Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Updating Logic

When America sneeze, the rest of the world get a cold. That's the old logic in the finance markets...notice the word OLD. How things have changed! After a dizzying sell-off in China, the global markets went into a tailspin and everyone must update their logic.

Japanese share prices dropped 3.56% (644.85 points) in morning trade; U.S. stocks plunged to their worst one-day performance since 9/11, dropping 415 points (the Dow Jones dropped 200 points in just one minute); Singapore opened 4.82% lower; all tracking the 9% plunge in China. Concern over China's possible stock bubble and an America slowdown created almost the perfect storm for markets to sell, sell, sell!

Doesn't matter what stock you own in Singapore, Singapore Airlines, SPH, OCBC, Venture Corp; all are down. That plus Iran's foreign minister saying that they will never suspend its uranium-enrichment program and a suicide bombing in Afghanistan means that the great sell-off may not be over yet.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Scorsese gets his Oscar

Martin Scorsese finally received his Best Director Oscar today for "The Departed". Hell, the Academy were so certain about the win they got three friends to hand the award to him. The names of those three? Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas! Yes, Scorsese was going to win.

To be fair, he deserved it. After missing despite "Raging Bull" and "Goodfellas", he did deserve at least ONE. The rest of the Oscar show were just as boring; Helen Mirren got best actress as British monarch Elizabeth II in "The Queen" (as expected); Forest Whitaker got best actor as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland" (as expected); Jennifer Hudson got best supporting actress as a soul singer in "Dreamgirls" (as expected); the only minor surprise was when Eddie Murphy lost to Alan Arkin for best supporting actor.

Scorsese also got his first best picture win for "The Departed". Yes, the Chinese media will be crowing about that tomorrow. For me, the best moment was when one of my fav. singers Melissa Etheridge won the original song Oscar for "I Need to Wake Up." Unfortunately, one of the few high points in the show. Like I said, boring.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Marvel’s Civil War #7

I was a little late this week but just picked up #7 of Marvel’s Civil War and you guys know what...Bulleye was right, Steve Rogers must've been fighting Bing Crosby in WWII.

The end for the Marvel series of the year was a surrender! By Captain America no less, while HE WAS WINNING! Are those guys at Marvel kidding me? This is Captain America, the WWII hero right? He quit in the midst of a firefight...while winning. Does that make any sense to anyone? Ok, Mark Millar want Cap to lose; I can understand that but that is the ending? Is this the same Mark Millar that gave us Wanted? What about the death of Bill Foster, Steve Rogers will just forget about that and QUIT? What a cop-out!

At least with DC's Infinite Crisis, things make sense. Superboy's death, Superman's injury, even Superboy Prime's madness; you can understand why they happen and the reasons for them. Captain America's surrender is because of PROPERTY DAMAGE! When superheroes fight, things get smash. You're telling me Captain America didn't know that? So what if the fight was in New York, a WWII war hero do not quit in the middle of a fight. Especially when he was winning. I'm not a Captain America fan, but come on, respect the character more than THAT!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Will not affect spending?

The Singapore Government can dream on but the GST hike in July will without question affect people's spending habits. And the 1.5% increase in the employer's CPF contribution will not do much to offset it.

Why? Because Singaporeans cannot take home that 1.5% CPF increase, while the 2% GST increase will affect their spending. It's very simple; if there is an increase in prices (as there will be), there must be an increase in take-home pay or you will have to cut back on your spending as your money will not go as far. Very simple right?

So why is anyone even asking if the GST increase will make people cut back on their spending. And why is anyone saying that it won't? All the help from Workfare and the Offset Package will not stop people from cutting back on speading. How do I know this? Because I intend to cut back on my spending, and I don't think I'm alone.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Singapore Rain-dance

People who sell umbrellas must be laughing all the way to the bank. After the record-breaking rainfall last year, the rising heat is causing Singaporeans to buy and bring out their umbrellas again.

According to the NEA, the rainfall during the first half of this month is 90 percent below average for this time of the year. WOW! 90 percent below average! That truly show how crazy the world has become. I can still remember the floods 3 months ago, now Singaporeans will be doing rain-dances.

I think it is time Singapore do something to help in this. Instead of spending money to tell Singaporeans not to gamble (talk about a sure lose campaign), how about a campaign on protecting the environment. Surely that's more important Nevermind, forget I said anything.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Signboards for taxis?

