Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Standard e-wallet under Association of Banks

One and a half years has passed since PM Lee announced the goal to use digital payment in his National Day Rally in 2017.

A lot of work and money has been put in by many parties to introduce digital payment. The actual usage remain low, except for payment for ride hailing apps.

There are too many platforms for digital payment. They do not talk to each other. Most of the wallet apps are too complicated.

To be a truly smart nation, we need to make digital payment a way of life. I like to suggest how this goal can be achieved.

WOTC - Delay in completion of RTS Link

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What should we do about the delay in the completion of the RTS Link?

Here are the responses: (33 Votes)
42 % - Introduce joint clearance for bus travellers - so that they go through both checkpoints at the departure station.
42 % - Increase manpower and improve the checkpoint procedures.
12 % - Increase the number of trips on the KTM Trebau service between Woodlands and Johore Bahru.
3 % - Stop all joint projects with Malaysia.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Top priority of PM Lee

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What should be the top priority of PM Lee?

Here are the responses: (39 Votes)
87 % - Focus on other key concerns of the citizens on cost of living and security of jobs.
10 % - Focus on solving the bilateral dispute with Malaysia.
3 % - Focus on his defamation suit against Leong Sze Hian
0 % - Send a clear message that sharing of unverified news can be risky.

See the pie chart at:

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

How to turn negative into positive publicity

I saw this news report sent to me in an email from AsiaOne. I was surprised that the article was in dated 1 June 2015. Why did AsiaOne send it to me now, in 2019?

It is probably due to a programming error, or may I say a technical issue with Asia One.

Whenever there is a long delay, the airline will get a bad reputation and a bad name. But Scoot can convert it into a positive event. Instead a bad name, they can get a good name.

What can Scoot do?

Review our approach towards reservist duty

The cost of the injury to Aloysius Pang seems to be quite high. He is likely to be recuperating for six months.

Mediacorp has to find a replacement actor and rewrite the script for an existing serial.

We want to be fair to all reservists and make sure that they all have to do their share of reservist duty.

This concept can be costly, as it has happened in this high profile case.

What can we do to avoid this high cost.

Read my suggestion here:

Pay an adequate allowance for full time conscripts

I know of a mother, who works as a hawker, to earn income for her family. Her husband passed away. She has 4 children, 3 of whom are still in school.

She depended on her son to help her to manage the hawker stall. The son was called up for full time national service. She has to employ a hawker assistant at a cost of more than $2,000. She is not able to earn enough, after paying the additional cost, to take care of the family.

I believe that this is not the only case. There must be many other families who are in similar situations. They need their adult sons to help to run the family business. They faced financial and other difficulties when their adult sons are conscripted to serve two years in full time national service.

Read my suggestion here. Vote (agree, disagree) after you have read it.

Be aware of the cost of handling cash

Many people are reluctant to move to cashless payments. They prefer to use cash. They find paying by cash to be convenient and free.

They do not realize the cost of handling cash:

a) Time spent to take cash from ATM machine
b) Cost to banks of providing the ATM service, which is now offered free to customers.
c) Cost of merchant to handle cash and give change
d) Cost to merchant to deposit the cash into the bank

Read more details here:

CPF Life payouts are not guaranteed

Dear Mr. Tan,

I have read articles in the newspaper and was quite convinced that I could get a "higher" monthly payout if I continue to ensure I have a big sum of money in my Retirement Account.

However, my CPF friends recently told me that the monthly CPF Life payouts are based on estimates/ projections, just like what you see in a Benefit Illustration for an Endowment insurance policy.

These monthly payout values as illustrated in your articles and on CPF website are not guaranteed. I found the following fine print when I use the CPF Life Payout Estimator tool on the CPF website:

The monthly payouts shown are based on the Retirement Account balance provided. The payout ranges are based on interest rates of between 3.75% and 4.25% and do not represent the lower and upper limits of the payout. The monthly payout may be adjusted every year to take into account factors such as CPF interest rate and mortality experience.

