Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Enough With The "What Ifs"

With the Presidential Election (PE) over and Dr. Tony Tan getting ready to be sworn in as Singapore’s next president, Singaporeans are all talking about the razor-thin margin of his victory. A lot of people are now wondering and asking “what if…”, and while I can understand this, there is one scenario being talked about that I do not understand.

There had been a lot of people who says that opposition member Mr. Tan Jee Say was the reason why Dr. Tan Cheng Bock came in second and he (Mr. Tan Jee Say) gifted Dr. Tony Tan his victory. The thinking is that people who voted for the opposition would vote for Dr. Tan Cheng Bock if Mr. Tan Jee Say is not on the ballot.

I totally disagree with this. I think everyone need to remember one simple fact; both Dr. Tony Tan and Dr. Tan Cheng Bock are long-time members of the People’s Action Party (PAP)! Not only that, they are both long-time Members of Parliament (MP) of the PAP!

Mr. Tan Jee Say got 25% of the votes in the PE and I think we can safely assume almost all of them were from diehard supporters of the opposition. Anyone who thinks that these diehard opposition supporters will vote for a long-time MP of the PAP like Dr. Tan Cheng Bock is in dreamland. If Mr. Tan Jee Say isn’t there, it’s far more likely that those 25% will go to Mr. Tan Kin Lian who finished a distant on the ballot than Dr. Tan Cheng Bock.

I do not understand how anyone could blame Mr. Tan Jee Say for Dr. Tan Cheng Bock’s loss. A loss is a loss and Dr. Tan Cheng Bock’s supporters should accept the loss much like how Dr. Tan Cheng Bock did; with dignity. To blame Mr. Tan Jee Say just sound like sour grapes.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Comics this week

Batman Incorporated #8- Writer Grant Morrison is someone who likes to experiment with his work. When the experiment fails, his work becomes a mess. When it works, it’s a work of art. #8 of Batman Incorporated is a work of art! This issue has Batman and Oracle battling a digital enemy within a computer system. It might not sound like much but artist Scott Clark filled the issue with computer rendered pages that fit perfectly with the story. If you ever wondered how Batman would look like in the world of Tron, then this is the issue you have to pick up. Even if you never wondered about it before, pick this issue up. You will either love it or hate it but this is the issue you have to read this week!

Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search for Swamp Thing #3- I had been complaining for the past 2 issues that this is a series I can’t understand. For a series that says “The Search for Swamp Thing”, this series had been more about John Constantine taking a tour of the DCU and “The Search for Alec Holland”. With this final issue, I finally understand what this series is for. It’s a series to introduce “Justice League Dark”, the new series that would show a magic-based group that’s part of the Justice League! Why didn’t DC just say so on the title?

FF #8- After 2 issues of Black Bolt, writer Jonathan Hickman finally got back to the FF. It’s about time as this series is back on track. There were a few character moments worth remembering, the best being the scene between Nathaniel and Sue that showcased the fact that Sue don't trust her father-in-law all that much. Hopefully after a break of 2 months, FF will continue this arc without anymore side-trips.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Narrow Win (& what it means)

Former Singapore Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Tony Tan, will become Singapore’s next president after getting a narrow win in the Presidential Election yesterday. When I say narrow, I mean it as he got just 35.2% off the votes. That is just 0.4% more than runner-up Dr. Tan Cheng Bock.

Now there will be a lot of people who will come out with their own analysis of the election but as this is my blog; these are my views.

1) There is a spilt in the PAP vote bank. In the General Election (GE) 3 months ago, the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) won with about 60% of the votes. There will be some people who say that a win of just 0.4% by the PAP-backed Tony Tan is a sign of the ruling party eroding popularity but I disagree. I think its more likely that the 60% who voted for the PAP in the GE were spilt between Dr. Tony Tan and Dr. Tan Cheng Bock. Both were long-time members of the PAP, the only difference is that while the higher-ups of the PAP back Dr. Tony Tan, Dr. Tan Cheng Bock’s support came from the grassroots.

2) To win the election, you need the support of a political party behind you. Of the 4 candidates, Mr. Tan Kin Lian lost his deposit as he got less than 5% of the votes. The reason wasn’t because he was unpopular; it was because he had to do everything himself. I think it says a lot that after he conceded defeat, he went to a friend’s house where he was greeted by 50 people, all of whom were his friends and family. His campaign was ran like a family affair and that hurt him. Although he had appealed for support from opposition parties, there is no reason for them to support him. Why would any of them support a former member of the PAP who is not currently a member of any opposition party? That makes no sense right? Especially when the opposition have a card-carrying member of the opposition in the contest as well. Mr. Tan Jee Say came in third yesterday with 25% of the vote not because he was more popular than Mr. Tan Kin Lian, but because he had the SDP (Singapore Democratic Party) and the opposition behind him.

