Sunday, September 24, 2017

Need to improve signages in Singapore


Over the past decades, I have observed that the signages in Singapore are inadequate and confusing.

I often got lost following the signs and have to ask for directions. Often the people I asked don't know the way either.

I face this problem frequently. I followed the sign to a certain exit or destination. On arriving at a junction, the sign did not tell me whether to turn right or left. I have to walk back and see if I had missed any of the signs.

After visiting Seoul, I could see the big difference. Their signs are adequate and helpful. They even provide them in Korean, English and meaningful graphics.

They signs tell you where to go for the toilet or lift and also show you the distance in meters. The signs appears many times on the same corridor, so the public is assured that they are following the right direction.

Popular Videos on Financial Planning and Insurance

My short vidoes on financial planning and insurance continued to be very popular, especially with the young people. I monitor the visits and find that every day a few new viewers watched the videos.
http://www.tankinlian.com/video.aspx

For those who are interested to know more about what they can do with their savings, I encourage them to attend this talk on financial planning.
http://www.fisca.sg/event_det.aspx?id=16

It is free to FISCA members. You can join FISCA here.
http://www.fisca.sg/register.aspx

Win these popular books as prizes



I have selected several popular PDF books on financial planning and insurance as prizes for the public to vote in The Wisdom of the Crowd.

Click here to view the prizes.
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/page/115

Click here to start voting on the current issues:
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Wisdom of the Crowd - new issues

Here are the new issues for your voting in The Wisdom of the Crowd.

a) Should Singapore follow London to withdraw the licence for Uber to operate a taxi service?
b) Should supermarkets plan charge for plastic bags?

Give your vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg




Saturday, September 23, 2017

Flight booking reference is cumbersome to use

When you book an flight, the airline provides you with a 6 character booking reference, such as MJXS7F. When you quote your booking reference to the airline staff, you have to say M for Malaysia, J for Japan, X for X-ray, S for Singapore, number 7 and F for France. Often, you have to repeat the number because the staff might not understand some of the names that you used.

Have you wondered why the airline continues to use this cumbersome booking reference? Is there a simpler alternative?

I have the answer here.
http://www.tankinlian.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?ID=1411

Calling each other names

President Trump called Kim Jong Un a "madman" and "rocket man". Kim called Trump a "barking dog" and another word that I forgot.

It is good that they are calling each other names, rather than firing muclear weapons. I hope that they spend more time look for words, instead of missiles, to launch at each other.

How to encourage families to have children

I have made this proposal several times over the past years on how to deal with the low birth rate in Singapore.

I like to offer to women the opportunity to be a home maker and raise children as an occupation, with the wages paid by the government.

My earlier proposal was that the mother should be paid an allowance of $500 for each child, up to a maximum of three children, raised by the family until the child reaches the age of ten years.

After all the children reaches ten years, I would expect the mother to go out to work, if the family needs the income. Suitable jobs could be to take care of children or older people.

With the experience of raising children, they would be suitable for these jobs that are needed in society.

I quoted a figure of $500, but it may have to be increased to say $800 for the first child.

For their financial security, the government should contribute to the Central Provident Fund based on the salary.

Not all women like to work in the office or factory. Some of them prefer to work as home makers. As this is a job, the mothers need to have adequate training and pass a competency test on how to raise children.

This will be an added cost to the taxpayers, but I expect most familes will benefit from it. The other taxpayers who have to pay the higher tax are those who opted to remain unmarried.

Many countries have generous allowances for raising children. I wish to take this further to recognize home makers as a short term career for women.

I hope that this "out of the box" idea will be adopted by some countries.




Dynamic pricing is quite commonly adopted

I asked the front desk staff in the hotel in Korea for the room rate that was charged to me.

She said that the rate varies every day.

So, the hotels use dynamic pricing, like airlines and taxis. It has now become a norm.

The staff could not tell me the rate that I have paid, because they sell the room to the travel agent at a special rate and the agent marked it up to cover their expenses and profit.

Uber loses its licence in London

London is not renewing the licence for Uber to run a taxi service due to safety and other concerns.

http://www.straitstimes.com/business/uber-loses-its-licence-to-operate-in-london

The same issues apply to Singapore. It is necessary for Uber and Grab to ensure that their drivers are fit and proper to provide a taxi service. They cannot use drivers who have inadequate driving experience.

