Thursday, January 18, 2018

Should the RSAF have a celebration for their 50th anniversary?

Give your vote in 

Should civil servants be required to have a cooling off period before entering politics.

Give your vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Is the Edusave Award schemes good for students?

Give your vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Will UberFlash (tie up between Uber and Comfort Taxis) be successful?

Give your vote in


Get rid of GST refund for tourists

I do not like the GST refund for tourist. I believe that GST should be applied to all, locals and tourists. If there is a need to encourage tourism in Singapore, there should be other ways to achive the goal, rather than to have GST refund.

I remembered that there was a scandal involving GST refund by tourists recently. The locals purchase the expensive goods, but asked the tourists to claim the GST refund. Under this scam, both the locals and the tourist shared the spoil.

We may be able to detect some of the scams, but what about the other scams that are not detected? Why create a scheme that has a loophole that can be exploited?

It is better to focus on improving productivity and reduce the cost of doing business, rather than to create these wasteful schemes.

Do you expect Dr. Lee Boon Yang to step down as chairman of Keppel Corp in 2018?

Give your vote in www.wisdomofthcrowd.sg

What can Singapore do to become a sporting nation?

I asked this question in the wisdom of the crowd - What can Singapore do to become a sporting nation?

72% of those who voted gave three suggestions. The remaining 28% said that this goal should be dropped, as Singapore can never be a sporting nation.

You can view the breakdown of the votes in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=450

Is it a good strategy for the Pakatan coalition to pick Dr. Mahathir as PM designate?

I asked this question in The Wisdom of the Crowd - Is it a good strategy for the Pakatan coalition to pick Dr. Mahathir as PM designate?

To my surprise, 70% said that it is a good strategy. They gave two reasons. The remaining 30% disagreed.

I wonder if the 70% is indicative of the thinking in Singapore at the last general election? Hahaha.

You can view the breakdown of the votes in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=452

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Video clips on Financial Planning

Hi Kin Lian,

Will you consider recording your presentations and making them available on your own youtube channel? For example your upcoming event on Financial Planning - Doing it right, I'm interested to know more but obviously cannot attend. I'm sure there are others in similar situations.

There is still value in attending live as you can ask questions. But making it available on youtube at a later date I think is something you can consider.

REPLY
http://www.fisca.sg/ArticleDisplay.aspx?ID=555

Tough time ahead for taxis and private hire?

I forsee one big problem ahead. Currently, there are many people who do not have a regular job but are able to make a living by being a private hire driver under Grab and Uber. They include PMETs who were retrenched and the graduates who could not find a job.

The earnings from being a private hire driver is quite attractive. But this was largely financed by the promotions offered by Grab and Uber. These promotions must cost massive losses for these companies and are burning up their venture capital. This can continue only for a while.

When Grab and Uber stops their promotions or burn up their venture capital, the demand for taxis and private hire will drop sharply. The private hire drivers will see a big decline in their earnings. The massive over-supply of taxis and private hire cars will be felt.

The taxi drivers and the private hire drivers will be badly affected.

I see this happening during the first half of this year. It will be very painful for many people. I hope that some of the taxi and private hire drivers have other alternative jobs, so that the supply will be moderated.

Maybe, I am wrong and the happy situation can continue for a year or so. What are your views?








Will GST be raised in 2018 and by how much?

Will GST be raised in 2018 and by how much?

This question is not about whether you like it to be raised, but whether the government will go ahead and make life difficult for the people.

Give your vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

If there is a bad economy in 2020, will PAP get more votes or less votes?


Give your vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Which political party will you vote for at the next general election?

Which political party will you vote for at the next general election? Assume that your favorite party will contest in your constitutency.

Give your vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Which factor will cause the biggest swing from the PAP at the next general election?

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - Which factor will cause the biggest swing from the PAP at the next general election?

You can view the votes here:
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=447
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=448




Why does Grace Fu insist that Leon Pereira (LP) apologise to the House of Parliament?

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - Why does Grace Fu insist that Leon Pereira (LP) apologise to the House of Parliament?

47% of the people who voted said that Grace Fu is a big bully. 31% said that Leon Pereira made a fair statement and does not need to apologise. This makes a total of 78%.

The remaining 22% said that the demand by Grace Fu is justified.

See the breakdown of the votes in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=446

Should Singapore celebrate its bicentennial of its founding by Stamford Raffles in 2019?

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - Should Singapore celebrate its bicentennial of its founding by Stamford Raffles in 2019?

Only 14% voted that this is useful. The remaining 86% felt it was a waste of money or that PM Lee had questionable motives.

