We have 24 hours a day… that is, as long as one is still breathing. One third of that time is spent in rest and unconsciousness. We have no choice here, for sleep is a necessity. Another third of the day is for food, play, social, learning etc. That leaves us with eight hours. We only have a third of our lives to build our worldly empires.
Belgians are well-informed people. There are awareness campaigns with topics ranging from A to Z. In the years I have lived in this country, I have been convinced and participated in multiple programs such as alcohol free month, soft plastic recycling, zero waste lifestyle, low-impact lifestyle, bike instead of drive option, save a meal from your local business and so on and so forth!
What if these kind of awareness campaigns also play out in the bigger nations? Would the impact be more significant? Let’s assume 50% of Belgians recycle one plastic bottle a week. That is 5.5 million plastic bottles recycled in that period. If the same conditions are true in Malaysia, the nation of 28 million citizens (2010 census), now estimated at almost 33 million citizens, will be able to achieve the same quota in less than three days! The numbers will be staggering in China, or the United States. Imagine the improvements in cities like Kota Kinabalu or Kuala Lumpur if only ten percent of the residents choose a low-impact lifestyle.
One may wish…
Yesterday, I received a notification from my bank announcing yet another savings account interest rate reduction, effective the first of September. I do understand that this has much to do with the upcoming recession and the overall slowdown of the world’s economies. But mind you, this is the same bank that have emailed me several times in the past, encouraging me to open an investment account with them.
I have been shown graphs and projections of how my money will almost certainly grow in the investment account, and how sorry my savings account balance will be in comparison. If the investment department of this financial institution is so confident, why is it not using my savings to invest in things that pay better returns, thus making money for both of us? Instead, I was prompted with all sorts of marketing tricks, and lured with small cash gifts. There has been quite some efforts on their part to make me move my money from savings to investment.
Again, why can they not just use my savings (or part of it), invest and make profit, charge a small commission, and then pay me better interests?! I am not smarter than a financial institution, so there is no way I am sticking my head out into the chaotic free markets. So…what the heck?
I started using Too Good To Go a week ago. Yesterday, I bought my second surprise bag of grocery. The economical advantage is obvious because I am paying only a third of the cost of food I receive. The environmentally aware part of me is proud to be saving some food from being toss away. Admittedly, there is a teeny tiny part of my brain that is telling me that this is not a perfect deal. I am quite aware that I am consuming more, and of things that I usually do not have on my grocery list. I am eating more because I do not want to waste any of the expiring food.
So yeah, I know that the €3.99 I pay is the thin line separating me from a true dumpster diver!
It was the year 1993…
A cousin, my younger sister and I will be spending the year in college, completing the first half of a US twinning program to Western Michigan University. The days in lively Petaling Jaya were filled with interesting college lessons, friends and many fun experiences. By the end of the year, my cousin and I flew off to Kalamazoo, Michigan to start a new semester in January of 1994.
At 22, I experienced my first long-distance flight crossing the Pacific Ocean. This will be my first time in America. Encountering my first Michigan winter. I shall not see my country, my parents and my two younger brothers till after graduation.
At 22, we live, learn, explore and achieve things in this world of ours! Sadly, life (and death) do not usually come with a fixed schedule. To the 22 year-old cyclist Bjorg, ride in peace, Matchbox…
The Chinese Yuan was purposely allowed to devalue to its lowest level since a decade ago. All this because of a stupid and ongoing American Chinese trade war…
Twenty-four hours ago, the EUR/USD exchange was at 1.1096 and today this particular exchange rate is at the 1.1210 point.
Big economies which depend on each other, should not be getting themselves into ridiculous quarrels.
I have survived yesterday’s dry heat which hit 40°C by mid afternoon. At bedtime, I only managed to fall asleep with the fan blowing over me. I woke up at 2.30am and moved myself and the fan to the guestroom. With the window wide opened (at this point, I did not care about mosquitoes), I slept till 5am. Belgian news keep calling this tropical heat, believe me, it is not. This is more like the desert heat which I have experienced in Las Vegas.
Today’s maximum temperature is 30°C. On top of that, it is a bit humid. Now, that is tropical heat. Am I crazy to be looking forward to this weekend’s rainstorms and plummeting temperatures?!
Also, I now know the average price of a decent mobile air-conditioning.
$1000 * 2.30% = $23.00
At exchange rate EUR to USD 1.12:
€892.86 * 0.25% = €2.23 = $2.50
Mutual fund option of 3% delivers:
€892.86 * 3.00% = €26.76 = $30.00
At exchange rate USD to MYR 4.1142:
RM4114.24 * 2.90% = RM119.31 = $29.00
That is the record breaking temperature in a French city today! Boy, I hope to God that I shall never have to endure anything near that here in my own home. I do not think this house is capable of dealing with that kind of heat. Everything is rather exposed here. There is no basement to hide in, no air-conditioning to cool things down, no bath, no pond, no big shady tree. At this moment, my only backup plan is De Gavers.
The above numbers are significant to me. These are the years I have spent on different continents. Twenty eight years in Asia. Nine years in North America, and finally the last eleven years in Europe.
What will my next adventures be?!