Friday, November 16, 2018

A confusing approach towards increasing wages

I am confused with the approach of the govt. On one hand, they do not want to be involved in the market to set a minimum wage.

On the other hand, they micro-manage the terms of employment of certain occupations, such as cleaners, to the extend of setting down the quantum of bonus.

This approach will not help to deal with the underlying problem. It will take many years to implement, and the result will be discouraging.

We have already wasted a lot of time, in fact more than ten years.

Quote from Today paper:
Cleaners to get bonus on top of wage increases from 2020

Come 2020, it will be mandatory for cleaning companies to provide annual bonuses of at least two weeks’ pay to their employees, as well as an annual wage increase of three per cent.To qualify, employees must be either Singaporeans or PRs, and have worked in the company for at least a year.

Click here for article.

Performance of agencies and ministers

You will now receive a new prize for voting on the performance of the agencies and ministers at this website. Do it now.

Legal system in different countries

The legal systems in different countries are different. Here is a joke. It is not the entire truth, but it does point out the differences.

In UK, you can do anything that is not prohibited by law.

In Germany, you can do only those things that are allowed by law.

In Italy, you can do anything, including those that are not prohibited by law (i.e. nobody will enforce the law).

In Switzerland, if you are allowed to do anything, it is compulsory.

How do you describe the legal system in Singapore?

WOTC - Coverage article about PM Lee

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Should PM Lee sue the Coverage in Malaysia for defamation?

Here are the responses: (61 Votes)
56 % - He should sue the Coverage in a Malaysian court.
31 % - His official has already sent a protest about this defamatory article. It is sufficient.
8 % - He should sue the Coverage in a Singapore court.
5 % - He should sue State Times Review in Singapore for a similar coverage.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - US midterm elections

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What are your views about the US midterm election results.

Here are the responses: (51 Votes)
45 % - The control of the House by the Democrats will stop President Trump from taking extreme actions.
39 % - America will continue to be unable to address its underlying problems.
12 % - It is a good outcome to have a hung Congress.
4 % - A hung Congress will hamper the program of President Trump.

See the pie chart at:

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Feeder service

Many people associate a feeder service with the kind that was implemented in Singapore previously, and still operating for some services now.

These feeder service goes round the town and can take more than 30 minutes to reach the MRT station or bus interchange. They also travel at intervals of up to 10 minutes.

This is not the operation for the feeder service that I propose.

My proposed feeder service works like this:

a) There will be up to five feeder service in each town, e.g. Ang Mo Kio, Tampines, Bedok.

b) Each feeder service covers a section of the town.

c) The frequency should be 3 minutes.

d) The entire journey for a feeder service should be less than 20 minutes.

Normally, a passenger will take a feeder service to the MRT or the express bus stops. They change to an express bus or train.

At the destination, they can take another feeder service or walk to the final destination.

To travel from one part of the town to another, the passenger may have to take a feeder service and change to another feeder service.

There will be more changes of bus under my proposed system, but the waiting time is short and the overall travel time is reduced.

The bus operations are also simplified for the bus operator and for the passenger.

Tan Kin Lian

WOTC - Increase trading in SGX

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

How can SGX increase its trading volume?

Here are the responses: (63 Votes)
41 % - Protect small investors by regulating against malpractices.
22 % - Lower listing and trading cost. 
19 % - Allow only well managed companies to list on SGX.
17 % - Introduce a simple screen to show prices on mobile phones, similar to teletext.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Fake News

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What is a good way to deal with fake news?

Here are the responses: (68 Votes)
65 % - Be transparent and present the real facts early.
18 % - Do nothing. Let the reader decide what is fake and what is real.
12 % - Act against specific cases which are deliberate and outrageous.
6 % - Pass a law to make it illegal to share fake news.

See the pie chart at:

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Security screening at MRT stations

Singapore is introduced security screening at MRT stations.

What is the practice in other countries? Here is a view posted in Wikipedia.

It has been proposed that extra security screening of passengers and their bags would be the best option of preventing weapons or bombs on public transport.

