Saturday, September 29, 2018

Give better career prospects for non-degree holders

The Minister of Education, Ong Ye Kung, encouraged students to consider an alternative to pursuing a degree. He said that a degree is not necessary for many jobs. He is repeating an advice that has already been given by several other ministers.

His statement is not accepted by a large segment of the community. They considered that the minister is hypocritical. They argued about the importance of having a degree and that the future is bleak for non-degree holders.

Let me share my views on this matter:

a) I degree is important for many jobs, but it is not necessary for many other jobs.

b) Some young people are suitable to pursue a degree, but this is not a good choice for those who are not academically strong.

c) It takes three years and a lot of money to pursue a degree in a private university. For many people, this could be a bad investment of time and money.

I encourage young people who are not academically strong to pursue a career that does not require a degree. They can start work earlier and get the work experience and skills that are relevant to their careers.

It is important for the government to stop its discrimination of non-degree holders. The public sector should give good career prospects and promotions to non-degree holders who are capable of doing their jobs well. They should judge employees on their work competence, rather than on having a degree.

The public sector should also pay good salaries for employees who hold non-degree jobs. Why should the airport employ foreigners? They can get locals to do these jobs, if they pay an adequate salary, say $2,500 monthly after two years of experience.

Similarly, nurses should be paid $2,500 monthly after two years of experience.

If the public sector can pay an adequate salary, many locals will be happy to take up these jobs. We do not need to get foreigners to take these jobs.

If the public sector sets a benchmark salary of $2,500 after two years of service, the private sector will have to follow these benchmarks. Small companies need to have some financial assistance, in the form of a wage subsidy, to meet this higher cost.

This wage subsidy can be funded from the wage levy that employers have to pay for employing foreign workers.

This system will make it more attractive for employers to employ locals, and ensure that the locals can get jobs with adequate pay, without pursuing a degree.

If we do not make it attractive for locals to pursue non-degree jobs, we will have a bad outcome. Too many locals will spend time and money to pursue a degree. There will be too many degree holders and inadequate jobs to meet the supply. Many will have to accept non-degree jobs at low pay, after investing (i.e. wasting) so much time and money.

We need more than admonition from the government. They have to change the employment policy in the public sector and set the right benchmark for the private sector as well.

Tan Kin Lian

Digital display on buses

Some buses (mainly those operated by SMRT) have a digital display of the next bus stop. But this display is not available on SBS buses.

A few people have reported that they have seen the digital display on buses in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and many other cities. It seems to be a common feature.

It is strange that the SBS buses do not provide this display. It is not a costly exercise to include the display. Each bus already have an expensive system to calculate the fare. This system already has information about the next bus stop. It is a simple and inexpensive exercise to send the information to the digital display.

I find it more strange that there are some people who come forward to justify the existing state of affairs. They said that the display is not necessary. Their reasons are:

a) The commuter can look at the landmarks.
b) They can ask the driver.
c) They can use Google Map to track their progress.

Some of them made these remarks in a supercilious or rude way.

I have often encountered difficulty in identifying the bus stop when I travel on an unfamiliar route.

I could not see the landmark when the bus is crowded or when it is nighttime.

It is not possible to walk to the driver when the bus is crowded or when the driver is busy with his driving duty.

Anyway, why does SBS not install these digital display? It is not costly. It is useful. Why did the Land Transport Authority not insist that this be done?

WOTC - Select Committee Report

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Is it acceptable for the select committee to call Thum Ping Tjin a liar?

Here are the responses: (50 Votes)
50 % - The select committee should not be involved in character assassination
40 % - The bullying by the select committee is deplorable.
6 % - Thum Ping Tjin had answered the questions truthfully.
4 % - It is clear that Thum Ping Tjin had lied to the select committee.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Price of covered walkway

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Are we paying a fair price of $1,500 for each meter of covered walkway?

Here are the responses: (53 Votes)
49 % - The price is too high.
42 % - The open tender price can be manipulated.
6 % - This price is obtained through open public tender.
4 % - This is a fair price.