3) The Presidential Election need to be tweaked. I believed Dr. Tony Tan was going to win and I am not surprised by his win. However I am surprised and unhappy about his winning margin. Dr. Tony Tan won only 35.2% of the votes, a win of 0.4%. In other countries with direct presidential elections, if no can candidates won a certain margin of the total votes, there will be a run-off by the top 2 candidates. Singapore do not have that rule (to be fair, no one thought it necessary) and I believe it’s time we add that rule into our Presidential Election system. Yes, that will mean another vote but a run-off will be the best way to decided who has the support and the mandate to be president. Even though I vote for Dr. Tony Tan yesterday, I do not believe or accept that he has a mandate to be president with a paltry margin of just 7,269 votes. Despite what the PAP says, I believe I am not the only one who feels this way.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Classic Star Wars

I’m not a huge fan of Star Wars. Yes, I had seen all the movies, remember the important characters, know the “Luke, I am your father” line by Darth Vader but I’m not a huge fan of the franchise.

Having said that however, I do think the movies are classics. “A New Hope”, "The Empire Strikes Back", and to a lesser extend “The Return of the Jedi” are classics and by default, my views on classic movies is that they should NOT be mess with. Even if you are the director, screenwriter, creator of the classic, you should NOT change it!

Yes George Lucas, I’m speaking to you!

You did it once in 1997 when the “Star Wars: Special Editions" came out and the whole series was widely panned. I mean you had Greedo shoot first for god sake! Why would you want to subject Star Wars fans to that torture again? I don’t care if the latest adjustments you make for the Blu-ray editions are minor or that some of the changes are wanted by Star Wars fans; you don’t change the classics!

If you are that unhappy with the movies or that desperate for the money, remake/reboot “A New Hope”, "The Empire Strikes Back", and “The Return of the Jedi”. Just don’t add or subtract from the original version. Warts and all; classic movies should remain the same.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

An Amazing World

We live in an amazing world. That much we all know but it seems no one knows just how amazing Mother Earth truly is.

Scientists have long argued about just how many species there are on Earth. The numbers varied somewhere between 3 million and 100 million and recently a new study estimated that Earth has almost 8.8 million species of life.

Of course no one can be sure of the number and this is just an educated guess at best. However there are some people who say it just doesn’t matter how many species there are on Earth and even scientists question why we need to know the exact number of species on our planet. Usually, it’s the cost that is the problem.

Now I wouldn’t begin to hazard a guess on how many species of life there are on Earth but I say that it's important to know the number. Currently we only know about 1.9 million species on Earth which means mankind has not even scratch the surface of the question. It could be possible that one of the millions of undiscovered species has some unknown properties which can help fight diseases or other ailments we have. This is not an impossible possibility.

As for the cost factor; If mankind can spend millions of dollars fighting wars left, right and centre, why can’t spend some of the money on this question. Considering the potential benefits, surely it will be money better spent.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gift From The Heavens

In the latest General Election (GE), the Workers' Party (WP) did the unexpected by wrestling the Aljunied GRC from the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP). 3 months after the GE, the win is still causing problems for various government bodies.

The latest agency caught in the political firing line is the Housing and Development Board (HDB). The WP has accused the HDB of abusing its power by refusing to allow the party to hold activities at strategic sites with the GRC. According to the WP, it was only after repeated queries from their town council that the HDB finally “clarified” last month that the sites had been “leased” to the People's Association (PA) in May and June 2011. A “clarification” that score brownie points for the WP!

This latest saga came after WP MP Chen Show Mao posted a note on his Facebook page last week saying that residents had to withdraw their invitation to him to attend a dinner because the Paya Lebar citizen consultative committee told organisers that they could not invite their MP as a condition to getting approval for the venue.

A dinner in the estate and they could NOT invite their MP! Of course the PA denied the whole thing saying that they are a non-political entity. Of course no one believed them but this latest spat between the WP and HDB proves what everyone already knows; that the WP are having obstacles placed in front of them to stop them from running the GRC properly.

You know what this means? This means that the WP will have a ready made excuse in the next GE if they failed to run Aljunied GRC as well as the previous PAP team. Not only that, they have proof that they had obstructions placed by PAP-run bodies!

Talk about a political and PR coup for the WP! The WP should really thank the HDB for giving them this gift from the heavens.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Global Agenda

Global Agenda is an online shooter game by Hi-Rez Studios. Generally I do not play third-person shooters, much less a Team Fortress 2-style shooting game. However it’s a free-to-play (F2P) game and I had seen some the gameplay on Youtube. It looked like a fun game, it’s on Steam, so I figure why not?

Global Agenda takes place in the 22nd century when a global disaster and a “Third Great War” left parts of the Earth uninhabitable. A government called the Commonwealth now rules Earth with an iron fist and you are part of a rebel army fighting against the Commonwealth. The solo quests in the game has you escaping from the Commonwealth and joining up with the rebels before going into the desert to cure yourself of a virus given to you by the Commonwealth.