See the breakdown of the votes in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=449

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Data analytics for bus services in Singapore

I am working out a submission to the Land Transport Authority for their data analytic project.

I will ask them to provide the following data to me:

a) Passengers boarding and alighting from buses for 1 month - showing the passenger id, bus id, time and bus stop.
b) Buses arriving at bus stops showing the bus id, time and bus stop.

I expect to get 8 million records per day X 30 days or nearly 240 million records under (a) and 4,600 X 10 X 60 = 3 million records under (b). This is a huge amount of data.

I will compute the average delay time for each bus, adjusted by the time of the day. For example, we expect a bigger delay during peak hours, so this has to be adjusted.

The buses with higher delay can be identified. It could suggest that the bus is in a poorer condition and need more thorough maintenance.

Some buses have faulty tracking systems, leading to non-reporting of their locations. They will be identified and the tracking system can be repaired or replaced.

I will also compute the average occupancy rate for each bus service and for peak and off-peak hours. We can transfer buses from services with lower occupancy rates to services with higher occupancy rates, so that the occupancy rates is more evenly distributed.

If the average occupany rate is higher than a benchmark, more buses should be added to the system.

The data will also provide me with the means to carry out a simulation to change the bus routes and to introduce express services to reduce the travelling time.

Does this sound complicated? It seems to be quite a common sense approach, right?

Do you have any suggestion on what other analysis might be useful?



Do you have any suggestion on what other analysis might be useful?

Australian superannuation fund gives excellent return in 2017

Daniel Yong is now working in Australia. He sent this message about the return on his superannuation fund. It gave a return much better than the return paid by our Central Provident Fund in Singapore.

Hi Kin Lian,

Just thought I'll drop you a note on how my own superannuation is doing for me. Whenever I get an update like this I'm so thankful I'm here and not in Spore where I'm stuck with Spore's dredful CPF. Hope it doesn't come across as being boastful. I'm simply thankful. I still have a long ways to go to build financial independence. Every little bit helps.

The excerpt below:
The 2017 calendar year delivered strong returns for most UniSuper members, particularly those invested in options with a large allocation to global share markets. Our top three performing investment options were Global Environmental Opportunities, Global Companies in Asia and International Shares, with returns of 20.1%, 19.3%, and 17.2% respectively.

Our Balanced option, which has almost $20 billion in assets, recorded a healthy 11.9% (13.2% for pension members), and has now notched up six consecutive calendar years of positive returns.


Daniel Yong

Do you agree with the government's concern about fake news?

I give you four interesting options to vote on. Submit your vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Simulation of general election 2020

Select any of the simulation here and view the factors that cause the swing against the PAP and the simulated results of the election.

This is a simulation. It is not "fake news". I hope the Law Minister understands the difference, right?

http://tklcloud.com/Election/const2.aspx?

What are your views about the fire in Toa Payoh and the standard of fire safety in Signapore.

Give your vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Will Singaporeans be prepared to pay for news?

I asked this question in The Wisdom of the Crowd - Will Singaporeans be prepared to pay for news?

85% of those who voted said "no" and gave two reasons. The remaing 15% said "yes" based on two models of payments.

See the breakdown in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=444

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

NRIC number should not be a secret

In the past, we use the NRIC as the means of identifying a person. The government issues a NRIC card with the photo to each person.

The NRIC is never intended to be used as the "full identification" of that person. Where necessary, the person has to produce the NRIC card for verification of the identity.

Later, somebody decided that the NRIC number should be kept secret. It cannot be used in case somebody uses it fraudulently.

I cannot understand this logic. A person's name is also used for identification. Should the name be kept secret as well?

We face a different situation from America. In America, the social security number is used to identify a person. However, there is no official card with this number and a photo that can be used to confirm the identity. In America, it is necessary to keep the social security number secret.

I suspect that we are making a big mistake to keep the NRIC secret.

Talk on Financial Planning - Do it the Right Way

Dear

I am sending this message to you because you have visited my website recently and you are probably interested in this talk organized by the Financial Services Consumer Association.

I have often received request from consumers asking for my advice on what they should do with a life insurance policy that they have bought and is showing a poor return after paying premiums for many years.

In most cases, it is already too late to cancel the policy, as it would result in a large financial loss.

It would have been better if they knew how to make the right decision in the first place and learn the right way to invest their savings.

This "right way" is covered in the talk.

You can register for this talk by clicking here.

If you have children who have grown up and are now working or would be working soon, you should also advise them to attend this talk. Do not allow them to get into the wrong decision through ignorance.

The talk is free to members of FISCA. If you wish to join FISCA, you can register here.

