Monday, July 24, 2017

Display the Sequential Stop Number in Bus

This email is sent to Mr. Khaw Boon Wan in the Ministry of Transport. Will I get a reply or will this suggestion be totally ignored?

Dear Minister,

I enclose a suggestion for your consideration.
Please pass it to the Land Transport Authority.
Please ask your assistant to acknowledge receipt of this email.
Thank you.

Bought an unsuitable life insurance policy

Many young people approach me for advice AFTER they have bought a life insurance polity that they find later to be unsuitable. It is already too late. Here is my tip on what they can do.

Wisdom of the Crowd - results

The voting on these issues are now ready for viewing.

a) Is the law applied fairly in Singapore? (69 Votes )

Half of the Crowd said that we have two standards. This is really sad.

b) Should a person be charged for describing our court as being "pliant". (69 Votes )

More than half said "no". They gave their reasons.

You click here to vote on the current issues:

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Tips for young people - should I continue my life insurance policy?

I have often received an email from a young person who bought a life insurance policy recently and now have second thoughts about the policy. They asked me for my view on whether they should terminate the policy.

I find it difficult to answer this question.
Read more.

Avoid the same mistake made by this young NS man

Dear Mr Tan,
I had bought a Pruflexicash policy in March this year. I was told to listen to their talk for a 5 dollar NTUC voucher, therefore felt more obliged. The adviser talked to me about many benefits of the policy including showing me the percentage difference between investing in the bank compared to their savings plan.
I have already given 10 months worth of premiums.

After having financial difficulties recently due to NS, I realized that i had made a big mistake after going online and finding out many flaws with the plan. I realized i did not really understand the plan. and I could have used the money in a better way.

Currently, I have told the adviser i want to stop the plan but she told me I would have to surrender the money already collected. I am financial difficulty and don't know how to get the money back. If there is any advice you could give I would be very thankful.

There is no way you can get the money back. You have lost all the 10 months premium.
You can see if you will lose more by continuing the policy, or if you can get some of it back after two years.

For young people who have not fallen into this trap. it is best to avoid it. Here is a little known secret that can change your financial future.

Replace the disastrous BTO system for building HDB flats

The BTO (build to order) system is very stupid. It is very bad. It forces familes to wait for another 3 to 4 years to get married. By that time, they will be in their mid 30s.

The waiting time could be reduced to less than 1 year, if the government builds the HDB flats in advance.

There is little risk of building in advance with public demand. There is a guaranteed demand for 20,000 new flats every years. In a recession, this demand may slow down but only for a year or so. The pent-up demand will take up the over supply when the economy turns around.

Read more about this common sense approach here:

CECA was a disaster for Singapore

DPM Tharman had said it. "Wrong to have free flow of people".
He is admitting that the free flow of professionals under the CECA (Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement with India) was a big mistake. In fact, a disaster.
But, he did not say who was responsible for this disaster. The PAP never admit their mistake.
The biggest mistake is to appoint inexperienced people to run big ministries and government agencies. The people who negotiated the CECA agreement probably fall into this category.

Singapore has been one of the strongest advocates when it comes to the free flow of goods and services, but there must be limits to the movement of people.

Otherwise there will be less push for businesses to be more productive, and "more fundamentally, you become a society where people don't feel it's their own society", said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam yesterday at an economics forum in India.

"This is a reality not just because of (President Donald) Trump in the US or Brexit in UK. It is a reality all over the world,'' he said when asked a question about tighter restrictions on Indian professionals moving to Singapore.

Wisdom of the Crowd - new issues for voting

New issues for voting in The Wisdom of the Crowd.

a) Should the government provide regulations on shared bikes?
b) Where is the best place to leave a shared bike, e.g. Ofobike?

Vote in

Win a prize by submitting 10 votes, 20 votes, etc

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Is this a beter method to buy the STI ETF?

Dear Mr Tan,
I wish to seek your opinion on a concept for buying STI ETF more profitably.

Currently, there are a few Dollar-cost averaging monthly investment plans by different financial institutions. On a fixed day of each month, the financial institution will buy shares/ STI ETF on their customers' behalf. For Poems, it is on the 18th of each month. For OCBC, it is on 22th of each month.

