Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Moral hazard of unemployment insurance?

Two years ago, I met a German lady who had married a Singaporean and had lived in Singapore for 25 years. She said:

"Mr. Tan. Most people in Singapore think that they unemployed people enjoy taking advantage of unemployment benefit. This is not the case in the German town that I was brought up. The workers lost their jobs when the shipyards were no longer viable in Germany. Although they received unemployment benefit, they were embarrassed. They tried their best to find alternative work. "

Some people may take advantage of the system. But most people are hard working and will try to get off the benefit as soon as they can.

This is a perspective that I want the PAP MPs to know. It is not like what this MP thinks.

Simplify our systems

I find many systems in Singapore to be too convoluted. An example is the CPF contribution rate. Try to understand this document, okay?

Why not just set the contribution rate for employees to be 20% and for employers at 17%? Just one line? It used to be simple in the 1950s.

Cost of retrenchment insurance

The Workers Party has recommended an insurance scheme to provide a modest payout of 40% of wages to a retrenched worker for a period of six months.
They calculated the cost of the insurance to be 0.05% of wages.
I have calculated the cost to be higher, but it is still affordable, as shown in the attached PDF.

Unemployment insurance

The Workers Party has recommended an insurance scheme to give a modest payout of 40% of wages to retrenched workers for a period of six months.

I wrote on this matter two years ago. Here is my article.…/Rationale-for-unemployment-insu…

Insurance scheme to cover modest payout to retrenched workers

Redundancies in Singapore hit a high, due to the economic recession. Article.

The Workers Party have recommended a compulsory insurance scheme to provide a modest payout of 40% of earnings for a period of six months to retrenched workers. I agree with this approach.

There is some fear that this could lead to abuse. One step to reduce the abuse is to make this available only to the retrenched workers who have in the same company for more than two years. I don't know if this safeguard is already in the proposed scheme.

Another safeguard is the deterrent. Any abuse will be investigated and the employer and worker can be charged for "cheating" the system.

After the potential abuses are addressed, we should proceed with the system.

The insurance premium can be set at a rate that can vary according to the actual losses, subject to a cap of 1% of wages.

US Presidential Election - endorsement by well known personalities

Did Monica Lewinsky was the intern that was involved in a scandal with Bill Clinton was President. Did she vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? What about other well known persons, such as Clint Eastwood, Demi Moore, Leonard DiCapro? 
You can see who they support here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Beware of the risks of "as charged" medical plans

A medical plan that covers the total bill without applying any "inner limit" is called an "as charged" plan. Consumers think that this is a good plan as they don't have to worry about paying for the bill that goes beyond the "inner limit". However, the "as charged" plan also has its risks. This is explained in this article.

At long last, the high speed rail agreement is ready to be signed

At long last, the agreement for the High Speed Rail between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur is ready to be signed. The railway will come into operation in 2026. By that time, I will be 78 years old and will be too old to use it. Never mind, it will be good for the future generations. Link.

This railway should have been started 20 years earlier. However, the relationship between Singapore and Malaysia was bad. This reflects the disappointing mindset of the leaders at that time. They cannot see beyond their own pettiness to the bigger issues for both countries.

Look at the progress made by China in developing the high speed railway connecting their major cities. In contrast, our slow progress is disappointing.

Mykronoz smart phone

I am trying out this smart watch. The brand is Mykronoz. It is from Switzerland. I paid GBP 100 in London. However, I saw it sells for a much lower price at the electronic shop in Changi Airport, but I am not sure if it is the same model. The online price is Euro 99, which is still lower than GBP 100.

I find the useful feature to be:
1. It sync with my smart phone.
2. I can use the fitness tracker.
3. I can see the weather.
4. The clock face can be changed (but all the faces look unattractive).

I find the sync with the Facebook, Email to be not practical. I can control the smartphone camera with this watch and take calls from the watch - but it is not practical.

A lower price model has all the features that I use. The additional features in this higher price model is not practical.

Business Simulation Game

I am giving a talk on insurance followed by the business simulation game. The participants pay a fee of $1,000.

