| MAY - Bitcoin | Chittagong Dating (Bangladesh) - Churches of Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) - Clickable Japanese Map - Da Lat, City of Love (Vietnam) - Divorce in the Hindu Scriptures (India) - Gay and Lesbian Beaches and Resorts (Bali, Indonesia) - Get Your MBA (in Malaysia) - Hanuman, the Monkey Superman (India) - History of Drum'n'Bass (UK) - How Islamic Banks Could Save the World - Japan | Korea | Lucky Phone Numbers (India) - Long Hau Industrial Park (Ho Chi Minh City) - Nhon Trach New City (Ho Chi Minh City) - Online Realtors - Polygamy in Malaysia - Pubs and Clubs and Bars (Cairns, Australia) - Phu My Hung New City (Ho Chi Minh City) - Roi Island Project (Phu Quoc) - Singapore | Singapore Girls - Twin Towers (Malaysia) - Vietnam - Why Buy Property in Vietnam? - Why is Vietnam so Expensive? - Zen Plaza



» Floating Worlds
» Thoughts About Being a Bridge Between East and West, North and South, and How it Relates to Traditional Chinese Medicine
» Sand Canyons, or a Satellite View of an Alien World
» Seafood Christmas in Australia (With a Cooling Japanese Heart!)
» Google Adsense Program Expands Opportunities for People in Developing Nations
» Pix Me Away: Imagining a Virtual Personal Assistant for Travel
» Two Nights in Moree: Rethinking the Grand Algorithm
» Pop Up Shops, and Art Incubators: A Brand New Way to Animate Tired Old Urban Space
» Ayr, from the Air
» Cold Air-Con, and Ethnic TV: Back on the Vagabondist Path!
» Port Douglas: Another Fake Town, in a Part of the World Which Has All too Many Real Attractions
» Rustic North Queensland Architecture: In The Streets of North Cairns
» Avoiding Those Second Third Time Blues: Round Three in Cairns
» Thailand's Secret Tourist Destinations
» Beware Petronas Job Scam
» Asian Tourism Industry Booms Despite Global Recession
» Watch Out for Travel Club Scams
» Eastwood, Sydney (Little Korean Enclave, Surrounded by the Australian Bush)
» What You Can Learn About Yourself as a Dater (By Looking at the People You Date)
» Malaysians Fail to Get into Harvard for Second Year Running
» JPA Scholarships: A Billion Ringgit Throwaway?
» Oxley Tower, a New Development in Singapore
» Improved Performance in IT/ITES Services Boosts Demand for Residential Properties (in Chennai, India)
» How to Deal with a Bad Date
» Are You Ready (For the Social Business Revolution?)
» Writer/Researcher Needed in Malaysia

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MACROCOSM INSIDE THE MICROCOSM: An entire year in a single hour of your time. In a sense, we live today in the Age of the Clone -- cities all over the world are being remade as clones, an asteroid in a tiny grain of sand. The world is becoming smaller and less interesting at precisely the same time that record numbers of people have the ability to travel to far-flung corners of it. Your future may be written all over your face. CROWDED WORLD is an attempt to recapture the thrill factor. This website shows that just beneath the modern veneer which has been thrown across the surface of the whole world, the old order still lives. All you have to do is raise your consciousness enough to see this sacred order -- the hidden exoticness of space. Travel can still be as exciting today as it was in the time of Marco Polo. You just need an open mind and a pair of open eyes!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Floating Worlds