According to my understanding, if CPF were to tell me now that when I reach age 65 in 10 years' time, my monthly Payout will range from a lower limit of $1,200 to a higher limit of $1,400, it simply means that the figures are only projections into the future. That lower limit of $1,200 can actually be much lower in a bad-case scenario of prolonged poor stock market conditions!

What are your views?

My answer is given here:

How much more should you pay for a freehold property?

Many people think that a leasehold property will have no value when the lease runs out and a freehold property will have a value forever. They are willing to pay much more (i.e. 20% or more) for a freehold property, compared to a leasehold property.

Are they making the right decision?

The answer is given here:

WOTC - Call off bilateral meeting

 I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Was it wise for Singapore to call off the bilateral meeting with Malaysia?

Here are the responses: (32 Votes)
56 % - No, it is not advisable to throw a tantrum over this issue.
22 % - Yes, we have to show Malaysia that we cannot be bullied.
16 % - Yes, the Johore Mentri Besar was on a boat in Singapore waters.
6 % - No, it was disputed waters. We can close an eye.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Which country should we follow?

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

If we have to follow the model of another country, which do you prefer?

Here are the responses: (33 Votes)
45 % - Follow Switzerland
21 % - Follow Australia
15 % - Keep the Singapore system.
12 % - Follow China
6 % - Follow America 

See the pie chart at:

Monday, January 21, 2019

The overlooked risk of integrated plan

Many people love the integrated plan. They like the idea that it will pay more of their treatment in a private hospital.

They did not take into account the high cost in premium. It can be very expensive at the older ages, when they need the insurance most. Many will find the premium to be too expensive and unaffordable.

Worse, if they do not make any claim, they are actually paying for the claim of other people, and also paying for the hospitals and doctors to charge high fees.

Watch this video for an explanation.

How to reduce the share capital of a company

With a paid up capital of $500,000, I am required to join the Singapore Business Federation and pay an annual fee of $300. I do not have any benefit, so it is like a tax.

I can reduce the paid up capital by $100,000 to $400,000 and avoid this additional expense.

Here is how it can be done.

a) Pass a special resolution.
b) Lodge with ACRA via BizFile+, within 8 days beginning with the resolution date:

A notice containing the text of the special resolution for reducing share capital;
The resolution date; and
The reduction information

It is not difficult. So, I may just do it.

Singapore Business Federation

As a small business operating in Singapore with a paid up capital of $500,000, my company is required to be a member of the Singapore Business Federation.

The annual membership fee is $300. I have not received any benefit from membership of the SBF. This has been the situation for several years.

The fee is like another tax that I have to pay.

Perhaps the government should remove this cost for small businesses. Let membership of SBF be voluntary. Do not impose a burden on small businesses.

Tan Kin Lian

Adopt a positive attitude

Some people are so cynical that they see the worse in every thing that the govt does. They see every change as an opportunity for the govt to raise prices.

This is not healthy. We cannot have a useful discussion about how things can be improved, if these people continue to give cynical remarks.

In the interest of healthy discussion, I like to ask these people to be open minded and positive. You may not like the govt, but do not let that attitude affect the discussion here.

I hope that these people will understand and respond to my request.

Review the structure of reservist training

A well known Mediacorp actor, Aloysius Pang, has been seriously injured while on reservist training in New Zealand.

Over the next few days, there will be active discussion about the safety measures that should be taken to avoid accidents of this nature.

I agree that we should take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of our soldiers. I believe that this has received the high level attention of the Singapore Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defense.

We also have to accept that accidents will happen and that injury and death is part of the risk of being a soldier or reservist.

I like to focus on another aspect of this issue.

WOTC - Restructure the economy

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What is the best way to restructure our economy?

