Author Saul Singer and his book Start Up Nation (inset: Eric C. Maliwat) Author Saul Singer and his book Start Up Nation (inset: Eric C. Maliwat)

MAKE YOUR MONEY GROW Saul Singer says Aussie entrepreneurs should seize the moment Featured

If you want to make your money grow by doing business, this is an event you should not miss!

I got this book from the Israeli ambassador many years ago in Manila and I have "devoured" its contents.(Coincidence was that, before I got this book, I was in communication with the author's mum on a memoir written about Saul Singer's fallen IDF brother! Finding out later that the author of this entirely different genre of book is her son surprised me!) Having had a short study in Israel and has visited The Technion, I have shared what I learnt from the country and the book, in all my university graduation speeches, public lectures, seminars and talks! I am happy that the idea is being generously shared, finally, here in Australia! (Eric C. Maliwat)

"Crowdfunding your way to success - A lesson from Israel"

Thursday 3rd March 2016

With the recent announcement of a number of new government incentives to promote Innovation & Start Ups in Australia, there are lessons to be learnt from Israel – The Start Up Nation

"Twenty years ago, Israel’s biggest export was oranges.... Now it is the World's Start Up Nation."
(Saul Singer, Author- Start Up Nation)

The AICC is delighted to invite you for a boardroom lunch with

Dan Bennett
Managing Director - OurCrowd Australia and Asia
"Crowdfunding your way to success - A lesson from Israel"
Thursday 3rd March 2016

An important part of Israel's VC scene is the concept of "Crowd Funding", which is a growing industry in US and UK.

In 2012 more than one million individual campaigns were established globally and the industry was projected to grow to US$5.1 billion in 2013, and to reach US$1 trillion in 2025.

A May 2014 report, released by the United Kingdom-based The Crowdfunding Centre and titled "The State of the Crowdfunding Nation", presented data showing that during the month of March 2014, more than US$60,000 dollars were raised on an hourly basis via global crowdfunding initiatives. Also during this period, 442 crowdfunding campaigns were launched globally on a daily basis.

Dan Bennett is Managing Director of OurCrowd, the global leader in Equity Crowdfunding which makes venture capital investment opportunities available to its club of 10,000 members straddling 120 countries.

Dan BennettOurCrowd has deployed $250m into 90 global start-up companies in the last two years. OurCrowd benefits from making global venture capital deal flow available to an entirely new group – once only accessed by a small closed club of venture capitalists.

Dan is the former Head of Business Affairs at Future Capital Partners in London which has made venture investments of over $15 billion. Prior to this, Dan was the head of the Australian legal team for Australia's largest renewable energy business, Infigen Energy (formerly a Babcock & Brown Wind Partners). Dan's professional career has focused on financing, investment and deal origination and execution financing. Dan also worked with Minter Ellison Lawyers in their Finance Group.

Dan holds a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Commerce from the University of New South Wales. He has 15 years of experience in private banking, investment and law.

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  • Are we already living the apocalypse? 

    Eric C. Maliwat talks to contemporary multi-awarded poet-novelist performer Merlinda Bobis

    Literally, apocalypse is from the Greek word "apokalypsis" which means "uncovering" or revelation. But since the Judaeo-Christian narrative from the Bible contains symbolisms that are interpreted to be "signs of the end of the world", people now see the term as referring to the complete final destruction of the world. There is a rise of interest for this genre of literature and film. To prove my point, we can just check out the latest flix which include my favourite film series - Hollywood's XMEN and its latest offering XMEN: Apocalypse. But its creator Stan Lee and even Star Wars' George Lucas may have to share the limelight soon with someone born in Bicol, Philippines and who is now living in Canberra, Australia.

    Multi-awarded Filipino-Australian contemporary novelist poet and performer Professor Merlinda Bobis uses the power of imagery in apocalyptic writings, harnessing allegory's capability to challenge real-life issues in her book "Locust Girl. A Lovesong, 2016 NSW Premier's Literary Awards Christina Stead Prize for Fiction awardee. I had the privilege to interview her which I am sharing here. You may be able to answer the question above yourself, after considering the profound insights below from our very own Merlinda Bobis.

