal times, it is OK to acquire a FIFO grocery reserve [post title and image]. This will help buffer the supply chain during eventualities.

Routine
  • The first wave is the virus, the second could be the economic effects. This is best mitigated by 'carrying on' business as usual and not get into a 'run mode' as described in the previous section. It would also help to work on missions bigger than nCoV.
  • Over the weekend, we were at Batu Caves for some Thaipusam photo taking. The kavadi carriers had walked miles under the blistering sun on barefoot on roads surfaced with gravel, stones and debris. They then joined a long queue at the compound before inching up the stairs to the caves, all the while shouldering the heavy kavadi. There were no face masks, nCoV was probably not in the minds of the kavadi carriers. 6

Tech
  • If you are unable to summon Uber, it may be because a previous rider in a ride-share car you rode in was found to be a possible nCoV case. 7
  • Hotels & cruises are shunning high risk customers, will Airbnb follow suite? 8
  • After Wuhan, the next most affected province is Guangdong, where WeChat, DJI and Huawei are located. 9
  • Due to the amount of remote working, messaging apps could take a hit, time to brush up on the art of terse SMS (or explore Line, Telegram, Skype). 10
  • Since the restaurant business is slow, Alibaba is hiring restaurant staff for food delivery. 11 12 13 14

Quarantine Cuisine




Under home quarantine, lockdown or leave of absence? Or company imposed work-from-home or 'stay away from the office for 14 days because you have been travelling overseas'? If your company has asked you to work from home, you ought not skip off to cafes or coworking spaces (on the remote possibility you might have caught the bug from your travels).

If you are bored eating instant ramen or summoning food delivery at home, you can try ordering groceries online to whip up delicious nasi goreng (ID fried rice, variants which can also be found in BN, MY, SG). The video by AU-based Master Chef Adam Liaw is fast-paced and comprehensive. It also showcases how traditional Nusantara (BN, ID, MY, SG) cooking can be rather lengthy and elaborate, and that's perhaps why you can't find them often at budget eateries these days.

Veggie connoisseurs can try substituting chicken with firm tofu, keropok (prawn crackers) with papadam, prawns and belacan with wakame (seaweed), and eggs with yellow tofu. The second video highlights the rarely seen Fujian fried rice which is quite different from the normal Cantonese or Yangzhou versions. In the third video Chef Ruchi Bharani presents the delightful Tawa Pulao ('pan-sauteed savoury rice'), a popular Indian dish.

AI Predictions

Three startups will be sharing their outlook for AI next Sat (Feb 15th, 2020) at Sunway iLabs: Vase (online surveys), Qoala (insurance claims) and RealInfo (property valuation). None of them mention AI in their home pages (except for Vase's dot ai name), which is a good sign suggesting AI is being used for ops, not marketing. For tix, see 'AI Outlook' below.

Pick of Events (W2-Feb-2020)

General
Link AI Outlook @ KL
Link Human Capital Index @ KL
Link Financial Innovation @ KL
Link Social Influence @ KL tix
Link Balcony Brunch @ KL

Arts
Link Love Serenade @ KL
Link Laugh Out Love @ KL
Link Valentine Daze @ KL
Link Valentine Concert @ KL
Link Comedy Open Mic @ KL

Around The Region
Link SaaS Wave @ JKT
Link Computer Vision @ JKT
Link State of UX @ SG
Link Art Institutions @ SG
Link Integrated Resorts @ HK

The Mask Economy

Do not try this at home or in the office. Read 'DIY Mask' below.

The Mask Economy
Masks are in high demand and short supply, which could lead to:
  • Arbitrage: Buying masks where it is cheaper and selling them where they are in high demand at higher prices.
  • Black Market: Leakage of masks from logistics channels into the black market.
  • Mis-Match: 1) Like sending cosplay masks to a hospital. 2) Sub-par masks that are not up to exacting standards.
  • Gifts: Gifting of masks instead of souvenirs, american ginseng etc.
  • Runs: There is a run on masks and sanitisers. When researchers suggested herbal mix shuanghuanglian ('double gold thread') may have some positive effects, there was a run on it too. Next could be toddy, but note that this is western toddy which is hot whisky and honey, not eastern toddy which is sweet, slightly fermented coconut sap. Imagine a run on coconut toddy.

