Monday, March 30, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Rates on 30-year mortgages fell this week to the lowest level on record after the Federal Reserve launched a new effort to assist the staggering U.S. housing market.
Mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac said Thursday that average rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped to 4.85 percent this week, from 4.98 percent last week. It was the lowest in the history of Freddie Mac's survey, which dates back to 1971 and was down a full percentage point from a year ago.
How low they will go? Below 4.00%?
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
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Excerpt from "Vietnamese refugee a success on the Internet" written by Michelle Locke, The Associated Press, in March 2000:
It took Trung Dung three tries before he escaped Vietnam on a fishing boat. He then spent a year in a refugee camp before landing in America with a sprinkling of English and $2 in his pocket. Looking back, he remembers hope, not hardship.
"When I grew up, it's just like there is no opportunity. There is no future," he said. But on coming to the United States, "suddenly, I see all this opportunity that I have."
Fifteen years later, Mr. Dung (pronounced Young) is an Internet success story, founder and chief technology officer of the software maker OnDisplay Inc., which has seen its stock triple since going public in December.
. . . . . . . . .
Chick here to read more.
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Below is the article from Viet Nam Net written by Khanh Ngoc published in 2006:
VietNamNet – "This is a talented and very special man!" That's the first thing I heard about Trung Dung, and it made me curious.
As a habit, the first address I search to satisfy my curiosity is Google. Surprisingly, the first search result I saw was the Wikipedia page, the most popular electronic encyclopedia in the world.
Apart from a photo of Trung Dung is brief information: born and grew up in south Vietnam and migrated to the US at the age of 17; the founder and managing director of two big software companies in the US, On Display Inc., and Fogbreak Software; earned the Gold Torch award for outstanding Vietnamese-American at the annual congress of the Vietnamese-American community held in Washington D.C in 2004.The story of Trung Dung's life and career has been published in many famous newspapers: Forbes, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle. He is also one of the 17 examples of success for immigrants in the US listed in Dan Rather's book "The American Dream".
I also found a series of results on Google about this young man: one of the most successful young Vietnamese-American businessmen in the US, the founder and member of the management board of the DICentral Software Company, the outstanding person of the legal organisation on immigration and an honourary member of many Vietnamese-American associations in the US.
"I have a dream…"
The road to success for Trung Dung was up and down. He came to the US with only $2 in his pocket and did not know any English. At that time he was only 17.
More than 20 years later, sitting in the living-room of VietNamNet, he is a 'big boss' in Silicon Valley. He owns two big software companies worth billions of US dollars. Before our eyes is a simple and calm man, who has a deep, warm voice and humble manner. These may be the characteristics that have not changed much since he came to the US.
"Luck is a very important factor. But the more important factor is one must have a real dream and know what he wants to do. Martin Lurther King had a famous statement – 'I have a dream'. I think all of us should have a dream and try to pursue it, and hope that one day we can realize it."
The greatest dream for Trung Dung, the 17-year-old student, at that time, might have been escaping from poverty by getting a university diploma.
Though Dung's English was modest, his knowledge of mathematics and natural sciences helped him get into Massachusetts University. Not squandering the opportunity, he studied very well though he had to do many jobs - he was a waiter in restaurants, a cleaner at hospitals, etc. - to have money to pay school fees, to maintain his life and send money to his family in Vietnam.
Graduating from Massachusetts University, Trung Dung continued his studies and obtained a Doctorate of Computer Sciences, and then found a stable job in a software firm in Massachusetts.
He could have been satisfied with what he had, but realizing that there was an opportunity to develop his idea on network business, Trung Dung gave up his job to follow his new dream - giving up an opportunity to have assets of shares worth US$1mil.
OnDisplay, Trung Dung's first software company, was based on a very simple concept: producing a software product to process information from other websites, then re-clarifying the information to convenience users. As the first person to suggest the idea, and being inexperienced in the business world, Trung Dung was refused by many investors.
In its most difficult hour, OnDisplay caught the eye of an expert in e-commerce, Mark Pine, the managing director of an important division of Sybase, a big data management software company. "I see potential in Trung Dung and believe in him," he said, after he met Trung Dung for the first time.
