Saturday, February 04, 2017

Why are Singaporeans not willing to be a bus driver?

Why are we having to employ foreigners as bus drivers? The pay is quite good. According to the advertisement, a bus driver can earn $3,500 a month, including overtime. He also enjoys CPF contribution.

Many people who lose their jobs have to become taxi drivers. They can earn $3,500 a month, but they have to work long hours. They cannot afford to fall sick, as they lose their income.

It is also more difficult to be a taxi driver. You have to know all the places in Singapore. You have to driver around to look for your customers.

In contrast, a bus driver runs a fixed route. The passengers wait for the bus.

Why are Singaporeans not willing to become bus drivers? Why do they end up as taxi drivers?

True professionals

I respect people who take pride in their work.  They are the true professionals.

A bus driver for service 163 greeted all passengers when they alighted the bus at the front door. He said, "Thank you. Have a nice day".

He came from Johor. He wore a cap and had a beard. He looked like an ISIS terrorist. But he is the most friendly and joyful driver that I had met.

Looks can be deceiving!

One day, I was waiting for bus 163 at the bus stop before Thomson Plaza. It was concentrating on a game in iPad. I looked up and saw bus 163 in front of me waiting for a few seconds. I waved to the driver. He opened the door for me. He looked familiar driver. He probably came from PRC.

He must have recognized me as a regular passenger. He waited a few seconds for me in case I wanted to board the bus. I thanked him.

This driver clearly paid attention to the regular passengers. He is a true professional who really likes his job.

We need to encourage more people to like their job and do it extremely well.

A bad trading experience

Have you, or your spouse, experienced a bad trading episode on the stock market? What can you do about it? Read this.

Questions on financial planning

What are the common questions asked by young people on financial planning. Watch this short video for the answers.

Vote on President Donald Trump

The wisdom of the crowd thinks that President Trump will be good for America but bad for the world. See the breakdown of the results here.

Problem Solving

Mr Ng bought his daughter to attend the tutorial on problem solving. He found it very useful. His daughter is quite intelligent and was able to grasp the concept quickly. I think she will become the smartest girl in her class.

He bought 5 sets of the book on Shape Quiz and Tangram. He asked if I have a Youtube video about the problem solving technique. He found it to be extremely useful.

Here is the Youtube video.

The books on the puzzles can be bought here

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Different kind of challenges

Mr. Tan
I read about your describe how Mr. Lee Kuan Yew handled problems during his time and suggest that PM Lee should follow the same style.

Are you aware that PM Lee had to face a more difficult situation now? The economy has grown 10 times and the population maybe 3 times. He has to handle a much bigger and more complex job.

i agree that the economy and the population have grown many times over the past decades.

However, you should not suggest that Mr Lee KY and his colleagues had an easy time. They had to face a different kind of challenge - a weak country and a weak economy.

Mr Lee KY was able to find the right leadership style for his time. and he has produced remarkable results.

PM Lee had to find the right strategy to deal with the problems faced by Singapore. So far, it seemed that matters are getting from bad to worse.

If you think that PM Lee had a difficult job, just take a look China, India and Indonesia. The leaders of these countries must have problems that are 20 to 50 times more difficult that those that PM Lee had to deal with.

It is relatively easy to manage a city state, compared to a large and diverse country.

Chaos in America

The Democrat Senators boycott the session to confirm the nominees put forward by President Trump.

I described it as "chaos". Someone said that this is "democracy in action. "


The Senators are paid to carry out their duty. If they boycott the session, they are technically "on strike". They should be sacked for not doing their duty.

I am aware that the Republican Senators also hindered the work of President Obama when he was in office. This was also deplorable. It is a very sad state of affairs.

This still does not give the excuse for the Democrat Senators to neglect their duty.

America is now in a chaos. Later, it may turn into anarchy.

Improvements through good leadership

When Lee Kuan Yew was the prime minister, he ordered his assistants to monitor the feedback in the newspapers.

If there is a letter pointing out about an issue that is causing problems or a suggestion to improve an existing process, he would ask the permanent secretary of the ministry for his views.

That's all that he needed to do.

The permanent secretary would, in many cases, realize that the existing process is wrong and take steps to implement the improvement.

This was how Singapore made a lot of progress during the old days.

A lot of improvements can be made when the person in charge is aware of the faults and ask for an explanation. The person in charge could not explain away the bad process and has to make the correction.

Our current prime minister could follow the example of Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

There are many bad, inefficient and wasteful processes that can be corrected. We only need the leader to pay attention and ask for an explanation.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Farmer replies promptly to emails

My old colleagues from NTUC Income have developed a habit of replying promptly to emails. They follow my example.

Robert now works in the Romax farm in Malacca. I saw his Facebook post about the crops that grow in his farm. I sent him an email "Are you a weekend farmer or an everyday farmer?"

He repied within the same day, "I am now a full time farmer. I am in the farm every day".

It is nice of Robert to reply promptly. You can search for Romax Farmstay in Facebook to see the farm.

He accepts visitors to stay in the two kampong houses which are available for daily rental. I stayed there twice.

Robert and his partner Maxmillian (hence the name of Romax Farm) serve a delightful breakfast to their visitors.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Imaginary call to the Oval Office, White House

This is humor. It is not fake news or falsehold. Law minister, hold on to your POHA, okay?

Ring ....

