The New “Silicon Valley” of Southeast Asia Is… Singapore!?

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While the US has their very own “Silicon Valley”, other countries worldwide are doing their best to establish their own prominent tech sector. In each of those countries (if not entire continents), there are usually only 1-2 cities which can afford to carry this privilege. 

According to the Financial Times, the new tech capital for Southeast Asia could possibly be Singapore. 

In their 5-minute investigative video report, they cite numerous reasons as to why this could be the case…

They mention Singapore’s small size doesn’t detract from their potential to become yet another “tech titan” city. They are already starting to catch up with other international tech hubs such as London and Beijing in terms of funding and market reach (despite lagging behind in talent and knowledge).

To date, there are over 270 venture capital firms in Singapore and the city-state currently has over 4,000 tech startups employing roughly 22,000 people. And while most of the startup unicorns in Southeast Asia (i.e. a valuation of over $1 billion) come from Indonesia, Singapore currently has the ride-sharing app Grab as their prize trophy. 

However, there do exist some significant doubts as to whether Singapore can become the Silicon Valley for Southeast Asia, and how soon that status can be obtained:

“A big hurdle has been the Singapore stock exchange which has failed to attract big-tech names from the region and suffers with low liquidity and valuation. 

What’s more, unlike in Silicon Valley or other fundraising hubs, Singapore has not yet seen a significant number of successful exits through public listings or large-scale sale acquisitions, which are a crucial part of the lifecycle of both a start-up and a VC fund.

…until investors see a reliable avenue to cash out and win big, the city’s plan to become Asia’s silicon valley remains a work in progress.”

Moreover, many of the startups in Singapore are not deep into technology. They tend to be consumer-focused and their technological advancements (if any) are fairly simple. They haven’t managed to produce any rising stars who are pushing the limits of innovation in the tech sector. 

So for the time being, their future as a magnet of tech talent and prosperity is unknown. But even if they don’t ever reach that status, Singapore is still a place where a LOT of money is flowing through. You just have to be OK with their draconian suppression on freedom of speech and their highly conservative culture. 

What do YOU think about Singapore? Do they have what it takes to become Southeast Asia’s Silicon Valley? Why or why not? Reply to this newsletter and share your opinion with us!

US Federal Air Marshals Aren’t Immune from COVID-19 Infections, Apparently

In what could be perceived as another blow to the American airline industry, some of their highest-ranking officers have now been infected with COVID-19. To be more specific, Yahoo News reports that 98 Federal Air Marshals have tested positive. 

In case you don’t know what a Federal Air Marshal is or why they are important, the official Transportation Security Administration website tells you everything you need to know:

“The Federal Air Marshal Service detects, deters and defeats hostile acts against aviation. Federal Air Marshals are armed federal law enforcement officers deployed on passenger flights worldwide to protect airline passengers and crew against the risk of criminal and terrorist violence.”

As to what could have caused the outbreak, there is a mutual agreement that all 98 air marshals got the virus from flying in airplanes. They haven’t linked the infections to specific flights, but it seems to be the most likely explanation thus far. 

There’s no telling how this will affect flight schedules during the upcoming holiday season, but it definitely questions the idea that flying can be currently considered as a safe mode of transportation…

Where to Get a Second Passport WITHOUT Spending +$100,000

International Living
is one of the few accurate resources on the Internet for expats who want to flee America and live overseas while saving money (and possibly making more than ever).

In one of their newly released reports, they provided readers with several countries where you can obtain a second passport without inheriting a passport or spending several hundreds of thousands of dollars to get one. And without relying on a remote work visa, which is temporary in nature and forces you to leave a country once it expires. 

In each instance, the only way to do is via naturalization, where you actually move to the following countries in order to gain citizenship. 

Peru: You need to pass an exam about the country’s geography, history, and culture. You must be able to speak Spanish semi-fluently. And you need to allocate several months for completing the residence process while on a tourist visa. 

Argentina: You can apply for citizenship after two years of living there, and you get to hold nationality in the US as an American citizen. And the passport lets you travel to over 170 countries visa-free!

