Saturday, August 22, 2015

Elected President - when will be the next election?

Mr. Tan
When will be the next Presidential Election?
Do you plan to contest again?

The next Presidential Election is due in 2017. The President holds office for a term of 6 years. The last election was in August 2011.

The PAP government will not change the constitution prior to the general election. They want the current president to exercise his powers in case the general election produces a new government.

After the general election, I expect the constitution to be changed to reduce the power of the elected president.  Perhaps they will revert to a ceremonial head of state, which was the situation in the past.

The current arrangement is impractical. The government keeps bypassing the president on key issues, such as the loan to the International Monetary Fund.

Mr. Kenneth Jeyaretnam had to take a case to the High Court to argue that the government is acting against the constitution. This is embarrassing for the government and also create a headache for the court.

I suspect that there will be no more election for the elected President. Whatever the outcome, I do not intend to contest the next Presidential Election. Once is enough.

Suitable to be a PAP minister

This Panasonic remote control is designed by a "smart" idiot. The battery died. My staff could not open it to replace the battery. I could not either. I asked two other young men to open it, and they gave up. 
I finally managed to find a solution. But, I declare that this remote control is designed by a "smart" idiot. 
If he came to Singapore, he will be suitable to be a PAP minister.

President Jokowi talks to the past presidents of Indonesia

During the 70th Independence Day of Indonesia, a newspaper published this photograph. It shows President Jokowi talking to the other past presidents of Indonesia.

The first president, Soekarno, told Jokowi - "I have an easier struggle compared to you. My struggle was to fight the Dutch who colonized Indonesia. Your struggle is to fight your own people".

He was referring to the difficulty that President Jokowi faced in getting changes passed through Parliament! Hahaha

Running an airline

Here is a chart showing the results of the business simulation game - to run an airline, at the end of round 10.

I am team 1 and my ranking is at the top. The other teams are simulated players - they provide their input at random. Being a person who can think, I am able to input better results.

The charts show:

Chart 1 - ranking of revenue for round 10 (Team 1 is at the top).
Chart 2 - ranking of profit for round 10 (Team is is at the top).
Chart 3 - ranking of cumulative profits (round 1 to 10) - Team 1 is at the top.

Helping a civil servant to get money back for her mother

A civil servant consulted me about her mother's case. She went to register in my consultancy website here:
She uploaded the benefit illustration for her mother's case and also provided her contact details. I called and spoke to her about the case.
Here is her reply to me.
Dear Mr Tan,
Thank you so much for your help as well as listening ear to my mother's insurance problem.
I am so glad I approached you and it has been amazing talking to you. I've learnt so much from you.

I hope to help her mother to get back the $80,000 that she had paid in two years' premium to the insurance company. The surrender value is now only $40,000. The insurance company swallowed $40,000 in profits and expenses - all at the expense of an elderly woman who is not savvy about this type of bad product.

Practice to run an airline better than Tony Fernandez

I enjoy the business simulation game for airlines. It allows me to set the ticket price and capacity for each of 4 products (Asean, Asia, Europe and America) and to compete with other airlines for each round. The trend for demand and cost for the next round is given.
The airline game starts at 2 pm, 8 pm, 2 am and 8 am.
Enjoy. Practice and learn to be sharp in your pricing and marketing.

Click on "Guide PDF" for instructions on how to play the game.

Is it safe to walk into a bank?

If you walk into a bank in Singapore, you will probably feel that it is a safe place.
You may not realize that you can be robbed in broad daylight, and by someone working for the bank.
Read this story about an elderly lady who was taken for a ride also.

How to avoid a bad life insurance policy

Whenever I post a story about a bad life insurance policy that "rips off" the customer, I get requests to state the name of the insurance company or the name of the policy.

I decline to do so.

It is better for the consumer to be aware about what is a "bad product" and to use the benchmark to identify any bad product that may be offered to them.

If they put in the effort to understand what is a bad product and why it is a bad product, they can avoid similar bad products that are offered to them.

If they don't put in this effort, they are likely to be caught one day. By then, regret will be too late.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Do not allow your future to be destroyed by a careless mistake

Many young people were misled into buying the wrong life insurance policy. Their future savings are destroyed by a careless decision. This can be avoided if they only some some time to learn the fundamentals.

