Saturday, February 02, 2019

Vote and win a prize

You can earn 5 points when you submit your vote on the each of the following:

Performance of agency/minister

Swing against PAP

You can win the prizes shown in this page:

Organizations with most feedback

Here are the organizations with the most feedback during the past 30 days.

You can click on any organization to view the feedback for that organization.

Fix Medishield and medisave

Do you agree with this proposal to fix Medishield and Medisave so that it can meet the health care cost without causing patients to be worried?
Vote (agree, disagree) after you read the proposal.

Reduce travel time across the causeway

The Rapid Transit Link (RTS) joining Woodlands to Johore Bahru has been delayed by 4 years. It will now be operational in 2031.

In the meantime, a few hundred thousand travelers are caught by long travel times daily.

We can do something now to hardship caused to these travelers, many of whom are Malaysians working in Singapore.

What can be done to reduce the travel time?

Here is my suggestion.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is already here

There are much discussion about how artificial intelligence will impact our lives in the future. Many people may be mistaken that AI is a technology that will only appear in the future. They did not realize that AI is already playing an important part in our daily lives.

What are these current AI implementations?

We already experience AI for some time in the following areas:

Express buses

The bus journey can take up to two hours for a long journey from home to work. The long traveling time discourages people from traveling by bus. If they travel by MRT, the traveling time may be shortened, but there is overload in our trains, especially during the peak hours.

When the MRT trains break down, it can be chaotic.

I suggest that express buses be introduced to connect our towns. This new structure will work as follows:
Vote (agree, disagree)

Concern about cyber security

Reading the newspapers, there seem to be a lot of concern about cyber security. This matter is also actively discussed in Parliament.

I wish to give my views on this issue.

remember to vote (agree, disagree).

Introduce an e-wallet under the Association of Banks

One and a half years has passed since PM Lee announced the goal to use digital payment in his National Day Rally in 2017.

A lot of work and money has been put in by many parties to introduce digital payment. The actual usage remain low, except for payment for ride hailing apps.

There are too many platforms for digital payment. They do not talk to each other. Most of the wallet apps are too complicated.

To be a truly smart nation, we need to make digital payment a way of life. I like to suggest how this goal can be achieved.

Read my suggestion here and vote (agree, disagree)

Improvement the reliability of postal services

In the past, we have a reliable postal service. This has deteriorated over the past two decades or so, after Sing Post was privatized and it spent more attention to other activities to increase its revenue and profits, rather than its core business.

In recent years, the public has experienced the following mistakes:

a) Mails were late in delivery
b) Mails were delivered to wrong addresses
c) Mails were not delivered.

What can be done to improve the standard of postal services?

Here are my suggestions:

Family face this decision on "end of life" treatment

Everyone will have to face this dilemma. We will have to send an elderly parent for treatment in the hospital when they reach the "end of life".

Our children will have to face this dilemma one day when it becomes our turn to reach the "end of life" treatment.

What should the family of the elderly person do?

Read this story and learn the lesson. Be prepared for the future.

WOTC - Who should take responsiblity for the death of Aloysius Pang?

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Who should take responsibility for the death of Aloysius Pang?

Here are the responses: (54 Votes)
46 % - The minister for defence
26 % - The commander in charge of the training in New Zealand
15 % - The chief of defense force
13 % - The immediate supervisor of the victim.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Get consent for minor procedures

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Should a doctor ask a patient for consent for minor procedures?

Here are the responses: (50 Votes)
58 % - it is better to get the consent in case there are some unexpected side effects.
22 % - How is the patient able to judge whether or not to give the consent?
16 % - Let the doctor make the judgment and get insurance to pay for any harm caused by unexpected side effect.
4 % - The consent should only be asked for complex procedures. 

See the pie chart at:

End of life treatment

An elderly woman had a heart attack. Her children sent her immediately to a private hospital. The cardiologist carried out a stent and bypass operation. The patient was placed on intensive care (ICU). She passed away five days later. 

The family received a bill for more than $50,000 from the private hospital. This does not include the fees of the cardiologist and other specialists that were called to attend to the patient. It is likely to cost another $100,000 or more.

