Saturday, March 25, 2017

Display the Sequential Stop No in the bus

The image below shows the route for bus 163. Suppose you wish to alight at the stop called "Opp Winsor Park". That stop has a sequential no 37.

If the bus display shows "JCU Spore", you do not know if it has passed your destination or not. However, if it shows Stop 32, you know that you have 5 more stops before your destination.

If you missed your stop and the bus display Stop 40, which is Thomson CC, you know that you have passed 3 stops.

The best display is to show both the Stop No and name, e.g. Stop 40: Thomson CC. Alternatively, we should just show Stop 40 to reduce the cost. It is inexpensive to show a display of the Stop No.

If the commuter wish to alight at the stop "Opp Windsor Park", the commuter will take note that it is Stop No 37. This informatiion can be obtained from the bus stop before boarding the bus, or can be obtained from a route guide displayed in the bus.


Fascninated with Intelligence Quiz

A family of 5 attended my tutorials on the Intelligence Quiz and Problem Solving.

The teenage children were fascinated with the Intelligence Quiz. They became addicted to the quiz.

The next tutorial is on 8 April
www.tklcloud.com/event/whats_on.aspx.

The books can be purchased from:
www.tankinlian.com/cord.aspx

Suggesion to improve the public service

Any large organization needs to use SOP (standard operating procedure). A simple change to the SOP can improve the service to the public and customer significantly, while preserving the integrity of the SOP.
I hope that the public service (i.e. the government agencies) will adopt this simple suggesion.
http://www.tankinlian.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx…

Improve the design of websites

Many websites of large organizations and government agencies are poorly designed. The public finds them difficult to use, especially when they have to submit transactions. I have bad experience with these websites over the years.

Here are some of the bad features and suggestions on how the websites can be changed to improve the experience of the public and customers.

http://www.tankinlian.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx…

Strong opposition to like in water price

Here are the views of the participants who voted in the Wisdom of the Crowd website (56 votes). 87% oppose the hike in water price. 75% oppose it strongly, 12.5% oppose it mildly.

The government sponsored body, REACH, carried out a survey of 1,000 people and said that 43% disagreed with the hike (as opposed to 87% here).

https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/…/significant-portion-of-…/


Wisdom of the Crowd website

You can view the results of the voting on several issues at
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/result.aspx

You can vote on the active issues at
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

You can win this prize when you submit 4 votes on the active issues.
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/page/4

My journey in developing this website is explained in ths book (you can download it for FREE).
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/pdf.aspx/7


Should the minimum wage apply to foreign maids?

One question affecting the implementation of a minimum wage in Singapore is - should it apply to foreign maids? Here are the views from the participants in the survey. A large majority said that the minimum wage should not apply to foreign maids as their working conditions are vastly different from other workers.


Slightly more negative votes on Groupon

Three quarters of the respondents have not used Groupon. Of the others, there are slightly more negative than positive comments. Groupon has to try harder to get a better perception.

I have used Groupon myself and am quite satisifed with the deals. 






Friday, March 24, 2017

PDPA - an additional harassment

Quite often, the government starts with good intention to solve a problem.
Somehow, they end up making things worse. It must be their approach - impractical and lack of common sense.
One example is the Privacy and Data Protection Act (or PDPA). The original problem was that telemarketeers were calling the public on their mobile phones and it has become a nuisance.
Instead of dealing with this specific problem, the government implemented the PDPA after a long period of discussion.
Instead of helping people the PDPA turns out to be an additional harassment on our lives.
This article explans the problems that many people face after PDPA. It did not make their life better. It made it worse.

Not so simple to provide the Estimate of Chargeable Income

IRAS expects the tax payer to be tax experts. They need to attend a training course just to submit a tax return. They say that it takes only 5 minutes to submit an ECI form. It is not so simple!

http://www.tankinlian.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx…

Land Transport Authority should learn from Apple Computers

The Land Transport Authority developed an app called "My Transport". It contained many types of information relating to land transport. In a past year, it received an international award for being the best in its category.