Here are the responses: (35 Votes)
83 % - Reduce the cost of doing business.
11 % - Introduce technology, e.g. Smart Nation
6 % - Encourage local companies to move overseas.
0 % - Lower tax to bring in more foreign companies, and increase GST for the shortfall.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Can Apple Computers continue to show higher profits?

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Can Apple Computers continue to show higher profits?

Here are the responses: (38 Votes)
63 % - They will gradually lose their market to competitors.
18 % - They are no longer innovative, and cannot bring out highly successful products.
11 % - Yes. They are innovative and will bring out new products to boost sales and profits.
8 % - They will continue to do well and be supported by their loyal customers.

See the pie chart at:

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Make a bold move towards online voting

The election department plans to introduce mechanical counting of votes in the next general election.

While this is one small improvement, it does not save much time. The ballot papers still have to be sorted into different stacks before they are counted.

I suggest that online voting be introduced. There are concerns about the integrity of the voting process, as the database could be hacked and the votes altered. This risk can be addressed. It is explained in this website.

Size of flats impact family size

In the early years, the size of HDB flats were bigger. In the early years, 5 room flat had a built in area of 123 sm. Since 1997, the size reduced by 11% to 110 sm. Similarly, a 4 room HDB flat became slightly smaller.
See this page for the facts.

The price of HDB flats had also increased sharply over the years. Many ordinary workers find the price for a bigger flat to be too high and had to accept a smaller flat.

What is the consequence of this reduction in size of flats?

Tan Cheng Bock's new party

How will Tan Cheng Bock's new party impact the next general election?

Look at the simulations here, or create your own simulation.

Reduce travel time with express bus services

The bus journey can take up to two hours for a long journey from home to work. The long traveling time discourages people from traveling by bus. If they travel by MRT, the traveling time may be shortened, but there is overload in our trains, especially during the peak hours.

When the MRT trains break down, it can be chaotic.

I suggest that express buses be introduced to connect our towns. This new structure will work as follows:

Send scanned examination scripts for marking

There were a few cases in recent years of examination scripts being lost in transit to the marking centers.

I suggest that the scrips should be scanned and the soft copy send for marking.

This will speed up the delivery of the examination scripts and avoid the risk of being lost in transit.

Review Medisave limit for chemotheraphy treatment

Currently the limit set is $1,200 per month and this has not be increased for past 10 years or more.

If a patient needs 2 chemo a month the bill may cost at least $5,000 or more if they have no insurance or not subsidized.

Maybe MOH should have a process to do regular reviews maybe yearly in view of escalating medical costs and the Medisave withdrawal required for such treatment need to be increased

WOTC - Second Trump Kim Summit

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Which is likely to be the venue for the second Trump Kim summit?

Here are the responses: (34 Votes)
53 % - Vietnam 
38 % - Panmunjom - border between North and South Korea.
6 % - Singapore
3 % - Hawaii

See the pie chart at:

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Mark examination scripts in Singapore

There was a recent incident where examination scripts were lost in transit for marking in the United Kingdom. Some people asked - why can't we mark the examination script in Singapore? This will stop the incidence of loss of examination scripts in transits. I recalled this loss also occurred a few years earlier.

I am in favor of marking the examination scripts in Singapore - but not for the reason given. If examination scripts are lost in transit, they can be prevented.

Soursop leaf tea

Here are the photos
1) soursop plant in my back garden
2) 10 leaves plucked from the plant and washed for boiling
3) leaves being boiled for 45 mins.

When I asked my Indonesian maid to boil the soursop, she said, "Oh, you want to boil jamu (medicine). ". They are quite familiar with boiling soursop leaves for health.

Wrong thinking on secrecy

For many years, I have been quite critical about the wrong thinking on secrecy. I am particularly the thinking that the bank account number must be kept secret. Recently, this has now been extended to the move to make the NRIC number secret.

Our wrong approach on this issue has made Singapore inefficient and costly. We need to address it.

Read my views here:

Remember to vote (agree, disagree).

