Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Politics is a dirty business. Always has been; always will be. Everyone accept that, but even the term “dirty politics” is an understatement for what’s going on in FIFA right now. This is because the people running have gone MAD. Not MAD as in crazy but MAD as in “Mutually Assured Destruction”.

FIFA runs the world of football, the world’s most popular sport, and as such the president of FIFA is world famous and very powerful. Sepp Blatter has been the president of FIFA for decades and the problem started when Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar threw his hat into the ring for the FIFA presidential elections. Unlike previous attempts by other candidates, bin Hammam had a very good chance of beating Blatter for the presidency.

That is until a wave of corruption allegations engulfed bin Hammam and his supporter Jack Warner, the head of the Caribbean, North and Central American federation (CONCACAF). Both were provisionally suspended by an ethics committee that took only hours to come to the decision despite not having come to a decision on whether they were guilty of corruption. Basically the duo were suspended pending the “investigation” to the allegations. This was just days before the presidential election for FIFA.

Furious, Jack Warner then decided that he’s not going down alone. He revealed emails showing that Blatter and FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke are also guilty of bribery and corruption. One of his emails showed Valcke saying that bin Hammam might have been thinking that “you can buy FIFA as they bought the WC (World Cup).” Qatar, who surprised the world by getting the right to host the 2022 World Cup, swiftly denied Valcke’s claim and have threaten legal action against Valcke. Valcke himself is now trying to backpedal on the issue but the damage has already been done. Even in a best case scenario, Blatter and his followers are incompetent or had turned a blind eye to the corruption within FIFA.

In the face of FIFA’s worst scandal in its 107-year history, only one thing is clear; no one is going to come out of this smelling like roses. It is “Mutually Assured Destruction” at its finest and the big casualty of all these politics is unfortunately the beautiful game itself.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Earth's Mass Extinctions

I once watched a show on the History channel that theorized on the various mass extinctions Earth had suffered in its past. Scientists had theorized that the Earth had suffered 5 mass extinctions in its past. In the show, mass extinctions are a period of time where 90% of the living plants and animals on Earth were killed.

The scientists theorized what would cause the death of so many animals and one of the crazier ideas was that of Planet X. Planet X is supposed to be a planet that goes past Earth so close that it would affect the gravitation pull of the Earth. The scientists on the show theorized that Planet X once past by Earth and the gravitation pull on the Earth caused earthquakes so severe it caused a mass extinction. However since all planets orbit a sun, that’s a crazy idea right?

The joke is on me because now astronomers have discovered a whole new class of planets that float through space without any discernible sun. Called “rogue planets”, these are basically planets that travel through space without any orbit whatsoever. What’s more, astronomers say these rogue planets likely outnumbered orbiting planets 2 to 1!

Rogue planets that travel through space without any orbit? A Planet X that went passed by Earth? Suddenly the idea doesn’t sound so crazy.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Comics this week

Green Lantern #66- After a delay, writer Geoff Johns and artist Doug Mahnke finally got Green Lantern #66 out. Whereas the writing of Johns did not suffer as a result of the delay, Mahnke’s art did. There were panels in this issue that looked rushed and nothing that approached the great work he did in the previous few issues of GL. Disappointing as the story took a twist here with Krona finally revealed his master plan for a new set of Guardians. There was a brief interlude in the middle with Sinestro and the Book of the Black and I hope it means something because it took up pages in the issue. More importantly, it broke the flow of the story for me. “War of the Green Lanterns” is still a very good mini-series but DC need to sort out of these delays.

Green Lantern Corps #60- Part 8 of the War of the Green Lanterns, this issue showcased John Stewart’s and Kyle Rayner’s attempt to break Mogo free from Krona's influence. As the oldest and most important GL in the Corps, breaking Mogo free would change the conflict totally in favor of the GLs. That’s why I was so shocked by what John Stewart did at the end of the issue. I won’t spoil it here but it was a big decision, a game-changer and one that Kyle think he got wrong. Read this issue and decide for yourself. Green Lantern Corps #60 might not be the best issue in the “War of the Green Lanterns” so far but it could be the most important. That was how big of a decision John Stewart made.

