Saturday, April 09, 2016

The issues to be faced if Bernie Sanders become the President of USA

Mr. Tan
You have followed Bernie Sander's campaign quite closely. Can you help to address these issues?

1) Is Bernie Sanders too old to run for President? Can he last 4 or 8 years?
2) Can he achieve his goals without the support of Congress that is dominated by Republicans?
3) Will his changes (for healthcare, education, economy and trade) be too disruptive?
4) Will his Presidency be good or bad for Singapore?

My reply

1) Is Bernie Sanders too old to run for President? Can he last 4 or 8 years?

Bernie Sanders is 74 years old. Donald Trump is 69 years. Hillary Clinton is 68 years old. Their ages are not too far apart. The front runners for this election are "old" candidates.

Bernie Sanders is more energetic than Hillary Clinton. He is able to give many more speeches at rallies than Clinton. When he was young, he was an athlete. So, Bernie Sanders health and fitness is not an issue.

2) Can he achieve his goals without the support of Congress that is dominated by Republicans?

Bernie Sanders has a chance to be elected as President if he is nominated by the Democratic Party. He will be able to get large number of young voters and older voters who are voted for the first time. He will attract the support of voters who are Independent. These new voters are likely to vote for Democrats into the House of Representatives and the Senate.

He expect the Senate will be controlled by Democrats. He is not sure about the House, but there is a good chance that it can also be controlled by the Democrats.

He has a strategy if the House and Senate obstructs his goal. He will get millions of voters out into the streets in support of his proposed legislation. The legislators will have to take heed of the popular mood. This is his "political revolution".

3) Will his changes (for healthcare, education, economy and trade) be too disruptive?

He will find a way to introduce them in stages, over a period of years, to reduce the disruption to the economy and the lives of the people. The people will have to adapt to the changed circumstances, but the overall results will benefit the people and give them a better standard of living.

When the income is distributed more fairly and the ordinary people get jobs with higher income, they will be able to spend. The economy will grow.

4) Will his Presidency be good or bad for Singapore?

Singapore suffers from the same high income inequality and a high cost of living. The policies promoted by Bernie Sanders will also be good for the people of Singapore.  

A consequence is that the "unfettered free trade" which exists now in favor of the corporations, will be replaced by "fair trade" that will tilt the balance in favor of workers. This will lead to new rules of the game. 

Singapore will also have to change and adapt to a new global environment, with its new challenges and opportunities. It will not be easy but it is better to live in a fairer world.

Bernie Sanders out a daily message to his supporters

Sisters and Brothers -
The truth of what's happening in this election is that the American people understand that you cannot change a corrupt political system by taking its money.
Another truth is this: if America wants a president who will truly do everything in his or her power to dismantle our corrupt system of campaign finance, then we need a president who can get elected without the help of Wall Street, fossil fuel lobbyists, and the billionaire class.
Our campaign doesn't owe anything to big banks, to campaign bundlers, or to lobbyists. The only people to whom I am beholden is our political revolution. Let's keep it that way.
When I started this campaign, I had a choice: I could have a super PAC funded by millionaires and billionaires, or I could run for president without one. The political establishment dismissed us immediately. They thought it was impossible to win without money from the billionaire class.
They were wrong.
The bottom line is this: we've gotten this far with more than 6.6 million contributions from 2 million people, and we can win the White House that way too.
They keep saying what we're doing is impossible. Let's keep proving them wrong.
In solidarity,
Bernie SandersSSa

Friday, April 08, 2016

National Democratic Nomination - a tight race

Bernie Sanders is now neck to neck with Hillary Clinton in the recent polls for the Democratic National nomination. This is really scary for Clinton.

Does Bernie Sanders have a plan to achieve his promises?

Can Bernie Sanders deliver on his promises if he is elected President of USA? Does he give hollow promises that cannot be achieved? Listen to his explanation on these issues in this interview with a newspaper in Wisconsin. The editors and journalists asked sensible questions. His explanations are clear and convincing.

Satellite based ERP - issues to be addressed

The Land Transport Authority has carried out a study into the satellite-based ERP and has decided to spend $556 million to launch the system.

Han Fook Kwang (Satellite-based ERP: Great technology but what's the policy? 13 March)  said that we should discuss and decide on the policy before spending the money to implement this system.

I like to raise a few additional issues:

a)            Has the study simulated 1 million vehicles sending GPS data every 1 minute to a central server? This is a large volume of live data. Have we done the simulation to make sure that the system can handle such a volume considering the data bandwidth and immense storage that is needed?

b)            If some owners removed the GPS system from the vehicle, how will the satellite based system know that they are unauthorised vehicles on our roads? Under the gantry system, they have installed cameras to take pictures of the vehicle. What is the equivalent under the new system?

c)            Have we planned for days where the weather condition may hamper the reception of GPS signals?

d)            What about personal privacy? Who will control the access to the data about the movement of the vehicles and the personal privacy of the drivers?

