Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The prime minister's salary is transparent

We cannot complain that the prime minister's salary is not transparent. It is clearly stated in this article


The salary is $2.2 million a year. It is the all-in salary including the 13th month AWS and the national bonus. The prime minister does not receive any performance bonus (which is given to other political office bearers).

If we take the national bonus for the PM as 6 months of salary, we will get the basic salary to be $2.2 million / 17 = $130,000 (say).

The basic salary includes the annual variable component (AVC). You may wonder what this means. Don't bother, just treat it as the basic salary. It is part of the convoluted nature of our life.

We cannot complain that the salary is not transparent. It is $2.2 million all-in.

We can still complain that:

a) The salary of $2.2 million is exorbitant, compared to other world leaders.
b) The salary structure is complicated - basic salary, AVC, national bonus, AWS, etc.

But we cannot complain that it is not transparent, OK?

Win these attractive prizes

You can win these attractive prizes by submitting 10 or more votes on the issues listed in this website.

There are more than 20 active issues, so you can win 2 prizes easily.


Getting a second opinion on an insurance policy

Hi Mr Tan,
I came across this product. Trouble you to give your analytical views. Is it really that good?

You should ask the insurance advisor to explain the product to you and send you a benefit illustration.
You can approach me for a second opinion.

I give a more detailed explanation of the "second opinion" here:

WOTC - Jobs for Graduates

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Is it easy for graduates to find jobs?

Here are the responses: (51 Votes)
47 % - There are too many graduates and not enough jobs for them.
18 % - The graduates from private universities have a tough time getting a job.
16 % - Many graduates have to be Grab drivers or to sell charity donations.
14 % - Only graduates from good universities can find jobs easily.
6 % - Many graduates can get good paying jobs quite quickly due to a healthy job market.

See the pie chart at: 

WOTC - Jobs for Singaporeans

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Does the government policies protect jobs for Singaporeans?

Here are the responses: (49 Votes)
45 % - The government allows influx of foreigners who take jobs away from Singaporeans.
27 % - The government is not able to solve this complex problem.
22 % - The government wants to depress wages for economic growth.
6 % - The government has done its best to ensure that Singaporeans have jobs.

See the pie chart at: 

Recording of NRIC No to identify a person

Dear Outreach, PDP Commission

Thank you for conducting the briefing and for sending the presentation materials to me.

I suggest the PDP Commission to consider the following suggestions.

a) Review your regulations to allow the use of NRIC No to be recorded into computer systems as a means of identifying a person. This should be allowed for both the private sector, as it is allowed in the public sector (which you indicate as being allowed "by law".

b) This will save the country a lot of money in changing computer systems to avoid the recording of NRIC No as a means of identifying a person. Many of the participants at the briefing are worried about the cost of conversion and the recurrent cost of a less efficient means of identifying a person.

c) One participant sitting next to me agreed with my comments. He commented that "we are going backwards" with the regulation to forbid the recording of NRIC No as a means of identification.

d) The regulation can state that only the NRIC No can be retrieved by scanning the NRIC for building management and other access systems. The other personal information stored on the NRIC cannot be captured. It is easier to make this change in the computer system, rather than to create another form of identification using a combination of name, partial NRIC No, etc. The use of a new form of identification is costly and inefficient..

e) The use of NRIC No to identify a person uniquely should be allowed for lucky draws, membership systems and other purposes where a person has to be identified uniquely.

f) There is no need to fear that the NRIC No can be used to authenticate a person. The authentication has to be done in some other ways, such as checking the photo in the NRIC against the holder or the use of a password, PIN or 2FA for online access and telephone authentication. Leave it to the business entity.

g) I agree with the regulation or law against the retention of the NRIC card.

Thank you.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Asking for a second opinion

Hi Mr Tan,
I came across this product. Trouble you to give your analytical views.  Is it really that good?

You should ask the insurance advisor to explain the product to you and send you a benefit illustration.
You can approach me for a second opinion.

WOTC - US-China trade dispute

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What do you expect will happen to the US - China trade dispute?

Here are the responses: (55 Votes)
38 % - It will be sorted out within a few months.
29 % - It will drag on for years.
27 % - President Trump will be impeached within a year.
5 % - China will give in to US demands.

