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19 Jun 2018
Transport
A better system of naming roads

I like the system of naming roads in Malaysia. For example, a road named as Setia 3/12 wil indicate Setia as the area, 3 as the main road and 12 as a small road connecting to main road 3.

I find the system of naming roads in Singapore to be chaotic. For example, we have Sin Ming Avenue, Sin Ming Drive, Sin Ming Lane, Sin Ming Road - all of which are of similar width.

I would refer the roads to be name Sin Ming 1, Sin Ming 2, Sin Ming 3 and the small roads that connect to the main road to be Sin Ming 1/1, Sin Ming 1/2, etc.

 


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19 Jun 2018
Smart Nation
Excessive security measures

Extensive and excessive security procedures that cause inconvenience is a disease afflicting many areas in this kiasu land.

Let me give two example I have faced recently.
1) To indicate a polyclinic visit online (its not even an advance appointment or registration), you have to provide not only personal particulars, but it will require SMS one time password similar as 2FA.

2) When you call a bank to enquire on something general that does not even involve money, the call center will still go through a whole series of verification questions.

 


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19 Jun 2018
Smart Nation
Verifying a customer

I find this practice to be quite idiotic and harmful.

Company X call a customer on his mobile phone and said - We are from company X. Are you Mr. Y? Please give me your NRIC for verification.

Is it really necessary to verify the customer by asking the NRIC?

After all, company X is calling the customer on his mobile phone. Surely, the chance that someone else is holding the mobile phone is very low?

Even if the mobile phone is being held by an unauthorized person, that person is not likely to answer the phone?

Quite often, the information is not likely to be secret. So this verification is not necessary.

To make matters worse, company may ask additional questions for verification, such as the types of accounts being held by the customer.

There is another risk - How does the customer really know that the caller is really from company X?

Many organizations in Singapore adopt this practice. They seem unable to see this matter from the perspective of the customer.

Worse, they must be following a standard practice that is prescribed by some "higher authority" or they are just copying the practice of other organization mindlessly.

Tan Kin Lian


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19 Jun 2018
Housing
Town council

Town council outsourced the cleaning job to a cleaning company. The worker who is in charge only spray water on all the pavement in the estate. They do not scrub or mop the floor. Hence, when left to dry , the floor is still dirty from dirt left behind on the wet floor when residents walk within the estate. And it is also quite slippery and dangerous to walk during this period when floor is wet.

For some reason, at times there is no workers to clean the estates maybe because they are facing shortage if workers, but residents still have to pay. Flowers turn yellow, litters are everywhere. On top of that , scc fees continue to increase despite all the poor quality or in consistencies of work done.

Does the town council and MP walk the talk? What can be done?


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19 Jun 2018
Education
Eductation-moe

Close to 50 years ago , the class size ratio was 40 plus to a teacher. Now it is still about 40 pupils to a teacher. Only the slower class has a size of 30 to a teacher. After such a long time we are still unable to improve the class size to teacher ratio. With a smaller class , a teacher is able to spend quality time teaching and marking and a better overall focus as well as interaction with students and ther parents alike. I hope MOE and the school will improve this asap as currently it is stressful for teachers with do much workload and students who are in class size 40 will have little time to ask questions. Thanks.

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18 Jun 2018
CPF
Allow withdrawal of CPF savings, except ...

I strongly agree with all of TKL's suggestions except 

1) For those who are using their OA to service their housing loans, maintain their OA status quo until they no longer do so. 

2) In view of an aging population, keep the required minimum sum in the Medisave account.

As for the rest who are not servicing any housing loans and are 65 and above as suggested by TKL, let them withdraw all their CPF savings less the required Medisave minimum sums.

The pap government has to understand never, never to abuse its power even with an absolute majority in parliament under whatever pretext and especially so when dealing with citizens' lifelong savings.

People only live once and they have hopes and dreams that they wish to fulfill in their lifetime.


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18 Jun 2018
Sports
How to develop football in Singapore

Actually the solution is easy.
But it takes time and patience, with the willingness to plant the seeds, to grow the players.
It also takes, to a larger part, money and commitment to a goal that may not materialise.
You cannot ask for immediate results.
You can only ask for continuous improvements.
Study and follow the Germany and Spain academy system, start grooming players from primary school, start school leagues.
If we put in the money, time and energy, there is no reason why we cannot succeed in the region.
What we lack now, is vision, system and commitment to a long term goal.


