Friday, November 28, 2008

Comics this week

Reign in Hell #5- For all the talk about Final Crisis and Secret Invasion, I think Reign in Hell is the best mini-series event put out by the big 2 this year. Mainly due to the fact that all the characters here are B/C/D-listers, Keith Giffen can go crazy on them. The war turn as Neron now has the upper hand against Satanus and Lady Blaze's forces. The various heroes or villains caught in the middle are now all in the mix as they try to survive a war in the bowels of hell. Blood and casualties on all sides coming up.

Guardians of the Galaxy #7- With all the 'Secret Invasion' tie-ins over, Guardians of the Galaxy has went back to their own stories...just in time to implode as the team spilt up in disgust at Star-Lord's methods. The diverse cast splits and there are no less than 4 different plots going on at the same time here, and they are all interesting! Adam Warlock taking over his church; Moondragon still alive; Rocket Raccoon taking over the main team; Star-Lord in the Negative Zone...what's there not to like?

Nova #19- Nova works best in space. That's what I think, I mean the Novas are the Green Lanterns of Marvel right? So I'm not happy seeing Richard Rider being struck on Earth. The return of the Nova Corps is welcome but writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning need to sent Nova back into space. The 5 new Novas looked unique (Fin Fang Foom's cousin?) and are different from Richard Rider (which is also good) but as long as they are on Earth, it's going to be problems in the long run.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

More Help Needed

With the winds of recession turning into a hurricane, Singapore is facing the problem of money flowing overseas. The main reason for this is the fact that for years, Singapore’s economy was based on attracting foreign investments from multi-national companies (MNC). Now that there are problems in their home countries, these MNCs are rushing money back to shore up their finances back home.

This is not surprising. When there is a fire, its natural instinct to save your house first before worrying about other people’s house. This is why this finance crisis is so crippling for an export-driven economy like Singapore’s. All the years of work trying to attract foreign investments seems to have gone down the drain as credit is drying up and companies no longer has money to expand overseas. One of the ways Singapore is fighting this is to pump more money into our own SMEs. If you can’t attract money from others, then you must invest in your own companies, make goods to sell to people overseas.

The idea is sound and correct; but I’m afraid it’s too little, too late. Singapore’s SMEs has been neglected for years Singapore has been busy chasing money from overseas. For years Singapore has been trying to be an education hub, a finance hub, even a regional convention hub. Notice that all 3 are in the services sector. The main problem is that Singapore does not actually make things nowadays. There’s not really a manufacturing sector in Singapore anymore outside the shipping and oil refinery sector.

The recent move of $2.3 billion in loans to help local firms gain access to credit is a move in the right direction, but it will take a lot more than that for the long-neglected SME sector to come back to life. If the Singapore government want the SMEs to save the Singapore economy, they will need to send more help to them.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Too Much Info

Sometimes more information is good; in fact more information usually is great. However, there are times where it’s better to keep quiet about some stuff. Your salary is usually one of them; I mean who go around talking about how much you are earning?

The same rule should apply for the salary of our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. There’s been big talk in the papers about how the salaries of the PM and his Cabinet will fall due to the bad economic times. Now I think this is info Singaporeans do not need to know. You see; I’m one of those rare Singaporeans who are not actually against paying high salaries to our politicians. However I know most Singaporeans are and the fact that our PM’s salary has dropped to $3 million a year is something I think the papers should keep to themselves.

The problem is that current U.S President Bush is only paid about $400,000 per year; U.K PM Gordon Brown is paid around $375,000, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy around $346,000. Is Lee Hsien Loong 10 times better than the French President? Actually the answer is yes because I think Sarkozy is a joke, but that’s beside the point.

The point is $3 million a year is still a very high salary. The fact that all increases in our PM’s salary after 2007 revisions is being donated to good causes is something lost to most Singaporeans. It’s like when John McCain said that you are only rich if you have more than $5 million, it just made him sound out of touch.

All this talk austerity is lost on Singaporeans as $3 million is well…$3 million. When it comes to our PM’s salary, my thinking is this, “The less talk there is about our PM’s salary, the better it is for him”.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

No Endorsement for Tiger

Times are bad. No surprise there but times are going to get much, much worse. How do I know that? I know it because even Tiger Woods has to find a new sponsor.

