Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New NBA season

After the ugly, ugly Cleveland Cavaliers/San Antonio Spurs series that was in the NBA Finals last season, the new NBA season is starting.

And not a day to soon. After the yawning series to end last season, the NBA was hit with a close season betting scandal on one of it's referees. The bad taste in the mouth must be wash away quickly if the NBA is to maintain it's grip as THE basketball league of the world.

Luckily, there's good moves in the close season that give the new season great promise. First off, my favorite team the Boston Celtics has made some great trades. Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen has now join Paul Pierce in Boston, giving the Celtics 3 All-Stars. Of course all 3 are on the wrong side of 30 (and they have no bench), but with the Big 3, the Celtics are favorites to reach the Finals from the Eastern Conference. Tim Duncan's San Antonio Spurs are the defending champions and they look a good bet to be in the Finals from the West. They have kept all their best players and they still have the solid look they have last year.

The Celtics and the Spurs in the Finals! That's my bet for the coming season.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

US home loans problems continue

The subprime crisis claimed another 2 victims. First off UBS, Switzerland's largest bank, reported a quarterly loss of 830 million Swiss francs (US$713 million) after its third quarter results were hit by the ailing US home loans market.

Yes, 830 million! The second victim was Merrill Lynch chairman and CEO Stan O'Neal is "retiring" from the global investment bank and brokerage after Merrill Lynch posted some of the biggest losses in its history. The loss: 7.9 billion dollars in losses!

Yes, a total loss of over 8 billion! The deterioration in the US subprime mortgage market is really getting scary because it's still not over. There's may be more losses involved. Get ready for a bumpy ride.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Heroes of Might and Magic V discount

Being a Singaporean, I also love a deal. Maybe not as much as most Singaporeans (in which I am glad) but what's there not to like about a cheap discount. So when I saw Heroes of Might and Magic V: Gold Edition at South Asia Computers at Funan for $64.90, I grabbed it.

The game is Heroes of Might and Magic V and its' 2 expansions; Hammer of Fate and Tribes of the East. Other stores are selling it at $76.90; a $12 discount! Hey, I'm a Singaporean.

The game look huge, with lots of maps and missions. Probably will be spending months on it! Sleepless nights, here I come!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Comics this wek

Countdown #27- About time! That's what I said when I saw Jason Todd finally turning on the Challenger of the Beyond. A guy who looks out for no. 1; that's how he is being written after his return from death. About time the writers return him to something like how his personality is suppose to be. The other parts of Countdown still suffer from problems. Black Mary battle with the Shadowpact is a mess. We see it as it's in the middle, then Mary just teleport out as it is reaching a climax. A mess!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Stupid Americans (Part III)

Finally! Common sense finally prevail in America as the backers of a resolution to formally name the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks a genocide will postpone efforts to bring it to a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The controversial resolution support faltered in the face of the expected protests from NATO ally Turkey. Turkey has already recalled its U.S ambassador in protest and warned of a reduction in military cooperation if the vote goes though. Tensions between Turkey and Kurdish rebels located in northern Iraq has also increased in recent days.

Not playing nice has worked for Turkey but how the hell did it came to this? Surely the Turks are more important to America than the Armenians? Oil prices had hit to 90 dollars a barrel due to the tensions; the war in Iraq has come under threat as Turkey has threaten to invade northern Iraq. All this could have begin prevented by ignoring the stupid vote. Surely that's the wise thing to do!

Better late than never I guess.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Yoga man float in the are

A white man floating on the White House lawn. A Yoga trick or Yoga magic? See and decide for yourself.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Singaporeans do not support sanctions

Singapore has up the pressure and has now openly "advised" Southeast Asian nations NOT to impose economic sanctions on Myanmar despite the political upheaval there last month.

In theory, the reason is that this is because such sanctions will not be effective but everyone knows the real reason...Singapore has a lot of money in Myanmar. Singapore is now effectively the pointman for Myanmar to stop sanctions. Never mind the hundreds (maybe thousands) of people who are now dead because of the guns of the junta, in Singapore money is king!

