Saturday, September 11, 2010

Survey: Singapore General Election Portal

The portal can be found here. Give your views of this portal in this survey

Tangram apps on Apple Store

You can download my tangram apps on Apple App store. They are called:

  • Easy Tangram
  • Bright Tangram
The free versions of these apps have 10 shapes. The paid version has 100 shapes (USD 0.99) and will be available by 1 October 2010 (or ealrier).  

My friend downloaded them and like the apps. He is helping to tell other people through Facebook and Twitter. Please help me to spread the word around. You can see the videos of these apps here. The apps will be available on Nokia and Windows by 1 December 2010 (tentative).

Portals and websites managed by TKL

I am now managing a few portals and websites. Here are the links for you to bookmark on your browser:

TKL website

Singapore General Election portal

TKL blog

Bright town portal

Easysearch portal

Tan Kin Lian

Tan Kin Lian's website

You can bookmark this page to visit the Tan Kin Lian website for the latest postings on insurance and financial planning:

Singapore General Election Portal [5]

The SGE portal attracted over 400 visitors yesterday. It has matched the number that visits the TKL website.
This morning, the SGE portal already attracted twice the number of the TKL website. Many people are now visiting this portal daily. You can bookmark this page:

Instant Google

Google gets faster.

My view
I like Google for its content, and not for its speed of search. It does not make any difference if the search takes 1 minute later, so long as the content is good.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Property bubble in Malaysia

Diffuse the property bubble before it is too late.

My view
Rising property prices will be a burden to the future generation, especially when jobs are not secure. It is the duty of any government to manage the economic forces, and not leave these matters to be manipulated by some people.

Story of Bright Town - book

The book is now available at Each book will be personally signed by the author.

Wage inequality and recession

I wrote a letter about wage inequality and recession. This is the problem faced by America. Singapore will face the same challenge. If wage inequality is not reduced to a more sensible level, we will also face a economic recession or other type of economic and social problems.

Selamat Hari Raya Adilfitria

Greetings to Muslim friends on the end of Ramadan.

Singapore General Election Portal [4]

The SGE portal attracted 333 visitors yesterday. This is a high number. It is getting quite popular. I have posted 5 articles today, taken from other blogs and website. They cover issues that are relevant for Signaporeans to consider at the next general election.

Go to and click on "Latest"

Bookmark this page:

Betting - get a fair payout

If you place a bet or visit the casino, you need to know what is a fair payout for your bet. Here are some tips. Go to Be savvy, and you can enjoy the bet more.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

SGE Portal [3]

I managed to put up a few articles in the Singapore General Election Portal. Two persons have agreed to help me as Editors. Together, we will put up several new contributions to the portal each day.

Do visit the portal daily. Click on "Latest" to see the new postings. You can read the summary of the article, and decide if you wish to read the full article - which is usually in a separate blog or website, or a PDF document.

Customer centric culture

Getting managers involved.

Customer Service - contact number

Richard Branson talked about companies that make it difficult for customers to contact them. This is true. Many companies bury their contact number in obscure places in their website - so that customers will not call them. How bad.,-its-the-second-impression-that-counts

Case Study - critical illness policy for 50 year old

Read the case study of a critical illness policy taken by a 50 year old.

It gives poor value to the consumer. A better approach is described in this FAQ.

SGE Portal [2]

The Singapore General Election Portal now has a section called "Letters from Citizens". You can click on Guide tab to read the instructions on how you can submit a letter to this portal. I hope that it will encourage more citizens to take an interest in the issues that will be raised at the next General Election. Go to: (click on Guide or Latest)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Story of Bright Town

Here are the short summaries from 3 people who read the book:

―As governments around the world are looking for better
ways to serve their people, why not develop e-centers that
are based on the concept of this book. The greatest strength
of these e-centers is that they are easy to use even for
people who are not Internet savvy. In addition, they
provide business opportunities for shop keepers who
operate these e-centers. Mr. Tan has truly come up with a
win-win solution for the government and the people.‖
— Dr. Tommy Wong (author of “Wisdom on How to
Live Life” )

―I liked the idea of shifting the burden of form data entry
from customers to government employees. We live in the
world that tries to become more and more efficient by
making people specialize in one or two particular activities.
Hence it's surprising that the government still wants us to
become experts in tax filing, medical insurance
reimbursements, i.e. things that would far more efficiently
done by experts.‖
— Dr.Vitali Zagarodnov, university professor

―The idea of using PDF format as a way of delivering
information is quite an interesting concept. Something
different from the usual HTML concept.‖
— Tan Boon Keng, I.T. security consultant

The soft copy of the book is available here:

Singapore General Election Portal (SGE Portal) - 3 postings

There are 3 postings in the portal. You can view them by clicking on "Latest". This is just a start. When more contributors and editors come forward to help, the portal will have a few new postings daily. Do make it a point to visit this portal daily.