Mark Pine agreed to work as the managing director of OnDisplay. Two week later, the value of OnDisplay soared. This company quickly had over 80 clients, including the big e-commerce and e-portal service company, Travelocity. OnDisplay also cooperated with IBM and Microsoft and newly emerging firms like Ariba, BroadVision and CommerceOne.
In 2000, a group bought OnDisplay for $1.8bil.
However, Trung Dung's dream wasn't finished. Moving to California, the cradle of technology in the US, the young man invested in his second company, Fogbreak Solutions, which specialised in applications to optimise the production capacities of production lines. Fogbreak was invested in by big firms as Matrix Partners, Greylock and Sigma Partners.
Luck was an indispensable factor on the road to success for this overseas Vietnamese, but there is one thing that we can't deny. This is the 'luck' of the ones who have broad vision, character, work hard, and know how to grasp opportunities.
This is the first time Trung Dung has returned to Vietnam since he left the country in 1984. "I'm very happy and really surprised. I've heard that Vietnam is developing very fast and has changed much but I couldn't have imagined the extent of development and changes in the country".
Seeing with his own eyes the changes in Vietnam, Trung Dung is not only proud but also has hopes and expectations. "This time I returned to Vietnam to determine the potential of the software industry, the Vietnamese market in general and investment opportunities. Though I am only staying here for a short period of time, I feel the energy of a busy and bustling life in Vietnam. Investment opportunities are not only in the hi-tech industry but in other fields," he said.
"The issue that overseas Vietnamese businessmen like me attach importance to is the laws on investment and economics. The clearer they are, the easier it is for us. This is more important than preferential policies because preferential policies are temporary," he added.
Trung Dung reads Vietnamese newspapers very often and pays special attention to economic issues, especially the equitisation of state-owned enterprises. "This is a very important move for our economy and it also creates opportunities for people like me".
However, the road of return for this successful businessman is not limited to business. "There are many things I want to do to help Vietnam. In the future I will assist the education sector, especially primary and secondary education. This field of investment is not for profit. It is a serious task requiring serious thinking to change the social environment," he said.
Trung Dung has begun investing in Vietnamese education by joining the management board of the Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF).
When you left Vietnam in 1984, did you think that one day you would return like this? he was asked. Of course, he answered unhesitatingly. "I knew that I would return. I was just not sure when I would have an opportunity".
Looking into his eyes, I understand his next dream is the dream of Vietnam, the dream of return.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Searching for success
After more than 25 years in the IT business, Yahoo vice president Luong Vinh Tuoc has become a world-renowned search engine specialist.
More than 29 years ago, on his first day at Berkeley University, California, Luong Vinh Tuoc (also known as Tuoc Luong) asked his instructors: “Which job is the easiest to find?”
Tuoc ultimately chose computer science – as recommended by his professors.
Little did he know it, but that first step into the world of information technology (IT), would eventually lead Tuoc to become the executive vice president (EVP) of world renowned Yahoo!, Inc.
Here is the excerpt from Viet Nam News on July 31, 2008:
Yahoo! expert focuses on connecting Viet Nam
Internet search giants such as Yahoo! and Google are accelerating their presence in Viet Nam, where the Internet search industry is still in its infancy. Viet Nam News reporter Phi Hung spoke with Luong Vinh Tuoc, Senior Vice President of Search Engineering and Interim Lead for Yahoo! Search Products, during his recent visit, about how Viet Nam can develop its search industry while promoting itself on the World Wide Web. Tuoc, an American of Vietnamese origin who has returned to Viet Nam after 41 years, said he really wanted to "Vietnamise" the Yahoo! search engine, not only in a business sense, but also to give back to his ancestors.
Can you tell us the purpose of your visit to Viet Nam ?
Globally speaking, I see Viet Nam as a potential market for Internet-related services. While the country’s population is at 85 million, the number of Internet users is only at 19.5 million. Thus, there is a lot of room to develop the Internet here.
During this visit, I wanted to make specific plans to optimise our search engine in the Vietnamese language. I have spoken with the Ministry of Science and Technology, specifically with Deputy Minister Nguyen Van Lang, about how to optimise the Vietnamese language in the Yahoo! search engine, and how to find materials for Vietnamese structure and annotation.
