Archive for the ‘Common Sense’ category

Another One Way Ticket

March 13, 2013

Been so long since I posted anything on this poor excuse for a blog. Singapore life has been hectic, fast paced and busy.

That’s all about to change.

I’m retiring in May and, after a few weeks back home visiting my kids, I’m off to Cambodia. Been there twice in the last 3 months and I think I’m going to like it there.

Over the last 2 years I have been researching and investigating many different places that have large expat communities. The Philippines, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama, Thailand and Bali to name a few. All have there advantages and disadvantages. One big disadvantage is they all have requirements. Deposit a certain amount in the bank and leave it there. Prove monthly income of a certain level. Provide results of a health screening. Provide a police report. Etc, etc, etc.

Cambodia requires none of that. Phnom Penh is a booming, bustling city and is obviously doing everything it can to attract expats and their money. It will cost me about $270 a year for visa renewal and that’s it. My expected cost of living, including everything, in a two bedroom two bath serviced apartment, should be about 1,200 per month.

I’m just starting the process of setting up my Social Security. That’s interesting as I don’t deal with SSA in the US. Any Americans living in Asia go through the SSA office in Manila.

Anyone interested in the process or how to really get free of the US, its taxes, etc. just let me know.

Got a one way ticket when I moved to Singapore. Gonna be getting another one soon.

Doing what comes naturally

July 31, 2008

I haven’t posted in nearly a week because I’ve been so busy at my new job. I got to thinking about it last night and realized that this is perhaps the hardest job I’ve ever had – and the one I love the most.

I spent about 30 years selling things. Stuff. And most of the stuff I sold is stuff that people really don’t need. I guess I got into selling stuff because it’s easy to get into. If you’re good at it, you can make a decent living at it. I was good at it, but I always hated it. Talking about this product or that, making it sound as if you simply cannot live without it. Most of it crap that I either would never buy myself or couldn’t afford.

I use to tell myself that I liked it because I got to be outside, driving around instead of stuck in an office somewhere. I did have a lot of freedom that way. But at the end of the day I was stressed out and miserable.

Once you start in a job like that, it’s hard to get out of it. My resume became longer but all the positions were in sales so that was all I was qualified to look for. Even when I moved to Singapore the only job I could find was in sales. And I just hated it more and more.

Then I got incredibly lucky. Because I was in Asia and because I was a white American I was offered a job teaching English. I still don’t know how my name came up considering that I have absolutely no experience teaching English or anything else for that matter.

Teaching in a classroom is hard work. It’s a performance and you must be on your game all the time. I think that’s true for any good teacher. Additionally, my students are all beginners from foreign countries whose proficiency is limited at best. It’s hard and I love it. I’m nearly 60 and finally am doing something satisfying that I like to do. I waited way to damn long.

The moral of this story is, don’t wait. If your a parent, encourage your kids to seek out what they love and follow a path that leads in it’s direction. If your a student, do the same. Don’t wait until you’re 60. You may not be as lucky as me.

West Coast Longshoremen strike against the War

May 3, 2008

Longshoremen from San Diego to Seattle posed a one shift strike to protest the war and other anti war groups and unions supported them. GOOD JOB GUYS! Apparently the truckers are planning a strike for later in the week to protest high feul prices.

I hope this is a sign of things to come.

Condoms for Catholics – Brazil leads the way

April 9, 2008

I read the BBC everyday because they carry interesting stories that often don’t appear in the US online press, at least not the press sites that Google News collects.

Brazil has started a program of harvesting rubber from rubber trees in the Amazon rain forest to be used to make latex condoms. To me, what’s significant about this program is the fact that Brazil has the largest Catholic population on earth. Way to go!

This is truly a win-win situation. Poor villagers will be employed to harvest the rubber and work in the processing factory. There is no damage to the Amazon rain forest areas where the trees are located. And the condoms produced will be given away free in Brazil’s ongoing effort to fight AIDS.

The new state-run factory is in the north-western state of Acre, and will initially produce 100 million condoms a year, which will be known by the name Natex.

Officials believe that not only will it generate income for Amazon residents, but it will involve using a product which is widely available and can be obtained without destroying large areas of the rainforest.

The Catholic Church has always criticized Brazil’s policy of distributing free condoms with their tired, archaic argument that it promotes promiscuity. Using that logic, it follows that the church itself must be issuing condoms to it’s own priests thus, explaining their promiscuous behavior. Jerks. I can’t wait to read the church’s response to this latest and truly inspired idea.

The factory will benefit at least 500 families and provide 150 jobs in the town of Xapuri which has a population of around 15,000 people. The health ministry says the condoms will be the only ones in the world made of latex harvested from a tropical forest, and will reduce the reliance on foreign imports.

According to the Brazilian government, they are the world’s single largest buyer of condoms and have purchased over a billion in recent years to give away free to their people.

Sex Ed Dramatically Reduces Teen Sex

December 21, 2007

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[Reuters] Teens who have had formal sex education are far more likely to put off having sex, contradicting earlier studies on the effectiveness of such programs, U.S. condoms1.jpgresearchers said on Wednesday.They found teenage boys who had sex education in school were 71 percent less likely to have intercourse before age 15, and teen girls who had sex education were 59 percent less likely to have sex before age 15.

Teen boys who had sex ed in school were nearly 3 times more likely to use birth control the first time they had intercourse. But sex education appeared to have no effect on whether teen girls used birth control, the researchers found.

Black teenage girls who had sex education in school were 91 percent less likely to have sex before age 15.

Abstinence only does not work

Programs that focus exclusively on abstinence have not been shown to affect teenager sexual behavior, although they are eligible for tens of millions of dollars in federal grants, according to a study released by a nonpartisan group that seeks to reduce teen pregnancies.

“At present there does not exist any strong evidence that any abstinence program delays the initiation of sex, hastens the return to abstinence or reduces the number of sexual partners” among teenagers, the study concluded.

The study found that while abstinence-only efforts appear to have little positive impact, more comprehensive sex education programs were having “positive outcomes” including teenagers “delaying the initiation of sex, reducing the frequency of sex, reducing the number of sexual partners and increasing condom or contraceptive use.”

“Two-thirds of the 48 comprehensive programs that supported both abstinence and the use of condoms and contraceptives for sexually active teens had positive behavior effect,” said the report.

Bush has asked for $140 million for abstinence only sex ed funds. He refuses to fund child health programs. He is a religious fanatic, like his christian right supporters and if you want more of the same, stick Huck or Mitt in the White House.

Uraguay Legalizes Gay Unions

December 20, 2007
Uruguay’s congress has approved a bill which would allow civil unions for both gay and unmarried straight couples.

It is the first country in Roman Catholic-dominated Latin America to approve such a measure nationwide. Way to go! Hopefully, this action will open the doors for other countries to follow suit. While gay marriage is still not legal, this is a huge step in the right direction.

Under the new law gay or straight couples who have been together for 5 years and who register their relationship with authorities will be granted cohabitation rights – covering areas such as inheritance, pensions and child custody – and will also be able to formalise the end of their union.