IT HAS BEEN TWO YEARS NOW SINCE I RETURNED TO AUSTRALIA FOR MY CURRENT RHUMBA DOWN UNDER, AND WHILE THE REVERSE CULTURE SHOCK HAS LARGELY WORN OFF, I STILL FIND MYSELF STRUGGLING TO UNDERSTAND THE WAY PEOPLE ACT HERE SOMETIMES. I know the weather is nice and stuff, and it's amusing following the politics and media. It is nice to walk the streets and not get stared at, which is what used to happen to me in Japan. I am starting to appreciate the landscape more than I used to, the birds and animals and stuff, all the hidden little ecosystems. It is the human side of Australia that bugs me, to be honest: the whole sports gambling culture, the rude service at shops and restaurants, the Nanny State mentality. The bouncers you see out at pubs and service stations... I know they are probably needed here but they lend the environment a thuggish vibe. They seem to suggest that perhaps Australia has become a private company, with no dissent allowed under law! some reason, when I am living in Australia, all I want to do is break something. That won't innure me to the Feds, on the approach to Toukley Bridge, my drinking partner Steve got on, and took a seat in front of me. recognised him. I am starting to build up a network of bro's up here in the Wyong Shire, 18 months after moving here, I am getting to know the scene pretty well. People recognise me when I walk the streets, they beep their horns as they drive past. It makes me think I have been here too long, and that it is probably time to roll the dice again, and jump to a new locale. Do another Quantum Leap style jump, into a brand new life. As soon as I crossed the threshold, I felt like I was back at home. Anyway, I had a bit of a chat to Simon and then both him and Steve got off in Toukley. I stayed on board and the bus lumbered through the backstreets of Norahville, giving me a quick tour of my early adulthood (I used to work at the newspaper here in 1994/95). Ahead of me, blonde-haired women were sharing tips on how to rort the Housing Department, while their blonde kids ran amok up and down the aisle. 東北羊肉串 part of the world here, and kind of a fascistic one... a welfare fascist state, if such a thing is possible. Just one 串, I thought Anna might get upset (this being Sydney after all)... ite a few people up here are on the dole, myself included. Public transport in Australia seems reserved for folks like us. This is not like Japan, where CEO's are humble enough to catch the train to work. Here in Oz, CEO's probably get around town by helicopter. We turned on to Budgewoi Road and motored along, the sun radiating considerable force through the tinted windows. Fibro shacks presently gave way on the right to a long, scrubby beach. This was Lakes Beach, and was mission for the day was to follow it homeward, back to Norah Head, where Wallarah Road would pick me up and carry me through Toukley to the Wallarah Bay Recreation Club. Where hopefully my Dad and a couple of beers were waiting. While in the area I also wanted to have a peek at Lake Munmorah, which the satellite pics claim is up here... (For the full story of my walk here and the floating worlds I encountered, click here.)

Island off Lakes Beach on the NSW Central Coast, south of Newcastle, north of Sydney, on the Australian Coastal Walk!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Floating Worlds



Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thoughts About Being a Bridge Between East and West, North and South, and How it Relates to Traditional Chinese Medicine



WHEN I WAS LIVING IN JAPAN IN THE 00s, IN THE LATTER DAYS AT LEAST, I USED TO FEEL LIKE I WAS A BRIDGE BETWEEN THE EAST AND THE WEST, THE ORIENT AND THE OCCIDENT; ABOUT THE SAME TIME, HANGING OUT IN VIETNAM, I CAME TO VIEW MYSELF AS A CONDUIT BETWEEN THE GLOBAL SOUTH AND THE GLOBAL NORTH. In the bagua East and West are of course the two opposites, forever clashing, forever rolling upon each other... but from their dance springs the creativity of the Universe. In the eyes of Al Qaeda and the Venezulean socialists, the North is the oppressor of the South, stripping it of everything of worth... it's doubtless true, but in the process of the oppression, elements of the South are seeping out to infuse the North, and vice versa. Amit Singhal grew up in a village in India watching Star Trek on a black-and-white TV and dreaming of the future; later in life he emigrated to the United States, where he is in charge of search at Google. Of all the great developments of modern times, from the Internet to the atomic bomb, one of the most profound, and still ongoing, has been this connection of Eastern cultures with the cultures of the West, and intercourse between the economies of the South with the economies of the North. Let's not forget, that it was from the collision of European melody and African rhythm, that Rock'n'Roll was born! From the collision of reggae and house music, drum&bass was spawn! There is an inherent creativity springing from the interface of different worlds, so much so in fact, that I really think the interface is the place to be. The Interface is where cool stuff happens. Amit Singhal will tell you that! (To read the rest of this post and to discover how you can study traditional Chinese medicine in Melbourne, Australia, click here.)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sand Canyons, or a Satellite View of an Alien World



Sand canyons, or a satellite view of an alien world.

Monday, December 25, 2012

Seafood Christmas in Australia (With a Cooling Japanese Heart!)


