Saturday, July 21, 2007

Invest in a low cost fund

If you are investing your money for 10, 20 or more years, you should find a low cost fund. A difference of 1% over 20 years can contribute to an additional 20% (plus) to your retirement funds.

Read about it in this FAQ.

Renewal of motor insurance

Dear Mr Tan,

My motor insurance is due for renewal. Where can I find the best terms and premium?


I suggest that you read this FAQ.

By shopping around, you can get a better rate. The insurance cover is quite standard anyway.

A cooperative has to answer to its members


Yes, but being a co-operative can also mean that they answer to nobody, just like what I am experiencing now. Phone call to CEO cannot get him, leave message to make contact, no response. Email to him, no response. Talk to agent, say management told her not to respond to me.



I suggest that you raise your issue with the service quality manager. If you still do not get a reply, you can write a complaint to FIDReC.

The CEO of a co-operative has to answer to its board of directors and to its members at its annual meeting. This is similar to a private company.

If you write to the CEO of many large companies, you will not get a reply from them as well. They are busy people. They will normally get a subordinate to reply to you.

Underlying assets of structured products

Some structured products are invested in CDOs (collateralised debt obligations). These are described as their "underlying assets".

These underlying assets are NOT the same as the "reference entities" which are used to determine the additional return based on certain complicated formulas involving their share prices.

As the reference entities are large, familiar companies, many investors MISUNDERSTOOD that their money are invested in these entities (which is NOT the case).

CDOs are invested in bonds and mortgages of various quality (including subprime mortgages that are now seeing high default rates in USA). The manager re-packages the assets into various tranches of the CDOs, rated from AAA (least risky) to the equity tranche (most risky).

The rating of CDOs are NOT the same as the rating of corporate bonds. CDOs earn a higher return (up to 2% p.a. more) than corporate bonds, due to the higher risk.

If you buy a structured product that is invested in the CDOs, you may not get the full extent of the higher return (for the higher risk), due to the expenses of the structured product.

Two large funds managed by Bear Stearns have made significant investment in CDOs which were rated AA or AAA. They have recently marked down the value of these highly rated CDOs significantly. The investor in their funds have lost most or all of their money. (This is a worst case scenario).


Avoid investing in CDOs, either directly or through structured products, unless you are familiar with this type of product, and you get a return that commensurate with the risk.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Consumer Protection on Mortgages - USA Experience

In his testimony to Congress, chairman Bernarke said that the Federal Reserve Board will implement the following measures to strenghten consumer protection on mortgages:

* improve the disclosure of the terms
* write the disclosures in a form suitable for the layman
* carry out focus group study to check if the layman understand the terms.
* ensure that the terms are fair to the consumers

Lesson: We can learn from the experience of USA. We have to make sure the financial products sold in Singapore meet the above tests.

Negative aspects of Singapore system

The strengths of the Singapore system are:

* low corruption
* meritocracy
* economic development
* efficiency
* stable and good government.

These are also our weaknesses. Here are the negative aspects of these characteristics:

1. Low corruption. Many people are afraid to make decisions. They do not want to be accused of being corrupt. They like to define their area of responsibility clearly and to have clear guidlines. If they are not sure, they like to point to another person to decide. Or, they will give the "no" answer.

2. Meritocracy. To do well, we have to be better than the other person. We have to be top of the class. We look after our self interest and behave selfishly. We are not able to work well with other people in a team.

3. Economic development. There is too much emphasis on economic development, to the detriment of other important aspects of our life - i.e. social, art, culture, leisure.

4. Efficiency. We push efficiency to the extreme, with the aim of making more profits. Often, this is done at the expense of customer service. We compete too hard, and work on inadequate margins. Sometimes, we may adopt shady practices to make more profit.

5. Stable and good government. We leave too much matters to be decided by the government. We are not able to experiment with new ideas on our own.

The areas that make us strong, also contribute to our weakness. Some of the weaknesses of the "Singapore character" can be traced to these factors. This is just my view.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Day When Singapore Panicked

Dr. Lee Kum Tatt is an early pioneer in the application of Science & Technology in many sectors of Singapore’s development.

His definition of a pioneer is a person who has no proper training and experience to do what was expected of him to do and to succeed.

Some lucky guys survived and others did not. Yet many still want to be pioneers but their negative AQ, fear of failure, holds them back.