The family does not know why it was necessary to bring in the other specialists. They got the impression that they are friends who are called into help to add up the bill.

I now wish to give my views about this matter.

Leaked HIV data

The life insurance companies in Singapore have announced that they will not use the leaked data on HIV patients.

If the HIV patients think that they can use this loop hole to buy life insurance, they should know that the insurers are able to protect their interest.

How is this done?

Goodbye to Google +

Google introduced Google + to compete with Facebook a few years ago.

Google + did not take off. Their design was different from Facebook but it was not practical.

Google has now decided to abandon Google +. This was a good move.

There are many other projects from Google that are extremely useful. Google + belongs to the projects that failed.

On the whole, Google has made a wonderful contribution to modern living.

Tan Kin Lian

Friday, February 01, 2019

WOTC - Compensation for NS men who die on duty

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Should the govt compensate $500,000 to the family of a NS man who dies on duty?

Here are the responses: (57 Votes)
51 % - It is inadequate.
47 % - It is an adequate and fair sum. 
2 % - A certificate of appreciation is enough, as this is national service.
0 % - It is too much.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Death of reservist under training in New Zealand

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What are your views about the death of a reservist while training in New Zealand?

Here are the responses: (53 Votes)
38 % - The SAF is quite lax in enforcing safety regulations.
28 % - The risk is higher when training reservists who have completed military training many years ago.
28 % - We should introduce civilian audits of military training.
6 % - It is unfortunate, but accidents can happen.

See the pie chart at:

Singaporeans living overseas get GST vouchers

Dear Mr. Tan
Is it for for overseas Singaporeans to receive GST vouchers when they don’t contribute any GST.

I have relatives living overseas, not contributing to the nation but reaping all the benefits. Which is really unfair for those living and slogging in Spore.

My reply:
I am aware of your observation. Some other people told me earlier. I still think you should bring it up to PM Lee. he created this scheme and should hear your feedback.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Lack of genuine concern

An elderly woman died. The MP of the constituency sent two large banners which his helpers displayed prominently displayed at the perimeter of the house.

The MP did not turn up personally.

The son of the deceased told me - I am disappointed that the MP took the opportunity of our bereavement to gain publicity for himself. He is not genuinely concerned about my family.

Repair technician died during repair of SSPH

I was angry when I read this media statement about the Singapore Self Propelled Howitzer (SSPH).

"In the last 15 years of SSPH operations (since its commission in 2003), there has not been any reported injury of servicemen due to the gun lowering for maintenance or operating in or firing of the SSPH,” said the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) in a media statement on Wednesday (31 January).

In the same period, more than 1,000 servicemen, National Service (NS)men, and regulars have been trained to operate the SSPH, with around 12,500 rounds fired, it added."

Here are my reasons:

Stolen records of HIV patients

The Ministry of Health reported that 14,200 records of HIV patents were stolen from their database. This occurred a few years ago, but they decided to inform the public now.

These are sensitive and confidential records. If the information goes into the public domain, it can cause a lot of harm to the patients.

What can we do about it?

I like to give my view on this matter:

Vote (agree, disagree).

Quality of service provided by our buses

I have consistently given a high score for the quality of service provided by our buses.

My view is shared by many people, as reflected in this performance score.

Some people think that I am unhappy with the bus service because of their lack of digital display or voice announcement of the next bus stop or the erratic timing of the bus arrival times.

I do bring up this issues from time to time. They can be improved. But it does not impact my overall rating.

I do not just focus on the negative points and let them crowd my views. I take a look at the overall picture.

Read my full view here and vote (agree, disagree).

Be constructive

Some people think that they are more outstanding when they voice their disagreement to a view that is expressed. Sometimes, there is no reason for them to disagree. They disagree for the sake of disagreement. This attitude is not helpful.

We need to be constructive. We need more thinking people to come forward, to understand the issue, to give their contribution, and finally to help find a better solution.

Here are my suggestions:

Use regular soldiers as instructors

A friend wrote to express his support for using regulars as instructors for recruits. He said.