Tiger Woods, golfing superstar and a living legend, just had his nine-year endorsement deal with General Motors cancelled as the automaker is cutting expenses due to the economic downturn. Poor Tiger’s endorsement deal is worth about $7 million a year and was to end in 2009. GM is ending it a year early.

When even the world's No. 1 golfer has his endorsement deal cancelled by America’s No. 1 motor company…u know the world is in trouble. Times are bad.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Why He Should Not Run

Yesterday, the Strait Times reported about Mr Tan Kin Lian’s political ambitions and that he was mulling a bid presidency of Singapore. This announcement was kind of unexpected mainly because Mr. Tan had never announced any intention to run for public office, and the man was a member of the People’s Action Party for 30 years. Bidding for office means that a PAP stalwart is now going against the party’s leadership.

However what really surprised me when reading the article was that Mr. Tan indicated a sense of disappointment at the current leadership of the PAP. Mr. Tan said that the PAP is now too far from ordinary Singaporeans and no longer in touch with the ground.

Now I think Mr. Tan is somewhat right on this. The current leadership of the PAP is filled with scholars and people who got their education overseas. How much do they know about ordinary Singaporeans? Mr. Tan is also quite popular with Singaporeans nowadays as he was the lone PAP voice who stood up for the investors in the ongoing Lehman minibonds saga.

So why do I think he SHOULDN’T run for presidency?

I think he shouldn’t run because chances are that he would not be ‘qualified’ to run for the presidency. Mr. Tan seems to know this and is trying to offset this by collecting 100,000 signatures from Singaporeans. He is clearly trying to indicate that he has genuine grassroots support to contest the presidency.

I highly doubt that it will matter. If the PAP doesn’t want you to contest the election, then chances are that you are not ‘qualified’ to run for the presidency. So unless Mr. Tan get an okay from the PAP leadership, I think he has no chance to contest for the presidency. If Mr. Tan has any political ambitions, I think it would be more viable for him to join an opposition political party and contest in a General Election. That way at least, he can be certain to be on the ticket.

Considering his popularity nowadays, I believe Mr. Tan can make a big splash on the Singapore political scene but that’s only if he can stand for election. And the chances of Mr. Tan being a candidate for a Presidential Election is low at best.

That’s why I think he should forget about the Singapore presidency and concentrate on the next General Election. The chances for him will be much better there.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Showy Ban of Yoga

Stupid. That’s the first thing that comes to mind when I heard that Malaysia's top Islamic body, the National Fatwah Council, banned Muslims from practicing yoga.

The official line is that the National Fatwah Council is worried that yoga may cause Muslims to deviate from the Islamic faith as elements of Hinduism are part of the physical aspects of the exercise.

Now I know yoga comes originally from Hinduism, but nowadays, yoga is something that is practiced the world over by countless people. I know of Buddhists, Christians and Muslims who practice yoga and they are usually more worried about keeping in shape than religion. A ban of yoga will just show off to the world that Malaysia is intolerant about religious practices.

Not only that, I have to wonder what good will a ban do as it is unenforceable. The Council’s decision is non-binding for some states in Malaysia, and you can’t expect the Malaysian police to raid yoga classes to see if any Muslims are taking part in it. This ban seems more for show than anything else.

A show that will cause more harm than good for Malaysia and Islam. That is just something you don’t need.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Comics this week

Street Fighter II Turbo #2- One of the best thing about Udon's first Street Fighter series was how the company mix in the new with the old. The story remained the same but the SF series add in scenes that help the story stayed fresh (Ryu's meeting with Gen in the first series comes to mind). After a so-so first issue, Udon is working the same magic again. With art from Jeffrey "Chamba" Cruz as it's solid backbone, the writing is now on the coming SF tournament. The plot remains the same, the start of the Street Fighter tournament, but you can see that Udon is trying to add depth to the story and I did enjoy that. I can't say this is a great issue, but they did enough for me to come back for more. And that's a good thing.

