Thursday, September 3, 2015

Comics this week

Plutona #1- In the world of comics, artists and writers are the stars of the industry. Colorists comes a distant third in the pecking order, but Jordie Bellaire is doing her damm best to upend the established order by putting out some amazing work.  Writers Jeff Lemire and Emi Lenox may get the majority of the applauses for this inviting story but I thought Bellaire was the one who made the story work. The change of colors from normal life to the eerily darkness was superb and if this keeps up, I foresee a great series similar to Astro City.

We Stand On Guard #3- Writer Brian K. Vaughan proves in the previous issue that he is going to push the envelope and it is still the case here as the captured Mcfadden undergoes torture by the American military on the whereabouts of the Two-Four. However the main star of this issue has to be artist Steve Skroce. Skroce's art is great from start to finish and the final page reveal showing in no doubt the odds the Two-Four faces. I’m less sure about the flashback of Amber and her brother; so far it doesn’t seem to have much effect on the main story. This is not help by the fact that Amber is not even the main character in the Two-Four; she just our window into the militia. Less flashback, more Two-Four, and this series will be great. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Boring Contest?

With 181 candidates, 9 political parties and 2 independents contesting for all 89 seats in Parliament, some have called this the most keenly contested election in Singapore's history. Others have began calling it the most boring.

After looking at the facts, I have to say both sides are right.

Although all seats are contested this round, the simple fact is that the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) are the overwhelming favorite in the vast majority of these contests. The biggest opposition party, Worker's Party (WP), seems more interested in retaining the seats they won in 2011 than making any new headway. There is no "all-in" gamble like Aljunied GRC.

Having said that, the PAP also seems more interested in retaining their majority in Parliament than anything else. Without question, the PAP's strategy is to prevent the loss of another GRC. The team they fielded in Aljunied GRC seems lightweight, and even the most hardcore opposition supporter has to feel a little sorry for Cheryl Chin. The PAP newcomer has been thrown into Fengshan SMC which voted 48.1% for the WP in 2011; all in the name of saving East Coast. Without question, Lim Swee Say now has an easier task in East coast without having to worry about Fengshan.

With the 2 biggest parties in Singapore holding ground, any fireworks in this election must be provided by the other opposition parties, chiefly the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP). After their better-than-expected showing in 2011, the SDP is now back in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC. Headed by its secretary-general, Dr Chee Soon Juan, the SDP team has put it's A-team in Holland-Bukit Timah and it seems to me this is the GRC most likely to fall to the opposition.

Can they do it? Honestly, the odds are not good for the SDP. So both sides are right. This is the most keenly contested election in Singapore's history, but it will also be its most boring.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

All Seats Are In Contest

The nominations are done and for the first time since independence 50 years ago, the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) will face a fight from opposition candidates in all parliamentary seats. 89 seats are on offer this year and all of them will be contested. 

Although the PAP will return to power on Sept. 11, I must say I'm kind of surprise by the fact that all the seats are contested in this election. The PAP has the feel-good factor this time with Singapore's 50th birthday last month and even the sympathy vote with the death of the late Lee Kuan Yew. As such, I didn't think all the seats will be contested this round. This didn't happen even in the last election when the mood for the opposition was much better. 

I guess maybe the opposition parties know something I don't. Hopefully...

Monday, August 31, 2015

Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs

Saber Rider...and the Star Sheriffs in the sky!

Decades after first hearing the theme song, I still remember with great fondest the opening track of "Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs". For those of you too young to remember, "Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs" was a Japanese anime series called Star Musketeer Bismarck.

Set in a distant future where humans have spread into space and have started to colonized planets, the series is about the Star Sheriffs who maintain law and order in this "New Frontier" of man. The series was a cross between the space and western genre similar to "The Adventures of The Galaxy Rangers", and it straddle that line pretty successfully.

However it never became a big hit in Japan but was successful enough for American companies to take notice. A company called World Events Production (WEP) took the series to America, and it became a hit. It was easily my favorite anime when I was younger.

So when I heard that there's a Kickstarter campaign to make a video game out of the series, I was excited. Originally announced in 2010, I thought the game was vaporware. It might still be, but at least now it has a small chance of getting out of development hell.

Good luck guys!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Par For Course

The General Elections (GE) hasn't even officially started and already we have a case of the opposition accusing the Singapore government and it's mainstream press playing dirty politics. The case in question is the poison letter sent to the press alleging that opposition Workers’ Party candidate Dr Daniel Goh had an affair with one of his former students. 

The letter was sent by a "Max Chan" and the mainstream press ran with it, with Dr Goh’s refutation of the allegations included of course. Well, that did not take long. Now there are people in Singapore who say the press made a shocking "error" in running the story without any evidence of the affair or that this "Max Chan" is even real, but I disagree. 

I don't think the press made any error at all. They had a letter making the opposition look bad, so what do you think they are doing to do with it? Check to see if it's true? 

Come on people, this is Singapore. The political editors at the Straits Times knows who they are working for and so do every Singaporean. Can't blame them really; they are just doing their real jobs. Anyone who disagree with me can ask himself a simple question; how much of Michael Palmer's affair did you really read in the Strait Times? I can assure you what you read in the papers is nothing compare to what's on the internet (most of which turns out to be true). 

So for those of you who say you are disappointed at the way the mainstream media ran this story; I am sorry. I can only say you are naive. This is Singapore. For the opposition, this is par for the course.  

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Veteran In Punggol East

In a show of how much they want to dent the momentum of the opposition Worker's Party (WP), the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) has signaled that 6 term Member of Parliament (MP) Charles Chong will move from him current Joo Chiat seat to contest in the Punggol East SMC.

After former PAP MP and Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer resignation, the Punggol East seat was taken by the WP with Lee Li Lian now representing the ward in Parliament. The PAP announcement show how serious the PAP is in taking back the seat, parachuting in a veteran to take on a first-term opposition MP. Will it work?

In all likelihood; yes.

Big names means a lot in Singapore politics and it would be an uphill task for Ms. Lee to hold on to the seat against Mr. Chong. On the flip-side; if Ms. Lee wins, then she will make quite a name for herself. Guess we see on 9/11.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Comics this week

Ant-Man Last Days #1- With the success of the Ant-Man movie, it's no surprise that Marvel is now trying to push the C-list hero to A-list status. Now why Marvel actually put out a prologue issue before the start of the actual series is up to debate, however I have to say writer Nick Spencer and artist Ramon Rosanas has put together an entertaining issue that got me excited about the character. That's not easy when it comes to Scott Lang but the issue gives us good insight to Lang and at the same time set things up nicely for the series to come. Mission successful!

Magneto #21- This is it; the end of Magento! Unfortunately, writer's Cullen Bunn's series ends with a whimper and not a roar as Magento "discovered" how wrong his methods has been just before he died. I could do without that. Thus far, Bunn's Magneto has been a complicated yet uncompromising character who understood the bad things he did but he would do it again if it meant his people, mutants, got a better future. That Magneto is far more interesting than the Magneto of this issue who "discovered" his wrongness. Still, this has been a great series and I hope the upcoming Illuminati series build on this series.