In basic military training, the instructors are the section leaders (sergeant rank), platoon commanders (lieutenant rank) and company commander (also captain rank). A typical company has 4 platoons. Each platoon has 4 sections.

At present, we have in some cases all the section leaders and platoon commanders being full-time national serviceman (NSF). They are recent graduates from specialist cadet school (SCS) or officer cadet school (OCS). They lack operational experience and also lack the experience to manage new recruits.

Read the rest of his comment here and vote (agree, disagree)

WOTC - Terrorism

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Does Singapore face a high threat of terrorism?

Here are the responses: (45 Votes)
42 % - There is a threat but we do not need to take excessive action at this stage.
33 % - We face a low threat but the govt plays up the issue.
13 % - We face a high threat due to instability in many neighboring countries.
11 % - It is better to take strong measures even if it cause inconvenience to our daily life.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - GoJek

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What are your views about GoJek service?

Here are the responses: (38 Votes)
37 % - I do not take ride hailing
26 % - I prefer to try Grab
26 % - I find their service and price to be quite good
11 % - I am disappointed with their service and price

See the pie chart at:

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Getting more people to sign up as regulars

I asked a person who worked in SAF for 6 years and quit to join the private sector the following questions. My aim was to see if there is a better way to have a credible army, without overlying on national servicemen.

Here are his replies:

Make your view count

I post my suggestions on how to improve life in Singapore by changing some existing govt policies. I carry out my research and thought over the issue carefully before posting my views. My suggestions cover national service, HDB, CPF and other issues.

Some of these suggestions reflect a govt that is incompetent or out of touch with the real issues facing the people.

Some of my friends worry that the people in power will be offended by my suggestions and may target me in legal and other means. They ask me to be careful and avoid offending them.

Should I keep quiet?

Read my view here:

Training by inexperienced officers

I met a former NS officer who is now in his 50s. His son has just completed full time National Service.

He made some insightful observation on the training of our NS recruits. It worried me.

He told me that many of our NS recruits are training by NCO and officers of the same age. He said that this is a bad approach. He objected to it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Bad conduct of life insurance companies

This problem of bad conduct of life insurance companies happens in many countries, including Singapore. New Zealand is acting to deal with this problem.

What is the problem? The answer is - aggressive selling or rather misselling.

The underlying flaw is the structure of the life insurance policy. It is designed to take away a large part of the savings during the first one or two years from the policyholder. This is given to the sales agent, or used for marketing expenses.

Allow young people to buy old flats

At present, young people cannot use CPF to buy old HDB flats with a remaining lease of less than 60 years.

This has caused the prices of these old flats to fall sharply. Even so, the owners cannot find a buyer at a fair price. They have to take a very big cut. If they bought the flat on resale and paid a high price, they would suffer a large loss.

What can be done about this problem?

Market based central planning

Under a "new" economic system, it is possible to assure every young person that he or she can get a job that pays enough to meet the cost of living and to raise a family.

What is this "new" system? It is not really "new". It is "central planning".

I am not talking about bureaucratic central planning that failed in the past in many countries. I am referring to a market based central planning that works, somewhat along the lines adopted in China.

How can this "new" central planning achieve this laudable goal?

WOTC - Who can serve the people better

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Who can serve the people better?

Here are the responses: (40 Votes)
58 % - A more diverse parliament comprising of several political parties. 
35 % - A new government to replace the PAP
5 % - A PAP run by new leaders who are more open, transparent and work for the people. 
3 % - The continued dominance and stability of the PAP.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Simplify work for lawyers

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What is the best way to simplify work for lawyers?

Here are the responses: (31 Votes)
48 % - Have standard wordings for common agreements that the different parties can opt to use, instead of spending time arguing over clauses in non-standard agreements.
45 % - Write the law clearly, so there is less need to use lawyers to explain the laws.
6 % - Use artificial intelligence to vet legal documents.
0 % - Keep the work complicated so that more lawyers can be employed to boost the economy.

See the pie chart at:

Monday, January 28, 2019

Should I continue Medishield for my parents?