However, this would also have a number of negative side effects, which could outweigh the benefits, among them:

• increased (and prohibitive) costs
• reduced public transport convenience, leading to more car travel (and thus road deaths)
• making the queues of people waiting for screening vulnerable to attacks
• creating a sense of fear and a call for further measures and reduced civil liberties

Therefore, most experts recommend against such methods. Like random or profile-based searches of public transport users, they are often considered security theater, because random searches will be unlikely to catch the particular terrorist, and profile-based searching allows the terrorist to reverse engineer the search system, using attackers which are unsuspicious.

Passengers are often instructed to be extra-vigilant, including looking out for persons behaving oddly while on or in the vicinity of mass transit vehicles or stations, being dressed out of character for the weather, or leaving behind bags or packages.

However, this has also been criticised as scaremongering, as the likelihood of terror attacks on public transport is, for the individual, very low.

Individual attacks are also likely to kill fewer people than an attack on an airplane, and are thus of less attractiveness for terrorists.

Opponents of security theater therefore argue that even very good security around public transport is relatively useless, as it only moves the threat from transport to other targets - such as movie theaters.

They instead advocate spending more money on investigative (police and secret service) ways of apprehending terrorists before they can carry out an attack.

Similar arguments have been raised about the United States Federal Air Marshal Service, which provides plainclothes marshals aboard airline flights.

According to Congressman John J. Duncan, the air marshalls had led to only 4.2 arrests a year, at an average cost of $200 million per arrest. He argued that this represents a win of the perceived dangers of terror, supported by a profit center-type approach, over realistic spending priorities.

Dispute over the voting in Florida

There is a dispute over the election of the senator for Florida. This puts a black mark on the democratic process in America.

This is not the first time. In the presidential election in 2000 between George Bush and Al Gore, there was a similar dispute.

To solve this dispute, the candidates have to take their case to court. Many litigation lawyers are engaged at high cost to argue the case for both parties.

What are the candidates disputing over?

There are three problems with the voting system:

a) Is the counting of the ballots accurate?
b) Are the people who actually voted eligible to vote, i.e. are they citizens?
c) Are the people voting fraudulently by taking the identity of the real voters?

The problem in America is the lack of a register of citizens and the difficulty of identity the person, in the absence of a nationally controlled identity card. There is also a problem of identifying the actual residents of the eligible voter, as they move from one city to another.

America should put its house in order. If they do not, it will be a shame to the voting process of a country that claim to be the champion of democracy.

America should set up a national register of citizens. This register should be updated with people who became citizens by birth or naturalization. Those who died should be removed from the register.

There should also be a means of identifying a person using photographs, fingerprint or facial recognition. An identity card should be issued. There should also be a system to register the latest address of a citizen, to identity the state and local government that they are eligible to vote.

The voting should be done electronically, with the means of preventing fraudulent changes to the actual votes.

Surely, with the technology available in America, these challenges can be overcome? Maybe the USA government should engage Google or Facebook to handle this work?

Tan Kin Lian

WOTC - Security checks in MRT stations

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Should we introduce airport like checks in MRT stations?

Here are the responses: (82 Votes)
45 % - It will cause inconvenience and delays for the daily travelers.
27 % - It will not be effective. 
18 % - It is better to be prepared for emergencies.
10 % - Some countries already introduced this kind of checks, e.g. China.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Interfering in Singapore politics

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Was Dr. Mahathir interfering in Singapore politics?

Here are the responses: (71 Votes)
72 % - He is making a fair point about the governance of any country.
23 % - Singapore should change our practice to be more transparent to the people.
4 % - He is interfering with Singapore politics.
1 % - The news is fake.

See the pie chart at:

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Pay more for water from Malaysia

Malaysia wants to increase the water 16 times from 3 sens to 50 sens per 1,000 gallons.

The cost of water increases from less than $1 million to $15 million a year.


$15 million is a small amount. It is half the cost of a F16 fighter jet.

Singapore has 60 F16 jets and probably need to replace 3 every year. Maybe, we can replace 2 1/2 each year to pay for the water?

If Lee HL agrees to this increase, Dr. M can go back to his country as a hero. Singapore will be seen as being "fair". The goodwill will be tremendous.

If we continue to drag on the negotiation, it will leave a bad taste. The enmity will be costly.

Lee HL is worried that it might "set a precedent". I am sure that Dr. M will understand and will agree that this is a once off matter. It should not be taken as a precedent to bring up other issues.

