Saturday, July 20, 2019

Avoid making personal attack

It is quite a common habit for people in Singapore to make personal attack or to make an unjustified allegation concerning a view that they disagree with. It is wrong and should be avoided.

Allow CPF savings to be used to rent or buy a HDB flat

I wish to give my reasons why it is a good economic policy to allow CPF contributions to be used to rent or buy a HDB flat, regardless of tenure.

See the reasons here.

Allow CPF savings to be withdrawn at age 55

In this post, I explain why I support the call for CPF savings to be withdrawn in full at age 55, although it carries the risk that some members may squander away their savings.

WOTC - Ho Ching's salary

Wisdom of the Crowd: 32% of the participants in this survey would hold Ho Ching in high regard for her willingness to serve the country if she draws a salary of $1 as CEO of Temasek Holdings. The other 68% would still have a negative opinion of her.

See the details in

WOTC - Future economic development

Wisdom of the Crowd: 73% of the participants in this survey opted for a minimum wage for each category of job for our future economic development. 19% opted to make it possible for families to raise children by passing the cost to the state. Only 8% preferred the current methods adopted by the government.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Friday, July 19, 2019

Satya Nadella did an excellent job as CEO of Microsoft

Microsoft share price moved up from $46 in 2014 when Satya Nadella become CEO to $136 now (increase of 3 times in 5 years). He did a great job to turn Microsoft around.

Here are some lessons from his leadership style.

Use of CPF to rent or buy a flat

I created a poll to ask people if CPF should be used to rent or buy a flat and to remove restriction on the tenure of the flat.

93% of those who voted agreed with this suggestion. See here. They are expressing their lay man's view that this will make life better for them.

I like to give my reason why this is a good idea:

Restructure the bus services

The bus system in Singapore comprise of about 350 bus services that provide a network to bring people from one place to another, either directly or with one change of bus.

This system is complicated. Passengers have to rely on an app to tell them which service to take and where to make a change. Many passengers are not familiar with the use of the app.

It is also difficult to manage the services and ensure that they are optimally used (i.e. with a high load) and also provide a good service level (i.e. passengers do not wait a long time for a bus).

I like to see the bus services in Singapore restructured as follows:

WOTC - Cope with high cost of living

Wisdom of the Crowd: 59% of the people who voted in this survey said that abolishing GST is the best way to help people cope with the high cost of living. 39% voted for "create jobs that give an adequate income".
See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Poster for election campaign

Wisdom of the Crowd: 79% of the people who voted in this survey choose the poster "Willing to serve as President for $1" to be the strongest message for the general election campaign.

See the details in

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Message from a concerned citizen

I share this email from a concerned citizen.

hello kin lian
i am just a commoner who have observed that sg is spiralling downwards.

its top people are very inward looking.
we have policies and protocols. sound impressive right. but sometime, the top people must go down to ground level to do spot checks and bring the report written by their subordinates to see whether it tallies. the culture has become such that the top people are being told what they want to hear only, correct? like in the army, right? so tell me, whats wrong with the top people?

if they still continue to adopt an inward looking approach, i think we are doomed. They have run out of ideas because policies that were good then, does not work now. they are still base on models that worked in the nation building days. wake up wake up. either you are lazy or too incompetent.

The country is just too expensive to live in. a lot of countries have caught up and are even better and affordable and they come much cheaper in terms of pricing for business. so how do the top people counter this? we will lose the competitive edge over these neighbouring countries. i have no idea and solution as i am a commoner and the top always like to be lords over us. so whats the solution top men?

was it south korea, hong kong, taiwan and Singapore that were labelled the 4 rising tigers of asia? can someone do a comparison test to see where sg stands amongst the 4? my knowledge is limited.

there is so much feedback and truth on the internet, why not tap on these and move the country forward? why make feedback fake? proper channels? yes but the info has always been tweaked. this show one thing, in this new economy, the top will not last long. thankfully i hope. may the next better player take over.

there is one thing i learnt during my 2 years serving the nation, it is this word called wayang. a good balance is good but too much wayang is bad for the country

a concerned citizen.

Sort out the CPF mess

The CPF has become a mess. Although the members put in a lot of their savings into CPF, it is not able to produce an adequate retirement income for members.

The rules on the use of CPF for housing and the access to grants are extremely complicated.

What can be done to sort out the mess?

