Saturday, December 01, 2012

Joko Widodo, Governor of Jakarta

Here are some comments about Joko Widodo, the Governor of Jakarta. He was previously the Mayor of Solo (Surakarta). He is highly respected.

Measure and calibrate

Investment-linked or universal life?

Which is a better insurance plan - investment link or universal life?
This article explains what to look out for, and to avoid!

Elderly with no medical insurance

Dear Mr Tan,
My mother is a homemaker, age 63 and has diabetes several years ago . I tried to buy NTUC Incomeshield for her protection on medical/hospital bill but application was rejected.

I'm very worried on the high medical bill that might incur should anything happens. Can you please advise if there is any plans that can provide medical protection for my mom?

Do not worry. There are many elderly people with chronic illness and no insurance cover. They manage. There are government medical schemes for elderly to manage their chronic illness. They can get regular treatment from a doctor at subsidized rates. 

Read this article about how to manage the hospital bills.

How to go on strike

To punish or not to punish?

For those who insist on harsh punishment to the 4 SMRT drivers, let me share this story with you.

Forty years ago, I was driving at 90 kpm on a motorway in the UK. A police car stopped me. The policeman said, “Sir, do you know that you are exceeding the speed limit?”

I replied, “Sorry, I thought that there was no speed limit on the motorway.”

He said, “Sir, you are wrong. There is a speed limit of 65 kpm. As you are a visitor to our country, do be aware of our law when you drive along our roads”. He did not book me.

For the rest of my life, I know what is a civilized, considerate and fair society.

If he had fined me, I would have paid the fine, and would not feel that this have the same respect for that society. If I had been sent to jail, I would probably hated that society and their people, for mistreating other people.

So, to those narrow minded and bigoted fellow citizens (which I hope is the minority), reflect on this carefully. Yes, you want to enforce your law harshly, including laws that are unjust. When you are go to another country and are sent to jail for a law that you are not aware of, you should not expect to be treated with compassion.

You will face another risk. For people who were badly treated in Singapore, they and their friends will hate us. When you meet them in other countries, be careful and be ready to face their hatred and retaliation.

Better stay in your own country, where you can be safe

Do not show the ugly side of Singaporeans

Many Singaporeans have expressed their anger and hatred of foreigners working in Singapore. This hatred is especially directed to the foreign workers from China. The recent "strike" by the SMRT drivers has given them the opportunity to vent their anger again.

I like to ask these Singaporeans to consider the following points:

a) The words that they use, and the manner of their expression, reflect badly on their personal character and show them to be narrow minded, uncivilized and acting like hooligans.

b) Their manners and hate mongering reflect badly on Singaporeans in general

c)  If we hate other people, we should be aware that other people can also hate us. Just watch the internet websites of other countries to see their opinion of Singapore and our people.

d) The number of people who hate us can outnumber us by hundred of times.  Do we want to travel to other countries and meet people who have reasons to hate us, due to the way we treat their fellow men?

My request to fellow Singaporeans is to reflect on these points and be civilized in the manner that they express their views. Be considerate and respectful to other people. Build goodwill. Find reasons to like other people, rather than to hate them. Be helpful to other people, especially those who need our help.

I also ask other Singaporeans who agree with me, to come in and help to tell these rude people off. Do not stand by idly and be silent and allow them to show a bad image of Singaporeans to the world.

Personally, I do not like the big influx of foreign workers into our country, but the fault is with the policy of our Government. We should not vent our anger on the foreign workers; many of them have made sacrifice to come to Singapore; were misled about the wages and living conditions in Singapore and are now suffering as much as the local Singaporeans that they have displaced.

Tan Kin Lian

Friday, November 30, 2012

Arrest of SMRT bus drivers for instigating a strike

The authority decides to charge 4 SMRT bus drivers for instigating an illegal strike involving an essential service.

The Chinese embassy in Singapore has expressed concern about the arrest action being taken against their nationals working in Singapore.

This is likely to lead to a diplomatic row that could turn quite ugly, if it is not being handled properly. Here are the issues at stake:

1) There is a law involving an illegal strike and disruption of essential public service, which the Singapore authority has to enforce.

2) The 4 "instigators" could feel that they are expressing their grievance over pay and working conditions and unfair discrimination.

3) It is possible that many of the foreign bus drivers could have paid a large sum of money to come and work in Singapore. They probably found the cost of living and the terms of employment to be unsatisfactory and they are now stuck with these terms, and they have no avenues to express their grievance.  Their government would probably be required to take their side to protect their "human rights".

