Saturday, August 13, 2011

Submitting the nomination papers

The Straits Times gave a sub-headline that I was considering to withdraw from the Presidential election. This is misleading and inaccurate and does not reflect my answers given to the media conference or posted in my blog. Channel News Asia has given an accurate report, which is stated here.

My supporters and I went on a walkabout at Ghim Moh market this morning. I was heartened by the warm reception of the residents and stall holders. Most of them recognized me and assured me of their support. Some, who have read the Sunday Times report, urged me to continue in the contest.

I wish to confirm that I will be submitting my nomination papers on 17 August.

Tan Kin Lian

Tips on buying insurance

This article contains some useful tips. Read them, before you buy any insurance.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Support Tan Kin Lian

If you support Tan Kin Lian for President of Singapore, you can leave your name and email address on this page:

SITF Award - British High Commissioner

This picture was taken at the SITF (Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation) Award ceremony. The tall gentleman in the picture was the British High Commission, Antony Phillipson. I asked him why he was so tall and he replied, "Yes, that is why I am called the 'High' Commissioner". 

Courtesy, SITF (

Statement - Participating in a 4 corner contest

My supporters and I had expected a contest of 2 or 3 candidates for the Presidential election. The issuance of the certificate of eligibility for 4 candidates has changed the landscape for the contest.

Some friends suggested that I consider stepping down to avoid splitting the votes of Singaporeans who prefer to elect a person who is truly independent of the PAP Government. They suggested that I would gain “political capital” for making this sacrifice.

Having thought over this matter, I am making full preparation for a 4 corner contest. My decision is consistent with the personal values that have brought me to this contest. These are the values of honesty, fairness, positive attitude, courage and public service.

I first articulated these values several years ago. I published these values in my blog and also teach the values to my students in a local university.

Earlier, I entered the Presidential contest to give a chance for the people to vote for a President and avoid a walkover. I also wanted them to vote for the values that will guide our country in the future.

My first goal of giving a chance for Singaporeans to vote has now been achieved, as there will still be a vigorous contest, if I decide to withdraw. But the second goal has still not been achieved.

As a public service, I had pledged to donate at least half of the salary to charity and other worthy causes. None of the other candidates have made any pledge on this kind.
As the voice of the people, I will convey the concerns and aspirations of the people to the government and work constructively with the government to find solutions that are best for the people.

Reflecting the value of fairness, I want to see Singaporeans enjoy a better quality of life, a lower cost of living and a narrower wage gap. I want to influence government policies to achieve this goal.

The Law Minister has said that these activities of the President are unconstitutional. I disagree. I have said - The constitution does not require the President to be dumb. By speaking out, the President will also be doing what is right for the people and the country.

It takes courage to argue against the Law Minister and other key ministers, and even to face the prospect of being removed from office. I am willing to speak up on what I believe to be right.

Being positive, I believe that my participation in the election is useful, as it gives the chance for people to think about this election from a different perspective – and to vote for person based on the values that he can bring to the country.

I also value honesty and wish to express my intentions clearly to the people of Singapore.

My friends have suggested that I shift my position either to the right to win the votes from the PAP camp or to the left to win the votes from the opposition camp. I prefer to avoid politics altogether and to approach this contest from a truly non-partisan angle.

I appeal to all Singaporeans, regardless of the political party that you support, to consider - Do you want to elect a President based on politics or on values that will guide our society and our country in the future?

I have served the people of Singapore in many capacities during my past 35 years. I was active in the grassroots movement and in working with trade unions, cooperative societies and in many government committees.

Many grassroots leaders, trade union leaders, cooperative leaders, civil servants and ordinary Singaporeans know me. They know the kind of person that I am and know that I have always been more concerned about the welfare of other people, rather than my personal gain.

I hope that the people who know me will give me your support – if you think that our country and our future can be better guided by a President with character and clear values and a heart for the people.

