Do Singaporeans fear voting out ministers and potential ministers?

Before WP’s first GRC win, Singaporeans believed that losing a Minister or incoming Minister had a great impact on our future. After the lost of George Yeo, we recovered. Singaporeans also failed to elect Mr. Ong Ye Kung, then touted as part of the 4G leadership. Singapore didn’t fall apart.
A lot of military men in government
In the latest election, Singaporeans discarded high profile military man and former Minister Ng Chee Meng. There was no evidence Singaporeans had much unhappiness against the Minister, but there was much frustration against the ruling party in favour of the Workers Party. In addition, future PM Heng Swee Keat won with a razor thin margin of ~54% against Workers Party.
The slow and steady rise of Worker’s Party
Will Singaporeans be even more courageous in future elections just to send the right message? I bet they will. If the PAP continues to employ the tactic, placing important Ministers in GRCs against WP, they will continue to lose.

In the near future, if we may less technically sound MPs. Less of them will come from military and GLC backgrounds, more of them will come from SMEs, normal households. By then, Singaporeans can enjoy a better mix of ideas that take care of the general Singaporeans.

Who will govern Singapore in 2025?

Singapore had their elections again in 2021. Like before, the PAP dominated seats in Parliament. Facts are Singaporeans prefer a stable government, same faces, same party, same philosophy. 

But things will change quickly in a few years’ time. PM in waiting, Heng Swee Keat, beat the Workers’ Party 53 to 47%. That is slim. Certainly Singaporeans should have given the future PM better mandate. But this didn’t happen. Singaporeans certainly feel positive about younger and more talented oppositions. The Ramus Lim and Nicole Seah effect highlighted how easy it is for opposition to 1) win over younger talents to run as candidates, and 2) challenge incumbent ministers. 

Former PAP MP Dr. Tan Cheng Bock’s PSP, challenged the incumbent PAP government and almost beat the PAP in West Coast GRC. Slowly, but surely, as the political climate matures in Singapore, we will see more opposition victories. This does not reflect a weakening PAP. This simply reflects the fundamental need for pluralism and differing voices in Parliament. Singaporeans want this even if the opposition candidates seem to be less qualified than those candidates in PAP. 

I fear that politics in Singapore is getting more divisive in two extremes, with new citizens and relatively well to do Singaporeans voting for PAP, and the “others” voting for opposition. I expect WP to win more than 2 GRCs in the next election by 2025. If Dr. Tan Cheng Bock manages PSP well for another 3 to 5 years, Singaporeans can expect Dr. Tan’s team to attract even more talent to take away 1 to 2 GRCs from PAP. 

It is possible that by as soon as 2025, PAP may not have its 2/3 majority. This means, PAP will still govern Singapore. Singaporeans will have about a decade to prepare scenarios where PAP does not form government.

Some questions Singaporeans have to answer for themselves 

  1. Do Singaporeans want to accept the establishment, where government linked companies (“GLC”) still dominate businesses. In addition, we still field a lot of candidates from GLCs. Does this create a perception that GLCs are somewhat politically linked?
  2. Do Singaporeans want Ministers that may not be as technically competent, but actually care a lot more for the heart of Singapore? I.e. Will Singaporeans prefer Ministers that fight for rights of Singaporeans even if these policies are less effective to grow the economy?
  3. Do Singaporeans want a parliament where one party cannot pass new laws as and when they please? Do we want a parliament that can hold different views? Do we want opposition parties strong enough to check on the ruling party?

Stop wasting time in meetings and emails

Tips on presentation

In most situations, you have no more than a few minutes to pitch an idea. In my experience, you should cut the fluff. Focus on key information. In today's fast-paced, digitally connected world, people are constantly bombarded with information. They have no time for you. Most are sceptical and quick to pass judgement.

There is a big difference between what you think you need to say and what you need to say. We tend to say more than we need to. In my experience, just tell them what's in it for them, tell them specific numbers, be upfront. Avoid passive tense. Say it as it is.

