Saturday, June 22, 2013

A new version of Facecard

Thank you for participating in the earlier trial of Facecard. We have taken down the current version and will be launching a new version in in July. The new version will require a fresh registration. 

The key features of the new version are:
  • Simpler to use
  • Allow the user to see the facecard of those nearby (who chose to make it visible) and to exchange cards with them
  • Provides mini-iPad or other attractive prizes based on regular contests
I will notify you of the new version when it is ready and invite you to participate in it again.

If you have any existing data that you wish to extract from the current database, please send an e-mail to

How to deal with the haze

The key message is that the haze is not serious to health for most people. I walked outside for 1 hour yesterday, taking bus to a few places. It is hot and haze, but I don't feel that my health is badly impacted due to this short walk. 

A new job portal for Singaporeans

Friday, June 21, 2013

Is it necessary to have regular fogging during the hazy period?

Hi Mr Tan
I find it puzzling and disappointing that NEA, HIMC or MEWR did not issue any advice, suggestion or restriction as to the necessary adjustment to our daily routine so as not to add to the haze presently choking spore.
One point in mind is the regular fogging carried out by pest control company. I am sure these can be suspended temporally since it will definitely add to the haze in spore. 

When PSI is in unhealthy (> 100), very unhealthy (>200) and hazardous (>300) level, I think we do not need to carry out the routine fogging. Spore is like been fogged 24/7 now compliment from our neighbour. I am not expert in mosquito control and dengue may still be a concern but I think the experts in NEA or MEWR should let us know whether we still need to fog when air quality is already so bad. 

Other steps include limiting unnecessary travelling, car pooling, use public transport whenever possible, routine grass cutting, limit incense and routine burning of sacrifice during prayers, smoking etc. The haze from Indonesia we cannot stop but I think we can do more to limit adding to the haze. 

Like in Australia, during  water restrictions when there are droughts, limit are set on watering lawns, using sprinkler systems, washing vehicles, hosing pavement, refilling swimming pools, etc. I think spore should consider similar restriction on non essential activities that will aggravate the already alarming situation.
I know the haze is beyond our control but then again I think we could have done better preparing for it when the haze did not choke us so badly. After all haze has been an annual routine and it has been 16 years since it last hit above 200. 

Each public flat in spore comes with a bomb raid shelter. I think the chance of war is spore is definitely more remote than having haze attack. Instead of having air raid shelters would it not be more useful and practical to have places where large group of people or those who do not have the luxury of aircon to go take shelter when PSI hits above 300 or god forbids beyond 400?
As for those who think that because we have little control of things happening outside spore and so that provide us with a good alibi or excuse... I would like to refer him to chapter 25 of Machiavelli's The Prince:
" IT is not unknown to me how many men have had, and still have, the opinion that the affairs of the world are in such wise governed by fortune and by God that men with their wisdom cannot direct them and that no one can even help them; and because of this they would have us believe that it is not necessary to labour much in affairs, but to let chance govern them. 

This opinion has been more credited in our times because of the great changes in affairs which have been seen, and may still be seen, every day, beyond all human conjecture. Sometimes pondering over this, I am in some degree inclined to their opinion. Nevertheless, not to extinguish our free will, I hold it to be true that Fortune is the arbiter of one-half of our actions, but that she still leaves us to direct the other half, or perhaps a little less.
I compare her to one of those raging rivers, which when in flood overflows the plains, sweeping away trees and buildings, bearing away the soil from place to place; everything flies before it, all yield to its violence, without being able in any way to withstand it; and yet, though its nature be such, it does not follow therefore that men, when the weather becomes fair, shall not make provision, both with defences and barriers, in such a manner that, rising again, the waters may pass away by canal, and their force be neither so unrestrained nor so dangerous. So it happens with fortune, who shows her power where valour has not prepared to resist her, and thither she turns her forces where she knows that barriers and defences have not been raised to constrain her."
May the haze situation improves sooner rather than later.