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #10- Thus far, every time the “War of the Green Lanterns” reached a Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors issue, the results had been less than spectacular. Luckily, Part 9 of the miniseries broke that trend. Yes, DC released Part 7 (Green Lantern #66), Part 8 (Green Lantern Corps #60), and Part 9 all in the same week! Part 9 finally let Guy Gardener do something rather than being a jerk and it also setup the new Red Lanterns ongoing series that is going to come out of “War of the Green Lanterns”. Writer Peter Tomasi didn't do that much with the story but he did get the job done. His job basically was to setup the big fight and at the end of the issue, that’s what happened. We were setup for the final big fight between the now freed GLs (don’t act like that’s a spoiler) and Krona. The only problem I had with this issue was the art. Fernando Pasarin's art in this issue was good but the coloring of this issue was a little too much. Wild, crazy bright colors filled this issue and while there might be some people who like it; to me it was too much of a good thing.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Speaking From Experience

The Singapore General Hospital (SGH) is in the news today as it was reported by the Strait Times newspaper that a complaint had been made by the son of an 80 year-old man staying at the hospital. The son complained that a Christian volunteer was trying to convert his (Taoist) father to Christianity while he was staying in SGH.

This despite a sign SGH had put up that warned people not to do this. The sign read; 'At SGH, we respect the religious and ethnic beliefs of Singaporeans. No staff, patient, visitor or volunteer is allowed to impose their religious beliefs on another.'

Rather diplomatically, SGH is refusing to say how widespread is the problem that they had to put up a sign to warn against the practice. I do not have this problem. Christian volunteers proselytizing their religion to non-Christians in hospitals are a widespread problem in Singapore. I am speaking from experience.

An aunt of mine was dying of cancer and a few weeks before her death, she surprised the family by announcing that she was a Christian. Now my aunt don’t follow any religion before and the family found that a preacher had been visiting her at the hospital. This was after her condition had worsened and she had to stay there. Basically, she was dying. As my family isn’t that religious, no one kicked a ruckus on the matter but it left a bad taste in the mouth of more than a few family members (including me).

Now I have no problem with Christian volunteers who hand out flyers along the street or visit door-to-door to promote Christianity, but doing this to a sick and dying patient is just plain wrong. A sick and dying patient is at his weakest and that is most definitely NOT the time to be evangelizing your religion to them.

I don’t see any Hindus, Muslims, Taoists, Buddhists etc, proselytizing their religion in hospital, why only Christians? There is a place and time for proselytizing your religion and hospitals are NOT the place to do it, especially when it is to sick and dying patients!

The sign is good but I think the SGH (and other hospitals) need to be stricter in the policy. In fact, the stricter, the better.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Age of Conan going F2P

You just knew it was coming. After the relative success Turbine had with Lord of The Rings Online (LoTRO), you just knew other developers/publishers are going to jump on the free-to-play (F2P) bandwagon. A few games has already done so (Champions Online, Everquest II), now the latest game is Age of Conan!

Seeing Turbine’s success, Funcom has now announced that ‘Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures’ will also go down the F2P route. Of course LoTRO is not really F2P as a large portion of the game can’t be accessed unless you buy the areas from the Turbine store, so I’m not surprised that the model Funcom will implement is not totally F2P.

Renamed ‘Age of Conan: Unrated’, the game will be under a F2P/hyrid payment scheme. Players can play game for free but some parts of the game will only be available if you are a “premium” player (with subscription). Most of the classes, most of the dungeons, almost all the raids are premium content.

I have no problems with most of the stuff I’ve read on the move to F2P (http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?t=166952). I even like some of them, the fact all the original zones will be free and players can level to 80 without paying for anything is great. However I do feel Funcom need to have a middle tier of payment for old players of AoC like me. I’m not a new player and have 6 characters, 2 of which are at level 80. I fail to see why I have to select only 2 characters to play for free while the rest of my characters (which I created and played while I had a past subscription with Funcom) are locked. I can understand that Funcom want to make money but giving some rewards to past players, who played the game despite wide criticism of it, will be great news for everyone.