Read about Dr. Lee’s accounts of some of the projects he was involved in. Read about the uncertainties Dr. Lee faced and the way he handled them. We can derive some encouragement if not inspiration from Dr. Lee’s experience.

Credit card for students?

Dear Mr Tan,

A RADICALLY new type of credit card with no minimum income requirement and just $500 in credit has arrived in Singapore. Is this radical or ridiculous?

The Straits Times cartoon depict something is real and can be quite an issue as students start to live on credit and interest roll over.

Should this be encouraged? Will holding such a credit card be then a trend among the students? Should we start to allow our children to start living on credit at such a young age?



It is convenient to use a credit card for payments. Students need this convenient mode of payment as well. Otherwise, they will have to incur a high cost to pay by cash.

We can educate the student to pay on time, and avoid the interest charges. They should not live on credit.

It is better for the student to apply for a debit card to use the convenience of making payment. It does not involve any credit. The money is deducted immediately from your bank account.

Some banks are willing to waive the annual fee for the debit card for the first 1, 2 or more years (subject to conditions).

Singapore Dollar and the Carry Trade

The Japanese Yen has been the funding currency for the carry trade for many years. Due to the low interest rate in Japan, many people borrowed money in Yen to invest in higher returns from overseas assets. The Japanese savers also sent their money to invest overseas.

The carry trade has caused the Japanese Yen to weaken considerably against the other currencies. It weakened by more than 15% against the Euro, Australian and New Zealand currency during the past year.

Apart from the Japanese Yen, another currency used to fund the carry trade was the Taiwan dollar, due to its low interest rate. Recently, the authority increased the interest rate to reduce the outflow of funds.

There is a news report in Bloomberg that some people are now looking at the Singapore dollar as the next funding vehicle for the carry trade. This is due to the low interest rate in Singapore.

The impact of the carry trade has been the weakening of the funding currency. As more people invest overseas to earn a higher interest rate, the funding currency is expected to weakened.

But an expert told me that the impact on the Singapore Dollar is likely to be small, as the bulk of currency flows is due to real trade (like our paying for imports of goods and foreigners paying for exports).

Sub-prime mortgages in America

Sub-prime mortgages are sold to people of lower credit standing, or offer additional financing beyond the prudent limit.

Many borrowers are not able to pay the interest on these loans or the principal installments. There is a high default rate.

Many borrowers were not given proper advice on the financial impact of the loans. They were not told about the actual payments that have to be made, and their ability to afford these payments.

The Federal Reserve Board has acknowledged that this problem is within their responsibility. They are taking the following steps:

* set standards for the lenders
* require proper disclose of the terms to the borrowers
* make sure that the terms are in language that the layman can understand.

Lesson: We need a similar approach for the financial service sector in Singapore.

Good financial products

I wish to identify certain insurance and financial products that give good value to cusomers. They have to meet the following criteria:

* transparent
* easy to understand
* have reasonable charges
* easy to withdraw (with fair charges)
* easy to compare with similar products in the market

If the product issuer can provide the facts, I shall be able to make an assessment and recommend the product in my blog.

I am in favour of the following products:

* exchange traded fund
* low cost, well diversified fund
* government securities
* highly rated corporate bonds
* fixed deposits
* term insurance

Each product should earns a fair return that is commensurate with the risk.

Structured products in America

I was told that structured products are not sold to retail investors in America.


I do not know the reason. I suspect that the structured products that are unfair to consumers will probably be challenged by consumer advocates in America.

Individuals who wish to speculate in movements of stocks, currencies and indices can trade in futures and options. The cost of trading is relatively low and the terms are more transparent.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Customer-friendly Call Center

What is a customer-friend call center?

It meets the following criteria:

* answers your call immediately
* by a person (not a machine)
* gives you the answer immediately to simple questions (represents the bulk of cases)
* for a complicated matter, get the relevant expert to call you back

The call centers of most large organisations are NOT customer friendly:

* they ask you to press many buttons
* they ask you to navigate through many options
* the customer usually gets lost on the way
* mostly, a frustrating experience.

Give your full name

I like to ask commenters in my blog to give your full name and vested interest (if any), if you wish to state an honest opinion that appear to be confrontational.

I will delete any comment that represents a personal attack, if it is made in the cloak of anonymity.

I accept opinions that may differ from my opinion, even if anonymous, so long as it is expressed fairly and with honest intent.

Logic9 (Sudoku)

Have you seen the Sudoku puzzle in Today paper? Do you know how to play the puzzle? You can read the rule of this puzzle and the tips here.