The Singapore leaders are right! On this, I believe they are in line with what most Singaporeans are thinking. Despite what the Western governments say; no matter how high the death toll is; Singaporeans do not care about dead bodies in Yangoon or any other cities in Myanmar. Just take a look at Singapore news, you will hardly see a single Singaporean supporting sanctions. Why? Because Singapore has over a billion dollars in investments there, and that is what Singaporeans truly care about.

The generals in Myanmar can kill a couple more thousands people, and no one here will care. In Singapore, money is the be-all and end-all. This is not a rant; just facts!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Kimi wins! A Race God in the sky!

There is a racing god! That's what come to mind when Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen won his first Formula One drivers' championship after finishing first at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton's bid came to a dramatic end in the Brazilian Grand Prix after going off in the first lap and a gear-box problem at lap 8 costing him over 40 seconds in the race.

Hamilton, who needed to finish in the top 4, could finish only seventh while his McLaren "team-mate" Fernando Alonso's hopes were dashed as he finished third behind Raikkonen and the Finn's Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa. This is good for F1 fans (or for all F1 fans who isn't British) as no one from McLaren has won the championship. With their spying on Ferrari this year, it would be laughable if one of their drivers won the title.

As I have said last month, the spying saga has, in my view, tainted the title race for the McLaren's drivers. So I was delighted when Kimi Raikkonen won it; at least now, we can say for sure Raikkonen is the real champion of the track (without blatant spying for help).

Cry-baby Lewis Hamilton made a last ditch attempt to steal the title by appealing against a decision by the race stewards. The Williams and BMW Sauber team, whose cars filled fourth, fifth and sixth places, were investigated for ilegall fuel usage. Fortunately the stewards decided to impose no penalty. Had they been disqualified, Hamilton would have moved up to fourth, giving him enough points to win the world title.

Yes, Hamilton is a true cry-baby. Thank you racing god, whoever you are!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dumbledore is gay

In a act that will make Singaporeans parents faint, J.K. Rowling, author of the mega-selling Harry Potter fantasy series has reveal what some has always suspected: Albus Dumbledore, master wizard and Headmaster of Hogwarts, is gay!

Rowling told the audience that while working on the planned sixth Potter film, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," she spotted a reference in the script to a girl who once was of interest to Dumbledore. A note was duly passed to director David Yates, revealing the truth about her character.

Quick; ban the book! Ha! I find this revelation extremely funny. Oh the pressure parents will be in now. Just imagine kids asking parents what are gays! Ha!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Comics this week

Countdown #28- The Countdown problem continue. This book is slow, the characters are not interesting; but Countdown has not been a total failure. This week show why. I still don't care about Jimmy Olsen, and when did Trickster get a invisibility shield, but at last the story are moving and when that happen, Countdown is interesting. Countdown has potential, if only they'll show it more often.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

World War III?

Just a week after I said he did something right, U.S President George W. Bush again prove to the world what an idiot he truly is. Bush warned that world leaders must come together to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons if the world want to avoid the prospect of "World War III".

This is just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin made a new proposal to end the nuclear crisis as he met Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for landmark talks in Tehran. Bush is threatening World War III just when Putin put forward a proposal to break the deadlock? Talk about bad timing or what. What's worse, he did this knowingly!

Just as Putin and Ahmadinejad were shaking hands and smiling for the cameras, Bush is threatening World War III. Stupid

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling

Took awhile, but I had finally finished Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The second book in the Harry Potter series written by J.K. Rowling, I have to say the book was much better than 'Sorcerer’s Stone'. Also, I have seen the movie before but the movie truly pale in comparison to the book.

The story start again with the Harry Potter at home with the Dursleys for the summer. However, the book quickly get the mundane out of the way as Dobby, a house-elf, arrives and warn Harry not to return to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this year.

The story in the book is the same as it was in the movie. Events take a turn for the worse when a monster began stalking Hogwarts and several people, and a cat, became petrified (turned into stone). The Chamber of Secrets is believed to have been opened by someone. According to the school legend, the Chamber was built by Salazar Slytherin (one of the founders of the school) and can only be opened by his heir, in order to purge Hogwarts of "all those who were unworthy to study magic". Harry discovered a new power, he can speaks Parseltongue (the language of snakes). Everyone suspect Harry as the culprit who opened the chamber as Parseltongue is a rare ability that Salazar Slytherin had, which mean Harry could be his heir.