Mr Tan,
I have a question to ask you. I have been buying MediShield for my parents using my CPF for the past several years. They are turning 65 and 70 years old. they belong to the Merdeka and Pioneer Generation.

After knowing that one cannot claim much with MediShield, I feel very cheated after paying so many years of premiums. Should I cancel their MediShield?

They are still quite healthy for their age. They don't have any other insurance. The govt makes all these very confusing and stressful for us!

Reply here:

Allow early withdrawal of CPF savings based on financial need

A man aged 62 and unemployed approached me. He has savings in the Central Provident Fund with interest of $5,000 accrued each year. He wanted to withdraw the interest earning to meet his daily expenses but CPF does not allow it. He asked me to raise this matter to the govt.

I want to raise a broader issue. It is not just the interest that needs to be withdrawn. In some cases, the member may need to draw out the savings as well.

There will be different groups of people with different needs. It is better for CPF to have a way to deal with these needs.

Here is my proposed solution.

Please vote (agree, disagree) to the proposal.

A shameful example of our Smart Nation drive

I submitted my contribution to CPF for January 2019. I used their online submission process.

I made the mistake of entering January 2018, instead of 2019. The website did not alert me to this error. It could, because I have been submitted the contribution regularly every month during 2018.

The website calculated interest at the rate of 20% per annum for almost one year delay in payment. I thought that I missed a contribution in January 2018. I did not understand why they did not inform me earlier.

I was sure that I had contributed monthly, so I could not have missed January 2018. I removed the late payment interest and submitted the contribution.

Later, I realized that I had entered the wrong month. I sent an e-mail to notify CPF of the mistake.

They could have easily rectified the mistake and changed the year from 2018 to 2019. But they did not.

Here is the painful process that CPF made me go through. It is a shameful reflection of our Smart Nation drive.

A tough life of a hawker from Malaysia

A stallholder in Midview City canteen told me that he will give up the stall on the expiry of the 1 year tenancy. His business is quite good, but he still cannot cope with the expenses.

He lives in Johore and leave homes at 4 am in the morning to come to Singapore on a motor cycle. He leaves Singapore at 6 pm to reach home at 8 pm. He has two children.

He has an assistant which cost him $2,000 in salary and $1,100 in work permit and other cost.

His monthly expenses in rental, utilities, cleaning and assistant is more than $10,000. After working long hours, he nets less than $3,000.

Life is tough for him.

A needless death

There was no need to call up Aloysius Pang for reservist training. If he was not called up, he would have been alive today working hard towards a great future.

Why did I say this?

Use of CPF to purchase leasehold property

The current govt policy is to allow CPF to be used to buy a leasehold property of at least 60 years. This is to ensure that the owner will have a place to stay for a lifetime, on the assumption that most people will buy their flats in their late twenties or later. The govt does not want to see the remaining lease run out while the owner is still alive.

When someone buys a property with a remaining lease less than 60 years, he can still use CPF to pay for the property but a formula is applied to reduce the amount of CPF that can be used. This formula is complicated, but effectively it reduces the use of CPF significantly.

The restricted use of CPF and the awareness that the HDB flat will have no value at the end of the lease has caused the prices of HDB flats over 40 years old to drop sharply. Someone told me that the value dropped by 20% after the national development minister said that the value of a HDB flat will be zero at the end of the lease.

Many owners of old HDB flats are not able to find a buyer at a price that they expect.

What can be done to solve this problem? Read here:

WOTC - Buy F35 to replace the F16 planes

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Do you agree with the decision of Mindef to buy the F35 to replace the F16 planes?

Here are the responses: (40 Votes)
68 % - We are spending too much on fighter planes and need to be more prudent.
15 % - We should not rely too much on America.
10 % - We need to keep our fighter planes up to date.
8 % - They have done a careful evaluation of the options from several countries.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - how can non PAP parties to work with TCB party

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

What is the best approach for the non PAP parties to work with TCB party?

