Thursday, April 10, 2014

$100,000 alternative to improve the bus service

The Land Transport Authority can solve the immediate problems of improving the management o f the bus services by spending $100,000, instead of the $68 million that they are spending on acquiring a new "intelligent bus management system".

Managing a high salary job

For those that are earning a high salary, relative to their peers, I wish to give this advice:

1. Do not assume that your high paying job is steady. Some of these jobs are contract based, and will continue to pay well, if your employer is able to secure profitable contracts. If not, they will have to retrench you.

2. When you earn a high salary, keep your expenses at a level based on the average salary earned by your peers, and keep the additional salary as savings for the future.

3. If you have to find a new job, it is easy to get a job that pays the average salary, or slightly more, but not at the top salary that you earned before. If you have a modest salary expectation, you will be able to find a new job fairly easily.

4. Accumulate skills from your current job that you can use in the future. Do not just complete the job assigned to you, but learn the skills and experiences that can be re-used in the future. This is what experience is all about, i.e. useful skills. Your new employer will be able to identify someone who has learned, from someone who has not (i.e. a rolling stone gather no moss).

Tan Kin Lian

Wasteful to spend $68 million on intelligent bus management system

I was very angry when I read the news that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has awareded a tender of $68 million for an intelligent bus management system. Link. The benefit to consumers is described in this sentence, " With more accurate bus arrival information, commuters can better plan their journeys and travel options."
Read my reasons here:

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Promote the use of OneInbox

7 April 2014

Over the past few years, I have found it difficult to login to government websites  to get their replies to issues that I have raised  concerning income tax, work pass, payment of CPF contributions and other matters.

I also overlooked many letters that are sent to me by ordinary mail from government agencies, due to the junk mail that swamp my mail box

One year ago, I signed for the OneInbox service operated by a government agency and requested that all mails to me be sent to OneInbox. For the past year, the only mail that came through OneInbox was for property tax.

I found the OneInbox to be easy to use and well designed and congratulate the agency that developed it. It is a pity that OneInbox is not actively used.  

To improve efficiency and reduce cost for the government agencies and the general public, I suggest that the OneInbox service be actively promoted, and that all government agencies should be encouraged to communicate with the public through this channel.

Tan Kin Lian

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Read the benefit illustration before you buy a life insurance policy

Dear Mr. Tan,
I bought an annual cashback endowment savings plan from a trusted friend, a financial consultant with XYZ company. Because I trusted him, I didn't bother looking at the complicated policy booklet that came after, and the 14-day cancellation period passed.

I was under the impression that

1. I could touch my money anytime I wanted.
2. I would get 100% of whatever I put in plus whatever interest (better than banks)
3. The plan was adjusted for inflation

I now find that I could not get my money back except by suffering a severe penalty in the surrender value.

I believe that most people are poorly advised, do not understand financial jargon and do not take another look at those complicated policy booklets.

Your experience is typical of tens of thousand of consumers who bought a life insurance policy under the "wrong impression".

I have been encouraging people to join FISCA and to attend the educational talks, but most people do not bother to do so. They end up with the regrets that you have expressed.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Can decision makers think clearly?

I often wonder whether decision makers are able to think more clearly and get out of their narrow mindset.

Following the disappearance of MH 370, there is considerate debate about the need to send live data from the plane, so that it is possible to know what had happened to the plane, if the black box could not located.

The objection is that it is extremely costly to send ALL THE LIVE DATA that is being recorded.

Hold on. Why do we need to send ALL THE LIVE DATA? We only need to send the data to identify the location of the plane. The other data can continue to be kept in the black box.

We don't even need to know the altitude, speed, direction and other data. We only need to know the GPS location. PERIOD.

If the plane disappears, we can get the location immediately and send the "search and rescue" party to save the survivors and to retrieve the black box WITH ALL THE GIGABITS OF DATA. These data don't need to be sent LIVE.

If the decision makers are able to understand this concept, there is no need to agonize for one month to find out where MH 370 disappeared to.


How to speak up

Here are some suggestions on how to encourage Singaporeans to speak up.

1. Have a view on important issues. Discuss them with your friends, so that you have a clear idea of what you think is right or wrong and why.

2. Be ready to express your view on the issue, if it crops up. You only need to say what you think is right and why. 

3. There is no need for you to "evaluate" another person's view,or to state that that view is "wrong". It is not for you to judge.

4. Respect other people's views, even if they are different from your view.

5. Be focusing on your view, you avoid confrontation or argument with other people.

6. After you get used to this mode of interaction, it is easy to express your view.

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