Saturday, April 09, 2011
Cheating is a crime that is punishable by a jail sentence. It involves misrepresentation (e.g. pretending to be somebody else) and collecting money from a victim. Actually, the crime is more broadly defining as taking any property (and not just money) from the victim.
It is easy to prove misrepresentation when the offender pretends to be somebody else. But there are other forms of misrepresentation, such as misrepresenting the value of a product that is sold (e.g. selling gold bar, wine or land plots at inflated prices) and giving a unjustified projection of their further appreciation in value.
It is the duty of the government, through the police department, to enforce the law in the case of criminal offences. They have to receive the complaints and investigate it to see if an offence has been committed. I do not expect the police to spend too much time for the investigation, especially if the information is sketchy or unreliable. But if the information is sufficient or the complaint is made by several victims, the police should investigate and treat it as a matter of public interest.
There is the excuse that the police does not have sufficient resources and there are too many cases to follow up. The solution is to recruit more police officers and investigators. Even if it is difficult to gather sufficient evidence to prosecute the offenders, the policy should still investigate the complaint, as the investigation would deter the offenders from continuing their activities.
In recent years, there were heating cases that has involved many people. They were not investigated due to lack of resources. The victims were asked to get a lawyer to take a civil case. I hope that the police department and the ministry of home affairs will review their current stand on this type of cases.
Tan Kin Lian
I decided to search Google for air tickets from Singapore to Vancouver (to get a benchmark to compare the price sourced by my travel agent). I found a link to sg.webjet.com.sg. It was easy to navigate. It showed the available airlines and the travelling time. Here are the search results.
Several airlines offered a return economy ticket from $1,600 to $2,000, before the processing fee of 6% payable to Webjet. It also showed the travel time of the flights, which ranged from 20 to 32 hours per trip.
With this information, my preference is for Cathay Airways due to its wide choice (in case of last minute change of schedule), short travelling time (around 20 hours) and acceptable price (around $2,200, inclusive of the fee payable to Webjet). This price is less than half of Singapore Airlines.
I find the presentation by Webjet to be excellent. It is better than Zuji (which I used previously).
Tan Kin Lian
1. Give me the top tips on financial planning Keyword: Tips
2, What should I be aware of, being making advanced payment for services? Keyword: advanced payments
Friday, April 08, 2011
This is clearly a attempt to cheat consumers. I am now taking steps to remove this spyware, but it is quite difficult.
I wonder if there is any law in Singapore that will declare this type of activity to be illegal. Clearly, it is a person who intrudes into any person's domain (i.e laptop) without permission, with the intent to cheat. Furthermore, it is causing a big nuisance by making it difficult to be removed. If this is illegal, there must be a place that such criminal activity should be reported and an attempt by the authority to stop it.
I know that it is difficult to trace the identity of the intruder, but this is a separate matter. I read that in some countries, the authority will try to stop it within their powers. For example, they could mount a counter attack against the source of this illegal activity.
Tan Kin Lian
If this is an ordinary life insurance policy, the premium has to be paid in full. If this is an investment linked policy, the policyholder will have to suffer any loss due to a change in the market value of the units. However, there should be no deduction for agent's commission or other expenses.
If you wish to cancel the policy, you have to notify the insurance company directly. Do not go through the agent, as the agent may not submit this request to the insurance company. If you have bought a life insurance policy recently, and you are not told about the free look period, you should lodge a complaint to the regulator (MAS) that the insurance company is not complying with this requirement.
If you are not getting a refund according to my understanding, as set out above, you can bring the matter to my attention. I will see if there is any change in practice that is different from my undrestanding.
Tan Kin Lian
1. Should I stay on the Minimum Sum Scheme or convert to CPF Life? Keyword: Minimum Sum
2. What type of medical condition must I declare for life insurance? Keyword: medical condition
Thursday, April 07, 2011
My friend told me that a popular mode of payment in China is UnionPay. The fee is quite low. It seemed that the authority promoted this form of payment to reduce cost to the citizens and small businesses. It is a convenient and inexpensive way to make payment for small transactions.
I hope that our MAS or IDA can take the lead to introduce a similar low cost and convenient way to make small payments. The current method of paying by funds transfer through internet banking is too cumbersome.
Tan Kin Lian
1. How can I get Medishield insurance for my parent who is not insured now? Keyword: not insured
2. Is there any potential danger to join an insurance company as an agent? Keyword: potential danger
The representatives of DBS Bank and UOB Bank have since called me to rectify the issues that I have raised. I hope that they will look at the underlying causes, and change some of their existing practices. It should not be fire fighting, but a cultural change in their attitude and approach.
I have come across many cases of bad practices by business corporations and government agencies in Singapore. I shall be writing about these practices. My aim is to get these corporations and agencies to recognize that these practices are bad from the customer's point of view. They should act to make changes to improve their customer service, without increasing their cost of operations.
