Friday, July 31, 2015

Insurance question

If you wish to seek my views on insurance, you can register her for a free assessment.

Get advice on children insurance

Hi Mr Tan,

Appreciate if you could help me with some insurance questions as I am a bit confused which is the best for my family.

Under Aviva, there is free coverage for the children under plan 2 (structured public hospitals with riders) until age 20. I was told by another non-Aviva agent at first, that Aviva does not cover any illness or condition between the start of the free coverage until age 20. So after age 20, must declare and then maybe must pay higher premiums.

I called Aviva, they say there is no need to talk about pre-existing conditions at all as the policy starts at point of application, ie, when free coverage starts. So even illnesses before age 20 wont have exclusions.

I am a little confused. But Aviva free coverage is only for structured hospitals, while other non-Aviva we can get private hospitals. What do you suggest for children? I thought public hospitals are also equally good.

Please register here and send your quotations to me for a free assessment

Some tips on buying term and accident insurance

Dear Mr. Tan

Q1. When to buy the term or accident insurance? If when have dependent (eg: children?) 

Q2. If I already purchased term insurance (cover death & terminal illness), do I still need to buy term accident insurance?

Q3. Noted your advice a term of 25 years of shorter. if youngest children haven't reach 21 year old /graduated, do you advice need purchase another term insurance to cover them to grow up?

Q4. Do you advice purchase accident term insurance on children?

Q5. My parent (Malaysian) who doesn't have medical coverage (eg: Medishield or Private insurance coverage) in Singapore and Malaysia, what you will advice (any insurance term or opinion) if they falling sickness in future?


Q1. You buy insurance when you have a need to provide a lump sum to your family in the event of your premature death. The family could be your parents who depend on your income, or your spouse and young children. You can also buy accident insurance to provide a payment in the event of permanent or temporary disability.

Q2.  If you have adequate term insurance, you usually do not need to buy accident insurance. However, as the premium is quite low, you can buy accident insurance to provide a benefit in the event of permanent of temporary disability caused by accident (which are not covered by a term insurance policy).

Q3.  You should be covered for term insurance until your youngest child reach age 21 or until you have accumulated sufficient savings on your own.  A term of 25 years is usually sufficient, but it is all right to be insured a few years longer. You can compare the difference in premium and make your decision.  

Q4. You can buy a small amount of accident insurance for your child to cover payment of medical fees in the event of insurance. The premium is very low, so you can treat the expenses like any other small expenses.

Q5. If your parents are living in Singapore, you can insure them under Medishield or a private insurance policy. Get the advice of an insurance adviser.

Share you experience on insurance claims

Do you have positive or negative experience with the claim settlement of insurance companies, e.g. motor insurance, travel insurance, health insurance?

Read the views of other customer here, and sign in to share your own experience.

If more customers are willing to speak up, they will help to encourage the insurance companies to settle their claims promptly and fairly.

Give feedback on service organizations in Singapore

Do you want to share your experience on dealing with 5 service organizations in Singapore, such as banks, airlines, telcos, etc.

When you submit 5 feedback, you will win a book  prize.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Breakdown of MRT lines in July 2015

Soong Lin Hao

I found the article disturbing and thought that I have the duties as a Singaporean and an engineer to point out some contradictions.

The article seems to suggest that the root cause is leakage of high chloride content water. And then it went on to say that smrt will thoroughly check for old and worn out insulation and have them replaced. Well, isn't this contradicting? Is the root cause due to high chloride content water or due to old and worn out insulation?

To me, the article is not clear. Assuming if the root cause is due to old and worn out insulation, the next question one should ask is why there is no regular preventive maintenance program to test their resistance levels and replace them in advance? The science of insulation is not rocket science. In many facilities such as refineries, chemical and power plants, it is common to check the resistance level of the insulation regularly. Why is this an exception in smrt?

Another point to raise is such failures have not happened in the last 30 over years until recently? Was it not possible for the insulation to be exposed to high chloride content water in the past until recently? Personally, I can't buy into the article argument.

Lastly, I am concerned that the protective relay setpoint is being increased to minimize likelihood of future power trips. The function of the protective relay is to cut off the electricity in the event of short circuits and short circuits can lead to arcing and electrical fires. It is a practice for operators to use a set point to minimize nuisance electrical faults from lightnings and animals as these kind of faults do not generate currents large enough to pose safety issues.

