Saturday, June 14, 2014

Poor standard of our civil service

I applied to speak at Hong Lim Park and received an approval e-mail from the National Parks Board.

Dear applicant,

Your application to register your event has been approved. In registering your event, you have agreed to the Speakers’ Corner terms and conditions of approval for events and activities carried out at Speakers’ Corner, Hong Lim Park.

Please note that you will be required to apply for a police permit or licence if any of the organisers and speakers are not Singapore citizens, or if any of the participants are not Singapore citizens or permanent residents.

Please refer to the Public Order Act, Public Order (Unrestricted Area) Order 2013, Public Entertainments and Meetings Act and the Public Entertainments and Meetings (Speakers’ Corner)(Exemption) Order 2013 for information on the situations you will be required to apply for a police permit or public entertainment licence under existing laws.

As an organiser, you are responsible for ensuring that the laws are complied with. We also seek your cooperation in helping to keep Hong Lim Park litter-free.

Please print this page as proof of your registration and bring it on the day of your event. Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
Commissioner of Parks and Recreation

Dear National Parks Board,

There is no information in your email about the event that I have registered for, which you have approved.

There is something seriously wrong with our civil service. They cannot get a simple procedure right.
I am not an organizer of the event. I am just applying to speak. Their reply holds me responsible as an organizer.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Should I join Eldershield at 40?

Several people have asked for my views on whether it is advisable for them to buy Eldershield insurance.

Basic Eldershield is recommended and designed by the Ministry of Health and is underwritten by three insurance companies - NTUC Income, Great Eastern and Aviva. Each person, on reaching age 40 will be assigned to an insurance company at random, but is allowed to switch to another company.

Click here to read my views:

Life insurance - before and now

There was a time, long ago, when life insurance was good. The insurance company took your money, invest for the long term, earn a yield of 6.5% and give you a return of 5%, after expenses and profit. 

You are not able to earn a yield of 5% from other investments, except for quality shares, but most people do not know how to invest in these shares.

Today, life insurance gives a bad deal. The insurance company takes your money, earn a return of 5% and gives you a return of 2.5%, after expenses and profit.

You can get a good return by investing in an index fund, i.e. the STI ETF. This can give you a return of 6% or more. This gives you a payout that is more than 50% higher than the payout from a life insurance policy.

If you have a better choice, why put your money in a traditional or investment linked policy and get a poor return?

To learn more about how to invest in a better investment, attend this talk:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

What caused the high cost of living in Singapore?

Singapore has become one of the most expensive cities in the world. We did not achieve this dubious distinction from nothing. There are a few important factors.

1. Top most must be the high cost of properties. This has its multiper effect to all parts of the economy, affecting housing, commercial rentals and even the rentals of food courts!

2. The high taxes collected from vehicles, goods and service taxes, levies and other fees.

3. The high prices charged by many large companies that are mostly owned by the government.

4. The wastefulness and inefficiency of the way that we do our business or carry out our activities, due to an excessive and impractical cautious approach and a disregard for cost.

I have made many observations in the social media. Sadly, most Singaporeans are used to the inefficiency and wastage and consider it to be "acceptable".

Well, it is one important factor leading to the high cost of living in Singapore.

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