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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Looking Back 2010 Before Setting Financial Goals for Year 2011

The year 2010 has almost come to an end. Like I mentioned just a year back in Setting Financial Goals for Year 2010, we should also start setting financial goals for the year 2011. Again the same advice, financial goals are needed so that we can control our day-to-day financial affairs which will be executed by creating and following a budget. Good financial goals are usually realistic and achievable and will give satisfaction to one. Good financial goals also come with good execution plan, without this execution plan, no matter how good financial goals are, these goals will still remain as goal.

However, before moving to the year 2011, let us start looking back on what are the financial goals that we set for the year and gauge the overall performance. For the year 2010, I have set 3 major financial goals:-

  • Continue tithing
  • Clearing 10% debt for both car loan and education loan
  • Stocks portfolio to grow another 20%

Out of the 3 financial goals, two of the goals are to be done habitually - tithing and debt repayment, so the two financial goals are easily achievable with discipline.

I managed to reduce 16% of the car loan balance and 11% of the education loan balance, both of the balance include the interest as well (financial goals only 10%). Besides that, I managed to have realized gain of 30% out of my stocks portfolio and reinvest (financial goal is to grow 20% while the index only up by about 19.3%). Overall it is not a bad year for me.

Disclaimer: This blog post only serve the purpose of updating the financial goals progress which I've set last year, and nothing for show off, which is why I only do a short review rather than posting everything in details.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Blessed Christmas and Happy Holidays

During last year's Christmas, my advice was for everyone to spend wisely and some tips to cut spending without missing the point of celebrating Christmas, which is to give. This year, the advice is still the same, spending wisely during the Christmas. As I was quite busy for the whole preparation, I will be blogging more on financial stuff after this Christmas. So, Blessed Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Financial Bailout

Here is an inspiring story on financial bailout that I get from a forum and thought of sharing it in this blog while planning my financial goals for the year 2011 since for the past two years, we heard a lot of financial bailout, but do we really know what it is and how it works?

I hope the story can provide more knowledge for us on the financial bailout which is happening over the past two years.

It is a slow day in a damp little Irish town. The rain is beating down harshly, and all the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt and everybody lives on credit.

On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the town, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.

The owner gives him some room-keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

The butcher takes the €100 note and rushes down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer. The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of animal feed and fuel.

The guy at the Farmers' Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the friendly neighbourhood pub. The pub owner slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar - who, in spite of facing hard times, has always gladly offered him her ‘services’ on credit.

The hooker then rushes over to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note.

The hotel proprietor quietly replaces the €100 note back on the counter, so that the rich traveler will not suspect anything.

At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, states that none of the rooms are satisfactory, picks up the €100 note, pockets it and leaves town.

No one has produced anything. No one has earned anything. However, the whole town is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism.

And that, dear ladies and gentlemen, is how a basic financial bailout package works!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Waterproof Radio

Some of us rely on radio to sleep our baby, but sometimes it is hard to put the radio around the toddler because he or she will mess around or play with water which will spoil the radio. To avoid the mess, we need to get waterproof radio which can help eliminate the worry of putting the radio next to our baby and then come back only to realized it is broken.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Affordable 1TB Hard Disk

Nowadays hard disk are getting cheaper by the day that is why if you want to build your own desktop, it is better to get at least 1tb hard drive. This is because with medias coming in the HD form, this will takes up a big chunk the the hard disk drive

Monday, November 22, 2010

How The Concept of Insurance Comes About?

Most of the people has at least Buy Life Insurance to protect themselves and to provide coverage to their family members. The basis of insurance is "guarantee against loss" and the concept first started way back in Babylonian times.

Way back the Babylonian times which is around 2100 B.C., the Code of Hammurabi was the first basic insurance policy. This policy was paid by the traders in the form of a loan to guarantee the safe arrival of their goods by caravan. Of course, caravans faced the same kind of perils our transportation industry faces today – like robbery, bad weather and breakdowns.

As history progressed, the needs for insurance increased. The Phoenicians and the Greeks wanted the same type of insurance with their seaborne commerce. The Romans were the first to have burial insurance – people joined burial clubs which paid funeral expenses to surviving family members. In medieval times, the guilds protected their members from loss by fire and shipwreck, paid ransoms to pirates, and provided respectable burials as well as support in times of sickness and poverty.

Of course, you can do some of your research and realize that the progress of insurance has always been the same...the need for a guarantee for protection.

Today, insurance has become very organize. If you are studying Actuarial science, you will have a lot of headache with figures...something that don't happen in the past where Life Insurance No Exam required for understanding.

For those of you in the United States of America, 1-800-939-0710 is a toll free number where clients that are looking for Term Life Insurance in United States can get a free insurance quote.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Advantages of Using Credit Cards

Credit cards as we all know is one of the payment method that we can use when we pay for goods and services. The issuer of the card creates a revolving account and grants a line of credit to the consumer (or the user) from which the user can borrow money for payment to a merchant or as a cash advance to the user.

As discussed earlier in Credit Card - Friend or Foe (Part 1) and Credit Card - Friend or Foe (Part 2), credit cards are like fire or water whereby when it is used under our control, it can be friend and if we lose control of it, it will become nightmare which could be fatal. There are many people who lose control of the credit card usage ended up going to the pit of debt and needed a lot of financial assistance from many different sides.

Let us discuss about the advantages of using credit cards. The first advantage of using credit cards is you do not have to bring along a lot of cash when you go shopping or dining outside. This is indeed very apparent advantage that the credit cards have over cash given the high crime rate in some of the places in this country.

One can always argue that we can always use debit card instead, but this is where the second advantage of using credit cards come about. By using debit cards, it means that we are using the money we have in our savings account where as if use credit cards, we will be using money in one month time. This is also the danger of using credit cards if you do not know how to exert proper usage and control.

Spending the money from future is a good way to hedge inflation, but at the same time it will be the first step to step into the pit of debt. A good way to avoid getting deeper into the pit of debt is to have the cash to pay the balance of the credit card in full and not the minimum payment that is stated in the statement. Once you start paying only the minimum payment, this is where the debt will go uncontrollable. The way I use to ensure that I have sufficient money to pay the credit card is keeping track on the amount whenever I swipe this plastic - even coming down to every penny that I swipe. I mean if you swipe 23.20 now and you consider the transaction as 23, imagine every 10 times of the same amount swiped will lead to additional 2 - not much but when it snowballs, I cannot really imagine how much the amount will totaled up to, could be huge.