But to my knowledge, electrical faults due to faulty insulation are definitely real safety issues which the protective relays are designed to prevent. I am sure there is a panel of experts looking at this issue and I am probably not qualified to challenge them professionally. However, I believe I have valid and very important points and it is the responsibility of the authorities to ensure that the investigation is fair and effective.

There was also a cable fire at Newton in Feb 2015. If the root cause had indeed been identified, we should not see the issues recurring again and again.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Look for a consultant

Claim Rejection
Do you have an insurance claim that has been rejected unfairly? I can take a look and see if you have a case. The initial assessment is free.

Quantity survey and contract administration
Are you involved in construction but find it too expensive to engage an experienced quantity surveyor or contract administrator? You can engage this service on a part time basis and get access to a professional service at a modest cost.

Personal growth
Do you have the mental strength? Are you able to face challenges and crisis with confidence? Talk to Dr Tommy Wong. He might be able to help you in your personal growth.

Claim Experience

Do you have an insurance claim that was settled promptly and fairly? Or a claim that gave you a lot of hassle or was rejected unfairly? You can share your experience here and also read the experience of other claimants.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Share your claim experience or read what other people say

Do you like to know what other people say about their claim experience with the insurance company that you have bought a policy from?
You can register and sign into this website, to find out about their views. You can also submit your own claim experience to share with other people.

Financial Projection, deducting effect of inflation

Here is a clearer explanation of how you can carry out a financial projection that excludes the effect of inflation. You will know if you have sufficient savings at your expected retirement age.

Develop the skill of problem solving

Many people are afraid about facing challenges and solving problems.
But problem solving can be trained.
It is a matter of knowing what to look out for, and knowing the steps to take.
These two books can give the practice. With time, you can be confident of solving problems, as it is a matter of taking the right steps.

Bus Lanes in Singapore

A taxi driver told me about the different types of bus lines:
a) Those colored red and yellow
b) Those with solid and dotted lines.
I find them to be quite confusing. So, I checked Google and found out the following:

Inflated injury claim

A doctor told me that the injury claims under motor insurance are grossly inflated. His son had an accident recently. There were minor damages to the vehicles. He received a claim from the third party asking for $50,000 (or thereabouts) in injury claims for medical expenses, pain and suffering and loss wages.

The claim is grossly inflated and unjustified. But this case will be argued in court leading to a lot of wasted time and legal fees.

As a doctor, he receives requests from lawyers to submit reports for these claims. It takes a lot of his time and he has to bill the lawyer for the report. It seems to be a waste of time. Many of these cases involve whiplash injury, which is quite subjective.  Is there  a better way for such claims to be handled?

The problem of inflated injury claims has been around for decades. In recent years, it must have got much worse. This is clearly a matter that requires the government to step in and find a way to address the issue through legislation or regulation.

The payment of these injury claims add to the cost of motor insurance. Consumers should ask the government to address this problem, and bring down the premiums charged.

In some countries, e.g. Sweden, they write a law to spell out how injury claims should be compensated. This is done by an independent assessor working under the law. In most cases, the decision of the assessor is taken as fair. It reduced legal cost significantly.

We should adopt such a system and support it with a database of past claims to guide the assessor. If the assessment is disputed, it can go through a review where another 1 or 2 assessors are appointed to make their assessment. 

To ensure that the assessment is done impartially, the identify of the assessor and the claimant should be kept hidden until the assessment has been completed. The assessment should be done based on the facts of the case, and not the identity of the party involved. 

As this has been a serious matter for many years, it is useful for the authority to take the lead to implement such a system or to find a practical solution.

Waiver of handling fee in Pearl Shop

You can save on the handling fee of $3 when you buy these books and items during the promotion period.
Some of the books are given free. This includes my recent slides on financial planning. Search for "financial planning".

Customer Feedback

Here are the recent customer feedback on service organizations in Singapore. It is like writing a letter to the newspaper.

Term insurance for 25 years

Dear Mr. Tan
In your talk on financial planning, you recommended consumer to buy term insurance for a term of 25 years or shorter. Why a term of 25 years or shorter? Should we cover ourselves till retirement age of 65 for term insurance? Thanks.

After 25 years, your children have grown up and you have sufficient savings at that time. But if you wish to be insured until age 65, it is okay as the difference in premium is quite small.

