Thursday, May 25, 2017

Is our health care system a success?

This professor describes Singapore health care system as a success in providing affordable care. I disagree with him. I find our health care to be too costly for the nation and for the people. The charges for treatment are also too high and the out of pocket payments take away a large part of Medisave and personal savings.

The quality of the health care is good, but it is too expensive.…/commentary-singapore-s-hea…

Does an insurance policy cover terrorism?

If a person is insured under an insurance policy and dies from a terrorist attack, such as the one that occurs in Manchester or Jakarta, will the family be able to claim under the insurance policy?
You can find the answer here:

Issues affecting the future leadership of Singapore

There are three important questions affecting the future leadership of Singapore. Go to the website and vote on these issues.

We need many votes from ordinary people.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Login process for Corporate Pass should be simplified

I waited 6 years for IDA (now IDMA) to introduce the Corporate Pass. They now wants to make it compulsory for organisations to use the Corporate Pass, rather than the individual's Sing Pass.

The login for Corporate Pass is quite complicated for users. They require the user to provide the organization's UEN code and the user's personal code. This is a bad approach.

After that, they still have to go through a 2FA authentication. And search a complicated website for the transaction that they wish to provide.

This is sad. Singapore will still have to face a big challenge in introducing online transactions. This login system will discourage users.

What is a better login system? They should just follow Google or Facebook to allow people to login with their email address. THey can even allow the user to login with the Facebook or Google profile.

After logging in this easy way, they can present to the user the organization that they are authorised to access. In most cases, it will be a single organization. But some users may access a few organizations. This can be selected from a drop down list.

If a higher level of authorization is required, they can ask for the 2FA for this person. This should be made optional for first level access. It can be made compulsory for submitting transactions.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Unsatisfactory happenings with Uber

I encountered a few unsatisfactory happenings with Uber.

I called a UberX this morning. The app showed my pickup address is my home, which is correct. It showed that a car would arrive in 5 minutes.

I waited for the car for 25 minutes. During this interval, the app showed the arrival time as 2 min, 1 min, 3 min, etc. Finally, the driver called me and said that he is waiting for me at the pickup point which is a different location. I don't know why Uber gave him a wrong geo location (instead of my address). The driver than canceled the booking.

I found next that Uber charged me $6 for the canceled booking. I went through the app to get a refund. The app accepted the request and said that a refund of $6 would be given to me as a credit to be used for the next trip. It should appear in my app under Payment.

I went to check the credit. It did not appear.

There were two previous occasions where this "disappeared credit" had occurred. Two months ago, I canceled a booking after discovering that Uber gave a wrong pickup point (as their GPS was not working correctly). The charged a few of $6 to me and later give me a refund after my explanation. The refund appear in my account but disappeared after a few days.

I used Uber in Malaysia. The driver canceled the booking after 20 min. I reported to Uber and they credited MYR 5 to me. The credit never appeared in my account.
I had a difficult time to contact Uber on these issues. I find their business practice to be unsatisfactory.

Issue official mobile phones to policemen on patrol

The Police is issuing mobile phones to its personnel on the front line.

This is a good idea. A mobile phone is needed today, just like a pistol or baton is needed as a standard equipment for a policeman on patrol.

It will also be possible for the control center to know where the policeman is at any time, and whether they are on the move as they should be.

There could be abuse, i.e. the policeman would be browsing the social media or listening to music or making personal calls when they should be working, but this risk is already present, as they could be using their personal mobile phones.

These unathorised activities could be better monitored with the official phones.

Dealing with fake news

Governments around the world are addressing the issue of fake news. They are targeting the Internet giants, such as Facebook, Google and Yahoo. I think that this is a fair approach.

These giants are big enough to deal with the governments on what is "fake new" and "honest opinions".

The challenge is how to stop the spread of "fake news" after it has gone viral. The platform operator may delete the source of the fake news but they have to trace it all the way down the distribution chain.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Unhappy with lower payout under AIA policies

All my life I have believed in the concept of insurance, and that it can help when I am have falling ill or provide relief for my children when I finally leave this world behind.

I am writing an utterly bitter experience with AIA so those of you who consider insuring yourself with them, can hopefully benefit from my unfortunate incident. 