Maybe he will return the generosity and sell us some sand. They have plenty of sand to spare.

Tan Kin Lian

Learn language through songs

I have posted videos of the songs that I know in Japanese, Indonesian, Tagalog (Philippines), Russian, Spanish, French, Chinese and English. Total 8 languages.

I may be adding two more languages - Thai and Korean.

I like to learn a little about each language from its popular songs.

Someone said that I sing better than him. OK, but I know of many people who sing better than me. it does not matter who is better or worse - more important is to enjoy the company through songs and not be shy.

I was a boy scout and learn to sing many popular campfire songs.

Someone gave me two tips about singing. First, you take a deep breath and you sing from the tummy, not the throat. Second, you pronounce the words clearly.

I followed these tips and, somehow, the songs come out better.

Recently, I found a "secret". When I drink alkaline water, the voice comes out clearer. I must negotiate a contract with Panasonic to promote their alkaline water maker.

Tan Kin Lian


Lack of internet access hamper doctor's work

I am surprised to learn about the problem faced by the doctors that is caused by removing the internet access. The doctors need to retrieve the records of patients for their treatment.

By removing the internet access, the staff has to spend a lot of time to get the information. This caused delay and stress.

This episode exposes the weakness of the culture that is prevalent in Singapore.

Leaders just refused to take the lead, to take responsibility and to exercise their common sense.

I know that there was a breach of security that led to 1.5 million patient records being stolen.

This large number is shocking and should not be allowed to happen.

But a small number that is stolen is not serious. The data that is stolen is not critical. It is just the name, address, date of birth and NRIC number of the patient, and maybe a few more fields.

What is the problem?

If my data is stolen, I would not be worried. My name and address can be found from the telephone directory (not sure if they still print it).

My date of birth is 9 March 1948. Please take note and send me birthday greetings.

If you want to know my NRIC No, you can work as a security guard at any building. They scan my NRIC and also asked for my mobile No.

There is no need to be paranoid that this type of data can be stolen by hackers.

I do not condone the large scale loss of data. However, I do not agree on the extreme reaction.

It is all right to restrict certain types of access to the local area network, i.e. not accessible through the internet. This applies to the web pages that contain the details of many patients, e.g. those who visited the various hospitals in a day.

I suspect that this was how 1.5 million records were hacked.

But it is all right for the doctor to get access to 1 patient record at a time.

I have recommended the every access should be logged, so that the system administrator know the doctor, the patient and the timestamp of each access.

The log will be able to tell if a particular doctor had accessed many patient records in a day. This is likely to be unauthorised access.

I now come back to the issue of taking responsibility.

Our health minister should come forward and authorise the restoration of the internet access to doctors who need the patient records to treat the patient.

If he is not sure about the risk, he can consult me. He does not need to pay me for my consultation. He only need to be humble to ask me.

He can continue to stay in the background and let the patients and the staff continue to work under difficult conditions, without the information that is needed for their work.

He can also delay taking any action on the excuse that this is being considered by the commission of inquiry. It is quite common to "pass the buck". It is our prevailing culture.

Tan Kin Lian

WOTC - Vote for Lee Hsien Yang

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

If Lee Hsien Yang stands for election in your constituency, will you vote for him?

Here are the responses: (71 Votes)
38 % - Yes. He has different values from his brother.
28 % - Yes. He is a credible alternative to his elder brother.
21 % - No. I do not trust him either. 
13 % - No. He comes from the same family.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Deaths of NSF during training

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Should the defense minister resign for the deaths of NSF during training.

Here are the responses: (77 Votes)
52 % - Yes. The number of deaths are too many, too often.
27 % - Yes. He should resign to take responsibility for the deaths.
17 % - No. But the military commanders should be sacked.
4 % - No. Accidents and deaths cannot be avoided.

See the pie chart at:

Monday, November 12, 2018

WOTC - Rising sea level

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

The govt is looking for long term solutions against rising sea level.

Here are the responses: (58 Votes)
45 % - This will be another of LHL's initiative that will lead nowhere.
28 % - It is a serious problem that requires a lot of thought.
24 % - We can follow Holland in dealing with this problem. It is no big deal.
3 % - The problem will occur in 100 years time, and is not imminent.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Implementation of Corp Pass

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Was CorpPass implemented smoothly since 1 Sept 2018?