Critical illness insurance - is it essential?

Many people are troubled by this question - is it essential to get critical illness insurance?

My answer is, "buy critical illness insurance, only if you can get it at a low cost, such as the cover provided by the SAF insurance scheme. Do not pay a lot of money for this cover".


Read this FAQ -

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Bundle Offers in i-Shop

There are a few attractive bundle offers in i-Shop, giving discounts of up to 40%.

If you have any of the books in the bundle, you can give them away or sell them to a friend - and enjoy the discount.

Singapore General Election Portal

I announce the soft launch of the Singapore General Election Portal. It can be access from any of the following:

Easysearch portal:
Direct link:

You can visit the portal now, click on "Latest" tab, to view a few contributions. I hope that there will be a few contributions daily.

I invite contributors to send relevant materials to They will be retrieved by my editors to be added to the portal. Contributors can do research about the results of past general elections to be written in articles in PDF format, to be added to the portal.You can download a PDF guide on the portal here.

I wish to ask for volunteers to be contributors and editors of this portal.

Mr. Brown sings about the $9,000 for NS men

Listen to this song.

GDP as an economic indicator

Watch this video of a talk by Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Laurette.

Downloads of Tangram apps

There were 1,172 downloads of my apps (Easy Tangram and Bright Tangram) over the past two days, around the world. This is much higher than I expected!

More details here:

I hope that this will be translated into the downloads of my paid version (USD 0.99, 100 shapres), which will be available soon.

Essential knowledge for young people

I list down the FAQs that are essential for a young person to read before they buy a  life insurance policy soon after starting work. (Search for "essential knowledge")

Half truths about Life Insurance

A life insurance agent uses several statements that are half truths to fool a consumer to buy a whole life or investment linked policy that takes away too much of the accumulated savings of the consumer. Read about these statements in Search for "half truths".

Allow members to opt out of CPF Life

I note that for those age below 54, they will automatically be enrolled in CPF life when they turn 55.  While I think CPF Life is a good scheme to ensure Singaporeans have some savings they can tap on when they are old, it may not be an efficient way of allocating hard earn money for some members.  

I am a Certified Financial Planner since 2006 and have been in the investment management industry for 20 years. I have a well diversified portfolio and I am comfortable that my wife and I can retire from active work life anytime we may chose to do so.  We think we can do better in allocating the CPF monies we have accumulated. 

I am sure many members have their retirement plan well thought out and executed. Some members might want to use the CPF monies to start their own small business to provide income for their future. Some may see investing in their kids education a better alternative.  I understand perfectly that the CPF Life scheme requires the law of large numbers for it to work but I think it is not fair to force members to be in the scheme if they have better uses and needs for their monies. 

I think the scheme should allow for opt out, as long as members can argue for their decisions.  To attract more members to stay with the scheme, perhaps the government should chip in to make the scheme attractive (compared to say members investing in private sector annuity scheme).  Failing which, the government should set up a fund to provide for any shortfalls of the scheme.  Please do not use hard earned monies of some members to fund other members, which I see the CPF Life scheme is all about.


View problems in perspective

Here are three responses to SM Goh's speech:

Lucky Tan
Singapore Notes
Singapore Recalictrant

My view
Different people have different perspectives, because they are affected by circumstances in different ways. For most people, they do not earn enough and the cost of living is too high. Their perspective is to struggle daily and feel the discomfort of crowded trains and buses and the stress of life. It is quite different from the perspective of government leaders who earn high salaries and perks, and receive the comfort given by their subordinates.

Buying a property

Here are 10 steps to follow

My view
Many people fail to follow most of these steps. They go to a property launch and listen to the sales talk of the well dressed property agent. The agent tell them that the prices are going up, and get the buyer to sign an option on the spot. None of these steps were followed. The buyer must avoid going to property launches, especially if they have not done any homework.


Beef up your password strength

A strong password isn't your strongest security

My view
I agree with the second article. A complicated password that is changed regularly actually caused problem to the user. The user has to keep several dozen passwords for various logins. If they keep changing, it is difficult to keep track. The security consultants who recommend changing passwords are not practical people. They make life difficult to earn consultancy fees.

Monday, September 06, 2010

General Election

The General Election is on.


What is a metaphor?

My view
I was quite surprised that a person could be arrested just for using what is word like "burn". Nobody pays attention to these statements - except the police who make the address for "inciting violence". How can an unknown person incite other people? Who is so gullible to follow his call, even if he had meant the word "burn" literally?

Consumer banking and Teaching

A undergraduate approached me for advice. She will be graduating in a few months time, and has been offered a job in the Consumer Banking department. Her job was to stand by the ATM machine and to sell insurance products to the customers who went to withdraw money. She has to meet sales targets. She is worried about having to do this type of work and does not know if she can meet the sales target.