Tan Kin Lian

How to invest $100,000

Someone asked me, "how can I invest $100,000". I wrote this article to provide some tips.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pivatisation of NTUC Income


The media had recently reported on Mr Tan Kin Lian's comments regarding his departure from NTUC Income. While it is not the policy of NTUC Income to publicly comment on staff matters, an exception has to be made in this instance so as to set the record straight.
In addressing his departure from NTUC Income in September 2006, Mr Tan had reportedly said that he 'fought suggestions (by the Board) that NTUC Income be privatised' and alluded to this as the reason for the Board asking him to leave.  The Board had no intention then and has no intention now to privatise NTUC Income.
Suffice to say, Mr Tan was asked to leave for other reasons. We do not think that it would be appropriate to disclose these reasons in the public domain.

I welcome the statement by the board of NTUC Income that they do not intend to privatise NTUC Income. In my earlier statement, I had said that there were a few occasions during the past 15 years, when this issue was raised and discussed. As to the reason for my departure, NTUC Income had earlier issued a statement that the board wanted "to professionalise" the managment. It is the prerogative of the board to decide on the business strategy of the cooperative and I wish them all the best.

Statement by Tan Kin Lian - Getting the certificate of eligibility

I am pleased that the Presidential Election Committee has granted me the Certificate of Eligibility. From now on, all arrangements will proceed as planned, leading up to Nomination Day. At this juncture, I wish to assure the public and all concerned that my campaign will be run in a clean and dignified manner, as befitting the status of the office.

I will be collecting the certificate from the Election Department at 11 a.m. on Friday.

Tan Kin Lian

Contribution to NTUC Income policyholders over 30 years

My most important contributions over 30 years in running NTUC Income were providing insurance protection at lower premiums and giving a better return to policyholders on their savings.

The payout from the maturity of life insurance policies and the cash values paid on terminated policies were much higher than similar policies taken with other insurance companies, in most cases reflecting a difference of more than 20%,

When a policyholder received a payout of $100,000 on his or her matured policy, a similar policy taken from another insurance company would have paid perhaps $80,000. The difference of $20,000 is a large sum for the policyholder from modest background. The yield earned in the past was likely to be more than 5% per annum.

The higher payout was possible as NTUC Income was managed frugally during my tenure, and expenses were kept low. Furthermore, a larger portion of the investment gains were given to the policyholders in the form of high rates of bonuses.

For motor and health insurance, policyholders would remember that they paid lower rates of premiums compared to similar policies in the market and claims were generally settled promptly and fairly.

Many policyholders had seen the premium rates on their motor insurance increased significantly in the years after I have left. Although the increase was attributed to escalation of repair costs, the same difficulty was also faced during my tenure but my colleagues still managed to keep the premiums at a lower level.

My colleagues and I, who shared the cooperative principles, had done the best that we could over the 30 years to deliver to more than 1 million policyholders - the benefits that can be provided when an organisation is run with the values of honesty, fairness, positive attitude, courage and public service. I hope that the policyholders appreciate the contributions that we had made towards the welfare of their families.

I wish to bring these same values to the office of the President of Singapore. The government has done well but the people of Singapore will benefit even more when the policies of the government are also made and implemented on these values, especially the value of public service. I will use the soft power of the President and adopt a constructive and cooperative approach to influence the government to improve some of its policies, where appropriate, so that they can bring a better life for the people.

Tan Kin Lian

Video of my 30 years
Text of statement
National Day message

Guest book - TKL Blog

Thank you for visiting this blog. I wish to collect the email address of my regular visitors. Please sign in this guest book. Thank you for your cooperation.

Note: I have 2,500 unique visitors each day. I do not know who these visitors are. I hope that all visitors will sign the guest book. Thank you.

Latest: I am suspending this guest book for the time being due to malicious sabotage by an unknown person.

Concerns of the people

I read the views of Dr. Tony Tan on the role of the President. He now wants to understand the concerns of the people and to bring them to the attention of the government, using the appropriate channels, i.e.both formal and informal. 

Dr. Tony Tan now shares my position (stated in my statements found in that the President must speak up on behalf of Singaporeans. With our views converging, voters now have to decide on who can act independently of the Government in looking after the interest of the people.

It seems that Dr Tony Tan also disagrees with the Law Minister that the President cannot speak without the approval of the cabinet. 

Tan Kin Lian

Carrying out the pledges

Dear Mr. Tan,
You are the only Presidential hopeful who has pledged to donate at least half of the President's salary to charity. The other hopefuls are keeping silent on this point. 

