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.

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

cropped-2009-biathlon-sea-swim.jpg

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

Melbourne Half Marathon 2008

Berno-MCG-2008-Melbourne-Half-Marathon
Three weeks ago, I was back in Melbourne to take part in one of my favourite runs – the Melbourne Half Marathon. Last year, Adam also took part in the same event, how fast time flies. Once again, I finally overtook him along St Kilda road (a repeat of last year’s performanc, along the same road) and led all the way to the finish line :)

Berno-St-Kilda-Rd-2008-Melbourne-Half-Marathon Adam-Berno

This year’s timing:2 hours and 14 secs

Get a Taste of Singapore in Melbourne – Singapore Day 2008

<Berno-Singlish-Mode>

Wanna meet Singapore’s number (Legal insert: independent *) one funi-est contractor – Phua Chu Kang and family (think Singaporean Borat with a touch of class). Er, got Dick Lee too.

Wanna sample real Singaporean dishes such as – Hokkien Mee, Chilli Crab, Ice Kachang, Chendol, Roti Prata (not Roti Canai – that’s across the Causeway to Malaysia)?

Then hor, you need to head down to this year’s Singapore Day 2008 happening on 4 October 2008, where else but one of the most livable cities in the world – Melbourne, Australia. Register lah, can chope ^ free goody bag leh!

You know huh, if I’m back in AU, I will surely sign up and attend this event. Shelvia and I will have a field day enjoying our meals with all the sambal! Round up Shannon, Adam, Raf, Dhaminda, Andrea, Luke, Robert and see everyone go red with all the spicy food during a cool Melbourne spring day.

* bo pian lah, Ah Beng also need to tok law, mah. This event is organised by cheng hu (government).
^ reserve

</ Berno-Singlish-Mode>

2008 Annual World Most Livable Cities Ranking by Monocole

1. Copenhagen, Denmark
2. Munich, Germany
3. Tokyo, Japan
4. Zurich, Switzerland
5. Helsinki, Finland
6. Vienna, Austria
7. Stockholm, Sweden
8. Vancouver, Canada
9. Melbourne, Australia
10. Paris, France
11. Sydney, Australia
12. Honolulu, Hawaii
13. Madrid, Spain
14. Berlin, Germany
15. Barcelona, Spain
16. Montreal, Canada
17. Fukuoka, Japan
18. Amsterdam, Netherlands
19. Minneapolis, United States
20. Kyoto, Japan

Key: Green – City I visited, Blue – City I wish to visit one day

Analysis
I’m surprised to see no mention of any east coast cities like Boston. Also there is a heavy gearing towards European cities but not totally without merit. Good to see Australia retained two spots within the list through Melbourne (#9) and Sydney (#11). With such survey, the devil is in the details (ranking methodology). My top concerns for these two cities to retain it’s liveable status are the housing affordability and the state of public infrastructure.

Related link: A Singaporean reporter response to this listing (mypaper, SPH)

Monocle is my current fav mag read after I discovered it in Melbourne in Mar 08. The articles are original, well read and offers a diverse coverage within affairs, business, culture, design and excellent editoral (most important component to me). I also appreciate it’s compact size and excellent colour print.

A truly well made magazine. Check out the distribution link to see if it is distributed in your country.

Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne Trip Photos

Last month, I went back Australia to facilitate my manager’s return to work. It was good opportunity to spend some time with my key academics, good friends in DPE, took part in the Balmoral Ocean swim, Boy Charlton Biathlon series, Canberra 10k and caught up with my uni mates.

During that time, I had several opportunities to engage in leisure outdoor sports due to the cool early autumn weather (which typically includes flashes of SUMMER too! Yippe!).

Below are links to the different sets of photos taken during this trip.

Chatswood Apartment (set)

Farewell Nick Ellery (Proud to witness the conclusion of his successful internship, set)

Visited the world’s second oldest National Park – The Royal National
Park, set)

Went on a photo safari around Manly Beach, Sydney Harbour, the Sydney Opera House and
the Botanic Gardens, set)

Went back Melbourne for the weekend and caught up with my uni mates (set)

Took part in the Canberra Marathon Eve 10k. Came in at 53:58 (set)

Business Travel in Australia – Accommodation and Mobile Broadband Internet

Next time if you are conducting business travel in Australia, I would recommend Astra Apartments (serviced apartment between Sydney and Melbourne) and Fat Free Fone Company (mobile broadband internet) services.

Astra Apartment (Chatswood)
During my recent stint back in Australia, I stayed in their Chatswood apartment. The location was close to Microsoft office (North Ryde/ Macquarie Park) area and conveniently located among the Chatswood shops. The apartment was generally well maintained and decorated in a sensible and modern fashion. Their charges were reasonable (compared to long term hotel rates) and staff member was generally responsive and helpful.

IMG_0102 IMG_0041

Fat Free Fone Company

Fat Free Fone Company offers fixed line, mobile phone and mobile broadband rental services in Australia.

I needed Internet access after office hours and during inter-state trips and found their services fairly reliable. It cost 200 AUD p/ month for 4GB of data (caveat: upstream and downstream usage INCLUSIVE) per month. It works out just under $7 p/day, much cheaper compared to hotel internet charges, accompanied with the flexibility of a short term nationwide mobile broadband rental.

I am not in any commercial arrangement with the above mentioned companies. These are my personal comments and should not be transmitted beyond my blog.

Singapore Day 2008 in Melbourne, Australia

singapore-day-2008-melbourne-australia.jpg

(BERNO: 03 Sep 2008: I have posted a new entry on Melbourne’s Singapore Day 2008 with the latest program listing and registration details.)

Following the 2007 Singapore Day in NYC success, the Overseas Singaporean Unit is organising this year’s Singapore Day in Melbourne (Sidney Myer Music Bowl) on 4 Oct 08.

Based on last year’s news article and this personal blog post narration (Part 1 and 2), it looks like a fun free day all of all Singaporean food, news, Gah-men people, fun and quirks. Check out http://www.singaporeday.sg/ for more information and to register for updates.

I wonder if the Melbourne event would have getai singing too? I bet the ang moh will love it :)