Actually, I find the app to be poorly designed.
Here are my reasons:
http://www.tankinlian.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?ID=1288&Name=Land-Transport-Authority-should-learn-from-Apple-Computers

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Opening a work pass account with MOM

I wish to share a troublesome process in opening an account to apply for a workpass at the Ministry of Manpower. They recently revamped their micro-site, so it was better than before. It must have cost them many tens of million dollars. Still, it was confusing to me. To make matter worse, they still have the process of sending a confirmation PIN by ordinary mail. I consider it unnecesary and prone to problems

http://www.tankinlian.com/Info/1286/Opening-an-account-at-MOM-website

Product analysis - investment and insurance products

The FISCA website has a page showing the insurance and financial products that have been analysed. I give my views on whether they give good value to consumers.

http://www.fisca.sg/Article.aspx?Category=Product%20Analysis

If you have a product that you like me to analyze, you can send the product detail and benefit illustration to kinlian@gmail.com.

I will analyze the product and give you my findings. I will also post the product detail (but remove your identity) in the website.

These articles are available for reading my FISCA members only.

How do the Crowd view the ministers?

The voting on these three interesting issues are now ready for viewing:

a) Which minister do you LIKE best?
b) Which minister do you DISLIKE the most?
c) How do you rate the performance of PM Lee?

www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/result.aspx

All of these issues have more than 100 votes. Many of them came from the Facebook Ad, which reaches out to an audience outside of the regular visitors to this Page. (But I do not know the breakdown between the "regulars" and the "external" sources.

How do you interpret the results?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Private Shield plan - 5 month delay in settling a claim

A consumer asked for my help.
She is covered under a Private Shield Plan. She suffered some pain in the joint. She went to the general practitioner who tried to treat the pain, but the treatment did not work. The doctor referred her to see a specialist.
She went to the specialist and was hospitalized for observation for two days. The specialist carried out several tests to identify the source of the problem. After discharge, the patient paid a bill of almost $8,000.
She submitted her claim to the insurance company for reimbursement of the hospital bill. The claim was not settled for five months


Countdown timer for green man at pedestrian crossing

Should we have a countdown timer to show when the green man will appear at pedestrian crossings?

The majority of the Crowd says - YES.

You can view the voting on other issues at
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/result.aspx


Should MAS set a limit on payment in coins?

This is what the Crowd thinks about the proposal by MAS to set a limit on payment in coins.
The majority thinks that the problem is small and could be ignored. The next group thinks that the MAS can set a limit of $20 (instead of 10 coins in each denomination) and the payer has the discretion to accept a larger sum.
You can view the results of the voting on other issues atwww.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/result.aspx


Listen to the Wisdom of the Crowd

You can now view the results of several issues that have closed recently:

a) Will a minimum wage increaset the cost of employing foreign maids?
b) Should a countdown timer be installed for the green man at pedestrian crossings?
c) Should MAS pass a regulation to impose a limit on payment in coins?
d) Should the 14 days of sick leave in the employment act be changed?

And other issues
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/result.aspx

A suggestion to improve the public service

President Tony Tan asked the civil service to look for ways to improve the public service, rather than simply follow the existing rules.

I applaud him for this message. The first and most important step to solve a problem is to recognize that we have the problem.

We do have a very serious problem. I described it as a disease. Too many people, not just in the civil service but the business community as well, are just following standard operating procedures (SOP) blindly.

Someone told me that this is the culture drilled in the Singapore Armed Forces. The SOP have to be followed totally, without question. Perhaps this was necessary for military discipline. Any deviation will result in punishment.

Even after leaving military service, the men continued to adopt adopting this practice for years. It has become a habit which will be very difficult to change.

When I was running a large company, I was able to implement the change in mindset quite successfully. In spite of receiving young people drilled in the SOP culture, I was able to get them to change their mindset.