Read this book.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Scoreboard (

You can view this scoreboard at

It may change from time to time, based on the feedback that has been submitted to this website.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Useful links to my web pages

Useful links for my web pages.

To buy my books

Amazing Number
(You save $3 on waiver of handling fee during the promotion period).

Supplementary Retirement Scheme

Medical Bills for the Elderly

Financial Planning for Young People

Financial Projection (free)

Complacency and elitism in the top ranks of civil service

I agree with the observation by MP Inderjit Singh. The full article can be read here.
Complacency and elitism in top ranks of civil service
Singh also spoke out against the complacency and elitism he “detected” in the top ranks of civil servants. He said, "today’s policy makers live in a different society from the average Singaporean”.
The MP said that during his Meet-the-People sessions, he had encountered a number of residents who questioned the rationale of government policies.
He urged the government to consider reorganizing the policy making process, to “reverse it to make it more bottom-up and driven by the man in the street” instead of the top-down approach of policies crafted by those seated in “an ideal clean and sterile policy lab or an ivory tower”.
Singh had observed that the civil service’s top ranks are populated by scholars chosen for their academic achievements. He expressed concern that these scholars, who are “parachuted” to high positions at a young age, may not have the experience or understanding to craft policies for the rest of the population.
Singh supported a different approach to talent management in the public service, saying that “we need the best people for the respective jobs not necessarily the best academically qualified for all the jobs.”
Since it was published on Monday evening, Singh’s post has been shared over 400 times on Facebook, garnering over 400 likes. Comments thus far have been positive, applauding Singh for his insights and thanking him for speaking out. The CEO of a Singapore home appliances and electronics company, Singh has been an MP for 18 years.

SG50 Guaranteed Saver Policy

Here is my analysis of the SG50 Guaranteed Saver Policy from Great Eastern Life.
It is okay, but there are catches!

Listen to customer feedback

Mr. Tan
You have posted several feedback from customers on service organization in Singapore.
When you were in charge of NTUC, did you listen to the feedback from your customers?

I listen to them all the time. They usually wrote to me by e-mail. Most of the improvements to service quality came from feedback from customers, agents and staffs. They are affected by the current processes every day, and they knew what was good and what was bad.
If the top management of service organizations pay attention to these feedback, they will set a culture that go down the different levels. Their managers and staff will be positive in responding to customer feedback.

Improve SMS queuing system

A customer has given this feedback to Sing Tel on how to improve the SMS queuing system.

"The only thing I can think of improving is the SMS queue alert ... make it more accurate based on historical data of interactions, so that when I'm told there are 2 people ahead of me in the queue, and 10 min waiting, I know it's reasonably accurate. As the system stands now, I got the alert at the same time my number was called, and there's a possibility of me missing my queue slot."

The feedback on several service organization  can be viewed here:

Improve service quality in Singapore - you can play a part

\Who are the top 5 service organizations in Singapore based on customer feedback?

The answer can be found here:

Here are the 10 most recent feedback. The stories make interesting reading:

We need more people to give feedback, so that the results become more reliable.

You can give your feedback here and win a prize as well.

Friday, July 24, 2015

How to improve service quality - with some simple thinking

A customer give this negative feedback about OCBC Bank.

"Hotline stating CPF investment number but when dial, it brings all options including credit cards and many useless service."

If the bank advertises a hotline number for a service, they should expect to receive a few hundred calls. Why put the customer through the frustration of going through many irrelevant options? It is simple to provide a mini-call center, with a specific advertised number, for each marketing campaign. The customer will be answered immediately.

This will improve service quality and marketing results. We only need to do some simple thinking!

Criticism has to be within constraint

PM Lee said that the government welcomed criticism within Singapore but they have to be within constraint. He quoted the case of Roy Ngerng and Amos Yee.

Read this article

I agree with his view. His government had been quite tolerant, in general, over criticisms expressed in the social media.

But for the two cases, the government had over-reacted. There was no need to sue Roy Ngerng. Having sued him, he should have accepted the offer of compensation of $5,000 which represented more than one month's salary for Roy Ngerng.

There was also no need to charge Amos Yee for causing religious unhappines, which never existed.

In spite of these to bad cases, his government had been quite tolerant of online criticism.

Three key challenges facing Singapore

PM Lee has identified the three key challenges facing Singapore.

SINGAPORE: Enhancing the economy, the ageing population and maintaining a national identity are the three biggest challenges that Singapore faces over the next half-century, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.