The next step will be to program our "robot" on how to read and understand the Vietnamese language.
Why do you think the development of search engines in Vietnamese has not had the same success as other languages?
In my experience, a small search service will be difficult to develop because of its limited resources. It will face many difficulties if the engine wants to develop on a larger scale. The resources I mention here are human and financial resources.
First off, building a search engine requires a large number of qualified scientists specialised in this field, and a small company will have a hard time coming up with sufficient people.
Second is the investment. A real search engine requires a huge investment in thousands of servers, which will again be difficult for a small company.
There are many young scientists in Viet Nam who know a lot about the Vietnamese language, a language that is difficult for foreign scientists to thoroughly understand. However, limited financial resources will prevent Vietnamese scientists from investing in the search engine infrastructure.
What will be the next generation of search engines?
At present, most search engines operate under the same mechanism: typing in keywords and then receiving the results relating to these key words.
But the next generation of search engines will be smarter. They will understand what the user really wants to know when typing in a key word.
Yahoo! has many other assets, such as Mail, Messenger and 360, not just a search engine. All of these programmes will become more intelligent.
What do you think about the use of the Internet with businesses in Viet Nam?
When I came to Viet Nam, the Tourism Administration of Viet Nam and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) invited me to make a presentation to local small and medium-sized tourism firms in Vung Tau on how to use the Internet to advertise on the World Wide Web.
According to statistics from the General Statistics Office, two million foreign tourists came to Viet Nam in the first six months of this year. I told my staff to check the Yahoo! database to find out how many people searched for information relating to tours in Viet Nam.
The results showed there were six countries and territories with the most inquiries about Viet Nam tourism: Japan, Taiwan, mainland China, South Korea, the US and Thailand.
I then calculated the number of queries per week in each country and the results showed that the US was on top with 27,000 queries per week, which means 1.5 million queries per year. The most common keywords were "hotel Vungtau," "hotel Da Lat" and "the best tour in Viet Nam."
However, when I searched for "hotel Vungtau," I was unable to find any direct results. I could only find a few indirect hits from foreign websites. That means that hotels in Vung Tau had lost opportunities to advertise themselves to about 1.5 million queries from the US. — VNS
Friday, March 20, 2009
Read more here.
And you thought 5 percent was a good rate? After already bringing mortgage rates down near 50-year lows, Fed Chief Ben Bernanke unleashed a surprise attack on the housing slump Wednesday by announcing aggressive steps that should make home loans even more attractive. Lower rates, of course, can help push timid buyers off the sidelines so they can mop up the excess inventory that's been driving down home prices. "This is a huge step forward," Ian Shepherdson of High Frequency Economics, wrote in a report shortly after the announcement.
Monday, March 16, 2009
I agreed with senator Dodd: "You can write a tax provision targeted specifically at 98 percent of the taxable proceeds." (Fox News). Let do it, Congress.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Any lender has 4% for 30-year fixed with no point?
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
HCM CITY — The municipal Health Department and the HCM City Preventive Medicine Centre will inspect bottled-water plants and ice-making factories from now until the end of the month.
Health Department deputy director Le Truong Giang said health inspectors working with relevant agencies would examine water sources in 24 provinces to ensure an acceptable standard of bottled water.
The work would include the collection of samples for further tests.
Violators of health ministry regulations would be punished and offending factories closed if warranted, he said.
"Those who fail to meet the required standards and damage people's health will have their work immediately suspended."
Health department inspector Nguyen Minh Hong said inspections were made two or three times each year depending on the prevalence of complaints.
In Ha Noi, Health Department chief inspector Nguyen Viet Cuong said unannounced checks of production in the city's plants and factories would be made during summer.
"Samples of the Ha Noi Water Trading Company's Hapuwa and Sai Gon Pure Water Joint Stock Co's Sapuwa bottled water had undergone health and safety checks," he said.
Both had been granted a licence.
The chief inspector said 241 licensed plants and more than 20,000 agents would be checked during summer to avoid contaminated water in the city's markets.
Inspectors of the HCM City's Department of Health (DoH) have suspended the operations of two more bottled water factories for violating safety and hygiene standards.