This is what I have done.

a) Every standing instruction (our name for SOP) usually allows the staff to exercise discretion within a specified limit. For example, the staff may waive interest on late payment up to a certain amount. It also has a clause that says, "If this SI results in decisions that are not acceptable to customers, you may refer this matter to your supervisor".

b) The supervisor is empowered to deviate from the SI within a larger band or to refer the matter to the next level.

c) All exercise of discretion will be recorded into an online system. This will be reviewed by the next higher level. If there is no objection within 2 days, the action will be considered as approved. If the discretion is exercised wrongly, the staff will be coached. In practice, there are few instances where the discretion was used wrongly. The impact of the mistake was usually negligible.

The system worked extremely well. It fostered a culture of innovation and the use of common sense. The staffs enjoyed the empowerment given to them.

It also helped to identify the changes that have to be made to the SI to improve the practices.

I hope that the public service will adopt a similar system. Over a year or two, they will see a significant change in the mindset of the civil servants.






Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Make it possible for people to marry younger

I discussed with an Indonesian couple, who are slightly older than me, about the problems faced by Singapore in raising the birth rate.

Most people are marrying too late. They want to go to university, have to complete National Service (for males) and have to save to buy a HDB flat.

When they get married (and 40% don't get married) they are already passed 30 years. When a woman passes 30 years, they find it more difficult to get a baby. They probably opt for one child, if at all.

If we want to raise the birth rate, we must make it possible for people to marry at a younger age. We have to overcome the financial obstacles.

They agreed with my views. They asked me to write a book to explain my approach.

My book will take 30 years and 1 day to complete. Fortunately, I have already spent 30 years on this issue. So, it will just take 1 day to put my thoughts into the PDF book.

It takes 4 days to make a money transfer electronically

I went to DBS bank branch to transfer $15,000 to a friend in Indonesia.

Staff - Mr. Tan. There is a charge of $20 for telex and another charge of 1/8 % for the handling fee. The total charge is about $40. The agent bank will also impose a charge. Your friend will get less than $15,000.

TKL - That's okay. I understand.

Staff - Mr. Tan. Your friend will get the money in 3 to 4 days' time.

TKL - Why so late? You charge me a telex fee. You also deduct the money from my bank account immediately. Why can't my friend get the money immediately?

Staff - It has to go through the agent bank. This takes time.

TKL - When I send an email (which is free), it has to go through several email servers to reach the other party. It arrives within 1 minute. Why can't the money transfer happen just as quickly? After all, you are getting a total fee of $40 for this transfer?

Staff - Mr. Tan, if you use DBS Remit, the money will arrive immediately.

TKL - But your bank gives a poor exchange rate. You take away almost 2% on the conversion to rupiah. The cost is $300. My friend could get a better exchange rate in Jakarta. The spread is only 0.2%.

Staff - Okay, Mr. Tan. I will feed back your views to my management.

TKL - Thank you for your help.

Monitoring the occupancy of buses

At the bus stop this morning, a woman complained to me.

Woman - I have been waiting for 15 minutes for Bus 163 and it has not arrived. I saw many other passes pass by. Here is Bus 854. This is the fourth bus. Where is 163??

TKL - I am also taking 163. I observed, quite often, that it comes late and is crowded and full. I think the LTA should provide more buses for this service.

I wrote to the Straits Times a month ago and suggested that the LTA should monitor the occupancy of the buses for each service and published the results in a website. This will show the public about the occupancy rate, and help the LTA to identify the services that need more buses and those that can have less buses. Sadly, I do not see the LTA taking up this suggestion.

I had also written to a very senior person in the Ministry of Transport. He had forwarded my suggestion to the LTA. Nobody bothered to contact me about it.

I suspect that the LTA is not monitoring the occupancy for each service. I also suspect that they have some problem in calculating the occupancy rate, as some people use concession cards and do not tap out. If they ask me, I can give them my suggestion on how to deal with this matter. 