Let me share a little bit about my mother with you. She used to make coffee for a living, not rich but very thrifty; supporting the livelihood of 7 children. She loved her children and grandchildren with all her heart.

Wisdom of the Crowd issues and results

The results of the voting on these issues are now ready for viewing:

1. What is the best age to get married?
2. Will you get help to find a suitable partner?
3. Do you agree with the proposed ban on advertising for baby milk powder?

You can view the results in

JustGrab fare is misleading

JustGrab fare is misleading and is 50% higher than the return journey.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Improve the user experience for online transactions

Singapore has been very slow in adopting online processes. Many countries, such as China or Japan, are miles ahead of us.

I blame the Monetary Authority of Singapore and other government agency for this sad situation. They are too concerned about security and have introduced impractical processes and steps that discourage the public from using online processes.

Here are the reasons why it is difficult to use online proceses in Singapore and the simple steps that can be taken to remove these obstacles.

Lower the price of baby milk powder

What can the government do to set the environment for the free market to bring down the prices of baby milk powder? They have taken the step to ban the advertising of the premium products. Perhaps they should take additional steps.

Investment policy of GIC and Temasek Holdings

How should GIC and Temasek conduct its investment policy?

Here is a view from a fund manager. I agree with him.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ridiculous and inconsiderate process by CDP

I wish to share this ridiculous and inconsiderate process by the Central Depository (CDP) of Singapore Exchange.

I am embarassed to say it, but this is typical of the mindless approach adopted by many large organizations in Singapore.

This young man ask if he should be insured under an Early Stage Critical Illness insurance

Hi Mr Tan,
Recently I faced a dilemma whether should I continue my AXA Early Stage CI or not which covers me until 75 for a guaranteed fixed $1,246.50 annually inclusive of GST.

This is especially so when comparing with the rates offered by SAF Aviva Living Care and Living Care Plus program.

I am a student, age 26. I will be graduating soon.

Thomson View townhouse available for rental 1 Jan 2018

Thomson View townhouse available for rental 1 Jan 2018. You can watch the video.

If you wish to list your property for rental, click on Register and follow the instructions. Listing is FREE.

This portal allows you to show a video of your property (hosted on Youtube). It allows the prospective tenants to view the property without a physical viewing.

To search for properties to rent, go to

Monday, May 15, 2017

Two buses arrive in a convoy

When I arrived at the bus stop in Upper Thomson Road, I checked the app for the arrival time of Bus 163. It said 14 minutes.

I was looking out for Bus 163 when I walked towards the bus stop for 2 minutes. So, the gap must be 16 minutes.

I wondered - will there be a "ghost bus" that will arrive within the next 14 minutes? This is a bus that has a failed GPS tracker.

The next 2 buses for service 163 arrived in a convoy after 14 minutes.

With the modern technology, we are still have buses arriving in a convoy? Surely, these buses could be tracked and directed to maintain a gap in arrival times?

I wonder if LTA is paying attention to the big data that they collect on the bus arrival time. Surely, they could spot these problems and rectify them?

Why spend so many million dollars for advanced system and not use the data analysis to improve the service standard?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Investing for the long term - two stories

I have exceptionally good luck on two major investments. It was helped by the principle of "investing for the long term". If the market is bad, we can wait. When it reaches a peak, we can take a good profit.

Should I buy a larger flat on my first purchase?

Mr. Tan,
The government allows a citizen to buy a new flat (BTO) at a subsidized price and a second flat in the future at a subsidized price, i.e. each citizen is allowed the subsidy for 2 purchases.

Many people have bought a new flat and sold it many years later to make a profit. They can then buy the flat a second time.

Should I buy a larger flat (up to 7 years of salary) as I will have the chance to make a large profit on its sale?

Read my reply here:

12.45% return

Dear Mr Tan,
Recently I enquired about a 12.45% interest, 6-year structured deposit as advertised by OCBC bank.

Some people may be misled to think that the return is 12.45% per year. It is the total return for 6 years, so the annual return is only 2% per annum.

There are also some other factors that the investor should take into account. The capital is guaranteed but the interest rate is not.

Read more about this product in

Suggestion to take somebody's lunch

How does the Crowd view the suggestion by PM Lee to "take somebody's lunch"?

