Tag Archives: Money

Singapore’s $800k gold medal tops payout list

Nevermind the fact that Singapore has never actually won an Olympic gold.  The tiny island’s $804,010 prize (S$1 million) for an Olympic gold medal will definitely keep Singaporeans trying!

This week, Singaporean Feng Tianwei won bronze for table tennis, awarding her a cool $201,000.  Not a bad National Day present for Feng (today is Singapore’s birthday!).  Silver medalists would get about $402,000.  The money comes from the Singapore government’s Multi-Million Dollar Awards Programme, which doles out big bucks for anyone who wins a medal for the country.

Still, while the US by far doesn’t have the biggest payout for Olympic medals, American athletes are more likely to make mega moola from sponsorships.  Michael Phelps, for instance, has an endorsement with Nike that’s apparently worth $50 million.

Maybe it’s for that reason that the top four highest payouts for an Olympic gold medal are all Asian.  Check out the list below — I guess these South East Asian countries really want some gold!

Top 4 countries with highest payouts for an Olympic gold medal

1. Singapore — $804,010

2. Philippines –  $340,900

3. Malaysia – $307,000

4. Thailand – $300,000

 

(Thanks, Hubie!)

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Chinese man creates fake bank, buys it, gets arrested

So we know China is notorious for its copycats and knock-offs , but this guy just takes it a notch too far by fabricating a bank just so he could “buy” it.  Rice trader, Lin Chunping, had high hopes of gaining recognition and praise by claiming he had bought a Delaware-based bank called Atlantic Bank for $60 million. He had been given a prestigious political appointment in his hometown, but after word broke out that he had acquired Atlantic Bank, it wasn’t long before reporters discovered no such financial institution existed.

It also seems Lin really prepared for the story he would tell to convince the public.  He told Chinese reporters that the bank had existed for 85 years and was run by Jews prior to his purchase. Lin then claimed that it took him two years to negotiate the purchase of the U.S. bank, and that the bank had declared bankruptcy in 2008 because of the financial crisis.

Fortunately, he’s already under arrest for an unrelated fraud and has been forced to give up his municipal-level appointment to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Hmm…this makes me worry about the integrity of others who have been appointed to other high positions in the Chinese government.

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Chinese guy gets stabbed at ATM, doesn’t blink an eye

Just another day getting stabbed in China, no biggie.  That was the attitude of one man who, after jumping the queue for the ATM, gets stabbed in the shoulder.  The assaulter is another man who looks like he had been waiting in line.  Pissed off, he jumps over the glass booth and swiftly jabs a knife into the line-jumper’s shoulder.  The really incredible part is how the guy at the ATM doesn’t even flinch, and calmly completes his ATM transaction.  When he gets out of the booth, you can see the huge stains of blood on both his jacket and the floor.  WTF.

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Meet Sushil Kumar, the real-life Slumdog Millionaire

Before winning the grand prize, Sushil Kumar earned $120 a month as a government clerk.  But last week, the 27-year-old became the real-life version of Slumdog Millionaire.  He was the first person to correctly answer all the questions on the TV show, Kaun Banega Crorepati, the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.  He won 50 million rupees, a little over $1 million.

“The entire place just exploded. The family of the contestant…ran on to the set in uncontrollable joy and screams and tears of happiness, whilst the live audience were whooping it up on their feet with the loudest scream I have ever heard,” said Amitabh Bachchan, the show’s host and a Bollywood legend.

I really hope Kumar is able to change his life with this newfound wealth, despite all the horror stories of lottery winners going broke after winning millions.  But given Kumar’s smarts and grit, I think he’ll spend wisely.  Apparently, the guy was a total bookworm growing up and was obsessed with learning.  He says he’s going to spend some of his prize money on a prep course for India’s tough civil service exam, which could get him a secure and high-status job.  He also wants to build a library in his impoverished hometown so that kids could have access to “books and knowledge.”

I guess being a nerdy kid does pay off in the end!


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Japanese acts of honesty aid recovery

It’s been almost six months since the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan’s coastline. While it’s still sad to see pictures of the destruction, I’m always so impressed at Japan’s ability to sacrifice and unite to rebuild. Their honesty is also commendable.

More than 5,700 safes have been washed ashore after the tsunami. While some safes were found empty, others contained a combined total of $30 million in cash. In fact, one safe contained a whopping $1 million bucks.  Wallets have also been returned containing a total of $48 million in cash. Better yet, $78 million of the found money and property has been returned to their rightful owners. Japan’s definitely on the right track to recovery!

(Thanks, Kozue!)

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Man jailed for 2 years after breaking in, stealing $2

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Yikes, talk about a bad deal.  A Malaysian man in Singapore was caught breaking into a sushi restaurant and stealing from their cash register…which contained a whopping 2 Singapore dollars (about $1.60).  Things could have been worse though — the perpetrator, Ansar Anwar, 24, apparently could have been jailed for up to 14 years.

