Monday, June 26, 2017

The real threat of artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence will cause many jobs to be lost. What can be done to create jobs for people? What types of jobs?

Read this article.

Tips for young workers

Tip for young people who are about to start work or have recently started work.

Learn about financial planning and insurance from the videos here. They are relevant for people in Singapore. Save yourself many thousand of dollars by avoiding the bad mistakes.

Wisdom of the crowd - results

Was the demolition clause inserted into the will with LKY's knowledge?

92% of the Crowd said "Yes. It was his intention all along". Only 8% said that it was inserted without his knowledge.

View the result in

What is the best way for Lee HL to settle the dispute with his two siblings?

Two thirds (67%) of the Crowd said, "Discontinue the ministerial committee and respect LKY's wish for 38 Oxley Road to be demolished."

See the other options in

What is your preferred option for LKY's house? 75% of the Crowd preferred the house to be demolised, as was the wish of LKY.

You can read the other options in

Encourage the construction industry to use technology

Minister Desmond Lee asked the construction industry to use technology and improve efficiency.

This kind of message has been repeated many times in the past. Why are our construction companies still so backward?

I suspect that the tender system is the root cause. If we go on competitive tender for projects, the main contractors and sub contractors are unsure about the flow of their jobs. So, they will find it difficult to invest in technology.

To give them the confidence, they should be assured about the future flow of jobs at sustainable prices. This can be done when we change our competitive tender system.

This is how it can be done (just my thinking aloud). The government can use professional quantity surveyors who can make a good estimate of the cost of the project. This price can be indicated in the tender.

If a contractor is able to accept the project at this price, they can be assessed base on the quality of their technology and standard of work for past projects.

Here is an example. The professional QS estimated the job to be $100 million. If it is based on competitive tender, the lowest bid might be $95 million. If the project is awarded to this lowest tender, the contractor may fail (i.e. declare bankruptcy) or find ways to press down the wages and subcontractors.

However, if the project is awarded for $100 million, based on my new criteria, the main contractors and their subcontractors will be willing to invest in technology and develop a skilled workforce for the long term.

I wonder if my approach can work?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Votes in The Wisdom of the Crowd

What are the main reasons for Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang to bring their dispute with Lee Hsien Loong into the open?
Click here to watch what the Crowd thinks.

Lee Hsien Loong is quite popular, based on the number of people who like his Facebook Page and gave positive remarks to his posts.
Why is he so popular? The reasons given by the Crowd are not so flattering.

On the Lee family feud, which side does the Crowd support? The results are quite worrying for Lee Hsien Loong.

Will Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Loong enter politics in the future?

Videos on financial planning and insurance

I created this page containing videos on financial planning and insurance several months ago.

I monitor the viewing of the videos. I am surprised that, after many months, I still get an average of 10 new visitors every day watching the videos. The old visitors also come back to watch the additional videos. An average of 20 videos is being watched daily.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Virtual replica of 38 Oxley Road

It was a big blunder for Lee HL to create a feud with his two siblings over the demolition of LKY's house. There is no value in its preservation, especially when it goes against the wishes and values of his father and, after LKY's demise, against the strong opposition of his two siblings.

If he wants to preserve the memory of the house, there are ways to achieve it - such as creating a virtual replica of the house. The old house is not the most important reminder of LKY - the continued success of Singapore is.

There is still a chance for Lee HL to salvage the situation. He can disband the awkward ministerial committee and accept the Final Will as binding. This will allow his siblings to demolish the house but after the experts had captured the images for the virtual replica of the house. The dispute would die down and peace will return.

Here is the solution.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Issues that have been voted recently in The Wisdom of the Crowd

If you want to know what the Crowd thinks on many issues that have been voted recently, you can view the results in

Three more results from The Wisdom of the Crowd

The foreign minister gets a poor performance rating based on the votes of the Crowd.
See here:

The results are surprising. A high percentage of the Crowd thinks that it is necessary for M Ravi to bring the issue of the Elected President scheme to outside jurisdictions.

Which government policy should be changed at top priority? I thought that it is to reduce the ministers' salaries. I was surprised that another matter obtained higher votes. You can view the results in

Monday, June 19, 2017

Do we need a reserved presidential election

This is what the Crowd thinks about a Presidential Election that is reserved for a specific ethnic group. They don't like it.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Friday, June 16, 2017

Suggestion to solve the dispute over 38 Oxley Rise

The Last Will of Lee Kuan Yew contained a clause to allow Lee Wei Ling to continue living in 38 Oxley Road for as long as she wish to. When she move out of that house, the will stated that his house should be demolished. The property is also bequethed to Lee Hsien Loong.

Under a negotiated arragement, LHL sold the property to his younger brother Lee Hsien Yang at market value. Both LHL and LHY agreed to donate half of the value of the land to the charities listed in LKY's will.

The market value of the property is estimated to be $24 million. This meant that LHY paid $24 million to LHL for the property and also donated $12 million to the charities. This is a big investment for LHY.

Subsequently LHY learnt that LHL, as prime minister, had formed a ministerial committee to look into the government's intent regarding the site, and also to see if the demolition clause in LKY's will had been inserted without his full knowledge.

I consider the ministerial committee to be ultra vires, i.e. beyond its legal power and authority. The National Heritage Board is the authority to decide if the house is to be preserved as a monument. If LHL wish to challenge the validity of the will, it has to be determined by a process in court.

To solve this misunderstanding, it is best for LHL to disband the ministerial committee and accept the last will, for which probate has been granted, to be legally binding on all parties.

As the house is going to be demolised, the site does not have any heritage value. As LHY had already paid to LHL the market value for the property, he should be free to use the site for any purpose that is allowed by the planning authority.

If LHL wish to retain the site for its historical value, he should buy back the property from LHY. As the owner, he can do what he wishes with the land, including donating it to the government. If he wish to preserve the house, he should apply for a court order to stop the executors from demolishing the house, on the grounds that he is the rightful owner of the property and the demolition intent stated in the Last Will is questionable.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The confusion regarding 38 Oxley Road

I find the episode quite confusing.

On the one hand, I thought the issue had already been settled, as expressed in this statement. All the three children of Mr. Lee KY had agreed that the house would be torn down and the children would each donate half of the value of the land to charity. The continuing dispute among the siblings over this issue baffles me.

After examining the issue more closely, I am confused with the following:

a) How is the value of the land determined? Does it mean that the family intends to keep the land, after the house is demolished, and the two brothers would each donate 50% of the value of the land to the charities? Does this mean that the donation comes from their personal wealth and not from the sale of the land?

b) If the family keeps the land, who will be the owner? Will it be the estate of Mr. Lee KY? Who will be the ultimate beneficiaries of the land or the estate?

The URA and National Heritage Board have said that the land will not be used for commercial development. Will it be kept as a memorial park? If so, the value of the land would be quite nominal?

