Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Unsatisfactory happenings with Uber

I encountered a few unsatisfactory happenings with Uber.

I called a UberX this morning. The app showed my pickup address is my home, which is correct. It showed that a car would arrive in 5 minutes.

I waited for the car for 25 minutes. During this interval, the app showed the arrival time as 2 min, 1 min, 3 min, etc. Finally, the driver called me and said that he is waiting for me at the pickup point which is a different location. I don't know why Uber gave him a wrong geo location (instead of my address). The driver than canceled the booking.

I found next that Uber charged me $6 for the canceled booking. I went through the app to get a refund. The app accepted the request and said that a refund of $6 would be given to me as a credit to be used for the next trip. It should appear in my app under Payment.

I went to check the credit. It did not appear.

There were two previous occasions where this "disappeared credit" had occurred. Two months ago, I canceled a booking after discovering that Uber gave a wrong pickup point (as their GPS was not working correctly). The charged a few of $6 to me and later give me a refund after my explanation. The refund appear in my account but disappeared after a few days.

I used Uber in Malaysia. The driver canceled the booking after 20 min. I reported to Uber and they credited MYR 5 to me. The credit never appeared in my account.
I had a difficult time to contact Uber on these issues. I find their business practice to be unsatisfactory.

Issue official mobile phones to policemen on patrol

The Police is issuing mobile phones to its personnel on the front line.

This is a good idea. A mobile phone is needed today, just like a pistol or baton is needed as a standard equipment for a policeman on patrol.

It will also be possible for the control center to know where the policeman is at any time, and whether they are on the move as they should be.

There could be abuse, i.e. the policeman would be browsing the social media or listening to music or making personal calls when they should be working, but this risk is already present, as they could be using their personal mobile phones.

These unathorised activities could be better monitored with the official phones.

Dealing with fake news

Governments around the world are addressing the issue of fake news. They are targeting the Internet giants, such as Facebook, Google and Yahoo. I think that this is a fair approach.


These giants are big enough to deal with the governments on what is "fake new" and "honest opinions".

The challenge is how to stop the spread of "fake news" after it has gone viral. The platform operator may delete the source of the fake news but they have to trace it all the way down the distribution chain.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Unhappy with lower payout under AIA policies

All my life I have believed in the concept of insurance, and that it can help when I am have falling ill or provide relief for my children when I finally leave this world behind.

I am writing an utterly bitter experience with AIA so those of you who consider insuring yourself with them, can hopefully benefit from my unfortunate incident. 

Let me share a little bit about my mother with you. She used to make coffee for a living, not rich but very thrifty; supporting the livelihood of 7 children. She loved her children and grandchildren with all her heart. 


Wisdom of the Crowd issues and results

The results of the voting on these issues are now ready for viewing:

1. What is the best age to get married?
2. Will you get help to find a suitable partner?
3. Do you agree with the proposed ban on advertising for baby milk powder?

You can view the results in www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/result.aspx

JustGrab fare is misleading

JustGrab fare is misleading and is 50% higher than the return journey.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Improve the user experience for online transactions

Singapore has been very slow in adopting online processes. Many countries, such as China or Japan, are miles ahead of us.

I blame the Monetary Authority of Singapore and other government agency for this sad situation. They are too concerned about security and have introduced impractical processes and steps that discourage the public from using online processes.

Here are the reasons why it is difficult to use online proceses in Singapore and the simple steps that can be taken to remove these obstacles.

Lower the price of baby milk powder

What can the government do to set the environment for the free market to bring down the prices of baby milk powder? They have taken the step to ban the advertising of the premium products. Perhaps they should take additional steps.


Investment policy of GIC and Temasek Holdings

How should GIC and Temasek conduct its investment policy?

Here is a view from a fund manager. I agree with him.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ridiculous and inconsiderate process by CDP

I wish to share this ridiculous and inconsiderate process by the Central Depository (CDP) of Singapore Exchange.

I am embarassed to say it, but this is typical of the mindless approach adopted by many large organizations in Singapore.


This young man ask if he should be insured under an Early Stage Critical Illness insurance

Hi Mr Tan,
Recently I faced a dilemma whether should I continue my AXA Early Stage CI or not which covers me until 75 for a guaranteed fixed $1,246.50 annually inclusive of GST.

This is especially so when comparing with the rates offered by SAF Aviva Living Care and Living Care Plus program.

I am a student, age 26. I will be graduating soon.

Thomson View townhouse available for rental 1 Jan 2018

Thomson View townhouse available for rental 1 Jan 2018. You can watch the video.


If you wish to list your property for rental, click on Register and follow the instructions. Listing is FREE.

This portal allows you to show a video of your property (hosted on Youtube). It allows the prospective tenants to view the property without a physical viewing.

To search for properties to rent, go to www.tklcloud.com/leasing

Monday, May 15, 2017

Two buses arrive in a convoy

When I arrived at the bus stop in Upper Thomson Road, I checked the app for the arrival time of Bus 163. It said 14 minutes.

I was looking out for Bus 163 when I walked towards the bus stop for 2 minutes. So, the gap must be 16 minutes.

I wondered - will there be a "ghost bus" that will arrive within the next 14 minutes? This is a bus that has a failed GPS tracker.

The next 2 buses for service 163 arrived in a convoy after 14 minutes.

With the modern technology, we are still have buses arriving in a convoy? Surely, these buses could be tracked and directed to maintain a gap in arrival times?

I wonder if LTA is paying attention to the big data that they collect on the bus arrival time. Surely, they could spot these problems and rectify them?

Why spend so many million dollars for advanced system and not use the data analysis to improve the service standard?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Investing for the long term - two stories

I have exceptionally good luck on two major investments. It was helped by the principle of "investing for the long term". If the market is bad, we can wait. When it reaches a peak, we can take a good profit.

Should I buy a larger flat on my first purchase?

Mr. Tan,
The government allows a citizen to buy a new flat (BTO) at a subsidized price and a second flat in the future at a subsidized price, i.e. each citizen is allowed the subsidy for 2 purchases.