Harry, being Harry, decide to investigate the case personally. Things take a turn for the worse when his friend Hermione Granger was also found petrified. Harry finally discover the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets with his best friend Ron Weasley. They force Gilderoy Lockhart, a teacher at Hogwarts who is also a fraud, to go with them. Once they find the entrance to the Chamber, Lockhart attempts to use Ron's broken wand to erase Harry and Ron's memories, but the spell backfires on to himself and brings the ceiling down on them, separating Harry from Ron and Lockhart.

Harry makes it to the Chamber alone where he finds an unconscious Ginny Weasly, Ron's sister. He also meets a young man named Tom Riddle, who claims to be a "memory". Harry learns that Ginny, under the control of Lord Voldemort, opened the Chamber. Voldemort, whose real name is Tom Marvolo Riddle, imprinted his memory (when he was 16) in a diary, in order to one day continue the work he began when he was a student in Hogwarts. From there, a fight ensure with Tom Riddle calling out the monster in the Chamber, a basilisk (a monster who can petrify you if you look into it's eyes). But Albus Dumbledore's phoenix, Fawkes, arrives carrying the Sorting Hat, from which Harry draws out a magical sword. Fawkes blinds the basilisk, destroying its fatal gaze, and Harry slays it with the sword. However in the attempt to slay the basilisk, Harry's arm was pierced by the creature's fang, and Riddle tells him that the venom will kill him within a minute. After Fawkes' tears healed Harry (phoenix tears have healing power) , Harry stab the enchanted diary with one of the basilisk's fangs, and the memory of Riddle is destroyed. Ginny then awaken from her near-death state. Hermione recovered fully along with all the other victims of the basilisk.

As I have said earlier, the book is far better than the movie. Characters were fresh out, especially the Weasly family, and the plot was moving along nice and tight throughout the whole book. I finally saw why the series lasted as long as it did. J. K. Rowling expanded on the wizard world and the strange diverse characters in it. A good, solid read; pick this one up.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Stupid Americans (Part II)

Last week, US lawmakers defied warnings by Turkey and voted to label the Ottoman Empire's World War I massacre of Armenians as "genocide." I said then that the resolution was an act of stupidity; unfortunately I am being proven right.

With the stupid vote by the Americans, the Turks are now NOT playing nice with their enemies. Tensions mounted between Turkey's government and Kurdish rebels located in northern Iraq and Turkey's army said that it had began shelling Iraqi territory following an attack on a military outpost with rockets and gunfire from across the border by Kurdish rebels.

So now, the Americans are struck between protecting their Kurdish allies in Iraq or their Turkish allies in NATO. Wonderful! In case anyone is not taking this seriously in Singapore, the rising tension is the main cause for the rise in oil prices. And we all know how important that is to the economy.

The world's oil futures immediately cross the important $85 and then kept on going up! Oil close at 86.13 dollars a barrel. The oil prices spiked as the Turkish government are seeking parliamentary approval for a potential military incursion into neighbouring Iraq to crack down on Kurdish rebel bases there. Yes, they are just seeking approval. Just imagine what the oil price will be if and when the Turks do attack!

The White House are now urging "restraint" from Turkey. Maybe they should have though of that before the stupid vote; a vote that could wreck the world's economy in the coming months.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Comics this week

Countdown #29- The one thing I'm still interested in Countdown lately is the 52 Earths. This week, the Challenger of the Beyond travel to Earth-8, home of Lord Havok. Of course, Havok only last long enough to be taken in by Monarch and his new army. Yawn! The problem is that none of the stories are really moving; Piper/Trickster are talking in a diner; Holly Robinson is finally on the Amazonian Island; God knows what Jimmy Olsen is doing; Mary Marvel is becoming more and more evil; Karate Kid has his 2 pages...that's it! Move the story already.

