Friday, February 24, 2017

Poor planning of bus services

I arrived at the bus stop before Thomson Plaza at 7 pm. I waited for bus 163. Two buses 410G arrived together. They were each 1/3rd full. Another 2 buses of the same service arrived together. (I forgot the number). They were half full. Bus 163 arrived after 10 minutes. It was crowded.

It is quite clear to me that the Land Transport Authority is not looking at the data showing the movement and occupancy of their buses.

If they did, they would have known that some services have low utilisation rate and other services are crowded.

I have observed this pattern for one year.

TKL's views of Budget 2017

My friend asked - "Mr Tan, what are you views of the budget?"

I replied - "I was disappointed. It failed to address the real issues facing the people."

If you want to know more about my views, you can attend the forum organized by The Online Citizen and Maruah. It will be held at 2 pm Bras Basah Complex on Saturday 25 Feb.

More details can be found here:
www.tklcloud.com/event/whats_on.aspx

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Basic skill to avoid retrenchment

Without the basic skill of problem solving, many workers are worried about getting retrenched or losing their jobs. However, if they have the basic skill of problem solving, they will be an asset to their boss and have a good chance of keeping their job and getting the next promotion.

Do you want to learn the skill of problem solving? You need the right approach and the right mindset. This 1 hour tutorial can give you the training on this approach.

Register now and attend the next session on Saturday.
http://tklcloud.com/event/whats_on.aspx

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My views on Budget 2017


The minister for finance has unveiled the budget for 2017 in Parliament. The Straits Times called it "A Budget For Today and Tomorrow". Is it?

I find the budget to be uninspiring. I find it to be disappointing.

The primary role of a government is the welfare of the people. In a democratic country, the government is elected by the people to deal with the problems that the people are not able to do on their own.

The annual budget of the government is an opportunity for the government to identify the key challenges facing the country and the people, and to take appropriate measures to address these issues.

What are the problems facing the people? They are:

a) Availability and security of jobs
b) Cost of living
c) Cost of doing business
d) Low birth rate

I look at the budget to see how these issues were addressed. The budget does have a few measures to address the challenges faced by the economy in creating jobs. There is hardly any mention of the other three challenges.

Instead, there is a move to impose a carbon tax and to increase the cost of water. This must add to the cost of living and to the cost of doing business.

Even the business commuity has expressed disappointment at the budget. Link. There is an urgent need to address the cost of doing business and uncompetitiveness. The finance minister did not seem to think that we have this problem.

The finance minister has probably given up trying to get people to have more babies. The past baby bonus packages must have failed miserably.

In the area of job creation, the finance minister has missed the point. During the challenging times last year, the economy was able to create jobs, but the jobs seemed to be going to foreigners. This is pointed out in the article by Leong Szehian.

In the meantime, many people are being retrenched and have to work as taxi drivers. Even this line is tough, as there are too much competition for a smaller pool of customers.

Before any problem can be solved, we must understand the problem and especially the root causes of the problem.

Jobs are being created but they are going to foreigners. Why? Foreigners are cheaper and are not called up regularly for NS reservist duty. Employers prefer foreigners. Even the public sector create jobs for foreigners through outsourcing of many of the services that were previously done by locals, e.g. security, cleaning and administration.

As there is no minimum wage and foreigners can survive on lower salaries, many jobs will continue to go to foreigners.

With high cost of living and insecurity of jobs, the birth rate will remain low. This will be harmful for Singapore over the long term. We can survive as a country for foreigners, but the local population will continue to dwindle.

Local businesses and workers are now being encouraged to go abroad. It is an irony. When Singapore has to depend on foreigners to work here!

Singapore is clearly in a mess! The finance minister has not understood the key problems and challenges. This is reflected in his budget.

Tan Kin Lian

Monday, February 20, 2017

Countdown counter for the green man

At the pedestrian crossing in Yio Chu Kang Road, a young girl was pressing the stop button continuously. She was impatient for the green man to appear. She must have thought that the light will change more quickly when she press the button many times!