See the pie chart at:

Friday, September 28, 2018

WOTC - Preserve value of HDB flats

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Will HIP2 and VERS help to preserve the value of HDB flats

Here are the responses: (48 Votes)
54 % - The owners now realize that their expectation of making a profit on HDB flat is not sustainable.
27 % - They will not make any major impact. 
15 % - The values will fall after 50 years due to limited funding for purchase of old resale flats
4 % - They will maintain the value until the last 15 years.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - What will happen to Najib Razak

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What will happen to Najib Razak

Here are the responses: (56 Votes)
75 % - He will be sentenced to a long jail sentence for his corruption.
16 % - He will find a way to run away from the country.
7 % - He will return the stolen money and get a light sentence.
2 % - He will be found not guilty.

See the pie chart at:

Thursday, September 27, 2018

MRT signs at Bishan Interchange

At Bishan Interchange, there is a prominent sign pointing to the MRT station. That is for the NS line, but it was not stated. There is another sign, in a far corner, that leads to the CC line. Most commuters missed it.

The Land Transport Authority should differentiate these two signs and indicate the lines that they lead to.

It will be quite bad for a commuter to walk all the way to the entrance for the NS line and walk all the way back to the CC line.

WOTC - Expiry of HDB lease

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Will HDB expiry of 99 year lease affect votes at next general election?

Here are the responses: (50 Votes)
60 % - The owners will vote against PAP to show their unhappiness.
20 % - The owners expect will continue to support PAP as they expect a solution to be found
12 % - The owners will be seriously upset if the lease is not extended at nominal rate.
8 % - The owners will accept that the lease will have no value on expiry

See the pie chart at:

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

A nightmare journey with Corp Pass

Corp Pass is a nightmare. I sent a lot of time last month just to get approval. I don't know why the govt has to give so much trouble for people to pay money to the govt.

I log in to make my CPF contribution for September. My login request was rejected.

I had to call the CPF helpline. The staff was patient and helpful. The call was answered with minimal trouble.

The staff guided me to go to the Corp Pass website. I had to create my role as "Editor". The "Administrator" cannot submit CPF contribution.

I am sure that all of these instructions are contained in the FAQ which comprised of many pages that I did not read. Why does Corp Pass have to make it so difficult for people?

Finally, I manage to contribute CPF for my employees. But it really was a painful journey.

Welcome to the Smart Nation. The people in charge knows how to make life troublesome for other people. The seem to think that we have nothing else to do, but read their FAQ.

WOTC - PM Salary

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Is the PM all-in salary of $2.2 million transparent? 

Here are the responses: (54 Votes)
69 % - No. There are other hidden perks.
19 % - No. It is actually higher than $2.2 million.
9 % - Yes. But it is quite confusing.
4 % - Yes. But it is still too high.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Is F1 good for Singaore

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Is the annual F1 race good for Singapore?

Here are the responses: (52 Votes)
38 % - On balance, I prefer that the F1 race be discontinued. Let it go to other countries with a dedicated race track.
33 % - It is costly and does not create sufficient spin-off and other benefits.
17 % - It disrupts our daily lives for several days as many roads have to be closed.
12 % - It helps to promote tourism and is money well spent.

See the pie chart at:


I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Should the NRIC No be used to identify a person?

Here are the responses: (51 Votes)
55 % - The NRIC No is an important means to identify a person, as several people may have the same name.
24 % - The NRIC No should be kept secret and used only for official purpose.
12 % - The NRIC No can be scanned but the other information on the NRIC should not be captured in the scanning system.
10 % - By making it an offence to use the NRIC No, we are giving up an advantage of the Singapore system.

See the pie chart at:

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Performance bonus

I generally do not like the concept of performance bonus.

Workers get a salary. They should carry out their duty diligently according to the contract. They should not be "bribed" to perform better.

If they are capable and diligent, they will get promoted to a more senior position at a higher salary anyway.

I also do not like super bonus for CEOs based on the profits of their company or for traders who take big gambles. Some CEOs cook the books or take excessive risks to show big profits and earn high bonuses.

When times are bad, they move to another company willing to pay them in this manner. It is corruption.

I do not like performance bonus for the civil service. They should focus on serving the public, rather than achieving a high KPI to get a better bonus. They should not be pushed to cut cost to the detriment of service.