Many people have bought a new flat and sold it many years later to make a profit. They can then buy the flat a second time.

Should I buy a larger flat (up to 7 years of salary) as I will have the chance to make a large profit on its sale?

Read my reply here:

12.45% return

Dear Mr Tan,
Recently I enquired about a 12.45% interest, 6-year structured deposit as advertised by OCBC bank.

Some people may be misled to think that the return is 12.45% per year. It is the total return for 6 years, so the annual return is only 2% per annum.

There are also some other factors that the investor should take into account. The capital is guaranteed but the interest rate is not.

Read more about this product in

Suggestion to take somebody's lunch

How does the Crowd view the suggestion by PM Lee to "take somebody's lunch"?

You can see the results of their votes here. A vast majority has a better suggestion for PM Lee. Read it.

Has GST been good for the economy?

Has GST been good for the economy? If not, what is the damage that it has caused?

A vast majority of the Crowd has spoken! And they have given a clear statement of its worst impact! Read here:

Saturday, May 13, 2017

DINK - double income, no kid

Singapore has been dealing with this problem for three decades. Many people are remaining unmarried or have decided to have no children. In Japan, they are called DINK - the spouses have double income, i.e. both are working, but no kids. Many Singaporeans are DINKS.

One key factor is the financial challenges. But there are other challenges that have to be addressed, from the social or personal angles.

What are the problems? Give your vote on the marriage issues in www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg.

Received all six book prizes

Some participants have submitted more than 60 votes and received all the six book prizes shown here.

You can also receive these prizes by participating in

Independent expert to evaluate financial products

I have updated this article to show how the use of an independent expert can help consumers to avoid the financial products that give them a poor return and take unfair advantage of their ignorance to benefit the financial instituion. In layman terms, the financial insitution is "ripping off" the consumer.

Read this article.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Have a restful and peaceful vacation

For Singaporeans who live in a crowded city every day, a short break in a farm can be quite relaxing and a good change. You do not need to go all the way to Australia or New Zealand to have this experience.

You can visit a farm in Malacca. It offers a restful and peaceful enviroment and a change to really relax. What's more, you can enjoy the best in our local food, Malacca style.

What's more. It is so inexpensive, compared to staying in a farm in Aussieland.

Where to stay? Try this.

How to avoid bad financial products

Many life insurance policies sold in the market are bad for consumers. They should be avoided.
Which are the products that are acceptable, and which are not?

Join FISCA (www.fisca.sg/register.aspx) and have access to the product analysis that you can find here:


If your product has not been analyzed, you can send the benefit illustration to me (kinlian@gmail.com) for it to be analyzed.

Questions on marriage

What is the best age for young people to get married, leaving aside the financial challenges? Should they search for a spouse on their own, or get help from friends, parents or a professional counsellor (or matchmaker)?

Give your views in www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Change will take time

Many Singaporeans have a mindset that is based on "black or white". The education minister Ong Ye Kung said that skills are as important as a degree. A few people - "In that case, why does the public service ask for a degree for their jobs?"

Read my views here:

Get independent expert to verify advertised claims

The regulator is putting up a new regulation to stop manufacturers from making nutritional and health claims when they advertised their products.

This is necessary, as consumers have no way to verify the reliability of the advertised claims.

However, this ban has its negative aspects, as the advertisers will not be able to bring out the special features of their products, if these are true.

The regulators can take another approach. Read here:

Should schools start later?

There was a report that Nanyang Girls started school 45 mins later than other schools to give their students more time to sleep. This seemed to work well.

Should other schools make this change? Give your view and vote in www.wisdomofthecrowd.aspx

Errant claims on CHAS

There was a news report that some clinics were suspended for making "errant claims" for non-existent consultations under the CHAS (community health assistance scheme). Were these mistakes or deliberate attempts to cheat the government?

Should doctors who deliberately cheat on the CHAS be charged for cheating? Give your views here: www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Right to free speech

Many people think that they have the "ight to free speech" and that this right is absolute. They are not aware that this right has to be balanced by responsibility towards other people in society. Read here:


You do not need a degree for many jobs

Many people hold the view that a degree is necessary and is a basic requirement for a career in the future.

I agree to some extent. A degree is necessary for certain types of jobs. It is not necessary for many other jobs in the economy, now and in the future.

A degree is costly in time and money. It will take 3 years of a person's time. It will cost a lot of money.

Read my views here:

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The troll who cried

A few years ago, I encountered a troll who kept attacking me mindlessly. At that time, Facebook did not provide the facility to ban the troll.

I told him that he brought shame to his parents who did not teach him any manners and to respect other people.

His reaction surprised me. He told me that he was deeply hurt by my comments and cried. His mother had passed away recently. I should not blame his mother for his behavior.

I felt sorry for him for a while. I wondered - if he is so sensitive, why did he enjoy hurting other people by his senseless behavior?

I wonder how many trolls (aka idiots) that I have banned from my page are like him - deeply sensitive, feeling deeply hurt when they are attacked back, but have no regard for the feelings of other people?

I know that this behavior can be found all over the world. I don't know if the behavior of our people is worse than those of other cultures, but I will say that it is most deplorable.

Alternative to getting a degree

Over the past years, I have seem many people who do not make the grade to be accepted into local universities, still have the dream to pursue a degree. Their parents support them financially and send them to overseas universities.


Buy a recumbent gym bike

Failure of the education system

Some people have the mistaken notion that "free speech" gives them the right to give to other people's Facebook page and insult them directly and meaninglessly. They find it "fun" to be a troll. When they are banned from that page, they complained that they were only expressing their view and the right to "free speech" is being denied.

This is a sad reflection of the failure of the education system, of parenting and of society. After spending a large part of the national budget on education, we get many people who are uneducated, ill mannered, uncouth and are absolute idiots.

Read more:

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Product Analysis - life insurance policies

Dear Mr. Tan
Is Vivolife a good policy? It came from the company that you use to run.

Go to www.fisca.sg, click on Article, then type in Vivolife.