You have also explained in detail how you wish to implement the "voice of the people" by forming a Presidential Personal Council. At least you have the plan to implement your key platform. I do not know how the other hopefuls plan to connect with the people. Maybe they will copy your idea - so you should copyright it.


Limited period offer in i-Shop

There is a limited period offer of my books. You can enjoy discount of 50% on the following books:

Practical Guide on Financial Planning $6 (usual $12)
Get Value from your Life Assurance $6 (usual $12)
Practical Guide on Financial Planning - Chinese $6 (usual $12)
Intelligence Quiz Viol 3 $4 (usual $7.90)
Sudoku Vol 2 $4 (usual $7.90)

Wisdom on how to live life $20 per book (usual $25), $55 for 3 books.

Buy for our friends also !
Click here to order:


Reduction in yield

If you invest in a unit trust, look for one with an expense ratio of not more than 1%. If you buy a life insurance policy, look for one where the reduction in yield (similar to the expense ratio) is not more than 1.5%. The additional 0.5% is for the cost of life insurance protection.

Most life insurance policies have a reduction in yield of 3% to 4%. This eats into the return that should be given to the policyholder. A reduction of 3.5%, compared to a benchmark of 1.5%, means that one-third of the maturity value is taken away.

I wish to explain the reduction in yield. You can take the projected maturity or cash value of the policy at the end of (say) 25 years and the annual premium to calculate the actual yield, say X. The insurance company used a gross yield, say Y, to project the cash value. The difference (Y-X) is the reduction in yield. For example, if the insurance company uses 5.25% to projected the cash value and the actual  yield is 2%, the reduction in yield is 3.25%.

Read this article carefully to understand the impact. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Statement from TKL - Prince Charles, voice of the people

At a recent Institute of Policy Studies forum, Law and Foreign Affairs Minister Mr K Shanmuggan noted that the law and conventions of the UK were distilled into the Singapore's Constitution i.e. the Singapore Constitution has been modeled on that of the UK.

While there were clear differences in circumstances, it t is interesting to note that former British Prime Minister Mr Tony Blair indeed has had some issues and discomfort with Prince Charles who spoke publicly on various issues and hence, was playing his role as a Voice of the People. 

Notwithstanding this, Mr Blair eventually disclosed in a letter to the Guardian that "A prime minister may sound off from time to time, especially when sensitive discussions with members of the royal family leak into the papers, in the middle of some high-profile issue". He continued, "However, I want to make it clear that I always found my discussions and correspondence with Prince Charles immensely helpful. I thought he had a perfect right to raise questions and did so in a way that was both informative and insightful. So I welcomed his contributions, and have no doubt he will continue to raise issues with the new government as he is entitled and indeed it is his job to do, and that they will also find it helpful."

It is my hope that if I am elected President, I will have the meaningful dialog with the Government in my efforts to be the Voice of the People. It is my hope that this spirit of cooperation and mutual respect can prevail and that the outcome will be productive and beneficial for the people of Singapore.

Tan Kin Lian

More customer focused

Razor TV - Voice of the People

Prince Charles also acts the Voice of the People

Dear Mr. Tan
As Minister Shanmugan has been referencing British Convention, it is useful that to Prince Charles has not been "dumb". He has been the Voice of the People in the UK. He has for example spoken out againt Tony Blair on the Iraq war.

The following url has a list of other instances where Prince Charles very publicly voices his opionon.

In the following article, Prime Minister Tony Blair is noted as saying that

"A prime minister may sound off from time to time, especially when sensitive discussions with members of the royal family leak into the papers, in the middle of some high-profile issue.

"However, I want to make it clear that I always found my discussions and correspondence with Prince Charles immensely helpful. I thought he had a perfect right to raise questions and did so in a way that was both informative and insightful. So I welcomed his contributions, and have no doubt he will continue to raise issues with the new government as he is entitled and indeed it is his job to do, and that they will also find it helpful."


Thank you for showing that Prince Charles is also acting as the Voice of the People !

Help the blind to be employed

Dear Mr Tan,
This is M, the visually handicapped staff who handled survey work for you when you were CEO at NTUC Income. I hope this email finds you well. I am writing this email to seek your advice on employment opportunities for my younger sister.