Anyway, let's go back to the advantages of using credit cards. The next advantage of using credit cards is the loyalty reward points and the cash rebates. Some credit cards not only offer loyalty reward points or cash rebates, but free gifts if swiped during promotional period. In fact, I got my free Ipod Shuffle by using credit cards as well.

Think I gotta sign off for now and discussed about the advantages of using credit cards in some other time. Watching Jackie Chan's Wheels on Meals.

Monday, November 8, 2010

How To Be Financially Savvy

I read a newspaper article in The Sun regarding the lack of financial literacy among the Malaysians. The survey done by MoneyTree (M) Sdn Bhd shows that many Malaysians are not financially savvy and have no retirement plan or know how to manage their finances.

This does not come in surprise to me as I have come across some people who has no knowledge on this subject. However, financial literacy is an important aspect of life and with the knowledge on how to manage the personal finance properly, one can actually plans out his or her own retirement plan.

To gain more knowledge in financial, one need not have to be a Degree holder or a financial analysts - as a matter of fact, reading materials on financial management can educate one in this aspect. Magazines like Personal Money or even Reader's Digest will have more than sufficient information on the basic financial knowledge that one will ever needs.

Let us not talk about investment first, as to be financially savvy not necessary means that you can invest or knowing the investment terms like stocks and commodities.

One of the most important terms in order to be financially savvy is budget. Budget literally means the plan on how to spend your income - sounds simple, but having the discipline to follow the budget is another matter.

Many of us actually failed to plan a proper budget due to a number of reasons. One of it is because there are ups and downs in our monthly expenses and lack of the information on what is our expected income in like maybe next year due to increment. Besides that, many people are actually put off by the fact that there are some unexpected expenses like medication, friend's wedding, accident and stuff like that. Sometimes or shall I say most of the time, it is due to impulsive shopping nature of one that he or she ended up buying stuff that is not needed.

Budget is important as the budget will be direction on where the money should be going and to be financially savvy, one should really takes some time and plan a proper budget and execute accordingly. A budget without proper execution means nothing as we can all be sitting down writing what we are suppose to spend and then throw the piece of paper into a rubbish bin. Knowing the term without execution is also the same as not a financially savvy person.

Guess I'll stop here right now to watch Stephen Chow's Fight Back to School. Will continue to post in this matter in near future.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What Does the Malaysia 2011 Budget Has In Store For Us?

It has been more than a week since the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak has tabled the 2011 budget for the nation. The 2011 Malaysia Budget is based on the theme Transformation Towards a Developed and High-Income Nation. The budget might seems ambition, but does it really relevant to most of the rakyat (citizen) of Malaysia?

From the long list of the Malaysia Budget for the Year 2011: Transformation Towards a Developed and High-Income Nation, there are actually few things that is actually relevant to us. True that some of the construction work like the construction of the highways or greater KL MRT will provide better transportation system in the near future, but will it really ease the burden or the citizen? We are not sure about that.

Anyway, back to the topic What Does the Malaysia 2011 Budget Has In Store for Us, one of the thing that I see that most Malaysians might be anticipating is the introduction of GST (Goods and Services Tax), but the government has choose to postpone the introduction of GST. This might be a political play, however, the government has increased the current service tax rate from 5% to 6%. It is surprise to see that when the Government "promise" the rakyat the GST rate will be lower, the Government actually defers it and increase the current service tax.

Toll rates will not be increased over the next five years which seems like a good news to most Malaysians, especially those staying in KL area, but this will also mean that it is the Government using the taxpayers' money for this subsidy although I do not see any justification for PLUS to keep raising the toll rates every now and then? Or the Government will push towards PLUS privatisation? We never know.

There are actually other goodies that is in store for us in this budget which I will discussed in the next post, but overall it seems to me that this is just another budget like others from previous years.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Forbes 400: The Richest People in America - Part 2

This post continues from Forbes 400: The Richest People in America

3. Larry Ellison
Net Worth: $27 billion
Source: Oracle
Residence: Woodside, Calif.
Age: 66

The Oracle chief brazenly chastised Hewlett-Packard for ousting its former head Mark Hurd over his relationship with a marketing contractor. Then he turned around and hired Hurd weeks later to replace Oracle's co-president, Charles Phillips, who resigned at the same time. HP sued Hurd, prompting Ellison to say that HP was making it "virtually impossible" for the 2 companies to do business together. (The two parties recently settled). Oracle, which has acquired 66 companies over the years, figured out a way to turn a profit on its latest big buy, Sun Microsystems, in 2010. One of the highest-paid executives in the country, Ellison has gotten $960 million in compensation in the past 5 fiscal years, mostly from the exercise of stock options; he recently cut his salary to $1. Ellison's fortune is almost entirely tied up in Oracle; he also owns a $580 million stake in Web business-software outfit Netsuite and is one of the largest private land owners in celebrity haven Malibu, Calif. Ellison has 2 houses in the Bay Area: Japanese-style compound in Silicon Valley and bay-view mansion in San Francisco. An avid yachtsman, Ellison spent a decade and over $100 million on his quest for the America's Cup, which he finally won in February. He beat his Swiss rival Ernesto Bertarelli, thanks in part to a trimaran with a rigid main sail longer than a Boeing 747's wingspan. Now he's deciding where to take the next Cup, said to favor backyard, in San Francisco. He intends to give 95% of wealth to charity.

4. Christy Walton & Family
Net Worth: $24 billion
Source: Wal-Mart
Residence: Jackson, Wy.
Age: 55

The widow of John Walton inherited her wealth after the former Green Beret and Vietnam war medic died in an airplane accident near his home in Wyoming 2005. She got an extra bump in her fortune because of her late husband's early investment in First Solar; shares up more than 400% since 2006 initial public offering. But bulk still comes from her shares in Wal-Mart, the retailer founded by her father-in-law Sam Walton and his brother James in 1962. Today Wal-Mart has sales of $405 billion, and employs more than 2.0 million people. The philanthropist supports museums, education and organic gardening.

5. Charles Koch (tie)
Net Worth: $21.5 billion
Source: manufacturing, energy
Residence: Wichita, Kan.
Age: 74

Since inheriting control of the refining business of his dad, Frederick, in 1967, Charles Koch has expanded the Wichita conglomerate more than 100-fold to $100 billion in revenues; it is now the second-largest private company in the U.S. behind Cargill. Biggest deal to date: The $21 billion purchase of building-products maker Georgia Pacific right before the housing market crashed. Charles and brother David bought out sibs Frederick and William for $790 million in 1983. Each year Charles and David reinvest 90% of profits in the business, with enough left to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into their pet charities and causes, a mix of libertarian think tanks and New York City arts institutions. Most recently they angered California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger by giving $1 million to help efforts to overturn the state's climate change regulations.