I believe that the Land Transport Authority must have considered all of these issues. I like to ask them to share their findings. The new ERP satellite system is going to impact the people in many ways, beyond collecting of revenue for the government. Surely, the people should be allowed to give their views on this matter?

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Concrete actions and change are needed

The Finance Minister talk about "long term viability" but he is essentially repeating the strategies of the past years, which did not address the core challenges - i.e. improving productivity and competitiveness, increasing incomes or reducing the cost of living.

It is easy to use grand words that do not reflect concrete actions.…/going-for-lo…/2670574.html…

Key challenge for Bernie Sanders in New York

The next big challenge for Bernie Sanders is the primary election in New York on 19 April. He has to win that state, in order to catch up with Hillary Clinton on the delegate count.

The polls still show Hillary Clinton in the lead in New York. Some of the big names in the city are speaking in support of Hillary Clinton.

On the positive side for Bernie Sanders, he is able to draw out 20,000 people to attend his rallies, compared to 5,000 for Hillary Clinton. Will Bernie Sanders win this state?

It will be interesting to see if he can maintain his momentum to do well in the remaining states that are holding their caucuses and primary elections.

A better way to pass a message

Dear Mr. Tan

I am aghast at the NTUC placards at the counters stating "our staff are important to us too.....". The singapore way is to blame the citizens straight away. When I shop, I have not offended anyone so why must NTUC be so defensive and speak so definitively as if the customer is already wrong? Very poor EQ.

Thank you for your observation.
Some organizations (not just NTUC supermarkets) encounter customers who scold or abuse their front life staffs over issues that are beyond the control of the staffs. They put up these signs to stop the abuses.

These organizations should replace their current messages (which offend some of their customers) with a more effective message, such as "If you have any problems with our service, please call XXXXXXXx or email XXXXXXXXXXXX".

This provides a better avenue to the customers to give their feedback. They do not have to vent their anger on the front line staffs.

This sign at the Jakarta airport shows a better way to pass the message.

Bernie Sanders appeal for contributions to fight in New York

Sisters and Brothers -
I want to talk about what we did last night: after starting in the polls in Wisconsin down more than 40 points, we finished the election with a HUGE margin of victory. We're also going to come away with a strong majority of the delegates.
We are on the path to the Democratic nomination for president. But I want to be clear: super PACs and the billionaire class want to block that path in the New York primary.
We very much expect an unbelievable amount of attacks and negativity over the next two weeksBut I also expect that if we all stand together, starting right now, we can come out of New York with another victory. That's why I have to ask you directly:
One of the first sentences I wrote to our supporters after we launched our campaign was something few people heeded:
People should not underestimate us.
They did underestimate us. They did not think it was possible for millions of people to come together and win 16 contests on our path to the presidency.
It would be a mistake to let up for even a minute. An impressive, unprecedented number of people have contributed to our campaign and helped us get this far. We cannot stop now.
We are only as successful as we are because more than 6.5 million times, people have contributed an average of $27 to our campaign. Now, with a huge battleground primary coming up in New York, we need you more than ever.
In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

All savings insurance plans give a poor return

Dear Mr Tan.
Nowadays what savings insurance policy is worth looking at?
May i know when is your next talk about insurance policy and the effect of deduction? Thanks!

All the savings insurance policies give a poor return - avoid them.
The next talk is 9 April. Register here:

Monday, April 04, 2016

Make an appointment before calling a person in the office

My office telephone rang. Someone asked to speak to Mr. Tan. He had a question to ask why interest is not payable on CPF annuity that is not terminated.
TKL - "I do not take office calls without prior arrangement. I am now busy with my work. If you have a question, send an email to and enclose the relevant documents."
Caller - OK.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Bernie Sanders works very hard in Wisconsin

Bernie Sanders is going all out to win Wisconsin. He gave more than half a dozen speeches in Wisconsin during the past week. The polls put him several points ahead of Hillary Clinton.

Eau Claire
La Crosse

Some of these towns have a population less than 100,000 people.

The debate issue on fracking

The debate between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton also concern fracking - the use of water to extract gas and oil. Bernie Sanders is against fracking. Hillary Clinton has promoted fracking for many years. Some people say that she has received generous donations from the fossil fuel industry.

Fracking is suspected to have caused contamination of water used for drinking. Here is an explanation:…/fracking-impacts-water-quality

Inconsiderate civil servants in the Ministry of Manpower

I received a few auto-generated e-mails from the Ministry of Manpower. It said "You have not logged into the MOM website for work passes for a long time. Log in now and check if there are mails wanting to be attended".

These civil servants must think that the small business owners have a lot of time to waste on their time-consuming processes. It takes several tens of minutes to log into the complicated website using multiple passwords and to navigate through their confusing links to reach the mails waiting for attention.

It would be simpler for them to send an email directly to the public on matters that need attention, rather than expect the public to search for their mails in their complicated websites.

If our ministers and senior civil servants continue their unproductive and wasteful practices, business owners will continue to find it difficult to survive the costly environment in Singapore.

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