Saturday, August 06, 2016

How to make e-payment for a business

If you run a business and you do not want to allow your staff to access your company's bank account to make online payments, this portal gives you an alternative approach. Will it be useful to your business?

Get a free e-book

Go to this website
Click on "Free".

Select one of the free e-book.
Click on "Checkout" and complete your details.

You will receive an email with a link to download the free e-book.

Check the process. It is easy.

How to avoid getting a large legal bill

Before you engage a lawyer, ask the following:

a) What is your rate per hour?
b) How many hours do you expect is required for this case?

Do not accept an answer, "it depends". Ask for an estimate. Get the lawyer to agree to keep to the estimate. If the estimate is exceeded, he should ask you to agree to a revised estimate.

Ask the lawyer to send you a monthly bill. Do not allow the lawyer to accumulate the hours and send you the bill after a few months. You will be shocked at the size of the bill.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Be prepared to pay for advice

Dear Mr Tan,
I have bought some insurance policy . Namely supremehealth, totalshield, living assurance policy plus with compound reversionary bonus , accident care plus ll.

As cpf has dependent protection scheme, medishield life, eldershield/eldershield life. I want to opt out of eldersheild /eldersheild life is it OK? With the above mention policy am I fully covered ?Is the rate of return good?


If you want me to spend time on this matter, you should expect to
1. Gather the relevant facts and provide full details on the policies
2. Spend time to understand the issue
3. Make a donation of $300 to $500 to FISCA for my time

An expensive dispute between neighbors

Mr Chan's neighbor sold his house. The new owner, Mr Lee, replaced the fence between the two houses without consulting Mr. Chan. He also tiled his garden.

Mrs Chan told the new neighbor that when she watered her garden, some of the water might splash over to the other side and wet the tiled garden. There was some misunderstanding. Mr Lee engaged a contractor to board the fence, again without consulting Mr. Chan.

Mr. Chan objected to the board being constructed on his side of the fence and requested Mr. Lee to transfer the boards to his side of the fence. Mr. Lee refused. Mr Chan took away the boards and returned them to Mr. Lee.  Both parties tried to settle the dispute through mediation. They could not reach any agreement.

Mr. Lee took a civil suit against Mr. Chan for damaging his fence. Mr Chan engaged a lawyer to respond to the suit. The court mandated both parties to settle their dispute through mediation. Both parties and their lawyers met the mediator on several occasions and could not reach any agreement.

Mr. Chan was surpsied to receive an invoice from his lawyer for legal fees of $13,000. His lawyer told him that the legal fees for the legal suit is estimated to be $40,000. Even if Mr Chan wins the case, he will still have to bear a large part of the cost.

Mr. Chan sought my advice on what he should do.

Here are my friendly (non legal) advice to Mr. Chan.

1. Invite Mr. Lee for a coffee and have a friendly discussion on how to settle their dispute.

2. In the discussion, the focus should be on the way forward. They should not look back and argue about who was right or wrong.

3. Recognize that both parties had incurred hefty and unnecessary expenses and legal fees over this matter.

4. If they cannot agree, go to court mediation and get the advice of the mediator. They should focus on "going forward" rather than argue about the past.

5. Each party should bear their own cost.

Here is my advice to consumers in general.

1. Be careful about engaging lawyers. Check with them about their fees. Ask them to send a progress bill every month. Do not wait a few months and be shocked with a large bill.

2. When you know how expense lawyers can be, be willing to pay a reasonable fee for other services that you use. Do not expect these service, including financial advice, for free.

Mr. Chan told me that he had learned an expensive lesson over this matter. If he knew how costly it could be, he would not have allowed the dispute to go to this stage. 

Thursday, August 04, 2016

War Net

As my car pass through a small street in Jakarta, I saw a sign with the words "WAR NET" pointing in a certain direction.

My first thought was - Is this side pointing to a Jihadist hideout? Or to a gathering place for ISIS training?

I remembered seeing a similar sign a few years ago. It stands for WARung interNET. This means "Internet Shop".

In the English language it is common to use the first initial of the word as abbreviation, e.g. IS for Internet Shop.

In the Indonesian language, they prefer to use one syllable of the word as an abbreviation, e.g. WAR for Warung (Shop) and NET for interNet.

Many Indonesian words are quite long with three or four syllables. So, it is quite common to shorten these words using one syllable that most people can associate with the word.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

$410,000 is a large sum of money

I am disappointed that the National Arts Council paid $410,000 in consulting fees for the design of the bin center in one of its buildings. The cost of constructing the bin center is $470,000.

I am more disappointed that the decision is being defended by the minister Grace Fu and an  explanation is being published in the government sponsored website According to this "official" explanation, the design is complex, but it does not explain to the lay person why it has to be so complex.

It seemed that the elites running our government is not aware that $410,000 is a lot of money. It is the lifetime earning of a low income worker in Singapore.

I consider one tenth of this sum, $41,000, to be a large sum also. I know how difficult it is for me to earn this smaller sum in consulting fees.

Do our elites know the difference between $410,000, $41,000  and $4,100? Perhaps the elites are living in the ivory tower for too long. They should come down to the real world more often and see what is really happening in the ground.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Shape quiz was fun

I introduce the shape quiz to the people at the gala dinner table. I asked them to make the shape of a house. All the adults were stumped. They could not make it from the four pieces. It was challenging, so they refused to give up.

The puzzle finally went to a 9 year old girl at the table. I taught her the technique to solve the house and the T puzzle. She was fascinated with the puzzle. She tried to make the other pieces wihtout looking at the solution. It occupied her most of the night.

I told her father that she will be an architect one day. And she will remember who taught her how to manage the shapes.

Here is the fascinating shape quiz.

Practice makes perfect

If you practice the business simulation game a few times, you will get the feel of the game. You will then be able to beat the other players who are "bots". These bots provide random inputs without considering the forecast. A real player, like you, uses the forecast to make the judgment.

When you compete with other real players, you will get the  real challenge of the game. You can decide on a strategy to beat the other players.

Why not practice now. Practice makes perfect.

New supply of soursop leaves

David Soh has found a new supply of soursop leaves from Indonesia. They are of better quality and fresher compared to the source from Malaysia. However, the cost is higher.

For the cancer patient, the quality is more important than the price. After all, they are already playing a lot of money for treatment.

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