Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dami Im impresses everyone again .. except ...

Dami Im gave another flawless performance tonight on the X-Factor Australia singing a moving rendition of "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" by Simon & Garfunkel.

Controversially though, one of the judges - Redfoo - was undewhelmed and said that she did not give it her best. I've listened to her performance many times over tonight and oddly, I reckon Redfoo has a point - even though it has nothing to do with Dami's perfomance which was pitch perfect throughout.

Now before I get shot down in flames, I am a HUGE fan of Dami and have been supporting her all the way since week 1. And personally, Bridge Over Troubled Waters is one of my all-time favorite songs.

What I felt let her performance down a bit was the ARRANGEMENT. I know the song time is cut to fit the schedule but nonetheless, the song felt quite disjointed. The beautiful flow of the original song and the intricate layers just wasn't there. And WORST of all was the ending - or rather the lack of it ! The word "anti-climax" comes to mind immediately.

Nonetheless, an artist can only work with the material she is provide and Dami gave a wonderful performance once again. What she was asked to do, she performed faultlessly. She has this amazing ability to mesemerize and take the listener on a journey everytime she sings. Dami, I BELIEVE !

P.S. Her segment is so massive that it requires 2 videos this week ! Intro followed by Performance.



Thursday, September 26, 2013

Victoria population sky rockets !

According to the latest government statistics, the population of the state of Victoria is now growing by more than 100,000 a year !

Not surprisingly, most of them are headed to Melbourne. Melbourne's population is on track to rise from 4.25 million in mid-2012 to 4.5 million by 2015 and 5 million by 2020. By the end of next year, it will have grown 30 per cent in just 15 years.

I wish all the new immigrants are settling and integrating well. Hopefully some of them have visited this site and found it useful.

Are you a new Melbournian yourself ? Feel welcome to share your own personal story here ! If you want to remain anonymous, just private message me.

Thanks !

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Dami Im ROCKS on X Factor once again !

Live show week 5 and 5 standing ovations in a row. The Dami Army marches on !

This week's them is Rock and Dami takes it to another level once again. Pop, retro, rock, etc .. Dami can do it all. Just amazing. I love this classic Foo Fighter's song - Best of You - and she just nails it.

Enjoy !

Saturday, September 21, 2013

School holidays and the child care issue

It's school holiday time again ! For the next 2 weeks, most primary and secondary (high) school students will be enjoying the spring break vacation.

School ClosedPersonally, I quite enjoy the school holidays myself. A lot of parents take time off work and whisk the family away on a short holiday. For me that means a leisurely drive to / from work (with much less cars on the road for a change) and less stress at work with lots of people away !

But if you have young children and with both parents working full-time, finding someone to look after your children can be a BIG challenge. This is a common problem in Melbourne (and Australia in general) so make sure you don't get caught out !

A common option is to leave the children with the grandparents but for new migrants to Melbourne, the family support network unfortunately may not be there though. And with finances possibly being stretched by the relocation and settling down, taking extended work leave might be out too.

So here are some quick tips and lessons that I learned through real experience:
  • Some schools offer on-site holiday care programs. Spots tend to be limited as preference so enquire wide and early.
  • There are some organisations that specialise in providing vacation care. Again these programs are very popular. Start doing your planning at least a month before the holiday starts!
  • While this may come as a surprise to international immigrants, it is also quite common to see parents bring their children to their place of work - especially if it is in an office environment !
  • This may not be possible for everyone, but getting permission to work from home on some days can help reduce the number of leave days you have to take. 
Hope you found this blog post particularly useful and I'll leave you with one final important reminder - PLAN EARLY !!  

P.S. If you have other ideas or tips, please comment and share ! :-)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dami Im ROARS on X-Factor !

Can this woman do no wrong ?! An unprecedented 4 standing ovations in a row from the judges in 4 live shows !

Performing a rousing rendition of the Katy Perry smash hit "Roar", she smashed her opposition again with the best performance of the night by far.

I am running out superlatives to describe her and I think its best to let her performance do the talking.

Enjoy !

P.S. Her performance starts around 2:00 if you want to skip the intro section. Also, get ready for LIFT OFF around 3:30 so stick to the end. :)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Building your own home

Today’s blog post is following on from the previous posts about Melbourne property - the Real Estate journey and Choosing your suburb.
House construction 
For many people, buying an existing home in established suburbs can be too expensive. A popular and cheaper option especially among new immigrants is to buy an empty block of land in an outer growth corridor suburb – e.g. Point Cook or Tarneit – and build a brand spanking new home.

Let’s say you have chosen your land, decided on a house design and selected a builder, what next?

Here are the 6 main stages of building your own home:

  1. Contract: Review and finalise building contract terms and conditions
  2. Base: This is after the concrete slab foundation or stumps/piers/columns have been completed
  3. Frame: After all the wall and roof frames have been built.
  4. Lock Up: After the external walls, windows, doors, etc have been completed and the house can be “locked up”.
  5. Interior: All the interior work – e.g. plumbing (water and gas), electrical, painting, etc. – is completed.
  6. Handover: Your will get a chance to go through the house with the builder to ensure that everything is alright. Any defects are officially noted for rectification. 