I agree with his assessment.

What he did not say is that the policies that he had implemented over the past three decades were responsible for the last two challenges facing the country.

He should recognize them immediately and reverse them. If they are not reversed, the challenges will become worse.

Read this article

Reasons to introduce a minimum wage in Singapore

Mr. Tan
I have read your previous articles about a minimum wage. You have given several reasons why a minimum wage is necessary but they tend to be economic arguments.

Are you able to write a more complete presentation to argue the case for a minimum wage? This is important for many people who are caught in the low wage trap, having to compete with foreigners.

I am above 50, and now face this situation.

It is important for many people to know why many countries implement a minimum wage, and Singapore still avoids it.

Although many young workers are not affected by low wage now, they may face it in the future. Their parents are probably facing the issue.

We should understand the issue and give our voice in support of a minimum wage.

You asked me to write a longer "presentation". I cannot find the time to do it, but I like to recommend you to this PDF book, which cost only $2. It takes only half an hour to read. It will help you to understand the issue better.

Yunnan Hair Treatment

I went to my regular barber in Bishan North. I had been frequently the shop for two years.

I was served by a young man for the first time. He was quite talkative. He asked if I was a regular customer. I replied "yes".

While cutting my hair, he said that I had been using a cream that made my hair oily. It is causing the hair to drop. I should take care of my hair. He asked for the type of shampoo that I was using and told me to avoid certain types. He advised me to take a treatment to protect  my hair.

I knew that he was telling lies or just engaging in "sales talk". I had not been using any hair oil for the past week. My hair is in quite good condition for my age, compared to many people who are almost bald.

Out of politeness, I asked him to tell me what is the treatment and how much does it cost, and how long does it take. The package comprises of 8 treatments cost a total of $600. It can be taken over 4 to 6 months.

He showed me a folder with some printed pages to show the different types of packages and explain their benefit. They use a special product from Yunnan that was found to be very successful.

Although he had completed my hair cut, he did not remove the covering. He kept me in a "captive" position to listen to his sales talk. He showed me the photos of a customer who had a successful treatment.

I politely removed the covering myself, thanked him, paid the haircut fee and leave the shop. This will be the last time that I am visit this barber shop.

I avoid this type of sales technique - which usually comprise of vague and verbal promises of what are the benefits of the product. The price is usually non-transparent and greatly over-priced.

This is how many insurance agents sell their bad life insurance policies. It is also how the spas sell their packages. There is usually a purported discount over an over-priced treatment.

Consumers should learn to identify all types of sales that are made in this manner and learn how to avoid them.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

DBS is at the top

DBS/POSB is at the top of the scoreboard for service organizations in Singapore.
Among the insurers, NTUC Income now beats AIA.
View details here:

Here are the recent responses of specific organizations

Win a book prize

Register here, sign in and click on [Participate] to give 5 feedback to win a book prize.
Terms and conditions are here:

Additional Bonus: you can view the detailed rankings of the service organizations after submitting 5 feedback.

Amazing Numbers is now available in Pearl Shop

The popular Amazing Numbers is now available in Pearl Shop.
You can buy it during the promotion period and save on the delivery fee of $3.
You get 4 sets of cards to give to four children to amaze their friends.
They can guess the secret number (from 1 to 99) by showing the 7 cards. The technique is explained in a separate card.
This amazing puzzle always amazes every one. That is why it is called "Amazing Numbers".

Train the mind in problem solving

These two books involving arranging of pieces to form shapes are good for training the mind in problem solving.

They can be purchased from
Additional plastic pieces can also be bought to give fun to members of the family and to organize a home competition.

Annual Performance Appraisal - my approach

Here are two articles about two large multi-national companies that implemented a new way of carrying out their annual performance appraisal.

This article reports that Accenture is changing its traditional approach as it takes too much time to train the managers and supervisors on the system and to carry out the exercise each year. Furthermore, the outcome has been unsatisfactory.

This article reports that Deloitte is now asking only four simple questions in their performance appraisal.

When I was running a large insurance company, I also found the traditional approach to be time consuming and counter productive.

I adopted a simplified performance appraisal system involving a few simple questions. The approach is similar to what was done by Deloitte.

I did not rank all the employees according to the performance scale, as it was too controversial and those who ranked poorly felt demoralized. They also felt that the performance appraisal system was flawed.

