Saturday, July 30, 2016

A convenient way for a business to make cheque payments


Many businesses prefer to send make payments by cheques. Singapore has one of the highest usage of cheques per population among the developed countries.

Why do businesses avoid using electronic payments? Here are some reasons:

a) To make payments, they have to allow the employee to log into the online bank account. The employee can view all the entries in the bank account. The boss may not like to provide this access.

b) The online platform of the bank is difficult to navigate. It provides many functions that are hidden by layers of hyperlink. Some of the functions are confusing.

c) It is quite troublesome to log into the online bank account. The user has to provide several codes and passwords, including a 2FA token.

d) After making payment, the user has to notify the payee that the payment has been made electronically.

Due to the troublesome nature, many businesses continue to send payments by cheque.

I have developed an online portal that makes it easy for businesses to make electronic payment. It reduces the work for the staff significantly. It automatically sends out an email to inform the payee about the payment.

Watch this video. Tell me if you like it.
https://youtu.be/5ah2Rj_atg4


Best of Breed contest starts on 5 August


The Best of Breed contents will start next week on 5 August to identify the best entrepreneur.

You can practice now to stand a better chance to win the contest.

Contest detail
http://tklcloud.com/BSG/page/6

How to practice
http://tklcloud.com/BSG/video.aspx?ID=4

How to win (ask Donald Trump)
http://tklcloud.com/BSG/pdf.aspx?ID=5

Website
http://tklcloud.com/BSG
Click on Join Game

Good luck. All the best!




Thursday, July 28, 2016

Minimum salary for Employment Pass holders


I do not agree with the policy of the government to raise the minimum salary for employment pass holders.

I prefer the government to introduce a levy for EP holders and follow the practice for S-pass and work permit holders. This is a more effective measure. The levy for EP holders should be higher than for S-pass holders, but it could also be set at the same level.

The policy of increasing the minimum salary for EP holders benefit the EP holders. The employers are "forced" to pay a higher salary to them. The employers may prefer to employ EP holders for a variety of reasons - reduced job hopping, not necessary to perform SAF reservist duty, etc.

Five years ago, I interviewed a foreigner for an IT job. He asked me to declare his salary as $2,500 to meet the  "minimum salary" at that time, but to pay him a lower rate of $2,000. He said that it was a common practice for some employers to adopt this approach to save on the levy. Many of his friends were working on this type of arrangement.

I did not want to "cheat" the system. I employed him on a S-pass and paid the levy. He must have felt that I was too stupid or too law abiding.

I wonder if this practice is still happening now. What is the point of increasing the minimum salary for EP holders? It is better to introduce a levy.




BEST OF BREED Contest

Practice to be a business entrepreneur


When you train to be an airline pilot, you have to spend many hours of practice with a flight simulator. It shows you some of the common situations that may occur and allow you to practice your skill in dealing with them.

There are many more people who want to go into business compared to being an airline pilot. Is there a business simulator that can allow these people to practice what  to do when they are competing in the market?

For example:

a) What should be the pricing of their products?
b) How much should they spend on advertising?
c) What is the impact on their sales when they change the pricing and advertising expenses?
d) How much should they produce or order for next month to meet the expected sales and avoid unsold stocks?
e) What will be the impact of the pricing strategy of their competitors?

There is a business simulation game that allows the budding entrepreneur to practice making these kinds of business decisions. You can view it at www.tklcloud.com/bsg.

There is a video guide explaining how you can play the game. There is also a PDF to give you some tips on how to win the game. The simulation game is designed to be realistic, like what you would expect in real life.

You have the choice of several scenarios - such as running a motor insurance company, health insurance company, or a chocolate factory.

When you have learned the principles of pricing, advertising and capacity, you can apply them in real life, although the actual conditions may be different.

To make it more fun, we will organize a series of competitions to award the "Best of Breed" certificates. You can practice now, and stand a better chance of being the champion in the competition.





Managing the funds of GIC

A real rate of return of 4%, after deducting inflation, is an acceptable rate. However, it is also the rate that can be achieved by a low cost index fund.

I wonder what is the expense ratio of managing the funds under GIC?