DIY Mask
  • The post video shows an attempt at making a DIY face nask.
  • We tested it, it does not work. Firstly, we noticed how easy it was to breathe. Remembering a warning from health professionals that if a mask is easy to breathe in, it is probably worn incorrectly or it is leaking. When we pressed the sides of the DIY mask to our face to seal it, immediately breathing became much harder.
  • The mask was intact only for a short while before moisture from exhalation soften the paper fibres and the mask tore soon after.

A Command Economy [not to be taken seriously]
  • A prolonged shutdown may cause the freezing of liquidity and the economy.
  • if factories are not running, goods are not being delivered. If goods are not delivered, the factory won't be paid. If the factory don't get paid, it can't pay salaries, suppliers, loans etc.
  • In a bind, CN could hypothetically revert to a command economy. Command economy is one that is centrally planned by the government. It's tough to get right. If this ever happens, CN may have to call up the oldies who did command economy a while back.
  • Free market economies would hope it would will never have to resort to a command economy under economic duress. It would be a bit stifling and not much fun, like having to wear a face mask to work every day.

Postscript: A Pleasant Surprise
  • In a previous post, we mentioned we couldn't source for face masks at major DIY and pharmacy chains.
  • To our surprise, on a visit to our friendly, neighbourhood mom-and-pop store, lo-and-behold, it had a sign saying masks are available. We bought a packet and some groceries.
  • Unlike data-driven decisions made by central purchasing of large chains, mom-and-pop stores run, stock and sell according to humans that pass its doors. Remember to support mom-and-pop stores, it will be good for the free market economy.

Perfect Storm


Memes
  • The nCoV outbreak has gotten some social media attention with posts, comments, memes, and counter-memes.
  • One of the memes asserts pandemics cycled through the years 1620, 1720, 1820, 1920 and 2020. While there may be some shoehorning (in the old days, there was an epidemic in just about every decade somewhere), the meme does serve to shed some light on the history of pandemics, which we touch on briefly below, skipping 1620 (not much specific info available) and 2020.

1720 Marseille 1
  • This was a bubonic plague, a flu-like disease, that hit the port of Marseille, via inbound ships and crew. To fight the plague, Marseille set up a powerful sanitation board to conduct ship inspections, quarantines and city sanitation.
  • Provence enacted an Act of Parliament to build a wall around Marseille to quarantine it. Like building hospitals quickly, civil engineering came to the fore.

1820 Calcutta 2
  • This was a water borne disease, cholera, that had its source in rivers and was vectored by travellers and pilgrims who visited and bathed at the rivers.
  • Just when matters were getting tough, mother nature came to to the rescue: an extra cold winter in 1824 froze water, perished the bacteria and stopped the outbreak.

1920 Europe 3
  • The 'Spanish Flu' was a 1918-1920 flu pandemic. It is hypothesised to have originated from the battlefields of WWI where field hospitals, patients and live farm animals destined for food were in close vicinity due to the exigencies of war.
  • The flu came in two waves. The first wave was mild. The second wave, via a mutated virus, was the one that did immense damage.



Miscellaneous Notes
  • A perfect storm is when two or more emergencies collide. Eg, in AU, the forest fires are flaring up again. If nCoV breaks out while people are being evacuated and huddled together, it will be doubly tough. That's possibly why AU is sending at-risk folks to Christmas Island [post image]. Similarly, ID is sending the same to the Natuna Islands. With the dry season coming, water shortage could become an added risk factor. 4 5 6
  • In UK, GPs are advised by the government, on suspecting a patient in the GP's office to be nCoV positive, to quickly leave the room and shut the door behind (and then call health authorities). This may seem comical but in fact highlights the risks front liners (docs, nurses, drivers) could potentially face. 7
  • Scary stuff? Maybe not. Perhaps a chance to take a break from the daily grind and routine to reassess health, preparedness, contingency and existentialism.

Pandemic Graph


nCoV Graph
  • John Hopkins CSSE provides a visual display of the nCoV outbreak (among a number of nCoV status sites). It's updated daily at around 9pm EST/NYC time (around 10am our GMT+8 time).
  • The graph on the left shows the confirmed cases in CN, which is currently rising at around 2000 cases per day. The graph on the right is worldwide cases excluding CN, which is rising around 20 per day.
  • The key indicator is whether the steepness of the CN graph remains the same, or become greater or less over the next few days. If it remains the same or become steeper, the outbreak is not under control. If the steepness declines, it would be what health workers are hoping for: to rein in in the outbreak by early February.
  • For the global graph, if it remains 20 cases a day, it may not be too serious. But if you look at the CN graph and observe the sharp rise on the 5th day, that could happen too: an exponential break out (likely to start with one country).