Black Adam: The Dark Age #3- Black Adam was the surprise star of 52, the Black Adam mini-series continued the trend. The phenomenal first two issues were great, sadly this third issue does not live up to the first two. One thing different in this issue is that the writer Peter Tomasi no longer give you a psychological view of Black Adam. Instead, it's throwdown time as Black Adam go up against Hawkman. (Why Hawkman believe he has a chance against Black Adam is something I rather not think about). Outside the fight, there's a long talk between Black Adam and Felix Faust on how to bring Isis back from the grave. Also the JLA discuss their plans to capture the fugitive villain, but the most interesting thing was the surprise introduction of Talia Al Ghul and the League of Assassins. Why are they here? Uhm...very interesting.

Nova #7- As the Annihilation Conquest mini is coming up, all the the various tie-ins are spiraling downwards to their respective conclusions. Having dispatched Ko-Rel last issue, Nova and Gamora continue to carry out missions for the Phalanx. The death of a follow Nova however gave Richard the will and the strength to fight back against the Phalanx technophage. After that, the Worldmind and Nova escape from Kree space to...the other side of the universe? How is Nova suppose to be in Annihilation Conquest when he's on the wrong side of the universe? Guess I have to pick up the next issue to find out.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Tales of Pirates review

Having played months of 9Dragons, I decided that it was time to explore some other online games...which are available for free of course (hey, I'm Singaporean!). I was looking at the free trial of City of Heroes/City of Villians...but the trial was only for North America. Damm!

With that idea gone, I decided to try Tales of Pirates. For people with no idea what it is, Tales of Pirates is a fantasy-realm massively multiplayer game (MMO). You will create a pirate and experience all about the lives of pirates. You can build your own ship, explore huge ocean maps, and team up with the Navy Force to engage in seas battles or take the roles of Traders, Merchants and Fisherman. Of course all these are after a few hours of grinding.

Now the game has been around for awhile and I did tried it before. It didn't impress me too much then, but I heard on the web there has been great improvements. So why not? It's free right! Exciting naval wars, intense island-attacking battles, unique ship PK battles, island-fighting, island construction and island protection; what's there not to like about the idea! It's a One Piece online game!

I agree that there's been great improvement since the last time I tried the game. For some reason I can't log on using my old password, even though I'm sure it's correct. Small detail; I use a new one. The game interface was better, and there seen to be some graphics improvement. The gameplay is basically the same but they did not improve the one thing I hated the last time.

The game is very crowded. The starting city of Argent is big, but even then there were times I can't see my character as it was blocked by 6-7 other characters. Once outside the city, it get better. But you have to stay in the city for awhile and that's a huge problem when you CAN'T SEE YOUR GUY! If anything, it's worse now than it was in the past as the game is more popular now.

Sad because the game is pretty good. Especially for those who like cute avatars, this is the game. Just be sure you have eagle eyes at the start.

Friday, October 12, 2007

When there's Money...

In a stunning show of how well and alive the kaisu spirit is in tiny Singapore, some residents in the Sin Ming area are unhappy about a custom-built funeral parlour being built possibly near their houses.

With a basic "not in my backyard" mentality, the residents fear that the funeral parlour will bring down the prices of their houses. The protest has been so strong that the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has U-turned and given reassurances that no decision on the location has been taken. Note that the residents are not challenging the URA's contention that with an ageing population, there will be a need for more funeral services but "just not near my area"!

When money is involve, always expect Singaporeans to fight for their right.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Stupid Americans

In a move destined to hurt (maybe destroy) relations between America and Turkey, US lawmakers defied warnings by Turkey by voting to label the Ottoman Empire's World War I massacre of Armenians as "genocide."

The US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee voted for the resolution in a sheer act of stupidity. Now most people knows I'm no fan of US President George W. Bush, but even I can't blame him for this. He and his top lieutenants were blunt in attacking the non-binding resolution, warning that it would trigger Turkish reprisals and undermine US efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East as it will do harm to US-Turkish relations.

