Thursday, March 31, 2011

A PAP Mistake

It probably looked like a good idea to the PAP (People’s Action Party) at the time. Here we have a young, pretty 27-year-old woman who we will unveil to Singapore, especially the younger generation, as the new face of the PAP. With an election coming, we can use her both to show the renewal of the party and to show the younger generation of Singaporeans that they have a voice in the ruling party.

27-year-old Tin Pei Ling was to be these things and more to the PAP. In a way it worked! There has been a lot of talk about her; on her youth, her gender, and her candidacy in the coming election. However being the new face of the ruling party comes with scrutiny and the pressure seems to be telling on both her and the PAP.

Online, people had been flocking to her Facebook page and questions have been raised about her marriage to a high-flying civil servant. There are also online rumours about her having an "extravagant lifestyle". The PAP are fighting back saying that Tin Pei Ling a victim of "gutter journalism."

Frankly I don’t care about her marriage, her gender or even her age. What I will say is this; the PAP really screwed this one up. They had completely mishandled Tin Pei Ling's candidacy.

Seriously, when the PAP put a young, pretty 27-year-old woman as the new face of the party, what did they think was going to happen? Didn’t they think that people will go to her Facebook page, and dig up the fact that she is married to a high-flying civil servant? Didn’t the PAP prepare for the fact that people will say that she only got her candidacy because of her marriage?

Evidently the answer is a big “NO” because the online storm seem to have caught out the PAP. I don’t understand why.

It should be obvious that the moment people knew about her marriage, people will say that she only got her candidacy because of her marriage. Whether this is true or not does not matter; the PAP should have prepared for it. In fact they could, and should, have nicked this in the bud at Tin Peo Ling’s every first news conference. Announced her marriage then and it would have stopped the storm before it started. Instead they kept quiet about it and then it blew up on the internet because now it looked like they were trying to hide it.

In a way, the biggest loser in all this is Tin Pei Ling. She is a new politician and no one as yet knows anything about her position on...well anything political. However anything she says from now till the election will be drowned out by the storm of her marriage and the question of how she got the candidacy. And she can only blame her own party for that.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nothing Unusual

Currently a series of photographs on the Internet has generated debate about the toughness of soldiers in Singapore. The photos which were first taken off Facebook shows a young man, in his full army uniform, walking along with his maid trailing behind him carrying his backpack.

Needless to say most netizens in Singapore are not amused. In a way I understand their feelings. He's the one in the army, but the maid is the one carrying the backpack. That’s just wrong; I agree with that. However people who believe that Gen Y soldiers in Singapore are too "soft" and "spoilt" because of this photo are wrong.

The reason I think that is simple; this is not that unusual.

When I was in the army, a guy that was doing BMT with me always had a car waiting for him at the gate everytime he booked out. Usually it was his girlfriend that drove the car but sometimes it was a guy who I believed was the family driver. The guy doing BMT with me would just enter the car and they drove off. This was over 10 years ago. What’s the difference between my experience and this photo?

Outside the fact one of walking, the other was driving, it is completely the same. Families telling their domestic help to go “fetch” their sons coming home from the army camp are hardly new. It happens and it had been happening for a long, long time. Being in Gen Y got nothing to do with it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

New Technology We Do Not Need

Scottish researchers from Edinburgh University have reported that they along with researchers from Konkuk University and Seoul National University, had created a device which improves the memory storage for technology including MP3s, smartphones and cameras.

It is supposed to be a new approach that increased the operating speed of the devices by translating data into electrical signals. It is all great and wonderful. However I have to ask one questions; Do we really mean this?

I mean I know people who uses devices like MP3s and I had never heard of anyone having memory problems. MP3s nowadays has so much storage space, it is almost impossible to fill them totally. Even if someone somehow managed to run out of storage, I should imagined that it wouldn't be hard to delete some garbage to clear storage.

I mean this seem like a wonderful new way of going things but it is an invention we need? From what I know; not really.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

When Will They Go In?