IT WAS A COLD AND RAINY CHIRSTMAS ON THE SOUTH-EAST COAST OF AUSTRALIA THIS YEAR, THE WIND OFTEN DRIVING, AND THE WET GLOOM MORE REMINISCENT OF THE LA NINA YEAR WE HAD LAST YEAR, THAN THE WANNABE EL NINO YEAR WE ARE ENDURING NOW. Of course, Australian Christmases are not meant to be cold, and in anticipation of a typical Downunder scorcher my Mum had pre-ordered a batch of seafood for lunch, to dish up as a summery alternative to the traditional roast. The plan was we would sit out under the trees by the lake (Budgewoi Lake, on the NSW Central Coast north of Sydney), drinking cold beers and pigging out on oysters, cold prawns, Balmain bug (a relative of the lobster), and other Aussie classics. My Mum probably assumed all this chilled food and drink would chill us out, both physically and figuratively. What she didn't realize, however, was that some of these foods (such as the lobster) are actually considered warming foods in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and are perhaps just as warming for the body as the more traditional Christmas turkey and baked potatoes and ham! In other words, you wouldn't necessarily get a cooling effect from eating such fare on a hot day, no matter how long they'd been kept in a fridge (according to TCM, at least!) That said, my Mum had got something right by serving up a small bowl of Japanese wakame seaweed salad, to complement the seafood. As a type of seaweed, wakame is classed as a cold yin food, and is thus perfect for summer. Like many Japanese foods, wakame has some awesome health benefits, and is packed with valuable nutrients, much more than the average vegetable. Even more astoundingly, wakame is purported to cleanse the body from toxins including radiation poisoning! Just before I left Tokyo last year, in the crazy aftermath of the nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima, there was a huge rush on seaweed products, everyone was stocking up on them, and it was widely believed they would help protect the thyroid gland from contamination. The ancient east Asians knew of seaweed's detoxifying powers, and made use of it in their medicine. As it turned out, Christmas Day was rainy and cold, so we didn't need any extra yin in our lunch this year. In fact, we could have done with a bit more yang! (For more on the yin/yang properties of food in TCM and how they can improve your health, click here.)

Seafood Christmas lunch in an Australian style, but with a centrepiece of cooling, detoxifying Japanese wakame salad. Picture copyright Robert Sullivan 2012.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Google Adsense Program Expands Opportunities for People in Developing Nations


ON FREQUENT TRIPS TO VIETNAM IN THE LATE 00s, I USED TO NOTICE THE HONDA ÔM GUYS SITTING ON THIER MOTORBIKES ON PRACTICALLY EVERY STREET CORNER, HUSTLING TO GET RIDES, AND WONDERED WHY THEY DIDN'T JUST SET UP BLOGS TO MAKE A LIVING INSTEAD. Granted, your average Vietnamese motorcycle taxi rider probably doesn't know much about computers and the Internet, let alone affiliate and contextual advertising! Doubtless, they would struggle with the idea that throwing stuff online (even an advertisement for their own chauffeur services) could earn them an ongoing income. So much more reliable, they probably think, just to hang out on the street all the day, hustling foreign tourists. That's real money; that's earning an honest buck! Google Adsense is not for them, then, but for the younger, more tech-savvy generations of Vietnamese, I believe it holds great potential. Those Honda ôm riders typically make a dollar for a one-kilometer trip; my old girlfriend N. used to earn US$400 a month in her job, and she was on her feet until midnight every day. US$400 a month from Adsense is more than doable, if you are prepared to work at it. And since Internet usage is booming in Vietnam, there ought to plenty of local advertisers.

Hustlers of Ho Chi Minh City. Picture copyright Robert Sullivan 2010.

Vietnam's close neighbour Cambodia is even poorer than Vietnam, one of the poorest countries in the world in fact, although it is developing fast. The Cambodian GDP is about US$1000 per capita, and the basic salary of a primary school teacher in the country is US$60 a month (I read that in the Phnom Penh Post.) For a digital nomad like myself, it would be a great place to hang out for a while, drinking iced coffees on the beach, and immersing myself in the local cultural and business scene. I'd never be able to live there as cheaply as a local, however, and for that I am a little envious. To help get into shape for my move I have been reading a number of Cambodian blogs, most notably KhmerBird, who seems to be king of the blog scene there. KhmerBird, otherwise known as Santel Phin, is the founder of 4-Hour Workweek Blogger, although his prodigious output suggests someone who works a lot longer than that! A few years ago KhmerBird proudly displayed a US$485.80 cheque from Google Adsense; I believe he is now earning enough from the program to support himself and his family. He is earning enough, in any case, to pay local writers to produce content for his site. He encourages Cambodians to join the Adsense revolution, even though ads are not currently displayed in Khmer script. "We donít have Khmer language to choose yet, I think the best way is to choose English, even your blog is written in Khmer or mix," KhmerBird advises in one post... (To read more about the Google Adsense program is expanding opportunities for people living in developing countries, click here.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pix Me Away: Imagining a Travel Personal Assistant for Travel