I do not understand why this arrangement has to be so convoluted. This is a private property owned by Mr. Lee KY. The property is now passed to the estate. They should be allowed to deal with the property in any way that the family deems fit.

If the government wish to step in and declare the house is to be preserved as a monument, the government would probably have to compensate the estate for taking over the property. There must be other examples of how old buildings are taken over by the government. Surely, the same process and precedents can be followed?

Mr. Lee KY had expressed a wish, in his will, that the house should be demolished at some time in the future. Surely, there is no need to obstruct his last wish?

If there is a need to create a memorial for Mr Lee KY, there are ways of doing it, without going against his wish that is stated so clearly in his will.

This is really quite confusing. No wonder, the siblings are quarelling over the arrangement.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Medical charges increase by 15% a year

My friend, who is 78 years old, received an email from a Great Eastern Life agent telling him that the annual increase in medical cost is 15% (and recommending the coverage provided by his company), My friend asked for my comments about the inflation rate.

Here is my reply

Monday, June 12, 2017

Videos is a better teaching format

Someone said that he does not like to read articles written by academics.

I agree.

However, when the academic appears in a Youtube video, e.g. when he is being interviewed, his message is quite easy to follow.

But when he writes a paper, the reader will find his points to be quite difficult to follow.

I have made a few videos about financial planning and insurance. They were put up a few months ago. Each day, about 5 to 10 people watch the 1 or more videos. It shows that they like the video format.

To watch my videos, go to

Unproductive to make cheque payments

I sent a cheque to pay for 3 places at and association dinner on 31 May. The staff told me on 12 June that the cheque has not arrived. I asked for the bank account to make an internet payment.

Two hours later, she told me that the cheque has now been received. It took 12 days for the cheque to arrive. Was it due to the slow delivery by the post office, or was it due to delay in the internal mail of the association?

I don't know why businesses still ask their customers to pay by cheque. They should have given their bank account as the first option for internet payment.

Singapore is very slow in moving away from cheque payments. This is costly and unproductive.

More enjoyable and less costly to take public transport

After trying Uber and Grab a few times, I have now decided that it is better to take public transport.

I had to wait 5 to 10 minutes for the taxi or car to arrive. Their app usually show the wrong information. It tells the expected arrival time, but this is usually unreliable.

The cost is high. Although they indicated a fixed fare, they add the ERP charges, which can be very costly. If the taxi is on metered fare, the congested road will add to the cost significantly.

Sometimes, the driver does not know the way or ask "which way I want to go".

If I take the bus or train, I do not get this kind of stress. Although the journey takes a longer time, it is more pleasant.

So, it will be back to public transport for me, except when I have to go to the airport to catch a flight.

Our foreign minister has been too quiet

I saw this news in Today paper.

Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan is on an official visit to Beijing at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. Besides meeting Mr Wang, Dr Balakrishnan will call on Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao and State Councilor Yang Jiechi. Dr Balakrishnan will also have breakfast with some Singaporean representatives based in China.

Why did the ministry release the information so late? I already read the news a few days earlier from a Hong Kong newspaper.

During the Terrex episode a few months ago, I had expected the foreign minister to take the lead to resolve this diplomatic spat. I did not hear any word from him.

He was so much out of the limelight that I forgot about him. I created an issue for the public to vote on the performance of the ministers. I managed to list all the ministers, EXCEPT the foreign minister. He was so quiet that I forgot about him totally.

A bad experience with Grab promotion

I have a bad experience with JustGrab. Last week, they offered a promotion to deduct $6 for several trips if I topped up $50 into my account. I accepted the offer.

I had to visit the National Eye Center. I book JustGrab for a fare of $14. After the discount, I thought that I had to pay only $8. I told the driver to avoid ERP as I knew that it would be costly.

On arrival, my fare was $21. The driver had to pass through 2 ERP gantries, which added $7 to the fare. Grab said that the discount did not apply as I should have topped up on 10 and 11 June, and I had topped up 1 day earlier. (I was not aware of this restriction).

If it were not for this promotion, I would have taken public transport to the clinic. My fare would be less than $1.

This Grab promotion turned out to be a disaster for me. The ride was not enjoyable as the driver was unhappy that he had to drive in heavy traffic to avoid the ERP at CTE.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The unemployed graduate

Forty years ago, I heard stories that some countries (which I shall not name) produced many graduates who cannot find jobs. This phenomenon has now arrived in Singapore. We will soon be producing many graduates who cannot find jobs.

What is happening?

Read this article on the "unemployed graduate" and what we can do to address this problem.

How to deal with returning jihadists

What is the best way to deal with jihadist who returned to Singapore? These are the people who went to the Middle East for training as ISIS fighters.

Give your vote in

Saturday, June 10, 2017

How to avoid being assaulted

Rachel Ash asked:
If you being the CEO then in the insurance business cannot eliminate these issues then we lay people who knows nuts what can we hope to achieve but to be repeatedly assaulted.

Many of the life insurance products being sold in the market now are bad for consumers. They take away too much of the savings. Many of these policies are sold to consumers through deceptive means.

The advisers did not explain the policies correctly. If the advisers had explained the correct facts to the buyers, the buyers would probably not buy these products anyway.

What can consumers do, when they were "assaulted" ?

They should come forward and lodge a complaint. If the Monetary Authority of Singapore receives many complaints, they will know that there is a real problem that need to be addressed. But if many people keep quiet, MAS will think that the problem is isolated.

I personally believe that the problem is quite rampant. Sadly, not enough people are coming forward to lodge their complaints.

Actually, there are already sufficient evidence for MAS to be concerned and to look into this matter. They should know that the consumers are being taken for a ride and the incidence of misselling is quite rampant. However, they are still not willing to act on this issue. I blame MAS for their apathy as much as I blame the consumer.

To avoid being "assaulted", the consumers should learn what to look out for. They should spend the time to understand the issue. They can watch the videos in my website or attend the talk organized by FISCA (

Otherwise, one day, the "assault" will be successful and the consumer would suffer a large painful loss.

How can the PAP regain the trust of the people?

I met a two old school mates for lunch today. They said that the trust between the government leaders and the people is now very low, based on "coffee shop talk". The leaders should make the effort to hear the "coffee shop talk" to know how the people are feeling.

I asked them - what is the single most important action that the government can take to regain the trust of the people.

Mr. X, who has been a grassroot leader for decades and is still helping the MP in a small way said,

"They should revise their salaries to be commensurate with their actual responsibilities. If a candidate can lose an election and is elected on the next attempt in a safe group constituency, and is then promoted to be a minister at a high salary, what will the people think?

Many ordinary people are strugging just to keep their job and they are paid a low salary. Why should that minister be treated so well?"