I have seen the pedestrain crossin gin Jakarta and Kluang, Johor. It has a countdown counter to show when the green man will appear. Someone, our pedestrain crossing does not show this useful information.

Jakarta and Kluang, and perhaps many other cities around the world are ahead of Singapore.




LTA not monitoring occupancy of buses?

At 6.30 pm, I waited for bus 163 at the stop before Thomson Plaza. Three 410G buses came by within 1 minute. They were quite empty. Two 980 buses came by. Bus 163 came after 15 minutes and was packed. I waited another 5 mintues for the next bus.

It seems that bus 163 is often packed while some of the other services are relatively empty. It appears that LTA is not monitoring the occupancy of the buses. Quite sad.

Visit and stay in Setia, Johor, February 2017

Here is a 16 min video of my visit and overnight stay in Setia Indah, Johor. This video contains a narration. I hope you enjoy understanding more about Johor Bahru. Setia is just 30 mins away from the causeway.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeQ55x1Wm_Q

Take a long term view

Here is the price chart and the USD exchange rate over the past 5 years. although this is a blue chip share, the value of the investment can fluctuate by nearly 100% over this period - and it is both UP and DOWN.

You need to take a long term view when you invest in a blue chip share.
http://www.fisca.sg/PDF/431

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Invest in a blue chip share - case of Apple Computer

When you invest in a blue chip share, you may also experienced a wild swing, but you can afford to wait for a good time to sell the shares.

Here is my experience with Apple computers.
http://www.fisca.sg/Info/431/Investing-in-a-blue-chip-share---case-of-Apple-Computers

Friday, February 17, 2017

Occupancy of buses

I take bus 163 to work and home regularly for the past year.

I observed that this service is usually very crowded. This morning after 9.30 am, I saw two buses passed by that were packed.

At the same time, I observed several buses under service 854 and 857 went by that were more than half empty.

After work, I also observed that bus 163 is usually full, while other services were less full. Service 410 came regularly and were usually less than half full.

I suspect that the Land Transport Authority is not monitoring the occupancy of the buses under each service. They probably don't have the statistics to help them decide on increasing or reducing the buses on each service.

I have written to LTA on this matter and did not get any response from them.




Financial deregulation caused a lot of harm

Many years ago, the banks collected savings and pay an interest rate to the depositors. They use the savings to lend to businesses at a higher interest rate. Their revenue is the margin and after deducting expenses, they make a profit.

Some smart financial expert figured out. Why does the bank need to carry the risk of the bad lending. Why don't we pass the risk to the ordinary people and make a profit without carrying the risk?

This seemed to be a good idea for the banks. They convinced the regulators, i.e. the government, that it is better for banks to be risk free, so they don't have to face the problem of losses and insolvency.

The regulators foolishly agreed to this concept. If the banks do not fail, they do not have to worry about a collapse of the banking system.

They forgot to think about the people who would be carrying the risks. These are ordinary people. If the banks, with their experts, cannot assess the risk properly, how can ordinary people carry out this responsibility?

This change seemed to be a good idea for a while. The banks could scale up their business significantly with a small capital. This business model worked well for the banks, but was risky for the economy.

The activities become very bad in two ways. First, the banks did not bother about screening the quality of the lending, as long as they can push the risk to the ultimate carriers. They started to grow very big.

Next, the banks found that they can make more profit by carrying out trading on their own account. The risks that they took were tremendously huge.

If they got the bets right, they make huge profits, by the billions. If they got it wrong, they become too big to fail and the government had to step in to bail them out.

This is the story of financial deregulation over the past two decades. It is criminal. It is madness. But the governments around the world are still in slumber.

We have to return to the old system. The banks cannot be allowed to pass the risks to ordinary people. It is their job to assess the risks and to manage them.


The government cannot neglect the responsibility to supervise and regulate the banks. It is the job of the government. Financial deregulation is a very bad idea. It is criminal negligence.




Problem solving skills can be learned

Do you know?

You can learn the skill of problem solving and perfect it by practice.

It is a matter of approach and practice.

The steps of problem solving can be learned. It is an approach that can be used in all types of problems.