You will get a review here:

If you want to view the analysis on other policies, just type in the name of the policy. Or go to the tab "Product Analysis".

Learn about insurance through videos

Dear Mr. Tan,

I am worried to read about the many cases of rejected claims. After paying so much premium for "peace of mind", I don't know if I will be covered when something really happens to me. What is your advice?

Watch the educational videos in www.tankinlian/video.aspx . You will learn the tips on what types of insurance to buy and what to avoid. You should watch all the videos over a few days. You may have to watch the videos a few times to understand the underlying message.

Sorry, there is no short cut. It is better to equip yourself with the knowledge to make the right decision.

Ministers who don't reply to emails

I spoke to a friend, who is around my age, early this morning.

She was most annoyed with the attitude of our ministers. They don't reply to her emails.

She mentioned specifically Tharman S, Lee HL and Teo CH. I told her that many people liked Tharman but she had a very different opinion.

She liked K Shanmugaratnam, who is in touch with what is happening and is willing to help on her issues. I wonder if this is personal to her.

I agree with her that most ministers just ignored emails sent to them. They are arrogant. They also do not reply to my emails or even acknowledged them. They have so many assistants and are not able to give a simple reply?

In contrast, I always reply to emails (except spam marketing emails). Here is an example that someone remembered for more than ten years.

Prompt reply and personal attention

I believe in giving a prompt reply to an email (except for spam advertising mail). I received this email today.

Hello Mr Tan
I just recently realised that your email address is on Facebook and would like to write you this note.
(I had no idea how to write to you after you left Income)

Years ago when I was a university student, I was a member of Income Car Co-Op. You were still the CEO of NTUC Income back then. (I am now almost 40 years old, and I was around 22-23 years old back then).

Guess what he said:

Unified point of sale terminal

Finally, serveral parties in Singapore are working on a unified point of sale terminal.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Constitutionality of legislation on elected president

Dr Tan Cheng Bok has confirmed that the court will be hearing his application to determine the constitutionality of the legislation passed in Parliament. I like to wish him success and all the best in this effort.


High Speed Rail between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur

Earlier, it appeared that China will get the contract to build the HSR between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Recent developments cast some doubts about it. The contract to build Bandar Malaysia (where China Rail was a partner) was cancelled by the Malaysian Government.

Which country will win the contract? Give your vote in www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Changes to the Elected President

The majority of the people voting in The Wisdom of the Crowd prefer the previous system of elected president that existed for 20 years during the tenure of President Ong, President Nathan and President Tan.

They do not like the recent changes to the Elected President.

See their votes in the chart below.

You can view their votes on other issues at www.wisdomofthecrowd.result.aspx

Wisdom of the Crowd book

This book explains the development and concept of the website.

Only 30% of local students are allowed to enter the local universities

Is it a right policy for the government to set a cap of 30% for each cohort to enter the local universities?

Give your vote in www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Barack Obama and the French Presidential election

Former president Barack Obaman endorsed Macron for the French Presidency. Is he interefering in French politics? Should be avoid doing so?

Give your views in www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Fraud involving E Pass

Is the government aware about the fraud involving E Pass? This abuse was quite rampant a few years ago. Has it been curbed?

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Buying life insurance with an averse medical history

Hi Mr Tan
I would like to seek your opinion on this insurance matter. I have a past history of high blood pressure and trying to get a term insurance with CI, TPD and death or even an early CI if possible for around 10 years. However those companies who I went to either don't cover me or just propose a term insurance only covering death. In your opinion, what is my best option to be covered as there are so many different kinds of insurance available.

The answer can be found here:

TKL Speech - Finding a job

Mr Tan

Your speech on Labour Day 2017 is very informative and practical. Singaporeans will benefit from it. The link is here.

Labour Day 2017 (Tan Kin Lian) - Jobs for Singaporeans First

Have a good day
Chee Meng

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Improve productivity with Visa Paywave

I had dinner at a restaurant at Aperia Mall in Kallang Bahru. I went to pay by credit card.

I asked the cashier if I could pay by Visa Paywave. They do not provide this facility.

The cashier told me that she had used Visa Paywave before as a customer, but it took a long time to print the receipt. She does not know why her restaurant did not want to introduce Visa PayWave.

My son said that he frequently paid by Visa Paywave, but there was no delay in getting the receipt.

Visa had introduce PayWave for a few years already. The adoption was very slow.

Most people are still paying by cash or credit card. The credit card had to be connected to the bank (for credit approval) and the customer have to sign the receipt. This is time consuming.

Visa Paywave would have reduced the time and increased the productivity of the cashier. But it is not widely implemented.

This is sad. There is the facility to improve our productivity and reduce our cost. But the business community is not responding to it.

Time for us to learn from China

When I first visited China in 1987, they were very poor and backward. Singapore was way ahead.

30 years later, China became very advanced. In many areas, they are ahead of Singapore.

Singapore has also progressed but not to the same extent. In fact, we continued with many unproductive and wasteful practices that make us high cost and uncompetitive.

PM Lee blame the Singaporeans. I think he and his ministers shoulder the greater share of the blame.

We need to have the energy and innovation that now characterized China. It is time for us to wake up and realize that we are far behind.

We cannot continue to think that we are "the best". We have slipped a few notches. We now have to learn from China.

Giving some excuse

My server in the Cloud was not responding. I logged into their website to reboot the server. It did not accept my password. I had encountered a similar problem before. At that time, it was due to some problem in their Cloud software. Coud it have happened again?

I called Starhub to report the situation. The staff asked me to hold the line.

A while later, the server was restored and started working well. When the staff came back, I told him that the service is now okay.

Starhub - Thank you. Is there anything else that I can do for you?
TKL - Can you ask your backend to check if the there was a disruption of the Cloud service earlier and they had to reboot their software to restore it?
Starhub - (gave some excuse why this could not be done).
TKL - You asked me if there is anything that you can do for me. I asked you to check what had happened. If you are not willing to do so, it is okay with me. Bye.