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18 Jun 2018
Sports
Lessons from the World Cup 2018


I am following the World Cup 2018 with some interest.

Around the year 2000, the prime minister Goh Chok Tong set Goal 2010 - to qualify for the finals of the World Cup 2010.

We did not achieve the goal in spite of great efforts made to promote football. We organized the S League and imported many football "talents".

This goal has since been dropped. I thought that a country with a small population, like Singapore, would not make it.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that three of the teams who qualifed for the world cup have a population smaller than Singapore - Croatia, Serbia and Iceland. Iceland has a population less than 10% of Singapore.

These teams also performed well in the first round of the World Cup. the beat or drew with teams from bigger countries.

To do well in the World Cup does not depend on the size of the country. Although bigger countries have an advantage, the small countries could also perform well through a better system of developing their footballers.

So, it must be something else that cause Singapore to fail in this goal.

It could be some of the following factors:

a) No passion and time for sports - for most of the young people
b) National service disruption for promising players
c) Lack of innovation in identifying and dealing with other problems.
d) Insufficient recognition for sportsmen?

Tan Kin Lian


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18 Jun 2018
CPF
Allow CPF members to invest in a CPF index fu

Many CPF members complain about the low rate of interest paid on their accounts - 2.5% for the ordinary account and 4% for the other accounts.

They have the option to invest in shares using the CPF Investment scheme. However, some members had bad experience with this scheme the past or are not familiar with how they can make the investment. 

I suggest that CPF should set up one fund, which is well diversified in shares, as an option for members. This fund can be invested in the top 30, 50 or 100 blue chip shares in Singapore. It should have low management fees, e.g. 0.2% per annum.

CPF members can apply to transfer some savings from their ordinary or special accounts to be invested in this index fund.

The top 30 shares in Singapore, covered by the Straits Times Index, earned an average return of 9% per annum (or maybe slight lower) during the past 20 years. While the return may be volatile from year to year, the long term average is quite attractive. Investors can be educated to take a long term view. 

At present, the CPF members can invest in the STI ETF using the CPF Investment Scheme. But it is too troublesome for most people. 

If the CPF set up its "index fund" option, it would be much easier. More people will choose this option and get a better long term return. They will not complain about the low rate of interest on the default CPF savings, because they have the option to take some risk and get a higher return.

Tan Kin Lian


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18 Jun 2018
CPF
Allow CPF savings to be withdrawn in full at


Many CPF members ask for the right to withdraw their CPF in full at age 55. This was the provision prior to 1987. In 1987, the mininum sum scheme was introduced to hold back a portion of the CPF savings.

The minimum sum started at $30,000 in 1987 and had been increased over the years. It is now at $181,000 and will continue to be adjusted upwards every year.

A large percentage of CPF members (maybe more than half) is not able to meet the minimum sum. In effect, they are not allowed to withdraw their CPF savings except for a small sum of $5,000 at age 55.

Many of these CPF members are aggrieved. They want to withdraw their CPF savings at 55 as originally promised.

I like to give my view on this matter.

Life expectancy has improved. It will be too early for the CPF savings to be withdrawn at 55. But I suggest that the CPF savings should be allowed to be withdrawn in full at 65.

This means that the minimum sum scheme should be scrapped.

CPF members can continue to keep their savings in the CPF after age 65 or invest in CPF Life. This should be made voluntary.

My approach is - do not make CPF Life compulsory, make it attractive.

CPF can offer attractive terms to encourge members to invest in its CPF Life scheme (which is a life annuity). This can be achieved by operating the scheme on a not-for-profit basis and keeping the administrative expenses low and investing the funds in government bonds yielding 4% p.a.

Some people may opt to withdraw their CPF savings fully at 65. They have their reasons. Let them make the decision that suit their own financial planning.

There is a risk that some of the retirees will squander away their savings. We have to accept this risk. We can only reduce it through financial counselling.

We can simplify the CPF scheme by removing the minimum sum scheme. Currently, there are too many confusing regulations involve in managing the minimum sum scheme.