Watch this video:
http://tklcloud.com/Event/Video.aspx?EID=34

You can attend the 1 hour tutorial at:
www.tklcloud.com/event

Comments from past participants:
1. Mr. Sing: The concepts taught are very useful
2. My. Ng: I never knew that problem solving can be learned through the right approach.

Internship at TKL Associates


I take several interns to work in my office for 3 months over the past yeras. The intern is trained in software development by a local polytechnic.

I teach the intern the following skills:

a) To develop software and use computer tools
b) How to communicate
c) How to be confident in dealing with problems.

Some interns are good in software development, but others are weak. It does not matter to me. Even if they are weak, they can still learn how to adapt from the codes left behind by other developers and learn through reverse engineering.

My interns told me that the skills in communication and problem solving are important. They were told the theory, but they enjoyed the real life experience.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Wasteful activity by IRAS

My wife has not been working for 3 decades. I include her in my income tax returns each year. She does not have to pay any income tax, as she does not have any income.

Last year, she received a tax bill for $340 based on "estimated original assessment". I don't know how IRAS got the estimate of her income - which never existed.

I called IRAS. The staff told me that they sent a tax form to her and she did not return it. So, they estimated her income and charged her the tax.

I have to pay the tax. I can resubmit her return and get a refund. She would send the form to me. The form did not arrive after three weeks.

Why is IRAS creating all this unnecessary work for themselves and for the taxpayer? Why can't they send the form only to people who are working?

Understand the Benefit Illustration

I estimate that 10,000 people buy a life insurance policy every month. They may be unaware that they are buying a life insurance policy, as it is usually sold to them as an "investment" or a "saving plan" by a relationship manager working in a bank.

The sales person is required to give a Benefit Illustration to the customer. In many cases, the BI is not given at that point but is quietly sent to the customer with many other documents. The customer may overlook the BI.

There is an important page in the BI that the customer should read and understand. When the customer reads that page, or sees the figures, the customer will cancel the policy for a full refund within 14 days.

If the customer does not do it, the customer may lose a lot of money - which is shown as "the effect of deduction":

See this explanation.
http://fisca.sg/Login2.aspx?URL=Info/417/Understand-the-Benefit-Illustration

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Earn a referral fee of $500

Earn a referral fee of $500 when you introduce a tenant for this apartment.

Thomson View apartment for rental. High floor. 2 bedroom, $2,300 p month. Full condo facilities. Available now.



Tutorial on problem solving - 25 Feb 2017

I will be conducting the tutorial on problem solving on Saturday 25 February. A fee of $10 is payable per participant. Details here:
http://tklcloud.com/Event/whats_on.aspx

The fee will be increased for future tutorials. Book early to enjoy the current low fee.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Compare Hong Kong and Singapore housing systems

Someone asked me if I prefer the housing system in Singapore, where there is a high ownership of homes through the CPF and HDB scheme, or the housing system in Hong Kong, where a high proportion can only afford to live in rental flats.

I prefer the Hong Kong system today. They give the choice to the people on whether they wish to rent or to buy a home. The people make their choice according to their preference and income capacity.

The Singapore system forces the workers to make a high contribution to the CPF and they can use it mainly to buy their own homes. This force a preference for home ownership, which in turn makes the property prices go through the roof. Even HDB flats are super expensive. This distorts the market.

The new HDB flats are now so expense that most new buyers can only afford them by getting government grants through the CPF.

Basically, we create a bubble market in property through the CPF housing scheme and then support it with a grant.

Renting a flat makes more sense for most workers. They can rent a flat close to their work place and avoid the long commuting journey each day.

I am not saying that everyone should rent a flat. I am saying that they should have the choice.

In the 1970s, the CPF/ HDB policy was better. The HDB flats were sold at affordable prices. Most people find it cheaper to buy the flats than to rent. That was a good policy. But the situation is different today .The HDB flats prices are far too high.


Exercise of common sense

I have been a member of the Grassroots Club for nearly 10 years. I went to the health center often.

I was required to hand over my member card to get the locker key. One day, I forgot the card. I had to give my NRIC instead to hold as ransom for the locker key.