A new political party - Progress Singapore Party

The big news during the past few days is the application by Dr. Tan Cheng Bock and his supporters to register a new party, the Progress Singapore Party.

How will this party impact the next general election.

You can give your vote in this website:'

FISCA Member Experience Sharing.

Sat 23 Feb 2019

Time: 2 pm to 4 pm
Venue: Tan Kin Lian office, 24 Sin Ming Lane #02-107

This session is open only for members. (Non member have to join as member to participate).

It will share experience on the following topics:

a) Choosing an electricity supplier under the open market system
b) Risks of buying an investment product from a bank.

For each topic, a person with experience of the topic will give a presentation for 15 minutes. This will be followed by half our of discussion. Other participants can join in to share their experience or to ask questions.

The venue is Midview City. Take a bus to Thomson Plaza and walk up Bright Hill Drive to Midview City (8 mins) or take a bus to Ai Tong School (from Bishan MRT). There are ample car parking space (free parking on Saturday) for participants who drive.

Prepare for Online Voting

You can experience how an online voting system works here.

It allows you to submit your vote on several ballots, i.e. not just to vote for the MP for your constituency.

When the poll closes, you can see the results immediately - i.e. no need to wait for several hours for manual counting to be completed.

Is it secure from tampering and fraud? Click on "Audit" to find out.

Prepare for online voting. It will come in the near future. It can be secure.

WOTC - Is SkillsFuture operating well?

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Is SkillsFuture operating well?

Here are the responses: (37 Votes)
51 % - A large part of the funds is wasted due to fraud and to disinterested workers.
30 % - Many workers attend the training courses to get the allowance, but are not really interested to gain the new knowledge.
14 % - In spite of the upgrading, many older workers remain unemployed.
5 % - It has helped many older workers to upgrade their skills and find new jobs.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Malaysian vessels in Singapore waters

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What should we do with the Malaysian vessels in our waters?

Here are the responses: (36 Votes)
44 % - Leave them alone
44 % - Lodge a protest with the Malaysian govt.
8 % - Give warning shots
3 % - Sink them

See the pie chart at:

Friday, January 18, 2019

WOTC - Published version of COI report

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

How do you find the published version of the Singhealth COI report?

Here are the responses: (34 Votes)
50 % - The COI should release reports on how the hack was done, rather than hide it as "secret"
32 % - I believe that something important is being hidden from the public. 
18 % - I am not satisfied with the allegation of "state sponsored" attack, which was described as "believe".
0 % - I am satisfied with the report.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Maids Portal

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

How do you find the services of the Maid Portal,

Here are the responses: (29 Votes)
59 % - I am not aware of this portal.
24 % - I have not employed any maid in the past
14 % - I prefer to go back to the agency that I used before.
3 % - I have used it and was disappointed with it.
0 % - I have used it and found it to be very good.

See the pie chart at:

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Reduce the hardship for Malaysian workers

Each day, several hundred thousand people spent more than one hour to clear through the checkpoints at the causeway and the second link.

Most of them are Malaysian workers working in Singapore. They come to work in the morning and return home in the evening. Their travelling time each day is probably about three hours.

They often have to leave their home in Johore in the early morning and return home in the evening.

These workers do not have any vote and dare not complaint about their hardship. It does not mean that we should ignore their plight.

I call on the authorities on both sides to reduce the time that they spend passing through the checkpoints.

I hope that some measures can be introduced soon, especially on Singapore side, to address this situation.


Please submit your vote (agree, disagree) to my suggestion.

Tan Kin Lian

WOTC - Fireworks at Countdown to 2019

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Should we have a 90 min firework for the Countdown to 2019?

Here are the responses: (36 Votes)
44 % - It is better to have a 5 min or 10 min firework, like most cities.
44 % - It is costly to organize a sit down firework display for 90 mins. 
11 % - It is to prepare for a possible general election in 2019.
0 % - It is an unique experience and worth the money spent.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Work closer to home

 I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

How can we encourage more people to work closer to home?