The puzzles are good for children (i.e. train them in mathematics and logic) and for seniors (keep the mind active). Enjoy.

An efficient public service


What do you mean - "owned by the people"? If the company is owned by the government, is it the same as being "owned by the people"? Even Income has shareholders. Who owns Income then?



The key distinction should be the mode of operation and not on the type of ownership.

Some activities can be operated as a public service, on a cost-recovery basis, with the aim aim to keep the charges as low as possible. They do not aim to make large profit for shareholders.

Transport, utilities, health care and savings for retirement can be runned as a public service to meet the needs of the general public. They can be operated efficiently, at low cost, and high standard of customer service (without being privatised).

NTUC Income is operated as a cooperative, for the benefit of its policyholders. This is similar to a "public service".

Well rated Bonds


Bear Stearns told investors in one of its hedge funds that they won't get any money back after creditors forced it to sell assets at depressed prices.

A second fund still contains `sufficient assets' to cover the $1.4 billion it owes its parent firm, there's very little value left for the investors.

The funds faced `unprecedented declines' in bonds that were rated AAA or AA, the two top investment grades.

Lesson: It is possible for well-rated bonds to face unprecendented declines, and may lead to a 'credit event'.

Risk of credit default

Investors in some structured products are taking the risk of credit default. If a "credit event" happens, they may lose a substantial or all of their principal.

What is the risk of this happening?

The issuer said "We have issued similar products in recent years, and none have not defaulted".

I studied a report from a credit rating agency on the default rates in past years:

* For the past two years, the default rate is small. It is at a historical low level, due mainly to the booming global economy.

* Looking at a longer period, the default rate is higher. It is still small, but not that small.

As the structured products are issued for 5 to 6 years, the risk of a global downturn is "not small". This could lead to a higher default rate.

Lesson: Do not take this risk (as you may not be adequately compensated for it). If things turn bad, you may be in for a big surprise. By that time, you cannot reverse your decision.

Cash back on a Term Policy

A life insurance company advertised a "cash back" if there is no claim under its term insurance plan.

This is how the plan works:

* the premium for the term insurance plan is, say $X a year
* for the cash back plan, the insurance company will charge $Y, which is probably charge 3 or 4 times of $X
* the difference between $Y and $X is invested to produce the cash back benefit to be paid on the end of the term.

Is this a good plan? You should consider the following:

* what is the return on the premium for the cash back benefit
* do you get a cash value, if you discontinue the plan during the term.

Lesson: Generally, it is better to avoid a "bundled" or "lock-in" product, unless the terms of the product are designed to be fair to the consumer.

What's bad about the Singapore system?

I posted my views earler about what's good about the Singapore system. They are:

* low corruption
* meritocracy
* economic development
* efficiency
* stable and good government.

I will now give my views about what's bad about the Singapore system. They are:

* low corruption
* meritocracy
* economic development
* efficiency
* stable and good government.

Yes. They are the same as the "what's good". The same factors that accounted for our success also contributes to our problems. I shall elaborate more about the negative aspects in a few days time.

If we understand both the good and the bad aspects, we may be able to adjust, to increase the "good" and reduce the "bad" impacts.

Confusing Message

A friend told me this story.

A direct marketing company carried out a pilot to test the impact of different types of messages sent by mail, and followed up by a telephone call.

Their finding: The message that confuses the customer gives the best response. They decided to adopt that message.

This is why you get a thick prospectus, when you buy a structured product. It is very confusing to the public, but they still decided to buy the product (even though they do not understand how it works).

Lesson: Do not buy any product that you do not understand. Go for the simple products. It is safer.


Many companies spend millions of dollars on "branding". They want consumers to associate their products or company with certain "qualities".

For a financial service company, the most important qualities are:

* trust
* efficiency
* good value products

These qualities are not created by "branding". They are real qualities that have to be built over time. Branding can only tell people what "you really are".

If you try to tell people "what you are not", the truth will prevail. The consumers will ignore your advertising, as it is not true.

Owned by the people

The CEO of a small listed company asked me, "Why was NTUC Income not a listed company? "

I gave this reply, "When I was the CEO, I resisted the listing of NTUC Income. I wanted it to remain a cooperative, so that it can work for the interest of its policyholders".