I told Mr. X that I agree with his view completely. The best way for the government to regain the trust of the people is to revise their salary according to international benchmarks.

Mr. X said - but some ministers deserve to be paid a high salary, because they were already earning the high salary in the private sector.

TKL - I disagree. If the minister is not willing to take the sacrifice to accept the proper salary, according to international benchmark, we do not need him to be a minister. We have to look for someone else. Surely, there are more than 20 capable people in Singapore who are willing to be a minister at the proper salary?

My view of the UK election results

The results of the UK general election has been bad for prime minister Theresa May. It is also bad for the Brexit negotiation with the European Union. The uncertainties will be bad for the British Pound and for the economy.

Why did the voters of the UK choose this "bad outcome"?

Many of the voters, especially the young voters, are dissatisfied with the status quo. They are unhappy with the austerity program that produces slow economic growth and low employment. They are also unhappy that the rich are getting richer while they have to struggle to pay for the high cost of living with uncertain jobs or unemployment.

They vote for a new social order in the UK. They vote for a more socialist society.

This is the same message that the voters in the US gave to the political establishments. It is the same message that causes people around the world to resort to violence.

The political establishment and the elite has to change their current policies. This statement applies to Singapore as well.

Friday, June 09, 2017

The Paul Thambyah and Chee Hong Tat issues

Dr Paul Thambyah is a courageous person. He is a senior doctor in government service and is willing to be a leader in the opposition Singapore Democratic Party.

Do you agree? You can view the results of the voting on this issue in

He made a comment in a speech at May Day. He was criticized by Minister of State Chee Hong Tat. What do the Crowd think about the criticism by the MOS?

Here are their votes:

Challenge facing young people

In the US primary election in 2016, Bernie Sanders drew the crowds. He had the strong support of the young. The Democratic Party nominated Hillary Clinton. She lost the general election to Donald Trump.

In the UK general election in 2017, Jeremy Corbyn of the Labor Party drew the crowds. He had the support of the young people who turned up at large numbers to vote. The Labor Party did unexpectedly well, although they still have less seats than the Conservatives.

The message from the young people in the US and UK are the same. They are fed up of the economy. They are fed up of leaving university with a high debt and no job. They are fed up of high cost of living and low wages.

The young people of Singapore faces the same challenge.

Improve the bus service

Two buses under service 163 arrived within 1 minute of each other last night. It repeated tonight.

The bus schedule is getting worse. This is disappointing. After the government took over the responsbility of managing the entire network, I expected the schedule to improve. After all, it is easier to plan the schedule when there are not "turfs" to fight over among the bus operators. This is not the case.

This is sad. With the massive amount of data that is available, it should be possible for the Land Transport Authority to plan the capacity to match the demand and ensure that the schedules are followed closely.

The Land Transport Authority does not seem to be paying attention to this matter. The transport minister is also sleeping. If he just check the management reports, he should be able to know that there are problems. He can direct the LTA to fix them.

Of course, he can also "don't care". I suspect that this is what is happening.

Regardless of race, language or religion

The UK elects 650 MPs to their House of Commons. Each MP is elected from a constituency.

They seem to be able to produce MPs to reflect the diversity of their country, i.e. people from various ethnic groups and religions.

They do not need the convoluted system of GRC (group representation constituency) that is used in Singapore.

They have also elected a Muslim of Asian origin, but born in the UK, to be the Mayor of London. They do not need to have a "reserved election" for him to be elected into this office.

Singapore had set a good example to the world of Singaporeans from different racial and religious backgrounds living in harmony.

Can we get rid of our GRC and reserved elections and elect Singaporeans regardless of race, language or religion?

How many constituences in the UK and in Singapore?

I asked Google - how many constituences in the UK?

The answer - 650, each electing a single MP to the House of Commons.…

I asked Google - how many constituces in Singapore. Google does not know. So they give me this page:

So I asked again. How many MPs in Singapore?
The answer - 92, 89 elected and 3 Non Constituency MPs.

My conclusion - things are so convoluted in Singapore. We spend a lot of energy to sort out the complications, and do not have any energy left to solve our real problems - such as bringing down the cost of living, making sure that our citizens have jobs, can marry and have children, etc.


Thursday, June 08, 2017

Are baby milk powder prices in Australia subsidised by the government?

My research showed that milk powder prices in Singapore cost 70% more than Australia. I asked the question - why should our prices be so high?

Someone said - that is because prices in Australia are subsidised. We should compare the unsubsidised prices.

The statement was made with an air of confidence. I thought initially that it was true. However, there was no way for me to get the prices before subsidy.

I decided to check Google (thank you Google) - is milk powder prices subsidised in Australia?

I got the answer - the Australian farmers gets government support as the milk prices are too low, due to over-supply. Hey, if this is the case, the low milk prices should result in low prices for milk powder manufactured in Australia and sold in locally and for export, right?

I can classify the statement of subsidised prices as "fake news". i wonder if that person is working for the government, and makes the statement to deflect the failure of the government to deal with the high prices being charged in Singapore?

Quite likely, he is not working for the government. He must have taken upon himself the role of protecting the reputation of Singapore against people who ask troublesome and embarrasing questions?

Stores charge the same price for the same product, but describe them differently

I asked my staff to compile the prices of 50 baby milk powder under 5 brands sold at Fairprice, Giant, RedMart and Sheng Siong.

Here are the findings.

Fairprice and Giant describe the same products differently. My staff had a difficult time to match the products. He finally managed to identify the same products, which were described differently.

The finding - Fairprice and Giant and Redmart charge the same price. There are a few products where one party charge a lower price - under Promotion. Sheng Siong has only a few products.

Perhaps they were required to charge the same price by the supplier.

Sorry. The parents in Singapore will have to pay much higher prices than those in other countries.

Videos on financial planning and insurance

I like to ask young people to watch the videos at my website. This will help them to avoid the expensive mistake of buying a life insurance policy that they cannot maintain. They can lose a few thousand dollars of their savings.

The videos provide tips to ordinary people on how to handle their financial planning and insurance.

These videos are very popular. Every day, 10 to 20 people watch 1 or more videos. Although the videos were put up several months ago, they are still being watched every day.

Buying a policy that he does not understand or need

Mr. X sent an email to me. He had bought a policy and asked me if it was "worth keeping". The consultant who sold him the policy had kept the policy document from him until after the 14 day free look period expired. He was not able to exercise the cancellation. What should he do?

I asked Mr X to scan the benefit illustration for me to look. He took photos using his mobile phone in various odd directions. I replied to him that I cannot read it. (It was quite inconsiderate of him to expect free advice and provide the information in a shoddy manner).

I asked Mr. X to telephone me. He did. He said that he had bought the life insurance policy at a road show. He did not understand what he was buying but bought it anyway on the recommendation of the consultant. He paid $1,200 as an annual premium. He is still single but expect to get married soon.