Still, this F2P/hyrid plan is a step in the right direction. Along with the new Conan movie, who knows; maybe this will be a second dawn for AoC.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Eat with Your Family Day? Families that Eat Together, Stick Together? There’s a day set aside to “encourage” people to eat with their families? Is this for real?

I received an email for this ‘Eat with Your Family Day’ and my first reaction is that this is a joke. A few online searches later…I discovered that its not! There really is a ‘Eat with Your Family Day’ in Singapore!

That is just sad. Are Singaporeans so busy nowadays that we actually need to set aside a day for something like eating with your family? That is just so sad.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

An Easy Recommendation

After Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the formation of a committee to review Singapore's ministerial pay, I thought most Singaporeans would be happy with the news. Personally, I never cared much over how much Singapore ministers are paid, but I know a lot of Singaporeans do. So a review of ministerial pay would be good news right?

Not so for a lot of Singaporeans! Many Singaporeans are…skeptical that the committee would drastically cut our top government officials' salaries. The complaints ranged from the timeframe of the review (no word yet on when the committee would finish their work) to the makeup of the committee (no opposition member; Gerard Ee, head of Public Transport Council, being chairman of the committee etc). Basically, most Singaporeans believe the committee is a waste of time.

I disagree. I understand that Singaporeans believe that our ministers are overpaid but realistically, a committee to review the pay is the right way to go about the matter. I do not think any Singaporeans truly think that the government will just cut their pay immediately. Time will tell if the committee is a waste of time but I think Singaporeans should give the committee the benefit of the doubt till then.

However I also believe there is one simple way for the committee to appease Singaporeans about the minister’s pay issue. There is one straightforward thing the committee can immediately recommend to prove to Singaporeans they are serious about their work; Get rid of the pension system for ministers.

Getting rid of the pension system for ministers should be an easy decision. Almost all Singaporeans are on the Central Provident Fund (CPF) scheme yet Singapore ministers are all still on the old (and superior) pension system. This will get rid of the double standard between ministers and Singaporeans; show that the government is serious about the review of minister’s pay; and prove that the committee is not a toothless tiger like most Singaporeans fear.

Get rid of the pension system for ministers and the government can silence the naysayer and doubters in Singapore. Like I said; easy decision!

Monday, May 23, 2011


With all the new massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) coming out, there will be some casualties among the older MMORPGs. Some of the older MMORPGs will be facing the axe as players moved to newer games like Aion, RIFTs, and the upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic.

This is not news as it is to be expected. However what is surprising is that even the successful older MMORPGs are in line for the axe. Lineage was first released in South Korea not too long after Ultima Online will be close on June 29th in North America. This is a bit of a surprise as although the game is old, it is (or was) one of the more successful MMORPG in its time. Even now, the game provides its publisher, NCSoft, with 28% of their yearly revenue!

This is evidence that people are still playing the game, yet it will still be closed! Old games being dumped is no surprise but I have to wonder if a game like Lineage can be canned…which game is next?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Laughing & Crying

Now I know in some countries, the rules for driving cars are pretty lax but this is one case which I felt I had to comment on. In Venezuela, police had suspended the driving license of 41 year old Ramon Parra for 1 year. Nothing special so far except for the offence he committed.

Mr. Parra had his license suspended because police caught him driving in a passenger bus that was (1) speeding, (2) overloaded and (3) missing one of its rear wheels! Wow! In Venezuela, you drive a bus missing one wheel and you just get your license suspended? In Singapore, we would throw the license into the drain already. You can forget about ever getting it back!

Yet from what I read, in Venezuela this (1 year suspension) is considered a “harsh” punishment! Wow. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry at that.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Comics this week

DC Universe Online: Legends #8- Since its start, issues of DCUO: Legends had bounced between the past (before Brainiac invaded Earth) and the present (the aftermath of the successful invasion). #7 and #8 broke the trend as they focused strictly on the present and past respectively. Although this means the issues now has a tighter focus, I prefer the old format but I can see why some (okay, most) readers like the new format. Writer Tony Bedard had proven that he is a capable writer but I do have the feeling he is trying too hard. Do we truly need to keep reading Superman’s thoughts on how worried he is for the kidnapped Lois Lane? However this issue was excellent, especially if you are a Lex Luthor fan. Bedard continues his winning streak with the character as he gave Lex even more reason to hate Superman. All in all, the series continues to be a winner.