    ERIC: How does literary art engage this techno-generation with what has now become a 'flat and borderless' world yet still facing numerous challenges in protecting its environment? addressing inclusion and crossing borders?

    MERLINDA : In this social media era when, through technology, we claim to 'friend' anyone anywhere in what we think is a 'borderless' world, sadly borders are becoming more entrenched especially around issues of race, culture, class, ideology, including the varied positions regarding protecting the environment. It seems so easy to 'friend' anyone and everyone in the abstracted, distanced sense—and yet, how do care about our own neighbours across the road who are different from us? How do we care about the creek in our backyard? I miss the intimacy and honesty, and the presence of care, in the word 'friend' or 'love,' for that matter. I believe literature—telling stories—is one way of saving these human needs and aspirations from becoming mere concepts that are glibly bandied around. Through story, we are able to look deep into the human heart, into human relationships, and into the relationship between the human and non-human, which of course includes our environment. These are what I attempt to do in my novel 'Locust Girl. A Lovesong'—and, in fact, in most of my writings. 'Locust Girl' is about the friendship between two girls who walk the desert to find safe haven beyond the border. It is also about the bond between a girl and a locust that enables them to reach that last green haven at a time when the earth has become a vast dry because of climate change. Through this fantastical fable, I raise the question on the ethics of care: how do we care for those unlike us, really? And who are we saving the planet for—only for the elite, or is this redemption for all of humanity and our shared home? Through storytelling, I hope we are able to return the missed intimacy and honesty, the flesh and blood, to the words 'friend' and 'care'—and to actually live them in the story and, hopefully, even in our daily lives.

    ERIC : What do you think about apocalyptic writings regarded as literature of the oppressed, a device using allegories addressing real-life issues? What place does this genre have today that may impact geopolitics and specific challenges societies face? How can they remain relevant and effective?

    MERLINDA : Allegory is a potent tool for storytelling and critiquing real-life issues, and apocalyptic writings may harness allegory for the same reasons. In story, we are able to live reality but at the same time examine it with fresh eyes. It seems there is a trend in apocalyptic stories in literature and also in film, probably because we are, in a way, already living the apocalypse. Most of these stories are, in fact, already happening. They unfold like fables giving a warning or 'a lesson' about the most urgent challenges of our times, like geopolitical conflict, climate change, or the movement of peoples locally and globally. All of these realities are in 'Locust Girl.' But don't get me wrong about the word 'lesson.' While writing about the big political issues, the writer cannot be didactic. Remember, storytelling is also about pleasure, about creating a sense of wonder in a space where your listeners/readers can join and live the journey of your characters. It is only when this happens that your allegory, your critique, or your 'warning'—and also your hope or alternative vision—can be relevant to the reader. Story has to be affective to be effective. Moreover, as a writer who engages politics, I cannot just do an interrogation or critique or examination of social realities. I have to dream up the possibility of redemption, of hope, or of a better way of engaging what it means to be human and interconnected with each other and the environment.

    ERIC : Would you share us your vision of the years ahead in your sphere of influence? What are you happy to have brought to further enhance multicultural Australia from Philippines?

    MERLINDA : I'm keen to adapt 'Locust Girl' and some of my earlier novels into film. 'Locust girl' is a story (and can be a film) about different peoples, races, cultures trying to find some redemption together in an environmentally compromised world. I believe a film about this, which can be enjoyed by young and old, will be relevant in multicultural Australia and also in the Philippines. The Philippines is an archipelago with waters bordering different islands, and with diverse regional cultures and languages, thus daily we deal with differences. More importantly 'Locust Girl', hopefully made popular through film, might be able to inspire us to look beyond our differences and reconnect through a common cause: saving our planet before it's too late. And this salvation cannot just be for the elite or for the chosen few but for all human beings and creatures, and for the water, air, earth. These are our friends too, and we have to care for them as much we do for our closest beloved. If we are to survive, we have to respect and preserve this interconnection among the different beings in our universe. Remember, we are just one of these beings.