STUPID! That's the first reaction I had when I heard this one. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will put up signboards at taxi stands in town to indicate the average waiting times for taxis in the evening. They will then also update the information monthly to reflect the latest waiting times in the city so that passengers can decide whether to join the queue or wait elsewhere. This is because they say that getting a taxi in town at night can be a long waiting game.

No wonder people say that Singaporeans are too rich for their own good! Do Singaporeans truly need this? I mean if it take too long for a taxi, then take the bloody bus! That's what I do. Is LTA that rich that they are going to spend money on THIS? How about using that money and say lower the Road Tax for cars and buses, that way the bus companies can lower the bus fares. Now that is what the money should be used for.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Chinese New Year

No post for the past few days...reason? It was Chinese New Year! Yes, the time of the year when you visit relatives and pretend to like them, making small talk about nothing. To an anti-social person like me, it was pure torture. But it is over! Now back to carping about Singapore.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Water on Mars?

Just thinking about how many planets there are out there, I always thought that there must be at least one other planet out there which can support life. Now it seems that our nearest neighbour Mars is it!

Scientists have long debated whether water flowed on the red planet. Evidence have been increasing in recent years but now an orbiting spacecraft has sent back even more evidence for the presence of it on Mars. The NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show alternating layers of dark and light-toned rock in a giant rift valley. According to researchers from the University of Arizona those rocks indicate areas where fluids, probably water, passed through the bedrock. The researchers also said that layered outcrops can indicate cycles with materials deposited by regular episodes of water, wind or volcanic activity.

Just last December images from the Mars Global Surveyor showed changes in craters that provide the strongest evidence yet that water moved through them as recently as several years ago.

Personally, I don't see why scientists are so hung up on water. Yes, water is important for life...ON EARTH. If a planet do not have water, life could still find a way to live. Even if Mars has water, that still doesn't prove anything. The only way is to send someone to the red planet and come back with evidence of life. I wish NASA would spend less money on taking pictures and more on sending people into space. If they don't, I hope the Chinese will.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Here we go again

Oh oh, here we go again. During a press conference, US President George W. Bush said that he is certain that the Iranian government is supplying deadly weapons used by fighters in Iraq...he just can't prove it at the moment.

CAN'T PROVE IT? Then why say anything? After basing the invasion of Iraq on (deliberate?) faulty intelligence, now the madman is gunning for Iran. He can say that he's NOT going to attack Iran, but the way the U.S is going around with this remind a lot of people (including me) of the time before they attack Iraq. This does not look good.

The last time, Singapore backed the U.S in the Iraqi war (we were in the Coalition of the Willing). I think it's safe to say with hindsight that we backed the wrong horse that time. Let's not do it again.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Dig up St.John Island

Why not? I mean if sand is so important to Singapore, dig up all those southern Singapore islands! I mean how many people go to St.john or the Sisters Islands? I told many people about this simple solution but no one want to say what's on their mind. Although Singaporeans think it is okay for Indonesia to dig up their islands to export sand to Singapore, no Singaporeans want Singapore to dig up its' own islands. Why? Because its' LAND! Of course Indonesia are not happy digging up their islands, WHO WOULD BE? Singaporeans are not happy about the sand export ban by Indonesia, well unless you are willing to dig up the southern islands; don't talk too much!

Monday, February 12, 2007

The VH1 Classics Grammys Award

Grammys? What Grammys? Today, it wasn't the Grammys awards. It was the Classics Award! How else can anyone explain how Nelly Furtado and Timbaland's "Promiscuous," lost to..."For Once in My Life"? Stevie Wonder and Tony Bennett may be legends but come on, how many people have actually heard that song? I know I haven't!

And in a show of how unpopular the American President is, the Dixie Chicks were awarded with five awards. When was the last time a country act got the rare triple of record, album and song of the year? The Dixie Chicks should have thanked Bush for getting them the awards, hell they even had standing ovations for god sake!

But outside the Chicks, the rest of the awards were almost too safe. Old men like Stevie Wonder and bland young acts like John Mayer, Justin Timberlake, Carrie Underwood were the ones getting the awards. What happened to Corinne Bailey Rae or James Blunt? You mean boring Underwood is the best new artist in front of them? She doesn't even write her own songs? No wonder record sales are in decline.