Here are the responses: (52 Votes)
44 % - The implementation was a disaster.
27 % - Many users had trouble but they were able to get help to make the change.
23 % - Many users had been locked out and could not submit their returns to govt agencies.
6 % - Yes. Most users did not have any trouble with its implementation.

See the pie chart at:

Corp Pass has become a nightmare

Corp Pass is now a nightmare for me.

In the past, I could log in to the Registrar of Society website to submit the annual return for a society that I am responsible for.

Last year, they asked me to register a Corp Pass for this society. As several office bears are involved, each person has to register a separate Corp Pass just for this purpose.

I went through the difficult process of registering my Corp Pass identity. I had to copy down the UEN, user ID and password, as it was difficult for me to remember it.

Yesterday, I logged into the ROS website to approve the annual return. I used my Corp Pass identity. I had to refer to my record to get the UEN, user ID and password.

It failed. I tried many more times. It failed. I do not know what went wrong. But I did waste quite a few minutes of my time.

I tried SingPass. It went through.

However, there was a message that it would not be allowed after 1 September 2018. So, it seemed that the change was not implemented.

Clearly, Corp Pass is a mess. It is not necessary. Govt Tech should recognize that this is a failure and revert back to Sing Pass.

Tan Kin Lian

Sunday, November 11, 2018

High cost is chasing away tourists

My friend went with his family on a cruise in the Mediterranean. They visited Milan.

He was surprised to see the shopping situation. The shops were full with tourists. Many of them were from China.

He said - it is not true that the retail scene is dead, caused by the online websites. In Milan, there were many shoppers. The prices are much lower than Singapore and they offer the more up-to-date products.

What happened to our Orchard Road? Where are the tourists?

I hope that our tourist board is aware about what is happening. It is obvious that our high prices are chasing away the tourists.

WOTC - Different systems for MRT lines

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Why did the govt allow different systems for different MRT lines?

Here are the responses: (65 Votes)
66 % - The development of the MRT system is poorly managed by the govt.
15 % - It is wasteful and inefficient.
14 % - This is unavoidable as each line is developed separately under the tender system.
5 % - They seek the best solution for each new MRT line.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Shared bike price hike

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Will customers continue to use shared bikes after the price hikes?

Here are the responses: (66 Votes)
52 % - Many customers will give up using shared bikes.
33 % - Some customers need to use shared bikes to go to MRT stations or bus stops
9 % - They will continue to pay the higher fares.
6 % - They will opt for the season ticket.

See the pie chart at:

Saturday, November 10, 2018

How to accept an invitation

It is quite usual for a person to invite another person for lunch or dinner to get to know each other and to build a relationship.

Even political leaders have to build relationship with top business people and other political leaders.

If these types of meetings lead to suspicion of corruption, it would be difficult to do any business.

Somehow, Singapore appears to be paranoid about being involved in activities that they could lead to suspicion of corruption.

The civil service discourages this kind of activity. This paranoia also affects the business sector.

Perhaps this is why Singaporean businessmen find it difficult to do business in other countries. Other country's businessmen seem to be better in this art.

One way to get around this problem is for a simple system of declaration. If someone accepts a lunch or dinner from a potential supplier, he should make a declaration.

Another approach is to split the bill. Each person pays his share.

If someone invites you for lunch or dinner or a karaoke party, you can accept on the agreement that the bill equally.

WOTC - Budget airlines

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Will the Lion Air crash make you avoid budget airlines?

Here are the responses: (69 Votes)
55 % - I will avoid only the budget airlines without a good track record.
26 % - I will continue to travel on budget airlines to enjoy the low fares.
12 % - I prefer to travel on Singapore Airlines and its sister airlines - Silk Air and Scoot.
7 % - I will avoid all budget airlines.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Help children of disadvantaged families

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Will the task force to help children of disadvantaged families have an impact?

Here are the responses: (71 Votes)
45 % - No. It will be another exercise leading to recommendations that are not useful.
45 % - We seem to have gone through this journey many times in the past.
7 % - Yes. They are likely to come out with useful recommendations.
3 % - I commend the govt for taking this initiative.

See the pie chart at:

High cost of litigation

Someone said the purpose of high cost of litigation is to discourage people from taking this route.

