Monday, May 25, 2015

Boring Season Is Over

The Premier League ends yesterday and it was one of the more boring seasons in recent memory. Chelsea parked the bus for weeks on end, and no one could find a way through. To be fair, it’s hard when the team leading the EPL is playing a 4-6-0 formation. Still, they won and in the grand scheme of things, that’s all that matter.

Team of the Season
Leicester City- Chelsea may have won the league but is there anyone alive who could have predicated that Leicester City would finish the season in 14th place? I sure the hell didn’t. I thought they were going down at the start of the season, and was certain of it at the turn of the year when they were rock bottom. Credit to manager Nigel Pearson who managed to turn things around in such a big way!

Most Disappointing Team
Liverpool- When Liverpool finished second last season, it seems that it would be a return to glory for the club. However manager Brendan Rodgers has been unable to offset the sale of forward Luis Suarez to Barcelona. His shotgun approach to the transfer market has come out with more duds than gems and with young Raheem Sterling forcing a move out of Anfield, this season has been a great disappointment for Liverpool.

Most Laughable Fans
Newcastle Untied- I know there’s no such category in most lists, but if there is then fans of Newcastle United would win it hands down. In the time-honored tradition of not blaming fans for anything, most commenters are not publicly blaming Newcastle fans for the club’s horrible season but let’s admit it, the only reason Newcastle finished fourth from bottom is due to the screaming incompetence of its’ fans. Newcastle was comfortably in mid-table when the fans forced out manager Alan Pradew (booing him even when the team was winning). Local boy John Craver took over and Newcastle went on a downward spiral that only ends on the final day of the season. With fans like this, who needs away games?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Go For It

With a Straits Time survey announcing that the ground is sweet for the ruling PAP (People’s Action Party) and hints from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, many Singaporeans believes that the PAP will call for an early election this year. Some even suggest next month. However with no word yet from the PAP, all the talk is nothing more than speculation.

Or so I like to tell myself.

The fact is I do think the time is right for the PAP to call for an election. The Workers’ Party (WP), Singapore's biggest opposition party, has to bother with roadblocks put up by the PAP and the Ministry of National Development (MND). No one dare to speak on the CPF anymore and the death of Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew is still fresh in the minds of Singaporeans.

Add all these factors together and you would be hard-pressed to name a better time for the PAP to call for an election. So if I’m in the PAP, I would say “go for it”. With these factors in their favor, it’s highly unlikely the PAP would lose more ground than they did in 2011. Who knows, the prize that is Aljunied may be up for grabs. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Comics this week

Convergence #7- I had said for a few weeks now that writer Jeff King has a plan, and that plan seems to be setting up another revamp of the DCU. So much so that the battle between the 2 superheroes forces this week was quickly brushed aside for the important setup of the finale. In many ways, this issue remained me a lot of the final few issues of Final Crisis; spinning wheels while moving pieces in place for the new universe. Too bad about the New 52 though, I thought it still had a lot of potential.

Master of Kung-Fu #1- A few years ago, Marvel published "The Immortal Iron Fist" which bought back a lot of kungfu fun back to Western comics. Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and Duane Swierczynski wrote the series which unfortunately ended after just 27 issues and writer Haden Blackman is trying to recapture the magic with Master of Kung-Fu. For the most part, he succeeded. A lot of the credit has to go to artist Dalibor Talajic who seem to be having a great time drawing the kung-fu fights. If the remaining 3 issues are as good as this, Marvel will have a sleeper hit here. 

Moon Knight #15- By now, there's no doubt that Khonshu is not a benevolent god. The god of the Moon and Night Travelers gives power and let his people decide how and why to use them. He's a force of nature, not a care-giver. Marc Spector uses the power he received from Khonshu for good, but what if others do not? Does Moon Knight even has any right to "demand" his god not to give power to people who would use them for evil? Somehow I don't see the upcoming confrontation between the two ending well for Marc.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

China's Breaking Bad

Sometimes facts become fiction, and sometimes fiction becomes facts. This seemed to be the case in China when Chinese police busted a drug gang and discovered a former chemistry professor as the "cook" of the gang.

A 50 year-old former university professor named Lu had "a set of recipes for producing methcathinone”, a drug similar to methamphetamine, which he provided to dealers for sale throughout China. This has amazing parallel to the TV show "Breaking Bad" where the main character, Walter White, was...a former professor who cook and sold "crystal meth",

No word yet on whether Lu was inspired by Walter White, but considering how close they mirror each other, maybe Chinese producers will be rushing to produce the hit show. Hell, they can even put "based on real life events" on it!  

