Friday, September 28, 2007

Countdown to F1 race in Singapore

1 year to Singapore's inaugural Formula One Grand Prix race, things have moved into high gear.

The FIA, the governing body of world motorsport, has granted approval for Singapore’s street circuit and are now awaiting whether it will be a day or night race (god I hope it will be a day race). The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will be working on modifications to some existing infrastructure such as road kerbs and traffic islands. There's also a new 1.2 km road along the pit building to be constructed that will cost around S$18 million.

All goods news for F1 fans who this year were treated to McLaren's spying saga and the less than stellar punishment from the FIA (the team got kicked but not the drivers?). The spying saga has, in my view, tainted the title race between Fernando Alonso and the cry-baby who is Lewis Hamilton. for the sake of F1, I hope Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen win it this year.

That way, when F1 come to Singapore next year, we can exactly know who is the real champion of the track.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Comics this week

Avengers: The Initiative #6- Seeing the cover, I thought this issue will be a big deal. The cover has The Gauntlet, the hard-nosed disciplinarian of the Initiative Training Camp, against a wall with the NW logo on him. New Warriors/Initiative beatdown I think. Nothing of the sort! The issue is mostly about the investigation, how the team sent by SHIELD explores the motivations of the suspects in camp and how they got railroaded by Gyrich & company for digging into things they shouldn't be seeing. However outside the fact that the issue make Gauntlet (and his attacker) into a deeper character, it got nothing going for it. A waste of a good cover.

Countdown 31- Countdown is a funny book sometime. Take this week issue for example. There's nothing really wrong with it; we get to see Jason Todd and company on Earth-3 fighting against the Crime Society (no, NOT the Crime Syndicate); we get to see Mary Marvel do something really evil (for once); but there's still no sense of excitement at all! The level of excitement in Countdown has just degenerated (not that it was very high to begin with), the book has shown improvement in story and art but it still lack the extra something that make people go wow. It also keep giving us these 2 pages update on the rest of the stories. Does anyone really still care for Karate Kid or Jimmy Olsen's quest anymore? Not me! I know something big is on the horizon but that's no excuse for putting everyone on a holding pattern, get the stories moving already. Please!

Astro City: The Dark Age #4- Kurt Busiek, I knew you would come through in the end! After the last issue which was highly disappointing, this issue bring Astro City back to it's lofty height! Charles & Royal finally got their act together and the story was sweet! In the backdrop of a city going mad, we get to see how blood is always thicker than water. Nice!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The sad truth about global warming

You know global warming is now a true global issue when Singaporeans start talking about it. Especially when that Singaporean is our Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew.

In a speech at the Fullerton Hotel, MM Lee says that he will be sad when polar bears disappear from the Arctic, and will be sadder still when the Antarctic ice cap melts because of the rising water levels. Worse, he says that he is not optimistic about the will of governments to solve the problem!

It's a mixed bag for me. On one hand it's good that political heavyweights like the MM are taking global warming seriously and are willing to do things about it. However, the MM is probably right that there's not much anyone can do to stop, much less reserve things. Sad but true.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Malysian orangutan mug French tourist

A Malysian official says that an orangutan at a wildlife sanctuary mugged a French tourist for her backpack, leaving the woman bruised and scratched.

Wilfred Landong, chief park warden of Malaysia's Sarawak state, says Odile Nordon, 24, was taking photographs of Delima, a female orangutan in Malaysia's Semenggoh Wildlife Centre on Sunday, when the animal grabbed at the backpack. They fought briefly over the bag, with Delima ripping Nordon's pants. Nordon, who managed to keep her backpack, told newspapers she thought orangutans were friendly, cuddly creatures.

HA! It's just so easy making fun of these stupid tourists that I won't even bother. Wild orangutans, people. Know what is the meaning of "WILD"! What's even better the wildlife centre has several signs warning visitors to walk away if orangutans approach them because the animals tend to grab at humans and objects. If you don't listen, then read!

Monday, September 24, 2007

DBS' CEO steps down

The crisis in the US subprime mortgage sector have claimed another victim, this time it's close to home. Singapore's DBS Group Chief Executive Officer Jackson Tai will step down for "family reasons".