The staff felt uncomfortable, because she needed my card, according to the SOP. She needed to record my membership number into her manual record. It was troublesome to log into the computer system ????

She is not a new staff. She knew me over the years. But SOP is SOP, right?

This evening, I forgot my membership card again. Another staff served me. She also knew me over the years.

TKL - Sorry I forgot my membership card.
Staff - Its okay.
TKL - Do you need my NRIC or other card?
Staff - No need.
TKL - Do you have my membership number
Staff - Yes. It is in the register. I can look it up.

I am relieved. There is hope for Singapore. There are still a few people who can exercise common sense, instead of relying blinding on SOP. Sadly, there are a disappearing breed.








The Singapore dollar will weaken

One loud criticism of the recommendations of the Committee on the Future Economy is - Singapore has become very uncompetitive due to the high cost of doing business.

Businesses are leaving Singapore due to this high cost. Why is the committee not addressing this issue of high business cost? Why is the government still in denial? Don't they know that we are now facing very serious challenges?

I agree with this strong criticism. We are in serious trouble due to the high cost.

But, there is an easy solution. When the Singapore dollar drops in value due to our economic woes, the cost will become lower. This will ease the problem for businesses.

The cost of imported goods will be higher and the cost of living will increase. The ordinary people will have to tighten their belt further. They cannot afford to spend wastefully. They have to become more prudent in their spending. They can take fewer vacations and have to go to nearby countries.

This is the advantage of the free economy. It will adjust to the economic cycles.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Scam in Malaysia

Here is a scam that was discovered in Malaysia.

We see similar scams in Singaore. We need to learn from the experience of other people. Right?
https://sg.news.yahoo.com/1-000-conned-rm55m-fake-uniform-d…scsca

Videos on commly asked financial planning issues

I have created several short videos (mostly 5 to 10 minutes) on financial planning issues that are often asked by ordinary people. If you are interested in any of these issues, just click on the link and sign in with Facebook or Google.

http://www.tankinlian.com/video.aspx

Avoid costly treatment

Here is a story that can save families from being bankrupted by medical bills.
http://www.fisca.sg/Info/430/Avoid-costly-treatment

Beware of this bad practice

Some banks adopt a bad practice to get the customers to visit their branch. This allows their relationship manager to sell a bad financial product to the customer.

Read here:
http://www.fisca.sg/…/Bad-practice-of-Standard-Chartered-Ba…

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Singaporean fascinated with Iran

Hi Mr. Tan

I just returned from Iran and were taken surprise by the country, which is vilified by the Western Press and fed to the Singapore readers.

Iran turns out to be safest country in the Middle East. No military or Police personnel at Tehran Khomeni International Airport, named after the Imam who abolished the Iranian Monarchy in the 1979 revolution. No soldiers either at MRT stations, cinemas and shopping areas also.

The Iranian Govt pay particular attention to safety of air passengers by insisting passengers and luggage to go thru security twice before boarding. Female passengers are subjected thru bodily checks by female Immigration officials. And foreign tourists are free to roam the country without obstruction.

But getting visa approval took us about a month online, Singaporeans are among select countries to collect visas upon arrival.
The only sign of security are soldiers and police guarding Govt Admin buildings and the Jewellery Museum showcasing the Crown jewels of various Persian Kings and the last Iranian Monarch, with Crown Rubies and emeralds weighing 180 carats.

Every tourist is dazzled by the extravagant glitter on display. The luxurious Palaces of various Kings are just as magnificent and dazzling.

The various mosques in the various cities among the best, if not the best in the world in architecture and decoration. Almost every Iranian could understand English, as Parsi language, and a small section of Arabic, and English are taught in schools. With 60% female enrolment, women are treated with respect, as stated in the Koranic teachings of Prophet Mohamed. Women work as guides, university lecturers, bus drivers, and almost all professions. And only the very wealthy could afford more than one wife.

The Shiite Sect of Islam is the original religion as set by Prophet Mohamed and his nephew Ali, and very liberal in outlook and treatment of women, as long as women cover their head, arms and legs, with scarves hiding only half their hair is acceptable, after which the women are allowed to live as they like, even cohabiting with their men is quietly permitted.