I know that this will be a long journey to change mindsets and practices that are now cast in stone. But, I shall try.
Tan Kin Lian
Read his letter in SGEP.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
This is an example of an unfair contract term, i.e. levy a heavy annual fee on the customer without getting the prior consent. I am aware that other credit cards have similar conditions, but I am prepared to take the risk if the annual fee is less than $100 (but not for $1,500). Anyway, I do not need an expensive credit card, as I do not make use of the privileges.
A representative of UOB Bank called me this evening to apologise for the mistake in cancelling my card and to inform me that the card has now been reinstated. I had raised this issue during the weekend and did not get any reply from the bank for the past three days. It does not matter to me whether the card is reinstated or not - as I do not intend to use it.
I have nothing personal against UOB Bank which has served me well during the past years. I only wish to give this example for business corporations to change their business practice and act fair to their customers. They should not have unfair contract terms and levy heavy charges to boos their profits.
Tan Kin Lian
A number of points made by PM Lee at the recent Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum can easily be rebutted. Below are rebuttals in no particular order:
PM pointed out that The Economist had recently praised S’pore’s system. However, he conveniently forgotten that the same publication has previously criticized S’pore in numerous articles. Several other reputable magazines and newspapers have also criticised S’pore’s system, but they have been routinely slapped with multi-million-dollar defamation lawsuits filed solely in S’pore where the outcomes are certain (of course!!). Therefore, is the PM practising selective reading here?
In justifying the stratopheric pay for cabinet ministers, the PM said that past US presidents usually earn millions from speaking engagements and book publications. I wish to remind the PM that these monies don’t come from taxpayers. They come from willing buyers/payors in a competitive private setting. By contrast, the monstrous ministerial salaries are totally funded by taxpayers money. Furthermore, the oft repeated claims that our ministers are highly talented and thus, highly sought after in the private sector should mean that they can also easily earn the same millions by writing books and from speaking engagements?? No? What about the highly lucrative board positions at numerous GLCs and statutory boards given to our ministers after they step down? What about their special pension that starts paying them $179,000/year from age 55 till death? What about the huge benefits both pecuniary and in-kind our minister’s family members derive from him being in office? One just needs to check out the positions held by spouses and children of our senior civil servants and ministers.
PM claims that only PAP has an “A Team”, but the people have witnessed that their performances have been far from “A” grade. PAP is becoming like the ill-fated Titantic ship whose captain has become complacent and aloft.
In defending the GRC concept, PM said that some of the current ministers would not be in office had they started off contesting in SMCs. The same argument should apply to opposition party candidates. How do the people know whether these candidates are as “lousy” as PM made them out to be if they are not eve given a chance to hold office? All opposition party candidates face a baptism of fire at election. Nowhere else in the world do we have a political party candidate cruising to officer without having to fight an election!!
The NUS forum wasn’t aired on national TV, so the public won’t know what questions the students raised and whether they disagreed with the PM. It would be very very sad for S”pore as a nation if our varsity students are just a bunch of unthinking yes-men.
This year, I gave written instruction that they are not to renew my card without my approval of the annual fee. UOB replied that they are not able to accede to my request. It is a condition of the credit card that it will be automatically renewed and the annual fee is $1,500. I gave instruction to cancel the card on its expiry at the end of October.
UOB Bank cancelled the card immediately, without telling me. I only knew about it when my payment of an airline ticket was rejected. This give me a bad impression of the service provided by UOB Bank.
Tan Kin Lian
I made my earlier posting not for my personal convenience, but to send a message to business organisations. Do not just think about profits. Please improve the standard of your customer service. Get your employees to spend some time to see how you can help your customers and make life convenient for them. Even if they overlook to top up their account, alert them early, so that it does not cause too much damage.
I also have a message for government agencies. Do not think only about cutting down the time spent by your staff when your cost saving result in additional work and burden for the citizen. Do not save 10 minutes of your staff time by adding 1 hour of additional time on the public. Think about the hassle that your cumbersome process is causing the citizens. Listen to their feedback.
Do not over-focus on security, beyond what is necessary and practical. Apply common sense and sound judgement. Get the right balance, so that your process is more convenient and less cumbersome.
Tan Kin Lian
My view is that the Government needs to collect sufficient tax to meet its obligations. The tax has to be collected from people with higher incomes. The idea of reducing income tax is not sustainable.
The government should also reduce its wasteful spending, especially on entitlements.However, there is a need to provide a basic level of support for elderly people and the poor. There is also a need to pay for defense, education and basic health care.
Tan Kin Lian
1. Is it good to buy CPF Life? Keyword: CPF Life
2. What is social insurance? Keyword: social insurance
It list the 15 countries with the most debt as a percentage of GDP. Singapore is listed as #7. The worst is #1 - Japan. Debt is only one side of the picture. The other side is the assets. The Singapore Government has assets that cover the debts a few times over.