Stormwatch #16- Action begins now. After a few issues of Stormwatch facing off against rag-tag whatever, they finally has to face a force worthy of them. In this case, it's a doomsday machine that is over 30 years old. Ok, not that worthy but still better than a few survivors with guns! I'm glad to see the whole working together for once; I don't think there is enough of that, and how different Jackson King is now. Before the Worldstorm, he would have never made a call that endangered his team's lives unnecessary but he no longer has that luxury after the world has gone to hell. You need to be tougher if you want to put the world back together, and Jackson King show that he is up to the job.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Not Freaky

When the latest result came out yesterday for the COE bidding, the Cat A COE is valued at only $2. Today, there's reports that car-dealers and the LTA are surprised at this and that this is nothing but a freak result.

Sorry but I don't think so.

Everyone expected the COE to go down, not to $2 but it was going to go down. There are various problems in Singapore right now ranging from the deficit, the minibond saga, the credit woes, and lay-offs; the COE price was going down. Couple all these with the fact that Singapore has an excellent public transport system (despite all the bitching by Singaporeans), a car in Singapore is more of a luxury than a necessity. In tough times, luxury are the first to go. So sorry LTA, $2 is not a freak result.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Not that bad

Since news came out that Singapore's budget deficit for the year may be around $2.4 billion, there is a sense of panic in the air. This amount is three times larger than initially projected S$800 million deficit this year, so I guess a certain amount of tension can be expected; but I think Singaporeans need not worry too much.

We are in the midst of a global economic downturn with turmoil in almost all sectors of the world economy. Almost no country in the world is immune to the turmoil, and Singapore is no exception. With the tough economic climate, I think Singaporeans need to look at the big picture.

Singapore has a reserve of over $70 billion and our surpluses in 2007 are about $6.4billion. Compare to all that, $2.4billion isn’t that much. It is definitely something Singapore can handle. As such I think the Singapore government (and Singaporeans) should not worry so much about the deficit but more about helping Singaporeans in these tough economic times. Cost of living in Singapore is still high with a recent increase in power supply bills, the STI sliding down weekly and there is news of job cuts almost everyday.

The people will need help and the government will need to spend money to stimulate growth. All in all, a deficit of $2.4 billion isn’t all that bad. In fact, things will probably get worse before it get better.

There’s no need to panic.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

IRs in Trouble

Any doubts anyone has that the two integrated resorts (IRs) in Singapore are in trouble have been dispelled. Both firms building the IRs have requested the Singapore government to allow them to open their projects in stages.

Singapore Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry S Iswaran (a seemingly busy man nowadays) told Parliament the government is ‘considering’ the requests. To put my two cents in, I have to say that the government should let them open in stages.

Although a lot has been said about how the two sites are ‘resorts’ but everyone and their uncle know that these two are there for the casinos. If Resorts World and Marina Bay Sands are having problems finishing the projects; let them open their casinos first then. It’s what they are there for.

That is, to me, a far better idea than to let the projects falter, or even worse; letting the Singapore government bailing them out. That is something we should avoid at all cost.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Deafening Silence

For years, the Singapore government has been touting the Singapore model of government as the most effective for a small country like Singapore. The theory goes that a small country like Singapore cannot afford an opposition in parliament. Unfortunately the flipside of not having an opposition has been on full show for the past 5 weeks.

After 5 weeks of protests at the Speaker’s Corner at Hong Lim Park, petitions bring sent in to the government, there's still been no action at all by the Singapore government. What’s more has been the total lack of presence by Singapore politicians. And in Singapore, that means the People’s Action Party (PAP).

As there are only 2 opposition MPs in parliament (3 if you count Sylvia Lim which I don’t since she didn’t win her seat), no one in Singapore really expect much from the opposition. This means that everything, rightly or wrongly, has been put on the lap of the PAP. So far, I have been disappointed by the non-actions of them.

I’m not saying that they have to side with the protesters, but surely as politicians they got to have some views on the situation! There are over 70 PAP politicians in the Singapore Parliament, surely at least one of them has a view on the minibond fiasco. Even if that view is pro-government, as an elected MP for the people, they have a duty to make their views known to the public.

So far, it has been a deafening silence.

If this continues, I wonder whether it would be better for Singaporeans to have more opposition MPs in parliament.