He is correct. Yes, that's right! I'm admitting the man got it right on something. Although they have no troops in Iraq, Turkey is a crucial transit point the US need for supplies bound for Iraq. This is especially so for northern Iraq. Is it truly wise to mess with your ally when they are fighting a war with you? Especially when Turkey is a Muslim NATO country who is right next door to Iraq? Turkish President Abdullah Gul has already denounced the vote as "unacceptable".

As Singapore support America in Iraq (due to the bribe of the FTA), I hope words are all that will be said and no action is done. When you are in the middle of a war, you do not kick an ally in the teeth like this. This is just stupid!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Malaysian in space

As you read this, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor would have became Malaysia's first astronaut as he blast off into space in a Russian Soyuz rocket.

In a voyage seen as breaking new boundaries for Malaysia and Muslims everywhere, the 35 year-old doctor would travel to the International Space Station (ISS) with Russian cosmonaut Yury Malenchenko and American Peggy Whitson. He was to spend about nine days onboard the ISS, arriving at the orbiting station near the end of the holy month of Ramadan and staying there for Eid, when he will treat the long-term crew to festive Malaysian food.

Malaysian officials have described the voyage as a national milestone for their country as they marked 50 years of independence. It is also the 50th anniversary of space travel as Sputnik 1, the very first space satellite was launched in 1957. The space trip was arranged as part of a billion-dollar purchase by Malaysia of Russian fighter jets.

I say the Malaysian are getting their money worth. Here's hoping a safe trip to the first Malaysian in space.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Taking back Marion Jones' medals

Anyone who is a sport fan will know that recently disgraced sprinter Marion Jones, once the fastest woman in the world, has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during her reign as sprint queen of the world.

As such, Jones has been stripped of her gold medals from the 2000 Olympics and asked repay more than 100,000 dollars in prize and bonus money. Jones has returned the three gold and two bronze medals she won unfairly at the Sydney Games. Worse, some of the medals were won in the relays and as such her relay teammates also has to turn over their medals from 2000 as well.

A sad end to a once great career, but I question the need to hand over the medals Jones won in 2000. The reason? Simple...Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou is now in line to receive one of the golds because she finished second behind Jones in the Sydney 100 metres. But guess what? Thanou was given a two-year ban for allegedly faking a motorbike crash to cover up missing a drug test during the 2004 Summer Games. So they basically now have to hand over the gold to a sprinter with a bad record.

Brilliant! If this is the case, why brother with the problem of taking back the medals from Jones? Here's hoping the US will clean up the team for next year's Beijing Games.

Monday, October 8, 2007

EverQuest Movie

After the mess that was D&D, Street Fighter, Mario Brothers, Tomb Raider, DOA...etc, Hollywood and the gaming industry still has not learned their lesson.

How else can you explain rumours that Sony Pictures is planning to bring Sony Online Entertainment's MMORPG fantasy game EverQuest to the big screen? The way the rumours has it, the movie is stated for either 2009 or 2010. After all the game-to-big-screen disasters, do we really need another?

Of course not! Here's one gamer who hope that the movie never get made. And I don't even play EverQuest!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The "Rasa Sayang" dispute

In a little known dispute in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are arguing over who has ownership over the Malay folk song "Rasa Sayang".

The folk song was used in Malaysia's tourism campaign and the Indonesians have accused Malaysia of stealing the song from them as it is an Indonesian folk song. They are considering suing Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia naturally say that the allegations are madness. This little small dispute could spark a diplomatic row between the two neighbors.

This is just surreal to me. How can Jakarta even think of suing for copyright when no one even know who wrote the song in the first place? Does it make sense to anyone? It's like when Americans copyrighted yoga; total nonsense!