Total bummer for making out with just $2, but personally, I think the guy probably should have known who he was messing with.  After all, this is the legal system that banned chewing gum, canes criminals, and sentences drug traffickers with death by hanging!

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Donald Trump says China is our enemy

While most high-ranking business people I’ve talked to speak highly of China’s rise in economic power, Donald Trump says the Chinese “are not our friends. These are our enemies.”  Regarding Hu Jintao’s recent visit, Trump says that if he were the president, he would not be taking China’s leader to “fancy steak dinners.”  Chinese people “are not people that understand niceness,” he says.  Check out Trump’s anti-China rant here.

I’m all for having our own opinions, but Mr. Trump might want to get his facts right first. For example, Trump is totally incorrect when he says repeatedly that the US is the highest taxed country in the world. Um, has he ever talked to anyone in Europe? Norway taxes people close to 50 percent, for instance.  The US actually has one of the lowest tax rates in the world.

Anyway, I’d pay BIG money to see an all-out battle between Donald Trump and Gao Xiqing, the dude who manages $200 billion of China’s $2 trillion in US dollar holdings and told us to “Be Nice to the Countries who Lend Your Money” (awesome article, BTW. Must read.)  FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

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We fobs aren’t the only ones talking about China’s economy these days.  Forbes voted Hu Jintao as the #1 most powerful guy in the world, Warren Buffet says you should move to Asia for your kids, and even “The Office” had a China episode.

In China, more money means more doggies

I guess one way to tell how much the standard of living in China has risen is when people love dogs as friends, not food.  As the disposable income of Chinese citizens  increases, a growing number of people are blowing their extra cash on their furry friends.

It’s a pretty radical trend. Twenty years ago, people in China rarely had dogs as pets.  Today in Beijing, one can find “dog-treat stores, dog Web sites, dog social networks, dog swimming pools — even, for a time recently, a bring-your-dog cinema and a bring-your-dog bar on Beijing’s downtown nightclub row.”

I love dogs, but some of the things that obsessed dog owners (or, as I’ve heard them call themselves, “dog parents”) do for their pets are downright ridiculous.  Like the crazy fur dyeing styles and trends,doggy H1N1 masks, and Doga or yoga with your dog.

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Fobby heartthrob of the month: Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com

Oh, Tony. . . if you hadn’t already won my heart with Zappos’ endless array of sexy high heels, then it would have been the fact that I’m utterly in love with your company’s culture.  This month’s fobby heartthrob is Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, which is my absolute favorite online shoe store.  Tony Hsieh, whose parents are Taiwanese immigrants, is a natural entrepreneur — by 24, he had sold his first company, LinkExchange, to Microsoft for $265 million.  He then took over Zappos.com. While many venture capitalists thought that an online shoe store was a recipe for failure, Tony Hsieh’s success stemmed from his ability to revolutionize and redefine customer service for online shopping.

But what really makes me admire Tony is the way he has fostered and protected a truly unique and magnetic company culture.  I mean, how awesome is it that one of their core values is “Create fun and A Little Weirdness“?!

“… [Tony] has decided that his entire business revolves around one thing: happiness. Everything at Zappos serves that single end. Other business innovators work with software code or circuit boards or molecular formulas. Hsieh prefers to work with something altogether more complex and volatile: human beings themselves,” writes Inc.com.

I truly believe that managing people and creating a genuinely compelling company culture is just as hard, if not harder, than managing a company’s bottom line.  Ironically, Tony is a subdued and introverted guy, a contrast to the bubbly and proudly quirky culture that he’s created.  But I actually really like that — a company’s culture shouldn’t revolve around just one person, even if it’s the CEO.

Wanna know what they really mean when they say “Create a little weirdness”?  Check out this hilarious “Office Toilet Prank” video from their YouTube channel.

P.S. Get Tony’s new book here!

Maid inherits $4 million from late boss

Sometimes hard work really does pay off.  After more than 20 years of service, a Filipina maid in Singapore has inherited $4 million from her late employer.  Using the pseudonym “Christine,” the 47-year old  insisted on remaining unnamed for fear that her newfound wealth could attract the attention of kidnappers and other money-hungry evildoers.  The inheritance from her late employer, Dr. Quek Kai Miew, included cash and a swanky apartment near Singapore’s downtown shopping district.

“It was heartbreaking for me as I saw more years with Dr. Quek than with my own mother,” “Christine” said. “I am the luckiest maid in Singapore, with or without the money.”

In the US, having a maid is a sign of wealth and luxury.  But in Asia — particularly in cities such as Singapore and Hong Kong where it’s common for both parents to work — it’s typical for families to have live-in maids who take care of the kids.  Since I moved to the US, I often shy away from telling people that I grew up with a maid because I don’t want people to think I grew up as some kind of rich, spoiled brat.  But for me, growing up with a maid was like having a nanny whom I was super close with.  And even though she doesn’t work for us anymore, our maid who raised me since I was a little kid remains a big part of my childhood — I still stay in touch with her now.  Maybe it seems kind of crazy to most people, but I totally understand why “Christine” ended up with with four million bucks!