Friday, November 14, 2008

An Unknown

Barack Obama is a relative unknown in the world. Not only are his policies unknown, we also know pretty little about him. I mean it’s only after he became America’s first black president that I know he collected comics!

Yes, the new Commander-in-Chief of America collected both Conan the Barbarian and Spider-Man comic books when he was growing up. Don’t know if he still collect them but the new president of America once collected comics! I feel a connection for him already.

Ha... but on a more serious note, this does show that Barack Obama still has an unknown quality to him. Here’s hoping he can be as popular as Spider-Man and as successful as Conan.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

He regret the banner?

I’m not the biggest fan of current U.S President George W. Bush, but sometimes the man surprises even me with some of his comments.

In a CNN interview, President George W. Bush told the world what he regrets about his term in office. With 2 wars, Hurricane Katrina, Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden still out there, the drop in America’s standing worldwide, and the global credit crunch, there is no shortage of candidates. So what did the man says he regretted?

The display of the ``Mission Accomplished'' banner when he gave a speech on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln about a month after the March 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. Bush says that it ‘conveyed the wrong message’.

Since the war in Iraq is still going, I would think it did ‘conveyed the wrong message’, but of all the things out of the list, he picked a banner as the thing he regretted? To be fair, he also said that he regretted some of the comments he said like telling Iraqi insurgents in 2003 to bring them on', and 'Wanted, dead or alive.'

But he regretted things he said and a banner from a photo shoot? What about the wars, Hurricane Katrina, Osama bin Laden…

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Singapore government will not bail out Marina Bay Sands IR…directly

When I heard Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry S Iswaran say that the Singapore government will not bail out the Marina Bay Sands IR, I was delighted. (See my post 2 days ago on my feelings on this)

However I was too fast in my happiness. Upon further reading of the news, I saw that Mr Iswaran put in a useful disclaimer. He said that he cannot rule out government-linked companies, which are commercial entities, saving the project if “it makes business sense to do so”.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this. This is exactly my third point 2 days ago; the left hand giving money to the right hand. Does the Singapore government truly believe that Singapore’s reputation will not suffer if government-linked companies enter to save the IR? Now if that happen, the Singapore government will then go and announced that they did not use Singapore’s taxpayers’ money to save an American firm.

The question is this, “Who will believe you?”

I know I won’t.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A non-Chinese Prime Minister for Singapore? HA!

With Barack Obama’s success in the American presidential elections, Singaporeans are asking themselves if Singapore is ready for a non-Chinese Prime Minister. Everyone from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to the guy in the coffeeshop say no. This answer is expected but to me...this is a non-question.

Why are we even asking about a non-Chinese Prime Minister for Singapore when I know of some Chinese who won’t even vote for the Malay singer in the finals of Singapore Idol? It’s true. In the finals of Singapore Idol, the finalists have been a Chinese and Malay, and I know of some Chinese Singaporeans who refused to vote for the Malay singer. On both occasions!

So for those who are asking about a non-Chinese Prime Minister; forget about it. It’s not going to happen anytime soon.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Why the Singapore Government should NOT saved the Marina IR

Last week, Las Vegas Sands was in the news regarding the building of the Marina Bay IR. It seems that Las Vegas Sands’ auditor in the U.S openly doubts their ability to continue building the casino, sorry resort, in Singapore.

As the world is in the midst of a global recession, I’m not surprised at this. What surprise me are the assumptions that the Singapore Government will step in to save the project if Las Vegas Sands cannot finish the project. Las Vegas Sands hinted as much in their press conference and as there has been no objection from the Singapore government yet, I think we can safely assume that this will be the case.

First off, I have to ask why the Singapore Government is even considering bailing out the project. The Marina Bay area is one of 2 IR projects ongoing. We have another project on Sentosa and that is going well. Why should the Singapore Government saved the project when there is another project just like it still ongoing?

Second, Las Vegas Sands is an American company. If the Singapore Government wants to start bailing out companies and their projects, they should start by bailing out Singapore companies first! Already, there is 1 Singapore company who has been affected by the global credit crunch, but I never heard of the Singapore Government coming in to save it. Why should the Singapore Government use Singapore taxpayer’s money to save a project by an American company?