Do you agree with the stand taken by the authority in London?

Public transport in Seoul

Here are my observations of public transport in Seoul.

a) They have an extensive network.
b) The fares are inexpensive, similar to Singapore
c) The trains are busy during peak hours and not crowded at other times.
d) The stations are well designed. They have excellent signage in Korean and English. It is easy for tourist to move around.
e) They ensure that the signs are easily visible to the public. They provide the distance to the toilets and lifts.

I get the strong impression that the Koreans are considerate to the public and take care of their needs.

In Singapore, the signages are inadequate and confusing. The planners seemed to be more keen on getting revenue from advertisements rather than provide adequate signs to guide the public.

Wisdom of the Crowd - new issues

Here are the new issues in The Wisdom of the Crowd for you to vote.

a) Will the military cooperation between Singapore and China cause problems with our neighbors?
b) Do you expect President Halimah to make a major impact during her presidency>

Vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Should President Halimah continue to stay in her Yishun HDB flat?

46% of the people voting in The Wisdom of the Crowd said that she should move out of her HDB flat so that her neighbor will not be inconvenienced by the secruity arrangements.

41% expect her to move out in the near future anyway.

See the breakdown of the votes in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=274

Halimah Yacob as Elected President

Will the ordinary Singaporeans eventually accept and support Halimah Yacob as the Elected President?

79% of the people who voted in The Wisdom of the Crowd said "no" for two reasons.

See the breakdown of the votes in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=273

Friday, September 22, 2017

How do you see the recent hurricanes in America?

46% of the people voting in The Wisdom of the Crowd said that the severe weather is caused by climate change.

31% said that the bad weather is normal and is not caused by climate change. This is a high percentage.

See the breakdown of the votes in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=272

North Korea - a worrisome scenario

How will North Korea react to the latest economic sanctions?

53% said that North Korea will not care about the sanctions and will continue to develop their nuclear weapons.

23% said that they will continue to act recklessly and provoke a military attack by America.

This is a worrisome scenario shared by nearly one quarter of the respondents.

See the breakdown of the votes in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=271

Wisdom of the Crowd - new issues

Here are the new issues for you to vote in The Wisdom of the Crowd. You will get a prize for voting.

a) What is your view about the future relations after PM Lee's visit to China?
b) Who do you prefer to be the next prime minister of Singapore?

You can vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Wisdom of the Crowd - new issues for voting

Here are the new issues for voting in The Wisdom of the Crowd.

a) Will Temasek Holdings get a good return in its investment in Grab?
b) Will President Trump attack North Korea in the near future?

Give your vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Disruption to the taxi business

Comfort Delgro is suffering a severe drop in business due to severe competition from Grab.

Grab is causing a big disruption to the market through its aggressive promotions. They are offering a discount of $4 or $5 for each ride.

Some passengers taking short rides virtually get the ride free or pays only $1 or less.

The generous promotion by Grab must be costing several tens or hundreds of million dollars. I beleive that this latest round of promotion was made possible by generous funding from Temasek Holdings.

I wonder if it was wise for Temasek Holdings to make this investment. Will they get back their return?




Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wisdom of the Crowd - new issues

Here are the new issues for voting in the Wisdom of the Crowd

a) Should President Halimah continue to stay in her HDB flat in Yishun?
b) Should PM Lee make the remark that One Belt One Road will bring China closer to the world?

Give your vote and win a prize in www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg




Should bike sharing be encouraged?

53% of the people voting in The Wisdom of the Crowd agreed as it is a useful form of transport for the last mile. The remaining 47% disagreed for three reasons.

Find out the detailed breakdown in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=267

What is your reaction to the compensation paid to 300 agents to move to a new company?

A large majority of the Crowd said that the compensation must affect the return of the policyholders of the paying company.

See a breakdown of the votes in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=269

How do you see the recent hurricanes in America?

46% of the Crowd said that it is caused by climate change. Action should be taken to reverse the effect of climate change.

32% said that it is quite normal and that we will get hurricane from time to time.

See a breakdown of the views in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=272




How will North Korea respond to the latest economic sanctions?