Another stupid record

Singaporeans in their desperate need to be recognized have attempted yet another stupid world record. This time using 91,000 cans, they went for the world's longest display of drink cans.

Does this is sound as stupid to you as it does to me? I mean OK, they got ComfortDelgro (a transport company in Singapore) to pledge $30,000 for elderly patients under the care of the Home Nursing Foundation but did they have to go for a world record. The Guinness Book of World Records must be laughing their guts out on the sheer number of stupid world record attempted by Singaporeans. Next time, why don't we just have a charity concert...just most normal countries?

Friday, February 9, 2007

Sensei by John Donohue

Just finished a book I've borrowed from the Singapore Library titled 'Sensei' by John Donohue. The book is basically about this white guy called Connor Burke who is a martial arts expert, training under his Japanese Sensei. Conner was then pulled into an investigation on the deaths of various Japanese martial arts experts in America. The reason for this...his brother is the leading investigator on one of the deaths. The deaths then leaded the brothers to Conner's sensei as well as an art exhibition Conner was consulting on. Yes, coincidences like these are all abound in the book. That plus the Japanese mumbo jumbo (name for handsigns anyone?) that littered the book means that it will not be for everyone.

Having said that, this book was clearly a labour of love for the author. It is stated in the book that John Donohue is an expert in various martial arts. I believe it. He knows what he is writing about and could name the various martial art holds like clockwork. However, it also seems that he wasn't that confident in his writing abilities. At times he will write stuff like "it's hard to explain", as if to apologies up front if the reader do not understand him. However, the fast pace of the book makes it a good read. So if you are a martial arts fan, this book may be for you. Check it out.

Why pigeons are called pigeons?

I finally know today why pigeons are called pigeons...because they are PIGS! Coming home, I was informed by my sister that a pigeon managed to fly into the house while everyone was out. The bird gave her a big scare before flying out. Best bet thus far was that the stupid bird came in through the back window, which we always left out.

Well no more! It's amazing how a house of birdshit can change one's view on these matters. I have to spend half an hour to clean all the shit out. If I catch the pigeon, it's DEAD!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Heroes (TV series)

Just finished watching the 2nd episode of Heroes and I must say that I am disappointed with it. I don't care if it is the most-watched new series on American television, I only watched it as I am a great comics book fan. But this is more a show of people with superpowers, than a show of superheroes.

I mean there is this storyline about this cheerleader with regenerative power. Said cheerleader also has an adopted father who seemingly hunts people with power. See the tension? Well I don't! Come on! If I want to watch shows with such melodrama, I'll go watch a soap! Not that you will ever catch me watching them, I must add.

I will say that the 2nd episode is much better than the first. That I think is down to the appearance of Greg Grunberg. I remember him on Alias. On that show, he was just another forgettable male guy/wallpaper; on Heroes, he is the best thing so far! Playing a police officer called Matt Parkman, he saved today from been just another set-up epsiode like episode 1. Parkman is a mind-reader and the show cleverly show how the power can be both a curse and a boon at the same time. But there were just too many storylines in the show. Some of the characters (and their storylines) barely lasted 10 mins before the show switch to another character. Unless the rest of the storylines catch my attention like Greg Grunberg did, it was very hard to keep them all in order. That was also not helped by the fact that the show go all mysterious on some of the characters, like the cheerleader's father and a stripper with a spilt personality. And from what I heard, there are even more characters coming up!

Having said all that, the show do show promise. Some of the characters were very interesting and it was cool watching them discover their powers. So I'll back for episode 3, hopefully it will continue to get better.

Penis Envy!

If there are any doubts that Americans are crazy, this settles it! In the crazy sensitive world that is America, people are actually questioning whether a guitar was just a guitar during Prince's Super Bowl halftime show yesterday.

Prince's performance included a guitar solo during "Purple Rain" in which his shadow was projected onto a large beige sheet. The silhouette cast by his figure and his guitar had phallic connotations for some. Some idiots out there- including a television critic David Bianculli (never heard of him) called it "a rude-looking shadow show" that "looked embarrassingly rude, crude and unfortunately placed."

Two words for these people. Penis Envy! It must be. How else can you explain these complains? If you don't believe me, go to Youtube and check out the clips. I'll be amazed if anyone who is NOT a crazy Amercian can see anything wrong with the performance. Crazy Americans!