5. David Koch (tie)
Net Worth: $21.5 billion
Source: manufacturing, energy
Residence: New York, N.Y.
Age: 70

More gregarious than his brother Charles, David Koch may have made his shrewdest decision in 1983 when he kept his stock in Koch Industries instead of selling out like his brothers William and Frederick, who got about $790 million for their stakes. Since then the company has expanded rapidly and now is worth more than $50 billion; it has interests in pipelines, refineries, Lycra, Dixie Cups. David, who was the Libertarian Party's candidate for vice president in 1980, restricts his political activities now mostly to supporting conservative think tanks and activist organizations. Most recently he and Charles angered California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger by giving $1 million to help efforts to overturn the state's climate change regulations. From his home base in New York City he runs Koch's chemical technology group. He and his wife, Julia, are also active on the charity circuit and have given or pledged $600 million, mostly to cancer research and the arts since 2000; he sits on 26 nonprofit boards.

7. Jim Walton
Net Worth: $20.1 billion
Source: Wal-Mart
Residence: Bentonville, Ark.
Age: 62

Jim is currently chairman and chief executive of family's Arvest Bank; also chairs local newspaper company Community Publishers. Sam Walton's youngest son has served on Wal-Mart's board of directors since brother John's death in 2005. While Wal-Mart's shares are nearly flat over the past year, the 3 children of the founder collected $1.2 billion in dividends. A former clerk, Sam Walton (d.1992) founded Bentonville store with brother James 1962; today Wal-Mart has sales of $405 billion, employs more than 2.1 million people.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Malaysia Budget for the Year 2011: Transformation Towards a Developed and High-Income Nation

Malaysia budget for the year 2011 was tabled by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak earlier today. The 2011 Budget is based on the theme of Transformation Towards a Developed and High-Income Nation and will be centre on four key strategies.

These are the highlights of Budget 2011:

The Govt took into consideration views from the public and private sectors, focus groups, media, 1M blog and lab sessions.

Govt expects 7% growth for Malaysia in 2010 over previous estimate of 6%.

Govt aims to achieve 6% growth in 2011, supported by private investments, expanding 10.2%, private consumption 6.3%, exports 6.7%.

Income per capita will increase 6.1% to RM28,000 while income in terms of purchasing power parity to USD16,000 (RM49,440).

Will emphasise on efforts to transform the nation into a developed plus high-income economy plus sustainable development.

With the theme "Transformation Towards a Developed and High-Income Nation", Budget 2011 will centre on 4 key strategies.

Several PPP projects identified under the 10MP will be implemented in 2011 through private investment of RM12.5bil PPP project: Construction of highways such as the Ampang-Cheras-Pandan Elevated Highway

PPP project: Construction of a 300-megawatt Combined-Cycle Gas Power Plant in Kimanis, Sabah

PPP project: Development of International Islamic University Malaysia Teaching Hospital in Kuantan; Women and Children’s Hospital

Another PPP project identified is the Academic Medical Centre. This project involves private investment of RM2 bil

Greater KL MRT to be implemented from 2011. When completed, public transport utilisation rate is expected to rise to at least 40%

Another major project is the development of the Malaysian Rubber Board land in Sungai Buloh covering an area of 2,680 acres

A new landmark, Warisan Merdeka, is expected to be completed in 2020. It will include a 100-storey tower, the tallest in Malaysia

The Govt will implement bold measures to revitalise the domestic capital market

Efforts will be taken to strengthen Malaysia's position as a premier Islamic capital market

The Govt will provide Entrepreneurship Enhancement Training Programme to train 500 technopreneurs and attract more angel investors

The Malaysian Technology Development Corporation will be provided a startup fund amounting to RM100mil to provide soft loans

To revitalise capital market activities, the Govt will launch a Private Pension Fund in 2011

Existing income tax relief of up to RM6,000 for employees contributions to EPF will extend to Private Pension Fund contributions

A sum of RM857 mil is allocated for local E&E companies to compete at the international level

The Govt will allocate RM146 mil to support the oil, gas and energy industry

The Govt is committed to develop green technology to ensure sustainable development

Pioneer Status, Investment Tax Allowance for energy generation from renewable sources plus energy efficiency activities extended til 31 December 2015

To further encourage ownership of hybrid cars, import duty and excise duty exemption will be extended until 31 December 2011

Tax exemption on income from trading of Certified Emission Reductions certificate to extend until year of assessment 2012.

The Govt will implement the Programme on Blending of Biofuels with Petroleum Diesel (B5 Programme) in June 2011

The Govt will allocate RM3.8bil in 2011 to increase productivity and generate higher returns in the agriculture sector

Infrastructure facilities to be allocated - RM85mil to facilitate construction of hotels and resorts in remote areas

RM3bil eco-nature resort Nexus Karambunai, Sabah, to commence 2011

To support the tourism industry, the Government will allocate RM100mil

The Govt proposes that import duty on approximately 300 goods preferred by tourists and locals, at 5% to 30%, be abolished.

In efforts to propel the palm oil and related products industry, several measures will be implemented

Measures include encouraging replanting activity to replace aged trees with high quality new clones through RM297mil

RM127mil to be allocated to support domestic oleo derivatives companies plus RM23.3m to expand downstream palm oil industries

Multimedia Development Corridor programme is allocated RM119mil. Focus is on creating an innovative digital economy

Import duty and sales tax exemption on broadband equipment are also extended for two years until 2012

The Government proposes that sales tax be exempted on all types of mobile phones

Corridor and regional development will be accelerated. The Government allocates RM850mil for infrastructure support

For Iskandar Malaysia, a sum of RM339mil is allocated.

The Northern Corridor Economic Region is allocated RM133mil.