By the way, it is normally built into your building contract that you have to pay a certain amount of the total price at each stage – also known as Progress payments.

Best of luck with your new project!

P.S. I have been through this process a number of times so feel free to post any specific questions you have about the process. More than happy to assist if I can!

Last but not least, don't forget to check out my brand NEW website - - dedicated to all things about moving to Melbourne and life in general in the world's most liveable city !

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Melbourne is the Most Liveable City in the World ... Again !

A huge congratulations to Melbourne for winning the prestigious Economist's Most Liveable City in the World award .. again ! This makes it an amazing 3 years in a row that Melbourne has won this award.

It's not easy to win an award like this so many times, but I can honestly say that Melbourne has been improving year on year.

The CBD is a getting more vibrant all the time with lots to see, eat and play. There's big events all year round to stir up the vibe. Its relatively safe and clean with a friendly multicultural population. And the list goes on ...

Kudos to the State and local city governments for continuous progress and development without compromising its proud heritage and history.

I am truly proud to call this wonderful city my home.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Dami does Disco !

Can this woman do no wrong ?! 3 live performances and 3 rapturous standing ovations from judges and fans alike !

And the best thing about Dami Im is that she seems to be genuinely grounded, shy, humble and just general nice person all round.

Go the Dami Army !

Friday, September 6, 2013

Australian Federal Elections 2013

It’s Election Day again!

Today, all Australians will vote for who will govern the country for the next 3 years or so.

Federal Parliament House CanberraSo this is a very opportune time to provide some election basics and an honest frank view of the Australian political system.

Note: This is a very simplistic view with just enough information to understand for a new immigrant to understand what is happening!

There are 150 seats in Parliament up for grabs and each represents a geographical section of Australia.  The party that wins the majority of the seats will be the governing party and its leader will become the Prime Minister.

There are 2 main political parties in Australia – Labour (the current ruling party) and Liberal (the opposition). There are a number of small parties like Family First, Palmer United, Greens, etc and independent candidates but let’s ignore them for now as they aren’t really important in most cases (with the notable exception of a hung parliament).

The Labour party – as the name suggests – traditionally stands primarily for worker and social rights (i.e. left wing). As such, the party is closely linked with worker unions / rights and social policies that help the less well off. However, these social policies tend to be quite expensive and the trade-off is to fund these initiatives, related savings policies are introduced that tend to be at the expense of the middle to upper class and business / economic growth (e.g. cuts in benefits to families above a certain income level). It's current leader and Prime Minister is Kevin Rudd.

The Liberal on the other hand focuses a lot on economic growth. Their belief is that a strong economy is the foundation of a successful country goes a long way to solving social issues (i.e. right wing). That is, a strong economy means well performing companies that in turn provide an abundance of jobs that means everyone is better off. However, sometmes the Liberals may ignore social welfare and worker right issues that leads to the masses being unhappy and being voted out. Tony Abbott is the current Liberal leader.

Federal Parliament HallBecause both parties have very differing philosophies and both have their shortcomings, the political landscape in Australia tends to be a big merry-go-round! Let me explain using recent history …

Not so long ago, the Liberal Party (under John Howard) governed Australia for many years. Being Liberals, they managed the country and its economy very efficiently and wealth boomed all round. However, they started to get carried away and brought in controversial policies – like Work Choices that negatively impacted worker rights – which alienated them from the masses. Also, as the people got more wealthy and less concerned about the economy / jobs, their focus shifted towards social and environment issues (which Liberals tend to be weaker at and is the bread and butter for Labour). Eventually they got voted out and the Labour Party came into power in 2007.

Now the Labour Party started reverting Liberal policies and giving more rights back to worker unions. They also introduced a slew of Robin Hood style policies that took from the rich and gave to the poor. And all was well - for a while at least! Then they started to introduce policies that had an adverse impact on businesses like the Carbon Tax / Emission Trading Scheme and the change in FBT rules which drastically impacted car sales. As a result, over time the country grew deeper in debt and could not afford to embark on much needed infrastructure projects. Businesses also started shedding jobs and it was bad news all round.

Fast forward to today. Because of Labour’s mistakes these past years (coupled with nasty party infighting), the Liberals are the hot favorites to take out today’s election and become the governing party again.

And the cycle begins again … :)

Ed: Congrats to our new Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Liberal party on an amazing win  in the Australian Elections 2013 !!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Dami Im does it again !!

Just when you think Dami Im could not get any better ...

Tonight was X-Factor Live round 2 and Dami once again knocked the ball out of the park !

Performing a rousing rendition of the Prince classic "Purple Rain", she earned herself another standing ovation and admiration from the judges who were absolutlely blown away.

Enjoy the video !

P.S. If you want to skip the intro section of the vid, the performance starts around 2:00.

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