Instead, I used the results to identify the top 25% to be considered for a performance bonus. It was used as a motivating factor, without the harmful effort of being demoralizing. It provided an incentive for employees to perform well. Even so, the people picked to be the top 25% tend to be the same group of people over the years. The other employees also felt that the appraisal was unfair and that the managers tend to give higher scores to their favorites.

On balance, we still need a simple performance system. It may not be a perfect system, but it probably provided more good than harm, if it was adopted correctly.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Financial Planning for Young People

This is the most popular book in my internet shop.
Financial Planning for Young People

Do not miss this boat

40 people have won the book prize for submitting 5 feedback on the service organizations in Singapore. 60 more to do. But they are being taken up very fast.

Act now, if you do not want to miss the boat!

Four questions used by Delilotte to evalute ites employees

Everyone loves to hate performance evaluations, and with good reason:Research has shown them to be ineffective, unreliable and unsatisfactory for seemingly everyone involved. They consume way too much time, leave most workers deflated and feel increasingly out of step with reality. A once-a-year, backwards-looking conversation with the boss hardly fits our forward-looking, instantly updated world. Yet despite all that frustration, many companies do little to change them, thinking there are few alternatives.

That hasn't been the case at Deloitte. The new issue of the Harvard Business Review, released Tuesday, unveils a detailed look at the professional services firm's total redesign of its performance management program. It's an overhaul the company first started rolling out nine months ago.

Read this article

As a result, Deloitte wanted to do two main things to simplify the process. It sought to stop asking so many people to weigh in on each employee's performance, instead asking only the team leader for input. Then, it rewrote the evaluation questions, nixing the standard assessment of a person's skills (or "competencies," in corporate parlance).

Now, at the end of every project, or once a quarter if employees have long-term assignments, managers would answer four simple questions — and only four. The first two are answered on a five-point scale, from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree;" the second two have yes or no options:

1. Given what I know of this person’s performance, and if it were my money, I would award this person the highest possible compensation increase and bonus.

2. Given what I know of this person’s performance, I would always want him or her on my team.

3. This person is at risk for low performance.

4. This person is ready for promotion today.

That's it.

The HBR report says Deloitte hasn't resolved how it will share the data with employees.

Accenture will get rid of annual performance ranking

As of September, one of the largest companies in the world will do all of its employees and managers an enormous favor: It will get rid of the annual performance review.

Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme told The Washington Post that the professional services firm, which employs hundreds of thousands of workers in cities around the globe, has been quietly preparing for this “massive revolution” in its internal operations.

“Imagine, for a company of 330,000 people, changing the performance management process—it’s huge,” Nanterme said. “We’re going to get rid of probably 90 percent of what we did in the past.”

The firm will disband rankings and the once-a-year evaluation process starting in fiscal year 2016, which for Accenture begins this September. It will implement a more fluid system, in which employees receive timely feedback from their managers on an ongoing basis following assignments.

Read this article

My comment:

This is an interesting development. The annual performance ranking, which was supposed to be a "must have" tool in managing people, has now been found to be counter productive. I have observed this phenomena many years ago.

Feedback on service quality

Read the most recent feedback of service organizations in Singapore here.

Scoreboard of service quality

Here is the scoreboard of service organizations in Singapore. Guess which organization comes out at the top? It was a surprise to me.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Give your feedback

I need your help to make this website successful and useful for consumers.

Can you register and sign in to give your feedback on 5 service organizations in Singapore - those that you are familiar with.

This will help to give a proper rating and will be beneficial to all consumers. The service organizations can also get the feedback to improve their processes and staff training.

You will also get a book prize -Practical Guide on Financial Planning after completing 5 feedback. (available to the first 100 users).

Monday, July 20, 2015

Most expensive city in the world

This article explains why Singapore is the most expensive city in the world.

Here is the ranking of the top 10.