Tan Kin Lian



 


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17 Jun 2018
Housing
Allow young couples to rent flats for 5 years

What young couples need for housing is a starter home with a shorter term lease that will not count against the HDB first timer subsidies. They need a HDB with 2 bedrooms. One room for nursery, one room for the young couple. Short term lease of 4-5 years while they wait for the BTO. Affordable enough so no mortgage is required. 

They also need to learn to live independently. If young couples cannot even take care of themselves, they will not want to take care of a baby. Build up their self confidence instead of forcing them to be so dependent on their parents. 

Enhance our public infrastructures to be more stroller friendly. Encourage all fathers to be more involved with raising and caring of their own young instead of relying on foreign maids.

Jean Woo
 



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17 Jun 2018
Education
Goals of education

I asked this question in the Wisdom of the Crowd - What is the most important goal of education

Here are the responses:

63% - teach children on character and values
32% - prepare children for the working world
5% - teach children to read and write
0% - select the best students to be scholars

See the breakdown of the votes and pie chart in 
http://www.wisdomofthecrowd.sg/chart.aspx?ID=693

Tan Kin Lian


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16 Jun 2018
CPF
Monthly payout under CPF Life

l refer to the article "Promised CPF LIFE monthly payouts not automatic at 65 – you must remember to apply" in The Online Citizen.

The system is such that CPF Life payouts starts only at 70 Years Old. Currently, Singaporeans or PRs will have to inform CPF Board manually that they want the payout from 65 Years Old.

l suggest the default CPF Life Payout Age be changed to 65 Years Old instead of 70 Years Old. The reasons are:

1. Not all Singaporeans/PRs will live to a ripe old age. Some have medical conditions. Some may even pass away before 70 Years Old.

2. Not all Singaporeans/PRs want to work until 70 Years Old before retiring. Some want to retire at 62 Years Old. In order to retire, they need the CPF Life Payout.

3. Not all Singaporeans/PRs want to wait until 70 Years old to get a bigger payout.

Thank You For Reading.


 


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16 Jun 2018
CareShield
Integrate Careshield into MediShield

"ElderShield" is a Disability Insurance scheme which pays out a small sum of money each month to Disabled Singaporeans and PRs. It has recently been renamed as "CareShield Life". 

i agree with Mr Tan's suggestion that "CareShield Life" should be integrated into "MediShield Life". Why should Singaporeans and PRs pay premiums for 2 separate insurance plans? 

Just integrate them together under "MediShield Life", increase the premiums if necessary, and then Singaporeans and PRs will just pay premiums for this 1 plan.

Thank You For Reading.


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16 Jun 2018
Housing
Build Flats in Advance

There is currently a problem of low Birth Rate in Singapore due to couples having to apply for a BTO Flat and then they have to wait 4 Years for these BTO Flats to be built.

My Suggestion is for HDB to Build In Advance (BIA), instead of Build To Order (BTO). By building many new HDB Flats in advance, when couples book a Flat they no longer need to wait 4 Years but move into the new 99-Year HDB Flats straightaway. 

This will save them time and will also thus, increase the Birth Rate of Singaporeans.

 


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16 Jun 2018
Housing
Expiring HDB Leases

I have some suggestions on the issue of the expiring leases of 40 year old flats.

Suggestion 1: 
Since 4% of entire Singapore HDB Flats have already undergone SERS (Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme), I suggest to treat ALL Singaporeans and PRs fairly and give all HDB Flats ONE guaranteed opportunity for SERS.

Suggestion 2:
If Suggestion 1 is not possible and HDB Flats are to be taken back by the government at the end of 99 year lease with Zero Value, I suggest HDB, which is a Public Housing scheme, to be made very very affordable. It should not be priced at prices like 1 Million or Half a Million. 

A Committee of Experience Valuators should be set up to value all HDB Flats at the Cost Price of building them, plus, if HDB wants to earn a profit margin from the sale of flats, add this profit to the Cost Price and re-value all the HDB Flats in Singapore to really low and affordable prices.

Finally, all Singaporeans's flats should be re-valued by the professional valuers to the Cost Price + Profit, and then reimburse those Singaporeans who have bought old properties for very high prices (like Half a Million Dollars).

After all, HDB is just a 99 Year-lease (rental), not true ownership.
 