Monday, May 18, 2015

In A Word; NO!

With the world's attention on Europe's problem with illegal migrants coming from the Middle East and North Africa, Southeast Asia is now facing it's own problems with illegal migrants. Ethnic Rohingyas are escaping Myanmar in boats heading towards Malaysia and Indonesia. 

Malaysia's Prime Minister, Najib Razak, had already publicly said that Malaysia will seek the help of Myanmar to address the unfolding "humanitarian catastrophe" and behind the scenes, Indonesia and Thailand are also reported to be pressing Myanmar to resolve the issue. Will it work? 

In a word; NO! 

The problem is that Myanmar has no desire to solve it's problems with the ethnic Rohingya population. Its government routinely denies the Rohingya Muslims citizenship, even if they were born in Myanmar. To Myanmar's government, they don't have a Rohingya problem because there's no such thing as a ethnic Rohingya population in Myanmar. To them, Rohingya Muslims are part of Bangladesh's problems, not theirs. The fact that the Rohingya Muslims are born and live in Myanmar does not matter to them. Already, the Myanmar government had rejected a call from Thailand for a regional summit on the issue, saying it was not their problem. 

With it's infamous non-interference policy, will the nations of Southeast Asia be able to force Myanmar to own up to the problem? In a word; NO!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Bias Western Reporting At Its Lowest

When I read on the news that a Singapore-flagged commercial ship was fired upon by an Iranian naval patrol boat, I thought Singapore was just sucked into the Middle East conflict. However once I know the details, I understand this was just another incident of bias Western reporting on Iran.

It seems that a commercial ship, Alpine Eternity, accidentally struck an Iranian oil platform, damaging it. The ship was also damaged in the accident and went into port for repairs. During the repairs, the Iranians informed the shipping company that they must pay for damage to the oil platform. The shipping company refused.

With the dispute unsettled, the ship left port which of course got the Iranians hopping mad. A Iranian naval boat confronted the Alpine Eternity near Abu Musa island, demanding that the ship go back into Iranian waters. The dispute escalated from there with the Iranian naval boat firing warning shots at the ship. The Alpine Eternity called for help, the UAE coast guard responded and the Iranian patrol boat left the area.

So let me get this straight; a commercial ship struck and damaged an oil platform, refused to pay for the repairs, escaped into international waters without resolving the issue, got chased by the Iranian navy, and somehow this was the Iranian’s fault?

It seems that this is a perfect example of bias Western reporting, twisting facts to depict Iran as the aggressor. The ship hit an oil platform and ran! So the incident must be the fault of the Iranians!

I know being a Singapore-flagged ship doesn't mean that the ship is owned by Singapore, but I think the Singapore government might want to look into this dispute. Let’s not get drag into the Middle East conflict by the mischievous Western media. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Comics this week

Astro City #23- After a few issues focusing on the serious problem of aging in a super heroic world, writer Kurt Busiek changed tack this arc by having a…talking gorilla? Not just any talking gorilla but a music-loving, drum-playing talking gorilla! It’s part of what makes Astro City much a fun series to follow. After a few heavy issues, we will now have a weird and fun romp through the musical underbelly of the city. Busiek even managed to throw a bone to long-time readers by showing Astra back in the city. Wonderful!

Hinterkind #18- This is it; we have come to the end of Hinterkind. A good series that struggled to find an audience, it came as no surprise to me that the series is coming to an end. Writer Ian Edginton rushed things a little but in the end, he did manage to give us a satisfactory end to the war between the Skinlings and the Sidhe and we were even shown the lives of the surviving characters years down the line. I would have loved to see Hinterkind continued with more art by Francesco Trifogli but I guessed the series was just too unique for the general public. Still, it has been a good run.

Secret Wars #2- Say what you want about writer Jonathan Hickman, the man knows how to weave an intriguing tale. Secret Wars #2 basically show us the world called “Battleworld”. With the Marvel Universe destroyed in #1, #2 shows us the world created by Doom in its aftermath. Hickman do a lot world-building in this issue, we get to see the legion of Thors, a few kingdoms in the world, and even a short history of the planet. What’s surprising was how smooth the whole issue was. Hickman was able to give us all this info without us once feeling there was an info-dump. That takes some doing. He was ably helped in this issue by artist Esad Ribic. Esad and colorist Ive Svorcina bought Battleworld to life in a truly impressive way. From the kingdoms, to Doom’s castle, to the Shield, to the Deadlands; almost everything was amazing. Quick, bring on the next issue!