This is a bad reason.

People need to find a just solution to a dispute.

Some disputes can be solved by mediation or through the small claims court. But some cannot.

The high cost will prevent many people, who cannot afford it, to abandon this means of solving a dispute. It leads to the rich and powerful winning the disputes because the poor cannot afford the cost of litigation.

We need to find a better way bring down the cost of litigation.

Some countries appoint an ombudsman to handle some kinds of disputes. This concept started in Switzerland and has been adopted in other countries, e.g. Australia. Some ombudsman handles disputes with the government but some also handles disputes with business organizations.

I support the use of the ombudsman.

But a better solution is for the govt and the court to put a cap on the fees that are charged by lawyers. It is horrible that some senior counsels charge $20,000 for each day of hearing in court. This could represent one years of earning for a low wage worker.

Some cases can drag on for a long time in court. There should also be an overall cap on the legal fees for a case, so that it does not drag on for a long time in court.

I know of some court cases where the legal fees could come up to more than 1 million dollars.

Lawyers are happy with such a system, but is it fair to the ordinary people?

We need to address this flaw in our legal system.

Tan Kin Lian

Friday, November 09, 2018

Leave behind a good legacy

When LHL steps down from office, he will leave behind his legacy.

People will remember him for the good and bad policies that he implemented during his years as the prime minister, and for many years earlier, as deputy prime minister and as finance minister.

I think most people will remember his bad policies, and his legacy will be negative.

There is one important change that he can introduce, before he steps down. This change will erase the bad policies and will put Singapore on a path of a brighter future.

What is this important change?

It is not abolishing GST, stopping the inflow of foreigners, returning CPF at age 55 and abolishing the GRC system. While each of these measures is important, it will not by itself have a significant impact.

In my view, the most important change is to allow the PAP to be split into two parties. He can ask his ministers and MPs to choose whether they wish to remain in the PAP or to move to an alternative party to be split from the PAP.

Without his blessing, the ministers and MPs will not make this move. They will not want to be seen to be disloyal or traitors and be involved in an acrimonious separation. There is too much at stake for them financially and socially.

With his blessing, two strong parties will formed from the from the original PAP. It will allow a genuine contest between these parties. Some of the non PAP politicians may wish to join either of the parties.

This will create a more vibrant political landscape. The genuine and democratic competition will produce better policies for Singapore.

The GRC system would probably be abolished together with the elected president. It could be replaced by an upper house.

If we continue without this change, the future for Singapore will be bleak. The existing policies of the PAP will be continued and will cause more harm to the country and the livelihood of the people.

Do not be misled into thinking that Singapore is now a prosperous country; it is not. We appear to be prosperous because of fictitious wealth created by an property bubble. The broader economy is high cost and uncompetitive.

If the PAP continues the existing policies, the economic and social conditions for most people will continue to get worse. One day, the PAP will be overthrown and will become totally irrelevant, like the Barisan Nasional in Malaysia. The future for Singapore will be most uncertain.

When I discuss this idea with a friend, he told me that there is a parallel in the development in Taiwan, during the time under Chiang Ching Kuo.

LHL has a choice. He can depart from the political scene with a bad legacy. Or he can make one important change that will create a better future for Singapore.

Tan Kin Lian

WOTC - Reduce electricity price

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

How can we reduce electricity price?

Here are the responses: (66 Votes)
48 % - The govt should be transparent about the pricing of electricity.
32 % - The govt should generate and sell electricity at cost plus a modest profit.
11 % - The cost should be benchmark against the cost in other cities.
9 % - Open the market to competition.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Signs in buildings and roads

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Do we have helpful signs in buildings and roads?

Here are the responses: (72 Votes)
38 % - Essential signs are often missing.
32 % - I have often been misled by inadequate or wrong signs.
15 % - Our signs are good.
15 % - There are too many advertisements that distract from the essential signs

See the pie chart at:

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Protect your investment from a rights issue

I share this tip to protect your investment from a rights issue. Make sure that you do not lose out due to oversight.

Lack of internet access hamper the work of doctors

The hacking of the SingHealth database and the stealth of 1.5 million patient records was discovered on 20 July 2018.

