Saturday, September 26, 2015

A highly respected financial institution

There is one financial institution that I respect. Its behavior is in stark contract to the deplorable behavior of  most other financial institutions in Singapore.

Like many other banks, finance companies and stock brokers, they sold the Pinnacle Notes to their clients. The Pinnacle Notes went bust, resulting in a 100% loss of investment for their retail investors.

When this financial institution learned that the issuer had probably acted fraudulently in creating the Pinnacle Notes, it decided to compensate the investors for a large percentage  of their investment. After making this payment, the financial institution took legal action to sue the issuer for the amount that they had paid to their investors.

Instead of letting the investors take legal action on their own, and that would be difficult for retail investors, this financial institution took the risk on behalf of their customers.

What is the name of this honorable financial institution?

It is Hong Leong Finance. It is the only financial institution that gained my full respect.

In contrast, the bank that ranked at the bottom of my  list is DBS Bank. They created the High Notes which caused total loss of the investments of their privileged customers. The High Notes were badly created and were badly sold by their relationship managers.

After the High Notes went bust, DBS Bank found various ways to avoid responsibility and only compensated a small group of "vulnerable" customers.  Their behavior stinks to this day.

Problem faced by elderly people

Comment from someone unknown.
I have fed back repeatedly to the banks about these problems of locking out the real owners in the name of security.
The real problem is that the CEOs left the IT security to young, fast & furious IT staff who has no ideas about the problems a fast aging populace faces. Ironically, it is this silver generation that will make the most valuable clientele to any bank as they are the ones with most investible savings & least likely to default payments.
In short, this group of silver clients should be the banks most desired customers & they are letting their fast & furious IT brigade chase them away with their two factor authentication, password within passwords with alphanumeric with capital letters & all those complicated requirements that are a real challenge to our diminishing eyesight, foggy memories, less dexterous fingers , sigh, they are driving their most valuable customers to an early grave, or if we choose to save our lives, then we can drive the banks instead to their well

Friday, September 25, 2015

Simulate the Swiss referendum

Be an active citizen. Cast your vote on these issues. If more people come in to vote, we will be simulating the Swiss referendum system. It will increase the maturity of our citizens.

What's Wrong #2 - DBS Bank

I have to make an online payment of $13 for the replacement of my Senior Citizen card issued by Transit Link.

The Transit Link website required me to enter my credit card detail. I received a SMS to provide an one time pin (OTP) to authenticate the payment.  The authentication failed, due to some problem with the platform.

I had to re-enter all the details again. It failed again. I tried the third time, and it went through.

During this time, my mobile phone was flat. I had to recharge it and retrieve the OTP within the 3 minutes allowed to me. It added to the trouble that I had to go through.

What's Wrong
The amount is only $13. There is no need to go through the trouble of authenticating this payment by SMS.

It is wasteful and unproductive to go through the authentication for small payments.

How to put it right
DBS Bank should allow the customer to set a threshold to require credit card payments to be authenticated.

Below this threshold, the customer does not need to authenticate the payment by the OTP. The customer will take the risk of fraudulent payment.

What's Wrong #1 - Transit Link

I reported a loss of my Senior Citizen card at the Transit Link website and paid $13 for a replacement card. Payment was made by my credit card.

A few hours later, I found the card. I sent an email to Transit Link to withdraw my request for a replacement card.

They replied and asked for my address to mail the refund cheque. I asked for the $13 to be added to my Transit Link card, but it was not possible.

What's Wrong
 It is costly to make a refund by cheque. You have to add the printing, mailing of the cheque and clearance of the cheque. I estimate the total cost to be more than $5.

Many organizations will make a refund by reversing the charge of $13 from the credit card, or by adding the $13 to the Transit Link card.

A few years ago, my Senior Citizen card expired and had to be replaced. They made me pay cash into the new card and sent a refund of the balance to me by refund cheque.

Transit Link must be handling a few thousand refunds every month. Why are they still making refund by cheque?

How to put it right
The management of Transit Link should recognize this inefficiency and waste and introduce a better way to make the refund.

Our MPs should bring up this issue in Parliament as it is wasteful to the economy to continue with this inefficient way of making a refund.

What's Wrong - Identify problems to be fixed

Singapore has a high cost of living and a high cost of doing business.

We carry out many inefficient and wasteful activities that were carried out over the years.  The people in charge of these activities in the government and big companies neglected their duty to identify these problems and put them right.

I will be identifying the problems under the title "What's Wrong". I will also suggest how these wrongs can be put right.

If you are aware of other problems that need to be addressed, send them to

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Taking care of elderly people - Singapore and Hong Kong

Singapore introduced a Pioneer Generation package. It provides some subsidy for medical and dental care and for payment of Medishield Life premium. The scheme is quite complicated and many people do not know how much they can really get from the scheme.

My guess is that it cost the government $100 to $200 a month for each elderly person. Perhaps a sleeping MP can wake up and ask this question in Parliament?

Hong Kong provides a old age allowance (popularly called 'fruit money') of about SGD 200 a month for each elderly person from 65 to 70 who have low income and for each person above 70 regardless of income.