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16 Jun 2018
MEDISAVE
Allow Medisave to be used widely

I think the govt should not restrict Medisave to paying for certain medicines, medical expenses and insurance. The govt should allow us to use it to buy oats, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, fruits, nuts, legumes, herbs and spices and gym memberships and sports shoes. This way, we will get healthier and have less need for the much costlier and unpleasant medicines and medical treatments.

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16 Jun 2018
Employment
People want to retire early

I dunno wat the hooha is over helping old pepple find jobs. Several young people (undergraduates, new graduates) have told me they hope to retire early. They seem to like the number 45, if u ask em what age they want to retire at. Are they not keeping their promises? Cuz if  they are and they do retire at 45, then shouldnt there be many decent vacant posts for old people to move into? Not just lousy cleaning jobs?

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16 Jun 2018
Employment
Greate jobs, not training - reply

I agree that jobs, not training, for old people should be offered. (You forgot to mention cleaning toilets in your list of jobs). I havent bothered to lookup the skills future catalog bcos i know its a waste of my money and time taking a course, if my aim in training is to find a job. The courses likely wont do any good. I find if i stay at home, i actually spend less than if i were to go out and attend a course, which is likely to lead to no job.
 


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14 Jun 2018
Employment
Create jobs, not training

Many retrenched or older people go for retraining but are still not able to get jobs.

The jobs created are for the training schools and teachers.

I suggest that the public sector should create jobs for the retrenched workers - e.g. to take care of the public spaces, cleaning the space, give guide to tourists and visitors, help to man the bus terminals and MRT stations, help the teachers in schools, provide guide in hospitals.

These are useful jobs that help to improve the public service and make life more pleasant in Singapore.

These jobs do not need to be full time or to pay a large sum. It can pay a modest sum, such as $10 an hour. 

These people can still go for training to improve their skills and get a higher pay rate. But, it is better to get them to work, rather than just to attend class. They learn better from "learn on the job" than attending schools.

Tan Kin Lian


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14 Jun 2018
Social & Family


Help the poor and destitute

I suggest that the poor and destitute, who do not qualify for public assistance, should be offered simple jobs that will give them an income to live on.

These simple jobs should be within their means, e.g. to keep the park and public places clean. 

It will help to distinguish the real needy from those who want to take advantage of the system,

They may not be able to get the job from a contractor who wishes to keep the cost low and may offer poor wages to the workers.

Those on this jobs program can be identified and trained to do better jobs. This allows them to be upgraded into the job market and move out of the public program.

 


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13 Jun 2018
Social & Family


Help older workers lead more meaningful and productive lives

It is encouraging that Mr Ng Chee Meng, the new deputy secretary-general of National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), has suggested forming a tripartite committee to provide better support for the ageing workforce and to help mature workers to continue working if they choose to do so ("Ng Chee Meng pledges to address struggles of low-wage, mature and middle-aged workers", May 15).

Indeed, the mindset of employers has to be changed if we want to help older Singaporeans lead more meaningful and productive lives.

When older Singaporeans are unemployed for long periods, they tend to lose key social support, which includes a loss in income, little or no recreation, and a diminished social life.

In the worst-case scenario, depression and serious health issues will surface for this group who are bound to feel isolated and uncared for.

Part-time work may be offered to allow older workers more flexibility in their work life as they age.

Feedback from bosses and companies have revealed that there is a tendency for young graduates and those fresh on the job to job-hop and show insufficient workplace enthusiasm and commitment towards their work.

Yet, this is usually not the case with many older Singaporeans who have stayed loyal to the companies that hired them. In addition, with their experience, they are well-positioned to mentor the young ones.

Turning away older workers is a waste of human capital. Let's have enlightened employers who can contribute to making Singapore an inclusive society.

By 
RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO
20 MAY, 2018
Today Paper


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13 Jun 2018
Housing


Spare a thought for older homeowners when reviewing issue of expiring lease of public flats

I refer to the report, "Government looking into lease issue of old HDB flats which involves 'serious trade-offs': Lawrence Wong" (May 17).

The issue is on the anticipated fall in sales value of government-built flats which are nearing the end of their leases in the next few decades.

This is apart from supply, location and other economic factors which play a part in the movement of the value of these properties.

In reviewing this housing issue, I hope the National Development Ministry will pay more attention to why homeowners want to sell their flats at a decent price. For most of us who can only afford public housing, it is the major asset in our lifetime.

