Wednesday, October 14, 2015

NEL Breakdown

Well, that didn’t take long.

A month after the election and getting the poison chalice that's the Transport Minister, Mr. Khaw Boon Wan got his first MRT breakdown this morning when the North East Line (NEL) broke down. Luckily for me, I got the NEL just after the line got back on but this morning Mr. Khaw got an early taste of the work in front of him. 

Good luck to him. He is going to need it

Monday, October 12, 2015

What A Joke!

The joke that is 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) just does not stop. Former Umno branch leader Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan and his lawyer Matthias Chang were charged today with (get this) attempting to sabotage the Malaysian economy and the country's financial and banking system.

How did they attempt to do this? Well according to the Malaysian prosecution, led by deputy public prosecutors Masri Mohd Daud and Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar, the duo did so by attempting to tell the truth! The duo are accused of committing the offence in France, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore, between June 28 and August 26 this year‎ when Datuk Khairuddin made several police reports in these countries.

So in short, the duo are detained for…making police reports! The Malaysian Central Bank, Bank Negara, reported that 1MDB had secured three of its permits to transfer US$ 1.83 billion out of Malaysia, based on inaccurate or incomplete disclosure of information which breached domestic regulations, and the Malaysian prosecution decided not to take any legal action even though it's clear that 1MDB had flouted the Malaysian financial and banking regulations.

Then they turn around and charged 2 guys for making police reports? It is almost as if they don’t want anyone to report on 1MDB, doesn’t it? 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Comics this week

Copperhead #10- After the shootout in Copperhead, the chase through the Badlands, Deputy Boo is rescued in this issue. I don't know about you but I thought the ending was kind of anti-climactic. I mean there's enough action and tension in this issue to make it interesting, even a good undercover role for Sheriff Clara, but I thought it could (and should) have been so much more. The plan...just worked too well! Still, this arc by writer Jay Faerber and artist Scott Godlewski show what promise Copperhead has. Hopefully, there's more of the same in the future.

Secret Wars #6- Did I miss something? Last I checked, the survivors from the Marvel and Ultimate Universes were spilt apart by Stephen Strange. So why is regular and Ultimate Reed Richards now working together? Admitting, this gives writer Jonathan Hickman a good way to contrast the two wildly different Reed Richards but I can’t help but think there’s a tie-in somewhere I need to pick up to follow the story. However the biggest problem I have with this issue is why did Strange leave behind a working Infinity Gauntlet without using it? I mean he even got Doom to build his castle in the one place where the Gauntlet would work and...he died without using it? Doesn’t sound anything like the resourceful doctor we all know and love.

We Stand On Guard #4- Well, the Two-Four sure didn’t last long. 4 issues in and about half the squad are either dead or captured. However writer Brian K. Vaughan gave us a glimpse of the bigger picture in the war between America and Canada and artist Steve Skroce proves equal to the task. His art showing the riots and desperation in America is nothing short of amazing. For the art alone, this series is worth the money I spend to buy it. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

(Almost) Clear Skies!

For the past month, Singapore has been shrouded in a haze. However two straight days of heavy rain gave us some respite this morning. Clear skies today people! Okay, not totally but it was a breath of fresh air compared to the past few weeks. Like they say, you don't know what you have till you lost it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

How To Do It?

 Khaw Boon Wan has been Transport Minister for only a few days when he announced that he would like to “evaluate” GrabTaxi and Uber to ensure that there is a level playing field. This is due to the feeling that GrabTaxi/Uber drivers have an unfair advantage over normal taxi drivers as they do not need to get any vocational license before starting to drive.

Now this complain is not new. Governments throughout the world has had the same complaints. One of the reason why companies like Uber  and GrabTaxi are able to charge lower rates is because their drivers do not need training. They also don’t have a private taxi fleet. Their cost is lower, so they can charge lower. So saying there should be regulations on such companies is not new. The question is what can be done.

In simple terms, Uber and GrabTaxi are NOT taxis companies. They are phone apps where any driver with a car can sign up and use the app to pick up passengers. How do you regulate a phone app? That’s the question that needs to be answered. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for some regulation on having some regulation on drivers of Uber and GrabTaxi. Taxi-drivers need to go for courses and pass tests before they can be taxi-drivers. Right now, drivers who just passed their driving test one month ago can use the apps.

However it’s one thing to say something need to be done; it’s another to figure out how to do it. The Transport Ministry and LTA need to figure that out first before doing/saying anything. If the examples of other governments are anything to go by, it's going to be a hard question to crack.