X-23 #10- In Paris, X-23 and Gambit got a visit from Wolverine and Jubilee. Now I know the series isn’t exactly tearing up the sales chart but having useless guest-stars are NOT the way to make things better. I thought the reason why X-23 was out of Utopia was to move her away from the mutants and let her stand on her own. And that’s not even considering the ongoing backlash of making Jubilee a vampire. Who the hell in Marvel thought up that crazy idea?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tell It As It Is

The Singapore Cabinet shake-up continues as Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the new Singapore Cabinet yesterday. Usually a dull affair with the ministers playing musical chairs, this new Cabinet is causing some shockwaves in Singapore as three long-time ministers are retiring from the Singapore Cabinet.

Deputy Prime Minister and Co-ordinating Minister for National Security Wong Kan Seng, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan and Transport Minister and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Raymond Lim, are all “stepping down” from their posts. This is just days after Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong announced that they are also stepping down from the Cabinet. Along with the defeat of Foreign Minister George Yeo in the General Election 2011 (GE 2011), the new Singapore Cabinet got a decidedly new look to it.

Now everyone in Singapore believes the shake-up is due to the results of GE 2011 as both Mr. Wong Kan Seng and Mr. Mah Bow Tan came under heavy criticism in the election. However PM Lee has refused to admit this, saying that the three men had expressed a desire to step down from their post before GE 2011 and he was the one who asked them to stay on.

I think this is a mistake. Already Singapore People’s Party (SPP) chief Chiam See Tong has singled out Mr. Wong Kan Seng, saying that he was “insincere” as he should have announced his intention to step down from the Cabinet during the election. Mr. Chiam was defeated by Mr. Wong in GE 2011. Others have accused the People’s Action Party (PAP) of not being transparent.

These are accusations that will be hard for the PAP to argue against. Now, PM Lee is probably trying to save the face of the ministers by saying that they jumped instead of being pushed, but this line is just giving unnecessary ammunition to the opposition. For the PAP, this could become a matter of heads you win, tails I lose.

Why not tell it as it is? The Singapore government has heard the will of the people and is trying to have a clean break from the past. That’s why the 3 ministers are stepping down. If the PM says that, the opposition has nothing to attack the PAP with and Singaporeans will know that the government is listening to them.

Not only is this the truth, it is also a win, win for the PAP. Much better than the current lose, lose.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


As I’m not on Facebook, I have never heard of the strange “sport” called "planking". Basically planking refers to lying face down like a "plank" in unusual or public locations. 'Players' then take photos of themselves and post the images on Facebook.

Now I would never call lying face down a “sport” but if chess and golf can be called sports, I will give “planking” the benefit of the doubt. What I don’t get is why anyone would put their lives in danger for this “sport”. An Australian man plunged to his death when he attempted to plank on the balcony rail of a building…seven floors! Not to say bad things about a dead man, but that is just stupid. So are all those idiots who “plank” on busy roads, railway tracks, and basketball hoops etc.

Reports say that this “sport” has now come to Singapore and there is a "Planking Singapore" Facebook page. I just hope young Singaporeans are more sensible about this “sporting craze”.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Getting Desperate

It has been almost 3 months since the West started their campaign to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi from power and they are getting desperate. In case there are some people who doubt me; the desperation is official!

General David Richards, Britain's chief of defense staff, has warned loudly that NATO must broaden the range of targets it is bombing in Libya to infrastructure targets or they will fail to remove Muammar Gaddafi. Now some will argue that this is NOT a sign of desperation but you must remember the U.N. mandate being used as an excuse to attack Libya is a “no-fly zone” in order to “protect” civilians.

A “no-fly zone”; tell me does infrastructure (buildings, bridges etc) fly? Bad enough that Western forces are giving covering fire to rebel forces but now they intend to destroy buildings, bridges as well. Yes, they are officially getting desperate.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Retirement of the SM & MM

A week after GE 2011 (General Elections), the aftermath is still ongoing. The latest news is that Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong are going to step down from the Cabinet.

Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and Mr. Goh Chok Tong are the first two Prime Ministers of Singapore and this would the first time since independence that Mr. Lee Kuan Yew is not in the Singapore Cabinet. Current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says the decision by both men is a "major event" for Singapore.

However if you speak to normal Singaporeans, most will greet the news with a shrug.

This however is not an affront to the two men. Most Singaporeans do not care about their retirement because the two men will still be Members of Parliament and well…Singaporeans have no idea what the Minister Mentor and Senior Minister currently do in the Cabinet. Both men had contributed greatly to the progress of Singapore, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew especially, but their retirement was a long time coming. The term Minister Mentor and Senior Minister were coined for Mr. Lee Kuan Yew after he decided to quit as Prime Minister but it was never defined what the positions are actually for.

In some ways, their retirement from the Cabinet is a passing of the baton in Singapore but the news is not as great or as important as former Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo’s defeat in GE 2011. At least Singaporeans know what Mr. George Yeo actually do in the Singapore Cabinet.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Comics this week

Batman Incorporated #6- This issue showed Batman and his allies fighting crime across the globe, against the global mysterious crime organization "Leviathan". In simple terms, Batman, Inc. #6 showed the army he has amassed. However writer Grant Morrison made a mistake this issue. He never explained why Batman has suddenly decided to built his army of crime-fighters! How are we, the readers, supposed to “get” the true scope of Batman, Inc. when we don’t know why Batman is doing this? Every time it seemed that the reason is going to be explained, the scene got cut. There is one scene in the Batcave when Bruce Wayne gathered his closest allies to explain to them the threat facing them all but we, the readers, never get to hear why Bruce Wayne was doing all this. That was just disappointing. This issue has great buildup but without any climax.

Daken: Dark Wolverine #9- The Daken/X-23 crossover ends with this issue and it goes out with a bang. I will admit I wasn’t looking forward to this crossover but I will not argue with the results. This was a great crossover. The dynamic between Daken and X-23 was superb as the writers of both series had a field day with the characters. 2 characters, flawed in so many ways, similar in so many ways, decide to take 2 different paths in life. The reasons for their actions, their personalities, their life, were expanded on in this crossover. In short, this was that rarest of crossover; the Daken/X-23 crossover was a crossover that matters!

FF #3- First off, I will admit I was never a fan of The Fantastic Four. In fact, I’m not a fan of any science based superhero. The reason is that it’s just not that fun to read about a guy who could go and invent some new gadget anytime he fail to defeat an enemy. FF look like it will have the same problem in the future but in the meantime I must say writer Jonathan Hickman is having a fun time doing with the series. Faced with a group of alter Reed Richards that intend to “save” the world, the Future Foundation, under the request of Doctor Doom, delivered invitations to various villains to a meeting on how to defeat the Richards. That is just a brilliant concept! I hope Hickman will take the idea and run with it because it will be a fun ride.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Calling Time On The GRC

With retirement of former Foreign Minister George Yeo, there is now strong complains about Singapore’s group representation constituency (GRC) system. Now if there is one thing we can be certain of after the result of any Singapore Election, it is that Singapore's controversial GRC system will come in for criticism. Only this time, PAP members are joining in the criticism along with the opposition.

With the ruling People's Action Party’s (PAP) loss in Aljunied GRC, Singapore has lost 3 ministers in one fell swoop. Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Hwee Hua and Senior Minister of State Zainul Abidin Rasheed were all on the Aljunied team and they will all not be in the new Parliament.

Now despite what the PAP will say officially, everyone knows that the GRC system was invented so that the weaker PAP candidates could ride into Parliament on the backs of their more experienced counterparts. With the loss in Aljunied, the PAP now sees the flipside of the GRC system. If you lose one GRC, you lose a few ministers along with the ride.

The PAP will probably want to continue using the GRC system that had served them so well since 1988 but they need to ask themselves if maybe the time for the GRC has passed. George Yeo, Lim Hwee Hua and Zainul Abidin Rasheed would all have won in a Single Member Constituency (SMC). Yes, some of the weaker PAP candidates would lose but between the 27 year old wife of a principal private secretary (Tin Pei Ling) and George Yeo; who would the PAP rather have in Parliament?