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/dip-in-annualised-real/2991978.html?sc_customer=10b49691-b4ce-46cc-9e58-1e4cec0f9b99&sc_src=email&sc_llid=1233&sc_lid=44070760&sc_uid=22K6jmHe3A

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Competition - Business Simulation Game

This Certificate will be awarded to the winner of each game in the Business Simulation Game competition.
The winners of the Starter League games will compete in the Advanced League to win a BIGGER CERTIFICATE !!!


Practice now for the business competition

Watch this 8 minute video on the Business Simulation Game.
https://youtu.be/0HAXEEmztzc

You can go to the website and practice the game.
I will be organizing a competion and awarding a Certificate of Entrepreneurship to the winners.
It is all for the fun.

I hope you will enjoy the game and competition. It may give you some feel about what it is like to run a business in a competitive market.

You can choose one of several games, e.g. to run an insurance company or a chocolate factory.

Be a reinsurance underwriter.

It is difficult to be a reinsurance underwriter. It involves a lot of calculation and mathematics.

Here is the good news.

You can learn to be an excellent underwriter, if you have the right tools.

Watch this video to learn about the tool that you can use. And after that, you can play the simulation game to hone your skills.

Who know? You might be a good underwriter. And you might want to join the insurance industry to be an underwriter.,

http://tklcloud.com/RiCloud/video.aspx?ID=4

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Singapore to further boost money laundering controls amid 1MDB probe


I wonder what can the banks really do? They must have a lot of transactions happening every day. Can they really know who are money laundering?

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singapore-to-further/2984852.html?sc_customer=10b49691-b4ce-46cc-9e58-1e4cec0f9b99&sc_src=email&sc_llid=6191&sc_lid=43987589&sc_uid=22K6jmHe3A


Submitted annual return to ACRA on 6th atttempt

I finally managed to submit my annual return to ACRA. It took me 6 attempts. This can be verified by the ACRA website and by the SingPass website. I had to sign in with my Singpass and 2FA and go through many steps on each attempt.

Three of the attempts were due to unresponsive webpages in the website. When I asked to print my return, I got a unresponsive webpage. I finally managed to get through after I changed to Internet Explorer. They did not warn me about it at the start.

I submitted the return after wasting more than 1 hour,  Their website promised only a few minutes. I still had to pay a filing fee of $60. That is exorbitant.

Thank you, PM Lee, for creating a world class civil service that knows how to make life difficult for citizens and for charging high fees.


ACRA website unresponsive


I managed to log into the ACRA BizFile to submit my annual return.

The website was complicated. It contained a lot of information that were irrelevant to me. The problem is - I do not know what is relevant and what is not, so I had to quickly learn how to ignore the irrelevant ones.

It is an interactive website. This means that there are many buttons that need to be clicked and entered. If you miss any of them, the "Submit" button will not respond. You have to search through a complicated page to learn which fields you "forgot" to enter.

I finally to the Declaration. The trouble is - I was not told about the declaration. The "Submit" throw out a page of error in the declaration page which I did not complete. I had trouble in getting a "clean" declaration page to fill in. Somehow, I managed to get it, but I did not know how it happened. I still could not enter my name as the declarant.

So, the declaration read ... I ,, director of the company, declare ....

I was given the option to preview my annual return. I opted for it to view what I was supposed to have entered. There was an option to "Print" it. Wonderful. The trouble is - the webpage hangs.

I aborted the Print and went back to submit. The webpage also hang.

I now have to log out and come back again. Thank you ACRA for wasting my time and for showing, true to colors, how inconsiderate you are (and that goes to many other government agencies). You really know how to create interactive websites that waste a lot of time of the public.

At the start of the process, the website promised me that it will take a few minutes to file an annual return. Wrong. It has already taken me 30 minutes and I have to do it all over again.






Difficult to file an annual return with ACRA website

I had to file an annual return.

I went to Bizfile at ACRA website. They asked me to enter my SingPass and request for an OTP to be sent to my mobile phone. The OTP did not arrive. I had to try 3 times. Finally, the 3 OTPs arrive close together.

I used the wrong OTP. It was rejected. I used the last OTP which arrived later and it was accepted.

It went to another page which refused to load. I waited for a few minutes before aborting the login process.

I have to try again in a few minutes time. The people in ACRA thinks that the businesses have a lot of time to waste on their website.

When will our government agencies, such as ACRA and many other agencies, be more considerate? They are really adding a big burden to the business community.