How to find peace in current financial turmoil

In the midst of current financial turmoil, is it possible to find peace? Dr. Tommy Wong, professor turned international author, has written five books on "Wisdom on How to Live Life". In this series of books, Dr. Wong shared spiritual concepts which can be used to find peace irrespective of external happenings. The e-book series can be ordered here, and will be delivered immediately upon payment. May peace be with you!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

FISCA Members Get-together 12 July 2013

In a recent survey, several members expressed interest to attend a member's get-together to discuss financial and consumer issues. 

This will be a free format discussion, to be facilitated by our committee member, Victor Lee. Victor is knowledgeable in investments - so you may find the discussion to be interesting.

This event is open to open to members only, and will be FREE. for those who attend. Those who register and do not attend will have to pay $10.

Register now at (Members have to login to register)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Use fill-able PDF forms

If ind it very difficult to access the websites of government agencies, such as IRAS, MOM, ACRA, CPF.

Their websites are complicated. They have many layers of links for different categories of users. They have different systems of login. Quite often, I go to the wrong link and access the wrong pages. 

Each agency expects the public to spend hours to be educated about their website. They forget that the public has to deal with dozens of agencies.

I prefer a common login to a central website, where I can download a form or instructions. I can prepare the form offline and submit it to the agency. The form can be designed to be "fill-able" and with inbuilt validation, so that the public can provide the data friendly information to be used by the backend system.

This style, which is used elsewhere, is much easier for the public to use.

The harmful effects of the tender system

Singapore was a low cost country 50 years ago. It became a high cost country over the past 30 years. We are now one of the most expensive countries in the world!

This journey to become a high cost country has been bad for our character and is destroying the future for our next generation.

A major contributing factor is the belief that "tendering" is the best way to allocate resources. This is a mistaken belief. It has allowed certain opportunists to make a lot of money at the expense of the general public - in the price of homes, shops, contracting work, etc.

Instead of reducing cost, it has allowed certain well connected people to make excessive profits. It has also led to corrupt practices - for example, some of the recent cases that were prosecuted. This must be the tip of the iceberg.

The tender system has also lead to bad workmanship and lower standards. Look at the poor quality of our HDB flats at one time, and now the frequent breakdown of the MRT trains.

Our COE system, for tendering of the expensive piece of paper, has also gone haywire.

There is a better way than the tender system. If only our well paid civil servants and political leadership use their common sense and think differently.

Save $200,000 by choosing the right insurance policy

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Free or inexpensive PDF book

Here are some free or inexpensive PDF books that sell for less than half the price of the hard copy version, and suitable for the Singapore context. 

FREE Talk on "Improve Your Business"

I am giving a talk on how you can improve your business by using the services available on TKL Cloud to:
  • Keep your business accounts
  • Manage your employee's payroll, leave and time recording
  • Sell your products, services and consultancy through the Internet
  • Invite people to attend a talk or event and manage the registration
  • And more.
These services are designed for small companies. The cost of using the services is only $120 per month, after government funding.

The talk is on 21 June and 29 June at 99 Bukit Timah Road. (FREE admission).

If you are interested, please register at

Look forward to see you. You can register for your friends and colleagues to attend also.  A confirmation e-mail will be sent to you after registration.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Allow elderly to join Medisheld without underwriting

11 June 2013

Editor, Forum Page
Straits Times

Mr. Geoffrey Kung, secretary of the Reverse Cooperative,  
suggested that seniors should be helped by allowing them to 
join a group health insurance scheme.

I support this suggestion and to use Medishield to achieve this

I suggest that elderly citizens, above 65 years, should be allowed 
to join this scheme without the need to satisfy the underwriting 
requirements and without exclusion of pre-existing conditions.

We can allow the elderly who are now uninsured a period of three months
to enroll into the scheme. 

To ensure a good take-up, Insurance agents should be allowed to sign up the 
eligible senior citizens and be given a one time commission of $50 for each case.

It should be possible for the claim experience of this group of insured to be
monitored separately, and for any deficit to be funded by the government. 

It is better for our national health care system that these senior citizens be 
covered by Medishield, rather than for them to remain in a limbo.

Tan Kin Lian
Financial Services Consumer Association

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