As a foreign student on scholarship, she is required to serve at three years bond to work in Singapore. Her career choices are limited. She does not know what to do. I advised her to consider taking a job in teaching.

Google Translate

I received a circulate letter written in Chinese, complaining about a life insurance policy. I used Google Translate to translate it into English. I was amazed. Google Translate did the work in a few seconds. The translation was perfect.

I used Google Translate previously to translate from European language to English. This is the first time that I did for Chinese. Wow!

Fooled by insurance savings plan

Read this letter about the anguish of a consumer who has been fooled by an insurance savings plan sold by an agent at a road show. (see "Fooled")

Buy Term and Invest The Rest

A consumer ask why some people are recommending to "buy term and invest the rest". He was told that it is better to buy a whole life policy, as the premium will not increase as one gets older. The answer is given in this article., search for "Buy Term".

The reality of property investments

Many people are paying too much for their property, either for own occupation or for rental. They are told by the property agents that the yield is better than interest on bank deposits and that prices will continue to increase further, due to economic growth.

The property agent wishes to talk up the property market, so that more people will invest in properties and they can earn their attractive commission, which can amount to a few thousand dollars.

Investors should realize the facts of property investments:

a) The gross yield on rental may look attractive, say 3% to 4%, but you have to deduct maintenance charges (for condos), repair cost, agent's commission (to rent out the property) and vacancies. The net yield is likely to be less than 2%.

b) The profit made from property is likely to be exaggerated. Many people ignore the cost of investing in property, e.g. stamp duty, lawyer's fees, agent's commission, in computing their profit.

c) Many owners heard that their neighbors were able to sell their property at an attractive price. However, when the put their property in the market, they may have to wait a long time to find a buyer. Some properties are unsold for many years, unless the owner is willing to cut the asking price drastically.

d) Owners are attractive by the high price psf for new properties in the vicinity. They forget that there is a gap of up to 20% between the price psf of old and new properties in the locality. Their property is not likely to achieve the high price psf of new properties.

Do consider these points carefully, and make your research, before you pay a high price to invest in a property.


Tan Kin Lian

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Do not sign a form without understanding

Hi Mr. Tan,
I am a 24 year old fresh graduate who has just started working. Recently, I was looking around for a whole life insurance (without an investment linked policy attached to it) and approached a company to ask for a quotation. I asked repeatedly for the proposal document to be sent to me before deciding to sign anything, but the agent had asked me to sign the application first. 

I wish to ask if it is a norm in the industry to sign any insurance document on the spot, or is it unreasonable for me to request for the full document before signing anything?

You should not sign any document without knowing what it is. There is no such thing as a "norm" to sign a legally binding document blindly. You should consider lodging a complaint against the agent for unethical conduct. Let me know if you wish to take this step. I will help you to write the complaint.

If you are buying an life insurance policy, you should ask for the benefit illustration. You should read my FAQ on "benefit illustration" to get the key points to look out for - i.e. the distribution cost and the effect of deduction.

Go to and search for "benefit illustration".

See things in perspective

Dear Mr. Tan,
SM Goh ask Singaporeans to see things in perspective. Perhaps, someone can tell him to see things from our perspective. We have to work long  hours to earn just enough to pay for the high cost of housing and to travel in crowded trains. I will respect him, if he come and join us in the crowded trains, and then we can see things with the same perspective. 


Live on interest income

A retiree needs to earn a decent interest rate to get sufficient income to live on. With the low interest environment, they have to consider other types of investments, rather than bank deposits. But, they face the risk of being sold a toxic product that can cause the total loss of their capital.

For the past many decades, the savvy investor already knows the way to make invest money to get a good yield without taking high risk. They choose blue chip shares (which are relatively secure) that pay high dividends. And these shares also have capital appreciation.

Read the FAQ on "high dividend yields" at

Einstein's Quiz

Albert Einstein created a quiz that has puzzled many people for a few decades. I saw it in the Reader's Digest more than 30 years ago. I could not solve it at that time. I have since discovered the technique of solving the quiz. It requires a systematic approach. By learning this approach, you will also learn how to solve other problems in a systematic way. Read this article:

Tangram apps on Apple Store

Good news for owners of Apple iPhone and iPod

The free versions of Tangram are now available in Apple Store
Look for 
Easy Tangram Lite
Bright Tangram Lite
Shape Quiz (Easy and Bright versions) will be available soon.

Please download from App store and give me your feedback. Pass the word around for your friends to try.

Watch these videos

The tangram apps are especially fun for children, but they are also challenging for adults and seniors (good to exercise their minds).

The free version has 10 shapes. The paid version (with 100 shapes) will be available from 1 October 2010.

Blog: NTU Chartist

Hi Mr Tan,
I am the owner of the blog . This is a site where I share my views of the economy, opinions of events and even business ideas with fellow netizens.

I was wondering if you would mind adding my link on your blog?


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