Face Masks
  • The outbreak has spooked folks worldwide, there is a reported global shortage of masks. 1 2 3 4 5
  • As a logistics experiment, we dropped in at a large, well-known DIY chain this morning, and their usual stocks of masks (N95-type, carbon-filter masks for DIY work, courtesy masks like the ones worn by beauty workers, and vanity masks, like for cosplay) were all out-of-stock.
  • A few pharmacies we checked were out of surgical masks. We went over to a well known ecommerce site and searched for 'surgical mask'. Of the first three results returned, two were without ratings (suggesting they were recently listed or no-one bought them before), and one 'ships from overseas'.
  • The authorities have not advised the general donning of masks yet but if they do, acquiring sufficient and suitable masks could be non-trivial.

Notes
  • While there is some (theoretical) debate on the effectiveness of face masks, empirical / field evidence from CN suggests face masks do work.
  • This post is non-expert commentary. Check with reliable health sources for proper information.

Call of Duty


The Hubei Front
To combat the coronavirus outbreak, t is reported medics are being sent to Wuhan whilst the city is running low on medical supplies like protective suits. Thus, the medics could be tasked to face the outbreak by making do with what they can find on site. This is reminiscent of a semi-apocryphal tale of Russia early in WWII. Caught by a surprise attack, she sent soldiers to the frontline without firearms.

Call of Duty
On the theme of 'Call of Duty', the post video showcases the 1993 classic Solvil et Titus ad starring Chow Yun-Fat and Jacqueline Wu. It is also our V-day video for those who are celebrating it on February 14th.

AlibabaHSBC JumpStart

StartmeupHK [10-15 Feb 2020 @ HK] features keynotes, how-to sessions, hackathons, and lessons from founders and investors in fintech, healthtech, smart city tech, IOT, retail & logistics, edtech and more. Join us and experience the shaping of our collective future! Events include: Ecosystem [a|t], Lifestyle [a|t], Retail [a|t], Cities [a|t] and the flagship Alibaba-HSBC JumpStarter [a|t]. Sample:

Topics

Pitching Startups
  • AgoraEnergy - Carbon dioxide redox flow battery for industrial apps
  • PhosphoPower - Water hydrolysis battery for industrial applications
  • EcoInno - Biodegradable and compostable kitchenware from cellulose
  • VividQ - 3D holographic displays from 2D screens
  • Gadjian - App-based HR management system (eg app-based payslips)
  • PowerArena - Real-time operational insights from videos post image
  • ReakKey - Zero condition loans (loan submission hand-holding)
  • Stay22 - Assist event ticket holders with accommodation
  • EScharts - Esports analytics (viewers, streams, channels, games)
  • Snipfeed - Facebook challenger (content discovery, sharing, creation)



Pick of Events (W1-Feb-2020)

General
Link Future Proofing Exports @ KL tix
Link Biz Opps in Asean & Oceania @ KC tix
Link Greek Business @ KL tix
Link World Bank Report @ KL tix
Link Coworking Party @ KL

Arts
Link The Diving Bell & The Butterfly @ KL tix
Link The Danish Call Centre @ KL tix
Link Superbowl Livestream @ KL
Link Community Market @ KL tix
Link Music Scoring @ KC tix

Around The Region
Link Central Bank Digital Currency @ SG
Link Keeping Up With Tech @ SG
Link Building A Data Pipeline @ BKK
Link Girls Just Want To Have Funds @ HK
Link State of The Union @ HK tix

CoVirus


Some random notes on the current coronavirus outbreak.