The main thing is that the Worker’s Party (WP) has won a GRC and if they can win one, then they (or other parties) can win two. That will mean more seats lost for the PAP because as we can see in Aljunied, the moment you lose one GRC, you lose 4-5 seats in Parliament. Despite the show by the opposition in this election, I do not believe they would have won in 6 straight fights if every seat in the election is a SMC. In the end, the PAP need to ask if perhaps the GRC system has served its purpose and it’s time for them to go back to an all SMC election.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

No Ban Needed

Over the weekend there had been some complains in Singapore about a Chinese restaurant in Jurong who had put dog meat on its menu. Thanks to the reports in the papers, I now know that it is illegal to import and sell dog meat in Singapore.

Now the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority has said that the “dog meat” offered by Song Hua Jiang Restaurant is actually made of pig innards so the restaurant did not break any laws. However that’s not what I want to talk about. What I want to understand is why dog meat is illegal in Singapore? I mean its meat! If you don’t like to eat it, don’t! But why ban it? Does dog meat caused health issues like beer?

No? I thought so. There’s no reason to ban dog meat. Especially when the main complains is how “cute” dogs are. People in China and Korea has been eating dog meat for thousands of years. There is no need to ban it!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

GE Winners & Losers (Part 2)

In every election, there are winners and losers. Sometimes even when you win, you lose. And sometimes even when you lose, you win. My take on the winners and losers of the General Election (GE) 2011;

George Yeo- The Foreign Minister was the leader of the PAP team in Aljunied and with his loss, the PAP just lost one of its more popular politicians. His gracious speech accepting his defeat was great and the PAP need to find a way to keep George Yeo in the spotlight. Already, there is talk of him being a candidate for the next Presidential Election. Whatever the case, he is a loser in this GE but I don’t think we had seen the last of George Yeo.

Chiam See Tong/SPP- Unlike the WP’s gamble in Aljunied, Chiam See Tong’s decision to leave Potong Pasir to lead a Singapore People’s Party (SPP) team to contest in the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC prove to be disastrous. The SPP lost in Bishan-Toa Payoh, Mr Chiam’s wife Lina Chiam lost Potong Pasir and the SPP has a lot of soul-searching to do now. GE 2011 has proven to be a sad swansong for the longtime opposition leader but it is his party that I’m worried about. If Mr Chiam is not at the helm, is there even a need for the SPP?

Kenneth Jeyaretnam- Like many people, I had an eye out for Kenneth Jeyaretnam. Son of long-time opposition leader J.B Jeyaretnam, many Singaporeans were wondering how well he’ll do in the election. Answer: not well at all. As chief of the Reform Party (RP), Kenneth Jeyaretnam was unable to hold his party together before the election and he was also unable to reach a compromise with the National Solidarity Party (NSP) on the various seats to contest in. Basically, J.B.J’s elder son is a new inexperience politician and it showed. Hopefully he will take this GE as a learning experience and come back stronger the next time.

Monday, May 9, 2011

GE Winners & Losers (Part 1)

In every election, there are winners and losers. Sometimes even when you win, you lose. And sometimes even when you lose, you win. My take on the winners and losers of the General Election (GE) 2011;

Worker’s Party- No need for me to say why the Worker’s Party (WP) came out of the GE a winner right? With their win in Aljunied GRC, they had scored a breakthrough for the opposition. Low Thia Khiang’s decision to leave the safe opposition seat of Hougang to contest in the Aljunied GRC has proved out to be a great gamble. Not only did they win Aljunied, the WP also managed to win Hougang with a bigger majority! Without question, the WP was a winner in this election.

New Media- This election truly show the power of new media. The opposition parties in Singapore has long complained about their lack of access to reach the people as the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) dominance of old media (newspaper, radio, television) was firmly entrench. However, this wasn’t so much a problem this election as the opposition parties managed to reach the supporters via Facebook, blogs and Youtube. Singaporedaily.net even had daily links to Youtube where the opposition posted their election rallies. Using new media, the opposition managed to some degree bypassed the PAP’s dominance and this is something that looks to grow as years goes by. A disturbing thought if you are part of the PAP.