The two companies are Ke Ba Co Ltd in Binh Tan District and Lien Phu Phat Co Ltd in District 8, according to inspector Nguyen Thi Huynh Mai.
The certificate of sanitary inspection and quality registration for Ke Ba, which produces bottled water with the brandname of E-Ba, had expired in 2007, Mai said.
Lien Phu Phat Co's quality registration certificate had also expired, and none of the inspected bottles had expiration dates.
Bottled water with the brand name of Aquaran was manufactured in an environment that did not ensure sanitary conditions, the city said.
Last week, the DoH suspended the operations of five other bottled water factories.
On March 3, the department recalled bottled water of three companies: Tam Dang Pharmaceutical Co Ltd in District 6, which produces Aquaphar; Tan Tan Duc Co Ltd in District 7, which makes Golf; and Thuan Huy Co Ltd in District 1, which manufactures Aguavida. — VNS
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
I left Vietnam when Saigon fell in 1975 and joined my family who fled a few days before me in America, got an MBA a few years later, and became a trust officer for Bank of America and raised my family in the suburb north of San Jose. Later on I retired and taught at local high schools in the San Jose area. I taught French, English, Math and PE. I also hold a third-degree black belt in tae kwon do. I still practice at 76, almost everyday, and I go regularly to the gym and play tennis on the weekend and in summer time swim.
After retirement, I was reluctant to write a book about myself. I agree with the French proverb that "le moi est haïssable," [The me is detestable]. But I changed my mind.
The literature in the U.S. regarding the Vietnam War is one-sided. Books written by American soldiers, journalists, historians, and public officials only view the war from the American perspectives while the perspectives the South Vietnamese army, their former ally, was often ignored or worse, portrayed as cowardly and weak, despite the fact that more than a 300,000 South Vietnamese soldiers died during the course of the war as compared to 58,000 American soldiers -- our toll and suffering was far greater than what Americans cared to imagine or know.
Many American journalists were antiwar. The war was presented from the most unfavorable angles with the media sensationalizing the news and distorting the truth if necessary to achieve its antiwar objectives. It is no secret that, for one reason or another, the U.S. media was biased – if not outright hostile - to the Vietnam War. They carry that attitude toward looking at the history of the Vietnam War as well.
Even the Vietnamese communists had written quite a few books, which were eagerly translated into English by many American professors, to brag about their military and political achievements after the war. North Vietnam's Gen. Van Tin Dung's "Great Spring Victory," for instance, is widely circulated. Truong Nhu Tang, a former cabinet minister in the Viet Cong provisional revolutionary government wrote "Memoir of a Viet Cong," to tell the story of his life and frustration with the heavy tactics of Hanoi. There's an American fascination with the only enemies who defeated them. Even former defense secretary Robert McNamara went to Vietnam years later to talk and interviewed his counterparts. The South Vietnamese who fought alongside the U.S. army, McNamara never bothered to talk to, and many live near him in the U.S.
Only a handful of books had been written in English by journalists, public officials and soldiers from the former Republic of Vietnam, despite the fact that the largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam is here in the U.S.
I believe that it was time to set the record straight. That was when I wrote my memoir, "The Twenty-Five Year Century: A South Vietnamese General Remembers the Indochina War," published in 2000. It was my take on what happened and how Saigon fell.
Now, seven years later, I'm finished with another. It's called, "Hell in An Loc." It's a less-known battle in 1972 when the communist army attacked from the east, from Cambodia, via the Ho Chi Minh Trail. An Loc, a small town, was defended by 6,900 South Vietnamese soldiers who fought against 30,000 North Vietnamese and 100 tanks. Against heavy odds they withstood 94 days of horror and prevailed at a tremendous cost.
My memoir I dedicated to my grandchildren, Amy, Eric, and Brandon, all born here in the U.S., innocent and with no memories of Vietnam. I wish to leave something lasting and a record of what happened so when they're old enough, I hope they will read and learn something of their heritage.
It is an great article. Thanks general Lâm Quang Thi.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
So why we need go to work?
On the Net:
Diana Olick (CNBC): When $250K Really Doesn't Feel Rich