I will be giving a free hard copy book on financial planning to attendees at the talk. Do not miss it. If you are not able to attend the talk, you can buy this book for $15 (including postage).


Tan Kin Lian

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

What will happen to Bitcoin in 2018?

I asked this question in The Wisdom of the Crowd - What will happen to Bitcoin in 2018?

42% of those who voted expect it to fall below US$10,000. 58% expect it to stay above $10,000.

You can view the breakdown of the votes in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Do you expect war in the Korean Peninsula in 2018?

I asked this question in The Wisdom of the Crowd - Do you expect war in the Korean Peninsula in 2018?

22% of those who voted expect a conflict. 78% expect the tension to be solved without any conflict.

You can view the breakdown of the votes in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Is PM Lee largely responsible for the setbacks faced by Singapore during 2017?

I asked this question in The Wisdom of the Crowd - Is PM Lee largely responsible for the setbacks faced by Singapore during 2017?

7% of the people who voted have a positive view of his performance. 93% have a negative view.

You can view the breakdown of the votes by reason given in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Do you have faith in the fourth generation leadership of Singapore?

I asked this question in The Wisdom of the Crowd - Do you have faith in the fourth generation leadership of Singapore?

79% of the people who voted expressed negative views of these leaders. The other 21% are positive.

You can view the breakdown of the votes and the reasons in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Monday, January 08, 2018

Is it a good strategy for the Pakatan coalition to pick Dr. Mahathir as PM designate?

Give your vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Who should take the responsibility for the bribery committed by Keppel Offshore & Marine

Give your vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

How can we stop a case from dragging so long in the court?

Some cases took a long time to be settled in court.

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - How can we stop a case from dragging so long in the court?

47% said that the court should give clear guidelines to stop the case from being dragged in court. 37% said that the court should set a limit on the fees that lawyers can charge for each case, depending on type. This makes a total of 86%.

The remaining 14% is happy to continue with the current arrangement.

View the breakdown of the votes in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg



What can Singapore do to become a sporting nation?

Give your vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Progress report of Forest City - January 2018

Here is the video of Forest City showing the progress as at january 2018.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypuaOen6wyA

Here is the PDF report of the various sections of Forest City. I bought an apartment in Ataraxia park which is near the International School.
http://www.tankinlian.com/PDF/1454

The substructure work is completed. They are now starting on the superstructure work. The expected delivery date is 2019.

How to stop a train from colliding into another train

My friend is an engineer involved in MRT system. We worked in LTA for many years. Later, he worked for an engineering contractor and is involved in the engineerng work for the new MRT stations.

We discussed the need for a signal system in MRT trains.  He said, why can't each train install a system that will stop one train collding into another train. That is a simple system.

I agred with him totally. Many expensive cars now have a collision avoidance system. This kind of system can be installed on every train. If there is a large obstacle in front, the train will slow down immediately and stop automatically.

We both agreed that this system is essential and should be installed on each train independent of the central control system. Why are our trains only rely on the central system? It seemed to be quite "stupid".

Why does LTA install an expensive signal system on the MRT?

Each MRT line is dedicated to be used by trains on that line. The trains do not cross from one line to another.

During peak periods, the train arrives at each station every 90 seconds. The distance between one train and another is about 1.5 km. This is a very long distance, compared to buses and cars on the road.

It is easy to drive a train. After arriving at a station for 30 seconds, close the door and drive at 60 km to the next station. The driver can make sure that the train is aligned at the station, so that all the doors can open for passengers to alight and board the train.

it is easier than drive a bus.

Why is there a need to install an expensive and complicated signal system that cost nearly $100 million for each line? After spending this sum of money, we now get trains being delayed often due to "signal problems".

i do not understand why the LTA should spend such large sums of money and still get so much problems.

Can someone help to explain the rationale of their planning?

Why does the Indonesian couple need to fight AIA for 10 years over a fake policy?

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - Why does the Indonesian couple need to fight AIA for 10 years over a fake policy?

76% of those who replied said that the regulator had to step in earlier, instead of letting the client fight a big insurance company. 12% said that the court should not let the case drag on for so long. 2% blamed the lawyer for dragging the case. This made a total of 90%.

The remaining 10% said that the case took so long because it was complicated.

You can view the breakdown of the votes in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=438

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Will President Trump impose trade restrictions on China in 2018?

At the end of 2017, President Trump made some statements about imposing serious trade sanctions on China.

I asked this question in The Wisdom of the Crowd - Will President Trump impose trade restrictions on China in 2018?

Only 2% said that it would lead to a serious trade war between the two super economies. 98% said that it will not be serious.