    A quick look at her website gives us a glimpse of her earlier years. Award-winning writer Merlinda Bobis grew up in Albay, Philippines at the foot of an active volcano, which figures prominently in her writing and performance. As a child her main interest was painting, but at age ten she began writing poetry because ‘painting with words’ was cheaper. She has published novels, short stories, dramas and poems. Her plays have been produced/performed on stage and radio in Australia, the Philippines, Spain, USA, Canada, Singapore, France, China, Thailand and the Slovak Republic. She has performed some of her works as theatre, dance and music.
    Merlinda has a Bachelor of Arts (Summa cum Laude) from Aquinas University of Legazpi and a Master of Arts in Literature (Meritissimus) from the University of Santo Tomas, Manila. For ten years she taught Literature and English at Philippine universities before coming to Australia in 1991 on a study grant. She completed a Doctorate of Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong where she taught creative writing for more than twenty years. She continues to dream new stories in Canberra.

    'Locust Girl. A Lovesong' was published in Australia by Spinifex Press, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary of publishing this year. The Philippine edition was published by Anvil Publishing Inc. Copies can be bought in both countries by ordering through local bookstores, or directly in Australia from the Spinifex Press website:
    Merlinda will be doing a Reading with other Spinifex authors at Collected Works bookstore in Melbourne on 9 July and a Conversation on 'Locust Girl' with her publisher Susan Hawthorne at the Readings Carlton bookshop on 11 July. She will also be participating at the 2016 Canberra Writers Festival on 26-28 August.

    For more of Merlinda Bobis, visit her website :