53% of the Crowd said that North Korea will not care about the sanctions and will continue to develop their nuclear weapons.

You can see a breakdown of the views in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=271




Monday, September 18, 2017

Competition between Grab and Uber

I posed this quetion in The Wisdom of the Crowd

Is the competition between Grab and Uber good for consumers? (37 Votes )

The majority said that this competition is not good for the long run.

View the breakdown of the votes at
http://wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=265

Tension in the Korean peninsula

I asked this question a week ago before I depart for a holiday in Korea.

Do you expect any serious problems to crop up in the Korean peninsular within the next few weeks? (38 Votes )

68% said "no". They are right.

View the detailed breakdown in
http://wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=268

Wisdom of the Crowd - new issues concerning Marsiling Yew Tee GRC

Here are the new issues for you to vote:

a) Should PM Lee call a by-election in Marsiling Yew Tee to find a replacement for Halimah Yacob?
b) Will PM Lee call a by-election in Marsiling Yew Tee GRC to fill the vacancy created by Halimah Yacob?

Vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Friday, September 15, 2017

Wisdom of the Crowd - new issues


Here are the new issues for you to vote in The Wisdom of the Crowd.

a) Should President Halimah continue to stay in her Yishun HDB flat?

b) Will the ordinary Singaporeans eventually accept and support Halimah Yacob as the Elected President?

Give your vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

What is the reason for the merger of IE Singapore and Spring Singapore?

53% of the people voting in The Wisdom of the Crowd said that people are confused with two agencies doing similar activities.

What are the other reasons?

Find out more at
http://wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=262

Why did PM Lee choose Tan Chuan Jin to be Speaker of Parliament?

52% of the people voting in The Wisdom of the Crowd said that PM Lee wants to demote Tan Chuan Jin.

The other 48% gave other reasons.

Find out the details in
http://wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=261

Who does North Korea wants to develop nuclear weapons?


68% of the people voting in The Wisdom of The Crowd said that North Korea needs nuclear weapons as a deterrent from being attacked by America. Although they may not reach America directly, they can attack America's allies in Asia.

Find out the breakdown of the votes in
http://wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=264

Good relations between Singapore and Indonesia

Who should get credit for the good relations between Singapore and Indonesia?

43% of the Crowd said Lee Kuan Yew and Suharto. 30% said the ordinary people of both countries?

How many percent said Lee Hsien Loong and Joko Widodo?

Find out at
http://wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=263

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Should a party be given a two third majority in Parliament?

Should a political party be given a two third majority in Parliament? (42 Votes )

PM Najib of Malaysia has asked voters to give his coalition a two third majority in Parliament. The same question can be applied to Singapore.

53% said "no" because it is dangerous to give so much power to a political party.

17% said "no". If they wish to make a major change, they should convince the elected MPs from several parties.

You can view the chart and other choices in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=260




Should a household be allowed to share foreign maid

Should household be allowed to share foreign maids?

42% said "no" because it can be abused. 27% said "yes" but they have to apply for special permission from MOM.

Click here to view the full results.
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=259

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Current fee structure favor cash payments

Consumers prefer cash .... of course. They can withdraw cash from ATM without any charge.

Vendors also prefer cash, because they do not have to incur any fee for banking in the cash. They do not realize that there is a high cost of their employee's time taken to collect cash from customers and give change and count the cash at the end of the day and when banking in the cash. The bank does not charge a fee.

The helper may be an unpaid family member, so the cost of the time spent is not counted.

This is why cash continues to be popular, even though it takes time that can be quite costly, when it is properly costed.

Vendors do not like credit card payments. They have to install a device and a connection to the bank or credit card operator. In many cases, they need several devices and connections.

The bank also charge a heavy fee, say 3%, for credit card payment.

If cash continues to be free and card payments are charged and cost has to be incurred for installing devices and connections, simple common sense says that cash will continue to be the preferred mode.

This can only change if the fee structure is changed to make it cheaper and more convenient to use cashless payments.

Wisdom of the Crowd - new issues

Here are the new issues for voting.

a) How do you see the recent hurricanes in America?
b) How will North Korea respond to the latest economic sanctions?

