Monthly Archives: June 2013

Global Peace Index 2013

Planet Earth is not really a peaceful place, according to an analysis that quantifies the relative peacefulness of 162 nations around the globe.

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Released on 11 June 2013, the seventh annual Global Peace Index assessed each country’s internal crime statistics, population trends and other factors — from the number of homicides to terrorist activity to prevailing economic conditions.

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Here is the list of 20 most peaceful places on earth:

1. Iceland
2. Denmark
3. New Zealand
4. Austria
5. Switzerland
6. Japan
7. Finland
8. Canada
9. Sweden
10. Belgium
11. Norway
12. Ireland
13. Slovenia
14. Czech Republic
15. Germany
16. Australia & Singapore
18. Portugal
19. Qatar
20. Bhutan

Malaysia, ranked at No. 29, is faring much better than United States which is ranked at No. 99, and United Kingdom which is ranked at No. 44.

Nations earned their places on the Global Peace Index list based on 22 indicators compiled from several international sources, including the Gallup World Poll, the University of Maryland Global Terrorism Database, the U.N. Survey on Crime Trends, and the International Institute for Strategic Studies Armed Conflict Database. The indicators measure violent crimes, the size of jail populations, political instability, violent public demonstrations and military expenditures, among other things.

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According to the study, in the past five years, 110 countries have become less peaceful, while 48 have improved their scores. The overall gauge of peacefulness around the planet has dropped by 5 percentage points in recent years, with considerable economic impact. The cost of “containing violence” and the associated loss of productivity and property damage are estimated to be USD9.46 trillion in 2012, or 11 percent of the gross world product, the study found.

One of the key factors is the migration of populations to urban areas in developing countries has been a key driver in the rise of homicides worldwide. This has also led to an increase in violent crime.

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An interactive map and other information about the Global Peace Index can be found at economicsandpeace.org.


A Day in the The Rat Race

[6:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m.] It’s time to wake up and get out of my comfortable bed, and perform Subuh prayer after I wash my face and brush my teeth. For my skincare regime, I vouch for L’Occitane, because this French range of skincare products is fully organic and very gentle on my sensitive skin. After Subuh prayer, I shower and get dressed for work.

[7.30 a.m. – 8.00 a.m.] I head to the kitchen to begin making the coffee, and have breakfast with my mother, and sometimes my brother and sister in law. Typical breakfast is whole meal toast with butter and orange marmalade, and eggs, either half-boiled, scrambled, or omelets. Sometimes, I have Tuna Cheese Melt or plain Tuna Sandwiches. Sometimes, we have the Malaysian favorites like Nasi Lemak, Fried Meehoon and Roti Canai.

[8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.] My challenge every morning as I leave the house to go to the office is coming out to the main road Jalan Hulu Kelang which a stone’s throw away from my house. Traffic is horrendous sometimes. However, complaining and honking doesn’t improve the traffic situation. Listening to Bernama Radio for news and be entertained by the hilarious duo, Lil Kev and Fly Guy on Red FM, is what makes driving to work a breeze.

[8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.] I usually arrive at the office before the official work hours begin at 8.30 a.m. I spend the first half hour of the day reviewing my plans for the day, my daily checklist and checking my e-mail inbox. Then, I began my tasks one at a time and keep reviewing my checklist every time I finish a task. 80% of my job involves writing and editing other people’s writing. The rest of the hours I attend meetings and discussions.

[1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.] It is time for my lunch break. During this precious hour, I have lunch with my work colleagues or with friends working nearby or take a power nap. I do my best to get away from my desk to get a breath of fresh air and perspective. Then, I perform Zohor prayers before resuming work.

[2:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.] If there are no afternoon meetings, I spend the second half of the day completing whatever assignments that needs to be done by end of the day. I am not Wonder Woman, so whatever is not urgent or important, and can wait, I will keep it for tomorrow.

[5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.] Before wrapping up for the day, I spend 15 minutes planning for tomorrow. Then, I start packing up my things and head towards the Surau to perform my Asar prayers. Right after my prayers I would start driving home. Prayer keeps me calm in heavy traffic. Driving home usually takes longer time than coming to work. I wade through heavy traffic on Jalan Jelatek and Jalan Ampang, before cutting through RISDA or Suzi’s Corner to beat traffic and reach home.

[6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.] I reach home, take a shower and eat a light dinner with my mother, and sometimes my brother and sister in law if they are home. I do my best to eat a low calories, low carbo, low fat and low sugar diet. It is extremely challenging when it comes to my mother’s cooking. She loves to cook Malay cuisines which are drenched in oil and fat. So I fix myself a lean sandwich and salad sometimes.

[7:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.] After performing Maghrib prayers, I watch a recording of the popular Malay drama, Adam & Hawa with my mother before she goes to her grocery shop for accounts closing. I sometimes help her at the grocery shop on weekends.

[8:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.] I pick up a book and read some pages. I am now reading Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. The novel is a nostalgic story of loss and sexuality. The story’s protagonist and narrator is Toru Watanabe, who looks back on his days as a college student living in Tokyo. Through Toru’s reminiscences we see him develop relationships with two very different women — the beautiful yet emotionally troubled Naoko, and the outgoing, lively Midori. Next, I do one writing assignment from Judy Reeves’ A Writer’s Book of Days, and blogging or thinking aloud on the social media. One of my dreams is to write books that inspire and make positive difference for people who read them. One day, I will write a book. After exercising my literary muscles, I perform Isya’ prayer and watch the news.

[9:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.] My love affair with Korean dramas is somewhat addictive. At 9:30 p.m. I follow the turbulent life of Jang Ok Jung one of the most famous royal concubines in the Joseon Dynasty, who began her career as a court lady who stitched clothing as a fashion designer of her time. At 10:30 p.m., I watch You’re Still the One. This drama is about Soon-young who divorces her husband Han-joon legally due to his business troubles, but they carry on having a happy married life. But the “fake divorce” turns real when Han-joon’s old flame Chae-rin comes back and offers him her financial assistance in exchange for choosing her. In order to get her husband back, Soon-young tries to make Han-joon jealous by dating his rival Woo-jin. But Soon-young and Woo-jin begin to develop feelings for each other.

[11:30 p.m. – Midnight] Before going to bed, I get my work clothes, shoes and bags for tomorrow laid out. Next, I wash my face, brush my teeth and wash my feet. Then, I talk to my fiancé on the phone. After whispering sweet nothings and wishing each other goodnight, I tuck myself and my cats, Ashley, Mocha and Manja into bed. I meditate or daydream until I fall sleep. Bliss!


Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

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Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

-Robert Frost, New Hampshire: A Poem with Notes and Grace Notes
(New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1923), p. 87. D-11 0397 Fisher Library.