I would like to thank you once again for offering me a job at NTUC Income back at that time. The job has been extremely important to me, as it enables me to earn an income to support my family and also makes useful the knowledge and skills I acquired in school.

My younger sister, has partial visual disability and has difficulty reading fine prints. However, she is able to read and write as per normal with the help of a magnifier and able to use the computer with the help of a magnification software installed. She is able to move around on her own without help.

She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Accounting and Finance and has has been actively looking for a job. She submitted numerous job applications in response to job openings but had been unsuccessful.  She also approached job placement agencies for handicapped people, such as Bizlink and the Society for the Physically Disabled, to seek assistance. So far, there is no success.

We would appreciate if you could be so kind as to give her advice or recommendations on any employment opportunities. 


BizLink is the best organisation to help your sister. Be patient and keep in contact with them.

Can you ask your sister to try this voice recognition software and see if it helps to improve her ability to handle computer work. I met a totally blind person who earned an income being a singer. She told me that she is able to handle e-mail. She used voice recognition to speak the words in the email and she used her voice to give a reply. The voice recognition software convert it back to text. 

Wish her all the best.

Treating cancer

My friend made this observation. He had a younger brother who died from lung cancer at around 50 after a costly treatment. Another young brother is now in a bad state, also suffering from cancer. The chance of recovery is small.

He has seen many cases of expensive cancer treatments that were unsuccessful. He said that the simple cancers, such as breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer can be treated, but the other cancers have low chance of recovery.

Read some of the actual cases shown here.

Engage a lawyer

If you need the advice of a lawyer and are worried about the legal fees, here are some tips on how to approach this matter.

Being more professional - changes after 2007

Comment posted in my blog

I am puzzled by what Lim Swee Say has said below:

I am an NTUC Policyholder for more than twenty years and I can say with certainty that there is a noticeable change since then. How can NTUC Income be more professional now than before when:

1. I used to get a response from their staff by the next working day and now I do not even get a response within a week.

2. I used to get a response from their CEO within the same day and now I do not get a response from their CEO even when I try to call him and wait for a return call.

3. NTUC Income used to be frugal but now spend excessively on expensive chairs and posh venues for their meetings.

4. Bonuses and returns to policyholders were cut unilaterally, even for policies that are supposed to garner higher returns with higher premiums paid specifically for the higher returns.

5. In the past, there were many policies that give good value, e.g. foundation policies, living refund etc where premiums are very low and protection high while now the policies are mainly high premiums but low protection and returns.

If LSS thinks that by being seated on expensive chairs and existing in posh environments is being more professional then he is just being shallow.

If LSS thinks that a CEO should not have to give a response to policyholders but to delegate it to his juniors then it is probably a reflection of his own misguided leadership style.

If LSS thinks that by having designer office furniture and vases on display highlighted by special lighting is being professional then he is wrong as policyholders want value from their policies and not showroom visualisation effects.

Or maybe I am wrong and LSS is just too busy with his CPF statements or is suffering from a case of chronic "Deaf Frog" syndrome and not aware of what is happening on the ground.

Financial Planning for Young People

This talk, which was streamed online on Sunday, is important to young people. If you missed it, you can now watch the talk online by clicking here. The talk is for 55 minutes and is followed by 30 minutes of live Q&A. You can also download the handout here.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Endorsing Presidential Candidates

With the PAP came into power, it systematically decimated these groups by de-registering them and then later enacted new laws required that any registering associations, societies or clubs must have in their constitution a compulsory prohibition clause which states: “The Society shall not indulge in any political activity or allow its funds and/or premises to be used for political purposes.

Happy 46th National Day

I wish my fellow Signaporeans, Happy National Day.

Here is my National Day message in 4 languages.

3rd Singaporean First event at Speaker's Corner (

I will be attending this event at Speakers' Corner at 5 pm on Sat 13 August 2011

Being more professional - negative impact

Comment posted in my blog
I read LSS's  comment with extreme disappointment. This is apparently one of the key problem which the world and Singapore is facing today. Unfortunately our government is still 'blinded' by this Anglo-Saxon management philosophy which does not be necessary superior to the old managment school of Taylorism and Fordism. 