East Coast Economic Region is allocated RM178mil for projects

For Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy, RM93mil is allocated for facilities

A sum of RM411mil is allocated in 2011 for R&D&C activities

For 2011, a sum of RM71mil is allocated for Special Innovation Unit UNIK

A sum of RM200mil is allocated to purchase creative products such as high quality locally-produced films, dramas and documentaries

The Government proposes that the rate of service tax be increased from 5% to 6%

RM29.3bil is allocated for Ministry of Education, RM10.2bil for Ministry of Higher Education and RM627mil for Ministry of Human Resource

The Govt will establish a Talent Corporation under the Prime Minister’s Office in early 2011

RM6.4bil is allocated for development expenditure to build and upgrade schools, hostels, facilities and equipment

RM213mil is allocated to reward high-performance schools

The Govt will increase pre-school enrolment rate to a targeted 72% by end-2011 through an additional 1,700 classes

The Govt will also strengthen the curriculum and appoint 800 pre-school graduate teachers

RM250mil is allocated for development expenditure to schools: religious, Chinese-type, Tamil national, missionary, Government-assisted

RM576mil is allocated in the form of scholarships for those wishing to further their studies

RM213mil is allocated to enhance proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia, strengthen the English Language

RM20mil is allocated to increase PhD qualified academic staff to 75% in research unis plus to 60% in other higher learning institutions

RM60mil is allocated to further intensify the Industrial Skill Enhancement Programme in State Skills Development Training Centres

The Govt will also allocate RM50mil to the Multimedia Development Corporation to train graduates in ICT

RM474mil is provided to enhance productivity and skills of non-graduates

The 1Malaysia Training Programme will commence in January 2011 with an allocation of RM500mil

RM200mil is allocated to conduct part-time training in the evenings and weekends in selected training centres nationwide

RM200mil from the Human Resources Development Fund to be used by companies to fund specific training programmes for their employees

The Govt will enforce basic minimum wages for security guards, to between RM500 and RM700 a month depending on location

RM30mil is allocated to introduce the Single Mother Skill Incubator Programme and the Prime Entrepreneur and Women Activist

The Govt will provide 40 1Malaysia TASKA to assist women to obtain quality childcare and early education for their children

The Govt will allow flexibility to self-determine fully-paid maternity leave, not exceeding 90 days from the current 60 days

For sports development and management, a sum of RM365mil is allocated to the Ministry of Youth and Sports

To develop football, the Govt will establish a Football Academy in Pahang with RM20mil to produce quality football players

In 2011, the Government will allocate RM1.2 bil to the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development.

The Govt will launch assistance programme to benefit 80,000 disabled individuals with an allocation of RM218mil

Government will extend tax relief of up to RM5,000 to help parents with expenses such as daycare, caretakers & other daily needs

First-time house buyers will be given stamp duty exemption of 50% on instruments of transfer on a house price not exceeding RM350,000

RM6.9bil is allocated to implement basic infrastructure such as water and electricity supply as well as rural roads

Build and upgrade rural roads in Sabah and Sarawak with an allocation of RM2.1bil and RM696mil in Peninsular Malaysia

RM974mil is allocated as price subsidy for padi, fertilisers and padi seeds. RM230mil for production incentives, increasing padi yield

Govt to establish a 1Malaysia Smart Consumer portal to help the rakyat keep abreast with price movements of retail goods.

Effective January 2011, the monthly allowance of Imam will be increased from RM450 to RM750

The monthly allowance for KAFA teachers will be increased to RM800, an increase from RM500, starting Jan 2011

RM100mil is allocated to implement various programmes, including resolving Orang Asli land rights and border settlement issues

Toll rates in four highways owned by PLUS Expressway Berhad will not be raised for the next five years, effective immediately

RM15.2bil is allocated to build new hospitals, increase the number of doctors, nurses, obtain supplies of medicines and equipment

Since 2009, 51 1Malaysia Clinics are in operation. The Government will provide an additional 25 1Malaysia Clinics

RM350mil is allocated to implement various programmes to combat crime, including burglary, motorcycle and car thefts

RM70mil is allocated for programmes with select NGOs to help Govt strengthen family institution and address social ills eg baby dumping

RM1.9bil is allocated to environmental preservation, including implementing the River of Life Programme and KL greening

To assist children, particularly the low-income to excel academically, the 1MDB will provide multi-vitamins for primary school pupils

1MDB will provide RM20mil to the 1Malaysia Youth Fund. This fund will be utilised to instil the 1Malaysia spirit

The Govt agrees to abolish the Competency Level Assessment/PTK and replace with a more suitable evaluation system by June 2011

Civil servants burden in coping with schooling expenses to be reduced by providing a Special Financial Assistance of RM500

RM212bil is allocated for Budget 2011, which is 2.8% higher than the allocation for 2010

RM45.6bil will be allocated for Development Expenditure, RM15.5bil for the social sector

Government revenue collection is estimated to increase 2.3% to RM165.8bil in 2011, up from RM162.1bil in 2010

The deficit for 2011 is expected to further decline to 5.4% of GDP, compared with 5.6% in 2010

So, what do you think of the Malaysia 2011 Budget?

Monday, October 4, 2010


Asia is the region that contained approximately 60% of the world population, which accounts for about 4 billion people. Over the last decade, the economic growth in Asia has been fantastic. This is partly due to the macroeconomic and structural reforms and management as well as the growth seen in emerging China. On average, Asia has recorded a growth of 6% per year. This is quite a remarkable feat as Asia’s share in the global economy is now one third. This economic growth has helped to lift a lot of people out of poverty and improve their livelihood. Today, the leading region in the economic recovery is Asia. All of these are because of the strong fundamentals and quick and forceful policy responses to the crisis implemented by the leaders of the countries. The ability of most Asian countries to respond to the recent crisis is due to the significant structural changes made in Asia’s financial sectors after the 1997/98 crisis.