Third, if I am not mistaken, the Singapore Government has a stake in the IR as well. Now most Singaporeans will say that this is the reason why the Singapore Government will step in to save the project, I say this is the reason why the Singapore Government should NOT save the project. As a stakeholder in the project, it will not be right for the Singapore Government to save its own project. It will be the left hand giving money to the right hand, and this will hurt Singapore’s reputation.

For these reasons, I feel that this is why the Singapore Government should NOT saved the project.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures

When Age of Conan (AoC) was first released, you can’t go to any gaming website without reading about it. I read about the amazing new combat system, the amazing graphics, and the fact that there is an actual story in the game.

I avoided it anyway. I’m don’t play MMO usually, and when I do; it’s only the free ones. I don’t like the idea of spending money on a 2 month subscription to a game that I may not like, and that’s not even counting the money I spent buying the game off the shelves! However about 2-3 months after the game came out, I found AoC on sale at a gaming convention. I thought why not, it’s on sale.

For those who have no idea what is AoC, it is a fantasy-themed mmorpg that brings players into the violent age of Conan the Barbarian. I have to say the game capture the world beautifully. It may be pretty but the soul of the world is correct as well. The world has a harsh beauty to it and it is both violent and chaotic. Even in the cities where you are safe from attack, there is still a dangerous feel to the world. Funcom did a brilliant job on the world of Hyboria.

As in most other MMOs, you start by creating a character in AoC. The character creation here is the best I’ve ever seem. There are 3 Races spilt over 12 Classes for you to choose. All are humans (in keeping with the Conan story), but you can choose between the Cimmerians, the Aquilonians, or the Stygians. The races you choose affect your class in a great way. For example, only the Stygians can be spell-casters. You can also mold the face and body to great details. Once the creation is over, the story begins.

The story starts when the slave vessel you were in is destroyed in a storm. You awake on the sands of an island and a cut scene. A strange old man tells you that you are a slave and that your slave master is on his way to town to report you as an escaped slave. Off you go to kill the slave master, and along the way you get to save a near-naked damsel in distress.

This section serves as a tutorial of sorts and is pretty well done. After killing the said slave-master, you will reach the city of Tortage. It is here that Age of Conan tries to offer something different from other MMOs. In Tortage, AoC is almost like a single-player game. There are plenty of cut scenes and even…voice acting. Gasp, voice acting in a MMO! The city of Tortage also has a series of quests called the Destiny Quests. When you enter the quest, you will be in an instance. This section is the story of the game and I thought it was very well done. The Destiny Quests you do is specific to the class you selected. In my first character as a barbarian (hey, Conan is a barbarian right), I had to steal a magical scroll from a witch, but when I was a demonologist doing the same quest, I had to complete tasks and become the apprentice of the same witch. This was a welcome change in the story which I enjoyed.

Once you reach level 19, you will be given the quest to get off the island. You can stay on the island till level 22 but I got off immediately. Once you are off the island, you will be transported to your homeland. From here on, AoC becomes more like a regular MMO. Vast maps to explore, lots to kill and quests to do.

So far, I enjoyed my time in Hyboria. The world is interesting and different from the other worlds out there in other MMOs. Other MMOs feel that they have to have a cutesy feel to it to attract the kids. That is not AoC. AoC is clearly a game meant for mature audiences, the game is littered with heads on spikes, naked women, foul language, betrayal and evil demons all over the place. I enjoy the fact that this is not a cookie-cutter game and that Funcom decided to take some risks. The magic system for one is totally different from other games. In AoC, magic is black magic. When a mage cast a spell, you are doing black magic and the game do let you forget it. I love it!

However, there are some weaknesses in the game. The beautiful deserts and gorgeous mountains in the game come at a steep price. The System Requirements in AoC are way higher than any other MMO I’ve played. If you don’t have a good computer, I suggest you forget about the game totally. Also different is that the world is not seamless. Every different part of Hyboria is separated and you must wait for a load before you can enter the next zone. This I just hate and I hope Funcom can do something about this. I also didn’t think much of the combat system. Most other MMOs has a standard auto-attack feature, but in AoC you have to press a key for each individual attack. There is Left, Right, and Forward, and then Lower Left and Lower Right. This system is used for combos. For example, after you use a combat power, you can enter Left or Right to continue the move and do even more damage. You press wrong the wrong key, and the combo stop. It’s a unique style that a lot of players in AoC seem to like but personally I don’t feel it’s that different.