Since it is clear now that there is not a no-fly zone in Libya but an effort to help Libyan rebels defeat Muammar Qaddafi, now comes the obvious question; when are the western troops going in? In my mind, the sooner the better.

It is now clear that the rebels are not organized enough or disciplined enough to take on the troops loyal to Qaddafi. Even with airstrikes backing them up, it took them a week to take the town of Ajdabiyah. This is a town near to the rebel stronghold and in the east of the country. If it took them a week to take a town like Ajdabiyah, I can’t help but wonder how the rebels would do in the west of the country where even the very biased reporters from BBC and CNN all admit are supporting Qaddafi!

Also the rebels had clearly stated that they intend to move west and they will not stop till they reach Tripoli. They will not be able to do it without western help. Since this is not a no-fly zone anyway, and no one wants Libya to be spilt in two; that means there is just one option left. Ground troops; and the sooner the United States and its European allies do it, the faster the war will conclude.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Comics this week

Batman, Inc. #4- Grant Morrison is one of those writers that sometimes bite off more than he can chew. A little like Neil Gaiman, Morrison gives the impression that he just has so many ideas in his head that when put to paper, the execution often feel scattered. That is the case in #4. The issue is all over the place, going from Batman and El Gaucho fighting Sombrero to Batwoman chasing down a villain called Johnny Valentine, to a flashback regarding the original Batwoman, Kathy Kane. How did all 3 stories connect? How did a straightforward fight last issue (which focus strictly on Batman and El Gaucho) turned into this? No idea. And that’s the problem! Too many ideas and not enough time explaining everything. While there is a loose thread that connects the tissue of the various storylines (I think), that's just isn't enough to make sense of anything. Unfortunately, this is a Grant Morrison book so sometimes that happen.

Green Lantern #64- This issue is Part 1 of “The War of the Green Lanterns,” the latest crossover event in DC. Writer Geoff Johns and artist Dough Mahnke step right up and start the whole thing with a bang! Rather surprising for the start of a crossover, Green Lantern #64 picks up where last issue finished. Hal Jordan and the rest of the New Guardians found the Book of the Black with the Guardians’ team of Green Lanterns are on their way to arrest Hal Jordan for going against the Guardians' orders. However it was the scenes of the rogue Guardian Krona that took the cake. In possession of all seven entities, Krona launched his attack on Oa and the Green Lanterns. I loved the idea Geoff Johns had of the entities taking over the Guardians, this is a subplot that might lead to greater things. A Guardian for each color anyone? A tight script and wonderful art by Mahnke make this a brilliant start to the crossover. If this keep up, “The War of the Green Lanterns” might be the best comic event this year.

Green Lantern Corps #58- Part 2 of the “The War of the Green Lanterns,” opened with the backstories of both Kyle Rayner and John Stewart but don’t worry; it’s only 2 pages and then the shit hit the fan! Usually the middle parts of a crossover are the ones that suffered a climb-down in terms of quality but writer Tony Bedard largely avoided the trap because a major development occur this issue. Personally I don’t like the development. I was kind of hoping for a real reason why the Earth GLs would go up against the rest of the corps; this “corruption” thing just isn’t what I hope for. Still Bedard’s writing moved the story along while artist Tyler Kirkham blew me away with the visuals. Look out for the fight scene between John and Kyle. I dare you not to say “Wow” when you see it. The writing wasn’t bad but the art was what really saved this issue and made it an excellent follow-up to Part 1. Bring on Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #8.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nothing Is Free

At Diary of A Singaporean Mind, there was a call by Lucky Tan (one of the most read bloggers in Singapore) for the opposition parties of Singapore to avoid 3-corner fights in the coming elections.

With the release of the electoral wards for the coming General Election (GE), the various opposition parties in Singapore have been meeting to try and crave out the territories to avoid 3-corner fights in the elections. This happen every election in Singapore because the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) is so powerful, the other political parties in Singapore want to focus all their attention against the incumbent party and not worry about another person on the ballot.

