Saturday, July 21, 2018

Single premium Universal Life Policy

I saw the benefit illustration for a single premium Universal Life Policy where the distribution cost is nearly 15% of the single premium.

In my view, the distribution cost for a single premium product should be not moe than 5%. Already, 5% is quite high.

I find this distribution cost to be excessive and is unfair to the consumers. How can MAS approve this product for sale to the public?

MAS seems to take the view that the consumer should know what they are buying. In reality, most consumers do not understand such a product.

I suggest that MAS should have some guidelines in rejecting products that are unfair to consumers.

How did the hacker do his work?

We have to wait for the Commission of Inquiry to investigate and report on the events surrounding the hacking of SingHealth database.

As this may take many months, let ma apply my deductive skills to guess what might have happened.

I suspect that the "sophisticated hacker" was able to hack the database and get the password of the root administrator.

This would allow the hacker to download the entire database, or just the table containing the 1.5 million patient records.

The activity of the hacker would probably be logged in the database, so the administrator would have known what were downloaded.

The hacker did not bother to change any of the record. Even if they did, there would have been a daily backup which would allow the administrator to restore the database.

The hacker probably had the skill to break through the layers of security measures to get access to the database and the password of the administrator.

If this is likely to be what had happened, perhaps a good security measure is to ensure that the administrator can only within certain premises. This can be controlled by the IP address. I do not see the need for the administrator to operate from remote locations.

It is possible for the hacker go gain access to the office of the administrator and to do the work in that premise. I wonder if this could be what had happened?

I invite some experts to share your thoughts?

Computer security

I am not bothered about the personal data that is stolen from the SingHealth database.

My data is probably among the 1.5 million records that were stolen. So what?

If anyone wants to know my NRIC, address, date of birth, gender or race, they can find it from other sources. They are not confidential information.

I do not bother if they get access to my prescriptions. What for?

Somebody said that the data can be sold to pharma companies for commercial purpose. Really? Would a pharma company take the risk of committing a crime by buying stolen data?

I am asked to provide them in many forms that are asked by government agencies and commercial organizations. I get angry because the information is not necessary for the transaction.

I have to give my NRIC when I visit a commercial building. I find it to be unnecessary and an unnecessary imposition on my freedom of movement. But it is probably being asked due to some old regulation created by the government, and the minister did not bother to review it.

I agree that there should be some degree of protection against hacking of database. But we do not need to get overboard. I object to excessive security measures that cause inconvenient to the ordinary users, but are helpless against criminals.

Why do we spend a lot of money on measures that are not really necessary?

I am worried about access to my bank account, but this is protected by a 2FA token. I find it acceptable.

However, I do not find it acceptable for the bank to verify my identity if I am calling to ask about a product that they offer. But they do it routinely, by following some SOP blindly anyway.

When will we apply our common sense? It seemed to be lost in our decades of world class education system.

Tan Kin Lian

Friday, July 20, 2018

WOTC - Size of class

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:
Should the class size be reduced?

Here are the responses:
61 % - It should be reduced to 30 per class, even though the cost will increase.
31 % - The school should be given more resources
6% - The current size of 40 is optimal
3 % - This should be left to the principal.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Slow clearance at checkpoint

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:
Why does it take a longer time to clear the Singapore side of the checkpoint for travelers by car?

Here are the responses:
38 % - The Singapore authority deliberately slow down the process
29 % - The computer system is slow
24 % - The Singapore authority is more careful about checking the visitors
10 % - There is a shortage of manpower

See the pie chart at:

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Review our National Service strategy

The difficulty faced by Mindef in dealing with the request by Ben Davis to defer the NS call-up reflects a policy that is clearly out of date.

We are not in the same situation as 1965. More than 50 years have passed.

a) We now have a military capability that is much stronger than our neighbors.

b) We do not need the same degree of sacrifice from our NS men.

c) This sacrifice has a serious impact on our male citizens in competing for jobs against foreign workers and females. It also delay their entry into the job market by two years.

d) It also caused a delay of at least two years for them to start a family. It must be an important factor in our low birth rate.

There is no need for us to continue the old concept of giving extensive training for two years to the conscripts and having regular reservist training to mold them into a combat ready unit.

This approach was needed in the initial years, but is no longer necessary now. It was never called into practice for five decades.

I suggest the following approach:

a) Training our recruits for one year to get the basic military skills.

b) Stop the reservist training.

c) Have a bigger professional army.

d) In the event of hostility, call up the reserves for refresher training. Hopefully, this is not necessary.

e) Pay an adequate allowance to the NS men for the one year of conscripted service. This should be similar to what they can get in the job market. This will reduce the sacrifice that they have to make. The nation can afford to pay them adequately.

f) Be ready to grant deferment to young people with special talent in sports and music. We do not need them to be soldiers. We have enough of them.

It is time for us to find a new approach that fits the circumstances of today.

