Did gov.sg’s Bot Accidentally Reveal The Size of Singapore Reserves?

gov.sg recently released a chat bot which you can AMA with on Facebook messenger. 

Gov.sg bot

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Besides giving you almost instant replies about anything under the sun, accurate or not, it can also advise you on who in the public service to harrass contact regarding your problem and point you to the relevant webpages just like Google, except it’s limited to government websites.

Curious about how useful this bot is, I decided to spend a Friday night checking it out like a blind date.

Some of its responses were irrelevant and completely on a wrong tangent, some were pre-programmed answers to attempt to give the bot a semblance of personality, and one reply was totally unexpected.

Here’s what the gov.sg bot says about:

1. Who it is and its past dating history: bot, single and available

Gov.sg bot singapore reserves

2. Its age: secret, like a girl, although it doesn’t share its gender

Gov.sg bot singapore reserves

Gov.sg bot singapore reserves

3. Its purpose in life: to help citizens with queries 24/7/365

Gov.sg bot singapore reserves

4. Its favourite things: red, Singa, being cheesy

Gov.sg bot singapore reserves

By the way, this is its favourite colour #E4392B red. I have no idea what other dimensions the bot was referring to.

Gov.sg bot singapore reserves

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5. Its favourite MP: Grace Fu???

Gov.sg bot singapore reserves

6. Artistic tastes: sci-fi and Xiaxue

Gov.sg bot singapore reserves

Gov.sg bot singapore reserves

7. What it is: tall, big and fast

Gov.sg bot singapore reserves

8. Its exotic choice of animals: civets, monitor lizards and bats

Gov.sg bot singapore reserves


9. Its opinion on where the future jobs in Singapore are: not a very accurate reply

Gov.sg bot singapore reserves

10. How many people work for it: not accurate either leh…

Gov.sg bot singapore reserves

11. And… the size of the Singapore reserves: US$ 174 billion dollars

Gov.sg bot singapore reserves

Ok I had to verify this figure because I wasn’t sure if this bot was telling the truth, or actually misunderstood the question and gave a wrong answer?

Upon googling, I found that while MAS and Temasek manage S$343 billion and S$223 billion respectively, the size of government funds managed by GIC are not published to avoid letting others know the full size of Singapore’s reserves.

Gov.sg bot singapore reserves

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Knowing Singapore’s full reserves could entice others to speculatively attack Singapore in times of weakness to earn money by shorting the Singapore dollar (like how George Soros shorted the pound in 1992 and although the British government spent £27bn to buy back the pounds, it didn’t work).

But as MOF says on its website that it has been revealed that GIC manages well over US $ 100 billion, did the chat bot really spill the beans? 


Also published on Medium.

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