See the pie chart at: 

WOTC - How to deal with Malaysia

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

How should the SG government deal with the MY government?

Here are the responses: (53 Votes)
42 % - We should adopt give and talk and be ready to compromise.
34 % - The SG government should be more flexible towards Malaysia.
15 % - It is difficult to work with Malaysia under Dr. Mahathir's administration.
9 % - We have to be careful and take the legalistic approach.

See the pie chart at: 

WOTC - Dr. Mahathir's attitude towards Singapore

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What is Dr. Mahathir's attitude towards Singapore?

Here are the responses: (57 Votes)
47 % - He is focusing on solving the problems in Malaysia and does not pay much attention to Singapore.
26 % - He is anti-Singapore and will find ways to create problems for us.
19 % - He is willing to work with Singapore to find win-win solutions.
7 % - He expects Singapore to help Malaysia in solving its financial problems.

See the pie chart at: 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

High Quality of Life

Vienna, Austria is the city with the best quality of life on the planet, according to a new ranking by Mercer, a human resources consulting firm. Each year, it publishes its Quality of Living report to help companies determine compensation for employees sent to work abroad.

The cities are rated based on 39 factors, grouped into the following 10 categories:

- Social environment including politics and crime
- Economic environment
- Limitations on personal freedoms
- Medical and health considerations
- Schools and education
- Public services and transportation
- Recreation and entertainment
- Consumer goods
- Housing
- Natural environment and climate

Did your city make the 2018 list? Let's take a closer look:

No. Singapore did not make it to the list. In fact, all the cities are in Europe (mostly Germany and Switzerland), Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

None of the cities in USA, UK or Asia make it to the list.

Here they are:

1. Vienna, Austria
2. Zurich, Switzerland
3. Auckland, New Zealand
4. Munich, Germany
5. Vancouver, Canada
6. Dusseldorf, Germany
7. Frankfurt, Germany
8. Geneva, Switzerland
9. Copenhagen, Denmark
10. Basel, Switzerland
11. Sydney, Australia
12. Amsterdam, Holland
13 Berlin, Germany
14 Bern, Switzerland
15 Wellington, New Zealand
16 Melbourne, Australia
17 Toronto, Canada
18. Luxembourg, Luxembourg
19. Ottawa, Canada
20. Hamburg, Germany

Conduct referendums in Singapore

I like the concept of referendum that is being conducted every three months in Switzerland.

The citizens are asked to give their votes on specific issues, e.g. should we continue national service? should we allow more immigrants? should we de-criminalize gay sex?

The results of the referendum guide their government in setting the policies and their parliament in passing new laws.

This is a good way to reflect the wishes of the people.

In many countries, the members of parliament vote based on vested interest or the interests of their financial supporters, who are the super rich. They do not reflect the wishes of the ordinary people.

This is the case in America. The voting is based on the wishes and interest of the super rich. Although the congressmen give their reasons for their voting decision, the ordinary people could see through their lies.

The situation is worse in Singapore. The law makers do not even give their reasons. There is a lack of transparency.

It is important to adopt the referendum system to give democracy its true meaning.

If we conduct referendums in Singapore, the work can be reduced considerably.

Most voters will opt to vote online using their SingPass. A secure system can be designed that is tamper proof and have adequate control and audit.

Voters who do not have online access can go to vote at the community centers.

Voting is NOT compulsory. Only those interested in the issue can take the trouble to vote. It will reflect the views of those who are impacted, one way or the other.

I know that it will never happen in Singapore, due to the wish of the people in power to preserve their power, rather than listen to the people. Maybe this is another reason for the voters to vote for a new government..

WOTC - Section 377A

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Should Singapore repeal section 377A (which make gay sex illegal)?

Here are the responses: (59 Votes)
37 % - Allow the gays to have their choice.
36 % - We should keep section 337A.
14 % - We should repeal section 337A and allow gay sex.
14 % - Many countries are now more liberal; we should follow them.

See the pie chart at: 

WOTC - Clearance at causeway

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Should the government speed up the checkpoint clearance at causeway?