Hell the song is sung by people from southern Thailand to people in Sri Lanka. Next thing we know Indonesia will accused Malaysia and Singapore of stealing batik and the Malay language. Stupid!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Comics this week

Countdown #30- I know Countdown is the 'spine of the DCU' but that doesn't mean the writers should skip the action all over the place! Last we saw, Piper/Trickster were running after crashing Black Canary bachelorette party, the issue starts with them in a cave where several heroes and villains are duking it out. How they got into this position? Why are they fighting? Your guess is as good as mine because there was no explanation at all! Add 2 page cameos for the Jimmy Olsen storyline (which is getting more stupid by the page), Holly and Harley's Amazon adventure (which was kind of amusing this week), Karate Kid's illness (one word: BORING), the saving grace this week is The Challengers From Beyond storyline (aka Jason Todd/Donna Troy/Bob). I admit I'm a sucker for 'elsewhere' stories, and this week they hit a Earth where they ARE the Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern of the world. Oh, and General Zod is Superman! Yes, kind of cute in a way but one segment cannot save the mess. I expect more and better for my money.

Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer - Crime Society #1- Last week we saw The Challengers of Beyond pop into Earth 3 and their fight against the Crime Society. This issue is a tour of the Earth 3 like the Wildstorm book was, instead writer Sean McKeever choose to focus on the back-story of the Jokester, Earth 3's version of the Joker, one of the few heroes left in Earth 3. McKeever turned the Joker story on it's head and the Clown Prince of Crime's origin story was a load of fun. Now if only Countdown can follow it's own spinoffs.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Orc King by R.A. Salvatore's

The world's most popular drow returns as Drizzt Do'Urden is back in this new Forgotten Realms novel by R.A. Salvatore. The dark elf failed in his attempt to kill Obould Many-Arrows in his last book, The Two Swords, and now have a difficult task as the orc has proclaimed himself king. Drizzt must now convince his friend Breunor Battlehammer, King of Mithral Hall, to make peace with the dwarf's most hated enemies.
Does he succeed or will the Forgotten Realms have another war in the Spine of the World?

Yes, he does. How do I know? Because I read the damm prologue!
Salvatore gave away the ending at the very start of the book. The prologue is set 100 years in the future with Drizzt Do'Urden still around. Now that's okay as I never expected them to kill off the drow, but the prologue then began revealing that the orc King Obould succeeds in the creation of The Kingdom of Many-Arrows for the orcs and that Drizzt supports this kingdom. Not only that, he was the one that convinced Breunor of the need for peace. Great! Super! I can stop reading the book right there, can't I?

I have to say this is the only book I have ever read that I hated from the very start! Salvatore did not just gave away the ending at the start; he even tell you how the end came about! By the way, if you are reading The Lady Pentinent series by Lisa Smedman, skip the prologue as it gave that one away as well. What in the world was he thinking!

Regular characters like Drizzt, Cattie-brie, Bruenor, Wulfgar, and Regis all make appearances in this novel but this is not actually a Drizzt novel. He is in the thick of things but this book give more info about Obould than anyone else. Outside the barbarian Wulfgar (who left for Icewind Dale) and Drizzt's wife, Catti-brie (who is on her road to being a wizard), nothing really happen to the mainstays of the series. The plot of this book is about Obould, the creation of his kingdom, and the revolt he faced down from the half-orc/half-ogre chief, Grguch.

Overall, the book was pretty solid. If you like Salvatore's other works, you will like this one. Just remember to skip the stupid prologue.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Myanmar quiet as crackdown works

As UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari stopover in Singapore, from where he will fly back to New York, the storm in Myanmar seems to be over and the generals are still in power. As Mr. Gambari brief UN chief Ban Ki-moon, probably on Thursday, questions are still been asked about the thousands of people reported 'missing' in Yangon.

Local and UN officials say at least 1,000 people are being held without sanitation inside a warehouse at a Yangon campus, the fate of others are currently 'unknown'. Singapore’s Foreign Minister George Yeo has joined other world leaders to ask for restraint from the generals.

I'm not sure about that. Quite frankly, I think it might be better if Singapore keep quiet on the matter. There's already cries of hypocrisy with regards on the matter, and you have to say they do have a point. Singapore IS the second largest investor in Myanmar, right up there with China and India. If we come out too strongly on Myanmar, we risk been known as hypocrites on the matter. I mean Singapore have been supporting/investing in Myanmar since the 90's. Worse, what if the regime in Myanmar decide to turn the screws on Singapore investments there? Last I heard, Singapore investments in Myanmar totalled well over $500 million.