For technical questions, come prepared show answers in reports and annexes. Leave time for Q and A. Open the meeting by telling them why you are here. Tell them what you need them to decide on.

Tips on writing

8 Golden rules

·         Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech, which you are used to seeing in print.

·         Never use a long word where a short one will do. (Be direct!)

·         If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. (Be concise!)

·         Never use the passive where you can use the active. (0 passive allowed!)

·         Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

·         Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

The price of Singapore cheap labour

We employed cheap foreign labour for low value-added services to increase margins in sectors such as construction and shipping. There are unseen costs to society, such as displacement of Singaporeans, lowering of wages, and the environment.
It is heartwarming for human rights organizations to address low living conditions for these foreign workers. Many have done the right thing to feed them, help them and push policymakers for better living conditions.
But we are not addressing the main problem. Should labour be this cheap?
This is a suitable time to ask this question. As we try to house foreign workers in better dormitories, space them out further, business bottom line will be affected. What if we increase the pay of construction workers, foreman, and attract Singaporeans to take on these jobs?
Businesses and government previously shared how Singaporeans are unwilling to take on these hard jobs. Any job will be unattractive if the compensation does not commensurate with effort.
We have seen how global pandemics can impact the supply chain of labour, raw materials and even food. We need to reduce our dependence on foreign workers. Businesses may claim that they need these workers to balance their books. But they do not see the real costs (addressed above). Increase the wages, put more locals back in these positions.

You need simplicity

Bullet journals, desktop calendars, online to-do lists … with so many productivity apps and hacks floating around, it's surely never been easier to reach peak productivity, right?


All those apps and life hacks promote organization and efficiency. And that's great! After all, living with chaos is stressful. When you're disorganized, important tasks and memos slip through the cracks, and you fall behind, which is enough to make anyone stressed.

But downloading a plethora of productivity boosters is not the answer. Apps like these are inputs – systems you use to receive and manage information. Excessive inputs are probably keeping you from achieving peak productivity. To actually boost productivity, you need to streamline your inputs.

Do you get emails to three different addresses? Divert them all to a single account. Do you get paper and online bank statements? Keep one and cancel the other. When you get a message on one social media platform, are you immediately notified through another platform? Mute those notifications. In fact, mute all your non-essential notifications!

Information overload can induce serious stress. Streamlining your inputs limits the channels through which information can reach you and makes coping with it much more manageable.

Eating to 80%

The magic Okinawan diet is based on variety and small portions.

The Japanese diet has been in the spotlight for years, ever since Japan made a name for itself as the country with the longest life expectancy. That being said, people live even longer in Okinawa province. To find out why, Makoto Suzuki, a heart specialist from Ryukyus University in Okinawa, did several studies on the Okinawan diet, beginning in the 1970s. Here's what he found out:

First, the Okinawan diet contains an incredible variety of foods. In fact, locals of this island eat up to 206 different foods on a regular basis, including a number of herbs and spices. For instance, every day, they eat five separate portions of fruits and vegetables. They like to determine that they're getting enough variety by ensuring their plates contain all the colors of the rainbow.

It could be thanks to this variety that the Okinawan diet is otherwise quite plain. The base of the diet is grains, like rice or noodles, while seasonings like salt and sugar are used sparingly. In fact, Okinawans eat 60 percent less sugar and 50 percent less salt than other Japanese natives, who already eat a diet that's relatively healthy by global standards.

So, variety is important, but so is small portion size. To abide by this second aspect, Okinawans say that you should stop eating when you're around 80 percent full; in other words, you should remain a little bit hungry.

There's even a word for this concept in Japanese. It's called hara hachi bu, and simple ways to achieve it include avoiding dessert or reducing portion size.

To practice the latter, Okinawans typically serve their food on small plates, with portions of rice, vegetables, miso soup and a small snack, such as edamame beans.

