Saturday, October 20, 2018

Singapore is a special country

Daniel Yong is a Singaporean who now lives in Australia. He said.

Spore is very SPECIAL. It's run by special people who command the world's highest salaries despite having no previous relevant experience (most are recruits from the military who have not had a real job in their lives), an education system that is so special it relies on model answers and rote learning, and a very special population conditioned / brain washed to do things in a set way... from young.

A country so special that high costs are seen as a sign of progress, that retirees can't be trusted with their own money. A country so special that the government has to get involved in small and large businesses such that everybody has to either work for the govt or in GLCs or in pte businesses which rely on govt contracts.

A people so special that they allow the govt to control every aspect of their lives. Spore is a special country moving from 1st world to 4th, while most other countries are moving from 3rd to 1st. I suppose sporeans know best what's good for them, for they are special.

Daniel Ong said.

The writer, Mr Daniel Yong has written this absolutely true and correct article about SINGAPORE and SINGAPOREANS. The fake meritocracy, abuse of power and open corruption is a fact of life.
Most poignantly there are voters who even support the obvious criminality of the government! 

Speaking personally so as to take responsibility for my statements and NOT drag others with me I will say it again: The PAP, the Pests And Parasites must go. I don't care what the die hard PAP supporters will say. We are free to choose. And, are entitled to our political views.
My firm and irreversible position: Unless we change the government and vote in The New Government that is HONEST, COMPETENT AND CARING, SINGAPORE will decline or even become a failed state.

The words of Mr Daniel Yong will then be The Gospel of our doom!

Again, The Solution: Vote PAP OUT! In a free and bona fide democracy PM LHL and several of his ministers and MPs would be forced to resign or even jailed. Yes, the PAP is a criminal otganizstion.

WOTC - Oxfam study on inequality

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

So you agree with Singapore's ranking in the Oxfam study on inequality?

Here are the responses: (57 Votes)
53 % - The Oxfam study is generally reliable. 
35 % - The Oxfam study reflects the Gini coefficient.
7 % - The Oxfam study uses questionable indicators.
5 % - The Oxfam study is biased against Singapore.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Jewel Mall in Changi

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Do you look forward to opening of the Jewel in Changi in 2019?

Here are the responses: (60 Votes)
52 % - It is a waste of money.
20 % - We already have too many malls, why build one more?
18 % - It will be just another mall.
10 % - It will be exciting.

See the pie chart at:

Friday, October 19, 2018

Call for commission of inquiry

It seems that the National Environment Agency has been sleeping and has just woken up.…/nea-do-stock-take-social-ente…

I call for a Commission of Inquiry to be formed to look into whether the social enterprises have acted honestly in managing the hawker centers and whether the NEA has carried out its work diligently.

If the social enterprise has abused their privilege to extract large or illegal profits for themselves or their associates, they should be charged for corruption.

Ridiculous to ask customers to place a deposit for a tray

In U-turn, Jurong West Hawker Centre to charge customers 20 cents deposit for trays

Customers at Jurong West Hawker Centre will soon have to pay a refundable deposit of 20 cents for every tray they use, the operator of Jurong West Hawker Centre announced on Thursday. The date for when this change — which comes a week after news broke that hawkers were up in arms over its tray return scheme — will kick in will be announced at a later stage, once all details have been finalised, the operator added in a media statement. Hawker Management said that after meeting with the tenants and receiving “constructive feedback and views” on “all outstanding concerns”, it decided to change the tray return scheme to a deposit system.

My comment.
I find it quite ridiculous that the customer has to pay a deposit of $0.20 for the return of tray. This is creating useless work in collecting a deposit and getting a refund.
I don't understand why some people are so stupid. It seems to be a common disability in Singapore.…/u-turn-jurong-west-hawker-cen…

Taxi drivers up in arms over Grab services

Malaysian taxi drivers threaten to hold protests over Grab services

About 200 taxi drivers have gathered in front of Malaysia's Finance Ministry on Thursday to protest over the government’s plan to hold talks with e-hailing company Grab to provide complementary transport services to Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station users. They also demanded that Malaysian Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng explain a statement by his political secretary Tony Pua on talks to be held between the Malaysian government and Grab on the feeder services.

My comment.
I empathize with the taxi drivers who have to make a living. They are placed at a disadvantage when competing with Grab because they have to meet strict licensing regulations.

However, on my recent trip to Malaysia, I found the service of the taxi drivers to be unsatisfactory. I found that Grab provides an excellent service at a low cost.

I hope that the taxi drivers can join the GrabTaxi or JustGrab platform. Customers are likely to pay a higher fare for the service of a taxi. But they want the convenience of booking a taxi, rather than the uncertainty of hailing a taxi on the road.