For example, a large part of the debt of $300 billion (100% of GDP) represents the Government bonds issued to the CPF for the savings of Singaporeans. But these bonds are used to build HDB flats that are sold to the owners at many times of the cost price. The assets of the government includes the amounts owing by the HDB flat owners.We also have to add the assets held by Temasek, GIC and other government agencies.
Tan Kin Lian
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
When I was in Cambodia, I call the hotline of a mobile operator. The automated message said, "You are now the 6th caller on the queue. As this message gets repeated, the number keeps dropping. I was answered within a few minutes. We have to learn from Cambodia about the use of technology and customer service.
There are two ways to controlled these high fees - by imposing control over the fees or by levying a high rate of tax on these incomes. I prefer a high rate of tax, as it is easier to handle rather than levying price controls over all types of professional services.
Some people said that there is a risk of brain drain, i.e. the talented people will go to other countries. This is the argument given by proponents of the low tax and the free market. There is a flaw in this argument - as the high tax is intended to be levied on income derived within the country. How is the brain drain going to occur?
There could be a brain drain in respect of medical specialists treating rich foreigners in Singapore, as the experts can practice in other countries. We have to weigh the economic benefits of treating foreign patients in Singapore with the high fees that are being paid by our locals for these medical services. Looking at the high cost of living and services in Singapore, I prefer that to avoid earning the money from foreigners and to keep the cost of health care at an affordable level.
If we can collect more tax on high incomes, we can do away with GST (goods and services tax) entirely, and not just on essential necessities. Besides being a burden on low income people the GST is a wasteful tax, as it imposes a heavy burden and administrative expenses on businesses to collect the tax, and adds to the overall cost.of doing business.
Tan Kin Lian
1. How can I watch the videos of Suzy Orman on life insurance? Keyword: Suzy
2. What is the indisputability clause in life insurance? Keyword: indisputability
I searched online for "Apply Visa to Australia" and found a link to a website. I was surprised that it was so easy to apply online for this visa. This website was easy to use - unlike many websites of large government agencies and corporations.
I decided to search for "Apply Visa to Singapore" and found a link to this website. It was complicated to use - reflecting the convoluted process that is quite common in Singapore. I am reviewing it from the perspective of a foreigner wishing to check if a visa is needed to visit Singapore.
We need to adopt a simple approach and handle the complexity internally, instead of pushing the complexity to the public.
Tan Kin Lian
Monday, April 04, 2011
I am waiting for payment to come in - before the books can be delivered. To order, go to www.tankinlian.com/ishop.
1. How can I use Excel to calculate the yield? Keyword: Excel formulas
2. What are some examples of blatant cheating by insurance agents? Keyword: blatant cheating
Why I can't be a good MP:
1. My social circle is too homogenous - middle high income only
2. While I grew up in humble home (both dad and mom had little education and were blue collar laborers), I cannot remember the last time I have problem putting food on table
3. I have to admit I do not have what some living (and dead) Saints have, which is the ability to emphathise without themselves experience something
4. My focus is on my wife and kids (emotion part) and making sure we have enough to see kids thru University (the financial part). Being not good at multi-tasking (or I call it anyhow do everything), I don't think I can manage the important job as an MP and still do my day job properly.
To conclude, I do not think I know enough how our poorer people is suffering to be useful to assist them and that I do not think I have enough capacity to do a good job as an MP and at the same time take care of my family's emotional and financial needs. I wonder how our MPs do it. I wonder further why the new candidates are so confident they can do it.
Recently my father (who is now 78 year old) received a letter from income to pay a sum of $400 plus in cash due to medisave can deduct up to maximum of $800 only. That meant the premium of this policy is $1200 plus per year for Medishield Plan B.
Usually I will help to pay for my father, but from the past years only need to pay $200 plus but this time might be due to age group different need to pay higher( $400 plus ).
Why does Medisave set a limit of $800, as senior citizens sure have problem paying in cash. How Do you think about this kind of policy?
Your father can move to Medishield and pay a lower premium (compared to private Shield) up to age 80.
Beyond age 80, there is no point in going for expensive health care, as it is not likely to do much for an elderly patient - as it can be very costly, whether as insurance or paid out of Medisave.
Elderly patients (and their family members) should decide on what can or cannot be done, rather than spend the money unnecessarily in medical fees. Insurance may encourage people to spend unnecessarily. There is no point in treating certain illness at an advanced age.
Sunday, April 03, 2011
A friend from Sg just visited my wife in HK and below is a brief summary of her experience in Sg for the past few years:
1. Felt like a minority in a university where she is teaching. Majority of her students are foreigners.
2. A junior colleage are recruiting up to 33% students outside of Sg, mainly from vietnam in an aim to boost the college results.