Of course no one is buying that. The outgoing CEO left after a string of bad news has hit DBS shares including last month surprise when DBS told investors saying that its exposure to risky debt obligations was nearly double what it had initially declared. Also DBS had failed to raise its 16 percent stake in Thailand's TMB Bank earlier that month.

DBS said that it had started an "extensive global search" for his replacement with DBS chairman Koh Boon Hwee being the caretaker until the successor has been found.

Now usually I don't feel that sorry for upper management people who play musical chairs with their positions, but it's hard not to fell sorry for Tai. Okay, he overpaid for Hong Kong's Dao Heng Bank, but he wasn't kicked for that! He was kicked for DBS risky debt situation, which he can't really control. When the biggest US mortgage lender, Countrywide Financial, facing bankruptcy due to the same crisis, it's kind of hard to blame Tai for it. The drying up of credit and the explosion of bad debts due to the credit crisis in the U.S has hit almost every bank that operate in America (even some that don't)!

More a case of bad timing, I'm afraid. If it's not...that makes me wonder just how bad is DBS debt position.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Comics this week

Countdown 32- As Countdown is supposed to be the spine of the DCU, the writers had to stick the Black Canary/Green Arrow wedding in this book. Considering that I just don't care about the wedding of 2 of DCU B-listers, this is actually a pretty good issue. The bachelorette party was pretty funny as we see Wonder Woman playing mother hen to both Supergirl and Wonder Girl. Of course most of the problems are still there. What happened to Witchboy? Since when did Klarion the Witchboy became such an idiot? What happened to the Witchboy in Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers? They are the same character right?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Richest People in America

We humans love list. We list anything and everything we can think of. And one of the best list we came up with is Forbes magazine list of wealthiest person in the world. Come, let's admit it. Who don't want to know how much the monster-rich truly has?

In the list of wealthiest person in America, Microsoft's Bill Gates has again been ranked as the wealthiest person in America...for the 14th year in a row! Forbes magazine put Gates' fortune at $59bn, $7bn in front of second place investment guru Warren Buffet. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and software tycoon Larry Ellison came in at third and fourth place. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page came in at joint fifth, with $18.5bn apiece.

What does this list tell you? Take up IT people! 3 of the top five belong to the IT industry; 4 in the top 6 if you want to be exact! Where are the IT courses in Singapore! Bring them here.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Iron Man Movie Trailer

After the success of various comic books character to the big-screen, here comes another. Somehow Marvel got Robert Downey Jr to play Tony Stark. Here's the Official Iron Man Trailer, movie due out in 2008. (Note: They are really playing up the Tony Stark is an ass angle here. That's GREAT!)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Singaporeans unhappy with CPF changes

A month after the CPF changes were announced by the Singapore government, the government still has a long road to go to convince Singaporeans the changes are for the good of the people.

After a three day debate in Parliament on CPF reforms, Manpower Minister Ng Eng Hen said that the changes were fundamental, long-term, and will better prepare Singapore to support its larger older population as all CPF members will be better off with the higher CPF interest rates.

Again the government push the good without explaining the bad! Most Singaporeans have no problem with the higher CPF interest rates, what Singaporeans are unhappy about is the other parts of the changes. Raising the draw-down age for the minimum sum from 62 to 65 (when most people believe they are not going to live that long); the government making buying annuity compulsory (which the Singapore government openly admit gives bad returns); these are the problems!

Explain, and more importantly, convince Singaporeans the need for these changes. Until that happened, anything else coming from the minister's mouth will be nothing but air.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

UK bank hit by credit crisis

The crisis in the US subprime mortgage sector may have claimed another victim, this time in the UK.

Worried savers have flocked to some Northern Rock bank branches to withdraw their savings, one report says that a couple tried to withdraw a million pounds at one go. About £2bn has been withdrawn since Thursday, when the bank applied to the Bank of England for emergency funds. It was reported that Northern Rock needed around £1.6bn from Bank of England to stay afloat! Yes, that's right; that's billions!