They can use the allowance for food or for medical care or in any way that is suitable.

Some people criticized the monthly payment in Hong Kong to be inadequate. But it is much better than the PGP introduced in Singapore.


Hong Kong

Local foreigner relations

This is a well written article. It explains the root of the problems in Singapore regarding relations between locals and foreigners. It also explains the difficulties faced by foreigners working in Singapore.
This is another example of a problem that has remained unresolved for a long time and could get worse over time. It is one more reason why we need an active Parliament comprising of full time MPs who can do their jobs.
At the next election, do remember to vote for a full time MP, rather than a part time MP that sleeps in Parliament.

Express your view directly

Mat Alamak said:
Nothing positive will happen from protests. And this Sinkies only know too well. Remember Hong Lim Park and the GE 2015 results?

The purpose of a protest is to register a point. If it is not registered, the people in power thinks that their policy is right and they will continue a bad policy for a long time. This is what has happened to Singapore .Bad policies have continued for several decades.

If many people are willing to participate in a protest, the people in power will know that there is strong opposition to their bad policies. They will also know that their policies are bad and need to be changed.

It is important for the voters to vote into Parliament, people who can be full time MPs and who can spend the time to understand the concerns of the citizens and to spend time to understand and debate government policies.

The next opportunity to vote the right people into Parliament is 2020.

Before that time, the voters can express their views directly in the Wisdom of the Crowd website.  You can play your part now. Register in this website and give your votes. Let your MP in white sleep for the next five years. You give your vote directly!

Life is not that bad under PAP

Andy Tan said:
To be frank I voted for the PAP. Life is actually not that bad now if you compare to many other countries and I do not want to take any risk with the inexperience opposition.

Under the PAP, Singapore has become the most expensive city in the world, wide income gap, over crowded, uncertain jobs and high stress level.

Apart from these issues, life is not that bad in Singapore for those with a high paying job.

Key findings from the Wisdom of the Crowd website

Look at the pie charts of all the issues presented in the Wisdom of the Crowd website.
There are two issues that get almost 100% of the votes, i.e. all the people are fully in support.

1) We want full time MPs

2) We want a more diverse Parliament comprising of MPs from different parties.

The non-PAP parties should take note of these two votes. If they campaign in 2020 to serve as full time MPs, they stand a good chance to be elected, compared to a MP in white who sleeps in Parliament and hardly attend Parliament.

The PAP is likely to command the majority in Parliament for the next one or two elections. If they lose the majority one day, they will still lead the coalition government.

There is no need for voters to fear about a fall in the PAP government. If this "once in 50 year event" or "black swan" event should appear, and the PAP is not the government, the coalition government can find the best persons in Singapore to be the ministers. This could even be better than the PAP government. (But this is a black swan event).

In 2020, voters should vote for a full time MP and a diverse Parliament.

A diverse Parliament and a strong Government

Many voters want to have an active Parliament that can address their real concerns and a PAP to be the government. This is how it can be achieved.
Voters should vote for a candidate that promises to be a full time MP and to do a proper MP job. It does not matter whether they are white, blue, red or any color.
We need a diverse Parliament comprising of full time MPs who can be active in Parliament.
The PAP is likely to form the majority. If there is an unexpected result and the PAP loses the majority, a coalition government can be formed. They can appoint a cabinet comprising of the most capable people in  Singapore, including the MPs from the PAP. The non-MP ministers can be appointed as NMP and then take up the role of ministers.

Singaporeans have to express their views

Mr. Tan
You have been promoting the Wisdom of the Crowd website many times. Sometimes, you promote it a few times each day.
But the number of votes seem to be quite low for many issue.

IMHO, there is no point because
- Sinkies like only to complain
- They have no opinion - blame on the PAP education
- They are only interested in one issue that affect them directly, and don't care about other issues.
- They think that their views do not count, as the PAP government is deaf frog.

Do you agree?

Yes. I generally agree with your observation.
We need to put in a lot of effort and time to make a change.
We have to encourage more people to think beyond their limited interest.
This website is a good way to start.
So, I like to invite more people to put in some effort, register in this website, and cast your vote on the issues. For some issues, they already have an opinion. For other issues, they can read the reasons for and against the issue and give their vote.

Register here:

Be an active citizen

Be an active citizen. Give your views on the issues that affect your future, and the future of your children. Register in this website and vote on the issues there.

After registration, click on Vote and vote on the issues. For some issues, you have a clear opinion. Express it. For other issues, you can read the reason For and Against each issue, and decide on how you wish to vote.

You can view the results of the vote on each issue here:

Do not rely on your MP to vote for you on these issues. They may be sleeping in Parliament or too busy to attend Parliament.

Be an active citizen, and express your vote on these issues.