The taxi drivers have to use technology to improve their service.,%202018%20%28ACTIVE%29_newsletter_19102018_today

WOTC - Use of town council software

Should Aljunied residents be denied of the use of the town council software?

Here are the responses: (62 Votes)
42 % - The Aljunied residents should be adequately compensated for their financial loss caused by the sale.
35 % - The sale of the software to a connected party is improper.
15 % - The sale transaction should be overturned by court.
8 % - It was the majority decision of the participating town councils to sell the software to AIM for $2.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Contempt of court

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Was Jolovan Wham and John Tan in contempt of court?

Here are the responses: (59 Votes)
54 % - It is just their personal opinion; most people will form their own opinion.
19 % - It implied that the Singapore judiciary is not independent.
19 % - It will cause people to lose confidence in the Singapore judiciary 
8 % - Being less independent does not mean that it is not independent. It is a matter of degree.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Suspension of Access Medical Group from CHAS

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Do you agree with the suspension of Access Medical Group from CHAS?

Here are the responses: (59 Votes)
32 % - Many other doctors are also abusing CHAS.
25 % - It is an appropriate action for non-compliance.
22 % - The CHAS compliance scheme is not effective.
20 % - The abuse is quite small, considering the large number of patients served.

See the pie chart at:

Thursday, October 18, 2018

COI on secial enterprise hawker centers

I suggest that a Commission of Inquiry be formed to look into the operation of the social enterprise hawker centers.

They can look into the following:

a) Are the social enterprises making a profit from the cleaning and washing? They charge each stall $1,000 a month but the actual cost is likely to be much lower.

b) Are the other charges reasonable, or are they excessive?

c) Should the additional charges be based on the actual cost of operations?

d) Did they call for an open tender for these services? Is the award made properly? Are related businesses being favored?

e) Are the civil servants negligent in oversee the operation of these SEHCs?

Improve the signs in Singapore

I had dinner at the Black Society Restaurant at Vivocity. Many of my guests were not able to find the restaurant, although they were given the address #02-156. The signs in the mall were poor. It is too big.

I tried to locate it by looking at the numbers of the units. Some units did not have any number.

It would be useful if they have signs at strategic locations to indicate the range of unit numbers in each direction. This method is used in hotels. It is quite helpful.

My guests also had trouble to find their cars. But one guest use a good method. He was a basement 2 and he removed the lift lobby as G. He searched for the lift lobby G on level 2 and took the lift down to basement 2. He found his car easily. I took a lift from him..

We need to improve signs in our malls and all over Singapore. Somehow, Singaporeans are bad in giving helpful signs.

Voting in the Wisdom of the Crowd

The results of the Wisdom of the Crowd should be interpreted with common sense.

Some of the topics are politically inclined and the voting will be biased according the the participants.

Many of the participants are likely to be anti PAP but I have also observed the actions of members of the IB (i.e. the internet brigade set up by a rich political party). They have a way of rounding up their gang to cast their votes in favor of the PAP.

There could also be other participants who are unbiased, i.e not pro-PAP or anti-PAP.

There are other topics that do not have any political overtones. They are likely to reflect the preferences of the people at large. For example, topics on how to improve the education system, reduce cost of living or give better job security.

It also depends on how the choices are framed. I try to give options that gives choices for all possible sides of the spectrum.

I may not be perfect. But I try my best to be fair in framing the choices.

Some people will criticize the choices are not comprehensive. That is their opinion. They are free to create their own poll.

Some people will criticize the framing of the question or choices unfairly. Their purpose is primary to defame this website. I delete their comments.

I will interpret the results with some caution, i.e. knowing that there would be bias due to the inclination of the participants. I find the results to be quite illuminating.

I like to thank the regular participants for your contribution.

WOTC - Combat climate change

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Is Singapore acting effectively to combat climate change

Here are the responses: (67 Votes)
39 % - We talk a lot but do little.
27 % - The Singapore govt takes the opportunity to increase tax revenue.
22 % - We are slow in introducing solar and other renewable energy.
12 % - Yes. We have implemented emission control and other measures

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - A positive culture

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Do we have a positive culture in Singapore?

Here are the responses: (66 Votes)
79 % - They are worried and uncertain about the future.
9 % - They are negative and tend to imagine the worst possible case.
6 % - Yes. Many people are positive and optimistic. 
6 % - They are positive in believing statements from the govt.

See the pie chart at:

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Converting civil servants' pension scheme to CPF

Dear Sir,
I am a researcher working in National Taiwan University. I am working on a project analysing impacts of pension integration in East Asia. I just found your blog article entitled "civil servants and pension scheme" (24/4/2001). This is the only article I have found so far discussing this issue.

Here are his questions and my answers.

1.What's the rationale behind the Singapore government's decision to merge civil servants pension scheme into CPF in 1973?