Give your vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Travel to South Korea

I am visiting South Korea for a holiday for the next 10 days. I asked if it is safe to be there at this time, when there is tension between North Korea and America.

This is what the Crowd thinks.

36% said that there is no travel advisory against visiting South Korea, so it is all right to travel there.

34% said that it should be quite safe to be in South Korea. Nothing will happen in spite of the rhetoric.

Only 13% said that it is better to cancel the trip and pay the penalty.

Find out the other responses in this chart.
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=258

Target to reduce workplace fatality rate

A week ago, PM Lee set a target to reduce workplace fatality rate to a certain figure by 2020.

What do the Crowd think about this target?

33% said that the target is too far away. He should set an achievable target for 3 to 5 years time. We are not waiting another 13 years to see if the target is achieved.

30% said that PM Lee is not in touch with the real problems.

Find out about the other responses in this chart.
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=257




Monday, September 11, 2017

9/11 all over again

On Sept 11, 2001, two planes under the control of terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center in New York.

It was an shocking and unpredented attack on western civilisation and the champion of the democratic and free world. (That was what most people perceive America at that time).

Sixteen years later, on the same day and month of Sept 11, in a small red dot at the other side of the world, there was another disaster for the democratic system.

In that dot, a committee had decided that only one person in a country of several millions of well qualified and highly educated people, is eligible to be a candidate for the office of elected president.

A somewhat unpopular person will become the "elected" president through a walkover.

This is a mockery. For decades, the totalitarian countries were at least able to put up several candidates, approved by the establishment, to be elected by the people. Why can't this little red dot?








Wisdom of the Crowd - new issues

Here are the new issues for voting.

a) How do you feel that the Elected President is elected without a contest
b) What is your reaction to the compensation paid to 300 agents to move to a new company?

Give our vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Difficult to submit an online form

I wish to contact a large organization X this morning. I went to their website and saw their Contact Us page.

There was a form to enter the Salutation, First Name, Last Name, Type of service, Sub-Type of Service, Company Name and a Comment.

After submitting the form, I got a message that there were invalid data in the Comment field.

I could not find another invalid data. I cleared off the spaces, in case there were hidden characters. I got the "invalid character" message again.

I remove the message and submitted the form. I got a new message that there was an "invalid file type". I did not submit any file.

I tried again, using another type, and subtype. I got the same message.

I must have tried about 10 times before I gave up. There was no other way to contact X online. During the attempt, I must have cleared their captcha many times.

I have a number to call them, but I did not try it, as it is likely to give me to a tiresome call center.

I search X facebook page and sent a message to them.
Nobody contacted me for 4 hours.

X is an organization that deal with many merchants and customers. I find it strange that their Contact Us page is not working and that nobody brough it up.







Surely their staff should have noticed that they were not getting any forms submitted through that page for a long time?

Should a minimum wage be introduced in Singapore?

40% said the minimum wage should apply only to local workers and not foreigners. 35% said we should have a minimum wage of $8 an hour. The remaining 25% prefer the current workfare system to continue.

More details can be viewed at
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=256

Should reservist training be stopped?



34% of the respondents said that it should be continued to ensure that our reservists remain fit and combat ready. A equal number said that it should be continued for only 5 years.

View the details of all the options here.
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=255

A large number of the people voting are probably not reservists and are not personally affected by the disruption to their family and working life by the reservist training.




Sunday, September 10, 2017

Ex-employer gives bad reference

Dear Mr Tan

I am writing to you to seek your advice on workplace bullying, as well as on bad and false references provided by an ex-employer.

I was employed with under an organization for one year. I resigned as I was being pressurised by my superiors to quit as they claimed that it was due to my “bad performance”.

Recently, I have lost a potential job offer from a stat board possibly due to a bad reference from the organization (I have already passed all their interviews and went for the medical checkup).

When I checked with the stat board, they claimed that they cannot reveal who and what was said to them, "in order to be fair to the ex-employers".

I have submitted my case to MOM but progress is very slow, hardly moving.

How can I stop my ex-employer from damaging my future career prospects?