Problems started for Northern Rock when it lend a large amount for mortgages, and they financed this with money from other banks and their own savers. When the credit crunch started last month, they found themselves in a world of trouble as they had a hard time getting credit from other banks. Add to this was the fact that Northern Rock receives a relatively small amount of money from savers. The Bank of England then had to step in to give Northern Rock an emergency loan.

This tell you how bad the problem is, and how long it might take for the US to unravel everything in the credit crisis. A month after the crisis hit, and we are still facing the fallout. Already the Bank of England had to guarantee all deposits held by savers of the embattled bank. Things have been so bad that reports says that the Northern Rock bank will be taken over by a rival to dig it out of trouble.

One good thing to come out of all this was reports that the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has arranged a meeting with US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to discuss the growing turmoil in world financial markets. Better late than never, I say. We haven't the last of the credit crisis, I'm afraid.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Budget plane crash in Phuket

As news of a Thai passenger plane crashing on the resort island of Phuket, the sad fact is that as ASEAN countries increased their budget airlines, more accidents will happened.

As Singapore tried to be an aviation hub, the temptation is always there to cut a few corners to lower costs and increase profit. I say that the Singapore goverment must keep an eye out on this and we must not lowered our safety standards just to match demand.

I'm not saying that the accident was due to this reason, early reports says that the plane crashed due to heavy rain and low visibility. The accident in Phuket killed 87 people including several foreigners. A senior civil aviation official said that the pilot had received permission to abort the landing at the last minute. However the plane smashed onto the runway, careered into an embankment and broke in two. There were 123 passengers on board.

Thai Health Minister Mongkol Na Songkhla said in a statement that 87 people had died and 43 survived, accounting for all those on board. The accident was so unexpected that bodies had been laid out at Phuket airport terminal due to a lack of hospital refrigerators.

Which was surprising to me. As I've said earlier, as more planes take to the skies in the region, more accidents will happened. Unfortunate but true.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Colin McRae dead

Sad news today for racing and video games fans today. BBC News has reported that former world rally champion Colin McRae is believed to have been killed along with three others in a helicopter crash near his home in Lanarkshire, England.

The helicopter, which police believe was owned by McRae, 39, came down on Saturday afternoon in Jerviswood, about a mile from Lanark, and caught fire. I mostly knew Colin McRae due to the various 'Colin McRae' rally-driving games that came out on various platforms in the past few years, and it is sad that such a tragic accident happened.

McRae left behind a wife and two children.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Comics this week

Countdown 33- If you read the comics forum, you will get words like rubbish, tedious and atrocious. When you compare Countdown to 52, yes that may be true. But on its' own, it's not so good either. Take this week's issue for example. Kyle Rayner showed up for his first appearance this week and joined the Challenger of the Beyond team. It looked very sudden when he can just drop in like this but he does add something to the Jason Todd/Donna Troy/Bob team. Unfortunately, nothing else happened! The Flash threw The Rogues into ShadowCrest for safekeeping, Jimmy Olsen storyline is still struck in limbo, Mary Marvel is still talking to Witchboy. Why do the writers keep giving us these 2-3 pages every issue of nothing happening?

Black Adam: The Dark Age #2- If you thought the phenomenal first issue of this series was dark, you haven't seem nothing yet! Black Adam: The Dark Age went disturbingly dark this issue as Black Adam resurrection of his dead wife, Isis, failed. Oh the scene of Isis' back was by far one of most disturbing scenes I've ever seen. This is a strictly "Mature Readers" issue people, no kids allowed. But the issue worked! It will sucked you in from the start as Black Adam navigate one unspeakable horror after another, it's a tragedy but a great one. The breakout star of 52, I hope Black Adam get his own ongoing series when this mini is over. Such a rich, complex character deserved it!

Nova #6- Oh Ko-Rell, we hardly known you! After last issue when we thought she would be the supporting cast this series needed, the writers threw a curveball that shocked me! The new Nova went up againest the Phalanx-infected Richard Rider. The battle sequences was great! Richard Rider has the power and experience but Ko-Rell has the Worldmind on her side. It's nice to see how effective the Worldmind can be when THE NOVAS START LISTENING TO IT! Another great issue of this great series.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Review of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Finally saw Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer today. I never saw it in the cinema when it first came out because the first movie was terrible. I'm happy to say; Rise of the Silver Surfer was much, much better.