Here are the responses: (69 Votes)
68 % - Yes. They should improve efficiency.
30 % - Yes. It is bad to waste people's time and cause delay.
1 % - No. They can't do anything due to heavy traffic.
0 % - No need. They should discourage Singaporeans going to Johore.

See the pie chart at: 

WOTC - High Speed Rail

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Is it beneficial to have a High Speed Rail between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur?

Here are the responses: (61 Votes)
36 % - The project is costly and not feasible.
33 % - It will help to develop business in these two cities.
23 % - Most people will prefer to travel by air, bus or car
8 % - It will increase contacts and friendship.

See the pie chart at: 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

How to solve a future problem


A petrol station display a large banner - FREE WATER TODAY. FREE PETROL TOMORROW.

A customer decided to come back the next day.

He saw the same sign.

This reminds me of one prime minister who promises to solve the problem of HDB flats by offering HIP2 and VERS. But you have to wait 30 years to find out.

A better approach towards democracy?

There is a difficulty with democracy. A high proportion of the voters do not bother to vote, as they are struggling with their daily lives. It result in low voter turnout.

Some countries, like Singapore, make voting compulsory and impose penalty for citizens who failed to vote. But the disinterested voters may not vote wisely.

The lowly educated voters can be bribed by rich people to vote for their favored candidates.

In many countries, the democracy is "bought" by people with money. It is not a good system. It is corrupt.

What can be done to improve democracy?

I am in favor of a system where there is a test before a citizen has the right to vote. They must first be interested to vote. They register for that right.

They must pass a test to ensure that they understand their role as citizens. This test can be made quite easy.

We may end with, say, only 30% of the citizens are interested to vote. This will still be a significant number. The result of the voting can reflect the wisdom of the people.

Political parties can educate citizens and get them to register and pass the test. It is a good outcome.

If we have a smaller number of educated citizens, we can hold referendums on important issues. We should not leave these decisions to Parliament, as the MPs may be protecting vested interests. It is better to have these issues voted by the people, i.e. those who are interested.

Will this system disadvantage the poor and the lowly educated? Yes, it does to a small extent. But these groups are already disadvantaged under the current system anyway.

What do you think?

WOTC - Like PAP government

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What do you like about the PAP government?

Here are the responses: (66 Votes)
71 % - You must be joking.
24 % - I feel safe in Singapore.
2 % - Run the economy well.
2 % - Provide high paying jobs.
2 % - They are not corrupt.

See the pie chart at: 

WOTC - Dislike PAP government

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What do you dislike about the PAP government?

Here are the responses: (68 Votes)
38 % - Ministers earn high salaries but are not capable.
25 % - Imposing all kinds of charges and taxes
16 % - Ministers bully the people.
10 % - Ministers are arrogant
10 % - None of the above.

See the pie chart at: 

WOTC - Invite foreign leader to talk about democracy

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Is it acceptable to invite a foreign leader to talk about democracy?

Here are the responses: (71 Votes)
80 % - We should encourage discussion on this topic.
17 % - No. It is interfering in our domestic politics.
1 % - We should listen to our own government leaders
1 % - We should not ask Dr. Mahathir to talk about it.

See the pie chart at: 

WOTC - Cost of high speed rail

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

How much will the High Speed Rail cost Singapore (make a guess)

Here are the responses: (58 Votes)
33 % - $20 billion
21 % - $2 billion
19 % - $5 billion
19 % - $10 billion
9 % - $500 million

See the pie chart at: 

Friday, September 14, 2018

WOTC - $15 million compensation

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Is the compensation of $15 million for the delay of the High Speed Rail fair?

Here are the responses: (70 Votes)
40 % - It is better to scrap the project entirely.
29 % - We should waive it entirely, for goodwill.
23 % - It is a fair sum.
9 % - We should insist on the full compensation of $150 million.

See the pie chart at: 

WOTC - Deferment of HIgh Speed Rail

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Do you agree with the four year delay in High Speed Rail?

Here are the responses: (64 Votes)
38 % - We do not need the High Speed Rail to Kuala Lumpur
28 % - It is better to scrap the project, instead of keeping it in limbo
19 % - It is better to take more time to complete it.
16 % - The completion date of 2030 is too late

See the pie chart at: 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Motivating public sector employees

A senior civil servant in Hong Kong told me that she receives a good salary but does not get any bonus.