However I will say that overall AoC is different! Whereas every other MMOs out there is trying to copy World of Warcraft (Warhammer Online is almost World of Warcraft 2.0), Funcom bring their game to a different direction. AoC may or may not be the game for you, but I strongly suggest you try it. No matter what, it is something different (especially at the start) and I enjoyed it immensely.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Comics this week

Avengers: The Initiative Special #1- Of all the original cast of Initiative recruits, I always thought Hardball was the most interesting. Not because of the relationship between Hardball and Komodo, but because of his ties to Hydra. The inevitable double-cross happen this issue was anti-climatic. This issue isn't bad, don't get me wrong, but I was expecting so much more. But what we got was a mushy love-story and how Hardball chose Hydra because he don't want to 'drag down' Komodo. I know they are no longer in the main book but surely Dan Slott and Christos Gage can do better than this!

Secret Six #3- The story of the best henchmen in the DCU continue as the Secret Six make their play for the secret card that everyone wants. However, that's not what this series is about. This series is about how melting pot of characters in the team. The serious, the roguish, the perverted, and the tormented members of the team try their best not to kill each other while completing their mission. This time Cheetah and Bolt join in the fun as the team find out what the card is for. Boy, I can't wait to see how they will kill each other next issue.

Final Crisis: Resist- I haven't been too impressed by the various Final Crisis's tie-in projects so far. Outside Final Crisis: Submit, the others hasn't been too impressive. Resist isn't as good as Submit but it is one of the better Final Crisis tie-in so far. The story is about how Checkmate organized, or tried to organized, a resistance to Darkseid. I didn't collect Checkmate, but that didn't stop me from enjoying this book. Mr. Terrific showed why he is the smartest man in the world and I like the interaction between Snapper Carr and Cheetah. When heroes fall, it's up to the villains of the world to step-up and help. God help us all. The OMAC Project plot I can do without, never enjoyed it at all, but the virus zoo was great. First time I heard of it, but it was a brilliant idea. There's a certain tragic feel to the book which I also liked. Darkseid won, so the book should feel like a downer. Good feel, good story; good book.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hard to be Fair

Recently I had a pretty funny SMS conversation with a friend. In wishing me a belated birthday, he wished me luck and that my blog will become our government’s No.1 enemy soon.

Naturally, I am a little miff about this and told him so. Of course there are times when I disagree with them and said so here but I’ve always tried to be fair in my comments and there are times where I agreed with our Singapore government. Now just because I am not pro-government does NOT mean I am pro-opposition.

To be fair, my friend is not the only in Singapore to have such feelings. Personally I feel this is a trap most Singaporeans fall into as we have a tendency to put people into camps when there is no need to do so.

If you comment on Singapore politics, I think it doesn’t matter if you are either pro-government or pro-opposition as long as you are pro-Singapore.

And that is something I will freely admit to.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama Will Need Time

Americans got their first black president as Barack Obama became America’s first black president in history as his Republican challenger John McCain conceded defeat.

Now I know Obama was always leading in the pools, but I admit to thinking that America will NOT vote a black in as president. Something like that only happens in disaster movies and TV series. What can I say, America surprised me!

However, I think people should not have too high expectations for Obama. As the 44th president, Obama (and his vice-president, Joseph Biden), will have a lot of messes on his hands. George Bush is leaving the White House with his country in recession, fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and America’s reputation is tatters.

As solid and cool as Obama has been in this election, he will need time and I’m afraid people are expecting too much, too fast. However, if he governs America half as good as he ran his campaign; we shouldn’t have too much to worry about.

Here’s one blogger wishing him the best of luck.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

1 in 4 is not enough

With a global recession on the cards, governments around the world are worried and taking steps to ensure employment for their citizens. That is unless you live in fair Singapore.