Dr Chee Soon Juan- Before this election, no one seriously thought the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) was going to have much of an impact. Under the stewardship of Dr Chee Soon Juan, the SDP has went to the far left of the political landscape these past few years. They were involved in protest marches and illegal rallies and these are things that turned Singaporeans off. A jail term had also caused Dr Chee to be unable to contest this election. As he was unable to be a candidate, Dr. Chee focus on the backroom work of the SDP’s campaign and has proven to be, surprisingly, good at the job. The SDP was unable to win a seat in Parliament but they ran a pretty good campaign and a lot of it was down to Dr Chee. There were even times when the PAP seems regretful that Dr Chee was not a candidate as they do not have a leftist bogeyman to throw at Singaporeans. Going by his past record as a candidate, Dr Chee has proven to be a better administer than a candidate and this election has seen the return of the SDP.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Not A Watershed

With the official results of Singapore's 2011 General Election out already, history was made as the Worker’s Party (WP) took Aljunied GRC from the People’s Action Party (PAP). It was historical not only because of the WP’s breakthrough win in a GRC but also for the loss of a few popular politicians in Singapore.

Foreign Minister George Yeo, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Hwee Hua (both lost in Aljunied) and opposition veteran Chiam See Tong (who lost in Bishan-Toa Payoh) will all be missing in the new parliament. However as historical as the GE was, it wasn’t a watershed election as many had hoped. The PAP won over 60% of the votes casted and will hold a 81-6 advantage in the new Parliament. Despite what some may say, a 60% win is more than enough. Many other ruling parties in many other countries would be delighted with getting 60% of the total votes cast. That is just a fact.

It’s only been a day but it does seem that for all the noise Singaporeans make, when push comes to shove, they will still vote for the PAP. As they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. The new Parliament will be about the same as the old Parliament.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Comics this week

Annihilators #3- After 2 issues, writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning made a subtle change this issue. There’s no narration! And it’s a bloody good thing as the focus is now more on the action and the team. There wasn’t as much action this issue but it was understandable as the true nature of the threat facing the team was revealed. As a set-up issue, this was quite good and I look forward to the final issue of this series. I found the Rocket Raccoon/Groot back-up story was especially good this issue. Abnett and Lanning managed to give Rocket Raccoon a bizarre but interesting past that sound great, and they did in all in the midst of killer clowns and furry animals! Now that is a show of class right there!

Artifacts #7- Logic get thrown out of the window here as writer Ron Marz gear up for the final stretch of the series. The big problem I have is Finn. Since the Glacier Stone don’t have any transportation powers, I am kind of wondering how he got from Ireland to New York in one afternoon. Yes, I know it’s a minor point but sometimes this sort of thing is important, especially when we saw Finn, he was walking in the debris of the fight last issue. However I still like this issue. The reveal of the location of Hope Pezzini was timely as both Sara Pezzini (Witchblade) and Jackie Estacado (the Darkness) rushed to the side of their daughter, and the return of the Hunter-Killer team was welcome. The interaction between the Hunter-Killer, the artifact wielders and Cyberforce was fun as each team is run differently. Good issue.

Secret Six #33- After a few issues where the quality dropped off, I am happy to say Gail Simone has Secret Six back on track. I truly enjoyed this latest arc of the Six going to hell. With the Six in hell, Gail Simone's deranged series has gone a step even further off the deep end; to great results! Catman’s visit was especially disturbing yet also very revealing. I especially like the art by J. Calafiore this issue. His design of the hell’s version of the Secret Six stole the show this issue and I hope we get to them again soon.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Weather Comedy

Let it not be said that the political gods of Singapore do not have a sense of humour. Just a day after Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong apologised to Singaporeans for the People's Action Party (PAP) mistakes for the past few years and promise that the PAP will learn from their mistakes; the sky opened today and there were floods reported at several locations in Singapore.

