Thursday, May 29, 2008

Primary School Math

If you have done primary school math, you would know that in order to calculate percentage, you have to multiply by 100.

For example, 1 out of 100 is 1%.

How did you get that? You do this: 1/100*100 = 1%.

Without multiplying by 100, you would get 1/100=0.01% and that would be wrong.

Another example: 8 out of 10 is 80% and we get that by 8/10*100=80%.

You always need to multiply by 100!

There is nothing wrong with a ordinary Singaporean not knowing her math, especially when she was doing calculations while suffering from a swollen face due to dental problem and while being bullied in court. Besides, she has never boasted year after year about having a first class honours in math.

There is however something very wrong when that someone was, for many yearse, the Minister of Finance!

But, the greatest wrong is when sycophants and boot-lickers are ever ready to praise him for his mistake:

Maths sum posed to PM Lee: Divide 5,000 by 4.6m
Straits Times 28 May 2008, by Jeremy Au Yong

HOW much is 5,000 divided by 4.6 million?

That was the maths question Ms Chee Siok Chin challenged Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to work out on the spot as she tried to prove her party's newsletter, The New Democrat, had limited reach.

The 5,000 figure represents the number of copies sold of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) newsletter which contained defamatory statements against the Government.

The other number refers to the population of Singapore.

Ms Chee posed the question and asked PM Lee if he had a calculator.

When he said he did not, she retorted: 'I'm sure your mind is astute enough to do a very simple mathematical calculation... and work it out.'

PM Lee worked out the calculation - around one in 1,000 - and then pointed out that the answer did not accurately reflect the article's reach.

This stretched beyond the number of newsletters sold, he said, when responding later to a question from his counsel Davinder Singh during re-examination.

There was also the 'word of mouth after the article has been read, circulating on the grapevine and in the coffee shops' - 'poisonously distorted, loaded, more and more damaging, impossible to trace, except in court, where the truth will come out', he said.

Of the 5,000 copies sold, 'each copy could have been circulated to many readers', he added.

In addition, 'Dr Chee, Ms Chee and several others (from the SDP) were going around' repeating the defamatory allegations in the newsletter, 'as broadly as possible, as loudly as possible', 'to achieve as much impact as possible', said Mr Lee.

Finally there was the Internet, where there were many more eyeballs reading the allegations.

During the earlier exchange with Ms Chee over the calculation she set for him, those in the public gallery were amused when she got her sums mixed up.

After Mr Lee worked out the one in 1,000 figure, Ms Chee said that was '0.0001' per cent of the population.

PM Lee had to correct her maths: 'I think you have one zero too many.'

And I have to correct your math too, you fool!

It is 1/1000*100 = 0.1%. That's 3 zeros too many, you first class honours in math!

Maybe that's why you thought your wife had lost only a very small percentage of our national reserves in failed Temasek investment!

Go learn percentage and realise the magnitude of your wife's error!

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