They instinctively know that eating less is good for you, and modern science has actually confirmed the benefits of calorie reduction. By eating fewer calories, you can limit the level of a protein known as insulin-like growth factor 1. When too much of this protein exists in the body, cells age faster. As a result, eating less directly correlates to a longer life.


Procrastination is a strategy to avoid fear of failure.

Procrastination is a problem most of us are familiar with. In spite of its prevalence, procrastination is typically tied to very specific situations.

Usually, we procrastinate on work, that is, when there is a certain task we're required to perform like writing a report, organizing a seminar or making a presentation in front of a team.

These tasks are all significant and not part of your routine. You don't procrastinate going to the bathroom or answering a colleague who wants to take you to lunch, but you might put off starting an important presentation.

In fact, the types of tasks we procrastinate on usually have three important characteristics:

First, when you want to do a good job on something so you can live up to others' and your own expectations.

Second, you find the work dull. It's no fun and getting started, for example, writing the first page or filling up PowerPoint slides takes motivation.

Finally, it's unclear what qualifies as a "good job": you simply don't know how to live up to others' expectations and deliver a great presentation or write an outstanding report. What is "good?" What is "good enough?" And what if you pour your heart and soul into a project that completely fails?

When faced with these kinds of tasks, the inevitable consequence is a choice between two options:

If you start working on the task, you spend your time on something boring, plus you risk failing and disappointing both yourself and others as well.

If you don't start working, you can avoid this boredom, uncertainty and the fear of failure.

So what do you choose? Most likely, you'll choose the second strategy and delay the unpleasantness associated with your task. And, in a certain sense, it works: you learn that procrastination helps you avoid boredom and fear of failure – at least temporarily.

If you want others to like you, don’t criticize them.

Famous airplane test pilot Bob Hoover was flying back from an air show in San Diego when all of sudden both of his engines cut out. Through some impressive flying he was able to land the plane, saving those on board. Unfortunately, the aircraft was badly damaged.

The reason for the harrowing engine failure was that the World War Two propeller plane had been accidentally filled with jet fuel.

Back at the airport, Hoover saw the mechanic who had made the mistake. The young man was in tears, knowing how furious Hoover must be over the loss of his expensive airplane and the danger posed to the three people on board.

So did Hoover yell at him? Scold him? Criticize him?

Not at all. In fact, Hoover said that to demonstrate his faith in the mechanic having learned his lesson, he'd like the same mechanic to service his plane the next day.

The reason for Hoover's benevolence was perhaps that he knew something that psychologist B.F. Skinner had discovered a long time ago: animals rewarded for good behavior will learn more effectively than those punished for bad behavior.

The same is true of people: criticizing them won't encourage them to change their behavior because they're not primarily driven by reason but by emotion. Thus the person you criticize won't truly listen to what you're saying. They'll just feel like they're under attack, and their natural reaction will be to dig in and fight back.

So while voicing criticism might help you blow off steam, in the long-term, it will just make others like you less.

Many successful people actually made it a habit to never openly criticize others. Benjamin Franklin, for instance, claimed that the secret of his success was to "speak ill of no man."

Abraham Lincoln learned this lesson as well. He used to publicly criticize his opponents until one day his criticism so offended someone that he was challenged to a saber duel! The duel was only called off at the last instant, and from then on, he stopped openly criticizing others. Even during the Civil War he famously told those who spoke harshly of the Southerners, "Don't criticize them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances."

Criticizing someone is easy, but it takes character to be understanding and to forgive others for their mistakes and shortcomings.

So if you want others to like you, think about why they did what they did, accept their shortcomings and make it a rule to never criticize them openly.

Teams that offer psychological safety are happier and more productive.

In a 2013 experiment, members of eight teams in an upcoming business school pitch competition were asked questions, including whether they liked horror movies and whether they got annoyed by spelling mistakes. The data-scientist running the experiment, Alastair Shepherd, knew nothing about the team members' business experiences, intelligence or leadership abilities. However, he accurately predicted the ranking of the eight teams in the subsequent competition, using only the quiz answers. That's because teams perform better if they're tolerant and welcoming of different perspectives.