And surprisingly even, the 4 religions of Zoroastrism, Islam, Judaism and Armenian Christianity coexist together in whole districts, with the people entering each other's mosques, temples and churches of worship freely, with great respect towards all religions.

You do not see Muslims entering churches in Singapore, as they follow the strict Sunni sect, a break away sect by Ali's descendants. As surprise, surprise, only less than 20% of Iranian Muslims in Tehran go to the moques, buy they pray at home maybe once a day.

And surprise of all surprises, Iran is much colder than many European countries, just imagine heavy snowing in the deserts.

Many foreign tourists, including from Europe fell sick touring Iran, or on the plane journey back home, with one woman being offloaded the plane before take off. Lucky for us DIY tourists, we brought 3 sets of thermal wear, wollen sweaters and socks, thick boots and waterproof long winter jackets.

And another surprise, the toilets are the squat type, so practise half squatting first for women folks.

Another surprise, the Iranians groom and dress themselves well, with women having perfect make up all day. So women folks, make up and dress well if you dun want to look like scarecrows in comparison.

Another surprise, we met many China tour groups from China, Hongkong and Taiwan, so fellow Singaporeans, be more adventurous, do not be frogs in a well, sticking to developed countries. The ancient Persian monuments of Persepolis and Minneapolis built by Persian Kings would take your breathe away. All UNESCO rated.

For all the animosity between USA and Iran, the Iranians still receive American tourists, still worship the US$. And when Trump signed on prohibiting entry into US for some Muslims, including Iranians, there was a big American flag at the airport entry, for every one to step on. But we stepped on the side, out of respect for any country's flag, not love for the Yankies.

Of course, the shopping at the bazaars for local handcrafts is mind boggling.

And last but not least, NS for every young male is obligatory, but you can abstain but the punishment is not jail term, you can't apply for a passport to travel abroad and you can't apply a driving licence, so almost 100% of males do NS, but if you are wealthy, you could buy yourself out by paying only equivalent of 5,000 Euros, or a male can be let off if he has to support his divorced mother, so the Prophet's teaching of "Heaven lies under the feet of mothers" holds true here.

A conclusion - Iran is fascinating, a tolerant, liberal Society, also pragmatic and flexible country, when a long queue forms at the ladies, the men would invite all female tourists to enter the Gents, imagine both men and women queuing together to pee. And Iran is an Islamic country. This is the best time to visit Iran, before it becomes commercialized and touristy.

Take not the hotels could be 5 star type, about US 180 per night, as luxurious as those in developed countries. Try the desert hotels right in the middle of the desert, ranging between 4 and 5 star type. Cuisine is European and Middle eastern and North Indian type, very healthy with raw salads for all 3 meals, not oily and spicy type, quite bland, but very sour, esp the salads, so we sprinkle on sugar and home brought Chilly sauce.

Try Iran at least once in your lifetime, best season to visit is Spring, we went in January to participate in a World Convention.

We now learn to take the Western MSM prejudiced reports on any country with a pinch of salt, with family members brainwashed by the West, pouring scorn on paying Iran a visit, we shrugged and said "Why Not".

By the way, Iran is promoting Tourism, the slogan is "Friendly Faces, Open Arms, Ancient Culture, Timeless Charms", all summed up aptly with no exaggeration.

Singapore Airlines is losing ground?

I received this message from a Singaporean.

Dear Mr. Tan, 

I have been been wondering why Emirates able to overtake SIA so shortly a time in premium air travel. The Iran trip to attend a world Convention gave us the perfect opportunity to try out Emirates, which is not the cheapest airline to fly, compared to Turkish Airlines and Qatar Air.