He gave this insightful reply, "I agree with you. In fact, some of our businesses should be owned by the people, for example, trains, buses and utilities. Right now, these businesses are owned by the shareholders. If the company makes too much profit, 5,000 shareholders are happy, but 2 million people are unhappy".

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

CPF or life annuity

Dear Mr Tan

I am approaching age 55. Should I leave my minimum sum in the CPF to earn 4% per annum, or take it out to buy a life annuity? I am confident that you can give your impartial advice. Thank you.



You should take to an insurance adviser from NTUC Income or visit the business center to talk to a salaried adviser. You can compare the difference and make the best decision for yourself.

In my frank view, the life annuity with NTUC Income is likely to earn a long term rate of return of about 4-5% per annum. This should be as good as CPF or slightly better.

However, the life annuity has an element of risk pooling. It guarantees payment of the annuity for as long as you live. You do not have to worry that your money will run out earlier. (In the case of the CPF, the money is expected to run out after 20 years (ie when you reach age 82).

However, if the annuitant dies younger, a part of the principal or interest is left behind in the pool to pay the benefit to those who live longer.

There are also difference in the amount of payment. The life annuity from NTUC Income pays out less during the initial years and increases with bonus. The rate of bonus vary yearly according to the investment yield.

If you are not sure, it is all right to leave the money in the CPF to earn 4% per annum. This is an attractive rate of return.

Do take your time, before you make a decision. Either way, you should be happy with the decision. In both cases, the products give good value to the customer.

Did you invest in these structured products?

This webpage contains an insightful analysis of the structured products sold in Singapore in recent years, including the MiniBond.

It is quite easy to read.

If you have invested in some of the structured products previously, can you tell me about your actual experience. Did you get a good return from the product?

If the product has still not matured, call the product issuer, and ask what is the current price today, if you redeem it now.

Risks of investing in Structured Products


The credit default swap is to insure its credit exposure. Therefore in the event of a default, the loss is mitigated. It is like buying future or option to hedge against a downside risk. The fund managers use plenty of these derivatives. If you look at Income's funds quite a substantial amount is spent annually on theses derivatives. Therefore it is no surprise that synthetic fixed income like Minibond uses too.



Some structured products invest in credit default swaps to enhance their yields. They sell the swaps (i.e. to assume the risk of the credit event, by offering the insurance protection).

In the event of a credit event, the sellers of the swap (i.e. the investors of the structured product) can suffer a big loss. This is why the investors are warned that you may lose part or all of your investments.

Is the risk small? I do not know. I do not have the data to calculate it.

Lesson: Do not invest in any product that you do not fully understand. You may be exposing your investment to large risk. Stay away from complicated structured products!


NTUC Income invests in swaps to minimise the risk of loss. They have to pay a small cost for this protection.

The structured products invest in credit default swaps to earn an increased yield, but are exposed to the potental of a large loss, when a credit event happens. Is this frightening?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Credit Default Swaps

The Pinnacle Notes has a "credit event". If any of 5 entities default, the investor has the chance to lose up to 40% of the invested amount.

What is the likelihood of this happening? I checked the internet for "credit defaults".

I found a link to "credit default swaps" or CDS. It appears to me that the Pinnacle Notes have CDS built into the product.

I find it quite complex to understand the CDS, especially to calculate the chance of a "credit event" occuring.

You should read the section on "Criticism". It quotes Warren Buffet.

Lesson: If you are not able to understand a product, do not invest in it. You do not know if you are getting a fair deal.

Pinnacle Notes - 2 views


The risk of the (Pinnacle Notes) is pegged to the credit worthiness of some 5 credit references of double A rating. Eg. UOB bank, Standchart and other financial entities of similar rating.

A credit event occurs should any one of the entities default. The recovery rate is about 40%, ie you get back 40% of your capital.

The risk to consider is or ask yourself can anyone of the entities default.? Eg. can UOB default? It would be terrible and it is not impossible. Consider the probability of that event happening. Almost near zero ......

The callablle feature kicks in after 1.5 years depending on the interest rate prevailing at that point in time. If it is called , capital plus some premium will be returned.



The risk of 1 entity defaulting is small. But, when you have any 1 of 5 entitles failing, the risk increases by 5 times. It is still small, but it is not that small.

When it fails, you have to lose up to 40%. What do you get for this risk? Just 1% or 2% more a year? Is it worth the risk?

Most investors will be willing to give up 1% for the chance of gaining 40% (instead of earning an extra 1% for the risk of losing 40%!)