I think that this is a better system compared to Singapore.

In Singapore, the top civil servants and ministers receive a bonus that vary according to performance.

Most of them focus on achieving the highest performance score based on KPIs to earn the highest rate of bonus.

By aiming on the KPIs, they forget about the serving the people, which is not easily measured.

The KPIs usually require the performer to reduce cost or achieve the highest revenue. This is how many jobs in the public sector gets outsourced, so as to reduce cost. This has lead to lower or stagnant wages for public employees.

It is a bad policy to get people to work for personal greed. It is better to get people to work out of a sense of duty.

Should a teacher be motivated to teach well through a higher bonus, or out of a sense of duty? Should a police officer by motivated by bonus to carry out the duties expected of the job? Should a nurse take care of the patients better just because she can get a better bonus?

We should not use performance bonus to motivate public sector employees to do their work. They should do their work well out of a sense of duty. They should focus on serving the public well, rather than scoring better on the KPIs.

The payment of bonus based on KPIs has another danger. This leads to the concept that the employees can be left on their own, as they will be measured by KPIs and will be motivated to do their best to score better on their KPIs.

It leads to a culture of poor supervision. The supervisor will not pay attention to the work performance, as he thinks that the employees can be self motivated.

I prefer the Hong Kong system. We should pay public sector employees well, including a 13th bonus bonus, instead of adopting the system of performance bonus.

I do not like the system of focusing on KPIs and paying performance bonus, that is adopted in Singapore.

WOTC - 4G leaders

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Which of these 4G ministers do you respect most?

Here are the responses: (42 Votes)
60 % - Heng Swee Keat
17 % - Ong Ye Kung
12 % - Chan Chun Sing
10 % - Ng Chee Meng
2 % - Lawrence Wong

See the pie chart at: 

WOTC - Non PAP leaders

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Which of these non PAP leaders do you respect most

Here are the responses: (75 Votes)
45 % - Chee Soon Juan, SDP
33 % - Chiam See Tong, SPP
20 % - Lim Tean, PVP
1 % - Tan Jee Say, SF
0 % - Goh Meng Seng, PPP
0 % - Benjamin Pwee, DPP

See the pie chart at: 

WOTC - Worker party MPs

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Which of these Worker Party MPs do you respect most?

Here are the responses: (83 Votes)
54 % - Sylvia Lim
31 % - Low Thia Khiang
8 % - Chen Show Mao
5 % - Pritam Singh
1 % - Png Eng Huat
0 % - Mohamad Faisal

See the pie chart at: 

WOTC - PAP ministers

 I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Which PAP minister do you respect most?

Here are the responses: (57 Votes)
77 % - Tharman Shanmugaratnam
9 % - Ng Eng Hen
7 % - Lee Hsien Loong
4 % - Teo Chee Hean
2 % - Khaw Boon Wan
2 % - K Shanmugam

See the pie chart at: 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Tan Kin Lian Books

Tan Kin Lian Books
I am offering a collection of 8 books, written by me, at a discount of more than 70%. Click here to order them for only $20. Enjoy free delivery

Order the books

Videos on Financial Planning
These short videos teach young people the basics of financial planning, investment and life insurance. It is a must watch for young people. Parents should encourage their teenage children to view them.

Financial Planning videos

Jobs for Graduates
Many young people are worried that they may not get a job when they graduate. I give my views here.

Jobs for graduates

Win a Mercedes Benz Coupe
Two young entrepreneurs have set up a website to encourage people to donate to charities. They offer a Mercedes Benz Coupe and other prizes to a lucky winner.

You can help these entrepreneurs, donate to your selected charity and win a luxury car. (If you don't need it, you can sell it for cash). Use this referral code: YOSYYSSA

Click here to buy your ticket.

This video explain this project.

Wisdom of the Crowd
I have also created a new way for you to login to the Wisdom of the Crowd website. You can enter your email address and password, instead of login with Facebook or Google. The voting flow has also been improved. Try it

Wisdom of the crowd

Remember, you can win these prizes by voting.

Tan Kin Lian

WOTC - Hub and spoke concept

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Do you like the hub and spoke concept for bus services?