Shortly after, SingHealth removed access to the database through the Internet. This was a precautionary measure taken to prevent further hacking.

It produced a negative consequence. The doctors need to access the database in the course of their daily work. The removal of the access through the Internet hampered their work.

Three months have already passed. The CEO of SingHealth told the commission of inquiry (COI) that the removal of internet access cause work to be delayed and many staff have to work extra hours.

I am surprised at the incompetence of the people in charge and the loss of productivity, which must lead to high operating cost. This must eventually be paid by the people who need the health services.

I wish to point out these issues:

a) Hundred of thousand of website and portals around the world allow access through the Internet. They seem to be able to manage their security without resorting to extreme measures.

b) It is possible to track unauthorized access and to act early to prevent the large scale stealth of data. Some data may be stolen by a hacked user credential, but early action can prevent more data from being stolen.

c) Some of the activities, such as booking of appointment, do not need to have access to the patient database, This can be facilitated.

d) The access by authorized users can be tracked so that each doctor is allowed a limited number of access to patient records for each day. Furthermore, it is possible to audit the access, i.e. that the doctor only access the records of his patients.

If the people in charge take the steps to implement the tracking of access by authorized users, it will prevent the large scale stealth of data. It will also allow the doctors to continue to access the database to facilitate their daily work.

We are supposed to aspire to be a Smart Nation. There are many highly paid and highly qualified professionals working under this project. Surely, they will be able to come out with a solution? If not, can they go out and ask for help?

Tan Kin Lian

WOTC - Hike in public transport fare

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Is the recent hike in public transport fares justified?

Here are the responses: (62 Votes)
47 % - The govt is wasteful in managing the operations causing the fares to hike.
42 % - The hikes will increase the cost of living and add to the burden on working people.
6 % - Our public transport fares are still low compared to other cities.
5 % - We have to pay higher fares to enjoy a more comfortable and convenient ride.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Aljunied town council court case

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Will the recent court case on Aljunied town council affect the Workers Party

Here are the responses: (64 Votes)
45 % - Many people are fed up about the bullying by the govt.
39 % - It will strengthen the support for the Workers Party as they are perceived as being unfairly bullied.
9 % - Many people will have second thoughts about trusting the non PAP parties.
6 % - It will damage the Workers' Party as being a dishonest party.

See the pie chart at:

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

What legacy will LHL leave behind?

When LHL steps down from office, he will leave behind his legacy.

People will remember him for the good and bad policies that he implemented during his years as the prime minister, and for many years earlier, where he had a big influence on govt policies as deputy prime minister and as finance minister.

I think most people will remember his bad policies, and his legacy will be negative.

There is one important change that he can introduce, before he steps down. This change will erase the bad policies and will put Singapore on a path of a brighter future.

What is this important change?

I will write about it in a few days time.

Meanwhile, you can speculate on what I have in mind, or you can also give your own suggestions. OK?

Market for electricity

Dear Mr Tan

1. Under our old leaders, we able managed under one provider. Do we now need 13?

2. Based on the discounts they are offering, it shows right now our much the current provider is earning and they still increase the rate.

3. Why need 13 companies, unless creating posts for themselves. Isn't it waste of resources and manpower e.g. each company need directors, top management, staff etc. Its really wasteful.

Whats your views on this?

I prefer to have only one state owned provider and the electricity price to be controlled by an effective regulator. The price should be compared to the prices in other cities and any difference should be justified.

I find it wasteful to have so many providers. The marketing cost, admin cost, computer software, will all increase the final price of the product.

Contact us page of SGX

I am surprised that SGX does not provide an email address. They want their customers to call their hotline and probably waste a lot of time on their call center process.

I have tried the call center of most large organizations. I avoid them. They waste a lot of my time.

See this CONTACT US page.

Improve the trading volume in SGX

II was surprised to learn that the trading volume of Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKSE) is 16 times of the volume in the Singapore Exchange (SGX).

We know that Hong Kong has a bigger population than Singapore and benefits from its closeness to China, but I thought that a difference of 4 times would be justified but not 16 times.

The HKSE is clearly doing very well. By contrast, the SGX is doing badly.

The decline of SGX has been happening for a few years already.

Many friends have told me that they gave up their occupation as a remisier in SGX. The trading volume is low. They cannot cover their operating cost, let alone earn a small income to live on.