Friday, September 14, 2012

Two Nights in Moree, Up in Kamilaroi Country: Rethinking the Grand Algorithm


MY DAD AND I ARRIVED BACK ON THE NSW CENTRAL COAST THIS AFTERNOON, AFTER A LONG JOURNEY BY BUS AND TRAIN, AND IT IS A STRANGE FEELING BEING SURROUNDED BY CIVILISATION AGAIN, AFTER OUR TIME IN THE BUSH. You don't know how big a country is until you travel it by road, or rail (or best of all, on cycle or foot!), and Australia is certainly on the big end of the scale, and very empty; big and very empty, but nonetheless still crowded with life; crowded, in fact, with culture, history and life. We had spent two nights in Moree, up nd up living here that gave this trip its particularly intense frission, a curiosity mixed up with a lot of fear, and a certain sense of liberation. I had got to the stage in my hunt for an Australian media job that I had to accept whatever I could find, even this far from the centre, even this far out in the bush. A few years ago, living in Tokyo with its 13 million people, all its Michelin starred restaurants, art galleries, vending machines, convenience stores, amazing fashion, I would have shuddered at the prospect that my life would or could take this change in direction, landing me right back where I as an I began! That kind of future would have seemed utterly incredible, incomprehensible. The NSW bush was where I was born (Condobolin), enjoyed the first fruits of boyhood (Trundle), and later got my degree (Bathurst). As a matter of fact, I had also lived in Moree as a toddler, although I can't remember anything of my life there then. My first memory is of a house fire we suffered in Glen Innes, in the mountains to the east. Now, the Australian outback is a fine place to grow up or study, riding bushbikes through the scrub, looking for birds' eggs, or reading Baudrillard on a genteel lawn, where Andrew Denton used to play his pranks; however, after all my years living in Sydney and then Tokyo, there was no way I could return to a small town life, not in a million years. Not, unless I changed the narrative of my life itself, rewrote the founding myth, the Grand Algorithm that orchestrates my ambitions and dreams... (For the full story on how I rethought and rewrote my Grand Algorithm while on the way to and in Moree, click here.)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Pop Up Shops, and Art Incubators: A Brand New Way to Animate Tired Old Urban Space


Friday, August 31, 2012

Ayr, from the Air


THE LITTLE TOWN OF AYR AND ITS DISTINCTIVE PENINSULA, VIEWED FROM OUR QANTAS FLIGHT YESTERDAY HOME FROM CAIRNS, TO SYDNEY.

Ayr, seen from the air.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cold Air-Con, and Ethnic TV: Back on the Vagabondist Path!


SOMETHING ABOUT A ROOM WITH COLD AIR-CON, AND ETHNIC PROGRAMMING ON TV, WHICH MAKES ME FEEL LIKE I AM VAGABONDING... BACK ON THE VAGABONDIST PATH!

Cold air-con, and ethnic TV, at Bohemia Resort, in Cairns.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Port Douglas: Another Fake Town, in a Part of the World Which Has All too Many Real Attractions