Wisdom of the Crowd

I have added two issues on

a) Impact of protest on HK economy
b) Severe drop in Singapore exports

Give your vote in

WOTC - Demand of the HK protesters

Wisdom of the Crowd: 46% of the participants in this survey said that the HK govt should talk to the protesters and find a solution to their unhappiness. 54% voted for other options.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Handling of the HK protest

Wisdom of the Crowd: 60% of the participants in this survey said that the HK govt handled the protests in an appropriate manner. 40% said they handled it badly.

See the breakdown in

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Manifesto for the General Election

Someone suggested this manifesto for the coalition against PAP.

Do you like it?

Deal with the impending recession

Singapore is expected to enter into a recession. It is likely to be worse than projected by the finance minister, Heng Swee Keat.

What can be done to deal with this challenge?

I like to suggest the following steps.

Combat rent seeking activities

Have you heard of the term "rent seeking"?

The definition is:
Rent-seeking is an attempt to obtain economic rent (i.e., the portion of income paid to a factor of production in excess of what is needed to keep it employed in its current use) by manipulating the social or political environment in which economic activities occur, rather than by creating new wealth.

The Singapore economy has a large portion of rent seeking activities.

We need to find ways to control these activities which could lead to corrupt practices.

Set a cap on hawker stall rental

The government prefers the rental for hawker stalls to be set by the market. That is why they allowed the stalls to be sold to the stall holders or allow a master operator to tender for the food court or hawker center and to lease out the stalls to the operators.

This has led to an unfortunate outcome. The rentals have gone up too high, to a point where many stall operators cannot make a living, in spite of working very long hours.

What can be done to deal with this problem?

Here is my "out of the box" solution.

WOTC - Protests in Hong Kong

Wisdom of the Crowd: 45% of the participants in this survey voted in favor of the actions of the protesters in Hong Kong. The remaining 55% are not in favor of their actions.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Get capable people to serve as ministers

Wisdom of the Crowd: 24% of the participants in this survey said that we should elect capable people who can serve as ministers. The other 76% voted for other ways to get capable people to serve as ministers.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Sorting out the HDB mess

I wish to point out that there are two problems associated with the HDB Mess.

a) The existing owners want to the HDB resale prices to stabilize to protect their investment.
b) The younger people want HDB to be affordable.

These two groups have have conflicting interest.

I suggest the following approach to cater to their needs.

Why is HDB a mess and how can it be fixed

I have described the HDB as a mess. Let me explain why it is a mess and how it can be fixed.

Wisdom of the Crowd

I have added two new issues on the crime situation in Singapore and the need to increase fares for public transport.

Give your vote in

WOTC - Ensure minority representation in Parliament

Wisdom of the Crowd: Only 1% of the participants in this survey voted to adopt the GRC system to ensure that minority ethnic groups are represented in parliament. The majority, i.e. 99% voted for other options.

See the breakdown in

WOTC - Not able to raise children

Wisdom of the Crowd: 47% of the participants in this survey said that free child care should be provided for parents who are not able to afford to raise their children. The other 53% voted for three other options.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Monday, July 15, 2019

Invest in durian farm? Be careful!

Musang King businessmen turn millionaires.…/musang-king-durian-millio…?

The investment cycle repeats itself. The early entrepreneurs took the risk and strike rich. The herd follows and push up the prices. Speculation pushes up the price further to an unsustainable level. Supply increases and the prices dropped.

This will repeat in the craze for the musang king. I already know about many farms planting musang king durians in Malaysia. The supply will grow many times.

Be careful about investing in durians. Pay attention to the supply and demand of the market. Do not rush in blindly. Do not take the advise of the person who ask you to invest in a durian farm. He makes his commission for the sale. You will take the risk ultimately.

WOTC - Help people in deep financial distress

Wisdom of the Crowd: 17% of the participants who voted in this survey said that people in deep financial distress should be given an allowance from the state. The other participants chose three other options.

See the details in

WOTC - Internal Security Act

Wisdom of the Crowd: 80% of the participants in this survey said that the government abused the Internal Security Act to detain political opponents. 20% said that they used the power mainly to deal with terrorist and detainees.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

A train journey in Switzerland

18 years ago, I flew to Zurich and went to the train station to buy a ticket to take me to St Moritz in the mountains.

The clerk could not speak English but understood what I wanted. He looked at the booklets and sold me three train tickets for different segments of the journey.

I was horrified. If I have to leave the train at a station, how do I know which platform to take for the next train? Furthermore, I had heavy luggage and it would be difficult to change trains.