However, there is still a lot for Asia to learn before emerging as the leader for the post-global crisis economic world. Here are some of the crises that Asia will face in the near future. The rising standard of livings in China and India will eventually lead to a slow down as both the countries are currently providing cheap and amply labour in the region. There are also political issues between countries such as Pakistan and India that constantly pose threat to one another which prompt the government to invest heavily on military force. Japan is also another country that is finding it difficult to find new innovation and move beyond stagnation. The Dubai debt problems is also another warning and indication that more changes are needed. You could actually feel that each country face a different challenges in the days to come and emergent Asia needs to move beyond modernity into postmodern world to face these challenges.
Postmodernism in this context does not mean that Asian countries to linger around the uncertainties of the world but it means the need to deconstruct the old thoughts before constructing new ideas and image of the future for the world. As mentioned above, there might be a lot of different challenges faced by different countries in Asian countries but the biggest challenge faced by countries in this region over the next decade is the need to emerge into a new mindset. This is why Asia must learn to move beyond modernity into postmodernism. The old thinking needs to be replaced with new ideas, visions and stories just as no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. The new era has come and we could not contain growth and development with old perspective. This is an important part of growth because there is a need for transformation in adapting to the new challenges. With new risks within and across borders, it is necessary for Asia to maintain a strong supervisory regime going forward, including by building up risk assessment capabilities and adopting a macro-prudential approach to supervision.
There are many people who wonder why the need for a new perspective while Asians are heading the right direction. The problem is that most Asian countries have been so used to being colonized that it seems awkward and impossible to lead in the global economy recovery. One of the countries in Asia that is showing the right frame of mentality is Korea. In fact Korea represents the success story in Asia far better than most countries. Let us not forget that at one time, Korea was the second poorest country in the world, second only to Niger but it is now the 4th largest economy in Asia and the world’s 15th or 12th if according to the purchasing power parity.
The innovation and willingness to redefine the image of their country has helped South Korea to where it is today. Even though the nation was not recognized for their ability to grow, Korea had been determined to create local competitive countries that would be recognized worldwide. In the mid 1960s, Korea was an export-led developing country and the Korean firms supplied big multinationals with components or even the entire products. However, the Koreans had the determination to manufacture products under its’ own brands instead of the brand of other companies. Initially it was a very difficult journey for the country and the efforts and struggles put in were often painful experiences. Most people would remember Hyundai’s first disastrous foray into the U.S car market back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. However, they have not given up on their dream and with financial and government backing for the private companies, Korea has been able to achieve its’ feats today.
However, many other nations are lacking on the mindset to strive to achieve in Asia. A lot of the countries in Asia are comfortable with where they are at. Middle East countries are happy with the oil resources that they have but for how many years will these resources last? What will happen when green technology is being developed as replacement for petroleum fuel? Japan is finding it hard to get away from their “savings” mentality regardless of the low interest rate in the bank. There is a looming mood in the nation especially since deflation, the curse of the "Lost Decade" of the 1990s, is back with a paralyzing bite. Prices and wages are falling as aging consumers save their pension checks and wait for still-lower prices. Even as Korea might have seen so much improvement in the last few years, there is indication that the work ethic in the country might have caused the workers to burn out. The lack of consumer culture and burn out of employees are issues that must be taken seriously. The leaders of the country must also be aware not to move into the direction of Japan where it is hard to move further ahead. On the other hand, China is the force that must be reckoned in the near future but there is still a lot of work to be done especially in developing their domestic markets further. The change in mentality will help to drive innovation and creativity in Asian countries.
The lack of professionals in the technology industry should also be a warning and indication that more work must be done to help Asia connect with the world. Globalization has been helped largely by the existence of internet but until today, there is no well-established technology company from Asia in the internet field. The recent issues regarding the censorship of internet search results had resulted in a long-running-stand-off between Google and China. At one point, Google even threatened to pull out of China. This is one of the important changes that must be made. Censorship on the internet could result in manipulation of information and this is not a good sign for China. The search engine in China, Baidu might be quite popular in China but had recently been sued by, another Chinese Internet Portal for launching DDOS attacks on their servers. While it is not an issue for Asian countries to depend on the companies from other countries, the lack of knowledge workers in this field is something that must be considered given that most of the masterminds behind Google, Microsoft, Apple and many others are from the Western countries.
All of these could be overcome with the right mindset. It is important that Asians learn to be more innovative and creative. Instead of always looking into the products and success of other countries, Asians need to come out with something of their own. It is just like how the Japanese and Koreans being able to establish themselves as well known car manufacturers. The leaders in the countries need to spend more money and invest heavily on research and development to bring about the positive results. Instead of struggling with politic issues and corruption such as those happening in Thailand, Philippines and many others, Asians should set the right direction. Singapore has been very successful at this as the country is very stable politically and has seen positive results in fighting against corruption. With all the unnecessary distraction set aside, the country could focus the funds on research and development, building proper infrastructure and providing the support to the private companies. Singapore is on the right track in this issue and the country has one of the best and most efficient public transportation in the world. If you want to know how much should be spent on research and development, one example is Microsoft which spent 8 billion US dollar on research and development in 2008 alone.
Other areas that Asians are lacking in include the development of clean energy. This is probably one area that the Asians need to work on. Science has identified black carbon as one of the elements that impact the regional climate. In fact, several studies and research have identified Asia as the largest source of black carbon emissions globally. All of these are from contained combustion such as combustion in engines, stoves, and kilns, accounting for more than half of all such emissions. Other than that, open combustion such as forest fires, land clearing through fire, and burning of agricultural wastes also lead to the omission of black carbon. There are some efforts in developing clean energy such as the Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) 2010, which was held in Manila on June 23-25 this year. It is Asia’s premier event for policymakers, technical experts and investors to share knowledge and up-to-date developments in clean energy in the region. However, given the vast potential in this region to develop the clean energy, more efforts should be taken in developing green technology.
It is also important to take note that the environment issue will also be another important challenge that will be faced by all Asian countries. The change of perspectives and thoughts will help Asians to prepare themselves and plan the development of their cities and countries. This is important to allow emergency help to be provided to rural areas when there is a need such as flooding that occurs frequently in some countries such as China. Besides Singapore, most of the other countries in Asia do not have proper infrastructure development. This will lead to the dependence on vehicles that use petrol that contribute to the air pollution. If the infrastructure development could be planned in advance, this could help to encourage the citizens to use public transportation. This effort could reduce the release of carbon dioxide into our environment. Other important steps would be proactive participation in recycling and other environment friendly activities. The new set of mindset will help Asian to prepare for all these uncertainties.
From all of these, we could easily recognize that the most important challenges facing Asia over the next decade is to emerge into a new set of thinking. The new thinking and mindset will help the Asians to form new ideologies, ideas and all of these will lead to innovation and restructuring of the fundamentals in the countries. However, it is not easy for one to find solution to these changes. After all, it takes a long period of time for transition of thoughts and perspectives especially since most Asians are tied closely to their culture. For example, the Chinese believe strongly in hard work and discipline, which is a good characteristic in any individual. However, it is important for Asians to learn to work smart as well. Flexibility in working hours is also important to avoid burn out workers. Although the Chinese form one of the most hardworking and discipline group of workers, most of these people are not able to think out of the box in their working environment. They are trained to do the same work repetitively.
This is why postmodernism is important in this context. While the characteristic of hard work and discipline are important for all skilled and knowledge workers to have, it is also important for these group of people to learn to be more flexible, see things from a different perspective and learn to think outside the box. This will help to generate new ideas and innovation. One of the ways to encourage this thinking among the workers in Asia is to organize motivation talks, provide a better and more comfortable working environment as well as encouraging independency at work. Instead of judging the performance of the workers by their hard work, more values should be placed on the results and ideas given by the workers. It is also important to allow exposure to cultures from other countries and regions. While it is important to maintain the culture and hold firm to the beliefs of one culture, it is also necessary to look at the positive attribute from other cultures and apply them into our daily lives. All of these should be stressed in education as well as through the media.
Transparency is also an important concept that must be implemented so that Asians could see things from different perspectives and not just through the eyes of their government. Internet transparency is important as we can see from the conflict between Google and China. If the leaders of Asian countries are able to see the need for transparency in all areas of their administration, the citizens will have more faith in their work. Trust and integrity is important because people only practice honesty when they see the value in trust and integrity. One country that has been very successful in Asia at this level is Singapore.
It is also important to look into the work force of the country and make sure that it is balance in terms of age group and qualification. For example, it is very dangerous if the work force is full of people who are at the age of 60 and above. This group of people might be able to provide stability and with their experience, they could provide insights into the possibility of what might happen in the future but they are also the group of people that find it difficult to think outside the box. Due to years of training over the same thing, they are not capable of looking at new ideas and thus eliminating innovation in the process. This could be seen in the case of Japan as of now. The right mixture of young and old will help to provide this balance for innovation and development. These will help both the young and old to learn from one another and thus, enhancing their knowledge and perspective.
The journey towards the next decade is still a long way to go but if Asia is to be the leader in the post-global-crisis world, they must take a giant leap of faith for new ideas and perspectives. There will definitely be more challenges ahead but the most important challenge is the perspective and mindset of Asians. Asians must no longer look at others for ideas and perspectives. They should learn to look within and think of a bigger picture. IMF’s Dominique Strauss-Kahn states that Asia should play a leadership role in guiding the global economy to a new, more sustainable path for growth. Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said in Washington that a changed world order is upon us. All of these are possible but it could only happen if Asians are willing to move forward with the new perspective.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bad Customer Service Experience From the HSBC Credit Card