Mr. X is totally lost. He would probably have to lose more than $1,000 on this bad mistake. Frankly, I am not able to help him in this complicated situation.

I had warned many people on the following:

1. Do not buy any insurance policy on a road show.
2. Attend the financial planning talk organized by FISCA
3. Read the financial planning tips in the FISCA website.

Many people ignore my advice. When they get stuck with a very costly decision (like what had happened to Mr. X) they expect me to help them. Sorry, it is already too late.

Apamil baby milk powder

One parent told me that he found this research to be very useful. He is trying Aptamil which is manufactured from New Zealand. The prices in Singapore are 70% higher than in Australia. Why should it be so?

Wyeth baby milk powder

A well known brand is Wyeth (subsidiary of Nestle). There are many products under this brand and they are available in Singapore. This milk powder is advertised as being "manufactured in Singapore". But the average price in Singapore ($4.28 p 100g) is almost double of Malaysia and Australia ($2.47 and $2.41 respectively).

More details in

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Research on baby milk powder prices in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia

The prices are taken on the first week of June 2017 from the online website of stores in Singapore (Fairprice, Giant), Malaysia (Tesco, Sam Groceria) and Australia (Coles, Woolworths).
The prices in Malaysia and Australia are converted into SGD using the exchange rate of 0.32 and 1.04 respectively. The SGD prices are then adjusted to get the price per 100 g of powder.
The average price per 100 g is $2.10 in Malaysia, $2.75 in Australia and $4.70 in Singapore. Singapore is more expensive than Australia by 70% and more expensive than Malaysia by 123% (i.e. more than doubled).
I have also shown the 10 most expensive products and the 10 least expensive products in each country.
I hope that this information helps parents to choose the most suitable milk powder for their babies, without paying for the most expensive products on the shelves.

Click here for more details

Starhub Perpetual Securities, Indicative yield. 4.25%

Issuer: StarHub Ltd
Issue : SGD Subordinated Perpetual Securities
Issuer/Issue Rating: Unrated
Format: Regulation S only and S274/275 of SFA
Issue Size: SGD benchmark
Tenor: Perpetual NC5
Price Guidance: 4.25% area (changes subject to market condition and demand)
Ranking: Direct, unconditional, unsecured and subordinated obligation of the Issuer
Settlement Date: 16 June 2017
Issuer Call Option: 16 June 2022 & at any distribution date thereafter at par, 100% of principal
Distribution: Fixed. Reset in Year 10 & every 10 years thereafter plus applicable Step up
Step up: 100bp from Year 10
Distribution Payment: Semi-annually in arrear
Distribution Deferral: At Issuer's discretion. Any deferred Distributions are cumulative and compounding
Dividend Pusher: Yes, with 6 month look back period
Dividend Stopper: Yes
Other Redemption: At par under tax reasons, accounting reasons, tax deductibility and clean up event
Use of Proceeds: General corporate funding requirements or investments of the Issuer and/or the StarHub Group (including financing new acquisitions and investments, refinancing of existing borrowings, working capital, capital expenditure and other general funding requirements)
Other Terms: SGD250k denoms; SGX-ST listing , CDP clearing, off S$2bn Programme
Governing Law: Singapore law
PB Concession : 15 cents
Sole Global Coordinator and Bookrunner: DBS Bank Ltd.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

A sense of proportion

I observe that many people in Singapore lack a sense of proportion. They do not difference between what is big and what is small, what is important and what is not important. They give the same degree of attention to all the issues that they encounter.

I frequently quote the example of the naming of roads. We have Sin Ming Avenue, Sin Ming Road, Sin Ming Drive and Sin Ming Lane. All of these roads are of the same width. In other countries, the name "avenue" is probably used for a road of three or four lanes on each side, the name "road" or "drive" has two lanes and the name "lane" has 1 lane.  If there are many lanes of a road, they use the name lane 1, lane 2, etc to differentiate them.

In the past, our planners do have a sense of proportion. They give the name "avenue" to identify the major roads in Ang Mo Kio and the name "street" to identify the smaller roads that branch from the avenue. The same approach was used in Bedok North and Bedok South. Before that, they used "lorong" to identify the major roads in Toa Payoh, although lorong, which means street, may not be the appropriate word to be used for a major road.

Before that, we have lorongs that branch out of Geyland Road and they are numbered sequentially.

It is a nightmare to understand the names given to the roads and streets in Sengkang and Punggol estates. We have to carry a street directory with us all the time. Fortunately, we now have Google Maps.

Improve the signs in Singapore

Changi Airport has good signs - among the best that you can find in Singapore. But, they can still overlook some points.

When a traveler enters the departure hall, they need the signs to tell them where to go. Most travelers need to find the departure gate, lounge and GST refund counter (for tourist).

I have a ticket for get C26. The sign does not tell me where to go. It cannot be to the right, but it could be straight ahead or to the left. They should include the other gates in the sign.

The lounges can be found at both ends of the terminal. This should be shown in the sign. The current sign misleads the traveler to go to the lounge on the right, when he should be going to the one on the left.

Fortunately, there is an information counter at the entrance. This is helpful. In many shopping malls in Singapore, one has to search for the information counter, which is located in an obscure corner. But Changi Airport did this right.

I find the signs to be bad in most places in Singapore. Changi Airport has one of the best signs, even if it has some small shortcomings.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Show telephone number and name

Some organizations are quite inconsiderate. When they call the customers, their telephone number does not show as the Caller ID. They do not realize that most customers will reject these calls, as they could be unsolicited marketing calls.

They should show both their telephone number and name. The customers are more likely to take the calls.

Employers prefer to employ foreigners?

I suspect that the employers prefer foreigners, because they do not have to be disrupted for reservist duties. This is unfair to our local males. I hope that the government recognize and address this problem.

Wisdom of the Crowd website

There are four new issues for you to vote in

When you submit 10 or more votes, you will win the prizes shown here:

You can view the results of the voting on the closed issues in

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Solving a Sudoku puzzle

Calling Soduku fans.
Do you have a puzzle that you cannot solve?
Enter the numbers in this website, click on "Solve" and let the website solve for you.
If you enter an invalid puzzle or an extremely complex puzzle, it will return "No solution". But most time, you will get the answer in 3 seconds!
You can also ask the website to generate a puzzle - with the number of blanks that you specify. You can then solve the generated puzzle.

Problem with MRT signalling system

James Lim said:
The real shocker is that there's actually no need for such signalling system for use on SMRT's NSL and EWL because both lines are driven by humans.