Video guide - Business Simulation Game

This video shows you how to play the business simulation game. You can learn the strategy to decide on the price, capacity and advertising to achieve the highest profit. You have to compete with other players.

Practice on this platform a few times and learn how to get the best profit.

I will organize a competion in a few days time. The player with the highest profit will win a prize.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyRgmUdf3gY&feature=youtu.be



Monday, July 25, 2016

Donald Trump is ahead of Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump is ahead of Clinton. Here are the results from the most recent polls.


Converting air lines to a ticket on SIA website


I have 60,000 air miles. I wanted to convert it to a return ticket between Singapore and London.

I visited the Singapore Airlines website. I had a lot of trouble in locating the right page to view the number of air miles required for the different class of seats. After passing through this huddle, I keyed in the departure date, return date, and other details. The website said, "Sorry, we are not able to tell you. Please call our hotline".

I had to look for a hotline number. It was another challenging task. Finally I found it. The office was closed.

I called again today. I listened to the irrelevant announcements and finally managed to talk to someone.

SIA - Mr. Tan. Do you know that you can get the information online? You can a 15% discount when you make your booking online?
TKL - Yes. But your website refused to give me the number of miles required. They asked me to call your hotline.
SIA - OK. Please hold on

The staff gave me the required information. For one way, it is 59,000 on business class and 29,000 on economy. For return, it is two times of the air miles.

A while later, I called the hotline again. Another staff answered the call.

TKL - I want to know how many air miles are required for an air ticket on premium economy.
SIA - Hold on, Mr. Tan. I will check for you.

After a few minutes:
SIA - Mr Tan. It is 7,438 air miles on premium economy.
TKL - It can't be that low. I was told that it is 29,000 air miles on economy.
SIA - Mr. Tan, my calculator showed that it was 6,761 on economy. Let me check with my supervisor. I will call you back.

If SIA staff, who does this every day, can be confused with the website, how can they expect the poor customers to know how to get the information?

The process of converting air miles to a ticket is so complicated that, in the past years, I just let the air miles expire (good for SIA profit, but bad for customer's perception).








Goodbye to a dear friend, Russell Miller

Dear Ann,

I was informed by the Secretariat of the Spirit of Enterprise that Russell had passed away.

Russell was a very dear friend. Together, we started the Spirit of Enterprise in the early part of 2000s.

Although I was the founding chairman of SOE, it was Russell who put in most of the energy, enthusiasm and hard work to build up non-profit organization.

Russell has been in close touch with me over the past years and frequently contacted me each time that he visited Singapore.

I am deeply saddened to learn that he has passed away. I will miss a very dear friend.

My deepest condolence to you and your family.

Tan Kin Lian

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Selling a life insurance policy to an investment company

Mr Tan
I saw your page about selling a life insurance policy to an investment company for a higher surrender value.

Is it legal?
Will the investment company make a big profit when the policyholder dies? Can they keep the profit?

REPLY
The sale of life insurance policy is quite common in some countries. It is legal. If not, the authoirty would have stopped it.

The investment company intends to pay the premium and collect the maturity benefit. They are not likely to know if the policyholder had died before the maturity date. If they do, they are entitled to keep the death benefit even though it is higher than the surrender value.

If the policyholder surrenders the policy to the insurance company, the policy is terminated and the insurance company will not pay any death claim.

If the policyholder sells the policy to the investment company for a higher surrender value, the policyholder can be considered as "terminated" as far as the policyholder is concerned.

If you are interested to know more about the sale of a life insurance policy, visit this website:
www.tklcloud.com/tlp







Trading in forex and indices

Dear Mr Tan,
In the past 2 years, I have been trading part-time on Forex and Indices using CFD. My record thus far is S$102,000 profits and S$117,000 loss. So net of this a loss of S$15,000. 

With this record, it makes me ponder what I may have gone wrong. After much thinking, I realised that my trading mentality may be not as strong. Therefore, I started to look out for Gurus who can help me on this. There are many Gurus out there and the fees they charged are ridiculous expensive as you know. 

However, I always believe pay peanuts get monkeys. Therefore, the fees are not the part that worries me. The part I am unsure is the credentials of these Gurus. Who are really the best and really in the game? Who really impart their knowledge to their students?