What happened to SGX?

I organized a small discussion in my Facebook page last year and received many useful feedback.

The key factors were:

a) There were a few cases of manipulated trading of small penny stocks and China shares that caused losses by small investors. The investors blamed SGX for their poor regulation.

b) The removal of the share price display in teletext discouraged many older investors from trading in SGX. These investors were not technologically savvy and found it difficult to get the prices from the Internet.

c) Some elderly investors gave up trading in stocks after MAS introduced the financial literacy test. They do not feel confident of passing the test. It could be a language issue.

The low trading volume in SGX had a spiral effect. Other investors started to move out of SGX to trade in HKSE and other exchanges. I know of many people in Singapore who have moved to trade in HKSE.

The Internet makes it easy for investors to trade in other exchanges.

I suspect that 10% to 20% of the trading volume in HKSE are from Singapore based investors. These trading volume could have come to SGX to increase its volume by 4 times and give a better balance between the 2 exchanges.

What can be done to improve volumes in SGX?

I suggest the following steps:

a) For the MAS and SGX to be more active in protecting small investors from malpractices by listed companies. A more active regulator will build trust among the small investors.

b) For SGX to introduce a way of displaying the prices of the listed shares in the Internet that can be accessed by mobile phones and in the same format as teletext.

c) Remove the financial literacy test. Investors know the risks that they are taking. The test is not necessary and is a hindrance.

The people in charge have to take steps to improve the trading volume of SGX. We cannot be a financial hub with a moribund exchange.

Tan Kin Lian

WOTC - Fake news

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Are Singaporeans naive about fake news?

Here are the responses: (58 Votes)
38 % - The govt is over blowing up this issue.
26 % - They are complacent and not aware about the harm that fake news can be used by state sponsored organizations to create rift in our society.
24 % - Most people are able to discern the truth and will not be gullible.
12 % - They are naive about fake news.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Low income worker

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What is a good way to raise the wage of low income worker?

Here are the responses: (61 Votes)
61 % - Introduce a minimum wage, like in most countries.
23 % - Stop the inflow of foreign workers 
13 % - Get the public sector to pay adequate wages and set the benchmark for the private sector.
3 % - Introduce the progressive wage system for more categories of jobs

See the pie chart at:

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

What a coincidence!

I want to share a strange coincidence.

I watched Home Alone 2 on Netflix.

The boy Kevin got into the wrong plane from his family and went to New York. His family went to Florida.

While wondering around New York, he saw the World Trade Center. The film was made before the 9-11 terrorist attack, so the two towers were still there.

Kevin walked into the Plaza Hotel in New York. He had seen an advertisement that of the great hotel experience.

In the hallway, he asked a man where is the lobby. A man pointed out the way. He looked familiar, like Donald Trump.

I checked Google and found this explanation:

The Plaza Hotel is a landmark 20-story luxury hotel and condominium apartment building in the ... Westin sold The Plaza to Donald Trump for $390 million on March 27, 1988.

It was Donald Trump in the movie. At that time, he was some twenty or more years younger.

Tonight, the voters are going to vote for the mid-term election. Will the results be good or bad for President Donald Trump?

We will wait and see.

If you are on Netflix, go to watch Home Alone 2 and experience the coincidences that I went through.

Tan Kin Lian

Sill no solution for internet access?

I find this situation quite depressing. The health workers need to access the internet. The recent hacking of the SingHealth database has caused a reaction that is rather extreme, i.e. no access through the Internet. This is not the solution.…/singhealth-top-executive-hope…

I am surprised that within the govt circles, they are still not able to find a solution. It shows incompetency.

WOTC - Retrenchment benefit

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Should employers be required to give retrenchment benefits?

Here are the responses: (54 Votes)
72 % - This will ensure that workers are protected against unfair dismissals.
13 % - It should be given only after the worker has served two years.
13 % - It should be capped at a maximum of six months salary to be affordable to employers.
2 % - It will make the workers lazy.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Changi Airport

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Is Changi Airport doing well?

Here are the responses: (52 Votes)
33 % - Airlines and travelers avoid Changi Airport because its charges are much higher than other regional airports.
31 % - It is doing well as more airlines are adding flights.
23 % - It does well because it has a captive market of Singaporeans who can afford to spend.
13 % - It is doing well only in the holiday seasons.