World Cost of Living Index: 130

Paris, France.
World Cost of Living Index: 129

Oslo, Norway.
World Cost of Living Index: 128

Zurich, Switzerland.
World Cost of Living Index: 125

Sydney, Australia.
World Cost of Living Index: 120

Caracas, Venezuela.
World Cost of Living Index: 118 (tie)

Geneva, Switzerland.
World Cost of Living Index: 118 (tie)

Melbourne, Australia
World Cost of Living Index: 118 (tie)

Tokyo, Japan.
World Cost of Living Index: 118 (tie)

Copenhagen, Denmark.
World Cost of Living Index: 117

Real harm of a sharp market decline

The stock market in China rocketed up 140 percent from July 2014 to July 2015. So a 30 percent drop is a big, but not unexpected, correction.
So, what is the net result? Has the stock market grown from July 2014 to now, after the correction, and by how much?
If the stock market has shown a net gain, what is the real problem? There is actually a big problem that is not disclosed by this so called "net gain". Can you explain this problem?
If the market went up 150% and dropped 30%, there is still a net gain of 75% for someone who had been invested at the start. So, this investor is still sitting on a comfortable gain.
Unfortunately, most of the investors jumped in towards the peak and suffered a large part of the drop. They can see their investment dropped by up to 30%. Worse, if they had invested on 2 time leverage, their loss could be almost 100% of their original invested sum.
This is the real harm of a market decline.

Pulse of the Customer

How is the ranking of the service organizations in Singapore?
This scoreboard shows you the ranking for overall, call center, website, branch, head office and outdoor activities.

What are the recent feedback provided by the customers?
You can read the 10 most recent feedback on "what have they done well", "what have they done poorly" and "any suggestion for improvement" here.

Retrenched PMETs can be consultants

Retrenched PMET finds it difficult to get another job in the same line, even though they are willing to take a cut in salary.
They should try to be listed here:
They should also list their experience and services in other websites - the more, the better.

Portal of benefits available to senior citizens

The government has created a website showing the offers available to senior citizens. This is a good initiative. I commend them for their good work.…/dam/moh_web/sg50-seniors/index.html

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Is the Vivo Child a good policy to save for the university education?

Dear Mr. Tan

The Income agent keep asking me to take up endowment fund for my kid of 16 month so as to pay for university course for my kid in the future , should  I take it up ? Do you have any advice or book to read on the topic ?


My analysis of this policy is set out in the PDF below. Read it.

Auditor General's report on Lapses in the Peoples' Association

Kenneth Jeyaretnam explains that the Auditor General's report covers only the minor lapses found in the money spent by the Peoples' Association. There are much bigger issues that are not covered in the report.
The poor financial discipline and lack of accountability of the Finance Minister and the PAP Government are appalling.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saving for university fees

Mr. Tan
The Income agent keep asking me to take up endowment fund for my kid of 16 mth so as to pay for university course for my kid in the future , should  I take it up ? It is called the VivoChild

Do you have any advice or book to read on the topic ?

Also, I came across POEMS share builder plan for Capitaland. Should I sign up for my kid of 16 mth in order to pay for  university course for my kid in the future. Should  I take it up ? Do you have any advice or book to read on the topic ?

You can ask the agent to give you a Benefit Illustration. He is required to do so, if he is selling the policy to you.

It is better for you to attend this talk next Saturday.

You should also buy my book on Financial Planning. ($6 only).

Consulting services

A wide range of consulting services is now provided in this website.

For the time being, you can click on [Search] to view all the services. If the list becomes too long, you can select by entering the name of the consultant (e,g, "Tan Kin Lian"), type of service, (e.g "claim") or selecting from the drop down list.

Career opportunity for non-graduates

Hi Mr Tan

While there is some truth in what you are advocating (i.e. for some Singaporeans to pursue a working career without a degree), but in reality the govt is attracting so many from the 3rd world & providing university education for them that your grandchildren who you may encourage not to pursue a degree, may work under them some day.


The government is now having second thoughts.They are reducing their scholarship to these students from other countries.

If my grandchildren are good, they will go to university and graduate with a good degree and good job.

If they are not so good in study, they should pursue other lines, such as technical skills, design skills and personal skills. They were be demand for these skills and working experience many years into the future. The salaries for these skills will go up, due to market forces.

Too many graduates will depress the salaries for graduates. We have already seen this happening for some time in other countries. It has already happened in Singapore!

A better way to train accountants

Over the past few years, I met a few accountancy graduates from NUS and SIM. I found that their knowledge of booking and keeping a simple set of accounts to be lacking. They do not have any practical experience or common sense on how to organize the records and keep the books and make the book keeping entries.

A few decades earlier, they would have gone to work in the accounting department of a company and pursue the professional accountancy qualification by studying part time. When they qualified, they would have good useful working experience and will be confident in doing their job.