REPLY
Here are some possible avenues.

a) See your MP. Let him know the problem faced by his citizens.
b) See NTUC - but only if you were a union member.
c) Pursue MOM - it is their duty.
d) Tell your story to The Online Citizen. If you are keen, I can introduce you to the editor.
e) I can post your story in my Facebook (but remove your name). I can then pass it to The Online Citizen.
f) Forget about working in the public sector or in the big company. They check reference and you can never convince the HR manager (of your next employer) on your side of the story. They won't take the risk of employing you.
g) Work for a SME or be a Grab or Uber driver.

Trust your judgement and common sense

I posted a question, "is it safe to be in South Korea over the next two weeks"? I get response from nearly 1 dozen people.

I describe their remarks as "the wisdom of the crowd". There are ordinary people giving their opinion on an issue based on the information that they have. They do not claim to be experts. They are happy to give their honest opinion.

So far, the crowd said, "don't worry, war will not break out over the next two weeks".

I do not expect anyone to give me any guarantee, so they do not have to worry about legal liability.

We need to go back to the times when people can trust their judgment and common sense.

Agree?

What is real news and fake news?

I want to talk about real new and fake news.

Long ago, most people trusted the mainstream media. They took care to verify the facts and to present an objective view. The government also acted as the gatekeeper and ensured that the media presented the news accurately and fairly.

They also trusted the government agencies. For example, a government agency is responsible to approve medications to be sold over the counter to the public. The agency tested the medications and made sure that the approved medications are safe and effective.

During the past two decades, the agencies did not carry out their work with integrity. We now learned that the FDA in America were indirectly financed by the drug companies in some ways or another. People started to doubt if some of the decisions of the FDA were impartial or were influenced by financial considerations.

The same doubts were raised about the integrity of the politicians in America. Did they vote on legislations according to what is in the best interest of their voters, or in the interest of the people who gave financial donations to their expensive election campaigns. It was clear that most of them voted according to the wishes of their donors.

The same doubts can be raised about the corporate news media in America. Did they present and slant the news in favour of their corporate owners and advertisers?

These problems in America were and are very serious. It had led to a low level of trust in the government and its institutions.

Coming back to Singapore, we faced similar challenges.

Many people questioned the integrity and impartiality of our mainstream media.

Did they bring out the news fairly and impartially or did they slanted the news to be in favor of the government? Many people now doubt the impartiality of the news from the mainstream media, due to the polticial influence and self censorship.

Many people also questioned the decisions taken by the government in passing laws.

Were the laws passed for the best interest of the people or to preserve and protect the party in power? Are the real issues faced by the people being identified and addressed? Did they government ignored these issues in their quest to remain in power?

The government now wants to pass legislation to curb fake news. Who decides what is real and what is fake? Who decides what are facts and what are opinions? Is this legislation a further attempt to curb the free flow of information, so that only the "real news", as decided by the government, gets disseminated to the public?

I do not know how to address this question. It is now quite difficult to determine what is real and what is not. It is easy to be influenced by experts who might be giving slanted views, due to financial or political influence.

My approach is to treat all news with a source of scepticism. I rely on my common sense to tell me if the news is reliable or not. Do you agree with this approach?


Tan Kin Lian



Wisdom of the Crowd - new issues

Here are the new issues for voting today.

a) Do you expect any serious problems to crop up in the Korean peninsular within the next few weeks?
b) Should bike sharing be encouraged?

Submit your vote and win a prize in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg




Was Justinian Tan treated promptly in the JB hospital?

Justinian Tan was badly injured in a motor accident in Johor Bahru. His friend said that the ambulance arrived late and the hospital demanded a deposit before treating him. He died due to the injuries.

The Malaysian Ministry of Health disputed the report of the friend.

Which side do you believe in?

Here are the views of the people voting in The Wisdom of the Crowd. The results are somewhat surprising.
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=254

Did President Tony Tan carried out his duties well?

Dr Tony Tan completed a term of 6 years as Elected President of Singapore?

Did he carried out his duties satisfactorily?

12% of the people voting in The Wisdom of the Crowd said that he carried out his duties with dignity and diligence.

The remaining 88% were dissatisfied. What were their reasons?

You can find out here.
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=253




You can get a new prize by submitting your votes

Submit your vote on the performance of the agencies and ministers and win a prize IMMEDIATELY.

