Saturday, May 23, 2015

Turning a weak point to an advantage

My friend told this interesting story of how he turned a weak point to an advantage and landed the job that he was passionate about. Link

Can Singaporeans think?

The writer of this article made a statement that most Singaporeans cannot think. It attracted several interesting responses. Half of them disagreed with him while the other half agreed. I also agreed with his view. Most Singaporeans cannot think and lack common sense.  Link to the article. 

Fake flash drive?

I bought this 32G flash drive from Hong Kong for HK 10 (or SGD 1.60). 
It does not work. I think that this is a fake flash drive. 

Protecting the image of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew

SINGAPORE – The Government is looking at enacting laws to protect the name and image of the Republic’s founding Prime Minister, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, from commercial exploitation and misleading use.

Culture, Community and Youth Minister Lawrence Wong revealed this while speaking to the media at the sidelines of the National Community Engagement Programme Dialogue today (May 23).

Mr Wong said the move comes as many members of the public have raised concerns over the misuse of Mr Lee’s name.


See Seah
This is a dangerous preposition ....As much as we respect the Late LKY ...we should not reduce him to be a Cult figure or allow ourselves to embrace such culture of being overly I remember what was being spoken by one of LKY grandson during his eulogy speech which reminded us that we should remember LKY by the system and foundation that he has built and not by monuments and legislating rules on the use of his names that reflect badly on our society a nation.

New Zealand Air Force

My friend said, "It is quite funny that the symbol of the New Zealand Air Force is the Kiwi - a bird that cannot fly.

I told him that the Kiwi is the national symbol for New Zealand, and not for the Air Force alone. He said, "is it"? 

Singapore Lions XII in Malaysia Cup Final

Best wishes to Lions XII. I was not following football and was surprised that our team is doing well to reach the finals!
Click here for more details.

The case for a minimum wage in Singapore

Kenneth Jeyaretnam said:

A few days ago I put up a post on Facebook about the decision by the Los Angeles City Council to raise the minimum wage in the city to US$15 per hour. I asked why Singapore could not afford a minimum wage of, say, $8 per hour. In response an American economist gave his reasons why the case for a minimum wage was much stronger in Singapore than the USA:

There are many. But I’ll give you four. One, the Singapore workforce is now nearly 40% foreign imported labour vs. 16% in the US. Actually, since a good percentage of foreign workers stay and eventually get citizenship vs. very few in Singapore, the gap is effectively much larger. Two, Singapore has much tighter controls on immigration than the US. Three, Singapore’s “democracy” is structured to minimize specific-issue local dissent. Four, Singapore is a city-state with a tiny physical geography while the US consists of 50 states, DC and nearly 10 million square km.

Read the full article here.

Famous People

Can you recognize the famous people in this painting?  Click here.

Confusing taxi fares

The taxi fares in Singapore is confusing. Even a local person, like me, can easily fall into the trap and pay a much higher fare than necessary.

I returned back to Singapore from Jakarta last Monday past midnight. The concierge at the airport directed me to a waiting taxi. The taxi is white in color and had a special branding. I asked the taxi driver if it is a standard taxi and he said "yes".

When I arrived home, the taxi fare was $37. The normal fare was around $25, even after midnight. I asked why it was so expensive, and the taxi driver said that there was a surcharge after midnight. I believed that it was a non-standard taxi, but he appeared to be "blur".

In the past, the concierge would asked me if I wanted a non-standard taxi at a higher fare. That night, the concierge did not ask me. She just directed me to the specific taxi..I suspect that she was new to the job, or was being bribed by the taxi driver to direct a passenger to the higher fare taxi.

This is why I dislike the confusing taxi fare structure in Singapore. It is subject to abuse, The public could be conned when they are not aware about the higher fares.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Visit to Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou

I visited Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou in early May and spent a total of 5 days in these cities. It was a pleasant trip. I met many nice people and found the shopping and food to be very good in these cities.