I do not like performance bonus for ministers. This is where the bad practices start. It does down the levels. The rot sets in.

WOTC - Anwar Ibrahim and Singapore

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Will Anwar Ibrahim work more closely with Singapore in two years time?

Here are the responses: (51 Votes)
47 % - He is more moderate and progressive in his views.
25 % - He will face the same pressure to act tough on Singapore
16 % - His goals will remain similar to Dr. Mahathir's goals.
12 % - He will be able to work better with Singapore, without the past baggage.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - PM Lee's salary

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

PM Lee's all-in salary is $2.2 million a year.

Here are the responses: (56 Votes)
46 % - It is still an indecently high salary.
30 % - I do not believe this all-in salary.
16 % - The prime minister can get another 12 months based on the National Bonus formula
5 % - The salary system is so complicated that people are confused.
2 % - The reports that he earns more than $3 million are exaggerated.

See the pie chart at: 

Monday, September 24, 2018

Avoid bad mistakes

Avoid making bad mistakes in your investment and financial planning.

Dealing with fake news

The government wants to pass a law to stop the spreading of fake news.

I agree that deliberate spreading of fake news and lies should be stopped.

But it should not be done by passing a law.


The law can be abused in the following ways:

a) The government can use it to stop people from raising questions about abuse of power and corruption

b) Some people may make a wrong allegation out of ignorance, rather than by deliberate intent.

What is a better approach?

The government should bring out the facts and allow the person to withdraw the unjustified allegation.

During LKY's time, he insisted that the government be given the right of reply. We can adopt this approach.

One reason put forward to justify the law is that the Internet allows fake news to be spread quickly and create harm. This is an exaggeration. In the days before the Internet, rumors can spread quickly through word of mouth. They are more harmful, because there is no rumors were not even transparent.

We have seen recently that Malaysia passed a anti-fake news law by the previous government. This law was removed soon after a new government was formed. It was a bad law.

Some countries passed a law to ensure freedom of information. It allow access by the general public to data held by national governments. This was a response to increasing dissatisfaction with the secrecy surrounding government policy development and decision making.

We face a similar problem in Singapore. We need this law to be passed.

WOTC - Real challenges facing the country

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Is the government dealing with the real challenges facing the country?

Here are the responses: (48 Votes)
94 % - They are not addressing the real issues of jobs, cost of living and CPF and HDB concerns.
4 % - They are dealing with the important issues of running the country.
2 % - They are giving subsidies to help the low income people to cope with the cost of living.
0 % - They are studying measures to protect the values of HDB flats.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Climate change

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What causes the severe storms in recent years?

Here are the responses: (46 Votes)
59 % - They are more severe due to "climate change" caused by destruction of the ozone layer.
22 % - They are normal storms but cause more damage due to developments.
13 % - They appear severe due to more reporting through the media.
7 % - In past centuries, we also had similar severe storms.

See the pie chart at:

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Regain the trust of the people

Two decades ago, when a foreigner presents a negative aspect of Singapore, the majority of Singaporeans will speak out in support of Singapore.

Their response is due to the following reasons:

a) The Singaporeans have a high trust in the government
b) The believe that the decisions of the government are taken for the good of the people.

This is not the case today.

Many Singaporeans think that the government leaders work for themselves and to protect their high salaries. They do not take care of the interest of the common people.

We need to change this situation. The PAP has to regain the trust of the people or the people have to vote for a new government.

WOTC - Pension of retired civil servants

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Should the government adjust the pensions of retired civil servants?

Here are the responses: (48 Votes)
50 % - No need to increase the pension as non-pensioners also suffer the same inflation.
23 % - Increase the pension to match inflation
19 % - Increase the pensions of those who received small amounts.
8 % - Increase the pension of people who retired long ago.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Lower income and corporate tax

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Does lower income and corporate tax bring in foreign investments?

Here are the responses: (51 Votes)
47 % - We should lower our cost of doing business.
25 % - The impact on our economy is questionable.
18 % - It is a good strategy.
10 % - We have to compete with other hubs, like Hong Kong.

See the pie chart at:

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