Here are the responses: (31 Votes)
48 % - Never mind. Just improve the public transport system.
29 % - Give more options for them to rent a flat.
13 % - Encourage workers to live in a place closer to work by waiving the stamp duty for buying a new home.
10 % - Educate them about the benefit of working closer to home.

See the pie chart at:

A hub and spoke system for public transport

In 2009, I contributed an article that was published in the Straits Times. I suggested that our public transport system should be re-organized to use hub and spoke system system. This system works as follows:

a) Feeder buses take passengers within a town and to the MRT stations and express bus hubs.
b) Express bus services take the passengers from one town to another. They make limited stops along the way.
c) The hub and spoke system is adopted successfully by airlines to bring passengers from airports in small towns to the hubs where they connect to other large airports and, if necessary, change to a smaller airline to their final destination.

The Land Transport Authority was not interested to explore this concept at that time. I do not know why. Nobody bothered to follow up on my proposal or to talk to me.

I wish to update this proposal, considering the developments during the past ten years.

Please read my updated proposal and give up your vote (agree, disagree).

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Concern over cyber security

Reading the newspapers, there seem to be a lot of concern about cyber security. This matter is also actively discussed in Parliament.

I wish to give my views on this issue.

WOTC - Abdication of Malaysian King

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Why does the Malaysian Agong abdicate his office?

Here are the responses: (39 Votes)
56 % - His recent marriage to a Russian woman could be an embarrassment.
31 % - He wants to focus on his personal life.
8 % - It is difficult to deal with PM Dr. Mahathir.
5 % - He prefers to be the sultan of his state.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Complaint against Lee HY's wife

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Is it proper for AG Office to lodge the complaint against Lee HY's wife?

Here are the responses: (43 Votes)
56 % - It is a private matter and should not concern the AG Office.
42 % - It is politically motivated.
2 % - It is a matter of national interest.
0 % - It involve Mr. Lee KY and should be clarified

See the pie chart at:

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Will the swing against PAP be as high as 22%?

Can the swing against the PAP be as high as 22% at the next general election?

Most people will think that this is quite unlikely.

I hold a different view. Here are my reasons:

The PAP was able to get a high vote in 2015 due to the public appreciation toward the PAP for the contribution of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew who had died earlier in the year.

I estimate that the support would have been 10%.

I expect that this swing would be totally reversed at the next general election. The public dispute between the Lee siblings, i.e. LKY's children, would certainly have demolished all the goodwill that was given to the PAP and PM Lee.

Several factors would have cause much unhappiness against the PAP.

This webpage shows the contribution of the various factors, such as the high cost of living, high salary of ministers, no value on expiry of HDB 99 year lease, unhappiness over the reserved president, and insecurity of jobs.

The percentage swing contributed by each factor is shown in this page, based on the votes by the participants.

It is likely that there will be double counting of the factors. If we were to take half of the total for first five factors, we will get an additional swing of 12.6%. Together with the loss of 10%, the total would be 22.6%.

However, there were will be several factors in favor of the PAP - the support of new citizens and the celebrations and goodies to be handed out before the general election.

I suspect that the effect of new citizens and the impact of the goodies are over-exaggerated. They would probably have been accounted for in the previous general elections.

The new citizens would probably feel the same pressure as the old citizens after living in Singapore for five years. So, the PAP will have to count on the support of voters that became new citizens in recent years.

My own guess is that the swing against the PAP would be between 15% and 20%, but it could overshoot to reach the 22%. What is your guess?

Can the Worker's Party win one third of the seats at the next general election?

The Workers' Party aim to win 33.3% of the seats at the next general election. That will require them to win 30 seats out of a Parliament of 89 seats.

Can they do it?

Look at the various projections here shown in this website.

