Saturday, April 15, 2017

Smart nation needs a smart approach

We spend tens, maybe hundreds of million dollars on big IT initiatives, but do not seem to get them to work?

I think that our approach is wrong. We just want to be "leading edge" in technology. It is better to be "leading edge" in common sense applications. For example, if the government decide to use email for official correspondence, it would go a lot of good to get the nation to be "smart".

They have a paranoid fear that email could be hacked. So what? In most cases, the emails are not top secret. Even physical mail can be hijacked during the delivery, right?

How to write better SOP

Our government agencies and big organizations in Singapore should learn from the lesson of United Airlines. It is dangerous to get the staffs to rely on SOP to the extent that they forget about common sense.

Singapore stands a bigger risk because it is standard practice to adopt SOP in the Singapore Armed Forces. All male citizens are conditioned to think SOP for two years. It became ingrained in their mindset.

There is a simple way to avoid this kind of problem that can lead to disastrous consequences. Just take a tip from me.

How should a retiree invest his cash?

Dear Mr. Tan
I have invested in some ETF and REITs and very little on blue chips etc.
In this current scenario of low interest, what would be the best options if I have some cash ( say around 200K)
I wouldn't want to put all the eggs in one basket. Buying a private property will not be on my wish list as I felt the prices are too high.
Buying a brand new car has been on my thoughts these few months but it's not worthwhile to commit 100K cash to a four wheeler.
I am nearing 60 yrs old and would like to best manage and invest and spent my hard earned dollars.
Looking forward to your advice.

My reply can be found here:

Should we have a reserved election for the Elected President?

A big majority of the Crowd does not like the concept of the reserved election for the Elected President.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Tips on buying Term Insurance

I have given some useful tips for how you can buy the suitable term of term insurance coverage for your needs using the Compare First website.

My tips include:
1. What is the term of the policy (I suggest 20 to 25 years)
2. What is the sum insured (I suggest 5 years of income)
3. Choice of level or reducing term coverage?
4. Should you include critical ilness coverage?

My reaons for these choices are explained in the artilcle.

This article is available for the public for 14 days only. After that, it will only be available for FISCA members.

Should you buy a supplementary for your long term care insurance?

Eldershield is an insurance policy that pays a monthly benefit to the policyholder who has a long term disability and needs long term care from a care giver. Some insurance companies have offered a supplementary to Eldershield. It pays an additional monthly benefit to supplement what is paid by Eldershield.

Should you buy the supplement? Here is an analysis of the MyCare policy provided by Aviva. They are one of the active providers of this supplementary insurance.

Before you sign a contract to spend several thousand dollars on this insurance, read my analysis of this insurance policy.

Risk of buying directly at Compare First website

A consumer is worried about the risk of buying the wrong product when he buys directly from the Compare First website. Here are my views.

Is a HDB flat still a store of value?

Do you agree with national development minister Lawrence Wong that HDB flats are a "store of value" after he had said that the value will be $0 at the end of 99 years?

Lesson for organizations from the United Airlines debacle

Any large organization face the risk of suffering the serious damage that had befallen United Airlines.

Let me make a bold claim. This kind of debacle would not have happened if United Airlines had consulted me on writing their SOP. If this statement appear to be boastful and benefiting from hindsight, let me explain.

How do you like to receive government mail?

Most people prefer to receive government mail in soft copy sent to their regular inbox. But there is still a sizeable proportion who are happy to receive the hard copy.

The result can be viewed from

Wearing of headscarf in the workplace

Should the public service allows Muslim employees to use the headscarf? The Crowd has a practical approach to this thorny issue.

People don't like the recent changes to the Elected Presidency

Lee HL is clearly out of touch with the Crowd. The recent changes to the Elected President receive support from less than 4% of the people who voted on this issue. The majority (49%) preferred the system that existed from 1993 to 2017. The next highest vote (31%) prefer an upper house of 6 elected persons.

You can view the results on other issues in

Alternative to the tender system

Singapore has been using the tender system for many decades. We treat it as the best approach, and continued to rely on this approach even when the prices are ridiculously high or the quality of the work had dropped sharply. It is time for us to open our eyes to see the weaknesses of the tender system and to look at an alterative approach.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Elected president - recent changes are unpopular

Lee HL is clearly out of touch with the Crowd. The recent changes to the Elected President receive support from less than 4% of the people who voted on this issue. The majority (49%) preferred the system that existed from 1993 to 2017. The next highest vote (31%) prefer an upper house of 6 elected persons.