Since they buy the shares in bulk on the 18th and 22th on each month, it is logical that the STI will rise slightly if their buying volume is high enough. This is especially so as most of the shares that they offer for their monthly investment schemes are blue-chips and STI ETF.

If I were an long-term investor who buys STI ETF on a monthly basis (based on Dollar-cost averaging), will i get to buy it at a slightly lower price of say 0.5% a couple of days before the 18th of each month?

Find out the answer here:

Wisdom of the Crowd - new issues for voting

Here are the new issues for your voting:

a) Do we have to pay high salaries to attract talented people into politics?
b) What do you think about the collapse of the PIE viaduct?

Constructing a viaduct

Look at how Singapore construct our viaduct. Well, one viaduct had collapsed during construction.…/pie-work-site-accident-cra…

Watch this video to see how China constructs its viaduct. It is so sad, that Singapore had remained so backward under the PAP government.

We have to change the way that Singapore is governed.

A little known secret can change your financial future

I wish to share with you a little known secret that could change your financial future.

Most working people do not know how to invest for the future. We should not blame them, for their main focus is work hard at their job and to earn a good income. They do not have time to become financial experts. They should not spend this time, unless they take it as a hobby, and have plenty of time to spare. Most people have too many other things that they have to take care of in their daily lives.

So, they rely on financial experts to handle their investments for them. In most cases, the end up investing most of their savings in a life insurance policy.

A life insurance policy is a good way to invest long term savings. But it has one serious drawback that most ordinary people are not aware of.

I want to share with you a little known secret that can change your financial future.

Wisdom of the Crowd - voting on Uber

These results are ready for viewing.

a) Is it risky to book a Uber car? (55 Votes )

Passengers are getting concerned about the recent accidents involving young drivers.

b) Should there be a minimum age for private hired car drivers? (59 Votes )

A large majority prefer the setting of a minimum of two years driving experience or a minimum age of 30 years.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Should I terminate my PruFlexicash?

Dear Mr Tan,
I am a student who bought th PruFlexicash insurance plan, 11 months ago. And I am wondering if I should terminate the policy. Can you please advise me? Thank you!

Read this article
Watch the videos here to learn how to get a better financial plan for your future.

Build HDB flats in advance of demand

Singapore has a unique system of building public flats. It is called the BTO system. This is a stupid system, designed by a stupid goverment.

Why do I say so?

Here is the answer:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wisdom of the Crowd - issues for voting

Issues for voting

a) What cause the high divorce rate in Singapore?
b) Which is your favorite TV channel?
c) Will the dispute between India and China over the Himilayan terrirtory lead to armed conflict?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Scandalising the court

If someone says "we have a pliant court system" and it is his honest opinion and he says it without malice, should he be charged for "scandalising the court"?

Suppose many people hold this opinion, but they are not willing to say it for fear of being charged, does this reflect a sad state of affair for our country?

My personal view is that most of our judges do act independently and fairly. However, they are some occasions where I am very disappointed with the judgment. Am I scandalising the court in expressing this honest opinion?

What is fair criticism that is a defence against scandalizing the court?

I found this passage in the case where author Alan Shadrake was charged under this offence and found guilty.

For example, in Ambard (which is often cited as one of the seminal cases with regard to fair criticism), the key passage in Lord Atkin’s judgment (delivered on behalf of the Privy Council) is as follows (at 335):

But whether the authority and position of an individual judge, or the due administration of justice, is concerned, no wrong is committed by any member of the public who exercises the ordinary right of criticising, in good faith, in private or public, the public act done in the seat of justice. The path of criticism is a public way: the wrong headed are permitted to err therein: provided that members of the public abstain from imputing improper motives to those taking part in the administration of justice, and are genuinely exercising a right of criticism, and not acting in malice or attempting to impair the administration of justice, they are immune. Justice is not a cloistered virtue: she must be allowed to suffer the scrutiny and respectful, even though outspoken, comments of ordinary men.