I asked the clerk, but he could not explain to me due to the language problem.

What happened? read the rest of the story here:

Do you want Wigan Wolgate or Wigan Northwestern?

40 years ago, I was on a train in the UK and it passed a station called Wigan Wolgate. What a strange name.

My English friend told me this joke.

An Indian migrant lived in England for many years. He received a telegram that his mother in India is seriously ill. He has to return to India quickly.

He went to the station in Wigan and asked for a train ticket to Bombay. The clerk never heard of Bombay, so he sold him a ticket to London to make further enquiry.

When the Indian was in London, the clerk also did not know where Bombay was. He sold him a ticket to Paris.

After much effort and redirection, he Indian managed to reach Bombay but his mother had just died. He attended to the funeral and now have to return to England.

He went to the train station to ask for a ticket to Wigan, England.

The clerk replied - Yes sir, do you want Wigan Wolgate or Wigan Northwestern?

Explanation - Wigan is one of the small towns in England that has two train stations, which is unusual. This joke said that nobody in England heard of Bombay, but the people in Bombay know all the train stations in England, including the two stations in Wigan.

What a difference in perspective!

If you like this joke, vote Agree here

Be careful about buying a HDB resale flat

I want to give this word of caution to Singaporeans. Be careful when you buy a HDB resale flat.

You may have heard about the money that people make when they sell their resale flat. You may have heard that many permanent residents made money when they sold off their HDB flat to return to their country.

Those were cases in the past when the HDB resale market kept going up. It is no longer the case now.

Read more in this post.

Survey - Singaporeans support the protest in Hong Kong

This poll said that more than three quarters of Singaporeans support the protest in Hong Kong.

The analyst said that it reflects the close ties between these two territories.

I have a different opinion.

Many of the Singaporeans support the protest because they of our local condition. It is almost impossible to organize a protest to voice their anger about conditions in Singapore. They have to apply for a police permit and that permit will not be issued or will be delayed to a point that it cannot be organized logistically.

Many Singaporeans have a superficial understanding about the conditions in Hong Kong. They are likely to be influenced by the western media. They also hold a negative (which I would described as biased) view about the conditions in Communist China.

There are other Singaporeans who are knowledgeable about the conditions in Hong Kong and China and who support the protests. But there are knowledgeable people who consider the protests to be unwise.

Here is the survey report.…/singaporeans-support-hong-kong-prote…?

Share the pathways

We need to find a solution to provide space for PMD.

In this post, I propose a solution.

I am not saying that all pathways should be shared. But many can be shared safely, by adopting the safety measures that I have suggested.

Some paths cannot be shared as it is too narrow. In these cases, the PMDs may have to use the road.

It is quite safe for the PMDs to use the side roads where the traffic is light. A separate lane can be set out for the PMDs. the speed limit on the road can be reduced to 20 kph.

PMDs will be a part of our lives. We have to think of all parties - pedestrians and PMD riders, to find a solution. We cannot adopt a selfish approach.

Here is my earlier post.

Avoid making useless motherhood statement

I like to ask people to avoid making motherhood statements that are useless. It is better to provide some actual observation to support it.

Quora: Can US continue with trade wars?

Quora: How long can the U.S. continue to have and start trade wars with various countries before the damage becomes irreversible?

Mas Miwa, former Engineer at Hughes Space and Communications Answered

It already is. The EU is looking east, more and more deals with Russia and China. The EU disagrees with the US on many issues. Russia and China are working together more because of the US. The SCO is starting gain membership with Pakistan and India being the latest members and others thinking of joining. The SCO is also aligning more with the ASEAN nations, and ASEAN working along with China.

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation - Wikipedia

Association of Southeast Asian Nations - Wikipedia

They see the trade war with China and now a beginning trade war with Mexico. They see the US as an unreliable partner for the future.

It’s not just Trump. The US has always broken its treaties, pacts and promises

America Can't Be Trusted Anymore

WOTC - Your vote counts

Wisdom of the Crowd: Vote on these issues and win a prize. You can also contribute towards a better understanding of the people's opinion on these issues.

WOTC: Non PAP leaders

Wisdom of the Crowd: 78% of the participants in this survey has a positive opinion of the non PAP leaders. The other 22% have a negative opinion.

See the details in

WOTC: PAP leaders

Wisdom of the Crowd: 93% of the participations in this survey have a negative opinion about PAP leaders. 7% have a positive opinion.

See what they are unhappy about in

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