Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Studying Thin Air

Pokemon Go hasn’t even been released in Singapore yet and already there has been calls to ban the game in the country. A few days ago, a woman wrote to The Strait Times newspaper asking the Singaporean government to ban the game.

She was widely laughed at.

Then things took a surreal turn when the Singapore Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim told reporters at an event that the government will “study very, very carefully whatever that is brought into Singapore” and "ensure that the game will not harm lifestyles here".

I have to ask; what’s there to study? 

They are trying to study a problem that does not exist. The game hasn’t been released here yet so how can there be a problem for something that does not exist yet! Not only that, it’s not even a potential problem. This game has over 21 million players throughout the world and they want to setup a study on the rare occurrences of people getting hurt playing the game. That is just stupid.

I mean seriously; the game hasn’t even been released yet and they want to study the effects of the game in Singapore? What’s there to study? Thin air? 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Not Missing The Boat

Well , that didn’t take long. Just a day after the US Justice Department move to seize more than $1 billion in assets due to the scandal at 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Singapore has gotten into the act.

Singapore said that it had seized S$240 million in assets from individuals linked to alleged fraud at 1MDB. The Monetary Authority of Singapore said that bank accounts of about S$120 million in the accounts and properties belonged to Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho and his immediate family was seized and their ability to deal in properties were curtailed.

Needless to say, this is just a drop in the bucket when you consider that more than $3.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB but it does seem that Singapore is afraid to miss the boat and is now making their claim of the money. 

Too bad for the people of Malaysia I guess; whether it’s with the US government, the Singapore government, or in the bank accounts of corrupt Malaysian “businessmen”, they are not going to see the money anytime soon. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The 1MDB Seizure

The 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) saga just will not end. I think it goes without saying that Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak just want everyone to forgot about the issue but it's just not happening. Worse is that he has now been officially linked to the billions of dollars that were siphoned off.

The US Justice Department has officially moved to seize more than $1 billion in assets including luxury real estate and a jet allegedly bought with money pilfered from the 1MDB state investment fund. The news came after a months-long international FBI probe and according to court filings made, the US alleged that billions of dollars were siphoned off by Najib's stepson, Riza Aziz, a family friend and other officials.

This is big because this is the first time anyone has tried to take back money from 1MDB. Switzerland and Singapore have frozen millions of dollars worth of assets on suspicion of 1MDB-related embezzlement and money-laundering, but no one has went for the money yet. Also, no major figures have been brought to justice. That too might change.

However US Attorney General Loretta Lynch did pull some punches. The US never refer to Najib by name, instead going for "Malaysian Official 1," Described as a "high-ranking official" in the Malaysian government with control over 1MDB, "Malaysian Official 1" was the "ultimate beneficiary" of bank local Malaysia bank account which held tens of millions of allegedly misappropriated funds.

We all know who she as referring to but considering the man is Prime Minister of Malaysia, I think it's understandable why he wasn't explicitly named. Still, the US has made their move. Now the big question is whether other countries will follow. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Comics this week

Astro City #37- It's amazing that after so many years, writer Kurt Busiek can still surprise me. I mean wow; what an issue! After the Steeljack arc, Busiek is now on another grand story arc and it is great. The story is on, get this, the musical history of Astro City. No, for real! The story starts with a travelling (magical?) musician named Silverstring in the Old West who died near Astro City and then went on to the turn of the 1900s when the music "ragtime" was the rage. The issue then ends at the start of the jazz era in the 1920s. All the while showing how the music of the time affects the people and the heroes/villains of the city. Wow! What an issue! Pick this one up people!

Justice League #1- After the "Darkseid War", I can understand why DC want to revamp the series. I mean you are just not going  to top "Darkseid War". Having said that, I must confess I'm a little disappointed by this issue. It seems like a rehash of Rebirth and much like Rebirth, it's a little underwhelming. I'll give time for writer Bryan Hitch ad artist Sandu Florea to impress me, but this is not a good start.

Rai #15- Rais can have children! Okay, that's not new. In the previous Rai series, the Rais in that series can have children so I guess it make sense the Rais of this series can have kids as well. However, I'm a little surprise writer Matt Kindt didn't push more on this angle and instead went for the action route. Still, the history of the Rais is interesting to say the least and that's never a bad thing. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Pokémon Go Hell!

Good god, this is getting out of hand.

By now we all know Pokémon Go is a social gaming phenomenon. The game demands players to go to real-life locations to catch Pokémon and going through social media, you can clearly see how much people are into in. Hell, there's a guy in New Zeland who quit his job to go Pokémon Go hunting.

However, it's not till you read the celerity pages that you can have a good idea about how big the game is. It seems famous people are not excluded from the Pokémon Go hype. Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, Big Aoki, John Mayer and Justin Bieber are all into the game. Hell, John Mayer even share a photo of him (proudly) spending US$99.95 dollars on 14,500 PokéCoins.

So hell; when is this stupid game coming to Singapore?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Back

Common sense has prevailed!

That's my thought when I read that the Star Wars character Grand Admiral Thrawn is now not only back but also part of Star Wars canon. Thrawn first appeared in Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy of novels (1991-1993) as the Grand Admiral who held the Imperial Empire together after the lost of the Emperor and Darth Vader in Return of The Jedi.

However when Disney took over, Thrawn and all characters in the Expanded Universe (which includes Star Wars books, video games etc) were placed under what was called the "Star Wars Legends" banner. That were now considered non-canonical story that does not reflect or affect the Star Wars movies or TV series.

Problem with that was the simple fact that Thrawn is a fan-favorite! Fans loved the cold, skillful and cunning Chiss who gave the winning Republic all they could handled despite being out-manned, outgunned, and having no Force-users on his side. Fans wanted Thrawn back and Lucasfilm, wisely, has now decided to give in.

Thrawn will be part of Star Wars Rebels: Season 3 and Timothy Zahn confirmed he is writing a new Thrawn novel (simply titled Thrawn). So finally; common sense has prevailed!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Comics this week

Birthright #17- In movies, there are scenes where the main characters sit down and just talk. Often, these scenes are the highlight of the movie. A sit down in comics is much more rare but writer Joshua Williamson made it happen and artist Andrei Bressan drew the hell out of it. Yes, the Rhodes brothers got their fight but the sit down was easily the highlight of this issue. More of that and it would be great.

Web Warriors #9- Having the Web Warriors spilt all across the weave sounds like a great idea on paper but in practice…not so much. The problem is that the team is spilt over so many worlds, there just wasn’t enough time for writer Mike Costa to do justice to all of them. Having said that however, having a Harry Osborn as a Spiderman and seeing his reaction to Spider-ham were great. And the final scene? Very promising for the next issue!