It would have been better for him to take my message and conveyed it, rather than give some excuse to block my request.

Structural obstacles to employ Singaporeans

Instead of asking Singaporeans to "steal another person's lunch", the PM should look into what are the structural obstacles that make it difficult for Singaporeans to get a job and to stay employed.

I like to pass the following points to him. I hope that one of his loyalists will help to convey this message.


Accident claim rejected due to Parkinson's disease

My father in-law purchased an accident plan with reimbursements from two insurance companies. Later on in life, he was diagnosed with mild Parkinson's. Late last year, he had a fall while trying to open his house door. He was hospitalised for hip replacement surgery. In his two policies, he is entitled to claim for reimbursement for the accident and there are specific percentages specified for various fractures or injuries. One insurance company has replied that they cannot pay the claim because of Parkinson's.

Can I ask for your opinion? Is the insurer right in rejecting the claim?


Monday, May 01, 2017

Should I buy long term care insurance (supplement to Eldershield)

A consumer asked me - I am covered under permant total disability under a term insurance policy. Should I buy long term care insurance (i.e. private eldershield)?

He is asking the wrong question. The correct question should be - do I need to buy long term care insurance? Am I paying a fair premium? What is the chance of making a claim? Should I be insured, or self-insured?

The anser can be found in this article in the FISCA website - should I buy a supplement to Eldershield?


My view on the FAS saga

I wish to share my observation on the saga involving the Football Assocation of Singapore and the donation of $500,000 for the development of the football management system under the FAS?

Was there some irregularities or even fraud? Who were the parties involved?

My views can be read here:

Difference between long term care and permanent total disability

A consumer bought a term insurance policy (which also covers permanent total disability) and a private Eldershield policy. He asked me if there is redundant coverage.

It is difficult to answer his question. Actually, he is asking the wrong question - most consumers ask the wrong question anyway.

Here is an explanation of the issue and the answer to his complicated and wrong question:

Issues with longer term impact on Government policies

Some of the issues voted in the Wisdom of the Crowd have longer term impact on the government policies for Singapore. You can read the voting on these selected issues at

PM Lee - how about creating jobs for Singaporeans?

To PM Lee,
Sure, the economy is picking up, but jobs are going to foreigners, right?

Why don't you get your manpower minister to find ways to create jobs for locals? He can take some tips from my article here. He does not have to pay any $$$ to me for these tips, okay?

Sentence meted out in the City Harvest Church case

The majority of the Crowd wants to original sentence meted to the accused in the City Harvest Church case to be increased. Another significant proportion wants it to be maintained. A small percentage agree with the reduced sentence given out by the court of appear. This is bad news for the accused. You can view the detailed vote in www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/result.aspx

GST is killing Singapore.

GST has been very bad for Singapore. We have been going down a slippery slope for the past three decades since the introduction of GST. During this time, the cost of doing business has increased and Singapore has become uncompetitive globally. While GST is not the only cause of this decline, as there are other factors, it does play a major part.

I blame Lee HL and Teo CH for introducing this disease to Singapore three decades ago.

Here are my reasons:

Sunday, April 30, 2017

May Day Talk - how to find a job

I have been asked by Gilbert Goh to give a speech on May Day. It will be held at an indoor venue - not Hong Lim Park. The audience are mainly people who have lost their jobs and have problem in getting a similar job.

I am giving the points in this article. I will be asking them to realize the facts of the case and to make a change.

They can drive a taxi or Uber car, or they can accept any of the jobs that are in demand, although these do not pay well now and the working conditions are not good. The pay and work conditions can improve.


Are you satisfied with the MRT system?

Slightly more than 50% of the voters, i.e. the Crowd, are dissatisfied with the MRT system. See the chart below.

You can view more details of the voting on this issue and on other issues at www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/result.aspx

You can also submit your vote and win a prize after every 10 votes. Details of the prizes can be found at:

You can vote at www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

Friday, April 28, 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Election to the Council of the Football Association of Singapore

The election will be held on 29 April, in 2 days time. Which team will win the election? Give your vote here: www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg

.NET Developer

I have a vacancy for a developer who is familiar with Microsoft .NET C# or VB. Interested party can send resume to kinlian@gmail.com.

Bus schedule in great disorder

I missed bus 163 by less than a minute when I arrived at Upper Thomson Road.  The app shows the next bus arriving after 14 minutes. This was strange, as the interval during peak hours is about 8 minutes.

The next bus arrived after 30 minutes. During this interval, about four buses under other services passed the stop - service 52, 410, 165, 980. Where is bus 163?

The bus schedule and punctuality must be in disorder. Why is this the case? We have technology to monitor the punctuality of the buses and the occupancy rate. If the buses are full, the Land Transport Authority should ask for more buses to be added. But, they do not seem to know. They probably did not analyze the data.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The future for Uber

Uber incurred a loss of $2.2 billion (USD) in 2015 and the loss is expected to increase to $3 billion in 2016. Many observers said that their current business model is not sustainable. Some people speculated that the future for Uber is driverless cars. I do not think this is necessary.

I have confidence in the future of Uber. They have to incur an initial loss to build up their brand and market share in many cities around the world. They pay attractive incentives to get drivers to join the scheme. They keep their prices low to attract the customers.

Read more:

Monday, April 24, 2017

Do not accept verbal explanation from the staff.

Dear Mr Tan,

Recently I enquired about a 12.45% interest, 6-year structured deposit as advertised by OCBC bank. The OCBC staff who attended to me explained that not only is the capital guaranteed after a tenure of 6 years, the interests paid out every 6 months are also guaranteed, provided there is no early termination by the bank and it remains solvent.

See more details here:

Investment tips for uncertain times

A consumer (Mr. J) came to consult me. He had bad experience with the two private bankers. One was a local person and the other was an expatriate. Over the years, they had advised him to invest in certain stocks. The results had been disastrous. He made losses on these investments.

He asked for my advice on how he should invest his money. I gave him the following tips:

Relative performance of the ministers

Do you have any comments on the performance score of any of the minister shown here?