Many people talk about 'professional' loosely today. Many organisations (including MNCs) manage their business based on 'Anglo-Saxon professionalism' approach but look what it leads to our world today i.e. more management greed and short-termism (masquerading in the glorious name of 'professionalism') has led to rampant corporate downfalls and frauds. This so-called 'professionalism' also led to higher operating expense. Transaction costs (dead weigh loss) increase and customers' benefits have eroded to milk the so-called 'more professional management'. 

You know what I mean if you look closely at our current state of public services and operations (e.g. utilities, medical, transport etc). To me, professionalism are based on the principles of 'fairness', 'integrity', 'transparency', 'honesty' and 'reasonable costs'. Some of these principles do coincide with TKL's philosophy which he has stated clearly at the inception of his campaign. I do not need a highly paid 'professional' team to manage 'public services / goods' and 'co-operative'. All I need is TKL's good principles and cost effectiveness. Hope LSS and government get the picture right. 


LSS is Lim Swee Say, Secretary General of NTUC and Minister in Prime Minister's Office

What does "being more professional" mean?

Dear Mr. Tan
The board of NTUC Income said that they asked you to leave because they wanted the company to be more professional. This is unfair to you, as it implied that you did not run the company in a professional manner. But you were able to achieve success in building up NTUC Income, so what does being more professional actually mean?

It is the prerogative of the board to appoint its management to run NTUC Income in any manner that they deem to be fit. I do not wish to argue with their decision.

It was possible for me to run NTUC Income in a "more professional way" by spending more money on advertising, corporate image, management consultants, booking expensive hotels for their corporate events and travelling first class on airlines. But I prefer to be frugal and keep the expenses low, so that NTUC Income can  give a better return to the policyholders.

The ultimate test is as follows - will a "more professional" approach give better return to policyholders, charge lower premiums for the insurance and provide better service to the policyholders?

The policyholders will have to judge for themselves, based on what has happened over the past few years.

Why I left NTUC Income in 2007

Watch this video for my statement
Here is the written text of the statement

Tan Kin Lian activities for National Day

(1) Walkabout at Block 105 Hougang Avenue 1 / Lorong Ah Soo Singapore 530105
Mr Tan will be visiting the wet market and mingling with the breakfast crowd there.
Notes: Go up the escalator and go to the right and head for the stalls facing the main road.
Look out for us at #02-41 to #02-44 at 9:00am.

(2) National Day parade viewing
Join Mr Tan to watch the Parade/Fireworks with many other Singaporeans on Tuesday night at the Marina Bay:
7 pm -- 1st stop: meet at Raffles City outside Kate Spade shop
7.10 pm -- walk to Marina Bay
7.20 pm -- 2nd stop: meet outside Theater on the Bay performance area, outside "No Signboard" restaurant
rest of itinerary -- informal, "play by ear"

Monday, August 08, 2011

National Day Message from Tan Kin Lian

Watch the National Day message, in four languages, from Tan Kin Lian - to be streamed live on 8 August at 10 pm at this channel:

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Benchmark yield

Dear Mr. Tan
What is the benchmark for the yield on my savings until retirement. How do I calculate the yield on my life insurance policy?

Your target should be a yield of at least 5% per annum. If you look at this article, you will find the yield on the Straits Times Index Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) over the past 20 years is more than 9% per annum, after deducting expenses. The yield in the future should be at least 5% per annum, after deducting expenses.

If you wish to invest in a unit trust, instead of the Straits Times Index ETF (from SDPR or DBS), you should choose one that has an expense ratio of less than 1% per annum (as the above two ETF has an expense ratio of only 0.3%).

To calculate the yield on a life insurance policy, you should use the Excel function called "Rate" to calculate the yield. For example, if the annual premium is $5,000 and the cash value at the end of 30 years is $200,000, the yield is 1.9% per annum. If the cash value is $300,000, the yield is 4.4% per annum. So, the life insurance policy is satisfactory , if it gives $300,000 (instead of $200,000) in this case.

Victims of Spa packages

Dear Mr Tan,
As you are seen as the voice of the common people in Singapore. I hope
you will help to spread the word to the estimated 20,000
True Spa & Subtle Senses victims.

Please join us in the fight to get back our money.​/170620749615018/

Thank you,
Ally Lee

Feedback on Live Streaming of Financial Planning Talk

The live streaming of the talk will be held at 10 pm tonight. Please give your feedback to this mode of giving a talk by posting your comments here. 

