Friday, May 20, 2011

President Harry Truman

President Harry Truman epitomizes what public service should be. This is a lesson politicians in Singapore. TKL website.

More about President Truman here.

The Fair Deal by President Truman.

Car Pool website

This website promotes car pooling and a green environment in Singapore. Read this guide.

Two camps in PAP?

What are your views about the sweeping changes? Give them in this survey.

Mio TV by SingTel

If you have subscribed to Mio TV by SingTel, take part in this survey to share your experience.

Housing price conundrum

This video provides an explanation on why the housing prices went up a lot in America before it fell. It may happen in Singapore.

Khanacademy - learn for free

Watch & Practice. Learn almost anything—for free.

What started out as Sal making a few algebra videos for his cousins has grown to over 2,100 videos and 100 self-paced exercises and assessments covering everything from arithmetic to physics, finance and history.  
This link is very good!
You can learn almost anything .... for free

Rent or buy a home?

Is it better to rent or buy a home? Watch this video for an explanation of the factors that you need to consider. Please note that the situation in America is different from Singapore, so you have to do a separate calculation in Singapore to get the economics right. Here are some important differences:

  • Interest rates are different between the two countries
  • There is no deduction for mortgage interest from income tax in Singapore
But, the general conclusion applies. At the high level of prices of properties, it is better to rent rather than to buy a property. People overpay for their property in the hope that the property will continue to appreciate in price, but up to a point, the price is too high and will fall. This is what has happened in America and is likely to happen in Singapore as well.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Buying a HDB flat (part 2)

This article is available for members at the FISCA website,

Wine at inflated prices

Here is an example of a potential scam ....
Login as a member (membership is free) to view the details.

PM Lee has to share the blame

Here is a view of a small man to the changes in the sweeping changes in the cabinet. He pointed out that PM Lee also had to share the blame for the failings during the past years. TKL website

You now have the chance to express your small man's view in this survey.

My views on the new cabinet lineup

The new cabinet line-up signals clearly that there will be significant changes in the political landscape in Singapore. Will it be for the better or for the worse? Here are some observations:
  • In spite of being unhappy over many government policies, 60% of the voters voted for PAP and stability. The sweeping changes in the cabinet line-up cannot be seen as representing stability. Are these voters being given what they were expecting?
  • The underlying problem is that, in the past, the government made its decisions behind closed doors using inputs by a small group of elites. This system needs to be changed for new policies and approaches to be produced. 
 We need a new system of governance based on the following:
  • Inputs from a broad group of knowledgeable people (outside of the elites and scholars)
  • Active discussion in Parliament - and MPs have to spend more time in this duty
  • An active media to bring up the issues.
I will be writing more on this topic later.

Tan Kin Lian

CPF Money

A reader of my blog sent this question to me. His spouse passed away and he submitted proof of death the CPF Board. The Board said that the CPF money would be paid to the nominees named by the deceased spouse, but refused to tell who were the nominees. The husband did not receive the money. He checked with his mother-in-law, i.e. the mother of the deceased spouse, and she said that she did not receive the money. The husband asked me - how can he check on whether the money was paid to anybody at all? Could it be possible for the money to be taken away by someone else?

I advised him to write to the Minister for Manpower (who is in charge of CPF matters) and also to see his Member of Parliament. The Government should be aware about this type of problem which arises from the way that matters are being done in Singapore. Why has this type of matter be handled in secrecy? What about transparency and accountability?

Tan Kin Lian

New cabinet lineup in Singapore

For a good summary of views from various sources, read SGEP

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

FISCA membership fees

Some people apply to join FISCA and were not aware that there is an annual membership fee of $36. If they wish to resign from FISCA now, they should login, go to the Profile tab, and click on "resign as member". The membership fee of $36 will be waived. After resignation, they will not be able to login as a member and read the "evaluation of products" and other articles that are reserved for members.

FISCA - buying insurance prudently

An article on buying insurance prudently has been posted in the member's section of FISCA ( It is available only to members, after login.

Silver - safe haven asset

Silver, a safe haven asset, plummeted 28% in a week. This is the danger of chasing any asset bubble. When an asset price goes up too high, above its real value, it is in danger of a large fall. This may happen to property prices as well.

Monday, May 16, 2011

GE2011 - reflection by Wong Wee Nam

The general election 2011 - views of Catherine Lim

Read this interesting analysis by Catherine Lim

Article 2
Article 1

Survey - LKY and GCT leaves cabinets

Here are what Singaporeans feel about their decision to leave the cabinet. 90 respondents participated in this survey within 20 hours. Direct link.

Singapore General Election - view from Australia

A Singaporean who has worked several years in Australia gave this view about the Singapore general election. TKL website

Public transport - that sinking feeling

Sent to me by a reader

A recent Frost & Sullivan Journey Experience Index showed nearly 8 in 10 Singaporean commuters dissatisfied. And that Singapore ranked 18th out of 23 cities surveyed.  It is one notch behind Tokyo!

In 2007, our own LTA's survey showed 8 in 10 commuters satisfied with our public tranort.

A bad investment linked policy (Vista)

The policyholder was not told about the high management fees and the heavy penalty on early termination of the plan. This fact become apparently only after 18 months. A few policyholders have been caught in this type of trap. The adviser did not disclose the actual structure, which was quite complicated. Read the facts here and avoiding falling in this type of trap with complicated investment linked policies. Ask Mr. Tan

Survey - Open letter to the Prime Minister

Here are the views of 30 people who responded to Tan Kin Lian's open letter to the Prime Minister. TKL website.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Personal rapid transport (PRT)

The PRT is a concept that has been discussed for several decades. With the advance of computer technology and the emphasis on green energy, this concept is now right for implementation. Read this article.

Survey: LKY and GCT to leave cabinet

How do you feel about their decision to leave the cabinet? Survey.

Transparency of Government

A Singaporean, who has migrated to Australia and continued to visit Singapore regularly, made this observation about transparency of Government.
In Australia, there is a free media that is willing to criticize government decisions that they consider to be bad. The academics, i.e. university professors, are also willing to argue the issues independently.The ministers had to go on television and radio to defend their policies against critics.
He observed that some of the statements made by ministers in Singapore would never survive the debate in Australia.
He made research on certain issues and found it difficult to get the relevant statistics in Singapore. In Australia,t he statistics are produced by an independent agency, are available at a detailed level and are not controlled by the government. The quality of the statistics are much better than in Singapore.
When he first migrated to Australia, he felt that Australia would give a better future for his family. After 40 years, he still felt the same, although the conditions in the two countries had changed considerably. He like the openness, transparency and accountability found in Australia.
Tan Kin Lian

Do you hear the people sing?

This song, taken from Les Miserables, echoes the anger of a people who suffers for the unfairness and hardship of life. Does it apply to Singapore?

A local song for our dear leaders!!!!

Blog Archive