A warning though, the movie starts slow. Set two years after the first film, Reed Richards and Sue Storm (Jessica Alba looking blonder than ever) are preparing for their wedding when a silver object enters Earth's atmosphere. The object is radiating cosmic energy and starts digging deep craters at different locations across the Earth. Reed build a sensor to track the movements of the object, something the object isn't happy about. The object destroys the sensor during the wedding and The Human Torch pursues the object, only to have his ass handled to him by the Silver Surfer. The fight however set The Torch's power in flux, allowing him to switch powers with his teammates through physical contact.

The Surfer's movements around the globe bring him to the attention of Dr.Doom. Doom traced the Surfer to the Arctic and makes him an offer to join forces. The Surfer rebuffs him, Doom attacks, and Doom got his ass handled to him by The Surfer as well.

In the end, the Fantastic Four has to work with Doom to save the planet. Deducing that the Surfer's board is the source of his power, the group develops a pulse generator that will separate him from it. The Surfer revealed he is only a servant to Galactus, the destroyer of worlds. The pulse works and separate the Surfer from his board. The U.S military imprisons the Surfer in Siberia and began torturing him for information. The Surfer tell Sue that his master is Galactus, a massive cloud-like cosmic entity which must feed on life-bearing planets to survive, and that his board is a homing beacon which summons him to the planet. The Fantastic Four tries to break the board free.

Unfortunately, Doom has already stole it using a device to gain control of the board and its powers. The Fantastic Four rescue the Surfer, and pursue Doom in the Fantasticar (which look kind of cool actually). The fight ends in Shanghai. During the battle, Sue is mortally wounded. The Torch absorbs the combined powers of the entire team in order to battle the cosmic energy-empowered Doom. He managed to break Doom's control over the Surfer's board, and the Thing uses a nearby crane to knock Doom into the harbor where he is last seen sinking.

Too late though, because Galactus has already arrived. The Surfer regains the control of his board, and his power is restored. He revives Sue and chooses to defend Earth by flying into Galactus and confronting him. The conflict results in a massive blast of energy, seemingly killing Galactus in the process (I know, Galactus dying? Ha!).

The movie is kind of short but it works because it is all action. Any longer and it may look draggy. The special effects were good and overall, it was much more fun than the original. It's not great; it is simplistic, and at times pretty idiotic but hey, the title IS Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

It's a huge improvement over the first movie, so take it as it is. The movie ends with a shot of the Silver Surfer's seemingly lifeless body floating through space. Just as he drifts off the edge of the screen his eyes open and his board races towards him. Silver Surfer movie coming up!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Singaporean to the Bone

A 7.9 earthquake hit Indonesia yesterday and boy did I felt it. Like many residents in Singapore, I felt the quake as it swayed my office in the central business district. Unfortunately for me, there wasn't any evacuation order in my building (though that didn't stop some people from running out of the building).

The earthquake struck at 7.10pm in Sumatran about 670 kilometres from Singapore. A second smaller quake measuring 6.1 hit the same area two hours later, causing a second round of tremors in Singapore. Luckily, I was out of the office by then.

As the building swayed, I can't help but think, "Does insurance pay out if I die in a collapsed building?" That proves how Singaporean I am, doesn't it?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Singapore Sex Day

You know how the Singapore government has been trying to get women to have more babies...without any success whatsoever. Now this is an IDEA!

The governor of Ulyanovsk region in Russia is offering prizes to couples who have babies in exactly nine months - on Russia's national day on 12 June, and Mr. Sergei Morozov wants couples to take the day off work to have sex! If a baby is born on national day, they will receive cars, TVs or other prizes.

This is the third year that Ulyanovsk is offering prizes for babies born on 12 June and this year, a couple won the grand prize of a sports utility vehicle (SUV). What's more; the idea is working! The region's birth rate has risen by 4.5% over last year.

A national holiday for couples to have sex! And it has been proven to work! Singapore Sex Day coming up!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Military Double-speak

Sometimes I just don't get military people. General Petraeus, the top US military commander in Iraq, has reported to the US Congress that there have been progress due to the US military surge earlier in the year.