A FEW DAYS AGO I COMMENTED HERE THAT I WAS FEELING A LITTLE JADED AFTER ARRIVING IN FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND (FNQ) FOR MY THIRD VISIT IN 18 MONTHS, AND WAS WORRIED THAT I HAD EXHAUSTED MY CAPACITY TO FIND ENTERTAINMENT AND INTEREST IN THE REGION. A little bit later, over at Google +, I noted that FNQ seemed to be suffering from a downturn in the tourist industry, a possibly permanent nosedive. Meals at the pubs seemed smaller and more generic, and free breakfasts at our resort now costed AUS$5.50 (for toast and cereal!), in an attempt to dissuade long-termers from abusing their privleges. Flimsy evidence to go upon, but I know a downturn when I smell one, or taste one! My old watering hole the Blue Sky Brewery has closed down... that's as sure a sign as any! I've read that arrivals at Cairns Internatio​nal Airport fell from a record high of 1.2 Million in 2006, to 550,000 in 2009. This year (2012/13), 750,000 arrivals are expected, thanks to the booming Chinese sector. Queensland is a state with a two-speed economy, and areas like Cairns have a skills surplus... I saw that in the Australian. Of course, talk of a tourist slump in Queensland is nothing new, and you would expect the Australian high dollar to have a dampening effect, but I think the industry's woes are more systemic, even cultural. Go to any resort or hotel in Cairns, for example, and you will get bombarded with brochures advertising activities like sky diving, bungee jumping, or even tours which combine them (dive on a reef, and then a helicopter which zoom you inland to a waiting bungee rope. That's cool and all, but I can't help but feel there is something tacky about focussing on this style of tourism, especially considering the real and untamed beauty of the environment here. There seem to be too many brochures for horse riding tours on the beach, and not enough brochures just about the beach. Do you really need to jump out of an aeroplane on the reef, to appreciate the reef? You can jump up out of planes anywhere in the world, but real coral reefs are relatively rare (and getting rarer). I can sense something depressingly Australian in this focus on the high octane, perhaps even a glimpse of the Cultural Cringe. It is the same kind of mentality which erected the Big Banana. In a part of the world which brims with real world colour and culture (indigenous, pioneer European, Asian), there is a tendency to cover it all over with fakery. That's what happened in Kuranda, and that also seems the fate to have befallen Port Douglas, the celebrated resort town north of Cairns, which I have visited today... (To read my complete post on Port Douglas, click here.)

Driving to Port Douglas from Cairns, on a Sun Palm bus.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Rustic Homes & Quirky Folk: Walking in Cairns

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IN MY DREAM LIFE WHICH IS PRETTY MUCH BECOMING REAL, I WOULD TRAVEL THE WORLD LIVING OFF MY ONLINE INCOME AND BASICALLY HOP FROM COOL ATTRACTION TO THE NEXT. The city of Cairns, in northern Queensland is very much an ideal candidate for me to hang out in for a couple of months, as I awaited the next boat or plane out to another haven (perhaps Port Moresby, or the Torres Straits). It is small enough not to be a rat race, but big enough to be creatively vibrant (in a fashion). It is home to all manner of strange and quirky minorites, such as resident Japanese working holidaymakers and Indian taxi drivers. There is a huge Aboriginal community in town... in fact there are about five kinds of Aborigines in town according to my Sydney buddy M Tumbers, but he was counting the Japanese as being one of them. The architecture, both in the centre of town, and on the outskirts too, is similarly quirky... (For the complete Cairns Architecture guide, click here.)

Rustic homes in the Queenslander style, raised off the ground to protect the occupants from floods, in the streets of North Cairns, in Australia.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Avoiding Those Second Third Time Around Blues: Round Three in Cairns


I JUST HIT THE GROUND IN CAIRNS, NORTH QUEENSLAND, AND ONCE AGAIN AM STAYING AT THE BOHEMIA RESORT WITH MY FATHER. This is actually the third time I have been to Cairns in the past 18 months, and the town has become a kind of north pole or home away from home during this current spell in Australia (a spell which will expire, I expect, in early 2014.) Cairns was the place I fled to like a refugee, after the great Tohoku Earthquake rattled me out of my 10-year slumber in Japan, and propelled me on to the path of True Vagabondism. It was a reintroduction to the land of my birth, and a refresher course in Australian culture (loud dance and rock music, guys with their shirts off, strangers saying "G'Day" to you heartily on the street). Such a different world to the one I had left behind in the Land of the Rising Sun, just a couple of aftershocks earlier! I was only in town for half the morning and half the afternoon, but the town exerted a profound effect on me. About four months later I was back again, this time with my Dad, who wanted to winter here and check out some birds... we ended up staying nearly five weeks! My online income was booming at the time, and I thought this long tropical adventure was just a taste of the global Vagabondist wanderings which awaited me, once I had repaid my debts: this was the template for how I wanted to live my life, a Digital Nomad travelling from Paradise to Utopia! Cairns was the place in which I dreamt up the One World Orbit, the ongoing blueprint and mission statement for this website (and my life). I walked around town, looked up at Aboriginal art galleries, drank in the bars and clubs every night, and imagined that one day soon I would be able to support myself financially just from writing about these experiences. Carried aloft around the world, by the winds of online income! It was an idealistic dream; the weather changed, the winds changed direction, and I met a big reality check, about two months later, while I was living with my parents down in NSW. My online earnings slumped, and have not yet recovered. Ma, iya, as they would say in Japan... shou ga nai!. The show will go on, and I will make the Orbit happen, one way or another. That so much is beyond doubt. What is in doubt, however, and this is what it struck me shortly after arriving in Cairns today with my father... can this town wow me for a third time? It wasn't my choice to be here, and I am spending money that could be going for my ticket to Cambodia in 2014, or entrance fees to Angkor Wat. Much as I loved this place last year, I fear I am pushing my luck, in expecting to deliver life changing magic three times in a row. In any case, at least I am back in the tropics!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Thailand's Secret Tourist Destinations