Wisdom of the Crowd - results

You can now view the results of the closed issues at the Wisdom of the Crowd website.

http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/result.aspx

Wisdom of the Crowd - results on two issues are available

The results for two issues are available for viewing. Each has 100 or more votes.

1) How much should a cleaner earn in gross monthly pay?
2) Should MAS set a limit on payment in coins?

The results are interesting. The proposal made by MAS got the least vote. It shows that they are not in touch with the crowd.
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Monday, March 20, 2017

Why are we still using cheques?

A few people have asked - why are we still using cheques which are so inefficient, costly and troublesome? Why can't we move to digital payment?

I agree with them. The infrastructure in Singapore does not allow this mode of payment to companies. There are a few exceptions, but this statement is true for most companies.

I subscribe to the Cloud service of Starhub. Each month, I received an invoice from them. I asked them to allow me to pay through GIRO, just like the utility bill and even thier consumer bills.

They said that they are not able to accept GIRO payment. It does seem ridiculous as they already have their system to handle consumer bills. Three years have passed.

I did some research around 2010. I found that UK and Australia had reduced their per capital use of cheques by 50% during the previous 10 years. Singapore also adopted the same initiative around the same time. The reduction in cheques was only 20%.

I cannot remember the actual figures, so these numbers are from my memory.

I wrote to the Straits Times about the slow progress in moving away from cheques. They published my letter. Nobody from MAS or the Association of Banks bothered to talk to me.

I also met with a senior manager in MAS to discuss this matter. She said, "Wait. we are rolling out FAST payment".

Sadly, the FAST payment does not address the challenge of getting companies to receive electronic payments. So, we continue to use cheques, in spite of the inefficiency.

As we continue down this road, the cost of doing business continue to be high. Our productivity continues to be very bad. We become more and more uncompetitive.

Some thoughts on a rainy day

It was raining moderately this morning before I set out to office.
I waited for the rain to stop. It continued raining.
I called Uber. Got "surge pricing".
I wanted to try GrabTaxi. Forget it. Most probably, no taxi available on rainy days.
I took our my umbrella and walked to the bus stop.
On the way, this thought crossed my mind:

Thank you, Almighty, for the blessing that you have given to the people. And for providing water, which is essential to life, free of charge.

Please tell the PAP to share the water, that you have given to them free, with the people free. They can follow the example of Hong Kong where each household is provided a certain quantity of water free of charge each month.

They can impose the 30% hike on water that they produce through recycling and desalination. The people will understand this hike.

I keep an open mind on each issue

KKoon Wee
Mr Tan, like it or not, you are widely regarded as a PAP critic. That is the reason I became familiar with your facebook ie. my anti PAP friends referenced you. Now if you actually have warm feelings towards some PAP leaders & policies, you should highlight these more often. We're not getting a balanced view of Mr Tan Kin Lian at the moment. I on the other hand am very anti PAP and proud to proclaim it.

REPLY
Many people in Singapore are short sighted and narrow. They make conclusions based on ignorance. I cannot help it. That is the way that they were educated all their lives.

Based on my interaction with many people, I have a low opinion of their character, which is quite common in Singapore - ignorant, selfish, judgmental.

I cannot join you to proclaim that I am "anti PAP". I keep an open mind and think independently on each issue.

I disagree with many of their practices and say so openly. But I do not adopt any "anti" attitude. I also point out the policies that I agree when the occasion arises.

A cure for the Singapore disease

KKoon Wee said:
The mindset is so set on preventing all errors at all costs! This is even if the error has very minor consequences and only exists as tail risks! This kiasu & kiasi attitude is causing paralysis! In the old days, Dr Goh used to say go ahead and we put out the small fires along the way! If we wait and try and prevent all fires big & small, we'll never get started.

MY COMMENT
An excellent example. In the old days, we had Dr Goh Keng Swee to handle the Singapore disease (kiasu and kiasi). Now we have no one to handle it. The Singapore is quite widespread. It got worse over the years.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Was the 2015 general election rigged?