Wisdom of the Crowd - view these results

Here are the results of the issues that have just closed.

a) Can we promote neighborliness through a WhatsApp group (55 Votes )

The views are quite mixed.

b) Who has LKY's skills in diplomacy, pragmatism, prudence, astuteness, mental faculty and strength? (64 Votes )

The results are quite surprising. The majority said "None of them". But the next highest vote goes to someone that I did not expect.

c) Did the government handled the closure of Sungei Road Market well? (56 Votes )

The results reflect badly on the government.

What constitutes "scandalising the court"

Does a statement that we have a "pliant court system" fall within the offence of scandalizing the court?

I believe that it does not. This statement is not directed at any specific judge in the exercise of his judicial function and is not interfering with the administration of justice.

It should be treated as a fair criticism under freedom of speech.

From Wikidedia.

In Singapore, the offence of scandalizing the court is committed when a person performs any act or publishes any writing that is calculated to bring a court or a judge of the court into contempt, or to lower his authority. An act or statement that alleges bias, lack of impartiality, impropriety or any wrongdoing concerning a judge in the exercise of his judicial function falls within the offence.

The High Court and the Court of Appeal are empowered by section 7(1) of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap. 322, 2007 Rev. Ed.) to punish for contempt of court. This provision is statutory recognition of the superior courts' inherent jurisdiction to uphold the proper administration of justice. The Subordinate Courts are also empowered by statute to punish acts of contempt.

Although Article 14(1)(a) of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore protects every citizen's right to freedom of speech and expression, the High Court has held that the offence of scandalizing the court falls within the category of exceptions from the right to free speech expressly stipulated in Article 14(2)(a).

Some commentators have expressed the view that the courts have placed excessive value on protecting the independence of the judiciary, and have given insufficient weight to free speech.

In Singapore, an "inherent tendency" test has been held to strike the right balance between the right to freedom of speech and the need to protect the dignity and integrity of the courts.

To establish the offence, the claimant must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the act or words complained of have an inherent tendency to interfere with the administration of justice.

The inherent tendency test has been held to be justified by the small geographical size of Singapore, the fact that there is no jury system and that judges have to decide both questions of law and fact, and that the test renders proof of damage to the administration of justice unnecessary.

Although Singapore law does not set out the sanctions that may be imposed for contempt of court, it is accepted that the courts may impose reasonable fines and imprisonment. To decide what punishment is appropriate, the culpability of the offender and the likely interference with the administration of justice are considered. The only defence available to the offence of scandalizing the court is to prove that the allegedly contemptuous act or statement amounts to fair criticism, which involves showing that the criticism was made respectfully and in good faith.

Monday, July 17, 2017

New issues for voting

Here are the issues for you to vote:

a) What will you do if the elected President is a walkover?
b) Is it proper for Halimah Yacob to be accepted as a candidate for Presidential Election

Give your vote in

Wisdom of the Crowd - results

Here are the results of the voting on these issues.

a) What are your views about the personal attack by the Deputy Attorney General on Dr. Tan Cheng Bock? (89 Votes )

65% say that the conduct of the DAG should be condemned.

b) What are your views on the court's decision to reject Dr. Tan Cheng Bock's challenge? (81 Votes )

58% say that the court should act independently and say that the change is unconstitutional.

c) What should Dr. Tan Cheng Bock do now about his political goal? (76 Votes )

Over 70% said that he should join an existing political party or form a new party.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Comedy of the Elected President

Three decades ago, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew had a horrifying thought. What would happen to Singapore if one day, another party came into power and the Peoples' Action Party was kicked out of government.

He devised the concept of the Elected President with custodial powers on the use of past reserves and on senior appointments into the public service. This was intended to come into operation in the event of a change of government.

After President Ong Teng Cheong was elected as the first Elected President, things did not went as planned. President Ong was diligent in carrying out his duty. Although he was formerly from the PAP, he felt that it was his duty to check on the actions of the current PAP government. The relationship between President Ong and the government soured.

Act 1 of the comedy was an Elected President checking on the current government, that was not intended to be in the plan.

President S R Nathan was elected unopposed as the Elected President for the following two terms. Other candidates who were willing to stand for election were declared to be not qualified, i.e. not meeting the stringent qualifications specified in the constitution.

Act 2 of the comedy was an Elected President, who was supposed to have the direct mandate of the people, being elected unopposed, through a walkover.