A new prize is now provided - Tangram 240. This book contains 240 tangram shapes, with the solutions. Mind boggling and loads of fun. Train your mind to be analytical and develop the skill to solve a problem.

http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/login2.aspx?ReturnURL=mperf

Performance score of agencies and ministers

This chart shows the performance of the agencies and ministers. The score is computed from one week to the next.

On average, the score for each agency or minister is computed from the votes of 205 voters. The results are quite reliable.

Although there is some bias in the profile of the voters, which tends to be more anti-establishment, the bias does NOT affect the relative score of the agencies or ministers or the trend over time.

http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/ChartJS.aspx?Section=Agency

Videos on financial planning and insurance

I have created these short videos on financial planning and insurance. They are relevant to consumers in Singapore and are well received.

Each video takes about 5 to 10 minutes and brings out the essential points that a lay person can understand.

You can watch the videos at
http://www.tankinlian.com/video.aspx

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Wisdom of the crowd - prizes

There are two new issues for voting today.

a) Are we having too many bike sharing operators?
b) Is the competition between Grab and Uber good for consumers?

You can win these prizes by voting on the current issues in the website:
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/page/115

You can vote here:
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/home.aspx

A bad sign for the economy - too many Uber and Grab drivers

Many graduates and PMETs are now working as Uber and Grab drivers.

55% of the people voting in The Wisdom of the Crowd says that it reflects an economy in bad shape. Another 32% said that these people should be more productively employed in other jobs.

http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=252

Clearly, the general public is worried about this trend. It is reflected in their votes.




Singapore should discontine the useless immigration card

Should Singapore discontinue the immigration card that visitors are required to fill up before they enter the country?

85% of the people voting in The Wisdom of the Crowd agreed that this should be discontinued.

They pointed out that many countries have already discontinue this card and that all required information abotu the visitors are already available as the immigration officer had scanned the passport of the visitors.

http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=251

I find it quite troublesome to complete an immigration card or form when I visit some countries. The form is badly designed and asked for information that is quite troublesome for the vistor to complete.

I consider the form to be useless and troublesome.

I find it a pleasure to visit Malaysia and Indonesia, as they discontinued the immigration card a few years ago.

I am surprised that Singpore is so backward that we required a visitor to complete the card to enter Singapore.

My personal view on the "demotion" of Tan Chuan Jin

Someone asked for my views about the apparent demotion of Tan Chuan Jin (TCJ) from minister to speaker of Parliament.

I do not know TCJ personally. From the views that I read in the internet, he seemed to be someone who is willing to speak his mind, which in his case is writing in his Facebook. He seemed to be well liked by the staff in his ministry as they gave him an unusual farewell by participating in a 6 km run with him.

A commentator wrote an article that seemed to criticize him for doing little to address the challenges faced by his ministry of social and family development.

My own observation was that he did not do much to address the challenges faced in his previous post as minister of manpower.

To be fair to TCJ, I would say that the statement of "did not do much" applies to most of the ministers in LHL's cabinet.

The challenges faced by the people are daunting. Most of the ministers did not seem to understand the real problems, let alone finding the solutions to these problems.

We are all aware about the problems faced in public transport, health, employment, security of jobs, over-population, slowing economy and high cost of living.

Most of the ministers in charge of these areas appear to be in hiding.

My friend told me that TCJ is a minister that does not appear to be "smart", compared to some other ministers.  The friend had met these ministers personally.

I find this comment to be irrelevant. Being "smart" is not the solution to our problems. I have no doubt that the prime minister (LHL) is one of the smartest persons in Singapore. However, he seemed to have made a mess of things during the past decade when he was the prime minister.

I consider the quality of humility to be as important, or perhaps more important than being smart.

A leader should be humble in knowing that he (or she) does cannot find the answers to many difficult problems by himself. He needs to listen to the views of other people, to the real experts in the field, to the staff working for him (who have to face the problems everyday) and to the public who feels the impact of these problems which are caused by his policies.

After getting the inputs, the leader should be "smart" enough to know which are relevant and which are not.

To find the solution to the problems, after they have been identified, the leader needs to know if similar problems have been faced by other countries and cities and how they went about addressing these problems. The leaders needs to be humble to learn from the experience of other countries and "smart" enough to know if the solutions could work in Singapore.