I find the old way of training accountants to be better than a 4 year full time university course.

Skill and working experience are also important

Hi, Mr. Tan
The government keeps bringing in foreign talent at the higher levels and telling Singaporeans that they don't need a university degree. 
If we go in this path Singaporeans will be doing all the lowest paid jobs. We need to vote out this government that doesn't want to push their own people ahead and let foreigners take over the country,
You seem to be advocating the same approach, that a university degree is not needed. Why?

Some Singaporeans, maybe 30% of each year's cohort, can pursue a university degree. For the remainder, it may be more useful for their to work earlier and get the relevant skill and experience for their job. The worst situation is to have a get a degree that is not put to use, and to lose the opportunity to get the skill and working experience.

The problem faced by Singaporeans in getting a good job is not the lack of education (as most are well educated) but the high salary expectation for their degree. Many of them do not have the experience and skill to justify their high expectation. In addition, the reservist obligations put the male citizens at a disadvantage compared to foreigners.

Employers cannot afford to pay a high salary for the degree that they do not need. There will be demand for people with the skill and experience needed for many jobs, but less demand for people with degree and no working experience.

The public service should set a good example

The Public Service Sector should set a good example and pay their contract workers a decent hourly rate. 

This will encourage the private sector to follow the government in providing a decent wage to workers. 

It is an indirect way to introduce a minimum wage, without causing hardship to small businesses, which may continue to pay below the public sector.

Tan Kin Lian

To Minister of Manpower
Dear Mr Lim,

There are thousands of part-time/contract office workers in Singapore, some of whom are working in the Ministries and Statutory Boards on hourly rates. I used to be one of them.

The hourly rate being paid to these workers ranges from as low as $5 to $7/hr in most of your Government Ministries like Finance and Education. The hourly rate has been STAGNANT for the past few years.

I would therefore humbly suggest that, in view of inflation (especially food prices and transport fares which don't come down), the Government needs to be more generous and sets the hourly rate to be at least $8 ~ $9 per hour for these office workers. Assuming MOE pays $9/hr, it means that a contract worker can take home $9 X 8.5 hrs = $76.50/ day. I am sure your Government would NOT become bankrupt because of this small increase ??

By doing so, the Government would be setting a bench mark for the private sector to follow suit, which in turn would benefits thousands of part-time/contract workers.

Miss W


Dear Ms W

Thank you for your feedback on the salary of part-time and contract workers in the civil service.

As a general principle, the civil service seeks to maintain market competitiveness but does not lead the private sector in terms of salary. The salaries of all officers, regardless of whether they are on full-time/part-time/contract work arrangement, are reviewed regularly against private sector salary benchmarks. Following such reviews, salary adjustments could be made where necessary if we are falling behind the market. On the contrary, if the existing salary levels in the civil service are competitive against the private sector, no salary adjustments will be made. If you have specific feedback on particular part-time/contract jobs in the civil service, the Public Service Division could work with the relevant agencies to review the existing salary level.

Thank you.

for Quality Service Manager
Public Service Division, Prime Minister’s Office


Dear QSM

May I know WHY the pay scales of our Ministers and senior Civil Servants are benchmarked against the top CEOs of multi national companies in Singapore, meaning that our Ministers and Senior civil servants' pay would be VERY MUCH higher than the average pay of the CEOs in most SME companies in Singapore?

So lowly contract workers in Govt ministries/ stat boards should lag behind the pay of those in the private sector??

Is paying a decent salary of $8.50/hr to contract workers going to BANKRUPT our government??

Is it because lowly workers are NOT "natural aristocrats" ??

Miss W

Friday, July 17, 2015

Rejection of Travel Insurance Claim

Hi Mr Tan, 
If a person buys an travel insurance coverage in the morning and paid online and received a confirmation for travelling the next day but suddenly falls sick before his trip on the same evening, will he be allowed to claim from his travel insurance? 
The company refunded him a cheque with the amount he paid upon knowing he was sick and said that the travel insurance policy requires 3 days waiting period before it covers. 
Is this right for the company to do this even though we cannot find information on 3 days waiting period online. We always thought that travel insurance will cover once payment has been cleared.

The travel insurance policy covers you for certain specified events. Falling sick before the travel is probably not one of these events. It probably covers you for when you fall sick during your travel. There might be some exclusion for sickness due to a pre-existing medical condition. 
You need to read the wording of the policy carefully.

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