From an engineer perspective, the "Moving block" signalling system used by SMRT in its current "upgrade" uses sensors to create a bubble of safety region for the train to travel. If the train exceed the bubble, electricity is automatically cut off and the train can't move causing a jam. Such system relies heavily on sensor and all the train speed on the railway. Since it's man driven, some trains travel faster / slower than what the computer required unlike unmanned trains like CCL/NEL/DTL which computer dictates the speed. Sensors can fail easily (e.g. bird fly pass / something blocking the sensor and it think it's a train)

The fact is we don't need such a system for NSL / EWL and it's a giant waste of money. If SMRT had implemented a timetable system (use in Sydney trains / Japan trains) and each train follow the timetable to arrive at the destination with drivers PHYSICALLY looking ahead for safety, there is no trouble / signalling / track fault at all.

Sadly SMRT don't want to implement this system.

I sometimes wonder if we are spending a lot of money unnecessarily. However, we do not have sufficient information to make a judgment. The information is not shared with the public. This is governance, Singapore style. The elites knows all the answers. They also knows all the excuses when something goes wrong.

Include name of organization in Caller ID

The Singapore Civil Defence Force is arranging for its number "995" to appear on the mobile phones of called parties ('995' now displayed on phones' caller ID; June 1).

Apart from showing the number, it should also try to get its name reflected.

If the called parties know the identity of the caller, they are more likely to pick up the call.

Recently, I received a call from the Singapore Exchange and the number was not reflected. I did not take it, thinking it was someone trying to sell me something.

I am not aware of any telephone company that provides this service, but the SCDF might want to look into it.

Tan Kin Lian

Friday, June 02, 2017

Professional engineer moves to Kuala Lumpur

I met a woman who is a professional engineer and boss of a company that employs three staff.
She is moving to Kuala Lumpur where the business prospects are better., She finds the business in Singapore to be too competitive and the cost to be too high.
I agree with her. I told her that the government introduces many wasteful activities that are costly. Recently, they wrote to companies to appoint a Data Protection Officer under the Privacy and Data Protection Act. This requirement applies to all companies and associations, including those that do not have any full time staff.

Is Singapore not competitive for aircraft maintenance jobs

I met a young man in his mid 20s. He graduated from a polytechnic with a diploma in aeronautical engineering and went to serve his National Service. On completing his full time NS, he could not get a job. He had to work as a part time cashier to earn $6 an hour.

I find this strange. There should be business for the aircraft maintenance industry, due to the explosion in air travel, particularly for the low cost airlines.

This is an industry where Singapore should be competitive. The planes are costly, so the airlines should be able to pay a high fee for aircraft maintenance of a high standard.

He told me that the aircraft maintenance requires a lot of space and Singapore is short of space. That is why not many jobs are available in Singapore.

I do not accept this reasoning. Perhaps the cost of rental of space is a major factor. I do not think the aircraft maintenance companies are using foreigners, as the expected salary of this young man is quite modest.
There is a problem here. I do not know what is the real problem.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Show the name of the caller making a call

I find it ridiculous that companies hide their telephone numbers when they call their customers.

Recently, I received a call from a large company to my enquiry. My mobile phone showed the number as "unknown". I did not answer because I thought it was a marketing call? Why do they have to hide their number?

They should show their number. In fact, they should show the name of the company, i.e. "XYZ Company". Surely, the telephone operator can provide this feature? It is not difficult.

I read today that the Police hotline did not show "995" when they make a call to the public. They are now correcting it with this change. But why did it take the Police so long to realize this shortcoming?

If the telephone operator provide this feature, individual users may also opt for this service. If I call another party, I like my name to be sent to their mobile phone so they know who is calling. Currently, the number is shown, but a name would be better.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Comedy of the Elected President - uniquely Singapore

The race for the Elected President starts on 1 June 2017 (tomorrow). It looks like another walkover. This will be an additional chapter in this unique Singapore comedy. It is run to watch the various acts over the past 25 years.

Bad excuse for poor management of bus services

I saw this poster on the bus for one year. I see this as a sad example of the quality of Lee HL's government.

I see a hidden message. It says, "LTA is not able to use the data to plan better bus services because concession card holders do not tap out of the bus, so the data is not complete".

What nonsense! Even if the concession card holders do not tap out, there is sufficient data from the ordinary commuters to do proper planning.
I see that our bus schedules are somewhat chaotic - some services have many buses and are poorly utilised while other services are short of buses.

I wrote to the Ministry of Transport to ask for the occupancy rate of the bus services to be shown on a website and the data be used for planning. MOT passed my suggestion to LTA. Nobody bother to contact me to discuss this proposal.

Well, I blame Lee HL because he does not appoint the right people to head our agencies and allow their bad attitude to pervade the public service.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

LTA should optimize the bus services

I waited for bus 162 at 5.30 pm today. It arrived after 15 minutes. During this interal, I saw 4 buses for 52 passed by, most of them quite empty. Bus 52 is not a feeder service. How can they afford to run so many buses at short intervals on this route.

I changed to bus 70 at Yio Chu Kang station. It arrived after 20 minutes. The queue was very long.

The Land Transport Authority is now responsible to set the schedule of the bus services, as all revenue goes to them. They pay the bus operators a fixed fee to run each bus, based on their tender price.

Is anyone in LTA monitoring the punctuality and the load factor for each service? I suspect that nobody is paying attention. (Previously, the bus operators would be monitoring it to optimize the profit).

It is not difficult for LTA to appoint somebody to be responsible for this operation. They can use the data collected on the bus service to optimize their operations.

I hope that someone in LTA is paying attention to this matter.

Wasteful to issue many credit cards that are hardly used

Rex Hsu said:
There is another widespread practice by banks which absolutely confuse you. Many banks issue 3 or more different visa/mastercards. Card A can get special discount at retail and dining, Card B can use for mrt discount, card C can use for petrol discount, Card D is a ladies special card, each card also can have a supplememtary card, each card carries a different annual fee, which you can ask to waive by phone call (if you remember). Many banks tell you, get a great discount for joining after that can cancel one card, or both card to avoid annual fee, no problem. My wallet is full of cards, i dont know which card to use, even the same bank issue 2 cards at a time to you. Such is the confusion and low productivity in Singapore.

It is a wasteful practice. The product managers have KPI on number of cards issued. So they work to issue many cards (and allow waiver of annual fee) to meet the KPI. I get the impression that Singapore is a wasteful society.

Monday, May 29, 2017

How can Singapore Airlines improve its service through innovation

What can Singapore Airlines really do to restore their profits? They have already formed two subsidiares, Tiger Air and Scoot, to compete with the low cost airlines. They have to remain in the premium travel category. Perhaps they should cut cost and improve their efficiency? At the same time, they should make it innovative for passengers to enjoy their flying experience?

Their cabin crew continue to provide good service. But they really need to know what the travellers really appreciate today. It is not the same as 50 years ago. Times have changed.

Here are some of my ideas.

1) All travellers now carry mobile device.
2) Allow them to charge the mobile devices on the plane.
3) Allow them to watch movies, news and music on their mobile device.