I hope you can name a few of these gurus who I can seriously consider to attend their training courses.

TKL - I do not believe that there are good gurus who can help students to develop the skill of trading. If they are really good, they can become billionaires by trading on their own.They do not need to make money from teaching their skills.

Thanks for the prompt reply Mr Tan. I read the same thing from an investment book about these courses. That's why I feel I am stuck at my current situation.

TKL - In my view, it is not possible to make a living by trading. Over the long term, you are likely to lose a large part of your capital

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The risk of trading

Dear Mr. Tan
I have attended your financial planning talk previously. Recently I took an interest in trading, having read many successful stories of Singaporeans getting rich within a short time. It does sound doubtful, moreover I have zero knowledge of trading. However I came across this article in straits times online which reads our yet another success story.

http://www.24businessnews.com/lp/rosg/haax?trkid=4961534B6F494249624C6F5F3344&utm_source=5756797&utm_content=61837126

I can't say I'm not interested. I have registered at their site 24options.com but have yet to verify the account and start trading. Their registration costs $250, and the site asks for verification photo taken of personal ID in addition to credit card details and home address and phone no. I am wary of this as I'm very new to it. I would like to seek your advice on trading. Is it advisable?

REPLY

Trading is just like gambling. Sometimes, you win, sometimes you lose. But the chance of losing is higher, as you have to pay for the expenses of the people running the trading platform.

If you trade on a platform, you also face an additional risk that the platform may "cheat" the customer, or put pressure on the customer to engage in more trading activities. You need to be sure that you are using a reliable platform. I do not know the reliability of 24options.com.

.

Obama - disappointing legacy

Mr. Tan,
I find President Obama 8 years as President to be quite disappointing. He was appointed in 2008 on a platform of change. He promised to change the way that the government worked in Washington. He promised to fix the gridlock. He received overwhelming support. The Democratic Party won over control of the House and the Senate.

He did not carry out is promise. Congress in Washington continued to be gridlocked. He was not able to pass through the reforms that he promised. His Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, was passed through in a watered down version. It was a big disappointment.

The mid term election in 2010 saw the Democrats lost control over the House. They lost control over the Senate in 2012.

After that, President Obama virtually did nothing. He spent the rest of his time giving speeches - he is good at that - but nothing else.

The Affordable Care Act was not great. It lead to further increase in health care cost. The Republicans all wanted to repeal the Act when they have the chance.

It is so sad that Prsident Obama did not leave behind any legacy for people to remember. During his term, there was a big increase in violence - senseless shootings and now shooting of the police officers.

What are your views?

REPLY
I agree with your assessment. I am also disappointed that he did not achieve much during his 8 years are President. Although the employment figures had improved, most of the new jobs were low paying, part time jobs. The income disparity continued to widen.

Many ordinary workers are now against the establishment. They went for Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.



Shape Quiz Puzzle

Someone sent a message to me through WhatsApp, He is interested to buy 130 pieces of this puzzle. I gave him a sample before and he found it to be interesting. He will get a good discount for this large order.

Resilient stock markets

The US stock market is now at a record high. The fear over the UK exit from Europe is over. The UK stock market has also recovered. Looks like the global stock markets are resilient.

Learn to be an expert underwriter

Do you want to learn to be an expert underwriter working for a reinsurance company. This is a specialised job. I have simplified the process and quicken the learning pace.

Go to this website, click on the video guide and practice on the platform.
www.tklcloud.com/ricloud

if you find this exciting, click on this guide from the top reinsurance company in the world.

https://www.munichre.com/site/mram/get/documents_E96160999/mram/assetpool.mr_america/PDFs/3_Publications/reinsurance_basic_guide.pdf

All the best.



Friday, July 22, 2016

100 problems to be solved

Our elites in Singapore are excellent in identifying problems, especially exotic ones. But they are quite poor in finding solutions to the practical day to day problems.

I saw this document that identified 100 key challenges facing the financial technology industry. I was shocked - 100 problems. What has the people in charge been doing these past decades? Just sit down and worry about the problems?