4) This incident could probably put the employment and other practices in Singapore in an unfavorable light, especially the weak bargaining position of not only the foreign workers, but the local workers as well. It would also show some of the laws in Singapore to be unjust.

5) It is probable that the 4 "instigators were initially not aware about the law in Singapore and have not been advised. It might be possible that they were warned and they did not care anyway, as they have "nothing more to lose".

Whatever is the situation, it will be difficult for the Singapore authority to enforce the law harshly, considering the circumstances. A better way is for the authority to get the help of the Chinese embassy to solve this issue. A good outcome is for these 4 "instigators" to be let off and even allowed to return home with passage given by the government or their embassy. After that, we will have to review our practices and some laws that are perceived to be unjust.

Tan Kin Lian

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Population woes

I am surprised that PM Lee was not aware of the seriousness of the population woes. It has been getting from bad to worse over 25 years. The measures adopted during the previous Prime Minister and during his time did not work, but they refused to see the flaws in their policies.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Singapore shares, 23 Nov 2012

Here are the blue chips and REITS in Singapore, sorted by dividend yield.

The authority has a duty to perform

Some people have argued that the public should be alert and be careful of being cheated by crooks. We should not expect the Government to be able to stop all the crooks from operating.

I agree with this reasoning, up to a point. If  a crook has been going around to cheat people and and complaints have been lodged to the "authority", it is the DUTY of the "authority" to take pro-active measures to stop the crooks from continuing their operations, especially as their identity is already known. It is NOT ACCEPTABLE for the "authority" to sit by, do nothing and let other people be cheated by the same crooks.

There are so many cases where complaints were lodged, and the crooks were allowed to continue their operations for a few more years. In the process, more people were cheated.

I do not understand why some people want to speak on give excuses on behalf of the "authority" which is neglecting its duty.

SIA website

I booked for a ticket to go to KL on 4 Dec. The website keeps changing my departure date to 5 Dec. Fortunately, I spotted this mistake and did not proceed with the booking. I tried again and got the same mistake.

I suspect that this could be a browser issue and changed from Chrome to Internet Explorer. This time, it got the correct date. When I proceeded, it showed "Processing request" and continued there for a long time. The website probably hang.

I know that SIA website had been giving trouble a few months ago. I am surprised that they have still not resolved this issue after a long time. I sent my feedback to the had of the call center in Singapore Airlines.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Beware of another investment scam

Mr Low (not his real name) made an investment with an asset management company X with an office in Bencoolen Street. They promised him monthly dividend payments but the payment stopped after two months. He did not receive the payment due for the past three months.

The representative of X told him that the investee company in Kazakhstan was taken over by another company and had stopped making the payment. He refused to respond to further questions from Mr Low.

Mr Low told me that he came to know of X because they offered to buy over his time share investment of $28,000, provided he put in another sum into X to make a total investment of $60,000. 

This sounds like another investment scam. I checked the MAS Investor Alert List and found that the company was not listed there.

Fair dealing outcome

MAS encourages financial institutions to make a corporate statement about their goal to achieve "fair dealing outcomes" for their customers. Here is an example of a statement issued by Citibank,

Educate our children

There is a big difference in the approach towards education adopted by several countries and Singapore. Which system do you prefer?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

PM Lee and Singapore

PM Lee said that it is not easy to get another group to make Singapore work.

The Government is made up of idiots

Negative aspect of Singapore system

This person wrote about the negative aspect of the Singapore system - where people in "the authority" neglect their duty and push responsibility from one agency to another. The root cause of the problem is not solved.

I agree with his views and have experienced this bad environment. The Government needs to "wake up", recognize this problem and find a solution. It is their duty. If they cannot carry out their duty, they should step down from the government.

PAP counter-insurgency strategy

Seah Cheang Nee wrote about the PAP counter-insurgency strategy in cyberspace. I have experienced this activity in my blog and Facebook. Several of the members of this group have been making attacks on me in a dishonest way. They just want to provide their propaganda, to argue for the sake of argument, rather than engage in an honest discussion.

Presidential Election 2005

Read Siew Kum Hong's comments about the lack of contest in the Presidential Election 2005

I want to post his article because many people did not realize that the 2011 election could also have been a walkover, if I did not enter the contest. My friend urged me to stand as a candidate, so that there would be a contest, and not another walkover. This was one key reason for me to stand in the election.

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