It is sad what is happening in Myanmar, the missing (or most likely dead) monks, but I think most Singaporeans will not be very happy if Singapore's money get thrown away on the protests. Yes, when the Myanmar junta rise prices by 500%, I fully expect the people of Myanmar to revolt, but this is something which most Singaporeans don't truly care about.

If we shout too loudly, the generals could just take all of Singapore's money in Myanmar. This is something most Singaporeans (like me) will not be happy about.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

EPL this month

Another month has come and gone. Who's hot and who's not in the EPL in September

Top Teams this month
Arsenal- They say Arsenal was too young. They say the team will struggle without Thierry Henry. Yes I admit; I said much the same things, but Arsenal was red hot this month. Cesc Fabregas has been nothing short of amazing for them and Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie seems to have a good understanding upfront. With the Champions League starting in October, the team might be a little thin for the run to continue but manager Arsene Wenger seems to have hit it right this year.

Manchester United - They say the mark of a champion is to win even when you are playing badly. If that is true, Man Utd will win it this year because they are playing like crap...but they are winning. The big spenders in the summer has had huge problems on the field. Wayne Rooney's injuries hurt them badly and manager Alex Ferguson does not seem to have a Plan B. But that defence is great and as long as that defence holds, Man Utd will continue to win games.

Man City- Man City continue to surprise as manager Sven-Goran Eriksson's team starts to gel. Playmaker Elano look like the steal of the season as his passes are just picking teams apart. A series of virtuoso displays from Martin Petrov also helped the team's climb up the table. There's still some problems for the team, why does Eriksson continue to start Kasper Schmeichel in goal been one of them, but the team looks good.

Surprise Team this month
Portsmouth- A 7-4 win over Reading? 11 goals in a game? That in short is what's great about Portsmouth, they can and will score goals. Neither Kanu or Benjani Mwaruwari are noted for scoring a lot of goals but the team will find goals from somewhere. They are finding goals from the midfield and both their strikers are scoring in September. As long as them keep scoring, they will do well this season.

Disappointing Teams this month
Tottenham Hotspur- Say what you will, but you can't say manager Martin Jol did not have a chance. 8 games into the season and Spurs are still at the wrong end of the table. Keeper Paul Robinson has been less than solid so far and main man upfront Dimitar Berbatov is still not scoring. A matter of time I'm afraid before Jol get his marching orders from the Tottenham board.

Chelsea- I said last month that the midfield is beginning to look a little short and an injury to one of their main midfield players could break Chelsea's engine room. Hold and behold, Frank Lampard got injured and Jose Mourinho became the ex-manager of Chelsea. Avram Grant has been promoted to manager and his record in Israel looks good. Still, with several players unhappy in camp, this look like the beginning of the end for Chelsea.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Review Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone

With the last book of the Harry Potter series out a few months ago, the whole Harry Potter series is done. So I decided to read the book that started it all.

No. I have never read the book before but I had seen the movie already, so I kind of expected what the book was about. The story of the boy-wizard Harry Potter, and how the world of magic turns his world upside down.

Having read the book, I have to say it was a pretty good read. The pacing was good and tight, especially after Harry was taken to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As expected, the book fresh out certain characters in the Potter world that got short-shafted in the movie. I never knew his classmates had such an effect on him, or how truly famous Harry was till I read the book. I also finally know how the stupid game of Quidditch was played. When I saw the movie, the game made no sense. Yes the rules made no sense in the book also (why not put all the people in the team after the Golden Snitch; it’s that important right?), but at least I know how it’s being played.

However, I was also slightly disappointed with J.K. Rowling. The book did span 6 sequels and made her millions of pounds right? Maybe it’s the level of expectations that has went up due to its’ success, but I was expecting more from the book. It was a good read but there was nothing that suggested it would be the big hit that it was. I wouldn’t put it with ‘The Game of Thrones’; now that’s a great fantasy book!

That is basically it. Read the book with an open mind and it would probably be a good, solid book. Just don’t expect too much; it’s good, not great.