See the breakdown of the votes in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Friday, January 05, 2018

Should Singapore celebrate its bicentennial of its founding by Stamford Raffles in 2019?

Give your vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

A bad idea to force doctors to contribute to National Electronic Health Record database

The government plans to pass a law to make it compulsory for doctors to upload the medical records of their patients for each occasion that the patient sees the doctor. The data is to be upload to the National Electronic Health Record database.

I think that this is a bad idea. The doctors would be wasting a lot of time to upload information of minor ailments of patients.
Most of the records would be not useful and would clutter up the database.

As a first step. I suggest that only hospital stays and medical checkups be uploaded into the NEHR database.

The government can encourage patients to go for a medical checkup at regular intervals by subsidising all or a large part of the
cost. In return for the subsidy, the patients have to agree that the report would be uploaded into NEHR.

At a later date, the doctors should be required to report certain types of major medical conditions.

I believe that this approach would achieve the goal of getting just-in-time medical data of patients without inposing a heavy
burden on doctors.

How did PM Lee perform in 2017

I asked this question in The Wisdom of the Crowd - How did PM Lee perform in 2017

The results of the votes are terrible for PM Lee. 94% gave him an unfavorable rating.

You can view the breakdown of the votes in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=436

How did President Trump performed in 2017?

I asked this question in The Wisdom of the Crowd - How did President Trump performed in 2017?

The results of the voting are somewhat favorable towards President Trump

You can view the breakdown of the votes in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=435



Thursday, January 04, 2018

How can we give a better deal for hawkers?

Hawkers are facing a difficult time, with high rentals and cost of labor.

I asked this question in The Wisdom of the Crowd - How can we give a better deal for hawkers?

45% of those who voted said that we should build more hawker centers and rent them out at lower rentals.

28% said that the government should give a subsidy to each hawker to cover part of the rental and the cost of labor.

15% said that each stall should be allowed to employ one assistant free of levy.

11% said the customers should accept that food prices will have to increase in the near future.

You can view the breakdown of the votes in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=434

Why does it take longer to clear immigration at Singapore end, compared to JB end?

I asked this question in The Wisdom of the Crowd - Why does it take longer to clear immigration at Singapore end, compared to JB end?

35% of the people who voted said that Singapore wants to impose stricter control for security.

33% said that Singapore has now become quite inefficient in processing the immigration checks.

18% said that the Malaysian side is taking a lax approach towards immigration control.

14% said the government wants to discourage Singaporeans from visiting Malaysia.

You can see the breakdown of the votes in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=433

Should China continue its restriction on burning coal for heating?

China has introduced restrictions on burning of coal for heating. This has caused many poor families to go without heating during winter, as they cannot afford the higher price of gas for heating.

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - Should China continue its restriction on burning coal for heating?

47% of the people replied that China should continue its restriction to reduce pollution.

32% saId that the government should subsidise the price of gas for low income family.

The remaining 21% said that China should relax its ban until a cheaper alternative becomes available or during winter.

You can view the breakdown of the votes in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=432

Paying a consulting fee to an intermediary

Mr. Tan, do you support giving of bribes through an intermediary?

Reply
I do not support the giving of bribes through an intermediary.

I would prefer to do business in those countries where there is no need to give bribes.

If I can get sufficient business to keep my workers employed and to show a healthy profit, there is no need for me to engage in questionable activities.

However, if I do not have sufficient business and face the risk of laying off my workers, who have their livelihood with my company, I will find ways to get sufficient business to sustain their livelihood.

This may involve giving a consulting fee to an intermediary.  If this is the practice in that country, and if the other competitors are engaged in this practice, I would find it necessary to be involved. This will be a last resort.

I would make certain that the legal document forbid the intermediary from giving bribes and carrying out illegal activities.

The Keppel saga is getting more messy

The Keppel saga is getting more messy.

http://www.fcpablog.com/…/at-keppel-it-wasnt-a-rogue-employ…

My view:
I do not agree with the step taken by the current board and management of Keppel Corp.

It is cowardice for the current management to admit that the previous management were involved in giving bribes to the Brazil government officials.

It is true that the previous management did pay consulting fees to the intermediary to take care of the local arrangements. It is understood, and perhaps stated in writing, that the local arrangements had to be made without breaking any law.

If bribes were given, it is the intermediary who had commited the crime and broken the law.

The intermediary might have testified, under pressure, that he was authorised by the Keppel management to give bribes. This should be a matter between the intermediary and the previous management of Keppel.

The current management of Keppel has no right to admit that the previous management had committed any wrong doing. It is for the previous management to testify if they did or did not authorize the giving of bribes. I am certain that they would deny this allegation.