You can view the results on other issues in

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Three good reasons to join FISCA

Here are several good reasons why you should join as a member of FISCA.

1. You have access to the articles archieved under Insurance, Investment, Learning and Product Analysis. Non-members do not have access to the articles more than 14 days old.

2. You attend most FISCA talks free or pay only $10. This is a discount of $20 from what the public pays.

3, You can attend gathering or dinner for members, at a subsidized rate. You get to meet the committee members.

How to join? Go to this page:
The membership fee is $36 a year. This is a good deal for the knowledge that you can get on financial matters.

The United Airlines episode and its relevance to Singapore

The United Airlines episode, where a passenger is forcefully dragged from the plane, has a lesson for the Singapore government in the conduct of its CPF policy. Here are my views.

Performance of transport minister

Here is how the Crowd rate the performance of our transport minister. It is quite sad. The overall score is far below average.

I know that he has a difficult task to do. If he had been communicating more often with the public, instead of hiding behind the Ivory Tower, the public would have given him a better score.

We do not expect miracles, but we like our well paid ministers to be more accoutable, right?

To view the results of other issues, go to

When a CEO says he will "take personal responsibility"

There was an ugly incident where a passenger was forcefully removed from an United Airlines flight. The CEO finally stepped forward to "take full responsibility". What does it mean? I have a few words to say about this incident, as it also involved DBS Bank in a similar incident in the past.…

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Poor standard of maintenance

Here is another example of the poor standard of maintenance in Singapore. Some of our bad practices, such as the tender system, has come back to hit us very badly.

Big cut in bonuses

A mother bought a life insurance policy for her 19 year old son. After 25 years, the policyholder (son) saw that the insurance company had cut the payout significantly.

More details are available here:…

Excessive rate charged for level term rider

In 1992, a mother bought a life insurance policy for her 19 year son. The policy included a level term insurance rider of $50,000 payable on death up to age 65. The annual premium for the rider was $199. The life insurance company was among the top companies operating in Singapore.

Keep up to date with what Singaporeans are thinking

Three issues voted in The Wisdom of the Crowd website were closed last night.

What do Singaporeans think about the evacuation of the Hougang MRT station? Was it necessary? Was it an over-reaction?

What do Singaporeans think about the actions taken by President Duterte to solve the drug problem in the Philippines. Were his methods too extreme? Could be have done it in some other way?

You can also view the results of other issues that were closed during the past week. Keep up to date with what Singaporeans are thinking.

You can view the results in

How President Duterte handles the drug problem

How do the people in Singapore see the way in which President Durterte of the Phillipines is handling the drug problem? You can veiw the results of their votes at

The views are quite well divided into - necessary, bad and don't know.

Unattended bag at Hougang MRT station

A bag was left unattended at Hougang MRT station. The police evacuated the station for 20 minutes. Is this the correct action?

43% of the people agreed with this action. An equal number said that the police should look at what is inside the bag before calling an evacuation.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Low payout under the Prudential policy

The low payout under the Prudential policy raises two issues that required the Monetary Authority of Singapore to step in. I hope that they will take the appropriate aciton, rather than leave the policyholder to fend on his own.…

Provide guides in hospital

I share this observation about visiting the hospital. It is useful to have a guide that can bring the patient around to the relevant clinic in a large facility.…

Easy to win this prize at the Crowd website

28 people won the book prize yesterday for reaching 10 or 20 votes in the Crowd website. That was the highest in recent weeks.

You can also win the prize easily. There are 17 active issues. When you cast your vote for 10 issues, you get the prize immediately.

After passing 10 votes, you can continue to reach 20 votes and get the next prize.

My experience with

I have now removed most of the "following accounts in I did not follow them, but some bots automatically added these accounts into my @kinlian account.

My daily feed is now quite clean. There are still a few hundred bad "following" that I have to remove, but that should not be a problem.

I find that the twitter feed is quite good, maybe better than Facebook.

I intend to use twitter more actively and to post less frequently in Facebook. I like to ask you to follow me at @kinlian in Twitter. It should be quite easy for you to get used to this platform.

Providing jobs in rural communities

I like this article, especially the part in the end about connecting people living in rural areas to the world using digital platform, so they can offer the existing skills they have from where they live. It has been an idea that I have working on for many years.

Blog Archive