UK-BASED TRAVEL WRITER LIV RABAN HAS WRITTEN A SECOND GUEST POST FOR ME, THIS TIME ON THE SECRET TOURIST DESTINATIONS OF THAILAND. "Although Thailand is a vast, magical haven for tourists," Raban writes in her latest piece, "it seems that we only ever hear about the same places: the bustling city of Bangkok, the jungles tours of Chiang Mai and the southern Islands famous for their Full Moon Parties. Many backpackers want to experience something new Ė something slightly off the usual tourist trail..." (For an introduction to some of the secret tourist destinations in Thailand, click here.)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Beware Petronas Job Scam


I OFTEN RECEIVE RESUMES FROM INDIANS, PAKISTANIS AND RESIDENTS OF THE MIDDLE EAST LOOKING FOR WORK IN MALAYSIA. Sometimes I get emails asking for advice on the job market there, but since I am not Malaysian, it is hard for me to provide a constructive reply. I have seriously considered working in the country, however, and have enough experience to know that not every offer is as golden as it appears. It was with interest, therefore, that I read this email recently from a certain T.M., from India. T.M. seems to be the latest victim of a malicious Malaysian scam currently doing the rounds. The Indian gentleman wrote: "I want to work in Malaysia with my prestige and dignity.At present I have got the opportunity from Petroliam nasional berhad(petronas) if possible please help me by providing information,whether this company is real or fake.They claiming that they will provide me 189200$ per month and for that I have to pay there travel agent GRANDLOTUS TRAVELING AGENCY MALAYSIA... Please help me by giving me the proper information regarding there intention..." (For the full story on the Petronas job email scam, click here.)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Asian Tourism Industry Booms Despite Global Recession


LIV RABAN, A UK TRAVEL AND BUSINESS WRITER, WAS KIND ENOUGH TO WRITE FOR ME A GUEST POST ON THE ON GOING BOOM IN THE ASIAN TOURISM INDUSTRY. Raban writes: "Last week came bearing good news for the Asia-Pacific travel industry. The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) announced on Thursday that in the space of just one year, the number of international arrivals into Asia-Pacific destinations had increased by 10 per cent. This is a huge climb in such a short space of time, especially at a time when so many visitor countries are facing increased financial hardship and austerity measures..." (For the full story on the Asian tourism boom, click here.)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Watch Out for Travel Club Scams


EMILY GREEN FROM COPY FOR BYLINES WAS KIND ENOUGH TO WRITE FOR ME A GUEST POST ON THE DANGER OF TRAVEL CLUB SCAMS. Since I am an inverterate deal seeker and also a little paranoid, I felt compelled to publish the piece! Green writes: "Vacations can cost a pretty penny. Nowadays many companies offer promotions and travel deals that allow vacationers to catch a deal on a trip. This comes in handy whether you're looking to save money on a hotel, a cruise, a honeymoon or getaway, or even if you're looking to save some dough on business travel..." (For the full story on how you can avoid being scammed, click here.)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Eastwood, Sydney, NSW (A Little Piece of Korea, Surrounded by the Australian Bush)