I understand that the corporate lawyer of Keppel also expressed some regret for his involvement in preparing the legal documents. This is still not conclusive that the previous management was engaged in bribery.

I worry about the quality of our corporate and government leaders today.

Tan Kin Lian

My views about Forest City

An online news website, Free Malaysia Today, invited me to give my views about Forest City.

I sent the following answers to their questions:

1. Forest City has been successful so far. I am impressed with the fast pace of its development. You can see many apartment blocks being constructed. Most of the units have been sold. I have bought an apartment unit and get to learn how the developer carried out its marketing. I wanted to buy a unit in a block that has started construction but was told that all the units were fully sold. I have to book a unit in a new block that has not started. The developer would start the construction only after most or all the units were sold.

2. I invited an Indonesian family to stay in Forest City for the Christmas holiday. They booked a unit as they wanted to send their son to attend the international school. They also liked the Malaysia My Second Home program and wanted to enjoy permanent residency under this program. I believe that there would be many families in a similar situation.

3. I have no comment on how the massive development would help Johor in the long run. I believe that the Johor government must have felt that this project would be beneficial to the state before they approved its development. I also understand that the state government and the sultan's family had a stake in Forest City.

4. There is the risk that the many development projects in Iskandar will contribute to an over-supply of property. In my case, I am looking at my purchase as a long term investment. I do not intend to rent it out or to sell it over the short term. The property is freehold, so I would be able to keep it for many years, and pass it to my children and grand children. I like the concept of Forest City, which is being developed as a future city with a separation of people from vehicles and is ecologically friendly. I hope that Forest City will become successful and that many people will choose to live there, so that it does not become a white elephant.


Which factor will cause the biggest swing away from PAP at the next general election?

Give your vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Grace Fu ask Leon Pereira to apologize

Why does Grace Fu insist that Leon Pereira apologise to the House of Parliament for making a wrong statement about the reporting by Mediacorp?

Give your vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg



Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Will Nicole Seah do well at the next general election under the Workers' Party?

Give your vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

How will journalists make a living?

I met an old friend who was the leader of the journalist union. He has now retired.

I asked him about the career prospects for journalists. We agreed that the future is bleak.

The mainstream newspapers are downsizing and reducing their staff, including journalists. The online news website cannot survive also. How are they going to employ journalists?

The bloggers report news on a voluntary basis. They are not able to verify the accuracy of the news. This has contributed to the dissemination of unreliable or fake news.

I suspect that online advertisements, which is the mainstay of the revenue stream of Google and other websites, will also see diminishing revenue streams. People are now tired of the online, intrusive advertisements.

How will journalists make a living?

Will Singaporeans be prepared to pay for reliable news on the Internet?

Give your vote in
www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg



Did Keppel Offshore and Marine acted wrongly in the Brazil situation?

Recently, Keppel Offshore and Marine paid a big penalty to settle a suit involved alleged bribery of officials in Brazail.

I asked this question in The Wisdom of the Crowd - Should a company gives bribes when tendering for big jobs in a country where bribery is prevalent?

46% of the people who voted said that the company should not be involved in giving bribes even if they will not get the contract.

31% said that the company should adopt the business practice of the country awarding the contract.

13% said that the matter should be left to the country awarding the contract and America should not be involved.

11% said that it is all right to give a consulting fee to an intermediary to faciltitate getting the contract.

A total of 54% disagree with the penalty that had to be paid.

You can view the breakdown of the votes in
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=431

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

How to promote hawker culture

Mr. Tan

The government is trying hard to promote the hawker culture. I think that the only thing that they could do is to look at how the culture begins to understand the real issue.

Hawker centres in Singapore begins as streets stall. It was usually starts up that did not have a huge capital. To survive the hawkers improvise the recipe to charter to the local taste.

hence much if not all the hawker food emphasis on affordable ingredients and outstanding skills.

I believe that there is only one thing the government could do to keep the culture alive. That is to provide a platform for new start ups to revive the culture in its own. It could be done by permit of night markets similar to those in the region. Those who prefer to dine in categorise hawker stall could still enjoy their food there but those who are willing to try the streets stalls will have their choices too. After all, growth comes in stages, any attempt take away any part and the growth will stop or even mutate.

even if the government make the new hawkers goes for training, it is always a good platform for them to try it out at street stalls before they make it to a real hawker stall. In some countries, some street stalls are famous in new recipe when the operators trial their recipe while in business much like how our early hawker did. In hawker centres, it is tough to do this.

Above is my personal opinion, there might be other view on the issue, I am happy to hear different views on this.

Contributed by Tan Yee Fong

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