Melbourne, the world’s most livable city – 2011 Global Liveability Survey

Melbourne won the 2011 title of most livable city, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual survey. (See BBC’s Melbourne edges out Vancouver to top liveable city list)

The result came as a bit of a surprise. Since my university days, I have always known Melbourne to be a great place to live – an open, lively, diverse, sporty and cultural society, access to good quality fresh produce, decent infrastructure, a decent rate of economic growth, a variety of connections to the rest of the world by plane.

However, over the years, my impression that this great city was slipping down the ranks because of the huge population increase, lack of affordable housing, overstretched public health systemovercrowded public transport and ageing infrastructure and the  exceptional rising cost of living. Unfortunately, there have been a lack of real political leadership (from both sides of politics) at the state/ federal level after years of white paper churning. Just asked any average Melbournian about the state of the city? Australia has become a really unaffordable place to live or visit.

The only explanation that I could thought of to why these worsening issues did not affect the city’s overall rating is probably because their target audiences are those really affluent people who don’t really depend on the city’s crumbling public, over-utilised infrastructure or services.

Be still, and know that I am God

This month, Fr Edward Wood from the Blessed Sacrament Community, Melbourne wrote a succulent piece about having a quiet moment with God in the Eucharist entitled “Stillness and the Eucharist: Heart speaks to heart in the Eucharistic Presence“.

He described a straight forward approach on how to enter into the proper state of mind to engage God and mediate on his divine presence.  We might need to feel the urge to speak and “to be thinking grand thoughts” but actually we do not. For God’s presence is for you and in you … for in the stillness you will recognise him.

Six Distinguished Alumni Describe how Monash University Influenced their Careers

When I graduated from Monash University in 2004, I received more than just a Computing education. The experiences and opportunities in Monash opened my eyes and spurred my desire to understand a larger and interconnected world of knowledge and disciplines. My time in Monash has also encouraged me to boldy pursue my interests and passion which is the manner I want to live my life.

I thought the distinguished alumni featured in this videos perfectly described the capability and potential of this young and fine institution – Monash University.

Related link: Honouring our distinguished alumni (Monash University)

A General Health Advice from the Chaser (War on Everything) ABC

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- Picture taken near North Melbourne station

Remember the Chaser’s 2007 APEC Summit Osama security stunt (see youtube video)? The new season of the Chaser (War on Everything) returns on ABC1 in midst of the swine flu (H1N1 influenza) pandemic.

As a general advertised health alert, all fans and new viewers are strongly encouraged to wear those little blue facial masks and stay at home especially on Wed, 27 May for further updates.

2009 IEEE Medal for Excellence in Scalable Computing – Assoc Prof Raj Buyya, Melbourne University

When I lived in Australia, Assoc Prof Raj Buyya (Melbourne University) is one of the few academics I knew who is a true research leader and teacher in the field of grid computing. He was a humble and generous man, ready to share his passion, knowledge and time with anyone who is keen to learn.

I congratulate him on being the 2009 IEEE Medal of Excellence (Scalable Computing) recipient.

Related link: 2009 IEEE Medal for Excellence in Scalable Computing awarded to Professor Rajkumar Buyya (IEEE Technical Committee on Scalable Computing)

Update of my fav podcast feeds: Business, Humour, Social Commentary and News

Since the economic downturn I have almost stopped buying CDs and moved onto podcasts for my aural stimulation. An audio diet laced with humour, news, business and commentary. Here is a list of my absolute must-hear feeds:

1. Hamish & Andy – My fav commute-time comedy duo from Melbourne. Give these guys a try and I reckon you will become a fan too.

2. American Public Media’s Marketplace. Great way to get an summary of Wall Street overnight performance and news.

3. NPR’s Planet Money. How to make sense of all these news from the Wall Street to the White House.

4. Robert Reich’s Commentary. Prof Robert Reich teaches public policy in Berkeley and served as Labour Secretary during the Clinton administration

5. The Story is about “people whose lives are intersecting with significant issues in the news.” The programs has previous discussed about how older people coped when their unemployment benefits ran out (foreclosures), how our past can come back and haunt us via Facebook (Facebook), and how good people can be lured and trapped in money laundering (white collar crimes).

6. BBC’s World Business Daily. An audio documentary of the world of business.

7. ABC’s 7.30 report (video). A snapshot of current issues affecting Australia.

8. London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) public lectures and events. Perfect if you enjoy a detailed discussion of the world around us.