There's plenty of evidence to back up this idea – what matters in a team is not the seniority or experience of the people involved, but their attitudes toward each other. And what really matters is the extent of psychological safety within the group. This is measurable by the degree to which members of the group feel free and able to propose ideas and thoughts without any risk of embarrassment.

When Google analyzed 200 teams in 2012, it found that the best performers were those who were part of teams with high levels of psychological safety. Not only were they less likely to quit; they were also twice as often described as effective by their superiors.

When teams aren't psychologically safe, performance suffers. A 2017 Wall Street Journal article recounted a simulation in which teams of doctors treated a supposedly sick mannequin. Some teams were assigned an observer who then treated them rudely, belittling their efforts during the simulation. These teams made serious mistakes, like misdiagnosis or failure to ventilate properly.

So if you're in a leadership position, how can you help create an environment of psychological safety? Well, a fun way to show that it's okay for your team members to share their ideas is to kick off discussions with a bad idea brainstorm – asking for deliberately absurd ideas. Taking the pressure off a little will loosen things up when it comes to the serious discussion.

Another way to encourage diverse ideas, particularly if there are introverts in a team, may be to ask everyone to write down their thoughts. Then the group leader can share them aloud and invite follow-up discussion. This way, it's possible to build a foundational framework for a safe, thoughtful exchange of ideas.

Taking control of our possessions helps us to take stock and reflect on the rest of our lives.

Taking control of our possessions helps us to take stock and reflect on the rest of our lives.

Many of us struggle to keep an orderly home or workspace. What's the big deal, we tell ourselves, if things are a little messy? Unfortunately, in truth, the tidiness of your external surroundings can have a bigger impact on your inner peace than you might think. In other words, your overflowing desk drawers and jumbled wardrobe are not a trivial issue. They're getting in the way of your happiness.

Importantly, clearing up our stuff and taking control of our possessions can give us a sense of control in other areas of life. Just consider the author's friend, who once remarked that when she eventually cleaned and organized her fridge, she finally realized that she could change her career as well.

What's the connection between your fridge and your work life? It all comes down to the promise of new possibilities.

When the food in our refrigerator or the dirty clothes in our laundry basket start to accumulate, we feel a creeping sense of paralysis. Working ourselves free of the mess we've created can start to feel like an insurmountable task. So we freeze up and get stuck in a trapped frame of mind.

But when we finally shift all that clutter or throw out all that old food, our sense of hopelessness will be replaced by a feeling of renewal. And we'll start thinking about the future again: what do we want to buy, and what sort of lifestyle do we want? This is what happened to the author's friend. As she was throwing out old mayonnaise and jam jars, removing stains and carefully arranging her condiments, she saw that there was a possibility for her to change her working environment too.

Crucially, getting your external world in order also means prioritizing the here and now, as well as looking to the future. Once you're no longer crowding your house with those giant stuffed toys your children played with as babies, you'll be able to reflect on your family as it is right now, not as it was several years ago.

Productivity lessons: Ignore perfectionism and seek effectiveness

To get things done in a team, put someone in charge.

In a team, if the responsibility for a project is distributed equally among team members, no one person will feel that they're in charge. Consequently, nothing will get done – not on time, at least. But if you ensure that one team member is made responsible for the whole team's outcome, the chances that important tasks will be actioned increase dramatically.

Be organized but flexible. 

Don't try to manage every little aspect of your work, as this won't make you more productive. Instead, it will consume too much of your precious time and energy – resources that are better used elsewhere. Of course, you do need to have an organizational plan, but it should be flexible at the same time.

Ignore perfectionism and seek effectiveness 

At one time or another, you've probably spent so much time on small, simple tasks that you never got around to completing the tasks that truly matter. That's why, when doing work, it's important to get the smaller pieces out of the way right off the bat.

After all, spending too much time on a small, low-priority task will waste both your time and your patience. So instead of allocating a lot of time to work that's not super important, do the simple things quickly to free up more time for the meatier tasks.