It saddens me that schools funded by public are no longer meant for citizens but to create opportunities for others. I have nothing against foreigner (I myself came from HK) but my existence do not create an opportunity cost for the citizens of HK, however Sgreans who could have gotten a proper education in Sg may now be deprived of a place.
Sg is a country with such a short history and i have concerns that true blue Sgreans may soon be history. I felt like I have served my NS in vain and I know of others who feel the same and unfortunately they do not have options elsewhere.
I have all along arranged for my GIRO transactions to be deducted through my POSB account. When the money runs down, I top up the account from my main account. Recently, due to an oversight, I forgot to top up my POSB account - and the money run out. Nobody from DBS called me - not the RM nor anybody else. They also did not send an e-mail to me.
When I realised the problem, several of my GIRO transactions had been rejected. Even IRAS cancelled my GIRO and asked me to pay property tax in advance, threatening to levy a fine for late payment of tax.
But I do receive phone calls from all types of people wanting to market their products to me. This is the practice in Singapore - businesses are interested only to market their products, but failed to provide customer service.
When will Singapore leaders wake up to this sad state of affairs - a country where most people are greedy to chase profits, higher salaries and commission!. They forget their responsibility to their customers or to the citizens! Sigh!
I visited you new ishop and find it easy to use, much better than the old ishop (which was quite confusing and buggy - pardon my saying so). I like the attractive discount that you are giving on your books, including the new books that are now selling at the book stores.
However, I like to make an observation. The handling charge has now been increased to $3 (compared to $1 in the past - if I remember correctly). So, the discount of $3 on your new book is offset by the high handling charge).
You pay one handling charge for each order, regardless of the number of books that you buy. So, you will enjoy a bigger discount when you buy a few books in one order. You should consider buying books on behalf of your friends - to enjoy the discount.
The handling charge is inclusive of postage. If you have bought books from Amazon or other online book stores in America, you will find the handling charge to be $20 or more - so the handling charge of $3 is still quite small. Even if you drive to the bookstores, the parking fee will be more than $3.
It is better to buy online. It is more convenient and cheaper.
Read TKL website or click here.
Our lives were governed by the Ten Commandments, good judgment, and common sense.
We were taught to know the difference between right and wrong and to stand up and take responsibility for our actions.
Serving your country was a privilege; living in this country was a bigger privilege.
Having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with your cousins.
Time-sharing meant time the family spent together in the evenings and weekends-not purchasing condominiums.
1. How can I learn about insurance without going through an agent? Keyword: educated about insurance
2. How can a young person approach financial planning? Keyword: for the young
Singaporeans have a poor sense of humor. SM Goh Chok Tong posted a frivolous comment about Tin Pei Ling in his Marine Parade post book.
But, many people thought that he was serious. I can excuse the ordinary Singaporeans from lacking sense of humor and attribute it to our serious but flawed education system. But, for the journalists of the SPH to fall into this trap and ask for his comments - this reflects the poor quality of our journalists! Why can't SPH recruit journalists who are more streetwise, rather than be so naive? Ha ha!
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04/03 - 04/10
- Easy Ads
- PAP leaders and contradiction
- Cartoons by Wing Lee Cheong
- Tsunami flatten town in minutes
- Cheating and enforcement of the law
- Booking a flight
- Financial Savvy Test #19
- Australia rejects SGX-ASX merger
- Malicious spyware - Internet Protection
- Free Look Period for Life Insurance Policy
- Financial Savvy Test #18
- Exchange with a customer care manager
- Financial Savvy Test #17
- Better Business Practices
- Open letter to SM Goh
- David Marshall - the joy of public service
- $150 to process a refund
- Expensive credit card
- Logic Box
- Health insurance in USA
- Rebuttal to points made at Kent Ridge Ministerial ...
- Bad experience with UOB Bank
- Service recovery by DBS Bank
- Zeitgeist movie and Tommy Wong’s book
- Funding the US Government
- Financial Savvy Test #16
- New candidates
- Countries with the most debts
- How big can become small
- Video on iShop
- Video on FISCA website
- Unfair transactions
- Customer service at call center
- Extremely high salaries and brain drain
- Financial Savvy Test #15
- Street Wise
- Apply for Visa to Australia
- Post office and financial product
- Wisdom on how to live life
- Financial Planning Test
- Register for a job
- New iShop - orders received
- Extremely high earnings
- Financial Savvy Test #14
- Create agency to help retirees find jobs
- Why I can't be a good MP
- Limit of $800 on Shield insurance
- Loss of identity for Sg
- Worker's Party
- HDB Flat - Price and quality
- Poor service from DBS Bank
- New ishop is easier to order books
- How old is grandpa?
- Financial Savvy Test #13
- Financial planning and life insurance books
- Tongue in cheek posting
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