Many of these problems have solutions that can be implemented immediately. But they required somone to take charge and to make the judgement.

http://www.fintechfestival.sg/

Money laundering activities

Three banks in Singapore, DBS, Standard Chartered and UBS, are cited by the Monetary Authority of Singapore for lapses in the monitoring and reporting of transactions that are suspected to be money laundering. See this report.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/assets-worth-s-240m/2974676.html?sc_customer=10b49691-b4ce-46cc-9e58-1e4cec0f9b99&sc_src=email&sc_llid=3935&sc_lid=43852322&sc_uid=22K6jmHe3A

I understand that banks also have to monitor transactions that are linked to "financing of terrorism".

Frankly, I do not blame the banks for these lapses. I blame the MAS.

It is easy for MAS to tell the banks to monitor and report "suspicious transactions" but what are these transactions? How are they to be identified? Does MAS take the lead in guiding the banks on this responsibility?

It is easy to know that certain people are involved in money laundering or illegal activities after the facts are known, and then trace their transactions. It is difficult to know that these people are suspects in the first place.

In their blind attempt to implement these regulations, banks have resorted to ineffective practices of spending a lot of unproductive time to monitor ordinary citizens opening bank accounts, I have to spend two hours to open two bank accounts just to place a fixed deposit. This is ridiculous.

If MAS really wants to tackle the roots of the problem and to have a more effective monitoring system, they have to take a different approach. Here are my suggestions.

a) Allow people to open bank accounts without the unnecessary hassle.
b) Require banks to ask for the reason and source of funds for transfers that exceed a threshold per transaction and for each month. These transactions are to be reported to a central database managed by MAS
c) Require banks to report transactions made by certain persons who are on a blacklist maintained by MAS in the central database. These are people who are suspected to be linked to money laundering or financing of terrorism.

This monitoring and reporting will involve the collection of large volume of transactions. MAS can implement algorithms to monitor these transactions and identify those transactions that need to further investigated.

The problem can be dealt with more effectively, if MAS takes the responsibility. Will they?



Thursday, July 21, 2016

Huge spending on transport infrastructure

Public transport infrastructure has cost the government several billion dollars. Here are some figures that come to my mind:

a) Bus Service Enhancement Program $1 billion
b) Purchase of rolling stock from SMRT - $1 billion
c) Privatization of SMRT - $1 billion
d) Satelite based ERP system - $556 million.

When it comes to new MRT lines, it is  $10 to $20 billion for each line.

$1 billion here, $1 billion here. $10 billion here. $10 billion there. We are talking of billions not  hundreds of dollars. This government spends billions as if they print money.

Actually, they print paper COE and collect billions (it is $5 billion in a year). That is a wonderful mechanism. The only problem is - it is wasteful, jacks up the cost of living and the cost of doing business.

No wonder. We are now the most expensive city in the world.

Difficult to create a PIN in Krisflyer website

Singapore Airlines has a badly designed website. I had a lot of problems with it many years ago.

Recently, I have to register a Krisflyer account for my wife. The nightmare came back again.

I went through a very painful process to register a PIN. After many steps, it showed the following CAPCHA. I could not read it. When I tried to change it, it rejected my entry.

I tried a few times. After passing through the CAPCHA, it told me that my PIN is invalid. What is happening? I was just trying to create a PIN.

After going through this painful process for half an hour, the website told me that I am locked out. I have to come back in 24 hours time.

Why does Singapore Airlines designed website that is difficult to use. It is troublesome even to create a PIN.



NOW I KNOW WHY I GOT LOST

Later, I realized how I got confused.

At the webpage, I was asked to enter the Krisflyer No, date of birth and email address for confirmation. I was then given a difficult CAPCHA.

I was then brought to another page which asked me to enter my PIN. I thought that this was the PIN that I preferred to use.

I just learned that they had sent a temporary PIN to my email address and I should be using that PIN. They should have made it clear.

I had a lot of problem with their website five years ago. I still have a lot of problem with it today.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

CNN report on the Republican convention

Here is CNN's report on the Republican Convention. Wow!

Donald Trump claimed the mantle Tuesday as the Republican presidential nominee, capping a stunning rise to power for his insurgent campaign as a boisterous showing by his family and friends revived his convention after a rocky start.

Chris Christie, shaking off the disappointment of being passed over as Trump’s running mate, performed a show trial of Hillary Clinton, whipping the crowd into frenzied chants of “Lock her up!”