See the pie chart at:

Monday, November 05, 2018

Hawker stalls built from containers

I like Tay Kheng Soon's suggestion to have hawker stalls made from containers.

Here are my reasons:

a) The containers are low cost due to large scale production.
b) They can be prefabricated to serve as hawker stalls.
c) They can be transported quickly.
d) It is possible to set up a hawker street in a few days.

It can be costly and time consuming to build a hawker centers. So, this concept from TKS is a good alternative.

Click here for TKS's concept.

Pay an adequate compensation for NSF and NS reservist for death and injury

There were several deaths of NSF during training.

Are the deaths excessive, relative to the number of soldiers that are trained?

Were they caused by negligence of the officers who were responsible for the training? Is there a culture of disregard for the safety of the trainees?

Some people think that each death is one too many.

I do not share this view. Accidents do happen. We cannot be over cautious to the extent of hampering the training or operations.

Who should be responsible for the deaths?

a) The officers directly supervising the training?
b) The military commanders higher up the chain?
c) The ministers in the defense ministry?

A committee of inquiry is being held for the recent death. But this involves only one event.

Should we have a committee of inquiry to look into the bigger issue - is there disregard for the safety of the NSF?

All these questions will take a long time to reach an answer. And the answer will still be inconclusive. It is a difficult issue.

There is one action that can be taken that will address most of the complaints.

The govt should give an adequate compensation for each NSF or NS reservists who is injured or dies while under compulsory service.

What is adequate?

I carried out a vote in the wisdom of the crowd. The majority consider the compensation to be $1 million.

I think that this is too much. I prefer a lower compensation. I prefer a sum of $300,000 for death, and a proportionate amount according to the degree of injury or disability.

This would represent 10 years of earning based on $2,500 a month.

Financial compensation is not a good consolation for the loss of a loved one. But it is better than $5,000, right?

I know that this sum is not adequate to replace the potential earning of a person who could enter into a highly paid occupation. But it should be based on the average of all NSF and not on the potential of each individual person.

Even when adequate compensation is provided, we should still expect the Singapore Armed Forces to ensure that all necessary safety precautions are taken and that negligent training officers should be held to account. But we should avoid extreme cautious measures that hamper the training.

I now come back to the question - should the high military commanders and the ministers be held to account?

It is difficult to make this judgment based on inadequate information. A committee of inquiry should be formed to address this question. The public can make their judgment based on the findings of this COI.

At this time, I will leave it to the defense minister to decide, in his own conscience, whether he should stay in the office.

But I expect him to take action now to get the govt to pay an adequate compensation.

I have suggested a sum of $300,000. Maybe he can justify a different figure?

Tan Kin Lian

Fave has a good "Help" feature

Fave has a good "Help" feature in their website.

I can send an email with just the name, email, message and add up to 5 files.

It is easy to use.

Most organizations make it very difficult to send feedback. Fave is a good alternative.

Tax more and give vouchers

The govt has taxed the people far too much - GST, water, electricity, public transport, hawker stall rental, etc.

They now have to give vouchers to many people to pay for these high prices.

The distribution and accounting of the vouchers create additional costs that increases the cost of living.

It is wasteful and crazy.

Continue your life insurance policy?

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Vote on the performance of these agencies and ministers and receive it immediately.

Click here.

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WOTC - Prof Tommy Koh and inequality

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Prof Tommy Koh spoke on inequality.

Here are the responses: (55 Votes)
42 % - I agree with Prof Koh's views. that a minimum wage should be introduced.
27 % - I agree with his comment that the Straits Times had been unfair in not reporting his views. 
22 % - It is brave of Prof Koh to speak his mind against the views of the ministers.
9 % - I do not trust Prof Koh as he has been supporting the PAP all along.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Third link to Johor

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Should Singapore build a third link to Johore?

Here are the responses: (56 Votes)
39 % - Introduce joint clearance, so that travelers can clear both immigration checkpoints at the same building. 
36 % - It is better to streamline the flow of traffic across the existing two links.
21 % - It will ease the traffic congestion at the current two links.
4 % - It will cost a lot of money and take a long time to build

See the pie chart at:

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