Mr Tan Kin Lian, there is strong suspicion among voters, especially when they commented on Facebook that the voting result for the last 2015 General Election was rigged, as the Election Department is under our Prime Minister. It should entirely be independent to be non-partisan, in order to be fair to all the different Opposition Parties. What are your views on this matter???

REPLY
I believe that the results were fair. The people did vote 70% for the PAP for various reasons. Many of them like the PAP. They also like the goodies (bribes?) given by the PAP. They also felt grateful for Mr. Lee KY.

Sadly, the strong results will entrench the PAP in their bad practices and methods.

The practices of the PAP and their obsession to remain in power, with unfair methods, has been harmful for Singapore in the past and will continue to be harmful in the future. They build a society of people who lack character. It is sad.

Some people think that I am anti-PAP. They are mistaken. I have nothing against the PAP leaders, many of whom are trying to do their best for the country.

I am strongly against bad practices that are harmful for Singapore. I hope that the leaders in the PAP will change and think in the interest of the country and not their power and privileges.

I agree that the Election Commission should be an independent body and should not be under the Prime Ministers' office. Similarly, the civil service and the People's Assocation should be truly impartial.









Provide an "refer to supervisor" clause in each SOP (standard operating procedure)

Many organizations in Singapore operate on SOP (standard operating procedures). Without SOP, the staff don't know what to do.

The trouble is - after the SOP is written, common sense disappear entirely. Many stupid situations occur when the staffs follow the SOP blindly.

There is a solution. Every SOP should have this statement - if you find any of the SOP to be unfair, unnecessary or wasteful, refer the matter to your supervisor. They have the authority to exercise discretion. They are put into supervisory position for this purpose.

In the old days when we were a British colony, the colonial masters do exercise discretion. This was told to me by my uncles and older folks.

This practice of exercising discretion and judgment disappeared over the years, under the rule of the PAP. I think the SAF probably contributes to the new practice of following SOP blindly.

Do you agree?




A wasteful practice - rejecting a cheque due to a insignificant mistake

My staff made a small mistake when she wrote a cheque of $200 to HDB for rental of their room. She wrote the payee as "The Housing and Develoment Board: with a "p" missing.

Guess what? The HDB staff refuse to accept the cheque. She returned the cheque and asked for another cheque to be issued and sent to them before the deadline for payment. They don't realize how costly it is to prepare a new cheque and hand it over personally.

Do you want to know why Singapore is so costly, so wasteful and so inefficient? It is this kind of unnecessary hassle. What's wrong with accepting a cheque with a small error. The SOP said that the cheque cannot be accepted, if it is not "properly written", right?

Okay, we continue our wasteful practices.

UberPool is an excellent concept

Uber has an interesting concept - called UberPool. When you book UberPool, you get a discount of about 20%. The driver can pick up another passenger along the way. Sometimes, the driver goes out of the way to pick the other passenger, so you may waste a little time (but I guess it will be marginal).

I like this concept because it is an efficient way to use our cars. Why have cars running around with one passenger, when the car can take 2 or more passengers?

Well done to Uber.

Grab also introduce a similar concept called Grabshare.

So far, most passengers are still booking for exclusive use. However, with more education and awareness, more people will opt for UberPool and GrabShare.

I also want to congratulate Uber for the excellent design of their platform. They apply a lot of "common sense" and make their platform extremely easy to use. I find it to be better than GrabTaxi that I used previously.

My prference now goes to Uber. I was told that Uber is owned by Google. No wonder! they really know how to make things easy for the ordinary users.

New poll - Performance of PM Lee

Are you happy with the performance of PM Lee Hsien Loong? Are his policies good for Singapore? Do you agree with the way that he is addressing our challenges?
Click here to give your vote.
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg
Click here to download a FREE copy of my PDF book - "Wisdom of the Crowd Website".
It explains about how this online platform works.
http://www.tankinlian.com/PDF.aspx?id=44&otp=735206

A new book - Wisdom of the Crowd Website

I have written a PDF book entitled "Wisdom of the Crowd Website". Click here to view and download a FREE copy.
http://www.tankinlian.com/PDF.aspx?id=44&otp=735206

Introduction
About ten years ago, a friend told me about a popular bestselling book titled “Wisdom of the Crowd” by James Suroweicki.