There are a few occasions where challenges faced in Singapore are really unique, and the experience of other countries are not likely to be relevant.

The leader then has to find the solution by trial and error, or what is described as "prototyping" in engineering. This approach requires an open approach, to be willing to tell the public about the uncertainty and to share the results of each trial and to hear inputs from the stakeholders.

On the important quality of being "humble", I have to declare that most, if not all, of the ministers in LHL's cabinet failed miserably. The best word to describe their attitude is "arrogance". They do not seek to hear the inputs of other people who are familiar with the issues. In fact, they ignore these inputs. They seem to think that they alone know the solutions.

I suspect that they get this attitude from observing the behavior of LHL himself. To be fair to LHL, perhaps their behavior comes from our education system which encouraged the elitist behavior.

Coming back to TCJ, I think he is unfortunate to be singled out for a weakness that seemed to be shared by most ministers. In fact, TCJ probably has a larger share of the quality of humility that is essential for success.

I hope that he will have the chance in the future to prove that humility and smartness are essential for our future success. I wish all the best to TCJ.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Dedicated zones for shared bikes

Shared bikes should be parked within designated areas.
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/…/new-rules-soon-to-tackle-i…

This is a good move. The users can be fined for parking outside the designated areas.

I am disappointed to read that the shared biked operators work with the "PAP town councils". Why can't they work with ALL town councils?

When will the PAP wake up and know that this kind of news make many people disgusted.

What have the citizens done?

Rachel Ash commented on an article that claimed Tan Chuan Jin did not do much as minister for social and family services.

Mr Tan. In my humble opinion: it is not what has TCJ done or not done; the real question should be - what have citizens of Singapore done?

Directly or indirectly, these are exactly the ministers that the citizens had been screaming out beating their chest to have including our soon to be Indian President Halimah.

Many who had felt sorry for the sorry state we are in, many of them had given on the these same citizens who complains so much but keep wanting more of the same.

What is the point of these senseless complains?

At the next generatl election, we are going to still see close to 60 to 70 odd % winning by the ruling party again.

Many who are financially independent had given up, and just watching the show at the sideline. Not that they are insensitve to the needs of their fellow citizens but they got stabbed by the same people whom they are helping.

With each passing election, even if the opposition wins a GRC or SMC, their lives would be a struggle just to run the day to day upkeep.

There will be hoops and loops to jump with traps that will shorten their political life.

Look at WP, not long more before they get hammered into nothingness. Many of these crying out citizens .... claim this time would be different ..... yah yah we heard before .......

Majullah PAP.




Fast Forward bus service - make it work!

About ten years ago, I wrote an article about public transport. It was printed in the Straits Times.

One suggestion was to run buses with limited stops and to serve the intermediate stops with a feeder service. This will cut down the time for a bus journey.

I did not get any response from the Land Transport Authority. Nobody bothered to engage me.

I recently found that this idea was implemented under the "Fast Forward" service by SBS.

Quote
Fast Forward, via a combination of having fewer stops and flexible routing in non-stop sectors to avoid traffic congestion allows the service to deliver travel time savings of up to 20%. Operating only during the morning and evening peak hours to meet our commuter's needs for faster and more comfortable travel from home to work and vice versa. There are eight Fast Forward services in operation today (10e, 14e, 30e, 74e, 89e, 151e, 174e, 196e).
Unquote.

I did not hear any publicity about this service. It is now applied only to a few stops.

I suspect that this concept did not take off. Why?

I did some research and was horrified to learn that the fare for the Fast Foreward service is about 70% higher than the normal fare. This is shown in the fare table at the bus stop.

The reason for the higher fare is that there is less demand for this service. This is ridiculous.

There is less demand because you are charging a higher fare, and you are not publicising the service. Right?

I can say, with great disappointment, that this is the quality of the planning under LHL's government. Why did he put in place people who think in this manner? Why did this people not have a public discussion on this matter?

I still think that this concept will work, if it is publicised and the normal fare is charged.

Let me explain how this will work.

I take bus 163 to work. Suppose they convert it to a limited stop service numbered 163e that stops at the major stops, which are identified with a special pole.

