A Visit to Rebel – Held Area in Asia

We started our journey towards Kilinochchi and reached the Omanthai Military Check Point, the Northernmost Frontier of the Sri Lanka Army in the mainland and stopped for clearance.

Dr. Jayalath Jayawardene spoke to the Military Officials and we were cleared after a few procedures and set on our journey towards North. In a few minutes’ time by passing the No Man Zone, we reached the LTTE Check Point. I spoke to an LTTE member who questioned me about our mission. I explained our mission and introduced the German team and others there. I told we had already informed the Political wing of the LTTE about our mission.

They were highly concerned about our mission as we were about to visit the Mulaitivu region which is an LTTE stronghold. The German Television crew had come with satellite equipment for direct transmission of disaster immediately from the spot. We thought whether we would be facing any difficulties because of the security issues. But we had been cleared and were on our way to Kilinochchi.

While we were traveling we found both sides of the highway were a blend of dense forests and the paddy lands created a lot of excitement within me. Peacocks were everywhere, busily foraging in the paddy lands.

After two hours of our journey we reached Murukandy, a stopover for passengers where a small Hindu temple is found. It has become a tradition for passengers to stop there and worship the God, which was enshrined in that small temple especially if they were Hindus. Others too used to stop there as a pastime and buy a variety of foodstuff available there. We too stopped for a while but not very long, as we were already late according to our schedule to reach Kilinochchi. We had to arrange accommodation for more than twenty-five persons. I was highly worried as there were fifteen German nationals, and they would expect reasonable accommodation for the night. When we reached Kilinochchi it was early night.

We went to meet LTTE’s media spokesman who was coordinating our mission in the LTTE-controlled areas. He was startled at the number of people on our mission. He asked his subordinates to look around for places to accommodate us. Visiting NGO members and the media people had already occupied the available places. We were stalled for a couple of hours.

The German T.V. crew and the German Praktikum (Internship) students were in their vans for hours and it was sad to see their situation. Some of the youths who came with us from a local T.V. channel started to scold me, as I was the coordinator in those areas. But I had to pacify them saying after all it’s a relief mission, and we were prepared to bear the hardships.

Some how or other the LTTE’s Political Wing found accommodation and I had to take some of the German students to the lodgings, which had been arranged for them. My responsibility had been narrowed down. The German Television crew had also been assigned a place.

Some of the students were asking whether their rooms were equipped with mosquito nets. I had to find rooms with mosquito nets for them. But one room with nets, I had to reserve for a Sinhalese couple as promised. I had taken some extra care that they should not feel that they had been discriminated in a Tamil area. I had told the students I had to keep that room for the couple. All the students got rooms with mosquito nets in that complex except two students. Then I went to the LTTE’s Political Wing office to check what was happening there.

AGSEP’s Director Dietmar Doering said he would be staying where the female students and some of the AGSEP staff were staying for their safety and went with them. The young Sinhalese couple got a room at the LTTE’s Political Wing office. The incident might be as surprising as an Israelit couple taking night shelter at the office of the Palestinian rebels.

I returned to one of the lodgings, where the students were staying and got into the room, which had a mosquito net, which became available, as the couple had found room at the Political Wing. I was a little worried staying in my room because of my German friends. Would they have any misgivings about me? So, I knocked at their room doors, but got no response from them.

The exhausting day-long journey had overcome them with deep slumber.

Live a Travel Channel Life – 5 Tips For Global Nomads

There is a growing number of people around the world throwing their cares to the wind, quitting their jobs, and making a new life for themselves on the open road traveling from country to country. Whether you are making an all-out lifestyle change or easing into it a little at a time, there are tricks and techniques for doing it right.

To life like a star of the travel channel, try these 5 tips:

Tip #1: Carry only the essentials from country to country:
When you embark on your journey, you may find yourself packing two nice, big suitcase full of clothes and goodies from REI. Hint: try narrowing your luggage down to what will fit in a backpack or a single suitcase. Either way, as you travel from country to country, you will notice that your list of essentials grows shorter. All you really need is a bit of cash or travelers checks, your passport, maybe a good travel guide and a couple changes of clothing.

Tip #2: Buy cheap:
If you are going to make a life or significant hobby out of living the travel channel life, you need to learn the insider secrets to buying cheap airfare. Do the research ahead of time. For you, airfare will become as significant an expense as is a mortgage and car payment for your more sedentary friends and family. Do your homework now and save thousands and thousands down the road.