This is only possible if WiFi is safe to use on the plane. I assume that it is, as some planes already provide it for a fee.

Access to the Internet will be expensive, so it has to be charged. But WiFi for access to the server on the plane should be free.

The passenger will probably enjoy their mobile device better than the console on the plane - which they find difficult to navigate.

Do you agree? Any suggestions from your experience?

Show the operating hours of Transit Link office

I have a PAssion card which can be used for public transport. I have to activate the card at a Transit Link office before 31 May. (I had the card with me for a long time but did not use it).

I searched the Internet for the operating hours of the Transit Link office. I could not find it. Someone, Transit Link did not consider this information to be important. They stated that their hotline operates form 8 am, so I thought that their office would be open at 8 am.

I took a bus to Yio Chu Kang MRT station where there is a Transit Link office. I arrived at 8.30 am. The sign said that the office is closed indefinitely. I have to go to another Transit Link office.

I took the MRT to Ang Mo Kio station. I know they have a Transit Link office there.

I went to the interchange and asked for direction to the Transit Link office. The customer service counter was open but they cannot activate the card. The counter for activation will open at 10 am. I could not wait 1 more hour, so I have to come tomorrow.

It is quite common to see the ordinary people waste a lot of time to do simple things. They have to wait for several hours in the polyclinic. They waste time, like I did, with unhelpful information on services.

If the Peoples Association were to wonder why there is a low activation rate for their PAssion card (and I assume that this is the case), they should learn from my feedback.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Beware of this type of life insurance promotion

Several investment linked policies, offered by a few insurance companies, follow this structure. It is easy for the consumer to fall into the trap, and to regret their folly.

1. The agent tells them about a limited period promotion, which offers bonus units for their investments.
2. The customer ask many questions about the promotion, but FORGOT to look at the important aspects of the underlying policy.
3. They were not aware about the high annual and penalty charges.
4. When they realize the fact, it was too late. They have invested more than $10,000 and would have to suffer a part of it when they terminate the policy, or to suffer a large loss each year.

This product analysis shows how the charges work.

New issues for voting at Wisdom website

Here are the issues for you to vote:

1) Will Donald Trump complete the first term in office?
2) Did Donald Trump back down on global trade at the G7 summit?
3) Should single mothers be allowed to get subsidized HDB flats?

Give your vote at

How can Singapore Airlines improve its revenue and profits

Singapore Airlines is facing big challenges. They suffered an operating loss during the last quarter. Their service is not as good as previously. Their prices are too high. The cost is probably too high also.

Here are some suggestions on how the airline can improve its customer service and experience and hopefully increases its revenue.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Analyses of financial products

This page contains the analyses of several insurance products and investments that are commonly sold in the market. Some are good for consumers, others are bad. The analyses are available only for FISCA members. There are analysis of many products. Only the most recent ones are shown. You can search for the old ones by typing the name of the product in the search box.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Are you a first time or second time buyer of a HDB flat?

The HDB allows a citizen to buy a subsidized flat two times. On the second time, the buyer has to pay a resale levy. This rule may look simple, but can be quite complicated to manage. It is giving headache to the front line staff of HDB and also to the general public.

Read more at:

Survey on Chee Hong Tatt and Paul Thambyah

Minister of state Chee Hong Tatt criticized Paul Thambyah for making unsubstantiated allegations on local doctors unhappiness with the employment of foreign doctors.

a) Was the MOS fair in his criticism?
b) Was Paul Thambyah a courageous person?

Here are the results of two surveys on this matter.

Survey on Baby Milk Power

Here are the results of two surveys.

You can view more survey results at

The truth about the interest rate paid by the Central Provident Fund

For many years, the Central Provident Fund has been paying an interest rate of 2.5% on the ordinary account and 4% on the special account. Many commentators pointed out that the CPF savings are invested by GIC which was able to earn a much higher return than the interest rate paid by CPF. They asked for transparency in the investment of CPF.

Here is the truth about the return provided by CPF to its members. And a suggestion on how to improve the current situation and make it more transparent and trusted.

Should Singapore have cancelled the joint naval exercise with India in the South China Sea?

Should Singapore have canceled our joint naval exercise with India in the South China Sea to avoid aggravating the misunderstanding with China? There are several options for you to vote on this issue in

Is policy A or policy B better?

I have often been asked for my views on whether policy A or policy B is better. The implicit assumption is that the consumer have to buy either A or B. It is like having to pay tax, i.e. they have no choice.

The consumer is asking the wrong question. A better question is - how should I plan for my future and to protect against the risk of premature death (by accident or illness) and to have sufficient savings for my retirement.

The answer to this important question can be obtained from:

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Excellent follow up by Singapore Exchange

I congratulate Singapore Exchange for providing an excellent follow up to my feedback about the Central Depository. They called me to discuss my feedback and the actions that they can take to address them.

I hope that other big organizations in Singapore, including the government agencies, will follow this excellent example.

Congratulations, SGX.

Is our health care system a success?

This professor describes Singapore health care system as a success in providing affordable care. I disagree with him. I find our health care to be too costly for the nation and for the people. The charges for treatment are also too high and the out of pocket payments take away a large part of Medisave and personal savings.

The quality of the health care is good, but it is too expensive.…/commentary-singapore-s-hea…

Does an insurance policy cover terrorism?

If a person is insured under an insurance policy and dies from a terrorist attack, such as the one that occurs in Manchester or Jakarta, will the family be able to claim under the insurance policy?
You can find the answer here:

Issues affecting the future leadership of Singapore

There are three important questions affecting the future leadership of Singapore. Go to the website and vote on these issues.

We need many votes from ordinary people.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Login process for Corporate Pass should be simplified

I waited 6 years for IDA (now IDMA) to introduce the Corporate Pass. They now wants to make it compulsory for organisations to use the Corporate Pass, rather than the individual's Sing Pass.

The login for Corporate Pass is quite complicated for users. They require the user to provide the organization's UEN code and the user's personal code. This is a bad approach.

After that, they still have to go through a 2FA authentication. And search a complicated website for the transaction that they wish to provide.

This is sad. Singapore will still have to face a big challenge in introducing online transactions. This login system will discourage users.

What is a better login system? They should just follow Google or Facebook to allow people to login with their email address. THey can even allow the user to login with the Facebook or Google profile.

After logging in this easy way, they can present to the user the organization that they are authorised to access. In most cases, it will be a single organization. But some users may access a few organizations. This can be selected from a drop down list.

If a higher level of authorization is required, they can ask for the 2FA for this person. This should be made optional for first level access. It can be made compulsory for submitting transactions.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Unsatisfactory happenings with Uber

I encountered a few unsatisfactory happenings with Uber.