Why do some ministers perform better than the others, based on the voting of the Crowd? Do you know of any special factor about the attitude or approach of the minister?

This is a self selected sample and do not purport to be representative of the population. However, when it comes to the relative scores of the minsiter, the bias in the self selected sample, has been  reduced to a large extent.

Performance score of PM and 2 DPMs

The performance score of the PM and 2 DPMs are available now, based on voting by the Crowd.

As expected, DPM Tharman is quite popular, but where does PM Lee and DPM Teo stand, relative to the other ministers?

You can view the score at

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Why I choose Uber over Grab

I used to call GrabTaxi for my ride to the airport.

I now use UberPool. Here are my reasons:

1. I can get a car faster and it is much cheaper ($15 instead of $25 on a taxi).
2. Uber deducts the fare automatically from my credit card. No cash payment.
3. My Uber account can be used in other cities - not just Singapore.

I know that Grab is trying very hard to provide the same service as Uber. But Grab seems to be introducing many platforms - while Uber uses a common platform for their shared and exclusive service. 

I also like the abiilty to use Uber in other cities.

My view about the sentence meted to the convicted leaders of City Harvest Church

Should the convicted leaders of City Harvest be punished severely for their crimes?

I wish to give my personal views on this matter. I know that many people in Singapore will not agree with my views, but I like to express it nevertheless.


Have empathy for people in distress

One of the convicted leaders in the City Harvest Church case was seen crying in court.

The journalist asked her, "How do you feel".
The husband of the convict replied to the journalist, "What do you think"?

I have empathy with the convicted person, her hushand and family. Their lives and future will be destroyed by a mistake that she had made. It was a mistake because she probably felt honestly that she was promoting a good cause for the church and was not benefitting financially from that decision.

The question posed by the journalist probably reflect the attitude of many people in our society. They seemed to be enjoying the circus, without regard to the lives of the people who were directly affected.

What does the Crowd think about Lim Hng Kiang?

The performance score for trade minister Lim Hng Kiang is now available for viewing. A surprise! He performed quite well, in spite of being rather quiet over the years.


What will happen in North Korea?

What will happen to North Korea? I posed this question last week at the height of the tension between North Korea and America. The majority of the Crowd said "Nothing. Things will return to normal". They are right, as nothing happened last week.
The next highest vote is for "North Korea will continue to provoke America until Donald Trump loses his patience". Will it happen?


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Is the coverage redundant?

I am currently insured under a 10 year Term insurance policy which covers death and permanent total disability. Total disability is defined as "complete and continuous inability of the Insured at that time and at all times thereafter to engage in any business or occupation or perform any work of any kind for remuneration or profit"

I am also covered under a supplementary Eldershield policy which pays on severe Disability. This is defined as "inability of the Life Assured to perform at least 3 of the following activities of daily living, even with the aid of special equipment and always to require the physical assistance of another person throughout the entire activity (washing, dressing, feeding, toileting, mobility, transferring).

Is the coverage under Eldershield redundant? If I am able to claim under Eldershield, would I also qualify to claim for permanent total disability under the Term insurance policy?

My reply is given here:

Changing money at Changi Airport

I share this experience of changing money at Changi Airport. It will be damaging for the reputation of Singapore. We take a few decades to build up a good reputation, but this is now being destroyed. Once destroyed, it will take a decade to regain it.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Retirement income poilcy

I analyzed a retirement income policy recently and was surprised that it is just a fixed term annuity and not a life annuity. The yield on the policy is between 0% to 4%. (Actually, it is difficult to calculate the yield as there are so many uncertainties and variables).

The policyholder could have obtained a better return by investing on his or her own in an indexed fund.

What is the value of this retirement income policy to the consumer? Virtually none! It's value is to create a way for the agent to earn a high commission and the insurance company to make a large profit, at the expense of the consumer.


Election of Jakarta Governor - relevance for Singapore

Jakarta is holding the 2nd round election of the governor today.
The top two contestants in the 1st run (Ahok team and Anies team) will now participate in the 2nd round election. Good luck to both teams.

Indonesia has a good system to elect their governors. If the 1st run does not produce a clear majority of 50%, the top two candidates will compete in the 2nd round.

Singapore should adopt this system for the election of the Elected President. This will ensure that the final person who is elected has the votes of more than half of the voters.

The worst case is to have an Elected President who won through a walkover, right?

Performance score for minister Yakoob Ibrahim

The performance of minister Yaacob Ibrahim is now ready for viewing. What is his average score compared to the other ministers? You can see the results here:

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

TKL websites

The new normal under LHL government

I visited the health center at Grassroots Club.

TKL - Are all the facilities working today>
Staff - Yes.
TKL - What about the cold pool?
Staff - Oh, it is still out of order.
TKL - You said that all facilities are working?
Staff - The cold pool is out of order. The rest are all working.
TKL - ?????

Okay, this is the new normal under LHL government. We do not count those out of order, okay? Like train breakdown now and then - don't count okay? The rest are all working.

Win attractive prizes by voting here

Vote on 10 issues at the Crowd website and win an attractive prize - Financial Planning for Young People (usual prize $6). Win a new prize for each additional 10 votes. www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/page/115.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Pay premium over a shorter period

Mr. Tan
An insurance agent advised me to buy a life insurance policy with a premium payment period of 15 years. He said that I should not pay for a longer period, in case I lose my job.

What is your advice?

This requires a more detailed explanation. Read this article

Relative performance of six ministers

The voting on ministers have now closed - Khaw BW, K Shanmugan, Lim SS, Gan KY, Ng EH and Chan CS. Which minister performed best among them? Which minister performed the worst?

Make a guess and then check the results at

Performance score of ministers

The weighted average of the performance score for the ministers can now be viewed at www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/perf.aspx.

Do you agree with the votes of the Crowd?

This is based on a self-selected sample and is not reflected of the views of the population.

Performance of defense minister

How did the Crowd vote the performance of defence minister Ng Eng Hen?