Here are the responses: (62 Votes)
39 % - I do not mind the transfers as it is done at the same bus stop.
23 % - I prefer the current system with 350 bus services 
21 % - I like the concept as it simplifies the bus system.
18 % - I like the concept as it reduces travelling time.

See the pie chart at: 

WOTC - Climate of fear

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

How can we remove the climate of fear in Singapore?

Here are the responses: (91 Votes)
56 % - Vote out the PAP.
34 % - More people should come forward and speak bravely.
8 % - Organize a large scale protest online.
2 % - Organize more protests in Hong Lim Park.

See the pie chart at: 

Briefing by PDP Commission

I am attending a briefing by the PDP Commission on the use of the NRIC.

I sent this feedback to them for their reading prior to the briefing.


Do you agree with my points?

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Collection of TKL 8 books

Here is a special offer. A collection of 8 TKL books at a discount of more than 70%. Free delivery to an address in Singapore.

The price will be increased to $25 next week to cover the mailing cost. To enjoy $20, please book now.

More details and booking here:

HDB Studio apartment

Dear Mr Tan,
The lease period for a HDB studio apartment is 30 years. Why must the occupant pay everything upfront in order that he can have the keys to the unit.
I consider it a 30 years lease for these reasons:
a) you cannot take loans from the banks
b) you can't sell it to the public
c) the value is depreciating each year
d) if you don't want the unit you must return to HDB.|

WOTC - Cost of living at ND Rally

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Did PM Lee addressed the issue of cost of living in his ND Rally speech?

Here are the responses: (87 Votes)
86 % - No. He did not deal with the real issues that caused the increase in the cost of living.
9 % - No. His suggestions were not practical.
3 % - Yes. I agree with his remark that people should spend carefully.
1 % - Yes. He addressed it adequately.

See the pie chart at: 

WOTC - Statement by Law Minister

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Law minister's statement on activists meeting Dr. Mahathir.

Here are the responses: (89 Votes)
45 % - I dislike many of the statements made by the law minister.
22 % - The law minister should have a more open mind.
21 % - The meeting is helpful to give more perspective and develop a better understanding between the two countries.
7 % - Singaporeans should not meet the leaders of foreign countries.
4 % - I agree with the law minister feeling of being sad and regretful.

See the pie chart at: 

WOTC - Dialogue with leaders of foreign countries

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Should Singaporeans talk to leaders of foreign countries?

Here are the responses: (87 Votes)
77 % - We need to have an open mind and encourage dialogue.
13 % - They will help to improve understanding between countries.
6 % - They will be traitors to Singapore.
5 % - The foreign leaders will interfere in our domestic politics.

See the pie chart at: 

WOTC - Reduce the queue at the causeway

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

How can the long queue at the causeway be reduced?

Here are the responses: (91 Votes)
45 % - Introduce joint clearance in one building.
41 % - Improve the speed of processing of the checkpoint computer system.
10 % - Build a third link to Johore on the eastern side.
4 % - Wait for the new checkpoint to be ready in a few years time.

See the pie chart at: 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Explain the odds

Many people do not understand the concept of odds.

They think that if they are lucky, they will strike the Big Sweep.

But the odds is 1 in 3 million. Three million tickets are sold and only 1 person will win the Grand Prize.

It is different when they take part in this Draw:

So far, less than 600 tickets have been sold. The odds of winning is 1 in 600.

Compared to the Big Sweep, there is 5,000 times better chance of winning the Mercedez Benz.

Sure, you have to pay $20 for a ticket compared to $3 for the big sweep. Still the odds are very much better for this Draw, compared to the Big Sweep, say 800 to 1.

If I ask you to beat head or tail on a twist of the coin and you win $800 when you are right and lose $1 when you are wrong, will you take this bet? This explains the odds of 800 to 1.

Of course, more tickets will be sold for this Draw when it closes on 2 November. Even if 5,000 tickets were sold, the odds are very much better for the Mercedes Benz draw. By that time, the odds will be to 80 to 1. It will still be better to participate in this draw rather than buy the Big Sweep.

