Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Top 10 Most Educated Countries

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently released a report on the countries with the most highly educated citizens, meaning more than half of its total citizens gone to school.

Here, money played an important role because most of the countries listed are some of the wealthiest in the world with highest GDPs (Gross Domestic Product--the economic measurement of how wealthy the country is). 

It also emerged that the countries included in the top 10 list heavily invested on education.

Here is the complete list:

1. Canada - This North American country garnered the highest rate in OECD with 50% of its adult population earned a college degree. Canada's GDP ranked 10th in the world.

2. Israel - Nearly 46% of its adult citizens completed a tertiary education making Israel the second most educated country in the world.

3. Japan - Definitely one of the wealthiest nations in the world, Japan is Asia's most educated country. It has the third highest tertiary graduation rate in the world, more than 40% of its adult population finished tertiary education.

4. USA - The United States ranked 4th in terms of Gross Domestic Product. It is also a home of most world billionaires.

5. New Zealand - Surprisingly, New Zealand is on the list of countries with most of its citizens earned college diplomas, in fact, this country is not really considered rich because its GDP ranked far way below the category of being wealthy. Despite its GDP per capita standing, more than 40% of New Zealand's adult population gone to college, the 5th highest rate in the world.

6. South Korea - Asia's second most educated country is South Korea. Its graduation rates increased 5.3% , one of the highest rates among the countries surveyed by OECD. In Korea, most students studied humanities and arts.

7. Norway - It was reported that Norway has the third greatest expenditure on educational institutions as a percentage of GDP with 23% of its 73% GDP spent on tertiary education. Norway is one of the wealthiest nations in the world with a GDP per capita of $56, 617, the second highest GDP in the world (second only to Luxembourg).

8. The United Kingdom - 37% of its adult population gone to college. UK's GDP ranked 16th in the world. Most UK's schools are considered "public schools" and considered as some of the best schools in the world. It is home to Cambridge University and Oxford University touted as two of the best universities in the world. Cambridge University ranked first followed by Harvard University in the United States.

9. Australia - Just like UK, Australia has 37% rate of its adult population who have gone to college. The country has a highest GDP per capita ranking 6th in the world.

10. Finland - 37% of its adult population have gone to college, Finland's GDP ranked 14th in the world.

Source: Yahoo News


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Princess Ingrid of Norway

Three generation of the Norwegian royalty
From left: King Harald V (second cousin of Queen Elizabeth II of Britain), his son and successor, Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Ingrid Alexandra

The pretty daughter of Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, celebrates her 8th birthday last January 21. The little Princess is second in line to the Norwegian throne after her father. Norway follows an equal line of succession that allows eldest child, despite of gender, to ascend the throne and would not be pushed by a younger brother anymore.

This law on succession took effect in 1990 and only to the present children of the royals, so Prince Haakon who has an elder sister, Princess Martha Louise, will still be the heir-apparent of King Harald V. Princess Ingrid Alexandra has a younger brother, Prince Magnus. Ingrid will be the first female to ascend the Norwegian throne.

Princess Ingrid served as one of the little bridesmaids at the wedding of her godmother, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, in 2010 at Stockholm, Sweden. She has a half-brother, Marius, a son of her mother, Mette-Merit, from a previous relationship.

Happy Chinese New Year

How to say it when you are in the Philippines

Never use the term "Kung Hei Fat Choi"

When you are in the Philippines, according to ABS-CBN news reported by Willard Cheng, the most appropriate greeting to utter to the Chinese community is "Kiong Hee Huat Tsai". It is a Hokkien greeting which means "congratulations and wishing you prosperity". Hokkien is one of the local dialects spoken in China. 

Why "Kiong Hee Huat Tsai" is more appropriate to utter than "Kung Hei Fat Choi"?It's because most Chinese-Filipinos  came from the Fujian province of China who spoke Hokkien. Great Taipans, Lucio Tan, Henry Sy, John Gokongwei, are just some of the Chinese immigrants who spoke Hokkien.

 "Kung Hei Fat Choi" is a Cantonese term. Cantonese is a Chinese local dialect widely spoken in Hongkong, Macau and Guangdong, China.

It was believed that Cantonese from Hongkong displayed the greetings "Kung Hei Fat Choi" on their restaurants' windows  which the media and people outside China mistakenly took as the exact Chinese New Year greeting spoken in all Chinese dialects. But only Cantonese used this term. Hokkien people have their own version of the greetings. The Hokkien version must be the right term Filipinos should be using because the Chinese leaving in the Philippines are mostly Hokkien-speaking people, well, not unless you are greeting the residents of Hongkong, Macau and Guangdong.

Apparently, the greetings has another version in Mandarin, the official language of China, this time the line is pronounced as "Kong Xi Fa Tsai".

It is always important to take note how words, lines and phrases are used especially in a country with multiple dialects. In the Philippines for instance, the line "Maayong Buntag" might sound incomprehensible to the Tagalog-speaking Filipinos and the Ilocano term "Ay-ayatenka" (meaning I Love you) might appear very offensive to Visayan-speaking folks. The bottom line is, according to the report---used the appropriate term for a specific community.  

Now, we know the difference, so let's start banishing the "Kung Hei Fat Choi" and utter this genuine happy new year greeting for the Chinese-Filipino community, "Kiong Hee Huat Tsai".


You might argue that the term we habitually used every Chinese New Year has no difference with its real translation, but remember, even in the Philippines we are using appropriate terms based on our dialect. 

The Tradition

Chinese calendar is different from Gregorian calendar (the one followed by Christians) so Chinese new year falls tomorrow, January 23 which is also known as Spring Festival. The celebration is based on the lunar calendar. The date varies each year because of the changes in the track of the new moon. Spring Festival traditionally ends two weeks and the festivities will be followed by Lantern Festival also known as Shangyuan Festival and highlighted by a dragon dance.

