Saturday, March 26, 2016

Bernie Sander's campaign hit Hillary Clinton on getting big donors

Sisters and Brothers -
When most Americans want to spend some time with George Clooney, they shell out $8 at a movie theater and can expect a pretty good time. He is, after all, a tremendous actor.
But in three weeks, Hillary Clinton is hosting a fundraising event with George Clooney at the home of a California venture capitalist that will cost people who want “premium dinner seating” $353,400 to attend.
Now, most of us can agree that is an obscene amount of money. It’s a sum that would require an employee making the federal minimum wage to work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for more than 5 years.
This is what we’re up against in this campaign, and why it’s so impressive we’ve held our own raising $5, $10, $27 at a time from working Americans. But with three critical caucuses just a day away, we have to ask:
The three caucuses happening tomorrow present a tremendous opportunity for our campaign to reclaim a significant number of delegates in one day alone. If we do, and if we keep fighting through a number of large and important states ahead, we can win. That’s why your contribution is so important.
In solidarity,
Jeff Weaver
Campaign Manager
Bernie 2016

Friday, March 25, 2016

Chee Soon Juan might win Bukit Batok

A friend asked me, "Will Chee Soon Juan win the Bukit Batok by-election?".

It will be tough, but may still be possible.

During the general election, The PAP win nearly 75% of the votes. CSJ need a swing of 25% to win the seat.

The swing in a by-election could be 15%. This was demonstrated in the Punggol East by-election.

CSJ could get another 5% to 10% from older Chinese votes, who do not speak English and prefer a Chinese MP. But this might not be enough to win the seat.

Some people still have a negative view of CSJ, but this could be balanced by others who now find him to be quite mellow and could speak well.

The final 5% could come from younger voters who may like his courage. I read that he is usually well received when he speak to younger people.

All the best to CSJ.

One month target achieved in ONE DAY!

The organizer of this petition set a goal to reach 100,000 signatures within one month. The petition received 140,000 signatures in ONE DAY!

This is democracy in action!

Profit margin of insurance company

When an insurance company makes too much profit, it means that their policyholders are paying too much premium or having their claims rejected.

This website allows you to check on the profit margin of any insurance company for any line of insurance business.

Happy searching:

How Bernie Sanders plan to win New York State

Dear Bernie Supporter -
Today our Targeting Analyst, Ben Muirhead, came over to my desk and told me that we can win New York State – a critical upcoming contest, with 247 pledged delegates at stake – but we need to register 13,000 more new New York voters in time for the deadline, which is TOMORROW, March 25th.
We've done the math, and if one thousand of you get on the phones this afternoon and evening for two to three hours each to call unregistered New Yorkers, we can hit this goal.
Since February 1st, in every primary or caucus where we’ve won or picked up significant delegates, the participation of new and young voters has been essential. In the states coming up, we can do very well if we focus our efforts on expanding the electorate, and then make sure those new voters turn out.
Time is short, and our goal is big, but it’s nothing compared to what this movement has already accomplished.
Thank you for all you do.
In solidarity,
Claire Sandberg
Bernie 2016

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Difficult to upgrade to Windows 10

When I upgraded my home PC to Windows 10, I faced a lot of difficulties. It took a long time to download and install the new software. On several stages of the process, the computer appeared to hang, as nothing happened for a long period of time. I must have restarted the computer on a few occasions. Finally, I completed the upgrading but was not sure if it was done correctly.

Microsoft kept prompting me to upgrade the computer in my office, and I avoided it. I was happy with Windows 7.

I finally decided to upgrade the office PC today. I faced the same issue. It took a long time to go through the process and the computer appeared to hang as nothing happened for a long time. I restarted it and it continued the upgrading but came to another halt.

After one hour, I left the computer on in the office, not knowing if the upgrading is being continued or not.

Why can't Microsoft make their upgrading easier and give clearer information to the user on what is happening?