The winning formula below which SIA should watch out for: 
1)  The win win collaboration between Quantas, the safest Airline in the world with no air accident to date, and Emirates.   You could fly from Brisbane to London direct, transitting through Singapore, Dubai and Tehran, then straight to London, a 22 hrs journey.
2)  Ease of booking seats on Emirates Website. You could choose the good seats during booking with a $30 extra fee.
3)  Emirates really know how to please their customers, we booked 3 months ahead, and some days before we fly, they emailed us to offer business class seats in exchange for our economy seats, paying only S$220 more from Singapore to Tehran, a journey about 12 hours with transit time. We grabbed the chance, then 2 days  before departure, they emailed us to offer S$211 more for the return journey back to Singapore, again we grabbed the seats, with seats that reclined to 45 degrees to have a good overnight sleep. Before disembarking whether at transit at Dubai or arrival at Tehran, the air stewards formed 2 lines and greeted all  First and Business Class passengers, making you feel like Royalty.
4) The food  was good, and you could have wines if you like.

I have attended annual SIA shareholders' meeting. I can see the Chairman and Board of Directors are far too old and not savvy to handle international competition from newcomers Middle eastern airlines, very difficult to teach old  dogs new tricks.

Upon my return,  I decided to sell off our SIA share holdings. Just like SPH, the GLCs are slowly losing the competition.  There is no new blood from the commercial sector to head them.

SIA should watch out for before Temasek would sell out our National Airline like NOL.

Budget 2017 - what are the sacred cows?

I am presenting a paper at the Maruah forum on Budget 2016. I will talk about GST, CPF, HDB, Health care and Tax rate. I will look at the broad issues before dealing with specific changes in Budget 2017.

My talk will deal with the problems with these sacred cows, and how they have led to a high cost of living and the bad state of affairs in Singapore today.

I will not talk about the small tweaks that the finance minister will be making to a flawed system.
Do attend the talk by registering here:

Maruah Forum on Budget 2017

I am giving a presentation at this forum on my views on Budget 1027.  I have to cancel a trip to Muah, Johor, to be at this forum. 

I hope to see many of you at the Forum on Saturday 25 February. 2 to 5 pm.  The event will be streamed live for those who cannot attend. But attending at the forum is more fun.

Okay?
https://www.facebook.com/theonlinecitizen/posts/10155049049481383




Bad practice of Standard Chartered Bank

My fixed deposit with Standard Chartered Bank was due for renewal. I wanted to renew it online or through the telephone.

The relationship manager (RM) told me that there is a complicated process to fill up an renewal form and submitted documents for identification. It was supposed to meet some MAS regulation (I don't know if this was true). She said that it would be easier if I visited the branch.

I know what they wanted to do. They wanted the customer to visit them so they can sell some financial product to the customer.

This is the state of affairs in our banks. This is how many customers were unsuspecting sold the bad products.

My fixed deposit is now sitting in the current account earning 0% interest rate, waiting for me to visit the bank.

I wonder if MAS is aware about this practice, and if they feel it to be their duty to prevent this kind of bad practice?




Friday, February 10, 2017

Donald Trump speaks to Xi Jinping

President Donald Trump (of USA) has spoken to President Xi (of China) by telephone.

It is time for PM Lee to speak to President Donald Trump, in view of the close relations between Singapore and US.

Agree?

President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping spoke by phone, according to the White House.

In the call, the first since Trump took office, the two leaders discussed "numerous topics," and Trump committed to honoring the "One China" policy at Xi's request.

The call was described as "extremely cordial," and the readout released by the White House said "representatives of the United States and China will engage in discussions and negotiations on various issues of mutual interest."

The two leaders also extended invitations to meet in their respective countries.

GST is inefficient and wasteful

My Starhub bill has the following legend at the bottom:

GE - Exclusive of GST
GI - Inclusive of GST
GZ - GST Zero rated

I do not know what they mean, and do not pay any attention to them.

There are many items in the bill, and each item has to be coded with.

GST has become a MONSTER. It is so complicated. Just imagine the millions of transactions that have to be coded each day and to be accounted.

It is an accounting and administrative nightmare. It is so wasteful. It adds to the cost of doing business.

The consumers are confused. They don't know what these items mean. Anyway, they don't pay attention.

There are better ways for the government to collect revenue. GST is an inefficient and costly method.