If the bus stop near my home is not a major stop, I will take a feeder service a few stops to the next major stop. I will then catch 163e to my office.

If my office is not a major stop, I will get off the bus at a major stop before that and change to a feeder service.

Changing buses is quite easy. I do it quite often. I get off the bus and wait for the next bus at the same stop. The waiting time should be quite short for a feeder service. I am referring to a new system of feeder service that serves the intermediate stops. It should arrive within two or three minutes.

Under this Fast Forward service, the journey time should reduce by 20%, even allowing changing to feeder services. There is a big saving in time when the FF bus does not have to stop at the intermediate stops.

I hope that the Land Transport Authority take up this suggestion and contact me for a discussion0

.

Wisdom of the crowd - results

Here are the results of voting in The Wisdom of the Crowd

a) Did Singapore perform well in the South East Asia Games 2017? (59 Votes )

64% said "yes". 19% said "yes, but we could have done better".

More details at:
http://tklcloud.com/Colsale2/viewpdf.ashx?Code=782768

b) What is your view about the campaign slogan, "Do good, do together" (61 Votes )

48% said "it is awful". 30% said "it sound odd".

More details at:
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=249




Thursday, September 07, 2017

Wisdom of the Crowd - new issues

Here are the new issues for voting.

a) Who does North Korea need to develop nuclear weapons?
b) Who should get the credit for the good relations between Singapore and Indonesia?

Give your vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg




Collective sale of Thomson View

The tall white building at the center of the picture is the tower block of Thomson View condominium. I lived in the townhouse in 1983 to 1996. I am now the chairman of the collective sale committee. If the collective or enbloc sale is successful, you will not see this tower block in 2 years time.

It is difficult to be the chairman of the sale committee. The committee has to deal with supporting and objecting owners, including a few who were unrealistic and demanding and made life difficult for the committee.

Most owners do not want to be in the sale committee, less so to take the duty of the chairman. It is a lot of hard work. As I run my own business, I can afford to spend the time to handle the role, which is mainly coordination with the committee, marketing agent, lawyer, managing agent and the individual owners.

I was also fortunate to have the support of my committee members. The members chipped in and do their share, even though they have to do a full time job.

I will not say that it is a thankless task, because many owners had sent email to thank me for taking the lead in this effort.




Why I bought an apartment in Forest City

Dear Mr. Tan
I read that you bought an apartment in Forest City. I also heard from my friends that more than 100,000 units will be built there and it will be difficult to find a tenant or to sell it in the market later on, due to the massive supply. Why did you choose to invest there? How are you going to pay the loan to buy the property?

Reply
I agree that it is not a good choice for an investment, at least for the short term. I plan to hold it for the long term as a holiday place for my children and grand children. It is only 10 minutes from the second link and provides a totally different environment.

It is build as a modern smart city. Among others, it has an innovative transport concept. The plants in the buildings will act like a forest to provide oxygen and remove the carbon dioxide.  The concept is totally different from any other city on the planet now. I am buying for the future.

I am paying for the apartment upfront to enjoy a 15% discount. You can see from the progress videos that the apartments are being built very fast, so the risk of default can be ignored.

It is a freehold apartment. The price is about 25% of the price for similar 99 year property in Singapore.

In my view, this property is suitable for people with spare cash, especially those who have sold their property for a handsome sum in an enbloc sale recently. You can invest some of your gains in Forest City.

You can watch the videos of Forest City on Youtube. If you are keen to visit the place, and even to have a complimentary one night stay at the 5 stay hotel, send an email to kinlian@gmail.com. I will ask the marketing executive at Forest City to arrange your stay.

She had arranged a stay for me last month, and that led me to buy the apartment.








Wisdom of the Crowd - results

Here are the results of the voting in The Wisdom of the Crowd.

a) What is the impact of National Service on Singapore males? (54 Votes )

44% said that it is harmful for their study and career. 31% said that it is useful but should be shortened.

View the details in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=246


b) Is it wise to hold the second industry briefing on the High Speed Rail in London? (51 Votes )

51% said that it should be held in Kuala Lumpur as the first briefing was held in Singapore. 26% said that it should be held in another Asian city as the likely bidders are from Asia.

View the details in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=247

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