Great response from CEO of Starhub

1. I sent this email to the new CEO of Starhub:

Dear Mr. Kaliaropoulos,
I have been a loyal Starhub customer for over two decades.
I congratulate you on your appointment as CEO of Starhub.
I wish to give you this feedback. I hope that you can get your customer service head to improve the situation.

2. I received a reply within two hours.

Dear Mr. Tan Kin Lian,

Thank you for your feedback and I am sorry for your frustration with our Call Centre experience. Totally understand your point of view and admit, that we must find an easier, customer friendly manner to communicate in a timely fashion versus what you and other customers experience.

I have asked the Head of our Customer Experience Team to review these practices, scripts and approach when customers call us.

I sincerely thank you for reminding how our customer service should be. We will address and make the necessary changes.

Warmest Regards
Peter K

3. My reply to Mr. K
Thank you Mr K.
I appreciate your prompt response and attention.

4. Comment
I wish our local CEOs reply to their customers. And our ministers reply to the citizens.

Jobs for graduates

At a forum, a young girl asked this question to the panelists - 1 in 2 graduates from private universities could not find jobs for 6 months. 1 in 5 from the public funded universities faced this problem. What can be done to create these jobs?

I have addressed this problem in this speech on May Day. There are three ways to create jobs for Singaporeans:

a) Reserve jobs in public sector for Singaporeans
b) Make private sector employers prefer Singaporeans through wage subsidies (and levies for foreign workers)
c) Train young people for available jobs.

You can watch the video here:

Win a Mercedes Benz Coupe

You can watch this short video. It will convince you to spend $20 to buy a ticket to donate to a charity that you select and also stand a good chance to win a Mercedes Benz Coupe.


Link to website:

Referral code: YOSYYSSA

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Improved process - Wisdom of the Crowd

I found the voting in the Wisdom of the Crowd to be too slow - so I got a senior developer to sort it out.

He found that the delay was caused by a badly constructed statement to retrieve records from the database. He sorted it out.

The voting process is now fast. The delay has gone.

I tested it with a new email address, using the new login method. It worked well.

I was surprised to receive a prize for completing a cumulative 20 votes. An email was sent to me immediately and automatically. On clicking the link, I download the prize - which explains about selecting life insurance.

If you wish to try it, here is the link to the login page at the website.


You have the choice of login by clicking the Facebook or Google logo. If it does not work, you can enter your email address and password. If you are a new user, a new account will be created automatically.

Help this start up to succeed.

Watch this video

URL of website:

Please use this Referral Code when you buy the ticket: YOSYYSSA.

WOTC - Should HDB lessee pay the property tax?

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Is it fair to require the HDB lessee to pay the property tax?

Here are the responses: (73 Votes)
62 % - A lessee should not be required to pay the property tax.
18 % - It is a condition of the lease.
12 % - It is all right for the lessee to pay the property tax for a long term lease
8 % - it is all right as there is no monthly rental payable on the lease.

See the pie chart at: 

WOTC - Own or lease a HDB flat?

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Did the buyer own or lease a HDB flat?

Here are the responses: (82 Votes)
34 % - The description of ownership is misleading.
26 % - It is a long lease and does not confer the normal rights of owners
23 % - It cannot be considered as ownership due to the many restriction.
17 % - They can be considered as ownership because of the right to sell the remaining lease 

See the pie chart at: 

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Voting in the Wisdom of the Crowd

I have implemented some changes in the voting in the Wisdom of the Crowd. The response is now quite fast, compared to the past.

I also allow the user to login with the email and password, if they have trouble with the Facebook and Google login.

Try it.

You will win prizes by submitting 10 votes or more.


Reduce the wasted time at the checkpoints

I have traveled to Johore on several occasions during the past two years by car and public transport and using the causeway and the second link.

I like to share my observations.

If we travel during the off-peak hours, the travel time is acceptable by car. During the peak hours, we can be caught by two hours or longer.

It does not matter if you are travelling by bus or car. If you are caught in the congestion, the same time is wasted.

The bus traveler has to endure the additional inconvenience of entering two separate buildings on the Singapore and Malaysian side to check the passports and luggage. The car traveler does not have to endure this hardship.

On one occasion, the queuing time at the Singapore customs took more than one hour. The computer system was slow. The backup process was poor.