Develop your entrepreneurial skills

Here are instructions on how to play the Business Simulation Game and develop your entrepreneurial skills
Go to this website to play the online game:

Scoreboard of political parties and contest

The Workers Party is now at the top of the scoreboard. The National Solidarity Party has dropped to 2nd place. This must be due to the decision of the NSP to contest MacPherson in a three corner fight. Guess the party at the bottom of the scoreboard!

See the scoreboard here:

If you have not submitted your entry for the contest "Guess the PAP share of votes", you should do it now. Those who submitted earlier have a better chance of winning the prize.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Daylight Robbery

An 55 year old lady went into a bank. She bought a life insurance policy on the recommendation of the financial adviser. She had to pay an annual premium of $40,000 for 5 years, making a total of $200,000.

At the end of 10 years, she is projected to receive a maturity benefit of $236,000 provided that the insurance company is able to earn 4.75% on its investments.

If the insurance company did earn a return of 4.75%, the total premium paid during the 5 years, accumulated at 4.75%, would amount to $291,000. The insurance company took away $55,0000 (this is shown as "effect of deduction") and gave a return of only $36,000 to the policyholder.

If the insurance company did not earn a yield of 4.75%, it can reduce the amount paid to the policyholder and does not have to justify the reduction. It only offered a guaranteed sum of $181,000 (which is less than the total premium of $200,000). The insurance company is not taking any risk for the hefty "effect of deduction" of $55,000. All the investment risks are being shouldered by the elderly lady.

What is the amount of coverage provided by the life insurance policy? Almost nothing. The policy illustration stated that at the time of death, the amount that is paid out is the lower of 105% of the premium paid or the face amount. In the policyholder had died during the 10 year period, the policy would only pay out 5% more than the premium paid, It would not even pay out the actual yield  earned on the premium.

After paying the premium for two years, she wanted to reduce the annual premium. The insurance company told her that they would confiscated the excess premium that she had paid. For example, if she reduced the premium to $20,000 for the remaining three years, she would have to forego the excess $40,000 that was paid during the first two years.


The insurance company, which is an international life insurance company, reported profits of several billion dollars a year from their global operations, including Singapore. Guess where the profits come from? No prize for the right answer. Yes, it came from their policyholders, including this elderly lady .

When will the Monetary Authority of Singapore wake up and decide that this daylight robbery of the vulnerable citizens has to stop?

Business Simulation Game

I have developed a new version of the Business Simulation Game. I demonstrated it to a group of young and middle aged executives in an insurance company in Jakarta. They were quite interested in the game and started to login and submit their inputs.

Here is the Guide to this game. Anyone can sign in to play the game on your own or to compete with friends. By practicing a few rounds, you will sharpen you skill in market and business development.

Read this guide and enjoy the game.

Give your views about the latest turn of events for the NSP and WP

If you dislike the National Solidarity Party for their "lack of integrity" or the Worker's Party for their "arrogance", you can give your views here:

And you can also predict the PAP share of the total votes here, and win a prize.

Difference between "competition" and "cooperation"

My friend in Jakarta have three children, aged 6 to 12. When I visited him during Indonesian Independence Day, I said that I would teach his children the difference between "competition" and "cooperation". He and his wife was interested on how I would do it.

I asked the three children to do the T-puzzle. If they are able to do the puzzle, they will get a prize. I asked what prize that like. They hesitated. How about ice-cream? They eyes lit up.

I said that everyone who complete the puzzle would win the prize. If they know the answer, they can teach their brother or sister. That is "cooperation".

If I give the prize only to the child who complete first, it becomes "competition". They will behave selfish, to win the prize.

After completing the T-puzzle, they went to do the other shapes. In the evening, we went out for dinner. After dinner, we dropped into the mini-mart and every child had the ice cream that they liked.

Here is the T-puzzle.

I told this story to my Indonesian client who run a new insurance company. He was surprised. He wanted his telemarketers to compete to improve their performance. He never realized that it would be better for them to cooperate and learn from each other. He wanted to try out my idea in his next campaign.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Will PAP lose the general election?

How well will the PAP fare in the forthcoming general election? Will they do better and get more than the 60.1% that they received in 2011? Will they suffer a swing of more than 10% as shown in the Punggol East by-election? Will the final outcome be somewhere in between?