For instance, each day you'll be faced with different requests from your colleagues, your boss and your family. As these tasks come in, it's important to decide as quickly as possible whether or not you're going to handle them. If you are, it's then up to you to do so hastily.

A good approach here is to apply the OHIO principle, also known as "Only Handle it Once." For example, say you receive an email inviting you to a conference. You quickly browse the email then set it aside. Three days later, you remember the message, but don't remember the name of the sender. As a result, you spend countless minutes scrolling back through your inbox. From there, you've got to read it again, wasting yet more time!

On the other hand, if you were using the OHIO principle, you'd check if the date was free and the topic interesting and make a decision straight away.

Another way to move forward with your work, is to fight the temptation to be perfect when it comes to your low-priority tasks. Remember that not everything needs to be done flawlessly. You should reserve this privilege for your top-level work, since this is what your boss will see and judge.

Nobody is going to be pleased if you spend loads of time answering meaningless emails, so handle such tasks accordingly: get through them quickly and move on to the important stuff.

"Help" - a good word to use at work

"Help" is useful when delegating responsibility and "thanks" keeps motivation levels high.

How do you feel when someone asks you for help? It makes you feel important and needed, doesn't it? That's what makes "help" such a powerful magic word. 

However, if you need help or someone offers you help, you have to work with that person in a specific way. Say you ask for help with writing some code, for example, and the person who volunteers is a beginner. Should you let them give it a go?

Yes. You never know what beginners might come up with. He might develop some innovative new way of getting the program right. And, if he fails, he'll learn from it and be honored that you let him try. Either way, he'll become a happier and more satisfied employee. 

The last magic word is "thanks." "Thanks" is important in business: businesses need to thank their customers and bosses need to thank their employees. "Thanks" keeps customers happy and makes employees feel more valued and motivated.

An employee always feels more motivated to stay at a job if they see value in it. So employees should feel accomplished and proud when they finish a project or their boss gives them praise. If they don't feel appreciated, they might not stick around. 

Furthermore, the more often you repeat the same task, the less satisfying it is. When you get used to doing something, it doesn't feel rewarding anymore and your boss will probably stop praising you for it. 

So keep your employees happy by showing appreciation for all they do. Don't forget – your business couldn't exist without them! You can start by simply smiling more often. Aim to create a thanks-culture in your company, where everyone's contribution is recognized and valued.

Calm down and keep things small, aim to be happy not right

If you're determined to always be right, you'll destroy your relationships and happiness.

Most people want to look important, so they push themselves to do things that'll be well perceived. We create a lot of problems for ourselves when we do this. It's natural to want to be in the spotlight. We want to speak our minds and impress people. Unfortunately, this can be very harmful to our relationships.

When we interrupt people or fail to listen to them respectfully, we make them nervous or irritable. Instead, try to let go of your ego, be patient and let them finish. That can be difficult at times, but it'll certainly improve your interaction and help you work through any problems.

If you're determined to always be right, you'll alienate yourself from the people who really matter. So even if you feel the need to correct something a loved one says, just stay calm and let them keep speaking. This will create a much more relaxed atmosphere between the two of you.

We also tend to harbor resentment for anyone we've had an argument or misunderstanding with. When we do this, we turn small stuff into big stuff in our minds.

Don't hold on to your anger. It can lead you to turn a small argument with a friend into something big – like deciding to never talk to them again.

Why do we do this? Well, we tend to see forgiveness as a sign of weakness and insecurity. We subconsciously want to protect our images by giving up relationships with loved ones in hopes that they'll come back to us.

You can avoid this by simply letting go of your need to be right, and focusing on being happy instead.

The broad context - not just the operational details

Successful leaders are aware of the larger context in which they operate

Successful leaders lead with a focus on the future. To do this requires exploring the broader context in which their organization operates, as this enables them to identify opportunities for growth in the market.