However it is slightly different this time. The feeling is that the opposition parties will make some gains this election and so negotiations for the seats had been intense this time around. Various reports in the newspapers had stated that the meetings between the opposition parties had been largely unsuccessful with the main opposition party, The Worker’s Party (WP), fingered out as the cause. The WP has been accused as being arrogant in the negotiations and refusing to reach a compromise with the other smaller opposition parties over which electoral wards to contest in. Various people in the Singapore blogshere have urged the WP to comprise on the wards to avoid 3-corner fights.

I am not one of them!

I’m not privy to the negotiations but I don’t understand why the WP is getting stick for this. A lot of people in Singapore like to group all the opposition together but that I think is wrong. The opposition parties in Singapore are just that; they are different political parties each with their own separate aims and policies. Why should the WP sacrifice a winnable seat to other opposition parties?

Now before anyone say “it is for the common good”, let me remind everyone that the opposition is NOT one united front. They are all different parties so I fail to see what “common good” they have. The PAP may be the biggest baddest party in Singapore but having a common enemy is not the same as having a common cause.

Like I said earlier, the different opposition political parties each have their own separate aims and policies. The WP is for worker’s rights; the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) is for human rights etc; they do not have the same political platform and I think it is naive to think they will act like a bloc when they are NOT a bloc!

That’s why I don’t think it is wrong for the WP to play hardball. They are the biggest and most successful opposition party in Singapore; they are not in any opposition bloc or grouping; so there’s no reason why they should give up winnable seats to other opposition parties for free. That is just good politics!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

No-Fly What?

So the talk is finally over and the Western powers have started their war to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi from power. I don’t know how the people in the West view it but no one in the rest of the world believe for a minute there is a no-fly zone in Libya.

When jets attack tanks (which last I check can’t fly) and lay down covering fire for rebel forces to advance, it can be called an attack on Libya, an invasion of Libya, a war to liberate Libya; but not a no-fly zone. It’s pretty obvious what America, the U.K and France are trying to do; they are trying to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

So they need to send in their ground troops as soon as possible. Right now, it seems that the western powers are hoping the Libyan rebels will do the dirty work for them; it’s a long shot.

Seriously, the rebels were beaten already. They are disorganized, undisciplined and mostly untrained. If not for the air strikes, they wouldn’t even be around anymore. To expect them to beat Gaddafi’s army is a long shot.

The air campaign by U.S. and European militaries is not going to be enough to get rid of Gaddafi, the man is nothing if not stubborn, and the last thing anyone wants is a bloody stalemate like in Somalia. Now Muammar Gaddafi isn’t a great leader and it’s not a great loss to the world if he goes but if the west are going to do it; do it right!

Monday, March 21, 2011

If They Are Okay With It...

Over the weekend, Singapore newspapers reported Madam Alice Tan, a 64 year old Singaporean retiree, lost $12,000 at a Singapore casino. What really got Singapore’s attention however was that she lost the money over six days without once stepping out of the casino!

Since then, most Singaporeans had been critical of the behavior of the woman. Now, I am also uneasy about her behavior. Gambling for 6 straight days without showering or changing of clothes cannot be healthy for her, much less having just 4 hours of sleep per day during her marathon casino session.

But guess what; I can’t really complain about it. I don’t know the woman, she isn’t harming anyone, and the most important fact; her family is okay with her “hobby.” I don’t know why but if her family is okay with her spending 6 straight days in the casino, who are we (complete strangers) to say anything?

Guess all we can do is to wish her better luck on her next 6 day gambling binge.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Radiation Fears

The Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan is still having problems after last week’s earthquake and tsunami and there is a lot of fear about radiation spreading beyond Japan. Singapore is not immune to the fears.