If you look at a 20% swing, the WP will win 24 seats only. They have to rely on merging with the SDP to get another 9 seats, making a total of 33 seat. I do not see that scenario happening.

Here is the projection for the 20% swing:

What about the TCB factor? There is a good chance that he will work with the WP. But if TCB's team were to contest in the constituencies that were contested by the other parties in 2015, they may not win - unless TCB team is able to win over many of the PAP supporters.

Here is the projection based on a 22% swing:

The WP wins 28 seats. It is quite easy for them to win another 2 seats from the smaller parties. The NSP is expected to be inactive, so their constituencies are likely to be contested by the WP or TCB's team.

It should be easy for the WP to achieve its goal.

However, I have not factored in the damage that the WP would suffer from the outcome of the AHTC court case. If their MPs are disqualified from contesting, the damage could be severe.

There is the possibility that TCB's team may join or work with the WP to overcome this collateral damage.

I am just making my wild guess. I am no political pundit. I have no inside information.

If you wish to carry out your own simulation and interpretation, you can do it by selecting the percentage swing against PAP.

Here is the link.

An interim measure to reduce delays at the causeway

I am disappointed to learn about the delay in the formation of the joint operating company to build the Rapid Transit Link between Singapore and Johore Bahru.

This delay was caused by the delay on the Malaysian side to appoint the joint venture partner for this project. Although it is not stated, there could be other reasons, such as heavy financing cost of the project and its financial viability.

It is certain that the RTS link will not be ready by 2004, as originally planned. We do not know how long will be the delay.

In the meantime, a few hundred thousand travelers are caught by long travel times daily.

Read my suggestion on how to deal with this matter here.

Tan Kin Lian

Articles and talks on insurance and investment

It is important for young people, and older people, to handle their financial planning properly.

This website contains articles on insurance, investment and other issues relating to managing your finances.

You can view the most recent articles or the articles that are classified by category.

You can also attend the talks organised by FISCA (Financial Services Consumer Association)

This link beings you to the website.

The articles are available only to FISCA members. You can join as a member easily. Members can attend the FISCA talks free or pay a discounted fee.

Feedback Website (#HearMeOut)

The feedback website (#HearMeOut) is getting popular. It contains feedback on government policies and practices of business organizations.

These feedback are taken from the newspapers (and selected by the editor through their screening process) or posted directly into this website by approved writers.

You can find the latest feedback in this page. Please keep a bookmark so that you can come to it daily.

You may also be interested in this page which lists the feedback that has received the most number of views.

You can see all the feedback directed to a specific agency or company. You can also search for a feedback by a keyword.

Please note that you can give your vote (agree, disagree) against each feedback. Let your vote count.

Tan Kin Lian

WOTC - Deposits for future services

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Should businesses be allowed to collect deposits for future services?

Here are the responses: (40 Votes)
45 % - The deposit should be covered by insurance.
30 % - The deposit should be held by a third party financial institution, such as a bank.
23 % - It is okay for the business to hold a small sum as deposit, say up to $200.
3 % - Customers who wish to use the future services should pay a deposit.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Food delivery

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

How is your experience with food delivery?

Here are the responses: (39 Votes)
62 % - I have never used it.
26 % - I tried it once in a few weeks and found it useful.
8 % - I tried it several times a week and found it useful
5 % - I am disappointed with this service. 

See the pie chart at:

Monday, January 14, 2019

Offer fixed prices for common surgical procedures

Under the current practice, public and private hospitals impose a separate charge for each item of service, such as surgeon fees, stay in hospital wards, laboratory tests, use of equipment, etc.

This is good for maximizing the revenue to the hospital, but is bad for patients. They are billed billed for every item, some of which are subject of dispute and complaint.

It is time to consider providing a fixed price or package price for each type of surgical procedures. Initially, this can be applied to the common operations, such as appendectomy, breast biopsy, cataract surgery, coronary heart bypass, etc. It can be extended to the less common procedures at a later date.