You can see the results of their votes here. A vast majority has a better suggestion for PM Lee. Read it.

Has GST been good for the economy?

Has GST been good for the economy? If not, what is the damage that it has caused?

A vast majority of the Crowd has spoken! And they have given a clear statement of its worst impact! Read here:

Saturday, May 13, 2017

DINK - double income, no kid

Singapore has been dealing with this problem for three decades. Many people are remaining unmarried or have decided to have no children. In Japan, they are called DINK - the spouses have double income, i.e. both are working, but no kids. Many Singaporeans are DINKS.

One key factor is the financial challenges. But there are other challenges that have to be addressed, from the social or personal angles.

What are the problems? Give your vote on the marriage issues in

Received all six book prizes

Some participants have submitted more than 60 votes and received all the six book prizes shown here.

You can also receive these prizes by participating in

Independent expert to evaluate financial products

I have updated this article to show how the use of an independent expert can help consumers to avoid the financial products that give them a poor return and take unfair advantage of their ignorance to benefit the financial instituion. In layman terms, the financial insitution is "ripping off" the consumer.

Read this article.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Have a restful and peaceful vacation

For Singaporeans who live in a crowded city every day, a short break in a farm can be quite relaxing and a good change. You do not need to go all the way to Australia or New Zealand to have this experience.

You can visit a farm in Malacca. It offers a restful and peaceful enviroment and a change to really relax. What's more, you can enjoy the best in our local food, Malacca style.

What's more. It is so inexpensive, compared to staying in a farm in Aussieland.

Where to stay? Try this.

How to avoid bad financial products

Many life insurance policies sold in the market are bad for consumers. They should be avoided.
Which are the products that are acceptable, and which are not?

Join FISCA ( and have access to the product analysis that you can find here:

If your product has not been analyzed, you can send the benefit illustration to me ( for it to be analyzed.

Questions on marriage

What is the best age for young people to get married, leaving aside the financial challenges? Should they search for a spouse on their own, or get help from friends, parents or a professional counsellor (or matchmaker)?

Give your views in

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Change will take time

Many Singaporeans have a mindset that is based on "black or white". The education minister Ong Ye Kung said that skills are as important as a degree. A few people - "In that case, why does the public service ask for a degree for their jobs?"

Read my views here:

Get independent expert to verify advertised claims

The regulator is putting up a new regulation to stop manufacturers from making nutritional and health claims when they advertised their products.

This is necessary, as consumers have no way to verify the reliability of the advertised claims.

However, this ban has its negative aspects, as the advertisers will not be able to bring out the special features of their products, if these are true.

The regulators can take another approach. Read here:

Should schools start later?

There was a report that Nanyang Girls started school 45 mins later than other schools to give their students more time to sleep. This seemed to work well.

Should other schools make this change? Give your view and vote in www.wisdomofthecrowd.aspx

Errant claims on CHAS

There was a news report that some clinics were suspended for making "errant claims" for non-existent consultations under the CHAS (community health assistance scheme). Were these mistakes or deliberate attempts to cheat the government?

Should doctors who deliberately cheat on the CHAS be charged for cheating? Give your views here:

Right to free speech

Many people think that they have the "ight to free speech" and that this right is absolute. They are not aware that this right has to be balanced by responsibility towards other people in society. Read here:

You do not need a degree for many jobs

Many people hold the view that a degree is necessary and is a basic requirement for a career in the future.

I agree to some extent. A degree is necessary for certain types of jobs. It is not necessary for many other jobs in the economy, now and in the future.

A degree is costly in time and money. It will take 3 years of a person's time. It will cost a lot of money.

Read my views here:

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The troll who cried

A few years ago, I encountered a troll who kept attacking me mindlessly. At that time, Facebook did not provide the facility to ban the troll.

I told him that he brought shame to his parents who did not teach him any manners and to respect other people.

His reaction surprised me. He told me that he was deeply hurt by my comments and cried. His mother had passed away recently. I should not blame his mother for his behavior.

I felt sorry for him for a while. I wondered - if he is so sensitive, why did he enjoy hurting other people by his senseless behavior?