It has many case studies and anecdotes to illustrate its argument in several fields in economics and human behavior.

The first anecdote is about how a crowd at a country fair accurately guessed the weight of an ox. Their individual guesses were not accurate, but when the average of their guesses was calculated, it was quite close to the actual weight of the ox.
This is the outcome of independent decisions made by many persons and is not the same as crowd psychology (where all the members of the crowd adopt the same response).
I have not read the actual book. However, I found this concept to be fascinating.
I have a statistical background and I like to test if “the wisdom of the crowd” can produce better public policies. 

Some countries, such as Switzerland, carry out regular referendums to seek the votes of their citizens on public issues. They must have figured out that the collective wisdom of their citizens is better than the decision of their politicians. It also helped to avoid corrupt decisions made by politicians.

There is a general lack of debate and discussion on public issues in the Parliament or the mainstream media in Singapore for the past five decades.
I decided to develop an online platform to allow the public to vote on economic and social issues in Singapore. I hope that this platform will contribute in a small way to get more people to be interested in these issues.

Mr. Tan Kin Lian
March 2017

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Why higher wages will not lead to higher prices over the long term


Many people think that if wages are increased or a minimum wage is introduced, the cost of living will rise.

This could be the immediate impact, but it will be short term. Over the long term, the cost of living will not change much. Instead, the higer cost of labor will be compensted by a lower cost of rental. The shares of the total price earned by labor, rental and profit will be adjusted, but the final price should remain almost the same.

I based my argment on logic and also on observation.

If lower wages will lead to lower cost of living, why is our cost of living so high? We do not have a minimum wage and some of the jobs pay so low that the worker cannot survive on the wages and have to do two or three jobs, or several members of the family have to work.

If wages are low, why is our cost of living so high - indeed, it is the highest in the world!

Our low wages are overwhemed by the high cost of rental, the high management salaries and the high profit margin. The prices of goods and services do not come down. Instead a larger share of the total prices paid by the buyers goes to the other components.

My logic tells me that if wages go up, then the shares earned by the other component will come down. 

Why is this simple logic not entering into the economic management of the country? The reason is that the people in power have a vested interest in pressing down wages. It allows them to enjoy higher management salaries (e.g. our government ministers earn the highest salaries in the world) and they also enjoy high rentals as property owners and high profits as shareholders. 

This means that the rich gets richer, right? Have you not heard this before?




Monday, March 13, 2017

Wisdom of the Crowd - 13 march 2017

1. Here are the active issues that you can vote on:








You can view the results when the number of votes reach 50.
Give you vote to arrive at this goal.
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

2. Here are the issues that have closed recently.











You can view the results at
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Login with the Facebook or Google logo and view the results.




Sunday, March 12, 2017

TKL speech at Hong Lim Park - Increase in water price

Here is the video of my speech at Hong Lim park in protest against the increase in water price. With thanks to "Singapore Voices".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9BlUv5NivY&feature=youtu.be

What does the crowd think?

The results for two important issues are now available for viewing:

1. Who do you like to see as the next prime minister of Singapore.
2. Do you expect the economy to do well in the future?

Find out what the crowd thinks.
Login here to view the results and vote on the other issues.
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

End of life living

Each person will come to this crossroads one day. We will have to see our parents leave this world. It will be our turn one day.

How can we deal with this stage of our life? Dr. Tommy Wong wrote this book based on his personal experience dealing with the departure of people who are close to him.

http://www.tankinlian.com/cart.aspx?ID=36

Wisdom on how to live life

Dr. Tommy Wong, professor turned international author, has written five books on "Wisdom on How to Live Life".
These books are written in a conversational style, which makes them easy to read and understand. The topics covered by the conversations are relevant to daily living in a place such as Singapore.
In his books, Dr. Wong brings out the important message of paying attention to the spiritual aspect of living, rather than just focusing on the materialistic aspect. This change in focus can be comforting to those who are experiencing stress in their daily life.
This series of books (hard copy) is selling at $90-. Dr. Wong has now made the PDF version available for sale at only $22-.