Find the rest of this article in

How to fix Medishield

Medishield started in 1990 to provide insurance for catastrophic medical expenses. The co-payments was supposed to be covered by money in the CPF Medisave account.

The problem is that the medical expenses were too high. There were caps placed on the use of Medisave, to prevent too much money being siphoned out.

This result in the patient having to pay a large sum of money out of pocket.

In a recent case, a senior who opted for subsidised treatment for a cataract operation was able to claim for only $4.50 from Medishield.

He had to pay the balance of the post-subsidy bill of $4,477 out of Medisave and from his pocket. Medisave only paid $3,000, so the remaining sum of over $1,400 was paid out of pocket.

This is a complicated arrangement. l call it the "bits and pieces" payment system - some part paid here, some paid there. No wonder the people are confused with this system.

How can we fix this problem? How can we make MediShield cover all approved expenses with only a small co-payment from the Medisave account?

I have a solution. It is explained here.

Use of legal process

I am concerned about the use of the legal process to handle dissenting views. Here are some recent examples:

a) PM Lee sued Leong Sze Hian for sharing an article in the Malaysian media containing defamatory statements. Mr. Leong shared the article without giving any personal comment. He withdraw the article when asked to do so.

b) The govt is charging the contributor and the editor of The Online Citizen for criminal defamation, apparently over an article that contains a statement alleging "corruption at the highest level".

c) Nanyang Technological University National University of Singapore has sent a legal challenge to a mainstream newspaper, Today Online, for an article over the resignation of academics. No details are available on what were the statements that the institutions found to be annoying or defamatory.

Read the rest of my view here:

WOTC - NTUC Foodfare

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

How do you find NTUC Foodfare?

Here are the responses: (43 Votes)
47 % - Their prices are high, but the food quality is poor.
30 % - I find their prices and quality of food to be acceptable.
19 % - The quality of food is generally poorer.
5 % - The prices are generally lower.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - How should a prime minister deal with defamatory remarks?

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

How should a prime minister deal with defamatory remarks from citizens?

Here are the responses: (49 Votes)
65 % - Give a reply in the same social media platform.
18 % - Ignore the remarks.
14 % - Ask the citizen to withdraw the statement.
2 % - Sue the citizen for defamation.

See the pie chart at:

Does CPF Life give good value (revised)

I have updated this article taking the actual figures from the CPF Life Estimator.
Revised on 14 Jan 2019 (updated using figures from the CPF Life Estimator)

Someone asked if CPF Life gives good value to the annuitant. The current sum to be set aside at age 55 for CPF Life is $181,000. CPF Life starts payment from age 65 and offers three options (standard, basic and escalating).

You can find the answer here:

This article is available only for FISCA members. You can join as a member to read this important article (which involves more than $100,000 of your CPF savings) and other articles in the website. You can also attend talks organized by FISCA for free or pay a lower rate.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Lower the cost of litigation

Someone said the purpose of high cost of litigation is to discourage people from taking this route.

This is a bad reason.

People need to find a just solution to a dispute.

Stop unsolicited calls

I registered my mobile phone with the Do Not Call register several years ago. For some time, it helped to stop the unsolicited marketing calls.
During the past two years, I keep getting the unwanted calls. Initially, they came from overseas numbers. Later, I get the calls from local numbers, including personal mobile phones.

I took this initiative to stop the unsolicited calls.

Report of COI missing key detail

The version of the COI report on the Singhealth cyber attack released to the public was disappointing. It did not explain how the team of hackers were able to retrieve the 1.5 million records over several months.

The COI "believed" that the cyber attack was "state sponsored". They decided that their mode of operation should be kept secret.

I do not understand and do not agree with the need for secrecy of their mode of operation. Other organizations can learn much from the details.

Read my full views here:

Please vote whether you agree or disagree with my views.

Exploding power pack

There is a report of a power pack that exploded and injured the owner.

We should not be concerned about this incident.