On many occasions, the queue time seemed to be longer on the Singapore side than the Malaysian side, even when leaving Singapore. We cannot blame the longer time on stricter security measures.

I suspect that the computer system on the Singapore side can be quite slow on some days. The processing time on the Johore side seems faster, and they have to handle the same traffic.

There is some discussion on building a third link on the eastern side of Singapore. This is useful, but it does not solve the underlying problem of long processing time at the checkpoints.

I suggest that there should be joint clearance for bus travelers. This can be done in three ways:

a) Locate the two checkpoints for the two governments in the same building. The traveler passes through one checkpoint to leave the country and joins another queue to pass through the checkpoint of the other country. It saves the time of alighting and boarding the bus.

b) Integrate the computer system. The checkpoint of the country of entry can also pass information to the computer system of the other country to check that the traveler is allowed to leave the country.

c) Have a separate bio-metric card for workers who have to pass the checkpoint every day. This checkpoint serves two countries.

The arrangement described in (a) is used at the KTM train checkpoint in Woodlands. The train traveler passes through two checkpoints in the same building.

The arrangement described in (b) can be considered for car travelers. But it does not solve the underlying problem of too many cars during peak hours that cause congestion at the causeway and the second link.

We may have to set aside a separate lane for buses during the peak hours. This will bad for car travelers but they should avoid the peak hours.

We can increase the frequency of the train shuttle service. It should be possible to run the train at 15 minutes intervals on the single track. If there is space for double track, the frequency can be increased.

We have this problem of wasted time at the checkpoint for more than a decade.It is wasting time for workers and travelers. It is time for the people in charge to look for a solution.

Starhub, change your SOP

Let me start by saying that the service provided by the call center and technical staff of Starhub is good.

However their operating process is terrible. I hope that the new CEO can get someone to contact me.

I called Starhub 1633 yesterday because the internet is very slow.

It was painful to get through to the call center. I have to hear all kinds of irrelevant messages and promotions. They do not apply to me. I just needed to talk to a technical person.

After wasting a lot of time listening to the irrelevant messages, I have to enter my 7 digit NRIC (which was no problem) and to authenticate it with my date of birth in DDMMYY format. I got the date of birth wrong and by my mistake, I was thrown out of the automated conversation.

Why is it necessary for me to enter my NRIC and my date of birth for authentication? I am not asking to make any transaction. I am only reporting a problem.

I called again, and after wasting a lot of time, I manage to speak to someone. They arranged for a technical staff to call me back a hour later.

The technical staff assumed that my devices were not working. I had to turn off the modem and three routers for a few minutes and restart them again. My devices are located on three floors.

Why do they assume that my devices were not working? Could they check if there was some problem with their network? Is the traffic slow due to the rain or some faulty device in their network?

After going through the resetting, my internet speed is still slow, less than 10 Mbps. Fortunately, I have by now learned about the speed test to have a sensible conversation with the technical person.

The technical person said that he would send someone to my house the following morning. Another staff would call me to confirm the appointment.

The follow up staff called me at 9.30 am. At that time, the internet speed was very fast 40 Mbps. I did nothing with my router and devices since last night.

I had suspected that the slow speed was due to the Starhub network and not to my devices. After all, the speed was quite fast all along. The devices did not fail.

Here are some suggestions for the new CEO:

a) Change your call center automation. There is no need to give irrelevant messages and advertisements to the customers. Let the customer get to the relevant staff quickly.

b) Do not ask the customer to enter the NRIC and the authentication. Most times, it is not needed. If it is needed, your technical staff can ask for them. They did anyway ask for my address and account information.

c) If there are internet speed issues, have a simple way to identify if the problem is with the Starhub network. Do not assume that it is caused by the devices of the customer. If Starhub is able to confirm that the speed to the location is good, then you can assume that the problem is with the internal devices.

Why am I asking the new CEO to look into this matter? I have raised this kind of feedback to Starhub over the past 10 years. They still keep to their unnecessary and troublesome process.

I end this feedback with the same remark that I made at the start. The customer service and technical staff of Starhub are helpful and patient. It is the SOP (standard operating procedure) that need to be changed.

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