Gen Petraeus told the Congress that sectarian violence declined since the surge started, but the situation remains difficult and the decision to withdraw from Iraq should be postponed till March 08. So the idea is that the US can't withdraw if they are losing as this will mean they are giving in to the 'terrorists', but can't withdraw when they are winning because they are winning! Brilliant!

In short, the US are going to have 168,000 troops in Iraq for...forever? Let the bleeding continue.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Rugby World Cup: The total mismatch

With ESPN trying to stuff the Rugby World Cup down Asia's throats, this may come as a bit of a surprise but there is another World Cup going on.

The Women's World Cup competition is under way in China right now. Yes, most Singaporeans will go, "Oh, it's women football." This will be followed by giggles, laughter etc. But will it be worse than seeing the All Blacks winning by 60+ points? I don't think so.

The Rugby World Cup has been a total bore for me. New Zealand win by 60+, the Aussies win by 50+, it's a total mismatch! Even when England win by 28 points against the U.S.A, they were considered poor!

I'm not a fan of rugby but why are these teams even in the World Cup? Give me women football; maybe the matches will be closer!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Comics this week

Countdown 34- As the cover showed for this issue, the Batman made a small little cameo. So did the Flash, but the writers has went back to the jumping plotlines again. Surprisingly, it worked for me this week. None of the storylines had anything major going on but it worked this week because the stories seems to be finally getting somewhere. Jimmy Olsen got a idea of what's happening to him; the Rogues are trying (without success) to tell their side of the story; Mary Marvel met up with Witchboy (in a welcome guest appearance) and even Holly Robinson is finally going somewhere. I still don't care about Donna, Jason and Bob (how can I when I have no idea why Ray Palmer is that important). I'll say Countdown is improving but it has a long way to go to match 52.

New Warriors #4- The New Warriors was marketed as the anti-Avengers: Initiative team, so it was a bit of a surprise that the first meeting of the 2 teams was the Warriors saving the Avengers' ass. Still, outside the welcome bit of action in this issue, New Warriors still suffer from the lack of focus on it's team members. Outside Night Thrasher, Jubilee and maybe Sofia, I still don't really know who the others are. And one of the Warriors looked badly injured at the end of this issue. Hopefully, writer Kevin Grevioux isn't going to go New X-Men on us and start killing off characters before we get to know them.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Games Convention Asia (GCA)

Just came back from the Games Convention Asia (GCA) that is being held in Suntec and I was impressed by some of the displays there.

The big surprise for me was that AsiaSoft had the biggest booth at the convention. Yes, they were even bigger than EA. There wasn't much on Maplestory though, most of their floorplace were for demos of their new online games; Cabel, Darkness & Light (both seems to be action fantasy games) and Ragnarok Online II (a cute game that's less sweet-aching than Maplestory).

News for 9Dragons players. A Singapore company called Cherry Exchange will be in charge for the item mall here. Similar to the AsiaSoft's MaplePoints, their CherryPoints can be used to exchange for items in the game. Cherry Exchange is also in charge for the item mall in Trickster Online. In case anyone don't know, Trickster is a pretty new online game. Think of it as a 3D version of Maplestory, and you can get the idea. From what I saw, people who like to play cutsy characters can try it.

EA had a big booth at the convention, most of which were for their console games. I saw various Sims2 expansions and played a demo for the upcoming Warhammer Online. Disappointed with it. Warhammer Online wasn't bad, but there was nothing I haven't seen from World of Warcraft or LOTR. Also disappointed that I didn't see any demo for the Lone Wolf game. I was looking forward to it, but it wasn't there. However there were trailers for Starcraft and World of Warcraft: Warth of the Lich King.

For a first time convention, GCA was exactly pretty good. Tomorrow is the last day though, go take a look. Don't worry, it's free.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Iraqi pullout?

After more than four years of fighting and months of foot-dragging, the US finally seems willing to cut its presence in Iraq. The unpopular war has been a millstone around America's neck and General David Petraeus, most senior US commander in Iraq, has hinted that he may recommend a reduction in US troop numbers in Iraq.