Trump’s son Donald Jr. sketched a portrait of his father as a champion of the working man who could unleash America’s potential. His half-sister Tiffany offered a more tender and less familiar view of her father.

We need a different approach to run our public services


The following qualities are required for top management to run a big organization successfully:

a) Motivation
b) Competence

Some leaders, including our Singapore leaders, thinks that the best way to motivate a top manager is through an attractive remuneration package. They think that self interest, or greed, is the best way to motivate top management. This is also the approach taken in big international corporations.

They overlook the flaw of this approach when it is exercised in a near monopolistic situation, such as the delivery of public services in a small country. It is easy to generate large profit for these businesses by taking advantage of their market power or by cutting cost to deliver a poorer quality of service, such as over packing of trainings or hospital wards.

A better approach for the delivery of public service is to find top managers who have the passion to serve the public good and the public interest. There are many capable people with this kind of motivation that can be found in any society. They are motivated by public interest, rather than personal greed.

Is it possible to find competent people who are motivated by public interest? Can they run the organizations efficiently, provide a good quality of service and keep the cost at an acceptable level?

The answer is "yes". The managers can be measured based on performance other than the maximization of profit. Most workers are measured on their ability to meet the requirements of the job, rather than the profit that are generated. The same approach can be applied to the managers of public owned corporations.

It is appropriate to apply the private sector approach for businesses that operate in a truly free market where there are many suppliers and where consumers have the ability to judge the quality of the products and services that they buy,

The big problems faced in Singapore is that our government leader adopt the private sector approach for the provision of public services that have monopoly power. They encouraged the top leaders to maximize the profits of these "private companies" and their own remuneration package, and do not realize the long term damage that has been caused.

The problem with SMRT is just an example of this flawed approach. It also applies to other sectors of the economy. It is time to rethink the approach to run these operations.

Make SMRT into a state owned corporation

Is it a good idea for Temasek to buy out SMRT and make it into a state owned company?

My view is "yes". It can be a state owned company and operate in the public interest. It will avoid the conflict of interest that is now inherent it its business model.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/temasek-mulling-smrt/2965112.html?sc_customer=10b49691-b4ce-46cc-9e58-1e4cec0f9b99&sc_src=email&sc_llid=3444&sc_lid=43732892&sc_uid=22K6jmHe3A

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A complicated process to open a bank account

I visited Standard Chartered Bank to open a bank account for me and one for my wife and to place a fixed deposit on the Krisflyer promotion.

A customer relations officer spend two hours to help us through the complicated process.

The bank does not expect their customers to open the bank accounts online, as it would be too complicated. A counter service is still needed. The bank has found it necessary to provide this personal service.

Similarly, government agencies such as ACRA, Ministry of Manpower, Central Provident Fund and IRAS should offer this counter service, as their online website can be daunting.

Why should it be so complicated to open a bank account? This is a separate matter. I think that the process can be simplified considerably. The banks (and perhaps MAS regultions) are making it far too complicated.

I know that banks have to implement international regulations against money laundering, but there should be better ways to handle it rather than the complex paperwork!

Difficult to register a new company in ACRA website

A friend wanted to set up a new company. He had a lot of trouble with the ACRA website. He asked the ACRA staff if it is possible for him to visit the ACRA office and get the procedure sorted out with the help of the staff.

ACRA staff said that they have stopped the counter service after the launch of the new ACRA website.

ACRA should take note of the following:

a) Their staff handle the ACRA process every day. It is easy for them to know what to do, and is necessary, what is not necessary and what needs to be done.

b) The public is not familiar with their website and their registration process. It can be extremely painful for them to read tons of "how to do it" pages and still get lost.

c) ACRA should continue to provide the counter service for people who are not familiar with their complicated process.

I hope that ACRA and other government agencies realize that their online process can be quite difficult for the public who do not use their service regularly. They should provide an option for the public to use their staff who are familiar with their process.


High Speed Rail between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur - another step forward

Someone observed that it took three years of discussion to reach this stage of signing the Memorandum of Understanding. He observed that it was too long.

My view is that the time was not long, considering the need to do engineering studies and to estimate the cost and viability of the High Speed Rail. There was also the need to work out the respective shares to be contributed by the two countries.

