Saturday, March 03, 2018

Vote on these issues in The Wisdom of the Crowd

Will the US tariff on steel and aluminium lead to a trade war?

Give your vote in

Do we need to maintain the current level of spending on defense?

Give your vote in

The best rate for GST is 0%

Most people will say - keep GST at 7%. Do not reduce it.

Some may wish that GST be reduced to 5% or 3%. That would be helpful.

They are not able to think out of the box. The best rate for GST is 0%.

I explain in this 12 minute video.

Alternatively, you can attend the forum at Speaker's Corner at 4 to 7 pm this afternoon. There will be six speakers. I am one of the speaker.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Issues for you to vote in The Wisdom of the Crowd

Do you agree with the government decison to forego the increase in minister's salary?

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Is the government being honest by announcing a GST hike in advance?

Give your vote in

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Older workers face the risk of being replaced

Hi Mr. Tan
A few decades ago, I was a young man. I was energetic, hard working and hungry. I was not well paid compared to older colleagues doing the same job.

I saw some of the older collegues being replaced due to poor health and other reasons. I felt that this was necessary because the company needs to keep the productive employees and get rid of dead wood.

I am now much older, but still remain productive and energetic. Sad to say, I feel insecure, as I am highly paid compared to younger employees. It is just a matter of time before I get the boot.

I am quite depressed, as I still have financial commitments for my family. I now realise, too late, that older workers are not fairly treated.

What is your advice?

Guess which of the following reply that I gave to him?

a) Welcome to Singapore.
b) This is due to the bad policy of the PAP government.
c) We need to look beyond our own interest to see the interest of other people.

Issues for your vote - Wisdom of the Crowd

What are your views about Chan Chun Sing?

Give your vote in

Should people attend the protest in Hong Lim Park against the proposed increase in GST?

Give your vote in

Do you like budget 2018?

I asked this question in The Wisdom of the Crowd - Do you like budget 2018?

65% of those who voted said that it does not address the real challenges facing the people. 20% said that the programs are wasteful and not effective. The total negative votes is 85%.

15% like the budget for three reasons.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Book a taxi

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - Which is most important when a customer book a taxi?

54% of those who voted said they wish the booking to be accepted within 5 minutes, even if the fare is slightly higher.

29% prefer low fares, even if the waiting time is slightly longer.

17% prefer an experienced driver rather than a part time driver.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Dealing with cancer of a child

Dear Mr Tan,

I remember reading your views on prohibitive treatment for elderly parents with potentially terminal cancers.

My question is, what if the cancer applies to a child?

There is a fund raising request circulating on facebook for a child with high risk neuroblastoma. The treatment cost is sgd 1.2M that includes treatment in the US.

Naturally, parents will do everything for a child, including bankrupting themselves under crippling debt, to give a child a chance.

What are your views on this?

Wikipedia has this to say about this type of cancer - Between 20% and 50% of high-risk cases do not respond adequately to induction high-dose chemotherapy and are progressive or refractory. Relapse after completion of frontline therapy is also common. Further treatment is available in phase I and phase II clinical trials that test new agents and combinations of agents against neuroblastoma, but the outcome remains very poor for relapsed high-risk disease.

Most long-term survivors alive today had low or intermediate risk disease and milder courses of treatment compared to high-risk disease. The majority of survivors have long-term effects from the treatment. Survivors of intermediate and high-risk treatment often experience hearing loss. Growth reduction, thyroid function disorders, learning difficulties, and greater risk of secondary cancers affect survivors of high-risk disease.[An estimated two of three survivors of childhood cancer will ultimately develop at least one chronic and sometimes life-threatening health problem within 20 to 30 years after the cancer diagnosis


There are ways to deal with the cancer, other than to pay high medical bills. One way is to pray for a miracle. It sometimes happens. Another way is to go for herbal treatment. it might help. I do not agree that the family should "bankrupt themselves" to seek expensive treatment. They money should be kept for the benefit of the other children or to take care of the parents when they grow old.

I might take a different view if the doctor is able to guarantee success, i.e. if the treatment is not successful, the parents do not have to pay the bill.

Interest to visit Forest City

Someone called me to ask about Forest City. He was interested to buy an apartment there but was worried about the over-supply. He asked my views.

My reply.

There will be an over-supply of property all over Johore. This is a known fact. It will not change.

I decided to buy an apartment in Forest City as an alternative to putting the same money in the bank to earn 0.2% per annum. My cost of holding the Forest City apartment is only 0.2% per annum. It is almost free of cost to me.

I paid $400 psf for an 1,200 apartment. The tenure is freehold. My invested sum is less than $500,000.

I do not expect to lease the apartment due to the over-supply. I intend to use it as a holiday home. I will pass it to my grand-children who might find it to be useful in 20 years time.

Last Christmas, I brought my Indonesian friend to stay in the hotel at Forest City. He is middle income and has three children. The family decided to buy a small apartment in Forest City on their first visit. They might send their son to study in the international school in Forest City or in Iskandar.

They also like to apply for the MM2H (Malaysia My Second Home) which gives them permanent residency for 10 years. They want a place to go in case there is racial problem in Indonesia, which occurred 20 years ago. More families might make similar plans. It is too costly to buy a property in Singapore. Johor is a good alternative.

I also like the concept of a modern city, with innovative transport facilities, and an eco-friendly environment. They have a 4 level road system. One level is for vehicles, another level for parking, the third level is for people (no vehicles!) and the top level is a light rail system.

He wanted to visit Forest City to take a look. I introduced him to the sales and marketing consultant to arrange the visit and briefing.