A National Disgrace - message from Bernie Sanders

Sisters and Brothers -
What happened yesterday in Arizona should be considered a national disgrace. I got an email last night from a woman who waited five hours to vote in Arizona. Five hours. 
We don't know how many thousands of people didn't get to cast their ballotsyesterday in Arizona because they couldn't afford to wait that long. Scenes on cable news last night showed hundreds of people in line at 11:30pm in Phoenix – more than four hours after polls closed. Voting should not be this difficult.
One reason it is so hard to vote in Arizona is because the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act. There were 70 percent fewer polling places this year than in 2012 in Phoenix's county. They wouldn't have been allowed to cut those polling places if the Voting Rights Act was still in tact.
These cuts meant that, in a county with more than 4 million residents, there were just 60 polling places. This is unacceptable, but it's also not an isolated incident.
We need to make it easier to vote, not more difficult. One way we can do that is by reaffirming our support for the Voting Rights Act, which, when I am president, I will fight to reinstate.
We cannot continue to see democracy undermined in the United States of America. Enough is enough.
Make no mistake: the billionaire class does not want Americans to vote. Billions of dollars are being funneled into our elections in a form of legalized bribery, even as American voters — especially minority voters — are being discouraged from voting. It is no wonder that government no longer works for ordinary Americans.
Above all, we need to remember the price that was paid for the right to vote. The Voting Rights Act was one of the great victories of the civil rights movement. Now, as then, change comes when the people demand it — in the voting booth, and on the streets in peaceful demonstrations. We must remind ourselves of what’s been achieved in the past, and resolve to do equally great things in the future. Democracy is not a spectator sport.
It is my sincere hope that the states that vote in the coming weeks and months do better than what we saw yesterday in Arizona. Too much is at stake for our future.
No one said a political revolution would be easy. The billionaire class doesn't want to see our movement win, and so we must do everything we can to show them that we have the power.
In solidarity,
Bernie Sanders

Big increase in premium for Integrated Shield

Dear Mr. Tan
Two weeks ago, Aviva increased rider premiums by 30 to 60% Last week, AIA increased rider premiums by 13 to 35% Who else will increase their premiums in the coming weeks? 

The true costs of the PAP's so-called healthcare reform have come to roost, with health insurers raising premiums because their models predict runaway healthcare costs. What's really wrong with the PAP's tweaks to Medisave? Why are things turning out this way? What better, more appropriate reforms would you recommend instead of what the PAP has executed?
Thank you for this useful feedback. The integrated Shield model is not working. I suggest that you cover for Medishield Life instead.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Polls showed Clinton vs Trump and Sanders vs Trump

The latest polls show Hillary Clinton will beat Donald Trump by 9.2% in the general election.

But the same polls show that Bernie Sanders will beat Donald Trump by 16,4%. The Democratic Party has a better chance to win the White House with Bernie Sanders.

Pedestrian crossing at Yio Chu Kang Road

The Land Transport Authority, in their strange "wisdom", decided to erect a barrier across the middle of Yio Chu Kang Road and force me to walk 10 meters from the bus stop to the pedestrian crossing. After pressing the light for the stop, it takes several minutes for the green man to appear.

An acceptable waiting time is 1 minute, but often it takes 2 or 3 minutes. During this time, there is usually a safe break in the traffic, so the pedestrians could cross the road safely without the traffic stop. After crossing the road, the pedestrians could look back to see the traffic light stop the traffic for nobody to cross.

This has been happening quite often.

I do not wish to give any feedback to the LTA, because they will have one hundred reasons why the current arrangement works fine.

Jetstar respond to my feedback, but are they serious?

I posted a feedback that it is inconsiderate for Jetstar to offer a voucher for $15 that carries a 20 digit number that cannot be copied by the mouse.

The corporate communications manager of Jetstar emailed to thank me for the feedback and said that they will look into the matter.

I telephoned the manager and asked, "Are you really serious about finding a solution, or is this just lip service?". I further said, "I know that you will probably find it difficult to change the 20 digit voucher number, but you could easily remove the "layer" that prevents the voucher number from being copied by the mouse. Why introduce this unnecessary "layer"?

The people who designed these kind of system, "for security" do not use their common sense. They just make life unnecessarily difficult for their customers.

It is easy to miss the boat when one is too cautious

When the ST index was dropping, I decided that 2,500 was the level to invest in the market. However, I set my buy price at 2,450 and 2,400 for 2 tranches of the index.

The ST Index probably hit 2,500 but did not touch 2,450.

Now the ST Index is at 2800, which is more than 10% higher than 2,500.

By being cautious, I missed the boat.

Bernie Sanders got more support from Democrats abroad than Hillary Clinton

This is a big deal, sisters and brothers. Yesterday afternoon, we received the final results from another Democratic primary contest:
Democrats Abroad Results - March 21, 2016
Sanders: 69% (nine delegates)
Clinton: 31% (four delegates)
Here’s why this result is important: we netted more delegates from the Democrats Abroad voting than Hillary Clinton netted with her narrow victories in Illinois, Massachusetts, and Missouri combined.
This is the result we needed. Now we wait to hear from Arizona, Idaho, and Utah later tonight, where we should do well. But we also have to focus on what’s next, and that is the CRITICAL caucus in Washington on Saturday.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Jetstar Voucher - so long and complicated

The people who designed the JetStar online system are inconsiderate.