AT THE WEEKEND I WAS AT MY BROTHER'S HOUSE IN EPPING IN NORTH-WEST SYDNEY, AT A REMISSION PARTY, WHEN I TOLD MY BROTHER'S PART-CHINESE NEIGHBOUR THAT I HAD JUST COMPLETED A 10-YEAR LIFE IN JAPAN. The neighbour asked me if I missed Japan, and I said I surely did. "You should go to Eastwood, then; it's just down the road," he replied, a gleam in his eye. "It's like Chinatown, except it's full of Koreans. It might remind you of Japan... people eating and shopping for good Asian food." A few days later, reading Murdoch's local rags, I discovered that Eastwood's Rowe Street and Railway Parade were listed among Sydney's "ethnic eat streets", suburbs which the NSW Government wanted to exploit to promote international food tourism. Since I have always been a fan and promoter of ethnic enclaves, I knew I had to go down there, and check it out. The next day, I was in Eastwood... (For the full story on what I discovered, click here.)

Korean hangul and Chinese signs line the mid morning streets of Eastwood, in Sydney's north-west.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What You Can Learn About Yourself as a Dater (By Looking at the People You Date)


ANDY BURKE FROM WOMEN DATING MEN WAS KIND ENOUGH TO WRITE A GUEST POST FOR ME, ON HOW TO BECOME A BETTER DATER BY STUDYING PAST MISTAKES. Burke writes: "If you're blaming everyone but yourself for your dating failures, it's time to take an internal look at why your love life is going awry. Instead of putting the blame on your dates, take these tips on what you can do to improve your dating life by some simple self-reflection..." (For the full story on what you can learn about yourself as a dater by looking at the people you date, click here.)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Malaysians Fail to Get into Harvard for Second Year Running


DESPITE RECORD RESULTS IN THE LOCAL SIJIL PELAJARAN MALAYSIA (SPM) EXAMS, MALAYSIAN STUDENTS HAVE FAILED TO GAIN ADMISSION INTO THE WORLD'S MOST PRESTIGIOUS UNIVERISTY, THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER REPORTED TODAY. Harvard Universityís selection panel chief for Malaysia, Datuk Dr Goh Cheng Teik, said that not only did no Malaysian student receive an offer letter to attend the prestigious institution, none were apparently even good enough to make it to the interview rounds.

"This comes after a controversy erupted over the quality of Malaysian education when Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin pointed to a World Economic Forum report to claim that Malaysians had a higher standard of education compared to that in some advanced countries," the Insider's Lee Wei Lian wrote. "Opposition lawmaker Tony Pua rubbished Muhyiddin's claims, pointing to another international study -- the PISA 2009+ -- that showed Malaysian students lagged far behind western nations in terms of literacy, mathematics and scientific understanding..." (For a further insight into Malaysian education and universities, click here.)

Sunday, April 7, 2012

JPA Scholarships: A Billion Ringgit Throwaway?


WITH APPLICATIONS FOR JPA SCHOLARSHIPS OPENING TOMORROW, LOYARBUROK HAS PUBLISHED A TIMELY ARTICLE CRITICISING THE METHOD BY WHICH SCHOLARSHIPS ARE AWARDED. "Whoever rules the Government in future, itís imperative that JPAís overseas scholarship policy be revised," concludes the article's author, Hafidzi Razali. "Straight Aís in SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) alone donít equate to the excellence deserving of golden (yes, itís that expensive) opportunities abroad. Overseas institutions too, arenít necessarily exceptional just because theyíre located in the US or UK where hallowed institutions like Stanford, Harvard, and Oxford are found. More importantly, a more refined approach will ensure meritocracy at its best, while improving the standard of our local institutions with billions saved as well as a better pool of students to choose from..." (For more news on Malaysian education and scholarships, click here.)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Oxley Tower, a New Development in Singapore


I GOT AN EMAIL FROM A GENTLEMAN CALLED WILLIAM CHOO THE OTHER DAY REGARDING A NEW DEVELOPMENT IN SINGAPORE, THE OXLEY TOWER. While not strictly Vietnam related, I thought it was still relevant to this blog, as it kind of illustrated, once again, that Asia is where it is at when it comes to high rise towers. Over in Tokyo, where I used to live, looms the Sky Tree. Singapore has its share of great towers too. "Conveniently located within walking distance of Tanjong Pagar and Raffles Place MRTs," Choo's email read, "Oxley Tower is a dream come true for professionals seeking a cosmopolitan lifestyle right in the heart of the CBD. The stunning 32-storey office/shopping commercial development consists of a 3-storey podium, 29 Storey Tower and three Basement Car Parks. Business owners can have quick access to their offices, supplies, vendors, partners; as well as F&B, entertainment joints and top-notch recreational haunts such as Clarke Quay and Marina Bay Sands. One can also commute conveniently via major expressways like the CTE, KPE & ECP, which are just round the bend... (For the full story about Oxley Tower in Singapore, click here.)