As you can see from the pictures above, flash floods were reported following a heavy downpour and this is just a day after the speech from the PM, 3 days before the election. Trying to get an apology from the PAP is almost impossible and the moment the PM decide to do it, this happens! I’m unsure if Singaporeans should laugh or cry at this.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Osama bin Laden's Burial

A day after the death of Osama bin Laden, details are coming out regarding his assassination. He was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan, an affluent suburb outside Islamabad by U.S Special Forces. His body was identified and then quickly buried at sea. Now the burial is what I want to question.


Islamic practices require a burial on land in a grave with the head pointed toward the holy city of Mecca. Even I, a non-Muslim, know that. There is no sea burial in Islam expect for special cases like when death occurred aboard a ship that’s far from land. Osama bin Laden was killed on land miles from the sea. A sea burial for him is just asking for trouble! Most Muslims will see it as an insult. Now the Americans probably do not want his burial site to be a shrine for Islamic militants but bin Laden is so well-known that I don’t see how his grave site would be more trouble than a sea burial.

A sea burial, without a body, would stroke anger at America, but a grave would be showing respect to an enemy. It could have been a PR coup. But now, his burial will become a problem. Even dead, Osama bin Laden will be a thorn in America’s side.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama bin Laden's Legacy

He was the man who masterminded the Sept. 11 attack who promised that he will not be taken alive. Osama bin Laden, leader and founder of the Al Qaeda network, got his wish on Sunday when he was killed in a firefight with U.S. forces in Pakistan. Reviled in the West, his death will bring a sense of closure for people in the West but in the end, what would his death bring?

Osama bin Laden may have approved the 9/11 attacks which died nearly 3,000 people, but he has not been seen or even heard in public for years. The Al Qaeda network he created is now more symbolic than anything else. Much has changed since the 9/11 attacks, the threat Al Qaeda once posed has now been taken up by other groups which were inspired by Al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden’s vision of unending jihad against the United States and Israel has been taken up by others and this was something U.S President Barack Obama acknowledged as he says the threat from terrorism has not ended with bin Laden’s death.

So what would bin Laden’s death bring? In simple terms; nothing! Unfortunately for all, Osama bin Laden’s movement has long moved beyond him. In short, his legacy has already been ensured and his death will do nothing to stop terrorism.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

PAP Wasting Time And Energy

As the General Elections (GE) fever hit the island, the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) has been trying to hit the opposition with various accusations. I have no problem with this; mudslinging is part of politics and if you can’t stand the heat, don’t get in the kitchen.

However I do feel the PAP need to be more careful about how they are doing this because it is fast becoming a matter of the boy crying wolf. Take these examples;

- Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has warned Aljunied voters that if they vote in the Workers' Party (WP) team at Aljunied GRC then they are voting against two ministers, one potential Parliament Secretary, one potential Speaker of Parliament and one grassroots MP.
- Former PAP candidate for Hougang Mr. Eric Low says that Hougang has become a "slum" under the WP.
- And various members of the PAP saying that the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) is going to “raid the Singapore reserves.”

First, the MM should not have talked about the composition of the team at GRC. Most Singaporeans care little about that because the GRC system was invented by the PAP. No other country in the world has it, and it is a matter of you reap what you sow. It’s the flipside of the GRC system, and if the PAP is worried about losing 2 ministers, one potential Parliament Secretary, and one potential Speaker of Parliament, then they should never had invented the GRC in the first place!

Second, Hougang is not a “slum.” It’s not a slum because the Singapore government has said on many occasions, proudly, that there are no ghettos or slums in Singapore. It’s election time and suddenly there is a slum in Singapore?

Third is the matter of the SDP raiding the reserves; that is not going to happen! That is not going to happen because only the Singapore government can touch the Singapore reserves and the SDP is NOT going to be the next Singapore government. How is the SDP going “raid the Singapore reserves” when they are not going to be in government? That is just silly!

None of the above accusations have gained any traction with Singaporeans so far and I do suggest that the PAP redo some of their tactics. Currently, the opposition seem to have more wind in their sails and the PAP need to stop wasting time and energy on attacks that don't work. With 6 days till the elections, time is growing short.