They charged me $45 for a "Plus Package" and gave me a flight voucher for $15. To use this voucher, I have to enter a 20 digit number. The voucher does not allow me to copy the number with the mouse. I have to copy down the 20 digit number and enter them carefully into the box.

My number got rejected twice, even though I entered it correctly. I tried a third time, and it got through.

Why force the customer to go to so much trouble? They could have used a 10 digit number, but they wanted to use 20 digits - just for $15.

Expect huge and loud demonstrations for Bernie Sanders

If Bernie Sanders does not win the Democratic nomination or lose the general election, I expect him to be active in the "revolution".

He will put forward proposed legislation on the topics set out in his campaign and millions of his supporters will march in the streets and telephone their representatives and senators in Congress to support the legislation.

Previously, Bernie Sanders was not well known, so he could not mount this kind of demonstration. Now, he is so well known and liked by his supporters that these demonstrations will be a common event. He will be able to draw huge crowds and loud crowds.

Whether Bernie Sanders is in, or out of the White House, we can expect to see a very different America. It will outshine the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Excellent laptop and excellent service from Dell

I bought a Dell XPS 13 for $1,300 from their online website. I find the laptop to be excellent.

However, I was soon disappointed to see the message "power on, not charging".

I sent an online feedback to Dell.They replied by email to me and asked for additional information from certain test. They soon diagnosed the problem to be adapter fault.

They sent a new adapter to me on the following day. It arrived and worked perfectly. I am impressed with the good service from Dell.

The laptop did not have a HDMI port. I bought a USB-C to HDMI adapter. It worked fine.

I am also very happy with the Dell XPS 13. It is light and powerful. It is an excellent laptop.

Bad advice from an insurance agent

Dear Mr. Tan

I need some advice from you. I am currently in my late 20s with a congenital heart disease.

My mother bought a traditional whole life insurance from company X many years ago. This policy had a loading due to my medical condition.

Recently I met an insurance agent from company Y. He introduced to me a limited payment whole life insurance where the premium period is only 25 years. He told me to surrender my current policy and switch to the new policy as this policy has a higher sum assured and a limited payment period.

This limited payment policy has an assured sum two times of my current However, the annual premium payment is also two times higher.

What should I do?

It is usually a bad idea to switch from one life insurance policy to another policy. You will have to incur the high upfront cost all over again, as the agent will earn a high commission on the new policy and the surrender value on your existing policy is usually quite poor.

In your case, you will face difficulty in getting a new policy due to your medical condition. If the agent declares the medical condition, you will be loaded again, so your premium will be even higher than what was indicated now. The danger is that the agent will not declare the medical condition, and you will face problem many years later, when you have to make an insurance claim.

The new agent is giving you bad advice.

Government agencies should move to the 21st centruy

I have to submit my medical test to the Police to validate my driving licence. This is required after passing age 65.

I scanned the medical report (both sides) into PDF and email to the Police. They acknowledged by e-mail.

It is convenient for me, and also save work for the Police.

The Police is able to accept medical report by e-mail. They are one of the few government agencies that are up to date. Most of the other agencies still avoid email and insist on sending and receiving hard copy.

Perhaps the Police should be updating the other agencies. Perhaps PM Lee should be passing an instruction to the other government agencies to learn from the Police and update their procedures to the 21st century.

Implement apprentice programme to equip young with skills

Straits Times Online Forum, 22 March 2016
Singapore faces the challenge of preparing our young people for jobs of the future.

While a university degree is suitable for some jobs, there are other jobs where skills and working experience are more important.

In the early 1980s, I visited an insurance company in Germany.

It had two categories of employees: permanent employees and apprentices, who left secondary school and started work in the company on a three- or four-year apprenticeship programme.

The apprentices spent half their time doing actual administrative work in the office and the other half attending an insurance course in a school or polytechnic.

After completing the apprenticeship successfully, the apprentices were absorbed as permanent employees of the company.

I understand that the apprenticeship system is adopted in many types of occupations in Germany, Switzerland and other countries in Europe.

There are some advantages to the apprenticeship system.

First, the employer has a supply of apprentices who can do the actual work, for a modest allowance.

Second, the apprentices learn skills and gain experience needed for their future careers.

In Singapore, many polytechnics and universities send their students for three-month internships to get working experience. This is not the same as the apprenticeship system.

Under the apprenticeship system, the apprentice joins an employer first and is sponsored by the employer to attend a professional or vocational course.

The employer has a regular supply of young workers who know how to do the work that is needed. Most employers are happy to offer full-time careers to apprentices who have completed the apprenticeship.

