Tuesday, March 29, 2016

8 National Day Rally speeches in Word Clouds

I compressed 8 National Day Rally speeches - 2010 to 2015, as well as 2008 and 2005 (mainly chosen due to their availability on the PMO website) - into word clouds. I removed some unnecessary but common words like "just" and "help" from the transcripts.

By glancing through the word clouds below, you can see that "flat" was the most frequently used word in 2015, "CPF" in 2014, and "foreign" and "worker" in 2010. "School"/"student" also appeared very often throughout the years.

In aggregate, the five most common terms were "school", "student", "flat", "educ", and "children", so it seems that education and housing issues come up frequently at the National Day Rallies.









Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What do Singaporeans think are the important qualities children should learn at home?

The World Values Survey asks respondents, among other questions, to identify important qualities children should learn at home from a pre-determined list which includes independence, respect for others, and imagination. While qualities like hard work and independence score highly across countries, in terms of the percentage of mentions, other qualities like self-expression can vary.

I looked at the cross-country data, and here are some areas which Singapore ranks highly or lowly in. As shown in the charts below, Singapore ranks highly on obedience, but much lower in self-expression and imagination. Putting these together sheds some light on why Singaporeans are sometimes perceived to be conformist and not very creative.

Also, quite worrying is how Singapore is ranked right at the bottom for tolerance and respect for other people, as shown in the last chart.

Source: World Values Survey Wave 6

Monday, September 7, 2015

"Disagreement with PAP" indices

I constructed two "disagreement with PAP" indices using data from Electionaire, which rates each party's position on 15 topics, from inequality to ministerial salaries, and scaled them on a range from 0 to 5. Read more about the questions and findings.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

When will the next General Election occur?

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently announced that the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) was formed two months back. The EBRC will draw up election boundaries, which, going by the most recent elections, will likely take another two months. Polling has historically occurred between 17 days and six months after the boundaries are drawn, so there is some uncertainty over when elections will be.

The number of days between the two events - drawing the boundaries and elections - averaged 43 days since the 1991 elections, and ranged between 17 to 71 days. Using this information, I calculated the probability that elections would occur by a certain date. The results are summarised in the chart below.

Elections are unlikely to occur in the first week of October (also considering that it is the PSLE examination week), but has half a chance of occurring by 28 October. The cumulative probability is practically 100% by 1st Jan, hence elections are quite certainly going to occur within the year.

However, given that the O levels examinations only conclude in 13 November, my guess is that elections will occur in the 2nd half of November.

Lastly, this is premised on the EBRC report being released on 14 Sep 2015, so I will update again once the final report is released.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

More people are believing in Hell, fewer people are believing in God

The World Values Survey is a global network of social scientists studying changing values and their impact on social and political life. The Survey was conducted in Singapore in 2003, as well as 2012.

As part of a section on religion, respondents were asked if they believed in God, and in Hell. Interestingly, fewer people believed in God, with the proportion of "yes" answers falling from 84% to 82%. On the other hand, the proportion of individuals believing in Hell rose from 74% to 78%.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

"Football" or "Soccer": Is British or American English more popular in Singapore?

While Singapore officially uses British English, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew felt that "the increasing dominance of the American media means that increasingly our people, teachers and students will be hearing the American version". American English is used widely, on the media and even on our spellcheckers. As a result, do people in Singapore spell using American English or some mix, rather than British English?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Are people postponing their IPPT to April?

The new IPPT, which starts on 1st April, has been said to be "easier", "a bit easy", and "easier to pass". If so, many would avoid the test in the upcoming weeks, and take the test just a little later, in early April.