What took them so long? The sprawling US military footprint has been nothing short of a disaster for both America and their President George W. Bush. Bush's military "surge" in Iraq was just too little, too late and a recent BBC poll suggests that most people across the world want the US-led forces out of Iraq within a year. Even in the US, one-in-four supported an immediate withdrawal. So what's keeping them there? Currently US troops controlled less than a third of the capital Baghdad, and this is a figure given by the US military!

The Iraq War, or the Occupation of Iraq if you like, was to be a short, sweet, glorious war lasting all of six weeks. It has been over 4 years and they are still fighting! Even if the fight stop tomorrow, can anyone say that the Americans has won?

For Singapore, it is in our interest that America win in Iraq. However, I (and members of the US government) just can't see that happening. Worse, the war is doing more harm than good on the "War on Terror". Leaders of Al-Qaeda have opening said that the Iraq war is a boon to their recruiting and operational efforts, providing evidence to jihadists worldwide that America is at war with Islam. In October 2003, Osama bin Laden all but thanked Bush for going into Iraq.

I suggest America pull their troops out of Iraq, not for the sake of the Iraqis, but for themselves. The Americans are weakening themselves there and that is not a good thing for Singapore.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Missing NSman caught with SAR-21

Why, oh why? That is the question every Singaporean is asking Army Corporal Dave Teo Ming. 20 year-old Dave was last at his Mandai Hill Camp on Sunday. Over twenty hours later, he was arrested in a third-floor toilet in the Orchard Cineleisure mall, dressed in a black suit and tie; WITH a missing assault rifle and live ammunition taken from the camp where he had been on guard duty.

The best thing about it, the full-time national serviceman was only 1 month from completing his NS stint! To go AWOL with a loaded SAR-21 rifle, 1 month before ROD? Why did he do it? Most NSman (like me in my days) go out of their way to avoid trouble during NS. People want to know what drove the man to commit such a stupid crime. Everything from a failed relationship to well, he is plain crazy, has been put up but so far the police and the Defence Ministry has been quiet about everything (including how he managed to get out of camp with the SAR-21).

What we do know is that Cpl Teo dropped out of Secondary 3 and broke up with his girlfriend because she found him too possessive. Outside that; Nothing! Why, oh why?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Storm of the Dead by Lisa Smedman

In April, I wrote a review on Sacrifice of the Widow by Lisa Smedman, I loved it. Storm of the Dead is Book 2 and Lisa Smedmen again delivered a fast pace book on the gods of the Drow.

The book starts with Eilistraee and Lolth playing over a sava board again, only to be interrupted by another drow god, Kiaransalee, the deity of undead and vengeance. Wanting to play in this game of power (and believing Lolth and Eilistraee will never work together), Kiaransalee entered the game, turning it into a three way battle.

Eilistraee however has problems of her own. Since her victory over Vhaeraun, her flock has became a strange mixture of her followers and new converts to her church, the leftover followers of Vhaeraun. Since the Masked Lord's power and portfolio has went to Eilistraee, his nightshadows has joined Eilistraee's church and the inevitable internal power struggles begin between them and Eilistraee's protectors. Eilistraee herself has began being more like Vhaeraun, even her high priestess, Qilue of The Seven Sisters, has been affected.

In the midst of the games by the gods, Hallistra Melarn (The Lady Penitent herself) and her brother Q'arlynd Melarn were once again drawn into the power plays, despite their own wishes. Q'arlynd played a pivotal role in the story, and was the ultimate winner at the end of the book.

Things are happening in the Forgotten Realms, but the one thing the book suffer from is that it is set-up to be a showdown between Eilistraee and Lolth (with Vhaeraun being the wildcard). The moment Kiaransalee showed up, you knew she is dead. Drow goddess of undead she may be, but no one will stop high noon. However, the pace was so fast that you will ignored this obvious plot.

Another solid book by Lisa Smedman and I am looking forward to the last book in the series.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Cast of Heroes in Singapore

Now, recently 4 members of the cast of Heroes were in Singapore. From what I read in the papers, it was a madhouse all over the place. Boy, it's true. Take a look at this youtube video at VivoCity. Standing room only people, and anyone who has been to VivoCity knows that the place is big. Take a look.