Not bad, compared to their votes for the other ministers that were voted earlier.

You can see the weighted average score of the ministers at www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/perf.aspx (now under development).

Lee HL as Elected President?

Issue - If Lee HL stand for elected President after retiring as PM, will the people vote for him?

You can view the voting of the Crowd at

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Buy an annuity

Mr. Tan
Do you have any tips on which type of annuity to buy, and which to avoid?

You can search for "Annuity" at www.fisca.sg.
Here is the link:

Prizes - two spiritual books

You have been receiving financial books as prizes for submitting votes in the Crowd website.

The next two books, after reaching 40 votes, will be spiritual books. It will be a refreshing change.

Several participants will be eaching this level soon.

An alternative way to award jobs - lesson for Singapore

Singapore relies on the tender system to award jobs. This has some advantages, but the disadvantages are often overlooked. We are now seeing the outcome of this bad approach - low quality of work, delay in completion and high cost.

Is there an alternative method of awarding jobs? There is, and it has proved to be successful in several fields.


Candidate for a reserved presidential election

What should be the criteria for a candidate to qualify under a reserved presidential election?

Should both parents come from the reserved ethnic group? Is it acceptable if one one parent come from the reserved group, i.e. a mixed marriage? Should the spouse also come from the reserved group?

You can see the results of the voting by the Crowd here:

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Smart nation needs a smart approach

We spend tens, maybe hundreds of million dollars on big IT initiatives, but do not seem to get them to work?

I think that our approach is wrong. We just want to be "leading edge" in technology. It is better to be "leading edge" in common sense applications. For example, if the government decide to use email for official correspondence, it would go a lot of good to get the nation to be "smart".

They have a paranoid fear that email could be hacked. So what? In most cases, the emails are not top secret. Even physical mail can be hijacked during the delivery, right?


How to write better SOP

Our government agencies and big organizations in Singapore should learn from the lesson of United Airlines. It is dangerous to get the staffs to rely on SOP to the extent that they forget about common sense.

Singapore stands a bigger risk because it is standard practice to adopt SOP in the Singapore Armed Forces. All male citizens are conditioned to think SOP for two years. It became ingrained in their mindset.

There is a simple way to avoid this kind of problem that can lead to disastrous consequences. Just take a tip from me.

How should a retiree invest his cash?

Dear Mr. Tan
I have invested in some ETF and REITs and very little on blue chips etc.
In this current scenario of low interest, what would be the best options if I have some cash ( say around 200K)
I wouldn't want to put all the eggs in one basket. Buying a private property will not be on my wish list as I felt the prices are too high.
Buying a brand new car has been on my thoughts these few months but it's not worthwhile to commit 100K cash to a four wheeler.
I am nearing 60 yrs old and would like to best manage and invest and spent my hard earned dollars.
Looking forward to your advice.

My reply can be found here:

Should we have a reserved election for the Elected President?

A big majority of the Crowd does not like the concept of the reserved election for the Elected President.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Tips on buying Term Insurance

I have given some useful tips for how you can buy the suitable term of term insurance coverage for your needs using the Compare First website.

My tips include:
1. What is the term of the policy (I suggest 20 to 25 years)
2. What is the sum insured (I suggest 5 years of income)
3. Choice of level or reducing term coverage?
4. Should you include critical ilness coverage?

My reaons for these choices are explained in the artilcle.

This article is available for the public for 14 days only. After that, it will only be available for FISCA members.

Should you buy a supplementary for your long term care insurance?

Eldershield is an insurance policy that pays a monthly benefit to the policyholder who has a long term disability and needs long term care from a care giver. Some insurance companies have offered a supplementary to Eldershield. It pays an additional monthly benefit to supplement what is paid by Eldershield.

Should you buy the supplement? Here is an analysis of the MyCare policy provided by Aviva. They are one of the active providers of this supplementary insurance.


Before you sign a contract to spend several thousand dollars on this insurance, read my analysis of this insurance policy.

Risk of buying directly at Compare First website

A consumer is worried about the risk of buying the wrong product when he buys directly from the Compare First website. Here are my views.

Is a HDB flat still a store of value?

Do you agree with national development minister Lawrence Wong that HDB flats are a "store of value" after he had said that the value will be $0 at the end of 99 years?


Lesson for organizations from the United Airlines debacle

Any large organization face the risk of suffering the serious damage that had befallen United Airlines.

Let me make a bold claim. This kind of debacle would not have happened if United Airlines had consulted me on writing their SOP. If this statement appear to be boastful and benefiting from hindsight, let me explain.

How do you like to receive government mail?

Most people prefer to receive government mail in soft copy sent to their regular inbox. But there is still a sizeable proportion who are happy to receive the hard copy.

The result can be viewed from

Wearing of headscarf in the workplace

Should the public service allows Muslim employees to use the headscarf? The Crowd has a practical approach to this thorny issue.

People don't like the recent changes to the Elected Presidency

Lee HL is clearly out of touch with the Crowd. The recent changes to the Elected President receive support from less than 4% of the people who voted on this issue. The majority (49%) preferred the system that existed from 1993 to 2017. The next highest vote (31%) prefer an upper house of 6 elected persons.

You can view the results on other issues in

Alternative to the tender system

Singapore has been using the tender system for many decades. We treat it as the best approach, and continued to rely on this approach even when the prices are ridiculously high or the quality of the work had dropped sharply. It is time for us to open our eyes to see the weaknesses of the tender system and to look at an alterative approach.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Elected president - recent changes are unpopular

Lee HL is clearly out of touch with the Crowd. The recent changes to the Elected President receive support from less than 4% of the people who voted on this issue. The majority (49%) preferred the system that existed from 1993 to 2017. The next highest vote (31%) prefer an upper house of 6 elected persons.

You can view the results on other issues in

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Three good reasons to join FISCA

Here are several good reasons why you should join as a member of FISCA.

1. You have access to the articles archieved under Insurance, Investment, Learning and Product Analysis. Non-members do not have access to the articles more than 14 days old.