For example, Steve Jobs took the brave step of reorganizing Apple's portfolio: rather than concentrating their efforts on many different products, Jobs decided that Apple should focus on just four computers – a desktop and a laptop, each for two markets: consumer and professional.

On the other hand, unadventurous leaders who remain rigid in their focus on exploiting existing products and technologies end up as victims of their own narrow vision. One of the best examples of this is the smartphone company BlackBerry.

By the mid-2000s, BlackBerry had become a favorite with corporate IT, but just five years later it lost 75 percent of its market value.

BlackBerry was slow to notice the burgeoning popularity of the iPhone and other touchscreen smartphones with which companies allowed their employees to connect to the corporate network. Also, the company overestimated the attraction of long battery life, failing to recognize that users were more than happy to sacrifice it for the use of a touchscreen.

BlackBerry is a classic example of what can happen to an organization with a rigid, narrow focus. Because the company trained its focus squarely on the existing, established technology rather than exploring for the next big thing, what was once an innovative company fell behind and couldn't keep up with the tech waves which followed.

To avoid being blindsided by the competition, leaders should devote much of their attention to exploring new opportunities for development.

Adopt a Total Addressable Problem model instead of TAM

Adopt a Total Addressable Problem model instead of TAM.

We need a different mind-set, which runs from top to bottom. This is the difference between the Total Addressable Market model and the Total Addressable Problem model.

Let's begin with the Total Addressable Market, or TAM, model. This framework has been used for decades – it's the main religion of the corporate world. 

Established companies are hardwired to use it. It addresses the problem of how big a market is, and how big a share of that market the business can reasonably expect to command. It works with what is knowable and battles competitors for a market share, modifying their existing products or services only.

Rather than prioritizing new customer pain points, they focus mostly on their own – like stock prices and short-term financial success. And as we've seen, businesses that follow this approach in today's world can begin to stagnate. In the worst circumstances, they can become obsolete.

Of course, the TAM model isn't completely misguided. If you're in the lipstick business and you want to manufacture a new lip-gloss, you could use the TAM model to estimate how big a market you could reasonably expect to conquer. But, beyond that, it loses its authority. It's like exploring the flora of a new planet with a guidebook from earth.

By contrast, the Total Addressable Problem model is the way to achieve exponential growth. Because the TAP model is based on discovering brand-new customer problems or needs, it can uncover new markets. It is the untouched markets that will lead to growth, rather than those with lots of competition already. 

Take the mobile phone. When it first came on the market, it was a bulky device aimed almost exclusively at high-powered executives. The Total Addressable Problem area seemed small. But as they became lighter, smaller and more affordable, demand blew up. Electronics designers had sensed that mobiles were addressing a far larger problem – mobile communication for everyone. This was the untouched market that would yield enormous returns for the first mobile phone manufacturers.

There are eight pitfalls that will stop you from being productive

In his role at the helm of countless productivity workshops, the author has worked with thousands of people who've helped him identify eight pitfalls to pragmatic productivity. You can think of the tips to avoiding these pitfalls as the ultimate tool kit for keeping you on the road to Intelligent Achievement.

The first pitfall is accepting gifts. As the saying goes, there's no such thing as a free lunch, because chances are the person picking up the tab is looking for a favor. This doesn't mean you need to be cynical and think everyone is selfish, but if you do get invited to lunch, it doesn't hurt to question the motives and wonder whether it isn't, say, just a ploy to get you to work overtime. In short: pay for your own lunch.

The second pitfall is not having a morning routine. Having a regular morning routine is great for reducing the amount of mental energy you use, since you don't have to make any decisions – everything can just go like clockwork. This means you'll have more mental energy to spend on more important tasks later in the day.

Third is the mistake of prioritizing busywork. Always focus on the big goals and taking the steps that get you there.

Similarly, the fourth pitfall is prioritizing easy tasks over difficult ones. Don't do it!

Pitfall number five is to be overly reliant on the eight-hour workday. Remember, you only have five hours of high-level mental energy available. So it's all about being efficient and focused during these hours while spending the rest of the time resting and recuperating.