So much so that the National Environment Agency (NEA) in Singapore had to release a statement stating that there were no abnormal levels in the radiation levels in Singapore. Frankly I think the public is unduly worried about nothing. Singapore is so far away from Japan even if there is a nuclear explosion there, the chances of it reaching Singapore and causing harm to us is so small I think I have a better chance of hitting Toto first!

So people in Singapore; stop sending text messages and emails about carrying umbrella and wearing long-sleeve shirts. You are nothing but fear-mongers.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Comics this week

Brightest Day #22- Of all the stories in Brightest Day, the Firestorm story has widely been acknowledge as one of the weakest. However like all the other stories that came to their end, writers Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi saved their best for last. However considering how poor the Firestorm story has been, this isn’t saying much. By the end of the issue, Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch had learned to co-exist as Firestorm while Professor Stein was dead. The in-between however was the problem. The Anti-Monitor was too easily beaten by the White Lantern while Deathstorm was quite frankly annoying. After reading this issue, I can’t help but think that while Johns and Tomasi had an idea of the start and end of the Firestorm story, they were unsure about the middle. There was just too much spinning of the wheels in the middle. Still, I’m glad the Firestorm story is over; onwards to better things!

DC Universe Online: Legends #4- Tony Bedard is a writer who has a good grasp for pacing. This issue of DCUO: Legends consist of fights in 2 different times; the past when Brainiac first launched his attack on Earth, and in the present when Lex Luthor lead his team against Brainiac. The issue crisscrossed between the timelines and it is an indication of Bedard’s ability that not only was the whole thing not confusing; it was also a highly satisfying read. He especially seem to enjoy writing Lex Luthor who is about as interesting as he ever been! Bring on the next issue.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


One of the job requirements for being a politician is an ability for double-speak. Basically this is an ability to say one thing to someone, not say the same thing to another, and then ignore how ridiculous and unfair the whole thing is.

The Western world must be filled with great politicians because when Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi ordered his troops to crush protesters in Libya, there were howls of protests from Western leaders, cries for a no-fly zone and even talks about sending arms to the protestors; but now when Bahrain ordered their troops (with back-up from other countries) to crush protesters, attack a hospital where doctors and injured protestors were at, we are met with near silence.

Okay I exaggerate; Washington said it “understood” why Bahrain's Sunni rulers had called in reinforcements. I guess that’s world politics for you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena

I love deals and discounts and you are not going to get deals better than “The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena”. Based on the poor “The Chronicles of Riddick” movie that almost destroyed the career of actor Vin Diesel, Assault on Dark Athena was released in 2009 as a prequel to the movie.

However Assault on Dark Athena is not the first game based on the Riddick world. In 2004, “The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay” was the first game released based on the world and the developers had decided to add Escape from Butcher Bay as a bonus game along with Assault on Dark Athena.

So you are getting two games for the price of one!

Now games based on movies have a well-deserved reputation for being terrible; after playing both games, I am happy to say this is not the case for either Escape from Butcher Bay or Assault on Dark Athena. Both games are good.

The Chronicles of Riddick are both science fiction first-person action games. You control Riddick as he sneaked around Butcher Bay and Dark Athena, trying to find a way out of both places. I played the games back to back and the story flowed. The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay had Riddick escaping from the jail planet of Butcher Bay and Dark Athena continues where Butcher Bay left off with Riddick being captured by a group of ruthless mercenary after his escape from Butcher Bay and then trying to find a way off the mercenary’s ship called Dark Athena.

In terms of gameplay and story, there isn’t much difference between them. I guess it was a case of “if its not broken, don’t fix it” for the designers because there wasn’t a lot wrong. Both games used the same formula with Riddick using a combination of strange sci-fi weapons, stealth and hand to hand combat to stalk and kill his enemies. Anyone who had played any of the Splinter Cell games will feel right at home here.

The story of both games wasn’t much to shout about, the gameplay doesn’t really offer anything new but the sound and voice acting was top notch. As you crawled through the vents, walked along the dark corridors, fight against man and machines; all the experiences were accompanied by excellent sound. Even the dialogue between you and the NPCs was excellent.