  • Manila Business Briefs by Clive Troy

    Manila Business Briefs March 2016

    Food in PH. - Lets start with a suggested list of good food establishments in Manila. For those who haven’t been in “Manila” for years we can report that nearly all eating places have lifted their game considerably. That includes the old established “take out” joints from McDonalds up.
    Margarita Fores has just been voted as Asia’s best female chef for 2016. She has what has been described as food “chain” in the city. The highlight of her food empire is CIBO restaurants. Go to www.theworld’
    Also recommended – Mercato Central, Friday and Saturday, 6pm to 3am, Corner 7th Avenue and 25th Street. Go to Farmers Market anytime. Here is the ultimate in up market - Champagne Bar Lusso in Greenbelt.
    While we care talking food – there are reports that the humble coconut is coming out of its shell. Ha ha – joke only. The current market price for dried copra in March was US$1448 per tonne an increase of 50% over the average price in 2013. Also coconut water has jumped 37% over the last two years. Here is a statistic that will impress you. Coconut water exports 66.3 million litres and the oil 2.1 million tonnes Unfortunately typhoon Haiyan in 2013 destroyed 44 million trees, 15% of the existing trees at that time. Like in most agricultural economies, the poor old farmer cops it in the neck again.
    More Bad News – on the growing front, a deadly new banana fungus in creeping around the world. It is known as Panama disease. This disease blocks off the plant vascular system which in affect cuts off the flow of water and nutrients to the plant. It is now in South East Asia, Middle East and now Australia. Very little money has been allocated to stopping the march of the disease. The reason is there is no money. However be rest assured the Australian Government has found 60 Billion dollars to purchase 12 submarines. Its not known if a sub can sink a diseased banana disease but time will tell.
    Sadly, the Spratley dispute continues to expand in spite of no shots being fired – so far. Its all a bit of cat and mouse at the moment. The Philippines continues to really ignore the facts. The Chinese continue to build and develop the air/military/naval presence there. It’s a no stand off stand off. American naval, marine and air force have returned to the Philippines in very small numbers to Clarke and Subic and that’s the latest update. In another development the Philippine Navy impounded a vessel (cargo) in Subic which they considered to be owned/belong to North Korea. The vessel Mu Jin Teng appears to sail under a variety of flags of convenience, but has been declared North Korea along with 31 other floating worldwide. This seizure has been authorized by a United Nations resolution resulting from the claim that North Korea exploded a nuclear bomb. We live in very interesting times.
    Electricity – Philippines – USA – Its too early to report this status. Things will start hotting up in the end of April/May/June. The big one to watch is the USA scene. The problem is serious. In my opinion and a heck of a lot of others, feel Donald Trump is nothing but a serious nutter. People are flabbergasted at the antics and very strange statements coming from his mouth and brain. His presence also demonstrates how the Republican Party lost the control and plot of its internal affairs. These is no sane excuse for what has and is happening. With Donalds finger on the nuke button and the intransigence of North Korea – anything can happen. It appears that everyone took their eyes off the ball, and doesn’t number one shows he know no bounds. We also live in strange times.
    Here is a quick way to make money. Pinch it from a central bank. Yes folks – that’s what happened. It appears two Chinese Nationals organised a transfer of US$101 million from the Bangladesh Central Bank to Manila. Mr Kim Wong, a Manila based gambling junket operator spoke to a Senate hearing in Manila that he helped the men deposit US$81 million with Solaire Casino and Resort. Then there were a series of transfers to other casino bank accounts and guess what? There was no more money to transfer after everyone got their cut. Senator Teofisto Guingona III is chairman of the proceedings expressed his disgust. Older readers will remember the crusading Guingona II and Guindona I faced the same crooked system. Senator Juan Ponce Enrile said “right now I think foreign Governments think of the Philippines as a weak link in the international financial system.
    Once again how the game has changed. This snippet relates to shipping in Asia and as you can imagine the Chinese have played a trump card again. The new standard in shipping size is the the Valemar – this master can carry 360,000 tonnes of bulk cargo. The nearest completion is Capesize weighing 180,000 tonnes. As you can imagine this big size has changed the economics of bulk shipping. In 2008 the cost of Capsize was $200,000 per day. Currently a Capsize can be chartered for $2000 per day. Yes - $2000. Needless to say the shipping companies have not passed on the savings.
    Check this movie out – 4 Star – “Metro Manila”. Its social justice, a presentation about poverty, move to live in Manila etc etc. You can get it on SBS On Demand download. Well done by the movie maker.
    The Immigration Minister has announced that after all the behind the scene deals his department managed to settle 2 boat people in Cambodia at a cost of $60 million. One of them did a runner and appears to have gone back to Afghanistan. The whole shambles is typical of the Minister and crew not understanding the ins and outs of the game. All you can see now is the Minister at a press conference surrounded by a bunch of head nodders!
    Naughty Philippines Casinos taking the loot off the table at the Casino in Australia. The Crown CEO proclaimed that “we could have grown double digits if we offered the same as some of the Casinos in the Philippines.” The CEO is Matt Bekier. I’ll give you a tip Matt – its called competition and you ain’t competing. In addition, the drinks are overpriced and the food is lousy. Look internally mate.
    Further Information on the Return of American Forces to The Philippines is to hand – The Philippine Government is making the announcements. So far they have advised that four air bases will be established and one army camp. The return of American forces have been described as a rebalancing exercise. The announced locations are:-
    Fort Magsaysay Luzon – (Army)
    Basa Air Base Luzon
    Mactan Benito Ebuen Air Base Cebu
    Antonio Bautista Air Base Palawan
    Lumbia Air Base Mindanao
    It would appear that the Lumbia Base will have a dual role. Counter Terrorism Operation into Mindanao, an area that is becoming more critical every week. The Islamic threat in Mindanao continues to strengthen. There have been a series of kidnappings of foreigners and a few beheadings of locals who don’t comply with direction.

    A Grand end to Manny Pacquiao's in-ring career, he left the ring in decisive fashion last 9th April on Saturday, earning a unanimous-decision victory at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. All three judges scored the fight 116-110 in favour of Pacquiao. The fighters each carried a win against the other heading into Vegas on Saturday night. Timothy Bradley Jr. won a contentious split decision in June 2012, while Pacquiao left little doubt as to the result with a unanimous-decision victory in April 2014. It was Pacquiao's first fight in nearly a year. Great for Manny and good for the Philippines.

    Lack of Investment News – the reason for no investment news is that there is nothing to report because of the impending elections. Everyone is busy out in the hustings. But its coming soon.

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