  • It's labelled a corona virus because under an electron microscope, the virus looks like a light coloured blob with a circle of light coloured dots around it (hence 'corona' or 'crown'). The dots are appendages of the virus.
    <newline>
  • There were rumours of cases in Seremban and Ipoh but both have been declared negative. As a thought exercise, what if the rumours were true and say, Ipoh, is locked down by health authorities?
    <newline>
  • It would mean travellers back for the festive break will not be allowed to return to KL etc. For those visiting their parents, their parents probably won't mind hosting them a few more days or even weeks but for tourists, lodging will need to be found for them, perhaps by commandeering hotels.
    <newline>
  • Junior staff trapped will need to call their bosses or HR for leave. Senior staff and bosses will probably need to carry on their functions remotely. Their mobile data quota could run out fast so they need to call their telcos to boost their data quota. For those without their laptops, they will find mobile OSes (android, ios) are not replacements for desktop ones.
    <newline>
  • Meanwhile back in KL etc, fluffy and fido may need additional feed as the planned 3-4 days break turns indefinite. Thus, the quarantined may need to call neighbours, relatives, friends or colleagues to help fill-up pet bowls and water dispensers.
    <newline>
  • Group outbound travel from CN has been banned, so the economic effects might be felt first by hotels and travel-related businesses, especially if bans widen to other countries. outbound and inbound.
    <newline>
  • A locked-down locale might give a boost to food and grocery delivery businesses. Could also be a boost for home cooking. Grocery chains like NSK, KK, Ben's may need to fire-up their delivery services (their speed will depend on whether they had spent prior R&D exploring and prototyping deliveries).
    <newline>
  • In a lock-down, offline stores will not get walk-in customers. With no walk-ins, can they still pay the rent? If they can't pay the rent, can the landlord service his or her loan to the bank? An economic moratorium may be called by the authorities with the cooperation of banks, utilities, property owners etc.
    <newline>
  • On a final note, best not to eat up all our furry friends, pangolins, tiggers etc, for 'karma can be a diva'. Try more fruits and veggies, and impossible burgers: it is not synthetic food if it is only processed as much as bread.
    <newline>
  • Image: N95 mask with a one-way valve for easier breathing out. Check with local health authorities on the best measures to undertake in situations of heightened health risks, including the types of masks to wear.

Fintech Updates

Database Triggers
  • In a previous post, we suggested a blockchain could be thought of as a 'secure database'. But what about blockchain's smart contracts?
  • Databases have a similar concept in the form of triggers. Example: a card purchase of $100 (trigger) causes 10 points to be added to the bonus account (triggered action).
  • Another (theoretical) illustration is a digital bank that offers money management by having salary deposits trigger auto fund allocations. Say, 5% fixed deposit, 5% investment, 5% emergency fund or insurance, 5% education and hobbies, 30% ewallet (for meals etc), 50% lodging & transport.

Smart Contracts
  • While database triggers are similar to if-then-else logic, smart contracts are broader-based by being able to link to events in the external world. Example: upon buying an ebook, the ebook reader app may automatically trigger epayment when more than 10 pages of the book are read.
  • Smart contracts work better with digital plays than physical ones. To illustrate: upon buying an item of clothing, delivery of the package may not be considered sufficient to release payment, fit and and finish will need to be confirmed as well.

KYC and KYT
  • Speaking of blockchains and digital banks, EU's 5AMLD (5th AML directive) came into force a couple of weeks back (10 Jan 2020).
  • One of the main thrusts of the directive is to require cryptos and crypto exchanges to implement KYC and KYT (know your customer and transaction) similar to banks. [Ditto US' proposed CA2020.]
  • For more on KYC and digital banks, check out 'Digital Bank eKYC' below.

Latest Fintech Updates
  • Google - Enters banking business by offering deposit accounts
  • Visa - Buys plumber for Venmo, TransferWise, Coinbase [post image]
  • Libra - Takes next steps in revving up development
  • ZA Bank - Offers 6% interest rate for deposits
  • Alipay - Expands to Austria, WeChatPay to Indonesia



Pick of Events (W5-Jan-2020)

General
Link Digital Bank eKYC @ KL tix
Link Zero to One @ KC 1 2
Link Industry Briefings @ KL 1 2 3
Link Startup Landscape @ KL
Link JD Store Intro @ KL tix

Arts & Misc
Link Self Publishing @ KL
Link Data Privacy Day @ KL vid
Link Symphony Circle @ KL tix

Around The Region
Link 21st Century Digital @ BKK tix
Link Humanitarian Tech @ JKT tix
Link Addictive Apps @ HK tix
Link IoT Accelerator @ SG
Link Slow Quantum @ SG