This year, 2012, according to the Chinese calendar, is the year of the water dragon. In Chinese astrology, elements (water, fire, wood, metal and earth) will have its two successive years cycle in one animal while animal symbols will take its turn once every 12 years. Each animal sign has personality traits and destiny. 

According to Chinese tradition, the house should be thoroughly cleaned before the arrival of Spring Festival to sweep away bad luck and misfortune in the past year. Doors and windows should be given a new coat of paint and paper cut outs with words like "happiness", "wealth" and "longevity"  will be used as decorations around the house. 

Foods traditionally served during Chinese new year and its meaning:
  • Sticky rice cake (commonly known as Tikoy in the Philippines: strong family bonds and sweet life)
  • Dumplings (good wish greeting to a family)
  • Fish with its head and tail intact (abundance)
  • Kumquats (good fortune)
  • Mandarin oranges (good will and good fortune)
  • Vegetarian dish with a special seeweed (prosperity)
  • Steamed cake (rising fortune)
  • Spring rolls (wealth)
  • Noodles without cutting the length (abundance, long life)
  • Lobsters (abundance, wealth)
  • Chicken served in whole (wealth and prosperity)
To our Chinese-Filipino friends: Kiong Hee Huat Tsai!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome to the Year of the Water Dragon

So it's the Year of the Black Water Dragon. I am not really into astrology. I just read it for amusement then dismissed everything afterwards.

This year, after reading what ARIES people like me would expect in terms of career (I did not read what is written about "love" because I am no longer obsess with that sort of thing), wow, I read something very interesting:

"With Pluto still pulling rank in your career sector, your star continues to rise over the course of the year in your chosen field. Of course, with Capricorn involved, this is not without hard work. After all, your stamina is noble. When Pluto and Uranus reach their exact square in June, you'll be confronted with the culmination of a quest for radical change that began in summer 2011. Use the momentum of the first quarter of the year to launch your major projects, since Pluto will turn retrograde between April and September, causing a forced slowdown and re-evaluation of your priorities.

With Jupiter bringing good fortune to your money sector for the first half of the year, you'll experience fabulous ease in attracting opportunities to boost your income. You're learning how important it is to value yourself and not sell any of your talents for less than they're worth. The summer brings fabulous opportunities for writing and publishing, so if you've been sitting on a book (or two) that you know needs to be written, this is your year to put pen to paper and fingers to keyboard! The new Moon solar eclipse in mid-May is the perfect time to get started if you haven't already. Chances are, you felt the initial impetus during the new Moon eclipse in Sagittarius in December 2011; 2012 demands that you finalize your copy. June's full Moon lunar eclipse in your house of publishing will bring the final lucky push to get your work seen and put into print!"

Oh God!Is this real??hahaha..you know, what's exciting in this astrology forecast is that I am really writing, well for a longer time, two nonfiction books to get into publication, one was already published online but I plan to pull it from the online bookstore and resubmit it to a Filipino publication to get its way to physical bookstores located in the Philippines.

People of My Year 2011


This is my second year of preparing my list of the people who made a strong impact in my life for a given year.

For this list, I will try to exclude my direct family because it is a common knowledge that parents and siblings, no matter what happens, are always part of the significant portion of one's life. They are my strength and inspiration too no doubt about it and when life becomes unfair it's my family whom I always run to.

But for the list of my people of the year I will try to choose individuals outside my family to be recognized.

For year 2011, here they are:


STEVE JOBS

Who would not be inspired with the great visionary leader of our time? Steve Jobs was truly exceptional and his influence was massive. He was not only an extraordinary entrepreneur in our planet but a great innovator too.

I did not meet him in person of course but his influence was so profound. I've been closely following his life since 2005 and so mesmerized with his stellar achievement in the field of information technology. His death last October 2011 struck me deeply and I cried when I read the bad news. It was so devastating.

Steve Jobs was incredibly great in his field and he made life very easy with his innovation, he changed the way we communicated and the way we used electronic gadgets. It's just so frustrating he gone so very early.

HELEN MONTERO

Yes! Helen is one of my truest friends in life, she is like a sister to me and when I am in a great emotional upheaval it's her who always pacifies my mood and helped me get back on my faith. We easily understood each other maybe because we are breathing the same faith, same principles in life.

She is so generous and extra kind to me and I always considered her friendship one of the most treasured gifts I received from God. No matter where I am, Helen will always be part of my inner, most trusted circle of friends!

KATHY DACANAY

She is my blogging buddy and one of my closest friends in the University. We have so many things in common that's why we always agree into everything. We talked almost everyday and shared our passion in blogging, internet marketing and fashion hehe!

We both like to devour European and Oriental dishes so we bonded on foods effectively! Almost every week we gone out to try new cuisine in different cafes around Davao. She had introduced me to almost terrific food establishments in the city. When it comes to food, we're on the same wavelength ^_____^

JUVY PANOS

Juvy is also a colleague and just like Kathy, we frequently go out sharing beautiful laugh over foods! She is so level-headed and rarely witness her getting angry. She can be easily approached and never let pressure ruins the day. Juvy is full of fun and laughter and I love talking to her, she is extra supportive too.

CROMWELL CASTILLO

We've been friends for a long time. We are like cats and dogs! We fight over anything, most of the things we wrangled don't really make sense but towards the end of the day it's him whom I still prefer to talk because he understood the real me and no further discussion needed every time I told him about a certain thing. He also gave me so many expensive presents haha! And with that I am truly grateful.


Oh yes! They are the people who made my year 2011 an inspiring and unforgettable one. The influence, inspiration and lessons they gave were truly memorable.