The only real complain I have is that there is a certain case of “been there and done that” with the games. “The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena” does everything well, but it doesn’t offer anything new. If you are looking for a game that is offering something new and improved from regular stealth games like Splinter Cell, then you need to go elsewhere.

Still, outside that minor complain, I found “The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena” to be an excellent game. Both Dark Athena and Butcher Bay were good and it’s not often you can get 2 good games for the price of one. “The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena” is value for money and that is always good.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Death of Nuclear Power Plants

Since the disaster, the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex in Japan has faced one problem after another. Power to the nuclear complex had been knocked out since Friday's quake and tsunami, and operators has had problems with the cooling systems that are needed to keep nuclear fuel from going into meltdown.

3 explosions have rocked the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex so far and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan had admitted that four reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi had leaked radioactive material. It is a bad situation expected to get even worse as operators try to find a way to avert a nuclear catastrophe.

With the problems there, countries around the world suddenly decided that nuclear power might not be such a safe option after all. No matter how safe you are or how much science you have behind you, if things gets bad at a nuclear power plant, the consequences could be catastrophic. Germany is the latest country to rethink their nuclear power plants.

Last year, the Singapore government also floated the idea of a nuclear power plant in Singapore. The government hasn’t said much about the idea so far but with what’s happening in Japan; I guess it’s an idea that’s not going anywhere.

A lot of people had died in Japan due to the earthquake and tsunami, but there could be another death on the horizon. The death of the nuclear power plants!

Monday, March 14, 2011

In Poor Taste

In my last post, I showed the devastation of Japan due to the earthquake and tsunami. It was utter destruction and the death toll may reach over 10,000. So I am less than impressed when people try to make political hay out of the situation.

According to the Strait Times newspaper, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said that Singaporeans are becoming too dependent on the government, and more needs to be done to make Singaporeans more self reliant. He then went on to say that Singaporeans reacted strongly to the Orchard Road floods last year, and that Singaporeans should not complain too much but instead learn from the Japanese tsunami incident.

First off; using the Orchard Road flood is a poor example. Orchard Road was flooded. What did the SM think was going to happen? Of course Singaporeans will complain bitterly about the floods, I would think that anyone from any country would do the same thing. Orchard Road is Singapore’s prime shopping belt and one of our main tourist attractions. Surely the SM didn’t think Singaporeans will just accept a flood there without a word.

More importantly; comparing the Orchard Road floods to the Japanese tsunami is a bloody joke! In both incidents, I had put up photos and to even think of comparing the two is in poor taste. The death toll in Japan could be over 10,000! Compare to that, what is the Orchard Road flood?

Orchard Road was flooded and people in Singapore complained; if the Singapore government can’t even stand complains like that with grace under pressure, I shudder to think what their reaction will be when they faced Japan’s earthquake, tsunami, AND possible nuclear meltdown at TWO locations!

The Japanese tsunami is a disaster of epic, historical significance. It will go down in the history books. Comparing the Orchard Road floods to that is a joke that’s not even remotely funny.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Big One

At 2.46pm local time yesterday, a massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit the coast of Japan. It was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan and the 5th biggest ever recorded in the world. As this is Japan, people were well-prepared for the earthquake and death from the exact earthquake was amazingly low. However the earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami that slammed into north-eastern Japan and that was a different thing.

The earthquake shook buildings, but the tsunami swept away everything in its path. According to reports, the tsunami reached a height of 10 metres and went around 10 km inland. Japanese authorities are still trying to count the dead and missing but they had reported that a ferry carrying 100 people was swept away by the tsunami and 4 passenger trains with people inside are missing. The tsunami was so powerful that it even reached America.