I gave him a tip: If you have cash, you can pay for the property upfront and enjoy a 15% discount. (I did!). I monitored the share price of the developer, Country Garden. The share price increased 3 times during the past 2 years. It gave me the confidence that their development is doing well.

Vote on these issues

Do we need to continue a high budget for defense?

Give your vote in

What is the best way for the government to reduce the financial stress for the people?

Give your vote in

Will the higher levy on air travellers using Changi Airport spell trouble for Singapore?

Give your vote in

Protect agains the risk of retrenchment

It is important for young people to invest their savings in a proper way, as they may need it to protect them against the risk of retrenchment several years down the road. This is a real risk that will happen to half of the workforce!

They should register immediately to attend this talk - otherwise they may overlook it.

Parents should register for their children who are able to start work or have just started work. It is a valuable gift for your children. It may change their financial future.

Customers are not keen to make NETS QR Payment

I visited a stall at Sembawang Food Center and order laksa. I paid $4 cash.

TKL - Do you accept QR payment from DBS Paylah?
Vendor - Yes.

She showed me to the NETS QR sticker. It allows payment from DBS, OCBC, UOB and a few other wallets.

TKL - Do you customer pay through NETS.
Vendor - No.
TKL - Does NETS charge you a fee?
Vendor - NETS offered free for 3 years.

The problem is that the customers are quite happy to continue to pay cash and the vendor is quite happy to accept cash. What is needed to make the customers and vendors change this habit?

I have an idea. I wonder if NETS is interested to hear me?

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Poor signage

I had a lot of trouble to find a toilet at Toa Payoh bus interchange. One sign pointed the direction to the toilet. After that, there were no more sign. I looked around the whole atrium. No sign of a toilet. I went one level down to the MRT station. No toilet. I asked a sales staff. Dont know. I asked the MRT staff. Take the glass lift one level up and turn right. That's where I came from. Finally, I saw this small sign in an obscure place. Its seems the location of the toilet is not important to the planners. No revenue, right? Welcome to Singapore.

Friends Provident Investment Plan

Dear Mr tan,

I am writing to try and get connected to someone who posted on your blog on March 30, 2017 regarding the Friends Provident Global Wealth Advance Savings Plan – and who had, like me, been fooled and misled by a Singapore financial adviser to choose this plan.

Is it possible for you to connect me?

If you have invested in the Friends Provident Plan and wish to connect with the writer, please send email to

Issues for voting in The Wisdom of the Crowd

Are successful hawkers still able to make a big fortune?

Give your vote in

If the government scraps the planned increase in GST, what would be your response?

Give your vote in

How do you describe PM Lee?

Give your vote in

Monday, February 26, 2018

Issues for your votes

Can Singapore afford to remove GST?
Give your vote in

What are the obstacles that prevent Singapore firms from reaching out to global markets?
Give your vote in

Is it good for China to remove the 2 term limit for their President and Vice President?

Give your vote in

Is it good for Singapore to accumulate huge reserves?

Give your vote in

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Bad reasons to impose GST

The suppporter of GST has put up three reasons why they think that GST is "good" for the country. They said:

a) GST is on spending. If you don't spend, you do not need to pay GST.
b) GST catches people who do not pay income tax, such as hawkers, taxi drivers and the self employed.
c) Most advanced countries have GST. They can't be wrong, right?

Let me debunk these reasons.

a) GST is on spending. If yo don't spend, you do not need to pay GST.
Do people need to spend on food? Medicine? Doctor's fees? Drink water?
They have to pay GST on all of these spending. Can they stop eating or fall sick?
The low income people spend most of their meagre earnings on these items. Why tax them through GST?

b) GST catches people who do not pay income tax, such as hawkers, taxi drivers and the self employed.

These people are already paying high rentals for their stalls and hire of taxis. If the government wants to have revenue from these people, take it from the rentals and hire charges.
Most of these people struggle to make a living.

c) Most advanced countries have GST. They can't be wrong, right?

Do these countries have COE (for purchase of vehicles) that contribute to a large part of the tax revenue? Do they have a large land bank that they can sell each year to get the revenue? Do they impose a levy on foreign workers?

COE and vehicle taxes contribute to $9.2 billion in 2017. The revenue from land sale is expected to be about $20 billion a year. I am not able to find the revenue from foreign workers levy

With these revenue sources, there is no need for the finance minister to levy GST.

We have to act boldly and get rid of GST. This will reduce the cost of living and improve the life of the people. The government can afford to remove GST and still have a healthy budget surplus.

Tan Kin Lian

Why GST should be removed totally

Many people said - "We have a budget surplus of $9.6 billion n 2017. There is no need to increate GST. Let us keep it at 7%.

I disagree.

We should not keep GST at 7%. We should remove GST totally.


If we remove GST totally, we will reduce the cost of living by 9% to 10%. 7% is from GST directly. Another 2% to 3% is from the additional cost that business has to incur to handle the accounting for GST. The business pass this cost to the consumers.

If GST is removed, how does the government find another $11 billion in tax revenue to replace it?

They do not need to replace this tax revenue. They collect $20 to $30 billion each year from the sale of land.

The finance minister might argue that the sale of land is "capital" item and should not be counted as "recurring revenue". If that is the case, I ask the finance minister - why are you taking the cost of building roads and MRT as "current expenses". They amount to a large part of the $13.7 billion allocated to transport. These are also capital items and can be funded separately.

The cost of living and the cost of business has been increasing for the past 30 years. GST is an important factor that contributes to this situation. It is time to remove GST totally.

Do you agree?

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