Let me first list the factors in favor of the PAP

1. The poor management by the the opposition Workers' Party in running the Aljunied Town Council
2. The pride felt by Singaporeans in the 2015 South East Asian Games and the SG50 celebrations
3. The financial benefits given to the elderly under the Pioneer Generation Package
4. The fragmented alternative parties
5. The fear of toppling down the PAP government leading to instability

Here are the factors against the PAP

6. The difficulty faced by the middle aged PMETs and the young graduates in competing with foreigners for jobs
7. The daily overcrowding and frequent breakdown of the MRT trains
8. The constant criticism of the PAP in the social media on lack of transparency, arrogance and incompetence.
9. The high cost of living and cost of housing
10. The desire for more "opposition voices" in Parliament.

How do these two sets of factors balance out?

They do not look good for the PAP. The voters of Hougang and Potong Pasir have shown over the past two decades  that they are willing and able to take the unfair treatment in the upgrading of their estates. The voters of Aljunied are likely to ignore the alleged mismanagement of the town council, especially as the incumbent MPs had put much effort to build their personal relations with the residents.

The pride and celebration of the SEA Games and SG50 appear to be short lived.

Lets look at negative side for the PAP. The frustration of finding a job, over crowded trains and buses and the high cost of living is a daily reminder to the voters of the poor quality of life.

Even the possibility of voting the PAP out of power is no longer a fear factor. If the PAP does not have a majority in Parliament, they are likely to be the party with most seats and  lead the coalition government. Some of the ministers have shown that they are not competent.  It would be nice to have some ministers not in white.

The wisdom of the crowd, as reflecting in the "Guess the PAP share of votes" contest in my webstie suggests that the PAP will get 55% of the popular vote - a swing of 5%. I believe that the swing will be higher, maybe 7%. We may be looking at 15 to 20 seats for the alternative parties in the next Parliament.

May I say, "I may be wrong".

My friend, who worked in a government agency and is generally pro-PAP said, "I live in East Coast. I will vote opposition as I fear for the future of my children if the PAP continues with their current policies". Will this be the view of many people?

Scoreboard and contest for the forthcoming general election

The National Solidarity Party is more popular than the Workers Party in this scoreboard, but the results are based on inadquate responses and may be biased. The PAP is way down.

Take part in the contest to guess the PAP's total share of votes in the forthcoming general election.

This is a test of your personal judgment, but don't worry - nobody knows how you fare, except yourself! You can improve your skill by practice. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Tribute to Lui Tuck Yew

Here is a comment posted in my blog:

I had met Mr. Lui Tuck Yew once on a personal problem. Even though I did not belong to his constituency, he offered tremendous help fast. This episode reveals his true character -  he's too gentlemanly and nice to be a Transport Minister, too good to be a politician at all.

His grassroots would cry to see him leave. But he made the right decision, politics is not his cup of tea. Unlike his barking dog colleagues, he just can't hurt anyone. He is probably the only PAP MP/Minister who is real, not fake, not power and money crazy, genuinely willing to serve the people, the old PAP old guard category.

God bless this man.

Why did the Minister for Transport resign from his post?

Dear Mr. Tan
I am 25 yrs old and just graduated from NUS BBA. I read your FB & am very impressed. You appear as a very vocal but level-headed person.

I suppose your FB garner numerous LIKES, making you a very popular public figure. I believe you enjoy much adulation when you contested in the Elected Presidency in 2011.

What do you think of the recent announcement of that gentleman to step down from that ministry and quit politics altogether?

I have many friends who said that he faced pressures from 'elsewhere' and the decision to resign is not his. In other words, he didn't wish to resign on his own accord. How true you think are this speculation?

I believe that the Minister for Transport Lui Tuck Yew had decided to resign on his own accord and the prime minister had tried to get him to continue in politics. The prime minister is short of experienced ministers and would have liked this minister to stay in the cabinet.

There is the risk that he may be voted out of office, as the general public are quite angry with the frequent breakdown of the trains. However, we cannot blame this breakdown on the minister as he had inherited the problem from his predecessor and the recent growth in the population was excessive and beyond his control.

It would be virtually impossible for any minister to solve this transport problem.

Here are my views on how the new transport minister should handle this hot seat.

Will PAP keep Marine Parade?

Lee Hsien Loong must be quite desperate when he asked Goh Chok Tong, age 74, to lead the PAP team to fight the Workers Party in Marine Parade GRC. The question is - will GCT be able to help the PAP to keep Marine Parade?

At the 2011 general election, the PAP team, lead by GCT, won Marine Parade with 56.64% of the votes against the team from the National Solidarity Party. The NSP team had the popular Nicole Seah while the PAP team had the unpopular Tin Pei Ling.