Tan Kin Lian

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Government can provide more benefits

Some people are worried that if the government agrees to provide more benefits to the people, such as health care or a wage subsidy or other subsidy, the government will increase the tax that they have to pay.

I wish to point out the following:

a) The government has a large budget surplus can can afford to provide more benefits without raising the tax.

b) If the government wants to increate GST or other tax, they will do it anyway.

c) The government can, in general, provide these benefits at lower cost compared to the cost that people have to pay when they buy these services on their own.

It is better to have more of the basic needs provided by the government, so that the actual cost of living can be reduced.

Tan Kin Lian

CareShield Life should not be compulsory

The government decided to make it compulsory for citizens to join CareShielf Life.

Many people are unhappy with the following:

a) The premium rate appears to be high, compared to the benefit provided.
b) The criteria for payment of the benefit is too strict.
c) The benefit is not sufficient to meet the expenses of nursing care.
d) Females are unhappy that they have to pay a higher premium compared to males.
e) Singaporeans living abroad will be unhappy that they have to contribute towards this scheme.

I disagree with the approach of forcing citizens to join this insurance scheme.

It is better for the government to provide the benefit from general taxation. This is the approach taken for education and defence. This approach can also be taken to provide a benefit for nursing care.

As a general principle, any compulsory benefit should be provided from tax revenues, rather than individual contribution.

If the government wishes the insured persons to contribute in full or partially to this scheme, they should make it voluntary. The government adopted this approach with ElderShield, which is the existing scheme before CareShielf Life.

Tan KIn Lian

WOTC - Issues raised by Malaysia

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - Do you agree with the stand of the Singapore Government on the HSR and water issues raised by Malaysia?

Here are the responses:

46% - We should adopt a more flexible approach
22% - The hard line approach will have serious repercussions.
20% - We should accommodate their request to build long term trust and relationship.
12% - We have to stick to agreement.

See the pie chart in

WOTC - Angry with PAP

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - Which issue makes you most angry with the PAP government?

Here are the responses:

45% - High cost of living
45% - Arrogance of ministers
8% - Reserved presidential election
3% - I am happy with the PAP government

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Interview with the media

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - Should PM Lee give more interviews to the media about our domestic affairs?

Here are the responses:

54% - A good leader will communicate actively with the people.
22% - He should. Just like Dr. Mahathir is doing to explain their domestic situation.
22% - No need. He has nothing more to say.
3% - It is better to keep quiet and avoid stirring up more controversy.

Yes - 76%. No 24%

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Discussion with Malaysia

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - Should Singapore contact Malaysia on the issues they have raised?

Here are the breakdown of the votes:

75% - It is better to start informal discussion about the options.
19% - Let us wait for Malaysia to raise them officially
6% - It is difficult to have informal discussion with Malaysia on these issues

Yes 75%. No 25%

See the breakdown of the votes in

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

WOTC - Rental flats

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - Should the government provide more flats for rental?

Here are the responses:

38% - Yes, the government can buy the old HDB flats and offer them for rental.

30% - Yes, this is useful for retirees who wish to sell their HDB flats and rent a smaller one.

27% - Yes, this is useful for young peopole to start a family while saving to buy a HDB flat.

12% - No, we should enourage people to own their HDB flat.

Yes - 88%. No -12%

See the pie chart in

WOTC - Property prices

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - What is the best way to prevent property prices from appreciating too fast?

Here are the responses:

35% - Through the cooling measures
35% - By increasing the supply of HDB flats
19% - Leave it to the market.
12% - Through rent control

See the pie chart in

WOTC - Contesting the general election

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - What is the best way for the opposition parties to challenge the PAP at the next general election?

Here are the responses:

56% - By contesting in an alliance under a common symbol.
37% - By sharing a common platform on social and economic issues.
5% - By contesting as separate parties to offer a wider choice.
2% - By merging into one party

See the pie chart in

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Operation of High Speed Rail

The government should publish the full details of the agreement between Singapore and Malaysia on the High Speed Rail.

The citizens are interested to know the terms of the agreement, including the following:

a) Is each government responsible to build the rail and the stations in their respective countries?

b) Who decides on the fares and how will the fares and expenses be shared?

Prior to separation from Malaysia, Singapore and Malaysia jointly owned an airline called Malaysia Singapore Airline (MSA).

After separation, the government decided to split the airline and form two separate airlines as the interest of both countries were not aligned. Will the disagreement be repeated with the High Speed Rail?

Unmanned information desk

I visited Changi General Hospital to give a talk at the auditorium.

There was nobody manning the information desk. I looked for the sign for the auditorium. There was none. I look for a floor map. There was none.

I looked for a staff who could give me the direction to the auditorium. Most of them were busy.

I managed to speak to a staff. He did not know. I asked another staff. She gave some vague indication of the direction to go. I had to ask two more staff along the way.

Changi General Hospital is a big hospital. They should make sure that their information desk is manned. They should also provide floor maps that can guide their staff to show directions to visitors.

Tan Kin Lian

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