Frustrations with corporate life sometimes has me secretly thinking about starting my own business. Yet I have not taken the leap to become an entrepreneur, as despite the challenges, there are lots of benefits working for a large organisation — not least of which is the steady pay check.
However, for some people in other parts of the world, starting a business isn’t about getting away from corporate drama or even fulfilling some life goal, it is a matter of survival. That is why I have finally taken the plunge to become a loaner at Kiva.org.
I became aware of this micro financing opportunity a few years ago via Andrew and after reading his latest post summarising his experience so far, I decided that while for now I will continue daydreaming about starting my own business, I would help someone else less fortunate make their dream become a reality.
Very few British, Australians and Americans for that matter speak another language besides English. On some level, there really is no incentive as about one-quarter of the world’s population speak the language. More importantly English is the language of international business. However, as article below points out, the dominance of the language is not guaranteed.
By Michael Skapinker
The Financial Times, Published: November 8 2007 19:55
Chung Dong-young, a former television anchorman and candidate to be president of South Korea, may be behind in the opinion polls but one of his campaign commitments is eye-catching. If elected, he promises a vast increase in English teaching so that young Koreans do not have to go abroad to learn the language. The country needed to “solve the problem of families separated for English learning”, the Korea Times reported him saying.
In China, Yu Minhong has turned New Oriental, the company he founded, into the country’s biggest provider of private education, with more than 1m students over the past financial year, the overwhelming majority learning English. In Chile, the government has said it wants its population to be bilingual in English and Spanish within a generation.
No one is certain how many people are learning English. Ten years ago, the British Council thought it was around 1bn. A report, English Next, published by the council last year, forecast that the number of English learners would probably peak at around 2bn in 10-15 years.
How many people already speak English? David Crystal, one of the world’s leading experts on the language and author of more than 100 books on the subject, estimates that 1.5bn people – around one-quarter of the world’s population – can communicate reasonably well in English.
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Article below is cleverly written, but I am still somewhat offended at any notion — even in jest that we should get rid of August. August is after all my birth month.
August: Let’s get rid of it.
By David Plotz for Slate
Posted Monday, Aug. 13, 2007, at 3:59 PM ET
With all due respect to T.S. Eliot, this year’s August could give April a run for its money in the cruelest month category, what with the gross weather, transportation meltdowns, and collapses of infrastructure. In 2001, David Plotz assessed August in all its humid misery and suggested that the eighth month would best serve the calendar in an abbreviated form. That article, “August,” is reprinted below.
August is the Mississippi of the calendar. It’s beastly hot and muggy. It has a dismal history. Nothing good ever happens in it. And the United States would be better off without it.
August is when the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when Anne Frank was arrested, when the first income tax was collected, when Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe died. Wings and Jefferson Airplane were formed in August. The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour debuted in August. (No August, no Sonny and Cher!)
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In the middle of the house search, I got a blue screen on my home laptop. I have yet to figure out how to turn the thing on properly so I can retrieve my personal files. I almost wish I hadn’t deleted IT Guy’s number from my mobile. I’d have no shame in calling him. I know, wrong, wrong, wrong! But I just can’t bring myself to pay to get the darn thing fixed when I’ll be purchasing a new laptop shortly.
Am I the only one who was clueless yesterday about International Women’s Day? It’s been going on since 1900 and this is the first year I’ve been really aware of this global celebration of women.