Pay $20 to each commuter affected by SMRT breakdown

The Land Transport Authority is gaining a revenue of $5.4 million from the fine to be paid by SMRT. But it is the 250,000 commuters who have suffered from the breakdown in the train service.
A better approach is for SMRT to credit $20 to each consumer who were affected. They can be identified from the fare card system.
We need an active Parliament to bring up these issues. We cannot continue to have sleeping MPs who hardly spoke up. In 2020, remember to vote for full time MPs who can be active in Parliament.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Practice to be a Member of Parliament

One day, you may be elected as a Member of Parliament. You will have to debate and cast your votes on government policies and legislation that are presented to Parliament. Will you be ready for that role?
You can practice now to be a MP by voting on the issues that are presented in this website. With practice, you can be clear on the reason to vote for or against each issue.
Register here and cast your vote

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Express your view on key issues

Do you want the government to decide what is good for the country, without taking into account your views as a citizen?

If you don't want the government to make all the decisions in this manner, are you willing to give your views on the issues that concern our future?

If you want your views to be considered, here is your chance to express them.

Register in this website, click on "Vote" and give your vote on each of the issue.

The collective views of all the participants will send a strong message to the government on what the citizens like, or don't like.

Don't worry, if you have no strong views on some of the issues. You can ignore them, or cast your votes anyway. After a while, your views will become clearer. And you will become more mature politically.

Here is the website for you to register.

Monday, September 21, 2015

A mistake cost the family of this elderly woman $300,000.

An elderly woman was advised by the insurance agent to upgrade from a shield C plan to A plan. She was not well educated. She signed the application form without understanding the legal implications.

15 months later, she was diagnosed for colon cancer. She went to a public hospital for treatment. The specialist advised her to go to a private hospital as she was covered under the A plan.

The medical bill in the private hospital came to a staggering $300,000. She submitted her claim for reimbursement. The insurance company rejected the claim as she did not disclose that she had diabetes. The agent did not ask her. She was not aware about the impact of this non-disclosure.

Read this article.

If she did not upgrade to plan A, she would probably be treated in the public hospital. Her plan C would have covered most of the cost.

This is the price of ignorance. Her family now has to incur $300,000 in medical bills, compared to a small sum, if she had been treated in the public hospital.

Reduce the wage gap between graduates and non-graduates

Should we reduce the wage gap between graduates and non-graduates and encourage some people to start work earlier and acquire practical skills and work experience, instead of learning academic subjects in university? Vote on this issue in this website.

Vote on these issues

Vote on this issue. Tell us what you, as a citizen, think and prefer. Do not rely on your MP in white to vote for you. He (or she) is sleeping in Parliament.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Harm caused by National Service

Raymond Khoo said:
We have done our NS and know how it has caused disadvantage to Singaporean men in the work place. I would not want this to be inflicted onto others.
- we lose our precious youth during active service
- we lose our competitive edge when we are young
- we lose momentum at work place when get called up
- we get bypassed for promotion due to disruption by service call up

But ... we see Jobs for foreigners, NS for Singaporeans.

I agree with your views, totally. I have observed this for 3 decades. Only, the people in power refuse to see it. And the selfish people, who are not affected or have done their stint,  refuse to see the harm that it is causing to our young people.

Should the "opposition" parties merge into a single party?

Dear Mr. Tan
Should the opposition parties merge and form a single party to challenge the PAP? Many voters do not wish to support a fragmented opposition.

The strategy for the alternative parties is to convince the voters that they should elect full time MPs who can play an active role in Parliament.  The full time MPs should spend time to meet their voters, to understand their concerns, and to bring up these issues in Parliament.

They should also spend time to study and understand the legislation and government policies that are put forward into Parliament for adoption. these legislation and policies have to be actively debated. The elected MPs should get the feedback and views of their constituents, and present them in Parliament.

When the elected MPs put forward the views held by a majority of their constituents, their views will be respected.

The first step is to be elected into Parliament and play an active role in Parliament. If the candidates from the alternative parties are prepared to declare that they will be a full time MP, the part time and sleeping MPs from the PAP are likely to be voted out.


Why? You only need a strong party if you wish to be the government. The people are not ready to trust a new and inexperienced government at this time. Not in 2020. Maybe in 2025.

If the PAP continues to be the government and there is a strong opposition in Parliament, the PAP will have to change its style of governance to get their policies accepted by Parliament. This will allow the concerns of the citizens to be addressed.

Long standing issues that have been neglected by a "sleeping Parliament" for five decades can be brought up to be re-examined.

Do we have a good government?

Do we have a good government? 69.9% think so. Give your views in the Wisdom of the Crowd website.

Let your views be counted

Here are the issues affecting our future. Do you agree with the proposal? Are you against the proposal? Cast your vote and let your views he counted.

Biggest problem faced by Singapore

I met a lawyer who has been in practice for over 20 years. He saw how Mr LKY abused his power to detain his opponents and to tame the lawyers, and he had badly treated JBJ, Chee Soon Juan, Francis Seow and Tang Liang Hong.
I asked him - what is the biggest problem faced by Singaporeans today. He was stunned. He said, "there are too many to count".
I helped him. How about
High cost of living
Insecurity of jobs
Over crowding
Spending money wastefully
He said - all of them.
I asked again - What is the biggest problem?
He gave up. So, I gave him my answer.
He said - Mr. Tan, I agree with your answer.
What is the answer?

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