This is just the latest big earthquake to hit the world and I can’t help but wonder why. In Feb last year, there was a magnitude-8.8 earthquake that shook Chile and less than a month ago, a 6.3 earthquake almost flatten the city of Christchurch in New Zealand. Still that is for later, right now the most important thing is to save lives.

Here's wishing the best for all Japanese!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Comics this week

Batman Incorporated #3- I’m from Asia where comic books writers and artists crunch out comics on a WEEKLY schedule! So you can guess what I feel about some people who can’t even maintain a MONTHLY schedule. That said, #3 has Batman in Argentina trying to recruit another hero for his global network of superheroes. I always felt that writer Grant Morrison is slightly-over-rated but he has always been a courageous writer and he proved it again in this issue. Part of this issue is in Spanish which make sense as it was told from the point of view of the hero El Gaucho. Talk about being unconventional. I especially like the part where El Gaucho thinks that Batman was just “pretending” to be Bruce Wayne. He thought that Batman was in disguise which I thought was brilliant. I still have questions about the art by Yanick Paquette but overall this was a good issue. However if this team can’t maintain their schedule after just 2 issues, I don’t think this series will last.

X-23 #7- After a good opening story arc, I was looking forward to what else writer Marjorie Liu comes up with. Unfortunately, this issue was utterly forgettable. On their journey to Madripoor, Laura and Gambit lands in Singapore and has to help deal with pirates in the region. A simple rescue mission that goes wrong, X has to fight a shark along the way but even that was not enough to save this issue. Basically, nothing happens and after the strong opening arc, this was disappointing.

Heroes for Hire #4- Misty Knight begin breaking free from The Puppet Master and it was an interesting ride. Misty’s toughness was on full view as she fought against Puppet Master’s control but while it was not a bad issue from writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, it was also utterly predictable. Yes, even that last minute cameo from the Punisher. If this doesn’t improve quickly, I’m afraid this is one series I’ll drop after the story arc finish.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why America Won't Do It

With Muammar Gaddafi's forces successfully winning back territory in the civil war in Libya, there are now calls for the United Nations (UN) to impose a no-fly zone in Libya. This is because Gaddafi has been using his air force to good effect, attacking rebel positions and infrastructures in rebel territory.

So at the Security Council, Britain and France are pushing for a no-fly zone to take away Gaddafi's advantage in the air. The United States of America is far less interested in the no-fly zone.

Now some people believe this is because as the Americans are embroiled in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, they do not wish to get into another war in Libya. This may be true as any no-fly zone in Libya has to start with an attack on Libya itself. However I think the real reason why the Americans had been so reluctant is far simpler; they have the best air force in the world!

Think about it; the western powers (Britain and France mainly) are complaining about someone else using overwhelming air power to score victories on the ground!

Anyone remember what was the opening move of America in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? They used overwhelming air power to hit enemy’s position to open the way for their army.

That is exactly what Gaddafi is doing in Libya. So does anyone truly expect the Americans to agree to a no-fly zone? I sure as hell don’t!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Backing Down...Sort Of

Ever since his latest book, Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going, came out, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and the People’s Action Party (PAP) has had to deal with irate Muslims who took offence at his remarks that Malay-Muslims are in Singapore are “distinct and separate”.

Since then, various PAP politicians had tried to put out the fire but to no avail. With a General Election (GE) coming up, I guess the PAP finally decided that enough is enough. Explaining that he made the remarks 2-3 years ago, MM Lee Kuan Yew now says he “stands corrected” on the issue as the Malay community has made special efforts to integrate with other communities in that time.

Now I know Muslim groups wanted an apology from the MM over the comments but this is Singapore and the PAP is famous for not admitting mistakes. This is as good as you are going to get. In a way, the MM is backing down…sort of.

However, I’m afraid it’s too late. Doing it now with a GE coming up…let’s just say the image of the MM over the Malay community is now set.