Zero productivity growth for 5 years

Here is a comment about the growth target set in the Committee for the Future Economy (CFE) report:

UOB’s senior economist, Alvin Liew, noted that the target of 2 to 3 per cent growth is a “significant markdown” from the 3 to 5 per cent target set previously in the ESC.

“In the past, the 3 to 5 per cent was to be supported by 1 to 2 per cent labour supply growth and 2 to 3 per cent labour productivity growth. Although we managed the former, our labour productivity grew an average of zero per cent since the 2011 General Election.

"The CFE's GDP target thus lowers public expectations and implies 1 per cent labour supply growth with a 1 to 2 per cent labour productivity growth, which is much more manageable,” he said.

Question: Why did our productivity growth averaged 0% for the past five years? Is it due mainly to the influx of low wage workers from other countries? Does it reflect that our business processes are inefficient, leading to unproductive work?

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Government takes the lead


I respect the UK government for taking a lead in addressing this tricky issue.

Britain plans to introduce new insurance rules to ensure victims of accidents involving self-driving cars are compensated quickly in a bid to remove a major obstacle for the nascent industry. The introduction of self-driving cars has been hampered by legal hurdles in several countries as insurers and legislators try to establish who would ultimately be responsible in the event of an accident. The British government wants to encourage the development and testing of autonomous driving technology to build an industry to serve a market it reckons could be worth about 900 billion pounds ($1.1 trillion) worldwide by 2025.

Our government officers should also have the courage to address this issue.

Nice letter to President Xi

It's nice and constructive for President Trump to send this letter.

U.S. President Donald Trump sent a letter to China's President Xi Jinping on Wednesday saying he looked forward to working with him "to develop a constructive relationship" that benefits both countries, the White House said in a statement. The letter also thanked Xi for his congratulatory note on Trump's inauguration and wished the Chinese people a prosperous Year of the Rooster, the statement said. China's Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment.

I wonder why PM Lee did not send a letter to President Xi on the detention of the Terrexes?

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Allow members to withdraw all their CPF at 55

Many people want to get their CPF money back at 55. The government wants to delay their withdraw to 65 and also to force them to invest in CPF Life.

I support those who want back their CPF at 55 should be allowed to take out their CPF.

Here are my reasons, and a word of caution.
http://www.fisca.sg/…/CPF-members-should-be-allowed-to-take…

Thomson View apartmemnt for rental

Thomson View apartment for rental. High floor. 2 bedroom, $2,300 p month. Full condo facilities. Available now. Details here.

Weekly bus occupancy numbers will help LTA and public

Published in Straits Times Forum Page, 4 February 2017

The business model where the Government takes care of the financial responsibilities of operating the public transport services is one that I support.

This allows the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to run the train and bus services without having to worry about the bottom line for each individual service.

However, it will have to face the challenge of managing public expectations and perceptions.

If the services are crowded, the public will expect more trains and buses to run. If the services are not well-utilised, the LTA might be tempted to reduce the frequency, but the public might complain about longer waiting times.

The LTA could help the public and itself by monitoring and publishing the weekly occupancy of each bus service.

If the public is aware of the actual occupancy numbers, they will better understand the need to increase or reduce the capacity for each service.

This data will also be useful for the LTA to change the capacity to meet the changing demand.

I hope that the LTA will consider doing this.

Tan Kin Lian

Sell repossessed goods at big discount

My friend, who owns a warehouse that is rented to small business owners, told me that business is very bad but this warehouse is full.

Many tenants placed their goods in the warehouse, but they went bankrupt. They do not bother to claim back the goods. He has to take a court order and wait for a few months before be could take over and sell the goods.

He has a container of 1,000 shoes imported from China. He does not know how to get rid of these shoes. Nobody is interested in them.

I suggested that he should sell them online at a big discount from their normal selling price.

His predicament solved a mystery that baffled me for a long time. I have seen HDB shops that are not renovated but are used to sell items at big discounts. These items must have come repossessed by the warehouse owner or the bank, and have to be disposed at heavily discounted prices.

Invest in property

If you are considering to invest in a property for rental, watch this short video:

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