The presidential election in 2011 was a watershed. Apart from the government supported candidate, three other candidates stood for election. It was a four corner fight. The winning candidate who was endorsed by the current government was elected with only 35.2% of the votes, which was only 0.3% higher than the second candidate. There was no provision for a runoff election

Act 3 of the comedy was an Elected President whose authority was supposed to come from a direct mandate of the people, assuming office with only 35.2% of the votes.

In the run-up to the presidential election in 2017, the government was adamant in continuing the comedy of the Elected President. They changed the constitution to raise the bar for qualification as a candidate and provided for a reserved election where all of the candidates have to come from a certain ethnic group.

Act 4 of the comedy was the concept of a reserved election in a country where the people live in harmony regardless of language, race or religion.

The change to the constitution also provided for increased powers given to the appointed members of the Council of Presidential Advisers. The government did not trust the Elected President and felt that they need to have another body to check on the Elected President.

Act 5 of the comedy was that the unelected members of the Council could override the decision of the Elected President in some specified instances. Their role went beyond advising the president

There is the likelihood that the next Elected President will be returned unopposed through another walkover. It is also possible that this Elected President, who was supposed to be appointed from a reserved ethnic group, may not be truly representative of that ethnic group. There are many mixed marriages in our multi racial society.

Act 6 of the comedy will be an Elected President who qualified through a reserved election turning out to be not purely from that reserved ethnic group.

Enjoy this comedy.

Worker Party Community Fund Walk

I joined the Worker Party Community Fund walk this morning. The event was well attended. It was also well organized with many activities following the 2.5 km walk.

All the WP MPs participated in the walk. I had a good chat with Low Thia Kiang, Chen Show Mao, Png Eng Huat and Faisal Manap during the walk. I also said hello to Pritam Singh.

I posted a few short videos of the walk. The participants had an enjoyable time and good fellowship.

Wisdom of the Crowd - new issues

Here are some issues for you to vote:

a) Should a person be charged for describing our court as being "compliant". Lee Hsieng Yang's son has used the description of "a compliant court system" in a recent posting.

b) Is the law applied fairly in Singapore?

Give your vote in

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Premiums for private Shield plans are very expensive

I have often advised older people to avoid the integrated Shield Plans that covers A class or private hospitals.

The reason is - the premium is high and is likely to go much higher. These plans will become very expensive, and will be unaffordable to older people.

This article explains what is happending.…/the-good-the-bad-and-the-…

Should the government take over the running of Eldershield?

The results for this issue is now ready for viewing:

a) Should the government take over the running of Eldershield (long term care insurance)? (89 Votes )

The majority said yes. View their reason in:

Friday, July 14, 2017

Why does the MRT break down so often?

I learned that the MRT system can breakdown due to
a) signal fault
b) track fault
c) power fault
d) train fault

I want to add the following:
e) passenger fault (why you all want to take train the same time?)
f) nobody's fault (the system just suka suka break down)
g) engineers fault (why you can fix the problem?
h) management fault (how can? we are top scholars! )

Self destruction of capitalism

Listen to this economic update by Prof Richard Wolff about capitalism's self destruction. You will understand why the current economic system cannot last long.…

Is it safe to ride on Uber?

Recently, there is another fatal accident involving a Uber car. Will this discourage you from booking Uber? Should there be a minimum age or driving experience for Uber drivers?
Give your views in

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Causes of MRT breakdown

I now learn that the train breakdown can occur due to:

a) signal fault
b) track fault
c) power fault
d) train fault

What I am unable to learn is - why are these faults occuring now, when the system was running well for over 30 years?

Could it be due to

a) equipmment failing due to age
b) over loading of the system
c) poor maintenance
d) lack of engineering know how?

Wisdom of the Crowd - view the results

Here are the results for the issues that have just closed.

a) Do you agree with the remark of DPM Teo Chee Hean that we are all sons of Lee Kuan Yew (128 Votes )

60% felt insulted by this statement.

b) After watching the Parliamentary debate on 38 Oxley Road, which statement best reflects your view? (127 Votes )

63% said that Parliament is the wrong platform to discuss this issue.