I wonder how many trolls (aka idiots) that I have banned from my page are like him - deeply sensitive, feeling deeply hurt when they are attacked back, but have no regard for the feelings of other people?

I know that this behavior can be found all over the world. I don't know if the behavior of our people is worse than those of other cultures, but I will say that it is most deplorable.

Alternative to getting a degree

Over the past years, I have seem many people who do not make the grade to be accepted into local universities, still have the dream to pursue a degree. Their parents support them financially and send them to overseas universities.

Buy a recumbent gym bike

Failure of the education system

Some people have the mistaken notion that "free speech" gives them the right to give to other people's Facebook page and insult them directly and meaninglessly. They find it "fun" to be a troll. When they are banned from that page, they complained that they were only expressing their view and the right to "free speech" is being denied.

This is a sad reflection of the failure of the education system, of parenting and of society. After spending a large part of the national budget on education, we get many people who are uneducated, ill mannered, uncouth and are absolute idiots.

Read more:

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Product Analysis - life insurance policies

Dear Mr. Tan
Is Vivolife a good policy? It came from the company that you use to run.

Go to, click on Article, then type in Vivolife.

You will get a review here:

If you want to view the analysis on other policies, just type in the name of the policy. Or go to the tab "Product Analysis".

Learn about insurance through videos

Dear Mr. Tan,

I am worried to read about the many cases of rejected claims. After paying so much premium for "peace of mind", I don't know if I will be covered when something really happens to me. What is your advice?

Watch the educational videos in www.tankinlian/video.aspx . You will learn the tips on what types of insurance to buy and what to avoid. You should watch all the videos over a few days. You may have to watch the videos a few times to understand the underlying message.

Sorry, there is no short cut. It is better to equip yourself with the knowledge to make the right decision.

Ministers who don't reply to emails

I spoke to a friend, who is around my age, early this morning.

She was most annoyed with the attitude of our ministers. They don't reply to her emails.

She mentioned specifically Tharman S, Lee HL and Teo CH. I told her that many people liked Tharman but she had a very different opinion.

She liked K Shanmugaratnam, who is in touch with what is happening and is willing to help on her issues. I wonder if this is personal to her.

I agree with her that most ministers just ignored emails sent to them. They are arrogant. They also do not reply to my emails or even acknowledged them. They have so many assistants and are not able to give a simple reply?

In contrast, I always reply to emails (except spam marketing emails). Here is an example that someone remembered for more than ten years.

Prompt reply and personal attention

I believe in giving a prompt reply to an email (except for spam advertising mail). I received this email today.

Hello Mr Tan
I just recently realised that your email address is on Facebook and would like to write you this note.
(I had no idea how to write to you after you left Income)

Years ago when I was a university student, I was a member of Income Car Co-Op. You were still the CEO of NTUC Income back then. (I am now almost 40 years old, and I was around 22-23 years old back then).

Guess what he said:

Unified point of sale terminal

Finally, serveral parties in Singapore are working on a unified point of sale terminal.…/govt-aims-half-fb-outlets-go-d…

Monday, May 08, 2017

Constitutionality of legislation on elected president

Dr Tan Cheng Bok has confirmed that the court will be hearing his application to determine the constitutionality of the legislation passed in Parliament. I like to wish him success and all the best in this effort.

High Speed Rail between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur

Earlier, it appeared that China will get the contract to build the HSR between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Recent developments cast some doubts about it. The contract to build Bandar Malaysia (where China Rail was a partner) was cancelled by the Malaysian Government.

Which country will win the contract? Give your vote in

Changes to the Elected President

The majority of the people voting in The Wisdom of the Crowd prefer the previous system of elected president that existed for 20 years during the tenure of President Ong, President Nathan and President Tan.

They do not like the recent changes to the Elected President.

See their votes in the chart below.

You can view their votes on other issues at www.wisdomofthecrowd.result.aspx

Wisdom of the Crowd book

This book explains the development and concept of the website.

Only 30% of local students are allowed to enter the local universities

Is it a right policy for the government to set a cap of 30% for each cohort to enter the local universities?

Give your vote in

Barack Obama and the French Presidential election

Former president Barack Obaman endorsed Macron for the French Presidency. Is he interefering in French politics? Should be avoid doing so?

Give your views in

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