Monday, February 5, 2007

What won't you do for a car?

Oh, how much will you suffer to keep your car. In case anyone wonders here in good old materialistic Singapore, people will go to great (stupid and abusive) lenghts to buy and keep a car! Don't believe me? See this:
- Spend almost all of their monthly paycheck on the car; not a problem
- Go in debt to pay for the car; not a problem
- Spend $100,000 to buy the car but don't drive it because you can't pay for the petrol cost; not a problem
- Insist to everyone that a car is worth having despite the (much cheaper) public transport system in Singapore; not a problem
- When you go in debt and cannot pay off the loan, beg from friends; not a problem

Yes, here in the Lion City the CAR is that important!

Singapore win Asean championship title

Singapore stun Thailand to win Asean championship title after a great game from goalkeeper Lionel Lewis. Lewis was Singapore's best player by far tonight as he deny Pipat Thonkanya and Datsakorn Thonglao within the first 25 mins of the match.

However in the 37th min, Datsakorn chip the ball into the box and Pipat headed the ball past Aide Iskander, totally wrongfooting the defender, and volley past Lewis in one flowing motion. It was like watching a martial art move. Beautiful!

Singapore however kept fighting and in the 81st min, substitute Khairul Amri stunned everyone by smashing the ball into the net from just outside the box. It was a goal out of nothing, though I do wonder what the Thai defenders were doing dropping off Amri. However the result gave Singapore the Asean Football Championship title as it meant they edge Thailand for a 3-2 aggregate win.

Yes, that's right! The stupid, nonsense penalty that gave Singapore the 2-1 win over Thailand the other night has decided the Championship. I don't know whether to laugh or cry! Wonder what the morning papers in Singapore will say tomorrow? Ha!

Friday, February 2, 2007

The Amazing Race Asia winners All-Female Team

The Amazing Race Asia finished yesterday and the all-female Malaysian team of Zabrina & Joe Jer finished first. This is the first time a female-team have won The Amazing Race and though that is a good thing, I think the fact that they won has more to do with the other teams' mistakes than their ability.

Now when I saw that the final leg was in Malaysia, I thought that one of the Malaysian teams will win it. Andrew & Syeon were the better bet but a bad 'Lonely Planet' guidebook and a stubborn refusal to ask for directions doom their cause. The mistakes of Sandy & Francesca were even worse! They went to the Sarawak Cultural Village in Kuching and after the task, they jogged around the village to get to the exit, when there was a short-cut in the other direction! A stupid mistake that cause them to lose as they would have beaten Zabrina & Joe Jer in the final sprint otherwise.

Now that's over...what the hell were SaFra doing in the race? Since when was New Zealand part of Asia? I don't care how long they've stayed in Hong Kong, SaFra (nice couple that they are) are not Asians. And when I watched The Amazing Race Asia, I expect to be watching ASIANS. Don't even get me started on Andy & Laura who are from the U.K, I mean are all the Thais in the world dead! Can't the producers find 1 Thai team, just 1! Can you imagine what will happen if the first winners of The Amazing Race Asia were from...New Zealand! Come on.

Here are a few suggestions for the producers if there is a second season:
1. Get ASIANS racers (simple but oh so hard to do)
2. Go around the world or at least out of Asia (Australia & New Zealand don't count since you guys think they belong in Asia)
3. Can we please get some teams from other countries (why were there 2 teams from Malaysia and 2 from Philippine, Asia has a lot of countries you know)

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Singapore beat Thailand in 'kelong' match

Singapore beat Thailand for the first time in 30 years after Malaysian referee C. Ravichandran somehow adjudged that Singapore striker Noh Alam Shah was pulled down in the box by Thai centre-back Niweat Siriwong in the 82th min. After which, the Thai staged a 15 mins walkout. After they came back, Mustafic Fahrudin (who had a great game btw) then converted the spotkick to hand the Singapore the 2-1 victory. It was total nonsense!
When the players went down, every player on the pitch was turning to run down-field. There wasn't a single protest from anyone (including the Singapore players) for a penalty. The morning papers in Singapore tried to paper over the incident by saying that the Thais should not have walked out. None of the papers said anything about the awarding of the penalty, which was a wise decision because there wasn't one! The smell (and spirit) of kelong is still strong, my follow readers.
And mind you, this is the view of a Singaporean.