There are probably several million power packs in Singapore. The number of exploding power packs are few.

Look at another perspective. They are probably more people killed or seriously injured in traffic accidents than exploding power packs.

If we get one power pack exploding every day, then we should be concerned. In the meantime, just treat it as an accident.

How to deal with the labor crunch

There is a labor crunch in Singapore. Some businesses are not able to find workers for certain jobs, while many older workers are unemployed.

The manpower minister Josephine Teo and her predecessors are not able to find a solution to this imbalance in the labor market. The situation has got worse over the years.

What is the solution?

I give my views in

Do you agree? Please submit your vote (agree, disagree) in that post.

WOTC - Reduce energy cost

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What is the best way to lower energy cost for consumers?

Here are the responses: (54 Votes)
44 % - Get Singapore Power to reduce their margins.
39 % - Remove govt charges on energy
11 % - Open up the energy market for competition.
6 % - Provide more pricing options for consumers. 

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Should Tan CB contest the next general election?

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Should Dr. Tan CB contest the next general election?

Here are the responses: (53 Votes)
68 % - He should contest as a leader of a coalition of non PAP parties.
26 % - He should get ex PAP MPs to join him to contest the general election.
4 % - He will not get much votes.
2 % - He should retire and look after his grandchildren.

See the pie chart at:

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Excellent customer service from OPPO

I find OPPO (mobile phone operator) to operate an excellent customer service. They beat most large organizations in Singapore. They set a benchmark for other companies to follow.

Read my feedback here.

An alternative approach to SkillsFuture

There are a few cases of large scale fraud with SkillsFuture. This is the govt program that pays a large part of the course fee and a daily allowance for the unemployed attendees.

There are good and bad aspects of this scheme. Some of the attendees found the courses to be useful for their careers. The quality of training provided by the institutions are good.

There are also bad cases. Some participants attended courses that are not really relevant to their needs. They went to the courses mainly to get the allowance.

Some of the training providers do not offer quality courses. The trainers are demotivated when a large part of the class comprise of disinterested attendees.

There are also a few cases of fraud. Some entrepreneurs set up training facilities primarily to tap the SkillsFuture credit. The enrolled participants who signed up mainly for the allowance.

I do not know the extent of the fraud and the wastefulness, compared to the real and useful skills obtained by the participants.

I suspect that it is difficult to monitor the fraud and the wastefulness.

I would prefer the SkillsFuture program to be scaled down and a large part of the funds used in some other ways to help the unemployed workers.

This is how I would approach it.

a) The unemployed worker should register for a placement program.
b) The program will help to place the unemployed worker with a registered employer. The govt will subsidise 50% of the wages, up to $1,000, for 1 year.
c) If the employer finds that the worker needs certain skills, they can send the worker to be trained during the first year.

This placement program may need more funds that the savings from SkillsFuture. The govt should set aside the additional funds.

This arrangement is likely to work better than current SkillsFuture funding.

What about workers who are still employed but wish to get some skills in case they have to change jobs?

They can skill attend the SkillsFuture courses, which should be largely subsidised directly by the govt. There is no need to set aside a credit in the worker's account for this purpose.

It is a bad idea to set aside the SkillsFuture credit account. It is money that tempts the worker to use it (otherwise it is wasted) and crooks to set up fraudulent schemes to tap these funds (it has happened).

We have many years of experience with the SkillsFuture scheme and its predecessor schemes (sorry, I cannot recall the names). Let us learn from the experience and find a better arrangement and hopefully a better outcome.

Tan Kin Lian

WOTC - Best way to find a maid.

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What is the best way to find a maid?

Here are the responses: (32 Votes)
34 % - Ask friend to recommend a reliable agency.
28 % - Rely on the previous maid agency, if the service is good.
22 % - Use a portal where several agencies provide particulars of their maids
16 % - Search the internet and view the websites of maid agencies.

See the pie chart at:

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