As you do not know the change of the credit event, it is not worth taking the gamble. I am sure that the product issuer knows how to calculate the risk better than the small investor!

The callable feature has a cost to the investor that is not clearly understood. It gives the product issuer an opportunity to make an additional profit (at the expense of the small investor).

When interest rate falls, the value of the underlying investments increased. The product issuer can redeem the structured notes at a fixed price, and keep the additional gains as their profit. The small investor has to re-invest the money at a lower rate of interest.

Tip: It is better to invest in a straight forward government bond or corporate bond, and earn an interest rate according to the level of risk.

Pinnacle Notes - do you know the risks?

The Pinnacle Notes offers an interset rate of 5.25% per annum, with the following disclaimer:

The notes are not principal protected. Payment of interest and repalyment of 100% of the principal amount at maturity is dependent upon, amongst other things, the occurence of a Credit Event, a Mandatory Redemption Event or if the issuer exercises its Issuer Call Option.

In such circumstances, you will lose all or substantially all of your investment in the Notes.

Please refer to the Prospectus for more details.

With these types of unclear risks, it is really worth while to invest in the Pinnacle notes? Will you be stuck for the next 6 years with a low return? How much will you lose, if any of the events happen? What is the chance of it happening?

How much commission is earned by the distributing banks? How much does the Arranger earn on the product? Are the small investors getting a fair return for the risk that they are shouldering?

These types of products are too complicated for me. I do not invest in them. I discourage my family members from investing in these products.

Good experience with structured products



Do you have any good experience with structured products, e.g. promise capital protection and give you a good return?

Send the following details to

* amount that you invested
* period of investment
* your total return
* fully capital protected (ie no risk)?

Note: This request is also open to the financial institutions that promoted or marketed the structured products. You can send good experiences to me (if any), so that my blog will be more balanced.

Return from various types of investments

Hi Mr Tan,

The stockmarket is now at a high level. Is it risky to invest in the stockmarket now? Should I reduce my investments? What other types of investment can I make now? I find the interest rate on fixed deposit to be too low.



If you are not familiar with speculating on the stockmarket, it is better to invest with a long term perspective.

You can read this FAQ on the return from various types of investments. This is measured on a long term perspective.

Generally, it is good to invest in equities, but I prefer to enter at a lower price level. There is no point to invest at the peak of the market (but we are not sure when the peak will be reached! )

A customer focused organisation

A customer focused organisation has the following characteristics:

* identify the customer before dealing with the issue
* design processes to be convenient for the customer

Here are some common mistakes made by organisations:

* several accounts for the same customer
* have different processes for each type of account
* have different people to deal with each product type
* ask the customer to key in the account number (which is usually not available)
* design process for the convenience of the organisation (eg to save on manpower)

CASE Website

You can get a lot of useful information from the CASE website.

I find the sample agreements to be useful, eg on home renovation, tenancy. I hope that more sample agreements can be added, eg will, employment, etc.

Use of ATM in other countries

I was told that in Europe, it is easy to withdraw cash in other countries using an ATM card. This is good for travellers.

I hope that, one day, it is possible to use a Singapore-issued ATM card to withdraw cash in Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries.

I believe that it is possible to withdraw cash with a credit card (if you know the PIN number), but the charges are quite high.

Surgical Schedule

Some medical insurance plans has a surgical schedule that sets out the limit that can be claimed for each type of surgical procedure.

The surgeon may follow this limit and bill the patient for up to this sum. If the surgeon bills a higher sum, the difference has to be borne by the patient. The insurance company pays up to the limit.

This schedule helps to place a cap on the charges. The patient should ask the surgeon for an estimate of the cost, and if possible, to keep within the limit.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A simple medical insurance product

Hi Mr Tan,

I find the calculation of the medical insurance claim to be difficult. Why should there be so many deductions from the hospital bill? Most people pay a premium, and want the insurance company to take care of the entire bill. Is there a simpler insurance plan?



The simpler plan (which I prefer) is a plan that pays a fixed sum (say $200) for each day of stay in a hospital. This is simple for the customer, and for the insurance company. It is call a "hospital cash" plan.

This plan will pay a substantial part of the hospital bill. It also gives the incentive for the patient to find out the most cost effective treatment (rather than incur a large bill). The patient can consult the insurance company for advice on where to get the cost effective treatment.

This approach is best for all parties - the consumer, the insurance company and the medical provider.

What product is suitable for my age group?