The government wanted every worker, including civil servants, to join the CPF scheme. They can use their CPF savings to purchase a house and to be used for medical treatment and other approved purposes.

Although they did not expressly state this reason, I personally guess that they did not like to have the unknown liability of paying pensions for a lifetime, when life expectancy is improving. They also did not like the liability of lifetime medical benefits which were provided to all civil servants at that time. When the civil servants convert to the CPF scheme, they lose their right to the lifetime medical benefits.

2.How did the government convince civil servants to accept the change? Had there been any substantial resistance?

If I remembered correctly, the government gave generous terms of conversion. Many civil servants found the CPF scheme to be more attractive. This option was given to the civil servants who joined prior to the cutoff date. Civil servants recruited after the cutoff date were given CPF benefits. They did not have the option of getting a pension.

3.Does the change has any impact on the recruitment, retaining, morale and performance of public sector workers?

The government pays the top civil servants extremely well. There was no problem in recruiting people into these top layers. For the lower levels, they were generally quite happy to receive the CPF benefits, as they perceived that they could get a lump sum at age 55. However, the government has now implemented a hold back a large portion of the CPF savings until age 65 and later. This deferral of the withdrawal of CPF savings is extremely unpopular. But it applies to all workers, and not just the civil servants.

4.How did people in general saw the change? Did they support or oppose the change?

Many workers are now unhappy with the CPF scheme as the interest rate is quite low, at 2.5% on the ordinary account and 4% on the other accounts and they have to keep a large part of the CPF savings to be withdrawn as a life annuity. Many of them prefer to take out their CPF savings at age 55, as they need to use it for other purposes.

Note - I am giving my views out of memory. So, I could make some mistakes.

Presidential system compared to Parliamentary system

A man from the Philippines sent an email to ask me this question:

John - What is the best political system for Singapore Presidential System or Parliamentary System? in Presidential System the President is the head of state and head of government the President is elected by the people not the parliament and there is a term limit for the President. in Parliamentary System the President is head of state and ceremonial no powers and elected by people or can be elected by parliament the Prime Minister is head of government there is no term limit for Prime Minister. What is the best political system of Singapore will you choose Presidential or Parliamentary?

TKL - Singapore follows the Parliamentary system like the UK. I prefer the Presidential system adopted in the US, Philippines, Indonesia and many other countries.
The Presidential system is more flexible; the Parliamentary system is old fashioned.

John - Why Presidential System is flexible for Singapore do you want Singapore to become a presidential system like my country the Philippines and reject Parliamentary System like UK.

TKL - The president is elected directly by the people. He appoints his ministers from anywhere in the country and is not restricted to politicians. There is also better separation of power between the legislative branch (congress or parliament) and the executive branch (president and ministers).

Govt spending to improve life for the people

Whenever I suggest that the govt should provide a certain service, some people will come forward to say that the govt will take this excuse to raise taxes.

I guess that this group represents up to 30% of the public. They have been conditioned to think that every service should be paid for separately.

This fear is not justified.

The govt has already raised a lot of money through GST and various types of taxes. They have a large budget surplus, after spending extravagantly on many infrastructure and grandiose projects, that they have to return the surplus in SG bonus to the citizens.

There is no need to raise additional taxes to fund useful welfare and other projects that improve the lives of the people.

What are some of the useful things that the govt can provide?

a) Provide free shuttle within a town
b) Allow better access to subsidized health care
c) Reduce rental on hawker stalls
d) Employ more teachers so that parents do not need to engage private tutors.
e) Pension for low income people above 75 years

All of these can be funded just by being more prudent on our spending on the grandiose projects.

We need a new govt that can run this country more responsibly.

Tan Kin Lian

WOTC - Private patients in public hospitals

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Should public hospitals be allowed to take private patients?

Here are the responses: (61 Votes)
43 % - No, the public hospitals will favor private patients at the expense of locals.
38 % - No, the public hospitals should only serve locals due to lack of capacity.
11 % - Yes, the private patients represent less than 1.5% of all patients.
8 % - Yes, this is a way to retain the good specialists in the private sector.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Free shuttle service

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Should the govt provide free shuttle service within a town?

Here are the responses: (65 Votes)
54 % - It will improve the public transport network.
17 % - It is all right, as the commuters will pay for the MRT or express bus rides.
15 % - It will lead to abuse.
14 % - It is too costly.

See the pie chart at:

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Changi Airport is too expensive

I searched for a flight from Singapore to Penang and back.

The Changi airport tax is $48. The Penang airport tax is $12.

For short distance on budget airlines, the fare can be as low as $30. So, the Changi airport tax of $48 is too high.

Airlines will bypass Singapore. Passengers will also choose other airports.