DT: Hello
Lee: Hello Donald, this is Lee from Singapore.
DT: Lee? I thought you died already.
Lee; Not the old man. I am the son.
DT: What do you want?
Lee: I know you are busy doing extreme vetting of immigrants. Do you have a few minutes to spare?
DT: Okay.
Lee; Have you heard about the story of pork soup and free smoke? Your predecessor liked it.
DT: Is it the one that got Xi very angry?
Lee; Yes. He detained our Terrexes in Hong Kong for two months. That *&^%$#@. Just released them.
DT: Next time, tell him to keep the Terrexes.
Lee; Okay. I will also tell him that I am able to build more with the CPF money of my citizens.
DT: Good one.
Lee: I read that you want to repeal and replace Obamacare. Have you found the solution?
DT: Not yet.
Lee; Why not try the 3M system in Singapore? It has worked for us for three decades.
DT: Does it cost a lot of moeny?
Lee; No. Between us, it actually made a lot of money for the government. Remember - don't call it Trumpcare. Call it TrumpShield. 'Care' cost money. 'Shield' makes money. Okay?
DT: Sounds great. Can you send more details?
Lee; I do better than that. I will send Gan over. He is not only an exepert in health care, he is also an expert in insurance. He does not need any actuary to do the calculation..
DT: Wondeful. That will make America great.

Why does it take four weeks to approve Giro application?

Published in Straits Times Online Forum

Singapore introduced the Giro system 35 years ago. It allows a bank customer to authorise the bank to accept instructions from billing organisations to deduct money due to them regularly from the customer's bank account.

At that time, Singapore was way ahead of many countries, including the developed countries, in the use of electronic payments.

Recently, when I wanted to authorise Giro payment to a billing organisation, I had to complete a hard-copy form and submit it to the organisation. I was told it would take four weeks for the Giro application to be processed and approved.

Why should it take so long when money transfers can be done almost immediately these days? Surely, the banks could have introduced an online application form and online process to approve the application within a day or two.

Tan Kin Lian

Learn and teach an important life skill

I managed to get my two grand daughters to be interested in the Shape Quiz puzzle.

I told them that they will be the smartest girl in their class, because they know how to solve the puzzles and their friends don't know.

I also gave them $1 for each puzzle that they can solve.

They set aside their iPad games and spent one hour to solve the puzzles. After that, they became quite interested to perfect their skill.

Vera learns problem solving

Nadya learns problem solving

You can also learn how to teach your children or grand children by attending this 1 hour FREE tutorial.

How to solve the 12 shapes

In this video, I show you how to solve all the 12 shapes that is used in my tutorial on problem solving.

If you wish to attend the tutorial (which is FREE), you can register here:

How to be a consultant

I have a regular client in Jakarta. My service is consultancy. When they face a problem, they consult me.

The first step in solving a problem is to understand the problem. I ask several questions to understand the problem. I describe the problem and get my client to agree with this description. They tell me - oh, it is not really like that. We also encounter this kind of situation, etc.

After agreeing the problem, the next step is to find a solution.

Quite often, I cannot give the full solution. It is too difficult.

I am able to give a partial solution, or half the solution. It is the part that works and can be implemented quite quickly. It helps to improve the current situation.

Remember, if the company faces a problem that has been around for a long time, do not expect to find a "total solution" within a few days. But a "quick fix" can help a great deal.

After the quick fix, we can take the time to find the next quick fix. Over time, we will have a total solution.

And the concept of problem solving can be learned using the tutorial here:
And it is available FREE.

If you have the skill of problem solving, you can be a business consultant, like me.

More importantly, you can give this skill to your children. They will need it in their future career.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Vote and win an e-Book

You can vote on five issues in this website and win a free copy of the eBook "Financial Planning for Young People" (usual price $6).

Problem solving approach

I met my uncle, who is now over 90 years old, and showed him my tutorial on problem solving. He agreed with the approach. He told me this story which occured a long time ago.

He was asked by a business owner in Johor to help him to handle a crisis. The businessman operated an open air cinema. A boy went up the roof of the projector room. He fell and died. The hospital certified death as being caused by electrocity.

An inspector from the authority came to inspect the premises and wanted to charge the businessman for operating a cinema without a licence and for operating an electrical installation without a qualified electrician. It was a serious offence. If convicted, he could be bankrupted.

My uncle inspected the roof and found that the wiring installation was new and in good order. He showed the inspector that the boy could not have been electrocuted. He touched the installation and showed that it was safe.

The inspector accompanied by uncle to interview the hospital doctor who certified death caused by electricity. The doctor was on the defensive and said that he did not state that the electricty came from the cinema installation. The businessman was not charged for causing the death through an unlicensed installation.

My uncle said that the bruises on the body was caused by the fall and not by electrocution.

Although my uncle was not a qualified engineer, he gained knowledge through practical experience, common sense and a problem solving approach.

A few months later, my uncle realized that he forgot to send a bill for his service. He decided not to pursue this matter.

Tutorial on Problem Solving

There are a few slots available for the Tutorial on Problem Solving on Sat 4 Feb. Attend this tutorial and learn the technique. You can teach your children. It will be good for bonding. You can also give them a skill that is useful for their future.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Actively managed funds

Dear Mr. Tan,
You have been educating consumers to invest in the index fund (STI ETF). A financial adviser has shown me a few unit trusts that outperform the STI ETF over the past five years. He advised me to invest in these higher performance unit trusts, rather than the STI ETF. He said the the better performance is due to capable fund managers. Although their management fees are higher than the STI ETF, the net return is better. What are your views

Loss of job?

If you lose your job, how will you react? Dr. Tommy Wong has some advice.

PDF books on Financial Planning

Here are several PDF books available for $4 and $6. Most of the titles can be read within 1 hour. You can pay with Paypal and have the books delivered immediately, automatically. Search for "PDF" to get a full list.

Tips on car insurance

Every car owner has to buy motor insurance each year. Are you paying the right premium for the insurance? Are you getting the right cover?

Here are some tips:

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