At the next general election, the PAP will face the WP which has a stronger branding and more popular appeal compared to the NSP. The WP will likely do better than the NSP did in 2011. Both Nicole Seah and Tin Pei Ling will not be involved in Marine Parade in this round.

Will the WP be able to get a 6.7% swing to win Marine Parade from the PAP? It depends on the strength of the WP team. The leader Low Thia Khiang has already said that he will stay back to defend Aljunied GRC.

If the WP do not send a strong team to Marine Parade, they are not likely to achieve the swing of 6.7%. They will have a chance if Sylvia Lim or Chen Show Mao lead the WP team together with Yee Jenn Jong. Will the WP take this risk?

I have a sentimental attachment to Marine Parade because I helped GCT to win his first election in that constituency and served as his PAP branch secretary for 3 years. That was history. I left Marine Parade in 1985 but continued to be involved in a small way for the next ten years. I had ceased all involvement since 1995.

Let me make this prediction of what may happen to Marine Parade.

In 2011, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew suffered the personal humiliation of seeing the PAP lose Aljunied to the WP. There is a strong chance that GCT may suffer the same humiliation in Marine Parade in 2015/ 16.

It is ironic that the fate of Marine Parade will not depend on the PAP but, instead, will depend on how the WP will act. And my guess is that the WP will take the risk and send Sylvia Lim or Chen Show Mao to Marine Parade.

All the best to the WP and to the PAP. May be better party win.

After-thought: One frightening scenario for the PAP is when Nicole Seah join the WP slate for Marine Parade.

How to play Sudoku

Mr. Tan
When you were in NTUC, you produced the book Logic 9. I find them to be quite fun to use, especially for me to try the game when I travel. Where can I buy the book?

It is now out of stock. Most people now play Sudoku (which is the commonly known name of the game) on their mobile device. So the Logic 9 booklet is just history.

If you like to learn the skill of playing the game, here is an e-book that gives you the tips on how to be a Sudoku expert.  And it is easy to follow. No difficult mathematics. Just simple daily practice. And enjoy.

This is a useful pastime for elderly people to keep their mind alert and free from dementia. And they can choose a simple level - and really enjoy the game.

Dominant trend in perception of political parties

The dominant trend during the past few days is - the strong dislike for the PAP. View here:
And take part in this contest to predict the PAP share of total votes.

Entry level jobs for graduates

This article showed the difficulty faced by a graduate in getting a job with the expected pay.

Someone made this comment, "There is too many graduate and not enough job for entry level grad. too many job requires 2-3 year experience so how is a fresh grad ever going to get started".

This problem was evident 20 years ago. Employers preferred graduates with at least two years of working experience. The good graduates could get a job immediately, but many mediocre graduates had a difficult time to get a job.

The question is - if most employers prefer graduates with working experience, which employer will give the job to a fresh graduate to get that experience?

We have to recognize the underlying problems:

1) Fresh graduates without working experience, and with mediocre academic results are not in demand.

2) Employers avoid them, as these graduates are not useful to the employer but still expect a high starting salary as a graduate.

3) Even if they accept a low starting salary, they will continue to look for a better salary and will abandon the employer at an early opportunity.

4) Employers had bad experience with fresh graduates and do not wish to repeat the mistake of training them for other employers.

What is the solution?

Students who are not academically strong should consider starting work earlier and gain the working experience, instead of going to university. After four years of working experience, they may be more valuable to an employer than a fresh graduate. 

Employers should give a contract to a fresh graduate the require them to sign a bond to work with the employer for two to four years. If the employee break the bond, they have to compensate the employer. This gives the employer the assurance that their investment in the training of the employee is not for the benefit of the next employer ,who could be a competitor. It also allows the fresh graduate a chance to gain the working experience.

We need to think out of the box to solve this problem.

Today's problems are different from the past

Andrew Tan said:
The reality is that the current problems of Singapore today are significantly different from the problems faced by Singapore at independence.
Today, the population has been taught to be obedient to authority and no one makes any major decision without checking with the top. The thinking that only a PAP cabinet can make the right decisions is fallacious.
Clearly mistakes were made in the past regarding the MRT but unfortunately, the lack of transparency in how decisions were made, makes the public weary of future decisions.
Today, no one knows when or if the MRT failures will eventually be resolved looking at the history of what had happened for the past 5 years. 

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