Looking forward, the question is: Will this railway be feasible? I think so. In many countries in Europe, the railway is an important mode of transport.

Is budget airlines a better way to connect Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and other cities?

The asnwer is - we need both options. Where it can be connected by land and there is heavy traffic, railway makes a better option. But where it has to fly over mountains and oceans, and the traffic is light, airlines is a better option.

All the best to the Singapore KL High Speed Rail. I hope that it will soon connect to Ipoh, Penang and Bangkok.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singapore-malaysia-to/2964098.html?sc_customer=10b49691-b4ce-46cc-9e58-1e4cec0f9b99&sc_src=email&sc_llid=3444&sc_lid=43732883&sc_uid=22K6jmHe3A

Monday, July 18, 2016

An excellent marketing approach


The account manager of the Job Central Portal sent an email to me, showing the details of their services.

I replied to him asking him to call me on a specific date and time. He did. We had a good chat about his services. He explained what was available that might suit my business.

I told him that I will bear him in mind when the need arises in the future.

Here are the things that he did right:

a) He sent an email (instead of interrupting me with an unexpected phone call)
b) He called me at the appointed date and time
c) He explained the services offered by the portal and identified which service might suit me.

Congratulations to the account manager and the Job Central Portal.

Many other businesses engaged telemarketers who call me without any prior appointment. Usually, the call interrupts me at my work. Often, the telemarketers are based overseas. When I hear that it is a telemarketing call, I said immediately, "Good bye" and hang up.


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Complicated bus guide

I saw this bus guide at the bus stop in Stamford Road. It is extremely complicated to read. This guide has been used for over five years. I wonder if the Land Transport Authority has received feedback about this guide?
I hope that they will change it to be simpler for the public to read.


Difficult to read the name of the bus stop

video

Can you try to catch the display at the front of the bus. It tells you the name of the next stop. But it is interruptted by the message "Please move to the Rear" and "Bus Stopping". I hope that SMRT will change this display to allow the passengers to see the Bus Stop No or the name of the bus stop.

Digital display - SMRT bus

There are two digital display in SMRT bus.



The front display shows "Bus Stopping" and "Next Stop (name of stop). Please move to the rear".

It is difficult to read the (name of the stop) because it is moving and is pushed off the the screen by the "Please move to the rear message". Anyway, the (name of stop) is not helpful. For example "Blick 456".

The rear display was recently installed and shows "Bus Stopping".

It will be more helpful if the display shows "Stop No XX. Bus stopping". The XX is the sequential stop number.

I hope that SMRT will take this feedback and implement a simple change. Perhaps the Land Transport Authority can encourage them to improve the sign?






Get a reasonable return on your investment

Most people get a poor return from their investment because they invest in the wrong investment. In some cases, they invested in scams.

The best way to get a reasonable return is to avoid the scams. This is how you can achieve this goal.
http://fisca.sg/event_det.aspx?id=4


How to win the business simulation game

This document explains how you can win the business simulation game.
http://tklcloud.com/BSG/pdf.aspx?ID=5
The game can be played here:
www.tklcloud.com/bsg

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Major nations led by women


The major nations may soon be led by women

Germany - Angela Merkel
Britain - Theresa May
USA - Hillary Clinton ??
China - ???
Taiwan - Tsai Ing-wen


Waiting time for green pedestrian light

I arrived at the pedestrian crossing at 6.30 pm.  The pedestrian light had just changed from green to red. I missed it by a few seconds.

I pressed for the green light again. I had expected to wait for 1 minute or longer as the light had just changed.

To my surprise, the green light came on in 30 seconds. This is a busy hour for the vehicle traffic, so this short interval was a surprise for me.

On previous occasions, I had waited for 1 to 2 minute for the green pedestrian light to appear late at night, when the vehicle traffic was light.

What is the algorithm used by the Land Transport Authority to determine the time for the green pedestrian light to appear? It does not seem to follow a "common sense" logic.

A sensible algorithm would be:
 - during busy hours, wait for 1 minute
 - during off peak hours, wait for 30 seconds.

Another sensible algorithm would be:
 - wait for 30 seconds, if the previous change was more than 1 minute away.
 - wait for 1 minute if the previous change was less than 1 minute away.

Perhaps the transport minister would kindly ask the Land Transport Authority to review the algorithm that they are not using. 

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