The sixth and seventh pitfalls are the ever-present distractions of smartphones and incoming email. Constantly checking social media, texts and email wastes mental energy. Avoid these pitfalls at all costs.

The final pitfall is giving in to requests from others. Again, this is about becoming comfortable with saying that magical two-letter word: No.

Mental energy is precious, so learn to say no in order to protect this resource.

If you spend your days interacting with a computer, there's a good chance you've encountered those times when you just feel stuck, staring at your computer screen. The more you try to get unstuck, the less you feel able to make any decisions. This is due to the fact that, when your mind is exhausted, no amount of time or effort spent on contemplation can help.

The key to avoiding this kind of exhaustion is to have mental energy, as this is what allows you to be enthusiastic and enjoy what's going on in your professional and personal lives.

But while it may be important, mental energy is also scarce and easily depleted.According to a 2007 study in the Harvard Business Review, the average person enjoys only two hours of peak mental focus every day, along with an additional five hours of relatively high mental focus. At all other times, there's a good chance your mental focus will be relatively poor.

So, how do we make sure our mental energy gets replenished each day? A 2012 study by medical researcher Taeko Sasai suggests that sufficient sleep is what's needed for this to happen. But even then, with high mental energy and especially peak mental energy being such limited resources, it's clear we need to treat each minute with care.

And that's where Selective Focus comes in. Selective Focus is about being careful and choosy about how you spend your energy, and the first rule is learning how to say no to certain things that are competing for your attention. After all, you can't give your time and energy to everyone, no matter how politely they ask.

Saying no doesn't always come easily or naturally. Many of us were programmed as children to say yes to whatever our parents or our teachers asked of us. When you said yes growing up, you were probably rewarded with attention, praise or even a big, welcoming hug.

But now that you're an adult, there are rewards to saying no. Through analyzing over 80 studies that looked into the benefits of saying no, psychologist Martin Hagger found conclusive evidence that it not only helps people avoid wasteful and unproductive activity, it also helps them achieve their goals more efficiently.

When leaders empower their team members, the result is outstanding achievement.

Imagine you had a colleague or boss who was always taking credit for your good work. You'd probably feel less motivated to continue striving for good results because it'd make you feel weak and insignificant.

Leaders should instill in their team members a sense of ownership of their own work.

Research has shown that people who feel powerless or exposed to uncontrollable circumstances perform worse than those who don't. So by trusting and empowering their staff, leaders can facilitate a boost in performance.

Digital payment scene across Asean

Across Southeast Asia, there is a fierce battle for being the leading digital payment provided. Unlike in China where the market is dominated by AliPay and WeChat Pay, the ASEAN market is in its infancy and is very fragmented. Currently, there are about 40 e-wallets in Malaysia, 27 e-wallets in Singapore, 37 e-wallets in Indonesia, 26 e-wallets in Vietnam, at least 17 e-wallets in the Philippines.

Large untapped market for digital payments
Although there are a large number of e-wallets, the vast of Asean market remains untapped. The population of Vietnam is about 96 million people. 40% of them are under 25 years old. Almost 90% of Vietnamese are still preferring using cash. The country experienced an e-wallet boom in the last few years. Vietnam’s total transaction value in the digital payments segment is US$8,523 million in 2019, presenting a 20.3% year on year growth. There is no notable winner in this market yet.

Fintech penetration in Indonesia remains low as Indonesia has a population of 264 million but smartphone penetration was only 24%  in 2017. This means that a lot of users are not exposed to the e-wallet concept yet.

Thailand, on the other hand, has a market of 69 million people. 31% of them are under the age of 25. Digital technology is the focus of the digital push in Thailand 4.0. Thailand 4.0 is the economic model that “aims to unlock the country from several economic challenges". The government launched a digital wallet PromptPay. Support of government and the population base are a great impetus for Thailand's digital payment market.