Monday, October 5, 2015


The gold bikini has been sold! Any fan of Star Wars, or anyone who had seen the movies, know which bikini I am talking about.

The first time I saw Carrie Fisher wearing the gold bikini in The Return of the Jedi, I was like "Wow!" So I can totally understand why someone paid $96,000 for it. The slave bikini costume even includes the collar and several chain links as seen in the movie. Jell, I'm not that big of a fan for the movies and even I would want that bikini.

I can only hope The Force Awakens would have such an "iconic" costume. Carrie Fisher wore the bikini in 1983. 32 years after that scene, we need another one like this!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Please Don't Tell My Parents I Blew Up The Moon by Richard Roberts

I loved "Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain". That book was great fun so I didn’t waste much time in getting the sequel. "Please Don't Tell My Parents I Blew Up the Moon" is that sequel and once again author Richard Roberts had gave us a fun delightful read.

The story picks up one month after the end of “Supervillain”. Our three protagonists; Penelope Akk, Ray Viles, and Claire Lutre, are now card-carrying supervillains. However even 13 year-old supervillains need to attend school but as you would expect, the trio are bored out of their minds.

After the high of taking on and defeating adult superheroes, school is just boring. Penny, Ray and Claire are just itching to do some villainary so when criminal mastermind, Spider, offered them a job to go into space, the trio literally jumped at the opportunity.

Before you can say “Kids going to space”, Penny had built a bio-spaceship called the Red Herring and off they go towards Jupiter. Once there, they discovered that they weren’t the first humans to go so far from Earth and that human colonists from Earth has been there for decades. Not only that, the colonists are spilt into several groups that don’t like each other very much and they are all at war against aliens from beyond the solar system.

She may be a supervillain, but Penny still thinks of herself as a good person so she tries her best to help out the colonists. She even thinks she could forge a superhero identity in Jupiter, far from the villainous reputation she built on Earth. However after some initial success, her inventions made things decidedly worse and Penny has to go back to what she do best; be the supervillain that saves the day!

Now one of the things I love about "Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain" was how fun it was. Like they say, don’t spoil a good thing and "Please Don't Tell My Parents I Blew Up the Moon" followed that advice to a T. The wild fun hijinks are all here with The Inscrutable Machine (T.I.M) trio facing their problems with villainous panache.

Richard Roberts also got a lot of world-building done in this book. Not only did he make “History” Penny’s favorite subject in school, he also went into the history of the space colonists. We basically got the general details of what happen in WW 2, the discovery of America, all the way to the story of Achilles and Troy. Achilles as a bulletproof superhuman? Yes, more of that please. If Roberts ever get tired of T.I.M, I would suggest he try his hand at writing a novel featuring historical figures as people with superpowers. That would be fun.  

“Blew Up the Moon” is also a much more serious book than “Supervillain”. Unlike the first book where the heroes and villains walked away from conflicts relatively unscathed, many characters in this book got severely injured due to all the fighting. There's even terrible genetic horrors which were created by mad scientists but are now went out of control and intend to eat humans.

The ending of the book is also something I enjoy. The colonists dislike each other with a passion but they know they have to work together at times to face off against outside forces like the aliens. Having failed to help them as a hero, Penny went to what works best; be the villain. She became the “Big Bad” that the colonists have to unite against and even managed to inspire the colonists’ every first superhero “The Kluge”. Now that’s not something you read about often.

As fun as “Blew Up the Moon” is, I have to agree with the people that say it does not match up to the quality of “Supervillain”. The main problem I have is the fact that the space adventure brought T.I.M so far from Earth. Most of the side characters in the first book did not show up in “Blew Up the Moon” and that is a big minus in my mind. Instead of Bull and Master Scorpion, we got Chief, Fabulous and Remmy. Sorry but the Fawkes siblings just aren’t as interesting.

I also can’t help but feel the book was rushed. I read somewhere that the writer sped up the writing of this book due to the success of “Supervillain” and I think it shows. There were parts of the book where I had to go back to figure out what happened; when did that character showed up; where did that invention came from? Perhaps more time with the editors would have served the book better.

Overall, "Please Don't Tell My Parents I Blew Up the Moon" is still a book I would recommend. It’s not as good as "Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain", but that is a high bar to clear. Take it on its’ own, and you will find that this book is great fun. I can’t wait for Book 3.