Wisdom of the Crowd - view these results

Here are the results of the voting on the issues that have just been closed.

a) Are you happy with the debate in Parliament on 3 July? (127 Votes )

More than 70% are quite dissatisfied with the debate.

b) What is your opinion of PM Lee during the July 3 Parliamentary session? (129 Votes )

Over 80% have a negative opinion.

c) Do you agree with the views of Goh Chok Tong on 38 Oxley Road? (139 Votes )

Nearly 70% consider his statement to be too biased.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Wisdom of the Crowd - Foreign policy strategy

The voting on this issue has now closed. You can view the result:

a) Should Singapore continue its foreign policy on speaking for the rule of international law? (121 Votes )

The majority of the Crowd said that we must change our foreign policy strategy.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Save for your retirement, but choose the right way

Every once in a while, you will see an attractive advertisement from a bank or life insurance company telling you about the importance of making separate savings for your retirement. They will explain that your savings in the Central Provident Fund is not adequate for your retirement needs.

They will back up the explanation with surveys, testimonials, statistics and other convincing information.
The underlying message is correct. Most people in Singapore need to have additional savings to live comfortably during retirement.

But the method that they proposed to achieve this goal is questionable.

Be careful. You can be walking into a trap. Read this.

WhatsApp Group to promote neighborliness

I have printed a hard copy of this letter to be sent to my neighbors. My proposal is to form a WhatsApp Group.

Wisdom of the Crowd - Pedra Blanca issue

The voting on this issue closed today.

a) How should Singapore respond to the application by Malaysia for the ICJ on the Pedra Blanca issue? (126 Votes )

The highest votes goes to - let the International Court of Justice hear the case. The preferred choice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is to oppose the application - gets the second highest vote.

View the details in

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Videos on financial planning are more popular

The short videos on financial planning and insurance are very popular, compared to the written articles. Each video is about 6 minutes. It must be the conversational format of the videos that are easier to follow.

You can select the topic and watch the videos here:

Who has a better character?

Who has a better character? Lee Hsien Loong, Lee Wei Ling, Lee Hsien Yang, Chee Soon Juan or Low Thia Khiang?

The results are quite surprising. View them here.

Promote neighborliness

I had a regular meeting with my old classmates. Yesterday, I spoke to them about this idea to get to know the neighbors and to promote the kampong spirit. They agreed that this is an excellent idea. They will also try it out with their neighbors.

Wisdom of the Crowd - view the results

You can now view the results of the voting on these issues:

a) Which policy decisions of Lee HL is most harmful to Singapore? (133 Votes )

The issue of the South China Sea did not feature high. Two other issues got more votes.

b) Should the court accept Dr. Tan Cheng Bock's arguments on the reserved President Election? (20 Votes )

The votes were given by the Crowd before the court ruling. The Crowd had a different take compared to the court.

c) If Lee HL agrees to demolish 38 Oxley Road, how will you view him? (123 Votes )

This result is very bad for Lee HL. Even if he agrees now to demolish 38 Oxley Road, his stature has diminished considerably.

d) Why did LKY refuse to acceded to LHL's request to preserve 38 Oxley Road? (137 Votes )

Most people voted that LKY was unwavering in his wish for 39 Oxley Road to be demolished. But a sizeable number of people think there is another reason, which is hidden beneath the service. What is this reason, which has the second highest number of votes?

Stamp duty on transacting in property in Singapore

Recently, I looked at a freehold condominium called Flora View near my home which seemed to be recently priced at slightly more than $1 million.

When I carried out further research, I realized that I had to pay an Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD) of 10% on the property in additional to the normal stamp duty which works to slightly less than 3%. This would add another 13% to the cost of the property, before counting lawyer fees. The property becomes unattractive to me. Anyway, all of the units in that development had been fully sold out.

I learned more about the ABSD, SSD and TSDR. For those who want to invest in a condominium and are still confused about these terms, you can find a brief explanation here.

Wisdom of the Crowd - new issues for voting

Here are two new issues for you to vote

a) Should the Deputy Attorney General be censured for his remarks about Dr. Tan Cheng Bock?
b) Should the organizer continue with the talks in Hong Lim Park regarding Oxley Road

Give your vote in

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