I called a UberX this morning. The app showed my pickup address is my home, which is correct. It showed that a car would arrive in 5 minutes.

I waited for the car for 25 minutes. During this interval, the app showed the arrival time as 2 min, 1 min, 3 min, etc. Finally, the driver called me and said that he is waiting for me at the pickup point which is a different location. I don't know why Uber gave him a wrong geo location (instead of my address). The driver than canceled the booking.

I found next that Uber charged me $6 for the canceled booking. I went through the app to get a refund. The app accepted the request and said that a refund of $6 would be given to me as a credit to be used for the next trip. It should appear in my app under Payment.

I went to check the credit. It did not appear.

There were two previous occasions where this "disappeared credit" had occurred. Two months ago, I canceled a booking after discovering that Uber gave a wrong pickup point (as their GPS was not working correctly). The charged a few of $6 to me and later give me a refund after my explanation. The refund appear in my account but disappeared after a few days.

I used Uber in Malaysia. The driver canceled the booking after 20 min. I reported to Uber and they credited MYR 5 to me. The credit never appeared in my account.
I had a difficult time to contact Uber on these issues. I find their business practice to be unsatisfactory.

Issue official mobile phones to policemen on patrol

The Police is issuing mobile phones to its personnel on the front line.

This is a good idea. A mobile phone is needed today, just like a pistol or baton is needed as a standard equipment for a policeman on patrol.

It will also be possible for the control center to know where the policeman is at any time, and whether they are on the move as they should be.

There could be abuse, i.e. the policeman would be browsing the social media or listening to music or making personal calls when they should be working, but this risk is already present, as they could be using their personal mobile phones.

These unathorised activities could be better monitored with the official phones.

Dealing with fake news

Governments around the world are addressing the issue of fake news. They are targeting the Internet giants, such as Facebook, Google and Yahoo. I think that this is a fair approach.

These giants are big enough to deal with the governments on what is "fake new" and "honest opinions".

The challenge is how to stop the spread of "fake news" after it has gone viral. The platform operator may delete the source of the fake news but they have to trace it all the way down the distribution chain.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Unhappy with lower payout under AIA policies

All my life I have believed in the concept of insurance, and that it can help when I am have falling ill or provide relief for my children when I finally leave this world behind.

I am writing an utterly bitter experience with AIA so those of you who consider insuring yourself with them, can hopefully benefit from my unfortunate incident. 

Let me share a little bit about my mother with you. She used to make coffee for a living, not rich but very thrifty; supporting the livelihood of 7 children. She loved her children and grandchildren with all her heart.

Wisdom of the Crowd issues and results

The results of the voting on these issues are now ready for viewing:

1. What is the best age to get married?
2. Will you get help to find a suitable partner?
3. Do you agree with the proposed ban on advertising for baby milk powder?

You can view the results in

JustGrab fare is misleading

JustGrab fare is misleading and is 50% higher than the return journey.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Improve the user experience for online transactions

Singapore has been very slow in adopting online processes. Many countries, such as China or Japan, are miles ahead of us.

I blame the Monetary Authority of Singapore and other government agency for this sad situation. They are too concerned about security and have introduced impractical processes and steps that discourage the public from using online processes.

Here are the reasons why it is difficult to use online proceses in Singapore and the simple steps that can be taken to remove these obstacles.

Lower the price of baby milk powder

What can the government do to set the environment for the free market to bring down the prices of baby milk powder? They have taken the step to ban the advertising of the premium products. Perhaps they should take additional steps.

Investment policy of GIC and Temasek Holdings

How should GIC and Temasek conduct its investment policy?

Here is a view from a fund manager. I agree with him.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ridiculous and inconsiderate process by CDP

I wish to share this ridiculous and inconsiderate process by the Central Depository (CDP) of Singapore Exchange.

I am embarassed to say it, but this is typical of the mindless approach adopted by many large organizations in Singapore.

This young man ask if he should be insured under an Early Stage Critical Illness insurance

Hi Mr Tan,
Recently I faced a dilemma whether should I continue my AXA Early Stage CI or not which covers me until 75 for a guaranteed fixed $1,246.50 annually inclusive of GST.

This is especially so when comparing with the rates offered by SAF Aviva Living Care and Living Care Plus program.

I am a student, age 26. I will be graduating soon.

Thomson View townhouse available for rental 1 Jan 2018

Thomson View townhouse available for rental 1 Jan 2018. You can watch the video.

If you wish to list your property for rental, click on Register and follow the instructions. Listing is FREE.

This portal allows you to show a video of your property (hosted on Youtube). It allows the prospective tenants to view the property without a physical viewing.

To search for properties to rent, go to

Monday, May 15, 2017

Two buses arrive in a convoy

When I arrived at the bus stop in Upper Thomson Road, I checked the app for the arrival time of Bus 163. It said 14 minutes.

I was looking out for Bus 163 when I walked towards the bus stop for 2 minutes. So, the gap must be 16 minutes.

I wondered - will there be a "ghost bus" that will arrive within the next 14 minutes? This is a bus that has a failed GPS tracker.

The next 2 buses for service 163 arrived in a convoy after 14 minutes.

With the modern technology, we are still have buses arriving in a convoy? Surely, these buses could be tracked and directed to maintain a gap in arrival times?

I wonder if LTA is paying attention to the big data that they collect on the bus arrival time. Surely, they could spot these problems and rectify them?

Why spend so many million dollars for advanced system and not use the data analysis to improve the service standard?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Investing for the long term - two stories

I have exceptionally good luck on two major investments. It was helped by the principle of "investing for the long term". If the market is bad, we can wait. When it reaches a peak, we can take a good profit.

Should I buy a larger flat on my first purchase?

Mr. Tan,
The government allows a citizen to buy a new flat (BTO) at a subsidized price and a second flat in the future at a subsidized price, i.e. each citizen is allowed the subsidy for 2 purchases.

Many people have bought a new flat and sold it many years later to make a profit. They can then buy the flat a second time.

Should I buy a larger flat (up to 7 years of salary) as I will have the chance to make a large profit on its sale?

Read my reply here:

12.45% return

Dear Mr Tan,
Recently I enquired about a 12.45% interest, 6-year structured deposit as advertised by OCBC bank.

Some people may be misled to think that the return is 12.45% per year. It is the total return for 6 years, so the annual return is only 2% per annum.

There are also some other factors that the investor should take into account. The capital is guaranteed but the interest rate is not.

Read more about this product in

Suggestion to take somebody's lunch

How does the Crowd view the suggestion by PM Lee to "take somebody's lunch"?

You can see the results of their votes here. A vast majority has a better suggestion for PM Lee. Read it.

Has GST been good for the economy?

Has GST been good for the economy? If not, what is the damage that it has caused?