My view on the water price increase


Mr Tan

What are your views pertaining to the following questions related to the increase in the price of water.

1. We need transparency as to what lead to the increase.

2. Recently received bill from SP Group instead of SP services. My feeling is maybe they set up a SP GROUP just like MOH Holdings, and this increased staff costs etc need to pay the BOARD of DIRECTORS in SP GROUP etc

3. What is your personal view on what our G should do instead of increasing 30% as this will have 'chain' effect to food etc.

Thank you Mr Tan

REPLY
1. i agree. We need to know what is the cost of water and how it has increased in recent years. Was it due to new sources of water, i.e. Newater and desalination?

2. I do not know if this contributes to the increase.

3. If we really need to increase the price of water (and I don't know if this is really necessary), we should follow Hong Kong to allow each household to have a certain amount of water each month free of charge, or at a subsidised rate.

Vote on the increase in price of water

I have added 3 issues on the increase in the price of water by 30%. You can cast your votes on this issue. We can pass a message to the government on whether the citizens support or oppose it.

http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/home.aspx

Revamped website gets good response

There are many votes cast on the 5 issues in the Wisdom website. Those who cast their votes will be invited to view the results when the issues were closed after 7 days.

The results should be quite interesting. The issues include the next prime minister for Singapore, the prospects for the economy, the countries most important to Singapore, the top economy in the world and National Service.

Cast your vote now at
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/home.aspx

Hong Lim Park - protest against increase in water price

I was the last speaker and the "last minute speaker" at the Hong Lim Park protest against the 30% increase in water price. I will post the video of my speech when it is ready.

My key points were:
1. What is the cost of water? The minister's said that it cannot be disclosed due to "commercial sensitivity". That is a bad reason. The lack of transparency could lead to corruption, bad decisions and wasteful spending.
2. It was dishonest for a minister to say that the water price has not increased during the past 17 years. There was an increase in the water conservancy tax, which led to an increase in the price of water.
3. The impending increase in water price has already resulted in increases in price of food. This will lead to a spiral in the cost of living.
4. A minister has said that citizens should be aware that water is an essential resource and should be priced correctly. Can the minister also consider that the increase in water price is affecting the low income people badly. We should follow Hong Kong in allowing a certain amount of water free each month for every household.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Prize winners for the Wisdom website

13 people won the prize for submitting 5 votes at the Wisdom website on the first day. They received an email to download the book prize.

It is easy to win the prize. Just go to the website.
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg.

You can access the website with the browser of your mobile phone. It is easy to vote using the mobile phone.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Wisdom of the Crowd - revamped website

The revamped website is now running at www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg.

It is now easy for you to vote on the issues. You can login with your Facebook or Google Account.

When you vote on 5 issues, you will receive a prize - the PDF copy of the Intelligence Quiz book.

The vote is now based on multiple choices.

The issue for you to vote are:

1. Who do you like to see as the next prime minster of Singapore?
2. What is the future prospect for Singapore?
3. Which country will have the strongest economy over the next 10 years?

And more.

You can also view the votes for issues that have closed. I show you an example for "What is your favorite pet". The results are simulated.


Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Take the road less travelled

I like to opt for "the road less travelled".

If most people wants to join the bank, I prefer to join another industry. If most people want to get a degree, I prefer to work and gain experience and skills.

When I take "the road less travelled", I get less competition and better opportunities. THis is how the labor market works, right?

The sceptics say, "The road less travelled is less travelled for a reason". This is how most people in Singapore think anyway.

This is why most things in Singapore never change. We are not willing to take risk. Even if we want to change, we try to take the "road often travelled". We will fail to make that change.

