Friday, June 16, 2017

Suggestion to solve the dispute over 38 Oxley Rise

The Last Will of Lee Kuan Yew contained a clause to allow Lee Wei Ling to continue living in 38 Oxley Road for as long as she wish to. When she move out of that house, the will stated that his house should be demolished. The property is also bequethed to Lee Hsien Loong.

Under a negotiated arragement, LHL sold the property to his younger brother Lee Hsien Yang at market value. Both LHL and LHY agreed to donate half of the value of the land to the charities listed in LKY's will.

The market value of the property is estimated to be $24 million. This meant that LHY paid $24 million to LHL for the property and also donated $12 million to the charities. This is a big investment for LHY.

Subsequently LHY learnt that LHL, as prime minister, had formed a ministerial committee to look into the government's intent regarding the site, and also to see if the demolition clause in LKY's will had been inserted without his full knowledge.

I consider the ministerial committee to be ultra vires, i.e. beyond its legal power and authority. The National Heritage Board is the authority to decide if the house is to be preserved as a monument. If LHL wish to challenge the validity of the will, it has to be determined by a process in court.

To solve this misunderstanding, it is best for LHL to disband the ministerial committee and accept the last will, for which probate has been granted, to be legally binding on all parties.

As the house is going to be demolised, the site does not have any heritage value. As LHY had already paid to LHL the market value for the property, he should be free to use the site for any purpose that is allowed by the planning authority.

If LHL wish to retain the site for its historical value, he should buy back the property from LHY. As the owner, he can do what he wishes with the land, including donating it to the government. If he wish to preserve the house, he should apply for a court order to stop the executors from demolishing the house, on the grounds that he is the rightful owner of the property and the demolition intent stated in the Last Will is questionable.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The confusion regarding 38 Oxley Road

I find the episode quite confusing.

On the one hand, I thought the issue had already been settled, as expressed in this statement. All the three children of Mr. Lee KY had agreed that the house would be torn down and the children would each donate half of the value of the land to charity. The continuing dispute among the siblings over this issue baffles me.

After examining the issue more closely, I am confused with the following:

a) How is the value of the land determined? Does it mean that the family intends to keep the land, after the house is demolished, and the two brothers would each donate 50% of the value of the land to the charities? Does this mean that the donation comes from their personal wealth and not from the sale of the land?

b) If the family keeps the land, who will be the owner? Will it be the estate of Mr. Lee KY? Who will be the ultimate beneficiaries of the land or the estate?

The URA and National Heritage Board have said that the land will not be used for commercial development. Will it be kept as a memorial park? If so, the value of the land would be quite nominal?

I do not understand why this arrangement has to be so convoluted. This is a private property owned by Mr. Lee KY. The property is now passed to the estate. They should be allowed to deal with the property in any way that the family deems fit.

If the government wish to step in and declare the house is to be preserved as a monument, the government would probably have to compensate the estate for taking over the property. There must be other examples of how old buildings are taken over by the government. Surely, the same process and precedents can be followed?

Mr. Lee KY had expressed a wish, in his will, that the house should be demolished at some time in the future. Surely, there is no need to obstruct his last wish?

If there is a need to create a memorial for Mr Lee KY, there are ways of doing it, without going against his wish that is stated so clearly in his will.

This is really quite confusing. No wonder, the siblings are quarelling over the arrangement.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Medical charges increase by 15% a year

My friend, who is 78 years old, received an email from a Great Eastern Life agent telling him that the annual increase in medical cost is 15% (and recommending the coverage provided by his company), My friend asked for my comments about the inflation rate.

Here is my reply

Monday, June 12, 2017

Videos is a better teaching format

Someone said that he does not like to read articles written by academics.

I agree.

However, when the academic appears in a Youtube video, e.g. when he is being interviewed, his message is quite easy to follow.

But when he writes a paper, the reader will find his points to be quite difficult to follow.

I have made a few videos about financial planning and insurance. They were put up a few months ago. Each day, about 5 to 10 people watch the 1 or more videos. It shows that they like the video format.

To watch my videos, go to

Unproductive to make cheque payments

I sent a cheque to pay for 3 places at and association dinner on 31 May. The staff told me on 12 June that the cheque has not arrived. I asked for the bank account to make an internet payment.

Two hours later, she told me that the cheque has now been received. It took 12 days for the cheque to arrive. Was it due to the slow delivery by the post office, or was it due to delay in the internal mail of the association?

I don't know why businesses still ask their customers to pay by cheque. They should have given their bank account as the first option for internet payment.

Singapore is very slow in moving away from cheque payments. This is costly and unproductive.

More enjoyable and less costly to take public transport

After trying Uber and Grab a few times, I have now decided that it is better to take public transport.

I had to wait 5 to 10 minutes for the taxi or car to arrive. Their app usually show the wrong information. It tells the expected arrival time, but this is usually unreliable.

The cost is high. Although they indicated a fixed fare, they add the ERP charges, which can be very costly. If the taxi is on metered fare, the congested road will add to the cost significantly.

Sometimes, the driver does not know the way or ask "which way I want to go".

If I take the bus or train, I do not get this kind of stress. Although the journey takes a longer time, it is more pleasant.

So, it will be back to public transport for me, except when I have to go to the airport to catch a flight.

Our foreign minister has been too quiet

I saw this news in Today paper.

Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan is on an official visit to Beijing at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. Besides meeting Mr Wang, Dr Balakrishnan will call on Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao and State Councilor Yang Jiechi. Dr Balakrishnan will also have breakfast with some Singaporean representatives based in China.

Why did the ministry release the information so late? I already read the news a few days earlier from a Hong Kong newspaper.

During the Terrex episode a few months ago, I had expected the foreign minister to take the lead to resolve this diplomatic spat. I did not hear any word from him.

He was so much out of the limelight that I forgot about him. I created an issue for the public to vote on the performance of the ministers. I managed to list all the ministers, EXCEPT the foreign minister. He was so quiet that I forgot about him totally.

A bad experience with Grab promotion

I have a bad experience with JustGrab. Last week, they offered a promotion to deduct $6 for several trips if I topped up $50 into my account. I accepted the offer.

I had to visit the National Eye Center. I book JustGrab for a fare of $14. After the discount, I thought that I had to pay only $8. I told the driver to avoid ERP as I knew that it would be costly.

On arrival, my fare was $21. The driver had to pass through 2 ERP gantries, which added $7 to the fare. Grab said that the discount did not apply as I should have topped up on 10 and 11 June, and I had topped up 1 day earlier. (I was not aware of this restriction).

If it were not for this promotion, I would have taken public transport to the clinic. My fare would be less than $1.

This Grab promotion turned out to be a disaster for me. The ride was not enjoyable as the driver was unhappy that he had to drive in heavy traffic to avoid the ERP at CTE.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The unemployed graduate

Forty years ago, I heard stories that some countries (which I shall not name) produced many graduates who cannot find jobs. This phenomenon has now arrived in Singapore. We will soon be producing many graduates who cannot find jobs.

What is happening?

Read this article on the "unemployed graduate" and what we can do to address this problem.

How to deal with returning jihadists

What is the best way to deal with jihadist who returned to Singapore? These are the people who went to the Middle East for training as ISIS fighters.

Give your vote in

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