We have an ageing population and for seniors, the extra income comes in handy when they downsize to a small flat. For aged couples, it is their wish not to burden their children with financial matters and they also wish to use the extra money from sales proceeds to enjoy their retirement years.

The Housing and Development Board has learnt to do better in providing homes to young couples at a faster rate, in relaxing rules on income ceiling for applications, in providing grants to families, etc.

Let it not forget the older citizens and not dismiss the impact that the cost of housing has on the older generation.

By 
GOH POH GEK
20 MAY, 2018
Today Paper


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13 Jun 2018
Smart Nation


Hiding behind anonymity afforded by pre-paid SIM cards?

The menace of loan sharks using mobile phones to harass debtors with repeated calls and graffiti outside their homes has now progressed to them using threatening messages via WhatsApp ("Old dog, new tricks? Harassment cases by loan sharks rise as they go digital"; June 7)

The perpetrators could be using mobile phone numbers that cannot be easily traced, such as via pre-paid SIM cards that were illegally registered with the particulars of an individual who is not the eventual buyer. Or these could be SIM cards which were bought by those who have lawfully registered for them but have since left the country.

To restrict illicit activities, is there a way for the authorities to verify these mobile numbers against the subscribers' registry and invalidate the cards used by non-registered owners?

By 
CHIN KEE THOU
11 JUNE, 2018
Today Paper


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13 Jun 2018
Smart Nation


No need to encrypt document

Starhub sent to me two documents that are encrypted. They gave this instruction to unencryt it.

Quote
Dear Customer,

Thank you for your recent sign-up/renewal of the contract with StarHub.

As part of our personal data protection measures, the service agreement attached is password protected. To view the content, please enter the last 4 alphanumeric of your identification number followed by the DD MM (number) of your date of birth. For example, if your NRIC is S9900123A and your birth date is 1st Jan 1999, the password would be 123A0101.
Unquote

I followed their instruction and was not able to read the document.

Why did Starhub make life difficult for its customers?

The is no need to encrypt the document due to 'data protection measure'.

Tan Kin Lian


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13 Jun 2018
Health


Review of Medisave

Medisave has been in operation for 30 years. It has its good and bad points.

Good point - it helps the citizens to set aside money to pay their medical expenses while working at during their old age.

Bad point - the savings in Medisave are, in many cases, spent wastefully. Furthermore, citizens complained that there are caps that prevent them from using Medisave to pay the full bill. They consider the cap should be relaxed or removed.

I prefer Medisave be abolished, or made voluntarily. This will avoid the habit of spending Medisave money wastefully, thinking that the money should be spent - otherwise it will be wasted.

There is a need to have some savings set aside to meet the cost of medical care at old age. This can be done through a pre-funded medical insurance policy. 

The current nature of Medisave is confusing. It does not seem to achieve the goal of pre-funding or to ensure that there are sufficient money to pay for medical expenses.

Tan Kin Lian


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12 Jun 2018
Smart Nation


Complicated to appoint staff to use Corp Pass

Corp Pass requires the business to go through a complicated and time consuming process to appoint authorized people to submit various returns.

It takes a long time just to understand this complicated process.

By default, the authorized should be given the full rights without having to go through the process of authorizing.


 


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12 Jun 2018
Smart Nation


Make Corporate Pass optional

I suggest that directors of small businesses should be allowed to continue the use of their Sing Pass to submit returns to government agencies, instead of forcing the to use Corp Pass.

Corp Pass should be optional only for companies that prefer this mode of authentication.

 


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12 Jun 2018
Smart Nation


Corporate Portal

I suggest that a Corporate Portal be set up to allow businesses to sign into the portal and view the reminders (from IRAS, ACRA and other government agencies) on returns to be submitted).

This is to replace sending our reminders by hard copy mail.

It should also be the channel for businesses to communicate with government agencies and to receive replies sent to this portal. It will replace the current tiresome practice of logging into individual websites (of government agencies) to view the reply.

Tan Kin Lian


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11 Jun 2018
Finance


Allow CPF to be withdrawn at 55 to repay loan

Some people borrowed money to start a small business. They have to incur a debt and to pay a high rate of interest.

They should be allowed to withdraw some of their CPF at 55 to repay the loan. They can show proof that the loan was taken to start a business. 

This will help to relieve them of the burden of paying the interest.

 


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