Honduras and Paraguay: Live in either country for three years and the citizenship is yours.

Brazil: You cannot have a criminal record, you must speak Portuguese, and you must live there for four years.

Poland: You must speak Polish while also providing proof of a stable source of income. And you have to live there for three years. 

Ecuador: You must live there for three years straight and any interruption in staying there cannot be more than 90 days (otherwise you have to start all over).

Not a bad trade-off at all, considering how expensive and complicated it can be to obtain a second passport in other European countries…

Freedom of Speech? Yeah, It Doesn’t Exist in Scotland

We may have our problems with freedom of expression and free speech in the United States, but at the end of the day we have it better than any other country in the world. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at what’s happening in Scotland right now. 

A new crime bill titled “The Hate Crime and Public Order Bill” would lead to something as innocuous as an “offensive” dinner table conversation that “incites hatred” could be prosecuted under the hate crime law of Scotland. 

This is the demonic work of Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf, who also had the following to say about his proposed bill:

  • If the work of a theater director or journalist is “deemed to deliberately stoke up prejudice,” then that too would be punishable in court
  • Possessing “inflammatory material” would be considered a crime
  • Expressing negative views about transgender issues could lead up to 7 years in prison

It sounds just as stupid as you think it does. “Hate” can be vaguely interpreted in a way where you could take offense to anything that was said, call it hatred, and have somebody thrown into a jail cell. 

This would be a legal nightmare to deal with, not to mention a social issue that will entirely change how people interact with each other. And in an ironic twist of fate, it might even lead to MORE hatred towards protected groups. 

What do YOU think about this proposed hate crime bill? Will it lead to the eventual destruction of Scotland if passed? Reply to this newsletter and use your freedom of speech to share your thoughts with us!

“Forget the Money… How SAFE Is It for Me to Fly!?”

Popular site The Points Guy recently conducted a survey to see what is on the top of travelers’ mind in anticipation of the upcoming holiday season. 

The results were rather surprising… despite the coronavirus-caused financial crisis we are going through right now, money is the least of travelers’ worries:

  • The #1 priority for passengers was “strict mask compliance on board” (31%)
  • The tie for #2 was between “empty middle seats to distance travelers” and “frequency of aircraft cleaning” (10% for each option)
  • Only 21% of respondents were more concerned about ticket costs than health precautions
  • 90% of travelers are somewhat likely to drive, while only 42% are somewhat likely to fly

This makes sense when you think about it, but not for the first reason that comes to mind…

If you’ve been tracking costs for flights over the past six months, you’ll notice that they’ve become significantly cheaper. International flights are much more affordable, and some domestic flights within the US are less than $100!

So if you’re traveling this holiday season, make sure you do everything in your power to stay safe: Mask wearing, social distancing, bringing extra cleaning materials, and knowing the cancelation/rebooking policies like the back of your own hand. 

A US-Based Airline That’s Doing Surprisingly Well Right Now…

We’ve heard about all of the bad news associated with major airlines like United, Delta, Alaska, and too many more to count. 

But there’s one budget airline which appears to have reported some positive news for its investors, and they go by the name of Allegiant Travel (you may have not heard of them unless you’ve traveled domestically within the US).

Their shares went up by 11% at the end of yesterday’s trading session after the following Q3 2020 results were reported:

  • Revenue: $201 million (-54% from Q3 2019)
  • Pretax loss: $89 million
  • Adjusted loss in earnings per share: $4.28

The losses might have your eyes bulging, but it seems as if the loss was much smaller than expected. Just in September, the airline was operating at cash-flow positive levels. The average revenue from daily bookings sits at $2.7 million, and the 54% loss in revenue was much lower compared to its competitors (60-76% for airlines such as Spirit and JetBlue). 

Not only are they able to acquire a number of Airbus A320 aircrafts at costs far below what they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Allegiant’s operating costs are significantly lower. And to top it all off, they have the privilege of servicing coastal cities far less than their competitors (almost all of which are hotspots for the virus).

So things aren’t perfect – far from it. But Allegiant appears to be one of the best positioned airlines in America for making a full and complete recovery. 

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