9. Sky News Business Report. My 25mins update on the Australian economy and AUD performance.

10. The Gruen Transfer (free video vodcast) by Wil Anderson (now back for Season 2)! The Gruen Transfer is about the science of advertising served with a dead wit and humour.

Does anyone know of an informational podcast feed from Singapore? It’s really difficult to find a Singapore business or social commentary podcast. I would really listen to a Singapore Mandarin podcast after MM Lee is now reminding us the importance of speaking Mandarin.

Tokyo, Osaka and Singapore Among the Top 10 most expensive cities in the world: EIU Report

The 2009 Economist Intelligence Unit’s cost of living survey reveals that Tokyo (1), Osaka (2) and Singapore (10) ranked among the Top 10 most expensive cities.

2009 EIU World’s Top 1o Most Expensive Cities Ranking

1. Tokyo, Japan
2. Osaka, Japan
3. Paris, France
4. Copenhagen, Denmark
5. Oslo, Norway
6. Zurich, Switzerland
7. Frankfurt, Germany
8. Helsinki, Finland
9. Geneva, Switzerland
10. Singapore, Singapore

35. Sydney, Australia

39. Melbourne, Australia

Little comfort for those who are out of a job or struggling with lower income.

Related links:

My 2009 Calendar of Sporting Events: Fun runs, long distance, biathlon and triathlon

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This page (mainly for my personal record keeping) will be regularly updated as I sign up (confirmed) for more events.

  1. 22 Feb 09- Singapore Tribob Sprint Aquathlon (750m swim, 5km run)
  2. 7 Mar 09- Singapore Biathlon (1500m swim, 10k run) Absent
  3. 24 May 09 – PAssion Run 2009 (15k run)
  4. 30 May 09- Adidas Sundown Marathon (42k run): Timing (), Photos(Here), Report()
  5. 28 Jun 09- Kuala Lumpur Marathon (tentative)
  6. 1 Australian race (tentative): Geelong Half Marathon (19 Apr)/  Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon (17 May)/ Gold Coast Marathon (5 July)/ Sydney Running Festival (20 Sep)/ Melbourne Marathon (11 Oct)
  7. Singapore Army Half Marathon – tentative
  8. Borneo Marathon 2009 (11 Oct) -tentative
  9. OSIM Singapore Triathlon – tentative
  10. Angkor Wat International Half Marathon 2009 (6 Dec) – tentative

Help the Australia Bushfire Victims by Donating to the Red Cross Appeal

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The 2009 Victorian Bushfire season’s death toll is expected to claim more 200 lives (as at 11 Feb 09), making it Australia’s worst natural diaster in 110 years.

As the firefighters continue their brave effort to contain the fires, thousands of survivals who lost their loved ones, pets and homes now faces an even tougher task ahead. Please consider a donation to the Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal to assist these individuals and communities to get back on their feet.

Your kind donation will marks your solidarity with these victim and let them  know that they are not suffering alone.

Click on the link to make a credit card donation to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal 2009 (Red Cross).

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Related links:

The pictures are not taken by me. Please click on them to see the enlarged credits.

Re-Discovering the Podcast Joys in 2009

Happy new year to everyone reading my blog! I hope you had a ball over Christmas and the New Yeak and slowly getting back into the daily grind!

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It’s a new year and I recently re-discovered the joys of podcast, thanks to my gorgeous 4 months old Nokia N78. Prior to my N78, my last podcast (G’day World) was back in 2006. Returning back to the Nokia platform is such a delight and dare I say a phone almost designed for human use. I love my phone but I will keep my praise for another day. Listening to podcast is fantastic and time efficient way for everyone to catch up with the news, commentary and hopefully get some laughs during your commute.

If you share my weird interests in the following: a) humour and satire b) technology c) business and economics, there were an incredible amount of great podcast content available. Here are a selection from my podcast feed. The links goes to their website so that you can check out the content before you subscribe to the feed.

  • Humour and satire

Hamish and Andy Radioshow – Podcast sized of my favourite Melbourne radio comedic duo syndicated across Australia and Kiwi-land. (Good stuff always comes from Melbourne)

Friday Night Comedy – BBC Radio 4 – If you are fan of British humour. Actually laughing at the Poms, ain’t too difficult.

The Unger Report- NPR- Humorist Brian Unger takes on the pressing issues of the moment.

  • Technology

Technology Podcast – NPR

Tech Weekly – Guardian

  • Business and Economics

Peter Day’s World of Business – BBC World Service

Business Daily – BBC World Service

Planet Money – NPR – Making sense of the American economy

Color of Money – NPR – Making sense of your personal finances especially during these trying times

Happy listening!