Monday, September 3, 2007

What to wear? What to wear?

One of the traditions of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings is that the leaders from the countries involved all have to dress up in the host nation's national dress. The next meeting is in Australia, a country lacking a distinctive national outfit. So there is now a debate down under on what to wear. One of the suggestion: a family photo of 21 Asia-pacific leaders in swimsuits and flip-flops!

That is a superb idea! I'm serious, it's great! Bikinis, thongs and speedos! Brilliant! Unfortunately, the idea is so off-beat it's being discounted even before being given a chance, "wouldn't be very diplomatic" they say.

The leading contender so far, the traditional (boring) Australian bush outfits. Akubra wide-brimmed hat along with oilskin coats and boots. Arrgh! I have to to stop here before I vomit.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

EPL this month

The new EPL season is 1 month old and this is my views on who's hot and who's not in the EPL this month

Top Teams this month
Liverpool- Manager Rafael Benitez seems to have finally hit it right this season. All his transfers have been playing well and the team is gelling better than expected. Fernando Torres seems to be his favorite striker and Steve Gerrard has been excellent in the middle of the park. They have a bit of a bit of problem in central defence due to injuries but no one is out for long, so it should clear up in time. The biggest question mark I have is why Rafa prefer Ryan Babel instead of Andriy Voronin. Everytime Voronin plays, he scored! Why isn't he getting more games? Still, Liverpool is the most likely team to be champion of the new season.

Chelsea- Florent Malouda looked like a good pick-up for Chelsea. Same thing goes for Tal Ben Haim and Claudio Pizarro. The big problem seems to be the midfield. With Robben gone and problems with Joe Cole, the midfield is beginning to look a little short. An injury to one of their main midfield players could break Chelsea's engine room. Still, the defence looks great and they are picking up points they shouldn't be picking up (that means the Liverpool game). Solid start so far.

Surprise Team this month
Man City- Boy, are Man City fans happy to get Sven-Goran Eriksson or what! The British press may be giving him a hard time but the new manager of City has done wonders for the team. The new signings all had an impressive start with Rolando Bianchi and Elano looking like the pick of the bunch. Also, Eriksson isn't shy about blooding new talent. Kasper Schmeichel and Michael Johnson look good, while Micah Richards is looking at an England place after Man City's great start. They were even leading the EPL at one stage of the month. How many of you expected that? Maybe they will fade after a few more months, but so far they have been great.

Disappointing Teams this month
Manchester United - They spend big this year, but maybe not too wisely. With Cristiano Ronaldo red-carded and Wayne Rooney injured till Oct (at least), Man Utd find themselves suddenly short of attacking options. This despite spending $60 million on the transfer market. Of the new buys, Anderson had hardly played, Nani seems too young and raw, and Carlos Tevez looked like he still need some time to bed in. Of the new buys, only Owen Hargreaves looked like a likely starter. Louis Saha is finally back but Man Utd may need more than him if they intend to gun for the Champions League and the EPL.

Tottenham Hotspur- Nothing seems to be going right for manager Martin Jol. Even when Spurs outplayed Man Utd away from home, they had 2 penalties not given (one of which looked stone cold), and a deflection on a long range shot that flew past keeper Paul Robinson. Dimitar Berbatov had a bust-up with Martin Jol and the Tottenham board were seem in Spain trying to get a new manager. Even 2 goals from Steve Malbranque in the win over Derby couldn't stop the panic, Jol better start winning if he want to keep his job.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Malaysia hit 50

Usually, national days are a dime a dozen but sometimes even a guy finds a national day that is worth all the fireworks. Malaysia's 50th birthday is one of those days.

Singapore nearest neighbour had theirs 50th birthday and extravagant displays of pomp and ceremony were the order of the day to mark their independence from Britain. Dignitaries including the prime ministers of Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia were on hand to view the displays. For all the disagreements Singapore and Malaysia had over the years, they had been pretty good neighbours. Not only did we never war againest each other in all those years, we were once part of the same country and the seperation was peaceful. How many countries in the world can say that?

Happy birthday, Malaysia!