An article in the Strait Times yesterday state that Singaporeans must be serious and accept foreigners in Singapore. Now what I’m surprised at is the fact that the article seem to suggest that Singapore is open to accepting even more foreigners onto our shores.

Simple math: The number of Singaporean numbered above 3 million and the number of foreigners in Singapore last year numbered above a million. And that’s not counting the illegal workers. This means that 1 in 4 people in Singapore is a foreigner. That’s not enough?

I can accept that some foreigners is needed but with a record of 1 in 4, slower growth next year, unemployment expected to rise, and a global recession on the cards, does Singapore need even more foreigners?

Maybe the Singapore government should change their name to “Big Business Government” because they seem more worried about their companies’ profitably than ordinary Singaporeans.

Monday, November 3, 2008

EPL this Month

The shape of the EPL is being shown as the big 4 are climbing up the table, but there are a few surprises this October.

Top Teams this Month
Chelsea- Yes they lost their home record but they are still in the top 2 of the EPL. And that’s with a whole list of injuries to contend with! When those guys return, it’ll be interesting to see how manager Luiz Felipe Scolari will integrate them back into the team, but till then Chelsea is still one of the top teams in the league.

Liverpool- I admit, when Fernando Torres got injured playing for Spain, I thought Liverpool are going to be in trouble. However, they now have a new scoring machine in…Dirk Kuyt? Yes, after a disappointing season last year, Dirk Kuyt is coming good. Robbie Keane still doesn’t look like a good buy at $20million, but Torres is coming back from his injury, so Liverpool got a break this month.

Hull City- They are still there. 4-1 to Man Utd at Old Trafford, and Hull City still somehow made a game of it by scoring 2 goals to lose 4-3. Spirit is something Hull has and as long as they have that, they will survive.

Surprise Team this month
Tottenham Hotspur- I think firing Juande Ramos was a wrong move as he wasn’t given enough time to gel his players together. However the appointment of Harry Redknapp was a right move. Under Redknapp’s system, Luka Modric has the freedom to roam behind the strikers and both Darren Bent and Roman Pavlyuchenko has benefited. Not sure how long the new manager bounce will last, but Spurs fans finally has something to smile about.

Disappointing Teams this month
Arsenal- Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger may not want to admit it but the Gunners are lightweight in the middle of the park. Opponents are picking up on the fact that Cesc Fabregas do not have anyone beside him in the middle, so Arsenal are just losing too many midfield battles this season. Without the midfield, Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor do not have a steady supply line, and since those two are not the most deadly of strikers, it’s important that Arsenal have a constant stream of chances for them. Arsene need to go buy a holding midfielder this January.

West Ham – The credit crisis engulfing the world right now has hit West Ham especially hard. The Icelandic owners of the club are in financial difficulties and manager Gianfranco Zola has to deal with poor morale. He also has no money to buy new players in January. Bad form, poor morale, no money; bad news for a new manager.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Comics this week

Reign in Hell #3- Neron return fire this issue as he destroyed one of hell’s province to show his power. I have to wonder, “Why the hell (pun intended) didn’t he do this in the first place?” That’s the danger when you have a few all powerful guys dueling it out for control. The surprise was in the end was unexpected, in a good way. The smackdown is just getting bigger

Avengers: The Initiative #18- Of all the Secret Invasion tie-ins, Avengers: The Initiative has done the best. The issue continues to follow the Skrull Kill Krew on their road trip across America to kill Skrulls and how they meet up with the first class of graduates of Camp Hammond. The Skrull sleeper agent was a surprise but it made sense, so that’s good and whoa, did Cloud 9 changed or what! In issue 1, she was a fun girl who uses her cloud powers to ride in the sky, now she is a cold-hearted sniper who uses her powers for cover so that she can shot enemies dead from the air. Tony Stark, you have a lot of explaining to do!

Nova #18- After a 1-2 issues of Secret Invasion tie-in hell, gears are changed and Nova is back! The return of Worldmind is most welcome by this reader as the super-computer again shows why Nova needs him. I’m not too thrilled by the return of Quasar (he had a wonderful death in Annihilation, why spoilt it?), but the writers actually tried to have a few throwaway lines on how he returned so that’s okay. As long as they ignore the Skrulls, Nova will go far.