I have been in dilemma on whether to post my bad experience with the customer service from HSBC but in the end I decided to post my story here so that more people are aware of some of the bad services by certain banks, and this is not limited to HSBC. If I have bad experience with other credit card issuers in the future, I might post it here as well.

I know that not all customer service are perfect, but at least what they should do is to provide the best customer service that can satisfy their customer.

Being the HSBC credit card user for about four years, I feel that HSBC has been doing alright to retain and to satisfy their customer. Why? Because there was once that my dad has lost his wallet and we called to block the card, and immediately the CS offered to send a replacement card and he received his card within three days. However, my experience with the replacement card is totally contrast with what my dad has experienced.

Ok, the following is what I have been experiencing and I am actually still waiting for my replacement card when I am posting this. The whole fiasco actually began somewhere in mid of August, think it was 19th of the month if I can recall properly.

First of all, there was a fraud transaction which HSBC manage to catch, which is good and leads to my credit card blocked with the promise of delivering me a new credit card within few working days (three working days was what I heard on the phone conversation). Granted, it did not happened and so I called the CS and was told by another CS rep that my card was not issued and will issue it and deliver to me in about another few working days.

Few days past, I called again as I have yet to received my replacement card, and the CS told me that I have to wait for another few more days and if I still have yet to received the replacement card, call back to the CS to check on the status. This loop goes on for like few weeks, I keep calling and getting the same reply over and over again and in the end one month past, and guess where is my card - answer is still in hyperspace.

I know that there is a holiday season during the Hari Raya and the Malaysia Day. But the holiday season is just one week, and it has been a month since this thing started. If I got my replacement card a week later than expected, then it is understandable, but now it is a month and best of all, I still don't have the replacement card.

I am really curious on what are the actions taken on Pos since the CS are talking that the Pos people are responsible for it? Is it the correct way to ask the customer to keep waiting and calling and there is no action taken?

I'm not saying that I am a big user of the HSBC credit card, and that I am desperate for the card, but, I am most worry that someone has took it and start charging it without my knowledge. Does it really make sense for the credit card issuer to use a normal mail that is without tracking to send out credit cards to their customers? Is this one of the cost cutting measure by HSBC? If the card was sent via courier services, the CS would have know where the credit card is, now, all of them are not sure.

Ok, let me do a comparison here. I am also credit card user from another bank, say the bank is XXXX, and what I like about XXXX is that the credit card was sent via a courier service. What I like best is not just that, when the card actually sent out from XXXX, I got a message that the card was sent and I should be expecting the card anytime.

Now people, we know that credit card is an important stuff that should not be sent using a normal postal service that the issuer or the customer cannot track on the status of the delivery. What if the card actually landed to the wrong hand and people starting to charge the card? Who is going to pay for it? The CS told me that we have to call the CS to activate the card, but what if the "hijacker" is very good in social engineering and manage to crack out the activation process?

In my opinion, credit card should be delivered via courier services no matter how costly it is to do so. It is just plain stupid to use normal postal service and just plain dumb reason saying that most customer prefer to get their credit card via the normal postal service instead of courier service. I'm saying this because when I asked about why it is not delivered using courier service like last time when I first have my card, the CS reply me with the dumbest reason that anyone could have think off.

So, after reading my story, one might asked, why not just terminate the card? Well, that is because I am waiting refund from another merchant which is why I cannot terminate it at will and in fact this is also the reason why I do not want to have the replacement card re-issue as what the CS just told me recently. In the meantime, I have no choice but to wait for weeks after weeks for my card that is still in hyperspace, until the merchant has refund me.

Anyway, this has really prompted me to think twice in renewing the credit card service in near future and in fact prompted me to start blacklisting the credit card issuer, although it used to have the the best service among all the credit cards that I have been using.

With other banks' services and privileges are slowly catching up and higher credit limit, given a choice now, I definitely have no qualm in terminating the HSBC credit card.

I seriously hope those customers that are facing the same issue as me will do the same, though I will educate potential credit cards user not to select HSBC as their choice through my blog and word of mouth to all new hires in my company.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Forbes 400: The Richest People in America

So, do you know who are the richest people in the United States of America? Well, the top two people in the America seems to remain in their position. They are Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Both of them are still on top despite being generous.

Read below for full story that I get from the Forbes 400: The Richest People in America from Yahoo Finance. Since the article is too long, I'll share it in this blog by separating the articles into few parts.

It has been a year of reclamation for America's richest. The total worth of the Forbes 400 was up 8% to $1.37 trillion, well out-earning the 1% rise in the S&P over the same period of time. More than half (217) are richer than they were a year ago.

