Saturday, December 01, 2018

WOTC - Should NEA managed the new hawker centers directly?

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Should the new hawker centers be managed directly by NEA?

Here are the responses: (55 Votes)
60 % - They should be managed directly by NEA.
22 % - NEA will probably make a bigger mess due to their bureaucratic nature.
9 % - They can continue to be run by the social enterprises, but more controls should be introduced.
9 % - The current operations are generally satisfactory, except that some aspects need to be modified.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Mess in new hawker centers

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Who should be primarily responsible for the mess in the SE hawker centers?

Here are the responses: (55 Votes)
42 % - The senior minister of state, Amy Khor
33 % - The CEO of the national environment agency.
18 % - The minister, Mr. Masagoes
7 % - What mess? It is operating fine, it only needs to be tweaked.

See the pie chart at:

Port of Singapore

Somebody said that the cargo cleared through Port of Singapore dropped 40% over the past years.

I checked the port statistics. He is mistaken. (I do not think that he intentionally gave fake news).

Here are the statistics.

Total cargo (general and bulk)
2007 - 483 million tonne
2017 - 627 million tonne

2007 - 27.9 m TEU
2017 - 33.7 m TEU

I think container cargo is excluded from total cargo.

1 TEU contains about 24 tonne of dry cargo (average). 33.7 TEU = 800 tonne, i.e. slightly more than general and bulk cargo.

An appointment system that is not working well

I call Denticare dental clinic. Nobody pick up the phone. They do not provide email or mobile phone number. Bad service.

Finally, after several minutes a staff picked up the phone. She said that she was busy attending to a patient.

I asked to confirm that I had an appointment at 5 pm on Monday. She checked and confirmed that the appointment was recorded.

On two previous occasions during the past month, I received a SMS from Denticare that my dental appointment was due. If there was an appointment on record, why did they send the confusing message to me?

It looks like Denticare system is not well integrated.

High distribution cost of life insurance policies

I read the news report that MAS is investigating the compensation packages of the life insurance agents in a few large companies.

I did hear from some agents of the large compensations that are paid by some companies to attract the agents from their competitors to join them.

Some of the compensation packages work out to more than $100,000 for a good producing agents.

It is necessary to pay a large compensation because the migrating agent will lose the renewal commission from their previous company when they quit. The renewal commissions are for policies sold previously, which are generally payable for six years or longer.

The senior agents will also lose the overriding commission on the policies sold by the agents under them.

Apart from the compensation for the loss of commission on past policies, the migrating agent also expect to earn a higher income with the new company.

How does the new company who recruits the migrated agent, expect to earn enough profit to pay the huge compensation and the higher commission?

This comes from the big profit margin contained in the life insurance policies that the migrated agent is expected to sell.

The profit margin, which is described as distribution cost, can be as much as two years of premium.

If the monthly premium is $1,000, the distribution cost can be $24,000.

If the migrated agent sells 5 policies a month, the profit margin is $120,000. This has to be shared by the agent, his supervisor and the insurance company.

Someone who buys a life insurance policy "for investment" may not realize that he or she is giving away as much as two years of the premium as distribution cost.

This type of policy gives a poor return. In fact, the return is negative for more than ten years.

Which buyer will agree to pay $24,000 as distribution cost? I suspect - none. But the buyer is usually not aware of the high distribution cost. The sale is made based on other considerations.

As long as the regulator (i.e. Monetary Authority of Singapore) continue to allow life insurance companies to take away a large distribution cost from its policyholders, they will not solve this problem of migrating agents, high compensation packages and other bad practices.

The ordinary unsuspecting buyers of life insurance policies pay a heavy price.

This has been going on for a few decades.

In spite of these high expenses, the life insurance companies show huge profits each year, by the billions.

All of these are made at the expense of a hundred thousand consumers every year.

Tan Kin Lian

WOTC - Call centers of large organizations

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Do large organizations provide a good call center service?

Here are the responses: (61 Votes)
61 % - The experience is quite frustrating.
36 % - It is difficult to get through to talk to a person.
3 % - I am able to get the information and service that I need quite easily.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Outsourcing of public sector jobs

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Is outsourcing of public sector jobs good?

Here are the responses: (61 Votes)
46 % - There is loss of expertise of permanent workers.
30 % - It depresses the wages of the outsourced workers.
20 % - The contractor makes a good profit margin.
5 % - It helps to improve efficiency and bring down cost.

See the pie chart at:

Friday, November 30, 2018

WOTC - Tender system

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Is it good to rely on a tender system?

Here are the responses: (63 Votes)
59 % - The tender system can be subject to manipulation or unrealistic low bidding.
17 % - It is better to use benchmarks to get a right price.
16 % - It is the best system to award jobs to contractors.
8 % - It is only suitable for complex jobs where there are no reliable benchmark.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Legacy of Lee HL

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Will Lee HL leave a good legacy if he encourages PAP to be split into two parties?

Here are the responses: (67 Votes)
49 % - It will not help much, as the split party is more of the same. 
33 % - It will lead Singapore into a bigger mess.
10 % - It will have a positive impact on the future of Singapore.
7 % - It will help to undo the damage that he has done.

See the pie chart at:

Sunday, November 25, 2018

WOTC - Performance of new CEO of SMRT

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Is the new CEO of SMRT doing a good job so far?

Here are the responses: (62 Votes)
35 % - The performance of SMRT did not improve after he took over. 
35 % - It will be another disaster for SMRT.
23 % - He is more in touch with what is happening on the ground.
6 % - He is addressing the cultural and technical issues well.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Cleaning and dishwashing

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

NEA will provide subsidy to stalls for cleaning and dishwashing cost 

Here are the responses: (70 Votes)
39 % - NEA should ensure that the costs are obtained through open competitive tender and charged fairly to stall holders, without a profit margin.
37 % - Let the stalls handle their own dishwashing.
17 % - NEA should set a fair rate for dishwashing cost, based on experience of many hawker centers.
7 % - This is a good measure.

See the pie chart at:

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