2. You attend most FISCA talks free or pay only $10. This is a discount of $20 from what the public pays.

3, You can attend gathering or dinner for members, at a subsidized rate. You get to meet the committee members.

How to join? Go to this page: http://www.fisca.sg/register.aspx
The membership fee is $36 a year. This is a good deal for the knowledge that you can get on financial matters.

The United Airlines episode and its relevance to Singapore

The United Airlines episode, where a passenger is forcefully dragged from the plane, has a lesson for the Singapore government in the conduct of its CPF policy. Here are my views.

Performance of transport minister

Here is how the Crowd rate the performance of our transport minister. It is quite sad. The overall score is far below average.

I know that he has a difficult task to do. If he had been communicating more often with the public, instead of hiding behind the Ivory Tower, the public would have given him a better score.

We do not expect miracles, but we like our well paid ministers to be more accoutable, right?

To view the results of other issues, go to www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/result.aspx

When a CEO says he will "take personal responsibility"

There was an ugly incident where a passenger was forcefully removed from an United Airlines flight. The CEO finally stepped forward to "take full responsibility". What does it mean? I have a few words to say about this incident, as it also involved DBS Bank in a similar incident in the past.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Poor standard of maintenance

Here is another example of the poor standard of maintenance in Singapore. Some of our bad practices, such as the tender system, has come back to hit us very badly.


Big cut in bonuses

A mother bought a life insurance policy for her 19 year old son. After 25 years, the policyholder (son) saw that the insurance company had cut the payout significantly.

More details are available here:

Excessive rate charged for level term rider

In 1992, a mother bought a life insurance policy for her 19 year son. The policy included a level term insurance rider of $50,000 payable on death up to age 65. The annual premium for the rider was $199. The life insurance company was among the top companies operating in Singapore.

Keep up to date with what Singaporeans are thinking

Three issues voted in The Wisdom of the Crowd website were closed last night.

What do Singaporeans think about the evacuation of the Hougang MRT station? Was it necessary? Was it an over-reaction?

What do Singaporeans think about the actions taken by President Duterte to solve the drug problem in the Philippines. Were his methods too extreme? Could be have done it in some other way?

You can also view the results of other issues that were closed during the past week. Keep up to date with what Singaporeans are thinking.

You can view the results in

How President Duterte handles the drug problem

How do the people in Singapore see the way in which President Durterte of the Phillipines is handling the drug problem? You can veiw the results of their votes at www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/result.aspx.

The views are quite well divided into - necessary, bad and don't know.

Unattended bag at Hougang MRT station

A bag was left unattended at Hougang MRT station. The police evacuated the station for 20 minutes. Is this the correct action?

43% of the people agreed with this action. An equal number said that the police should look at what is inside the bag before calling an evacuation.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Low payout under the Prudential policy

The low payout under the Prudential policy raises two issues that required the Monetary Authority of Singapore to step in. I hope that they will take the appropriate aciton, rather than leave the policyholder to fend on his own.


Provide guides in hospital

I share this observation about visiting the hospital. It is useful to have a guide that can bring the patient around to the relevant clinic in a large facility.


Easy to win this prize at the Crowd website

28 people won the book prize yesterday for reaching 10 or 20 votes in the Crowd website. That was the highest in recent weeks.

You can also win the prize easily. There are 17 active issues. When you cast your vote for 10 issues, you get the prize immediately.

After passing 10 votes, you can continue to reach 20 votes and get the next prize.

My experience with twitter.com

I have now removed most of the "following accounts in twitter.com. I did not follow them, but some bots automatically added these accounts into my @kinlian account.

My daily feed is now quite clean. There are still a few hundred bad "following" that I have to remove, but that should not be a problem.

I find that the twitter feed is quite good, maybe better than Facebook.

I intend to use twitter more actively and to post less frequently in Facebook. I like to ask you to follow me at @kinlian in Twitter. It should be quite easy for you to get used to this platform.

Providing jobs in rural communities

I like this article, especially the part in the end about connecting people living in rural areas to the world using digital platform, so they can offer the existing skills they have from where they live. It has been an idea that I have working on for many years.


Saturday, April 08, 2017

Avoid insurance policies that give an upfront bonus

Many people fell for this trap. The financial adviser or agent told them that they can earn an attractive upfront bonus is they buy the policy during the promotion period. They bought the policy and regreted it very much.

The products that have this feature include the Vista policy from Zurich, the Pulsar policy from AXA and the Global Wealth from Friends Provident.

Consumers should avoid these policies. In fact, they should be wary of any policy that offers an upfront bonus. This is how they are distracted from looking at the other important features of the policy.


Easy to win this $6 prize

There are 15 questions that you can vote on. You only need to submit 10 votes to win the prize - Financial Planning for the Young (usual price $6).


Is this a good investment?

Are you willing to give your money to a financial institution who promises to invest their money carefully for 25 years, and ask you to give them 40% of the accumulated amount, so that you get only 60% as your return?

For example, if your investment amounted to $300,000, the financial institution will take away $120,000 and give you $180,000?

Your total savings for the 25 years could be $130,000, Your net gain is $50,000 for 25 years.

After you have considered this matter, you can read this article to see the correct answer.

Stand up and address the allegations

I expect the police to be able to stand up and address these allegations, rather than hide under the protection of legislation. This legislation will lead to silencing legitimate protest against abuse of power by the people in authority.


Lessons from New Zealand

Michael Ng said:
New Zealanders are happy with their government because of the consultative approach of running the country. High degree of transparency and accountability earn trust. Although the tax rates are comparatively much higher than Singapore, the tax evasion cases are rare. The government spends wisely on great improvement on infrastructures, education, healthcare and social welfares, etc.. Because of excellent diplomacy and friendly relationship with other countries especially the superpowers, only a small budget in terms of GDP percentage is allocated for defence purposes. Good practice of democracy makes the difference. The united and happy population ensure that New Zealand enjoys harmony and high productivity.

Who would you vote as the next Elected President?