But Singaporeans are stuck and have to fly out of Changi. It is too troublesome to go to Senai, Johore.

So, Singaporeans are stuck with high cost. Sad.

Worse, the Changi airport tax is expected to increase over the next few years to fund the development of Terminal 5. We are pricing Changi out of the market!

Three changes to the education system

I wish to give three suggestions to the minister of education, Ong Ye Kung.

It is a good goal to reduce stress for students.

But reducing the examination in the early years is not the solution. If the schools do not conduct the examinations, many parents will send their children to tuition centers for the exams. This is already predicted by many observant citizens.

The first suggestion will take several years to implement and goes beyond the scope of the education minister.

We have to provide adequate salaries to non office jobs, so that the young are happy to take up jobs, such as teaching, nursing, police officers, security, technical, service, hospitality, retail.

Many people are needed for these jobs. We should give them to locals first, before looking for foreigners. Locals will be willing to do these jobs, if the pay is adequate.

We have to change the pay structure. The govt can take the lead for the private sector to follow.

The second suggestion can be implemented quite early. We have to reduce the content that a student has to learn in each year. We should not press them with a heavy work load.

I remembered, when I was in school, that I learned the concept of ratios in secondary one. Today, it is learned in primary four (I stand corrected). There is no need to teach too much at an early age to the children. We can take the time.

If the content is reduced, many students can pass the exam in each year, without too much stress. There is no need for parents to send them to tuition centers to catch up.

The third suggestion concerns giving the top prize - a prestigious scholarship, to the best students. We have already observed over the past decades that top academic results do not lead to top performance in business or government. We need a broader set of skills and experience.

Instead of giving expensive scholarships to a select and privileged few, it is better to use the budget to reduce the cost of education for the many.

How do we identify the future leaders in government and business? Let them prove themselves when they start their work. There is plenty of time for the real leaders to emerge.

Tan Kin Lian

Increase in price of rice

Minister Lawrence Wong gave a speech. He said that the price of rice may increase by 30% in 2050. I suppose that he meant this to be in real terms, after removing inflation.

This is a real increase of less than 1% per year. There are other cost of living that make a greater impact, e.g. price of housing (which he is responsible for).

It seems that he is blowing up a small issue to detract by a big issue.

WOTC - Reduce examination

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

The education minister is reducing exams to reduce stress.

Here are the responses: (55 Votes)
49 % - We have to address the root cause of the issue - by assuring every citizen that they can get a good job in many fields.
31 % - It will not reduce stress in the education system as parents will want their children to score well in the PSLE.
11 % - It is a good move and is likely to achieve its goal.
9 % - Similar attempts have been tried by previous education ministers which did not work.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Port Dickson By-election

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Will Anwar Ibrahim win Port Dickson by-election?

Here are the responses: (54 Votes)
50 % - He will get 65 to 80% of the votes
26 % - He will get more than 80% of the votes.
20 % - He will get 50 to 65% of the votes.
4 % - He will get less than 50% of the votes.

See the pie chart at:

Monday, October 15, 2018

Error not rectified for two weeks

Two weeks ago, I logged in to Scoot website. I wanted to change my profile. I got a message "Internal Server Error". They promised to look into the problem and fixed it.

Today, I logged in again to change my profile. I got the same message "Internal Server Error". They did not fixed the problem for two weeks.

What is their IT staff doing? What is their customer service staff doing?

Nobody seems to care. This seems to be the standard in Singapore Airlines today. It mirrors the behavior in many government agencies and govt linked companies.

Proverty and wealth

WOTC - Electronic arrival card

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Singapore is introducing electronic arrival cards

Here are the responses: (43 Votes)
53 % - It is better to scrap the arrival cards, following the practice in mny countries.
23 % - The new system will cost money and cause trouble when it breaks down.
19 % - It will imptove productivity
5 % - We are a Smart Nation

See the pie chart at:

Sunday, October 14, 2018

WOTC - Donate to victims of natural disasters

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Will you donate to the victims of natural disasters?

Here are the responses: (35 Votes)
43 % - I will make a donation within my means.
43 % - I do not trust the aid agencies that are involved
11 % - I do not have the spare money to donate.
3 % - I will be more than generous.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Help a startup

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Will you help a new start up?

Here are the responses: (34 Votes)
62 % - If I like the concept, I will help to make it succeed.
32 % - I do not have time to take an interest
6 % - If I do not know the founder, I will not be involved.
0 % - I prefer to see the startup fail.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Use of QR code

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Are you familiar with the use of QR code?

Here are the responses: (35 Votes)
29 % - I have a QR code scanner installed in my mobile phone.
29 % - I use it occasionally
26 % - I do not know how to use a QR code scanner
17 % - I have seen other people use it.

See the pie chart at:

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