The headline number tells a partial story. Just over one-third of the 400 failed to add to their fortunes or lost ground. Still far above us is the record of $1.57 trillion in total net worth set in 2008.

But the very top of the list gained, as good friends Bill Gates and Warren Buffett were up $4 billion and $5 billion, respectively. They, too, are short of their personal highs. Gates, who in March lost his title of world's richest person to Mexico's Carlos Slim, is still America's richest person — for the 17th year in a row.

Las Vegas gaming tycoon Sheldon Adelson was the kid, or "comeback adolescent," as he calls himself. "I'm too old to be a kid," he told Forbes. The largest shareholder of Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS - News) is the year's biggest dollar gainer. His casino's shares are up 1,500% since their 2009 low. Adelson is now the 13th richest American, worth $14.7 billion, up $5.7 billion from last year — though nowhere close to his $28 billion net worth in 2007, when he ranked third among Americans.

The biggest gainer in percentage terms is Mark Zuckerberg, who more than tripled his fortune to $6.9 billion. The more conservative private valuation of Facebook is now around $23 billion; illiquid shares in the secondary markets point to an even richer valuation. Two of his cofounders are in the ranks for the first time: Eduardo Saverin and Dustin Moskovitz, both classmates of Zuckerberg's at Harvard. Moskovitz, who is eight days younger than Zuckerberg, now has bragging rights as the world's youngest billionaire. The Facebook cofounders are among 16 newcomers on this year's list. Other notables include Dean Metropoulos, whose private equity firm recently bought Pabst Brewing; Terrence Pegula, who sold his Pennsylvania mining outfit to Royal Dutch Shell (Nasdaq: RDSA - News) for $4.7 billion in May; and Elaine Wynn, whose divorce from casino magnate Steve Wynn was finalized in January.

The price of admission to the 400 is back up to the $1 billion mark. Last year it was $950 million, the first time since 2005 it had fallen below 10 figures. The most notable of the 18 returnees is Ford Motor (NYSE: F - News) scion William Ford Sr., who made the cut after a four-year absence as the automobile company's stock hit five-year highs.

Thirty-four people fell from the ranks, a number of whom just barely missed the cut. At least two saw their fortunes unravel. Tamir Sapir, a former taxi driver who built a real estate fortune, owes at least $340 million for nonpayment of loans, his creditors say. He may be suffering from deteriorating mental condition. Hedge fund chief Raj Rajaratnam faces insider trading charges.

Nine of the drop-offs fell off the list permanently. John Kluge passed away this summer. He was America's richest man from 1989 to 1991, before losing the title to Bill Gates. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner died in July just after his 80th birthday.

Our estimates of public fortunes are a snapshot of wealth on Aug. 25, 2010, the date we locked in net worths and rankings. We have not included dispersed fortunes (as in those of the Du Ponts) when individual net worths are below our minimum. But we do include wealth belonging to a member's immediate relatives if the wealth can ultimately be traced to one living individual; in that case, "& family" indicates that the number shown includes money belonging to more than one person.

1. Bill Gates
Net Worth: $54 billion
Source: Microsoft
Residence: Medina, Wash.
Age: 54

The software king is not the world's richest man but that's because he is the most generous person on the planet: To date he has cut checks totaling $28 billion. (Even so, Gates is still America's richest person, topping The Forbes 400 for the 17th straight year.) Most of his donations have passed through his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which now has a $33 billion endowment, including contributions from his buddy and bridge partner Warren Buffett. The foundation has given money for the prevention of 5 million deaths from AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis; now it's undertaking the eradication of polio. It is also fighting hunger by helping 400,000 farmers in Asia and Africa with rice varieties that resist cold, flooding and drought, and by giving 100,000 farmers on those two continents access to small-scale and cheap irrigation systems. As the foundation accelerates, Microsoft is stuck in neutral. Gates' stake in the company he cofounded is now worth $16 billion; its stock is flat over the last year, despite the release of a new Windows operating system and heavy investments in online advertising and games. Gates regularly sells shares in the software giant, pouring proceeds into investment outfit Cascade, which accounts for 70% of his wealth. Other investments include trash-collector Republic Services, investment firm Gamco, AutoNation and an inflation-hedging fund.

2. Warren Buffett
Net Worth: $45 billion
Source: Berkshire Hathaway
Residence: Omaha, Neb.
Age: 80

Along with bridge partner Bill Gates, the Oracle of Omaha is coaxing America's richest to pledge half their fortunes to charity. "You keep making the list, I'll keep milking it." Buffett plans to give away 99% of his wealth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Buffett children, and it all has to be spent 10 years after he's gone. "Too often a vast collection of possessions ends up possessing its owner. The asset I most value, aside from health, is interesting, diverse and long-standing friends." Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway continues its capital stewardship excellence, beating the S&P by 15 percentage points over the past 12 months. Secret to success: emotional stability. "When you come to a conclusion, you have to really not care what other people say." Buffett faked breathing problems when he was 12 so he could move back to Omaha from Washington, D.C., where his father was a freshman congressman. He had read every book about investing in stocks in the Omaha Public Library by the time he was 12. He met value investor Benjamin Graham at Columbia; bought textile firm Berkshire Hathaway 1965, and transformed it into massive holding company: food, insurance, utilities, industrials. Buffett acquired railroad giant Burlington Northern Santa Fe for $26 billion in 2009.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How The Global Competitiveness Index Is Calculated?

I posted something on The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011 last week and get a comment from a reader named Aaron asking on how the Global Competitiveness Index is calculated by the World Economic Forum. The following is his comment

aaron said...

So how is the Global Competitiveness Index calculated and what does this say about the economy, as I see that Canada has slipped down one place too?

As we all know, all these reports and indexes are just number that the World Economic Forum put in based on their perception using some of the guidelines from the forum.

To me, the drop of a country in the Global Competitiveness Index means one and only thing - too many red tapes which makes it difficult to do a business with the nation. Well, that is just my opinion. Anyway after getting the comment from Aaron, I feel that it is also good for me to learn new stuff by learning how the Global Competitiveness Index is calculated by the World Economic Forum, thus I do a search from the World Economic Forum website.