Who would you vote as the next Elected President, if this were an open election?

Dr. Tan Cheng Bok beat the incumbent Dr Tony Tan by almost 10 to 1. Okay, there is a bias in the voting by the crowd.


Who should be considered as first Elected President

Who should be considered as the first Elected President. An overwhelming majority of the Crowd took a few different view from PM Lee.


Some views about the reserved election

I met a few old classmates over coffee at a food court. We talked about the next presidential election.

Friend 1 - I spoke to two Malay friends. They told me that they felt ashamed to have a Malay President elected under a reserved election. They prefer a Malay to win the election on their own merit.

Friend 2 - Of the possible candidates who could be "endorsed" by the PAP, 2 have an Indian father, 1 has a Chinese mother and 1 has a caucasian wife. They cannot be considered as "pure" Malay. This will make our system a laughing stock.

Friend 3 - We are supposed to have a president who has a strong financial background. One of the "favorite" candidate does not have any background in running a large organization or ministry. How can this candidate perform the duty expected of the Elected President?

TKL - I think Lee HL now realized that his idea of a reserved election is a bad one.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Vote on performance of health minister and manpower minister

You can now vote on the performance of the health minister and the manpower minister.

This will help you to reach the 20 vote mark and win the next prize.

Low birth rate in Singapore

According to the Crowd, the main reason for the low birth rate in Singapore is the high cost of living (58%), the insecurity of jobs (22%) and saving for a HDB flat (10%).

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Increase of more than 50% in cost over 4 years

The following medical procedures increased by more than 50% over the past four years for subsidized patients.

Breast lump removal
Lung cancer with comlications
Stroke - no complication

Is there justification for the increase? Did the cost increase by so much? Or, was it due to higher demand, which prompted the public hospitals to increase their fees?

Should public hospitals operate on a model to maximize profits, according to what the market can bear, or to recover their cost of operations with a reasonable margin?


Universal life policy

If you a large sum of saving in a bank, your private banker may recommend this policy for your investment. You can read more about it here.

The Crowd expects the value of HDB flats to fall

What will happen to the value of the HDB flat in the future? The minister has said that the value will be $0 at the end of the 99 year lease.

60% of the Crowd expect the value to fall in the near future. The majority of this gloomy lot expects the price to fall sharply.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

More interesting topics voted in The Wisdom of the Crowd

I have selected the interesting topics that are voted on The Wisdom of the Crowd.

You can view the results for these topics easily in this link.

Another complaint concerning the Friend Provident Global Advance plan

Here is another case where the policyholder bought the Friend Provident Global Advance plan from an independent financial adviser and was very angry that the adviser did not recommend a product that is good for the customer.

In this case, the Effect of Deduction is more than 40% of the accumulated premium. This is extremely high.

I suggested to the policyholder to sue the financial adviser for breach of compliance under section 7.2 and 7.3 of the Financial Adviser's Act.

I am also healing to round up several people who want to join and take collective action.


Remove the wasteful activities in the hospital, please.

I went for the colonoscopy procedure today. There are a few good points and a few bad points. The cost was only $500, instead of $1,000 given during the financial counseling. The financial counseling is a wasteful operation and should be removed.

More interesting issues voted in The Wisdom of the Crowd

Here are the more interesting topics that have been voted in The Wisdom of the Crowd. You can view the results in this link


My view about the reserved Presential election

Gil Bert Thank you Mr. Tan for sharing your views as a veteran in political arena.

Regardless of the count of open election for presidency, i never read or heard your stand in a reserved election for minority race representation for president in a predominantly chinese electorate of singapore. Where do you stand Mr. Tan?

The reserved election is a very bad idea, either in 2017 (extremely bad) or in 2023 (also bad).

I already gave a detailed writeup of my view in The Comedy of the Elected President.

Act 6 of the Comedy said:

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.

Is Comfort offering a "flat fare" or a "fixed fare"?

Comfort Taxis said that they would offer "flat fare" from next Monday.

My understanding of "flat fare" is a fare that does not vary according to distance. This is not the case.

Their "flat fare" means that it would include the variable charges, but the fare will still vary according to distance.

Surely, a better description is "fixed fare" rather than "flat fare"?

Even the Straits Times describe the new fare as a flat fare. Does this reflect a low standard of English? Or maybe, I am wrong?


What will happen to the value of HDB flats after Lawrence Wong's announcement?

National development minister Lawrence Wong said that the value of HDB flats will become $0 at the end of the 99 year lease. What will happen to the value of HDB flats after this announcement?

Will the flats continue to maintain or increase its value due to the shortage of land and the demand for housing in Singapore? Will the price drop sharply now that the buyers realize that is is a depreciating asst?

The results of the votes in the Wisdom of The Crowd website is now available for your viewing.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Average increase in medical charges

The average annual increase in medical charges over the past four years is 8.6%. This is high, but not as high as I had thought earlier.

Is the minister for health neglecting his job?

This is not fake news. This is an opinion.

I get the impression that the cost of medical treatment has increased sharply during the past four years. The cost of a colonoscopy for subsidized patients was $250 in 2013. At my last visit to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, I was told that it would cost me nearly $1,000.

I checked the Ministry of Health website. It said that the average cost of this procedure at KTP Hospital based on last 12 months was $650. Did it increased so much during the past year? I will know in two days time, what my actual cost is.

I went for a laser surgery in the Singapore National Eye Center yesterday. The 6 minute procedure cost me $1,080.

I am quite dissatisfied with the Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong. Is he paying attention to this matter?

You can read my postings in

I have asked someone to carry out a research on the increase in cost for other medical treatment over the past 4 years.

In my book - Medical Care for the Elderly, I captured the average cost of the common treatments in 2013. I will see if the cost has increased sharply during this period.

You can get a copy of this book FREE here, after submitting a certain number of votes:

Gan Kim Yong took over as minister for health in 2011. Has been neglected his work and allowed the charges to go up so much under his watch?

This is not fake news. It is an opinion. My facts may or may not be correct, but it is an honest opinion.

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