I liked the early morning yam-cha in all the three cities. The food is good and the prices are inexpensive. The early morning crowd are mainly the elderly people, who spent their time in leisure to eat the dim-sum, read newspapers and chat with friends. What a contrast to the hectic life and the relative lack of socializing in Singapore.

The restaurants in all three cities are packed in the morning, afternoon and night. They have a high turnover of customers, indicating a high level of productivity. In spite of the large crowd, their service is excellent. They service staff are well trained.

Prior to this visit, I had the impression that it is not safe to be in Shenzhen and Guangzhou. This fear was unfounded. I did not face any problem with criminals in these cities. Everybody is busy with their work and daily activities.

Shenzhen has a population of 10 million, which is almost twice of Singapore. Guangzhou has a population of 15 million. It did not seemed to be too overcrowded.

I stayed at the Holiday Inn in Shifu, which is next to one of the popular pedestrian streets.  On my free morning, I took the underground train in Guangzhou for four stops to visit the shopping center in Beijing Road. The train system is well organized. It was quite full, but not packed. I liked their signage and the announcement of the stops. They numbered their train lines, which made it easy to remember. My station served Line 1 and Line 6.

I like Guangzhou and will make a longer visit in the near future.

ASEAN agreement

Kenneth Jeyaretnam writes about the ASEAN Agreement on Free Movement of Labour and the risk that this agreement poses to Singaporeans in competing for jobs in our own country. This agreement will come into effect in December 2015. It will also confer mutual recognition of qualifications for several professions.
Read this article. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

National productivity Fund

Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam wrote this open letter, published in his website, regarding the National Productivity Fund. He is concerned that a lot of money has been transferred into this fund and there is no accountability of the money spent. I share his concern. Link

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What is a life annuity and how does it work?

Suppose you have $400,000 in saving at age 65. You decide to set aside $100,000 as an emergency fund or to give to your children when you pass away. You invest $300,000 to get a monthly income.
You are told that the life expectancy for a normal person at age 65 is 20 years, and you belong to this category, i.e .you are not unhealty nor super healthy.
The insurance company (or CPF) offers you two choices:
a)  FIXED ANNUITY FOR 20 YEARS. You can get $1,840 per month payable for a fixed period of 20 years. If you die earlier, the balance of your savings will be paid to your family. However, the money will run out after 20 years, and you will get nothing after than.
b) LIFE ANNUITY. You will get $1,840 per month payable for your lifetime. If you die before 20 years, the balance of your savings will be kept in the fund to pay the monthly income for those who live beyond 20 years. If you live beyond 20 years, you will continue to get the monthly payment as it is taken from those who left the balances in the pool when they die.
Which annuity do you prefer - the fixed annuity for 20 years, or the life annuity?
Under the fixed annuity, you stand the risk that you will live beyond 20 years and your money would have run out by that time. Under the life annuity, you are assured of receiving the income for your lifetime, but it could be shorter or longer than 20 years. You are pooling your "longevity risk" with the other members of the pool.
Your decision will depend on your belief - do you like to pool your risk with the other members of the fund? This assumes that you belong to the group that expects to have a normal life expectancy, i.e. you do not have any reason to believe that you will die earlier or later than most people of the same age as you.
What is your choice?

Visit this website for the following information that may be useful to you:
Condo - details of condos in Singapore
Bus Service - find bus services at any bus stop, or all the stops for any service
Forms - locate forms from government agencies or business organisations (CPF now available, other forms will be provided
Find Word - help for this 4 picture-1 word game
Financial Planning - prepare your financial plan
Financial Projection - new format (being developed).
TKL books - under development.

Pinnacle Notes

If you are an investor in the Pinnacle Notes, please read this notice urgently.
Dear Mr Tan,
As you may know, the deadline for investors to claim their share of the Pinnacle settlement fund is 2 June.  Would you perhaps post some notice on your blog about the claim deadline?  Attached is an ad that we ran in the ST last week that contains all the relevant information for claiming.  Feel free to post the ad itself. 
Daniel Hume
Kirby McInerney LLP

Click here:

Blog Archive