To understand how the different brands compete with each other, we can look into a comparison table for their main features: 

  1. True Money is the e-wallet brand under Ascend Money.
  2. GCash provides overseas payments from US sites by issuing GCash American Express virtual sites.
  3. User will need a physical Paymaya card to make cross-border payments.  
We can see from the table that all the e-wallets have similar basic features – QR code payment, transfer money, and withdrawal. The main differentiator between the brands is the cross-border service.

Some e-wallets are already offering cross-border payments or cross-border remittance services. Those who do not support cross-border transactions are having plans to do so. Touch ‘n Go is co-operating with Singapore’s EZ-Link. They will issue a dual-currency card at the end of 2019.

Boost has joined forces with Singtel’s VIA. This will enable Boost users to make overseas payments in Singapore. PromptPay is in talks with PayNow for cross-border remittance between Singapore and Thailand. Cross-border services and interoperability have been an inevitable trend of digitalization development.         

Balance limit for each e-wallet

Wallet ( balance) limit
Touch ‘n Go
·       RM 200 for starter account1
·       RM 1,500 by linking with a bank account
·       RM 5,000 by registering for an RFID (radio-frequency identification)
·       RM 500 for starter account
·       RM 1,500 for upgraded account2
·       RM 200 for starter account
·       RM 1,500 for premium account3
Singtel Dash
·       S$999
DBS Paylah!
·       S$999 per day
·       S$2000 for DBS/POSB digibank customers
·       S$5,000
·       P40,000/month for starter account
·       P100,000/month for upgraded account
·       P50,000/month for starter account
·       P100,000/month for upgraded account
·       VNĐ20 million/day
·       IDR 1 million for starter account
·       IDR 10 million for upgraded account
·       IDR 2 million for starter account
·       IDR 10 million for upgraded account

Another feature to look into is the balance limit for each e-wallet. Most e-wallets offer two tiers: a starter tier to entice new users to get started with it, and an upgraded tier for verified users, either with a bank account or a valid national ID. This approach prevents excessive fraudulent behavior while also making it easy for new customers to get started on their e-wallet.

Head of the pack-Indonesia

MY – Malaysia; SG – Singapore; TH – Thailand; PH – Philippines; VN – Vietnam; IDN – Indonesia                    
Based on the graph above, we can clearly see that Indonesia is currently leading the e-wallets market compared to the other country as they have the highest number of user and also highest acceptance point leading by Ovo and GoPay. However, this does not mean it is over for the other players in the market. They would have to step up their efforts if they want to capitalize on the growing digital payment trend. In fact, the growing ASEAN region market has made itself a lucrative investment target for other financial institutions around the world. According to the Google-Temasek report, the researcher has predicted the region internet economy will rise to $250 billion in the year 2025. Besides, Indonesia is also predicted as the most fastest-growing region by the year in 2025 by the same report.

The Game of Capital

Fund-raising of the e-wallets
Amount raised
Line Pay
US$25 million
Advanced Info Service

US$182 million
True Money
Ant Financial
Ant Financial
US$175 million

US$40 million
International Finance Corporation


US$5 million
Quona Capital

US$5 million

US$72 million
US$5.8 million
Golden Sachs

US$28 million
Standard Chartered

US$100 million
Warburg Pincus
Access Ventures LLC

Ant Financial
US$116 million
Tokyo Century Corporation
The ASEAN e-wallet market has attracted massive funds over the last few years. China's duopoly e-wallet players Ant Financial and Tencent expand the battlefield to the ASEAN market by investing in local e-wallets. Ant Financial invested in True Money in Thailand, GCash in the Philippines and Dana in Indonesia. Tencent, on the other hand, invested in the Philippines e-wallet PayMaya. Other tech giants like Go-Jek and Grab follow closely and make their bet on the promising brands. The fund injection and technology import from the leading tech firms greatly stimulated growth in this region.  In 2018 Marketing and promotions are not cheap. To compete, securing funding from established companies gives these growing companies a chance to stand-out in their marketing and customer acquisition campaigns.