Basically, we are NOT innovative, right? To be innovate, we have to "take the road less travelled" and "be willing to get lost". Don't worry, we will find out way back.

This is to INNOVATION.

Encourage some young people to opt for skill training

The government is now working hard to encourage young people to consider taking a skilled job, rather than go to university.

I agree with the goal.

But the government will find it very difficult to achieve this goal, if they do not look into the root cause of the problem.

Basically, the young people will still want to go to university because they perceive that their options will be better with a degree. Their parents will also support them.

There is one thing that the government can do to change the perception.

Someone like Dr Goh Keng Swee will probably think "out of the box" and get the perception to be changed. Sadly, Dr Goh is not with us.

But he has asked me to give this suggestion ..... (You have to wait for the answer in my next posting). He has not completed sending his full message yet.

Provide option to rent a property

Minister Lawrence Wong is working hard to ensure that young people can get their HDB flats earlier and faster.

I hope that he will think "out of the box" and consider the following:

1. Allow young people to rent their HDB flats.
2. Allow them to pay the rental from the CPF, or allow them to reduce their CPF contribution (this has to be decided by the cabinet).

We should not force everyone to buy a property. We should encourage rental of property, like in Germany and Switzerland. This will give flexibility to young people to take their time to buy a property. In the meantime, they should rent a property to be close to their place of work, and reduce the strain on public transport.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/…/young-couple…/3574932.html…

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Difficult to know the exact bus stop

I took a bus from Bukit Timah Road to my home. The app said to take 151/154 and change at St Andrew's Jnr College to bus 857 after walking a short distance. It turned out to be a nightmare.

As I was not familar with the route, I asked the driver if we are approached CTE (where St Andrew's Jnr College was. He was not sure. He then confirmed that the next stop is where I should get down.

I spent the next 15 minutes looking for the next bus stop. I could not find it. Google Map was not accurate, so I could not rely on it.

I asked several people at the bus stop and walking by. They also did not kow. Apparently, I had alighted one stop earlier.

For several years, I have asked for the buses to display the name of the next bus stop, or just the sequence number. The Land Transport Authority did not bother to consider this suggestion.

It is very difficult to travel at night, if there is no display or announcement of the stop.

Finally, I took a taxi home. I am disappointed at the LTA and the transport minister.

Tilt the balance in favor of local workers

Employers will continue to discriminate against local employees until the root causes are eliminated.

Here are the reasons why employers prefer foreigners.

1. They do not need to be called up for NS reservist duty or cannot claim for maternity benefit.
2. They do not need to contribute to CPF. Although employers have to pay a levy for certain categories of foreign workers, there is no levy on employment pass holders and dependent pass holders.
3. Foreign workers are willing to work for lower salaries and to work for long hours.
4. Foreign workers do not job hop.

To remove the discrimination against local employees, the following measures should be taken:

1. Stop call up for reservist duty. They can be called up for retraining at time of hostility.
2. All maternity benefit should be borne by the government and not the employee. The government can fund maternity benefit and retrenchment benefit through payroll tax of 1% of salaries (or less).
3. Implement a minimum wage that applies to local and foreign workers.
4 Give local employees and their employers the option to contribute a lower rate of CPF. Some local workers may want to use the money to rent a property rather than to buy a property.
5. Require employees to pay a levy for all categories of foreign workers, including employment and dependent pass holders.

These changes are likely to tilt the balance in favor of local workers.









Tutorials for you and your children

These tutorials can make a difference for you and for the future of your children.

http://tklcloud.com/Event/whats_on.aspx

More help for PMET, mature workers

The government tries to help the mature workers and PMET by sending them for training and providing salary support.

They have been trying this approach in the past. I wonder what is the level of success.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/…/more-support…/3571384.html…

Perhaps the root cause of the problem is that employers prefer foreign workers. If the government continues the same strategy, without address the root cause, they may not succeed.

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Here is an event that you should not miss.

You get the following 3 talks
1. Health screening
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