Voices of concern - capital punishment

Dear Mr. Tan,
There has been much talk about the role of the president much of which centered around money and reserves. There has been little discussion about the humanitarian and social aspects.

The voices of concern have only focused on money related issues. What are your views on capital punishment and its mode here in Singapore? Many believe that judicial hangings are gruesome and inhumane, and believe the mode and system should be brought in line with the times.

I also write to also ask your opinion on the process of clemency in relation to the Yong Vui Kong case. The Hon Justice Choo Han Teck, found Vui Kong to be too young to be dealt with the death sentence, but the prosecution did not agree to reduce the charge.

How, if you are elected (with the 'limited powers'), will you fully address the 'voice of the people', particularly on such issues? What if Vui Kong was Singaporean? I believe parts of the system are draconian and need to be brought in line with the times.

I am of the opinion that the president should be as independent as the judiciary. The role of president was described on a forum as an 'expensive flower vase' paid for by the people and placed by political convenience.

'Voice of the people' is very proactive, I sincerely hope you can be, unlike all the mostly impotent presidents of the past. I wish you all the best and you can count on my support.

I believe that the President should have the full power of clemency and he should not be required to act on the advice of the cabinet.

However, my personal view is not in line with the power of the President as stated in the constitution. I hope that the constitution will be changed in this respect.

Regarding the specific case of Yong Vui Kong, I wish to hold back my personal judgement, as I have not been following this case in detail. If I were the President and the case comes before me, I will have to rely on the President Advisory Council to deliberate on this matter and give a recommendation.

Even with the limited power under the current constitution, I will give my personal views to the cabinet (after studying the case and getting the advice of the President Advisory Countil) for the cabinet to make a final decision.

Social problems in Singapore

Dear Mr Tan,

Currently, there are so many social problems in Singapore:

1. Many baby-boomers and Gen-X people are finding it challenging to find work in Singapore. The Government has not done much to help this group of people. Employers (Government sector and private) tend to prefer younger graduates and foreign talents. For a while, the Government had been encouraging people to start a business, but had met with little success. My friend (50 years old) has been offered a road sweeper job by CDC, when he has a wealth of experience in the corporate world. And there are many more examples out there.

2. The educational sector is in a mess. Kids these days are so rebellious, and parents are busy earning money, so nobody teaches them manners, moral and ethics. So they turned bad and commit crimes.

3. Many people are divorcing, and kids are stranded too.

4. Many people are not getting married, because many guys are struggling with their career (see point 1) and the ladies are too highly educated.

5. The income gaps of people are getting greater too. Soon many middle-income people will become low-income. Assuming a middle-income person earn $3k per month, but seriously, what can $3k buy these days? When money is always not enough, that middle-income household will become a low-income one.

Therefore, you can see many people are falling through these cracks in the society. I think while it is good to have a Voice, but it is better to see some welfare (in terms of real help and support) within our country. This is something that the Government is extremely weak in doing so. By welfare, I don’t mean giving out money, but by really helping people to find jobs, or maybe more counselling centres, etc.

I feel sad for Singaporeans. May I know what is your take on this?


I agree with your observations. We have to address these social problems. I hope to be able to do so, as President, to be the voice of the people and to improve the welfare of the people.

Does the constitution allows the President to speak up?

Comment posted in my blog:

As a law student who has studied constitutional law, I must say that I am quite disappointed in Shanmugam. Nowhere does the Constitution state that the President cannot speak up on issues of national concern.

In fact, the Constitution grants all citizens the freedom of speech (Article 14). It would be absurd if a citizen could lose his freedom of speech simply by becoming the President. The freedom of speech is a fundamental liberty that is constitutionally entrenched, and can only be curtailed by clear words in the Constitution.

Of course, nothing in law is totally clear-cut. One could possibly argue that from the President's scope of duties and powers, one could infer a rule that the President is barred from speaking up against the Government. But this would be a very difficult argument to make, given that it requires restricting an explicit fundamental liberty in favour of an inchoate, unwritten rule. Shanmugam is certainly not justified in saying with such total confidence that the President will be violating the Constitution if he does speak up.

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