I hope that the Singapore Government can provide funding for an apprenticeship system and do it effectively.

We can follow the experience of the countries that have implemented this system well.

Tan Kin Lian

By-election in Bukit Batok

I wonder if PM Lee had read my blog post here. He seemed to have acted on my suggestions, i.e.
a) Call the by-election at an early date
b) Get his assistant (i.e. Tharman) to take charge of the PAP's efforts
c) Select an "experienced" candidate from the Aljunied team.

Monday, March 21, 2016

What will it take for Chee Soon Juan to win Bukit Batok?

At the general election in 2015, the Peoples Action Party won 73% of the votes in Bukit Batok constituency.

The by-election in the constituency will see a contest between the PAP candidate and the Singapore Democratic Party candidate, Dr. Chee Soon Juan.

Will Dr Chee be able to get a swing of 23%, i.e. get 23% of the voters to change their mind and vote for the SDP?

At the Punggol East by-election, the Workers Party candidate, Lee Li Lian achieved a swing of 13.5% to win the by-election against a strong PAP candidate, Dr. Koh Poh Boon.

Will Dr. Chee be able to achieve a swing of 23% against the PAP candidate? It will be difficult but worth a try. As the 2015 general election gave more votes to the PAP that expected, some of these bonus votes may swing around to the opposition this time.

Bernie Sender's daily messages

I registered in Bernie Sander's website with my email address and a dummy ZIP code.

I receive a daily email from the website. The message starts with "Dear Sisters and Brothers" Trade unions address their members as "Sisters" and "Brothers" to show solidarity among the workers.

Each daily email focuses on one aspects of Bernie Sander's campaign. This is how he keeps in touch with his one million and growing supporters.

Dell XPS 13 - surprise and setback

I bought a Dell XPS 13 for $1,300 SGD. That is a good price. I was pleasantly surprised to find it to be light and the keyboard and screen were great.

I soon discovered two setbacks -
a) It does not have a HDMI port
b) The battery could not charge - the message showed "Power on, not charging".

I bought a Dell adapter - USB-C to HDMI. It worked fine. I already had an adapter from HDMI to VGA. This works well for me, as I have to give talks with my laptop.

I contacted Dell to tell them about the battery problem. They diagnosed the fault to be a faulty adapter. They delivered a replacement adapter to me the following day. That is wonderful service.

If the replacement adapter works, my feedback on the laptop will be great. I also enjoyed the great service of Dell.

Troublesome to enter a bank account

Our government agencies and banks need to exercise some common sense in the design of their websites.

For online payment, they ask the customer to enter 3 separate fields - Bank, Branch, Account No.

They provide a drop down list for the Bank and a separate drop down list for the Branch. They do not provide the format for the Account No.

I had trouble locating the bank from a long drop down list. I had to search for it 3 times before I found it.

I also had trouble in locating the branch. My branch was previously Shenton Way, but has moved to MBFC. The drop down list did not provide MBFC.

Finally, I had to enter the Account No. A car dealer told me that I have to enter the full number, including the bank and branch code. The website did not indicate that this was necessary. So I entered just the 7 digit account code.

On all of our cheque books, we have the full account number, e.g. 7171-001-1234567. The website should just ask the customer to enter the account number as AAAA-BBB-CCCCCCC and provide an explanation - AAAA is the bank code, BBB - is the branch code and CCCCCCCC is the account number. I am sure that online users will be able to figure this out.

If they wish to help their customers, they can give a message like, "You are indicating account No 1234567 in DBS Bank, Shenton Way branch".

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Maintenance of MRT system

An engineer once explained this matter to me. When we built our MRT system in the 1980s, we engaged the expertise from France and Japan. They were the best in the world.

The experts advised that some of the major parts had to be replaced after 18 years, due to wear and tear.

In France, they replaced these parts on schedule after 18 years. The Japanese are more cautious. They replaced these parts before 18 years.

In Singapore, the management said that the parts are still working after 18 years. Can the replacements be delayed?

That is why our trains are now breaking down quite often. I don't know if this story is true or is exaggerated.

Defraying the cost of maternity leave

The employment law of Singapore requires the employer to provide eight weeks of maternity leave to a female employee who gives birth to the first and second child. The working mother is entitled to another eight weeks of leave paid by the government.

Some employers wish to avoid the cost of providing the maternity leave. They will not employ a female who is likely to bear a child in the near future.

To remove this discrimination, it is better for the government to bear the entire cost of child-bearing, i.e. to reimburse the employer for all 16 weeks of maternity leave,

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