Here are the responses: (43 Votes)
40 % - All non PAP parties should agree to avoid three corner fights.
37 % - All non PAP parties should contest the GE under a common platform.
16 % - The small parties should merge into TCB's party
7 % - Each party should go on its own, according to its priorities.

See the pie chart at:

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The "cheated" generation

In 1970s till early 1980s, one can buy a 4 room HDB flats for a mere $20K-$30K. They introduced the inclusion of land price some time in mid 1980s and the prices of HDB flats started to climb.

By early 1990s-1995, GCT came up with the Asset Enhancement Scheme which entice Singapore to spend more of their CPF to buy HDB flats. They relaxed the rules on the secondary market for HDB flats. By 1990s, some of the HDB flats were about 20 years old and they started the HDB upgrading.

Find out more at

Key factors at next general election

At a recent dinner event, I met two old friends - one was a retired PAP MP and another was a former PAP candidate.

They asked me for the feedback from the ground. What were the key factors that the people were unhappy about.

I hesitated to reply. Whatever I say, they are likely to challenge me. They are people who think they know all, even though they might be actively involved for many years.

So, I took out my mobile phone and showed them this page.

They looked at the results carefully and absorbed the finding. They could not argue with the webpage.

They asked me to add an item - quarrel between PM Lee and his siblings. How much impact will it have?

I did. I also added another two items - recent death of NS men during training and landing rights over Seletar Airport.

Can I ask you to vote on these issues?

You will get a prize after submitting your vote.

Our health care system is broken

Dear Mr Tan

A friend’s mum was scheduled for a surgery in one of the government hospital. Everyone in the family reschedule their appointment to accommodate this important date.

To their dismay upon arriving at the hospital the nurse told them that there would not be any surgery as there was no doctor for surgery... she was rescheduled to a much later date in March....

While she was there the doctor also didn’t bother to at least change her wound which was swollen in red... the observation is the doctors and nurses are all inexperience and very young. Of course majority of the nurses are from the 3rd world countries...

WOTC - Impact of TCB party in general election

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

How will Tan Cheng Bock party (PSP) impact the next general election?

Here are the responses: (37 Votes)
49 % - There will be a coalition of the non PAP parties
24 % - They will contest in just a few constituencies.
22 % - They will contest in many constituencies with cooperation from the small parties.
5 % - There will be many three corner fights.

See the pie chart at:

WOTC - Lee Hsien Yang and TCB party

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd:

Do you expect Lee Hsien Yang to be involved in Tan Cheng Bock's party?

Here are the responses: (37 Votes)
68 % - He will give support in the background.
19 % - He will take part in the next general election under the party.
11 % - He will not be involved
3 % - He will be one of the founding members.

See the pie chart at:

Defend the interest of citizens and corporations

Canada acted on the request of the US government and charge Sabrina Meng, CFO of Huawei for breaking the US sanction on Iran. If convicted in court, she wil be extradited to US to face the relevant charges.

In retaliation, the China govt severe action against several Canadian citizens for breaking the law in China.

China acted swiftly to protect the interest of its citizens and corporations.

How is this relevant to Singapore?

Keep abreast of the ground feeling

I recommend you to read the following links

Goals for GE2020

Wisdom of the Crowd - survey results

#HearMeOut - feedback on govt policies

Democracy: - key factors affecting the swing

Big loss of value for old HDB flat

Dear Mr Tan,

I have an old 3 room HDB. I put it on the market for several months. Finally there was a miserable offer of only $270K for my 45 yrs old HDB flat at prime location and high storey.

However I cannot accept as I would make a lost of $30K! Buyer not willing to up the offer despite liking my house as they claimed worthless for old flats!

Versus a year ago my neighbour next door sold at $330K without much renovation, it is a difference of $60K!

According to agent the value has dropped from $322k to $$257K!

HDB and Mr Lawrence Wong did not bother to reply my email since Apr 2018.

What should I do for such circumstances?

Really at a lost as my CPF is depreciating not enough to pay for 2 HDB soon. I need to get a new flat closer to my workplace, to reduce the long travel time.

Thank a for your precious time.

Have you considered keeping the flat and rent it out for? You can rent another flat closer to your workplace.

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