Tip #3: Know the best countries to visit for saving your cash:
As you can imagine, the cost of traveling and living in the various countries of the world differs dramatically from country to country. If you are planning to life for months or years away from home, plan your global route according to your budget. For example, if you are planning to travel Asia, visit South and Southeast Asian (e.g., India, Thailand, and Vietnam) when you are low on cash. If you just made a withdrawal from the bank account in your native country or got a paycheck from your online business, head to East Asia (e.g., Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan) to see the sites there. The same pattern applies in the Americas, Africa, and Europe as well.

Tip #4: Double up when you can:
If you are traveling along, you will find that it is usually very easy to meet people on the road. When you do have the opportunity to meet up with someone you can trust with whom you can share accommodations or even a taxi ride to the airport, I highly suggest doing so. At the same time, you will need to say goodbye to these travel bodies not infrequently, so be big enough to say “I have to go my own way now” then the time comes.

Tip #5: Use Internet cafes to maintain a travel blog:
Traveling this big world can be pretty lonely sometimes. A great option that global travelers have today that was not there even a few years ago is to keep a travel blog. Your regular entries of text and (when possible) photos will give you a sense of continuity and will give your friends and family back home a much better sense of what is going on with you as you have the time of your life.

To live a travel channel life, make sure you educate yourself about how to buy cheap airfare and accommodations. Be sure to pack only the essentials and educate yourself ahead of time about which countries will be cheaper to live in. And, take advantage of the Internet to keep yourself centered and your family and friends up to date.

Top Three Markets Of South East Asia

The mood seems to be quite upbeat for ASEAN capital markets and investing in South East Asian ETFs (a visible trend of the past year) will rise further in all likelihood. The region which will inhabit more than 300 million middle class families by 2015 is attracting a fair amount of foreign investments through institutionalised channels and interestingly through the broader options. Foreign Investors including Americans vested in South East Asia markets are now looking beyond exclusive Singapore ETFs and towards wide spectrum products that are centric on fast emerging markets like Indonesia, Malaysia and even frontier nations like Cambodia which has posted one of the strongest economic growth figures for 2012.

This side of Asia has remained indeed very strong even during the Global economic crisis. European distress and despair in terms of its overall economy still continues to top the news and even in the United States unemployment figures remain significantly high. China too, may remain slower for all current year’s quarters amidst weak exports and low investments in the country and a testimony to that is World Bank degrading China’s growth rate by 2 %. South East Asian economies and their consolidated returns on the other hand may outperform with higher growth rates than Brazil, China, India or even Russia in the coming fiscal year.

A cross border trading platform and aggressive M & A activity will go a long way in stirring investor’s interest. Good corporate governance ensures strong fundamentals and the players of the ASEAN community seem robust. Indonesia and Malaysia, both should very well suffice their real growth outlook of +6% for the current year. The newest country of the region, Myanmar along with Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam is poised to display highest growth rates in Asia, which will reflect profitably on their most active trading partners like Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Business Activity of the area is well represented by a united body called ASEAN – The Association of South East Asian nations. It comprises of 10 nations namely – Indonesia, Laos, Brunei, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines and the majority of economic activity is concentrated in four of these nations – Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. According to International monetary fund (IMF) the GDP growth rate for Malaysia is expected to be 4.7% for the year 2013, Indonesia is expected to grow at the rate of 6.3% in 2013 and for the same year Thailand and Singapore’s growth level is predicted to be 7.5% and 3.5%. In fact this entire region has a strong upward future GDP growth rate.

Investors, who have experienced nothing but a perpetual gloom form the Euro Zone and American exchanges may mull a focus on to other emerging economies in Asia especially the ones that form the ASEAN League where a better growth forecast in the near term is thriving on increasing domestic consumptions and demands backed by good governance of the policy makers.

Buying into ASEAN 40 Index ETFs is encouraged on the pretext of their immunity to the western crisis, and United States on the road to its recovery has added more favorable conditions. In order to avoid certain risks like market volatility, geopolitical and liquidity problems; an ETF approach seems the right way to go. This is due to its basket methodology and overall flexibility when it comes to trading. Invest in Southeast Asia tracking the performance of the FTSE ASEAN 40 index encompasses the largest and the most liquid companies of the five vital nations of the said region (Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore). These funds that normally charge an expense fee up to 65 basis points annually also benefit their participants in form a dividend yield along with high annual value growths.