A vast majority of the Crowd has spoken! And they have given a clear statement of its worst impact! Read here:

Saturday, May 13, 2017

DINK - double income, no kid

Singapore has been dealing with this problem for three decades. Many people are remaining unmarried or have decided to have no children. In Japan, they are called DINK - the spouses have double income, i.e. both are working, but no kids. Many Singaporeans are DINKS.

One key factor is the financial challenges. But there are other challenges that have to be addressed, from the social or personal angles.

What are the problems? Give your vote on the marriage issues in

Received all six book prizes

Some participants have submitted more than 60 votes and received all the six book prizes shown here.

You can also receive these prizes by participating in

Independent expert to evaluate financial products

I have updated this article to show how the use of an independent expert can help consumers to avoid the financial products that give them a poor return and take unfair advantage of their ignorance to benefit the financial instituion. In layman terms, the financial insitution is "ripping off" the consumer.

Read this article.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Have a restful and peaceful vacation

For Singaporeans who live in a crowded city every day, a short break in a farm can be quite relaxing and a good change. You do not need to go all the way to Australia or New Zealand to have this experience.

You can visit a farm in Malacca. It offers a restful and peaceful enviroment and a change to really relax. What's more, you can enjoy the best in our local food, Malacca style.

What's more. It is so inexpensive, compared to staying in a farm in Aussieland.

Where to stay? Try this.

How to avoid bad financial products

Many life insurance policies sold in the market are bad for consumers. They should be avoided.
Which are the products that are acceptable, and which are not?

Join FISCA ( and have access to the product analysis that you can find here:

If your product has not been analyzed, you can send the benefit illustration to me ( for it to be analyzed.

Questions on marriage

What is the best age for young people to get married, leaving aside the financial challenges? Should they search for a spouse on their own, or get help from friends, parents or a professional counsellor (or matchmaker)?

Give your views in

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Change will take time

Many Singaporeans have a mindset that is based on "black or white". The education minister Ong Ye Kung said that skills are as important as a degree. A few people - "In that case, why does the public service ask for a degree for their jobs?"

Read my views here:

Get independent expert to verify advertised claims

The regulator is putting up a new regulation to stop manufacturers from making nutritional and health claims when they advertised their products.

This is necessary, as consumers have no way to verify the reliability of the advertised claims.

However, this ban has its negative aspects, as the advertisers will not be able to bring out the special features of their products, if these are true.

The regulators can take another approach. Read here:

Should schools start later?

There was a report that Nanyang Girls started school 45 mins later than other schools to give their students more time to sleep. This seemed to work well.

Should other schools make this change? Give your view and vote in www.wisdomofthecrowd.aspx

Errant claims on CHAS

There was a news report that some clinics were suspended for making "errant claims" for non-existent consultations under the CHAS (community health assistance scheme). Were these mistakes or deliberate attempts to cheat the government?

Should doctors who deliberately cheat on the CHAS be charged for cheating? Give your views here:

Right to free speech

Many people think that they have the "ight to free speech" and that this right is absolute. They are not aware that this right has to be balanced by responsibility towards other people in society. Read here:

You do not need a degree for many jobs

Many people hold the view that a degree is necessary and is a basic requirement for a career in the future.

I agree to some extent. A degree is necessary for certain types of jobs. It is not necessary for many other jobs in the economy, now and in the future.

A degree is costly in time and money. It will take 3 years of a person's time. It will cost a lot of money.

Read my views here:

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The troll who cried

A few years ago, I encountered a troll who kept attacking me mindlessly. At that time, Facebook did not provide the facility to ban the troll.

I told him that he brought shame to his parents who did not teach him any manners and to respect other people.

His reaction surprised me. He told me that he was deeply hurt by my comments and cried. His mother had passed away recently. I should not blame his mother for his behavior.

I felt sorry for him for a while. I wondered - if he is so sensitive, why did he enjoy hurting other people by his senseless behavior?

I wonder how many trolls (aka idiots) that I have banned from my page are like him - deeply sensitive, feeling deeply hurt when they are attacked back, but have no regard for the feelings of other people?

I know that this behavior can be found all over the world. I don't know if the behavior of our people is worse than those of other cultures, but I will say that it is most deplorable.

Alternative to getting a degree

Over the past years, I have seem many people who do not make the grade to be accepted into local universities, still have the dream to pursue a degree. Their parents support them financially and send them to overseas universities.

Buy a recumbent gym bike

Failure of the education system

Some people have the mistaken notion that "free speech" gives them the right to give to other people's Facebook page and insult them directly and meaninglessly. They find it "fun" to be a troll. When they are banned from that page, they complained that they were only expressing their view and the right to "free speech" is being denied.

This is a sad reflection of the failure of the education system, of parenting and of society. After spending a large part of the national budget on education, we get many people who are uneducated, ill mannered, uncouth and are absolute idiots.

Read more:

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Product Analysis - life insurance policies

Dear Mr. Tan
Is Vivolife a good policy? It came from the company that you use to run.

Go to, click on Article, then type in Vivolife.

You will get a review here:

If you want to view the analysis on other policies, just type in the name of the policy. Or go to the tab "Product Analysis".

Learn about insurance through videos

Dear Mr. Tan,

I am worried to read about the many cases of rejected claims. After paying so much premium for "peace of mind", I don't know if I will be covered when something really happens to me. What is your advice?

Watch the educational videos in www.tankinlian/video.aspx . You will learn the tips on what types of insurance to buy and what to avoid. You should watch all the videos over a few days. You may have to watch the videos a few times to understand the underlying message.

Sorry, there is no short cut. It is better to equip yourself with the knowledge to make the right decision.

Ministers who don't reply to emails

I spoke to a friend, who is around my age, early this morning.

She was most annoyed with the attitude of our ministers. They don't reply to her emails.

She mentioned specifically Tharman S, Lee HL and Teo CH. I told her that many people liked Tharman but she had a very different opinion.

She liked K Shanmugaratnam, who is in touch with what is happening and is willing to help on her issues. I wonder if this is personal to her.

I agree with her that most ministers just ignored emails sent to them. They are arrogant. They also do not reply to my emails or even acknowledged them. They have so many assistants and are not able to give a simple reply?

In contrast, I always reply to emails (except spam marketing emails). Here is an example that someone remembered for more than ten years.

Prompt reply and personal attention

I believe in giving a prompt reply to an email (except for spam advertising mail). I received this email today.

Hello Mr Tan
I just recently realised that your email address is on Facebook and would like to write you this note.
(I had no idea how to write to you after you left Income)

Years ago when I was a university student, I was a member of Income Car Co-Op. You were still the CEO of NTUC Income back then. (I am now almost 40 years old, and I was around 22-23 years old back then).

Guess what he said:

Unified point of sale terminal

Finally, serveral parties in Singapore are working on a unified point of sale terminal.…/govt-aims-half-fb-outlets-go-d…

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