Frankly I don’t blame the MM on this. A man has the right to his view and he had done so much for Singapore, he has the right to say what he wants. However the PAP could and should have done better to handle the fallout of the comments. The PAP should have made the MM do this when the book first came out. If the MM had this “stands corrected” stance immediately after the protests from the Muslims groups, this would have been a non-issue. The MM is so respected that people would have just let it go, but doing it now is a matter of it being too late due to the timing of the GE.

This will help dampen the reactions from the Muslim community but it won’t stop it. The timing is bad, it is months too late.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Using Common Sense

So a scientist from NASA claimed that he found tiny fossils of alien life in the remnants of a meteorite. So what?

Frankly I don’t see what the big deal is on Richard Hoover’s claim of that he found the fossils of microscopic earthworm-like creatures. There are hundreds of thousands of planets out there, so I don’t understand why some people are still skeptical of alien life.

Mind you that’s just planets, not including moons, meteors, comets etc. Even if you believe in god, it would take supreme arrogance to believe that Earth is the ONLY planet to have life.

Yes, I admit arrogance is something of a human trait but then so is common sense. And common sense tells people that in term of sheer numbers, odds are that there are life out there beyond Earth.

Monday, March 7, 2011

About Time

After a week of talks, all the major opposition parties in Singapore have finally confirm one thing; they will contest all the seats in the coming General Elections. I only have one thing to say to this: “About bloody time!”

It’s amazing that after over 40 years, this is only the first time the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) will have to contest all the seats in a General Elections (GE). In the grand scheme of things, it might not be worth that much as the PAP is expected to win the GE easily but for the first time, everyone in Singapore has an actual chance to cast his/her vote.

That is a step in the right direction. I just hope there is no screw-up on Nomination Day and for the first time, every Singaporean has a chance to vote.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sorry for your loss but...

Last week, 2 S-chips stocks were suspended over what was called “accounting irregularities” on the SGX. Now for those of you who do not know what it is, S-chip stocks are companies based in China who are listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX).

Now some of you in the know will probably be wondering, “So what’s new? S-chip stocks getting suspended is almost expected.”

You are right. It is nothing new. There are around 10-15 S-chip stocks who were suspended for one reason or another since Chinese companies began listed on the SGX. So much so that I, and many others, don’t even bother to look at S-chip stocks anymore. The suspension of the 2 companies barely made news in the market.

So frankly those people who lost money on the 2 suspended S-chip stocks; sorry for your loss but you guys should have done your homework.

The truth is this; winning and losing money is part and parcel of stock trading and trading in S-chip stocks is more dangerous than most other stocks. No one can stay they don’t know the danger of trading in S-chip stocks. If they do, then it’s a case of they not doing their homework. And if you go into the market blind, not knowing what stocks you are trading in…sorry but you can only blame yourself if you lose money on them.

Ultimately, it's your fault.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Comics this week

Annihilator #1- First thing, pick up The Thanos Imperative: Devastation #1 first before reading this issue. The epilogue of The Thanos Imperative also served as the prequel of Annihilators and you really need that issue to understand this one. Writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning jumped into the story headfirst with the Spaceknight Ikon challenging the Annihilators saying they are too powerful to function as a team. For fans of Guardians of the Galaxy, there is a backup story on Rocket Raccoon and Groot. I had been looking forward to this mini-series as The Thanos Imperative was a high point in comics last year. Unfortunately, I’m a little disappointed by this issue. Neither story grabbed me (though the Rocket Raccoon story did better). For a team called the Annihilators, we needed the team to be bad-ass. Instead the opening has the team getting beaten by a mere Spaceknight. Yes, I know the reason about the team members being too afraid to use their full power but this is the first issue of a new mini-series featuring a brand new team. That is not an opening we need!

First Wave #6- Pulp is a difficult genre to get right. Writer Brian Azzarello does it better than most and this issue show why. I found First Wave to be underwhelming so far but this last issue may have saved it. In the final showdown against Anton Colossi, all the heroes were given their time in the sun with Cheng from the Blackhawks and Doc Savage shown to be combat specialists. As with #5, there was a lot of action here. But unlike issue #5, the pacing here was perfect. The action did not overwhelm the story and Azzarello even managed to drop hints on the lack of teamwork Doc and Batman has with other members. This was an excellent finish to the mini-series.