The Oxley Tower rises from the streets and suburbs of inner Singapore.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Improved Performance in IT/ITES Services Boosts Demand for Residential Properties (in Chennai, India)


INCREASED JOB SECURITY IN THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT) AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ENABLED SERVCIES (ITES) ARE LIKELY TO HELP SPUR DEMAND FOR RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES IN CHENNAI, ACCORDING TO LOCAL MEDIA REPORTS. Property sales in Chennai rose in the final quarter of 2011 on increased buyer interest, a trend that was followed in most Indian metros. Over the past year (2011), by contrast, residential sales in Mumbai dropped by 28 per cent. Interestingly, the preferred size for 3BHK apartments has also increased since the end of the recession. Jones Lang LaSalle India's residential services head for Chennai, Siva Krishnan, claims this is down to an improvement in the performance of IT and ITES industries. "Over the last 12 months, it has become increasingly evident that Chennaiís residential real estate market is significantly dependent on the IT/ITES sectors," Mr Krishnan told City Express last month. "With employment stability in these sectors looking a lot better now than it did in 2010, demand for homes has now reached a comfortable and dependable growth trajectory from which developers are taking their market cues." (For more on the Chennai real estate market, click here.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How to Deal with a Bad Date


ERICA St. CLAIRE FROM CATHOLIC SINGLES DATING SITES WAS KIND ENOUGH TO WRITE FOR ME A GUEST POST ON THE SUBJECT OF BAD DATES, AND IT IS APPROPRIATE FOR ME TO PUBLISH THE POST TODAY, WHICH IS OF COURSE SAINT VALENTINE'S DAY. "If you're single and in the process of dating, you might have enough bad dates under your belt to write a horror story - or maybe even a series," the article reads. "And sure, bad dates are expected to happen from time to time... but when they do, there's no doubt that they leave you feeling awkward, disappointed and maybe even questioning the entire human race as you swear never to go on another date again. So the next time that you're on a date that would be described just about as far away from 'good' as possible, be sure to keep the following tips in mind for dealing with it..." (For the full story, click here.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Are You Ready (For the Social Business Revolution?)


COMPANIES AND ORGANIZATIONS WILL BE INCREASINGLY FORCED TO EMBRACE SOCIAL BUSINESS AND IMPORT THE 'WISDOM OF THE CROWDS' INTO THEIR INTERNAL OPERATIONS AFTER IBM'S LANDMARK LOTUSPHERE 2012 CONFERENCE, HELD LAST MONTH, RADICALLY LOWERED THE BARRIERS TO ADOPTING COLLABORATIVE TECHNOLOGIES. While social media has become the buzz term of the year, it makes sense that no enterprise can succeed socially unless it becomes a social business internally. A survey conducted by IBM last year found that, indeed, most companies were failing in their social media strategies. But as Gartner analysts have pointed out: "By 2014, refusing to communicate with customers via social channels will be as harmful as ignoring emails or phone calls is today..." (For the full social business story, click here.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Full Time Writer/Researcher Needed in Malaysia



I RECEIVED AN EMAIL YESTERDAY FROM A MALAYSIAN GENTLEMAN WHO SAID HE IS LOOKING FOR EXTRAPRIATES TO WORK AS FULL-TIME WRITERS/RESEARCHERS. The email read: "Researcher and writer is needed full time to research on:
  • a) Malaysia's top CEO and their success stories.
  • b) Malaysia's Top Brand success stories, philosophy.
  • c) Industry competitiveness Report.
  • d) Highlights of corporate growth.
  • e) Business premise special report.
  • f) Issues in malaysia's supply chain management
.
"Report will be published as columns /articles/special report in Malaysian newspapers and Blog." (For more details about this job, click here.)

header">Monday, January 16, 2012

Cattle Station Hopping, in Cape York Peninsula, Queensland




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By Robert Sullivan. Contact me by email: coderot@gmail.com. Visit my profile.  
phone: (0422) 204-477 (AUSTRALIA)

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