Dear Mr Tan,

Read with interest on buying insurance products from the NTUC income portal.

I don't believe that there is an ideal insurance package solution for all.
It really depends on the age, size of family, living standards, of the individual.

What I would like to know is an ideal case of persons aged:

20-30: Just started work, planning on getting married
30-40: Married, steady career, with 1 or 2 kids
40-50: Achieved good mid-income (say $5K-7K/mth), higher educational needs (JC, university, worst case medical school)
50-60: Approaching retirement age, or continue working because of financial commits
60+: ???

What then are the range of insurance products/ investment funds would you recommend for these age groups.



The best plan is to buy a decreasing term insurance to provide the insurance coverage and to invest your savings (say 10% to 20% of your regular earnings) in a mutual fund or an invesment fund. You can read this FAQ for the young, and for seniors.

You should choose a flexible savings plan, as it gives you the flexibility to change your savings and the investment fund. Normally, you should choose a large, well diversified fund.

How can CPF be improved to give a better return?


My views about investing CPF savings

1. A Member of Parliament said the Government should aim to help CPF members grow their money by 8 to 10 per cent a year. Do you agree with this target?

Reply: I believe that a reasonable long term target is 5% to 6% per annum. This is higher than the rate of inflation and represents an attractive real rate of return.

2. Should the CPF improve its rate of return?

Reply: The CPF should make it easy for its members to invest in a large, well diversified, low cost fund of global equities and bonds. Although the return may fluctuate from one year to another, the fluctuation should average out over a period of 10 years or longer. The average return can meet the target that I have indicated. I believe that the CPF is actively considering this option, as reported in the newspapers. I agree with this approach.

3. What are the obstacles to raising the rate of returns? How to overcome them?

Reply: They key obstacle is the need to provide a guaranteed rate of return. This forces the CPF to adopt a safe investment strategy which produces a low rate of return. If the member is willing to take the risk and fluctuation in an investment fund, they will be able to get a higher average return over the long term. The risk can be reduced by investing in a large, well diversified, low cost fund.

4. Are Singaporeans ready to bear higher risks that comes with higher returns?

Reply: I believe that Singaporeans will prefer to invest in a large, well diversified, low cost fund. It will actually reduce the risk (through diversification in many investments and over man years) and give a higher return over the long term. A low cost fund charges can charge as low as 0.5% to 1% per annum, giving most of the return back to the investor.

5. Are there any lessons from pension plans in other countries that Singapore can study and learn from?

Reply: We should study the success of the indexed funds and the exchange traded funds in the United States. They are large, well diversified, low cost funds. They offer an attractive return to their investors over a period of 10 years or longer.

6. The Manpower Minister said that CPF now provides risk-free return and safeguards members' savings against interest rate changes and stock market volatility. Its returns are above market rates, when compared against products of similar risk and tenure. Do you agree?

Reply: The guaranteed rate of 4% per annum on the special account is attractive, as it is risk free. CPF members should be given the option of investing in large, well diversified, low cost funds, to get a better return for their ordinary account. Many of the approved funds under the CPF Investment Scheme are too small and their charges are too high. The CPF has recognised this deficiency and have taken steps to get the funds to reduce their charges. It is a good time to introduce the PPP type of funds.

To read more about investing in large, well diversified, low cost funds:


What's good about Singapore

Here are my views about what is good with the Singapore system:

* low corruption
* meritocracy
* economic development
* efficiency
* stable and good government.

Let me elaborate on these points.

Low corruption: Easy to get things done. Criteria and procedures are clear. If we follow the rules, we know that our requests will be approved. We do not have to worry about making "additional payments".

Meritocracy: Everyone can move up the career ladder. The best rewards go to the most able.

Economic development: Our economy has developed well. Many good paying jobs are produced. Asset and property prices have gone up.

Efficiency: Things work. We can rely on efficient transport, utilities and services. We save on time to do many things.

Stable and good government: We have a safe envifonment. We do not have to worry about strikes, crime, financial crisis and other uncertainties.

Now, what's bad about Singapore? I shall discuss them in a few days time.

National Day - Sudoku (Logic9)

National Day is coming soon.

How about trying to solve a Sudoku puzzle (Logic9) with the letters S,I,N,G,A,P,O,R,E instead of the usual numbers 1 to 9.

Go to this website. Click PLAY. Select the symbols - CHARACTERS. Choose the level (from very easy to complex). Enjoy.

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