Secret Six #31– One of the first missions in this series was the “Get Out of Hell” card the team was racing other villains to get about 20= issues ago. The card is back and the team implodes again as Ragdoll and Scandal went after each other for the card. After a few issues on crossovers, I am glad to say the Six is back! Writer Gail Simone had her hand on the pulse as this issue went effortlessly from hilarious to dark. The opening where the Six was shooting the promotional video was one of the funniest things I read in a while and then it turned with the fight between Ragdoll and Scandal (where did Ragdoll get those monkeys?). The trip to hell was a little quick but welcoming party that greeted the that was a scene.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Strange New Rule

Ever since Workfare came into being, there had been a lot of criticism from Singaporeans. Now I have to add my voice to it.

I know someone who earned about $800 a month. The way Workfare work is that if he managed to find work for 3 straight months, he is entitled for the Workfare. Seem easy enough right? It used to be, but not now.

According to him, his Workfare didn’t come in this month and when he called the CPF, he was told he is now considered a self-employed person. Why? The CPF say he is a self-employed person because he has a bus-driver vocational license. As he only speaks mandarin, I thought he made a mistake. I don’t have the exact numbers but there must be at least 50,000-60,000 people in Singapore who has a taxi or bus license, surely the CPF can’t consider all of them to be self-employed!

So I made a call on his behalf to CPF. Ho and behold, he was right! The CPF do consider him a self-employed person because of his bus-driver vocational license. In fact I was told he had to go to LTA and get a letter from LTA stating he is not self-employed.

That is just weird. How is LTA supposed to do that? LTA is in charge of roads and stuff like that; how are they supposed to know a man’s employment history? What’s even stranger is that this guy I know can’t own a bus. Buses can only be owned by a company or business in Singapore, it cannot be under a person’s name. So even if he is using his bus license, he can’t be self-employed because he cannot own a bus! He must be working for someone.

Why does the CPF think that just because a guy has a bus license, he is a self-employed? I know of many people who get a taxi or bus license as a “just in case” policy. They get it, they renew it, but they don’t use it. Are they ALL self-employed?

That’s insane! Why is the CPF making it so difficult for people to get Workfare, a scheme that isn’t really well-loved in the first place! Who in the CPF thought up this special insane new rule? The CPF should get rid of this new rule as well as the genius who thought it up.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Stay Away

As unrest in Libya continues, the U.S. has now moved naval and air forces closer to Libya and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that all options were open. Some of the options include imposing a no-fly zone over Libya and flying aid into areas of Libya controlled by forces opposing Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi.

Are they insane? What we have in Libya is a brewing civil war and after the mess that is Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. still want to enter a civil war that pits them against Gaddafi?

Seriously, Gaddafi might be an ass but he has been president of his country for a long, long time and seen to have support in certain sections of the Libyan people. He is still holding the capital of Tripoli and reports has pro-Gaddafi forces taking back parts of the country which had fallen to the opposition. (Which may be why the U.S. want to enter the fray now as the tide seen to be turning in favor of Gaddafi)

However, entering now is a mistake. Like I said earlier, the tide seen to be turning; if the U.S. openly help the opposition now, then the opposition will never beat Gaddafi. Even if Gaddafi gets overthrown, any government that comes after him will not be accepted by the people. Instead of a victory by the Libyan people over Gaddafi, it will instead be a U.S. victory over Gaddafi.

By helping the opposition now, the U.S. may be hindering the opposition later if they managed to oust Gaddafi. Admittedly, that’s a big “IF” but for the long-term good of Libya the U.S. need to continue to do what they are currently doing. Stay the hell away from the country. Let Libyans sort the mess out themselves.