Here is the link that explains the business simulation game. You can play the game and experience the learning. There is no charge for you.

Legacy policy

What is a legacy policy? It is being sold to older peole who has accumulated some wealth and are asked to pass it to their children or grand children through a legacy policy. What are the risks and benefits of this type of policy? Read my analysis here.

Should you move to an integrated shield plan?

Should you stay on Medishield Life or move to an integrated plan? Will an integrated plan cover a larger part of your medical bill and reduce your co-payment?

How does Singapore stand on human rights?

Does Singapore have a good record on human rights? Where do we stand among the 200 nations covered by a research by two American professors? What are my personal views?…

Wisdom of the Crowd - results for your viewing

The results of the voting for these issues are now available:

1. President Tony Tan's visit to Japan was useful
2. Singapore's economy will take a long time to recover
3. Vivian Balakrishnan performed poorly as foreign minister
4. Halimah Yacob is likely to be fielded as candidate for President
5. The next Presidential election will be a walkover.

You can view the results here:

Wisdom of the Crowd - issues for you to vote

There are four issues available for you to vote on:
1. Does Singapore have a good human rights record?
2. Why was Dr. Ng Eng Hen not elected into the PAP CEC?
3. Should public transport fare be increased?
4. Hong Kong must give a formal reason for the detention of the SAF vehicles.

Give your vote and add your voice to the collective results.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Fix the faulty trackers in the buses

I arrived at the bus stop and check the app for the arrival time of the next bus 163. It said 14 mins.

Hahaha! Here we go again. I expect the next bus to arrive in 2 mins. It must be the bus with the faulty tracker. I first noticed this "missing" bus 3 years ago.

The bus did arrive in 2 mins. Through experience, it is possible for commuters to make such adjustments for inaccurate information.

Would it not be better for the Land Transport Authority to ask the bus companies to identify their buses with faulty trackers? This would be better than expecting the public to learn through years of experience and make this adjustment.

Would the gentleman who is monitoring my blog pass this feedback to the minister for transport? He can ask his LTA to get the bus companies to fix this long term "embarrassment" and demonstration of incompetency.

They can easily identify all the faulty trackers by going through their database. These buses are missing completely from the database!

Starting salaries for jobs posted in Job bank

Here is a list of jobs posted recently in the government sponsored Job Bank. It shows the average starting salary for each job category and each job title. You may find it useful to gauge the market salary for these jobs.

If you are interested to register as a job seeker, you can use this link. You will be notified when a job is posted that match your interest.

For other details in the job portal, click here

Do not mix public service with commercial activities

I am angry to see public buses painted with advertisements. Sometimes, I mistook them for private buses.

Public buses should remain as public buses and should not be painted to get additional revenue.

We have to draw a line between public service and commercial activities. This comment also applies to taxis.

The public servant may feel that they are smart in getting revenue for the bus operators or the government. They may find it a good way to earn a higher bonus.

We should get away from this kind of thinking. Leave the commercial activities to commercial organizations and let the public service be focused on serving the public, and not generating more revenue.

Provide information, rather than advertisements

Someone observed that the Land transport Authority is trying out the big screen in the bus, so that half the screen can be used for advertisements.

I find this deplorable. I hope that it does not happen.

I am quite fed up with the commercial practices. The commuters need information and should not be distracted by advertisements. It is not the role of government to find ways to "make money" at every opportunity.

I am also annoyed at the signage in MRT stations. They are hidden by the signs of the commercial outlets in the station. Sometimes, I cannot find the signs.

As our government or the public servants continue to display the commercial approach, maybe to get bigger bonuses, I will continue to feel very angry at this bad form of government.

I hope that the government wakes up and know that "enough is enough".

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Wisdom of the Crowd

The voting on the following issues have closed.

1) President Tony Tan's visit to Japan
2) Recovery of the economy
3) Vivian B performance as foreign minister

You can view the results at

You can vote on the current issues listed at

Give your vote and make the results more credible. We need 50 votes on each issue. We need everyone to play a part, OK?

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