The following is what I get from the World Economic Forum FAQ regarding how the Global Competitiveness Index is calculated:-

The Global Competitiveness Index or in short GCI is made up of over 113 variables, of which approximately one two thirds come from the Executive Opinion Survey, and one third comes from publicly available sources. The variables are organized into 12 pillars, with each pillar representing an area considered as an important determinant of competitiveness:

* Institutions
* Infrastructure
* Macroeconomic stability
* Health and primary education
* Higher education and training
* Goods market efficiency
* Labor market efficiency
* Financial market sophistication
* Technological readiness
* Market size
* Business sophistication
* Innovation

The impact of each pillar on competitiveness varies across countries, in function of their stages of economic development. In order to take this reality into account in the calculation of the GCI, pillars are given different weights.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011

The US which has just lost the pole position to Switzerland in the Global Competitiveness Report not long ago slips another two places in the latest report by the World Economic Forum, overtaken by Sweden and Singapore. Malaysia also slipped 2 places while the United Kingdom which has recently slipped move back up by one place to 12th position.

Click on Read More to get the full list of The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011 by World Economic Forum.

Country/Economy GCI 2010 GCI 2009 Change 2009-2010
Rank Score Rank
Switzerland 1 5.63 1 0
Sweden 2 5.56 4 2
Singapore 3 5.48 3 0
United States 4 5.43 2 -2
Germany 5 5.39 7 2
Japan 6 5.37 8 2
Finland 7 5.37 6 -1
Netherlands 8 5.33 10 2
Denmark 9 5.32 5 -4
Canada 10 5.30 9 -1
Hong Kong SAR 11 5.27 11 0
United Kingdom 12 5.25 13 1
Taiwan, China 13 5.21 12 -1
Norway 14 5.14 14 0
France 15 5.13 16 1
Australia 16 5.11 15 -1
Qatar 17 5.10 22 5
Austria 18 5.09 17 -1
Belgium 19 5.07 18 -1
Luxembourg 20 5.05 21 1
Saudi Arabia 21 4.95 28 7
Korea, Rep. 22 4.93 19 -3
New Zealand 23 4.92 20 -3
Israel 24 4.91 27 3
United Arab Emirates 25 4.89 23 -2
Malaysia 26 4.88 24 -2
China 27 4.84 29 2
Brunei Darussalam 28 4.75 32 4
Ireland 29 4.74 25 -4
Chile 30 4.69 30 0
Iceland 31 4.68 26 -5
Tunisia 32 4.65 40 8
Estonia 33 4.61 35 2
Oman 34 4.61 41 7
Kuwait 35 4.59 39 4
Czech Republic 36 4.57 31 -5
Bahrain 37 4.54 38 1
Thailand 38 4.51 36 -2
Poland 39 4.51 46 7
Cyprus 40 4.50 34 -6
Puerto Rico 41 4.49 42 1
Spain 42 4.49 33 -9
Barbados 43 4.45 44 1
Indonesia 44 4.43 54 10
Slovenia 45 4.42 37 -8
Portugal 46 4.38 43 -3
Lithuania 47 4.38 53 6
Italy 48 4.37 48 0
Montenegro 49 4.36 62 13
Malta 50 4.34 52 2
India 51 4.33 49 -2
Hungary 52 4.33 58 6
Panama 53 4.33 59 6
South Africa 54 4.32 45 -9
Mauritius 55 4.32 57 2
Costa Rica 56 4.31 55 -1
Azerbaijan 57 4.29 51 -6
Brazil 58 4.28 56 -2
Vietnam 59 4.27 75 16
Slovak Republic 60 4.25 47 -13
Turkey 61 4.25 61 0
Sri Lanka 62 4.25 79 17
Russian Federation 63 4.24 63 0
Uruguay 64 4.23 65 1
Jordan 65 4.21 50 -15
Mexico 66 4.19 60 -6
Romania 67 4.16 64 -3
Colombia 68 4.14 69 1
Iran 69 4.14 n/a n/a
Latvia 70 4.14 68 -2
Bulgaria 71 4.13 76 5
Kazakhstan 72 4.12 67 -5
Peru 73 4.11 78 5
Namibia 74 4.09 74 0
Morocco 75 4.08 73 -2
Botswana 76 4.05 66 -10
Croatia 77 4.04 72 -5
Guatemala 78 4.04 80 2
Macedonia, FYR 79 4.02 84 5
Rwanda 80 4.00 n/a n/a
Egypt 81 4.00 70 -11
El Salvador 82 3.99 77 -5
Greece 83 3.99 71 -12
Trinidad and Tobago 84 3.97 86 2
Philippines 85 3.96 87 2
Algeria 86 3.96 83 -3
Argentina 87 3.95 85 -2
Albania 88 3.94 96 8
Ukraine 89 3.90 82 -7
Gambia, The 90 3.90 81 -9
Honduras 91 3.89 89 -2
Lebanon 92 3.89 n/a n/a
Georgia 93 3.86 90 -3
Moldova 94 3.86 n/a n/a
Jamaica 95 3.85 91 -4
Serbia 96 3.84 93 -3
Syria 97 3.79 94 -3
Armenia 98 3.76 97 -1
Mongolia 99 3.75 117 18
Libya 100 3.74 88 -12
Dominican Republic 101 3.72 95 -6
Bosnia and Herzegovina 102 3.70 109 7
Benin 103 3.69 103 0
Senegal 104 3.67 92 -12
Ecuador 105 3.65 105 0
Kenya 106 3.65 98 -8
Bangladesh 107 3.64 106 -1
Bolivia 108 3.64 120 12
Cambodia 109 3.63 110 1
Guyana 110 3.62 104 -6
Cameroon 111 3.58 111 0
Nicaragua 112 3.57 115 3
Tanzania 113 3.56 100 -13
Ghana 114 3.56 114 0
Zambia 115 3.55 112 -3
Tajikistan 116 3.53 122 6
Cape Verde 117 3.51 n/a n/a
Uganda 118 3.51 108 -10
Ethiopia 119 3.51 118 -1
Paraguay 120 3.49 124 4
Kyrgyz Republic 121 3.49 123 2
Venezuela 122 3.48 113 -9
Pakistan 123 3.48 101 -22
Madagascar 124 3.46 121 -3
Malawi 125 3.45 119 -6
Swaziland 126 3.40 n/a n/a
Nigeria 127 3.38 99 -28
Lesotho 128 3.36 107 -21
Côte d'Ivoire 129 3.35 116 -13
Nepal 130 3.34 125 -5
Mozambique 131 3.32 129 -2
Mali 132 3.28 130 -2
Timor-Leste 133 3.23 126 -7
Burkina Faso 134 3.20 128 -6
Mauritania 135 3.14 127 -8
Zimbabwe 136 3.03 132 -4
Burundi 137 2.96 133 -4
Angola 138 2.93 n/a n/a
Chad 139 2.73 131 -8