First off, Global Agenda is not your regular traditional MMO with elves, swords and sorcery. It is a game with jetpacks, guns and sniper rifles. There’s even melee for gamers who like their action close and personal. The game features four classes: Assault, Recon, Medic, and Robotics. All have customizable skill trees with their own weapons and their specific role in the game.

At its core, Global Agenda is a combination of a MMO and a FPS. There’s also a certain RPG element in the game and Global Agenda managed to combine these different genres into an exciting game that requires a certain level of skill from its players.

For new players of Global Agenda, I strongly they play the tutorial at least once. The starting tutorial has a good story and it introduced the basic gameplay pretty well. However the game itself is surprisingly deep so be prepare to learn the game as you go.

Although there’s a quest line for people to solo, the main meat of the game is in the PvP section of the game. The normal PvP mission pits 10vs10 in a random map with an objective to receive. The action is fast-paced with teamwork the name of the game.

The first time I played a PvP mission, I was like a headless chicken running around shooting at all enemies but after a few rounds, I discovered what my role was. Each class has a role in the game and your team need to work together to win. Don’t be intimidated by the teamwork needed in the game because although the gameplay is deep, it is also easy to pick up.

After a few rounds in the PvP, you will know the role your class is for and you will also get a lot of help from your random teammates. I remember a game when I was the sole Assault on my team. As the Assault is the tank class and my team was the defender in the scenario, I placed myself at the main entrance where the attackers would come in. I managed to hold them off as 2 Medics on my team were healing me like crazy and a few Recons hovered around me to make sure I don’t get swarmed by the attackers. As I was the only Assault, I was important and needed to stay alive.

Everyone on the team thought we were doomed at the start but we did win the mission through good teamwork. The best thing is that no one used the chat at all. Everyone just knows what they need to do and did it. That’s the kind of game Global Agenda is.

Of course there are a few bad spots in the game. The quest line in Global Agenda is too short. I usually run around doing the quest line while waiting for the PvP to pop, and even with such interruptions I managed to finish the quest line by level 20. And once you finish the quests, it’s PvP all the way which can be boring as you can find yourself just standing there while waiting for the PvP missions to pop.

Another problem I have is the slow leveling of the game. Although it is now F2P, in the past Global Agenda was a buy-2-play (B2P) game. Like Guild Wars, once you the buy the game you can play it for free. When Hi-Rez Studios converted the game to F2P, they introduced a system that spilt the players into Elite and Free Agents. Free Agents are players who joined the game after it went F2P while Elite Agents are players who had bought the game before it went F2P. Elite Agents has access to better weapon and armor in the game but the advantage is not so great that I had a problem with it.

What I do have a problem with is the slow crawl to level up my character! Free Agents get experience slower than their Elite Agent counterparts, and I mean a lot, lot slower! Once my Assault hit level 22, it practically stopped leveling! And since the level cap is 50, I’m putting my money on the fact that there are no Free Agents who managed to hit the level cap without paying for a few level boosters. I can understand the fact that Hi-Rez need to pay the bills but it is seriously bad!

Overall, I have to say Global Agenda is one fun game. It is exciting and has enough unique points about it that it will pip anyone’s interest. Run-of-the-mill is something this game is not. Play it and find out for yourself!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Too Sensitive For Our Own Good

A man in Singapore, Mr. Alex Chang, left a comment on Facebook last week complaining about a McDonald's outlet in Singapore which played Muslim prayers during dinner time for Muslim customers breaking their fast. Two thing;

First off, people really should have better sense than to speak about religion on social media.

Second; what’s the big deal? I can’t see what the big deal is with prayers being played at a McDonald outlet. I mean if I go into a McDonald outlet and they want to play music over the radio in their own outlet, no matter how lousy the music is, you won’t see me walking out.

I mean who cares what they play over their radio? As of the music being Muslim prayers…again so what? I ignored Christian songs during Christmas, “Gong Xi” songs during Chinese New Year, Singapore songs during National Day etc; so why not just ignored the Muslim prayers?

There's no need to be so sensitive, I mean it’s even in a language most Singaporeans can’t understand! Whatever happened to the good old-fashion tactic of just ignoring things around you?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Is Democracy Always A Good Thing?

With the Western push to depose the leaders of Syria and Libya well underway, democracy is the buzzword in the Middle East at the moment. However when you look at the Egypt/Israel spat, you can see why democracy can sometimes equal chaos.

Earlier this week, militants carried out attacks against Israeli targets by going across the Negev Desert in Egypt and then retreated back to Egypt after killing 8 Israelis. Israeli troops pursued the militants into Egypt but never told the Egyptians they were doing so. Egyptian border police quite naturally noticed and tried to stop the Israelis. Three Egyptian security guards were killed by the Israeli forces.

In the past under former President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt would have swept the whole incident under the carpet but after the revolution, that is no longer the case and Israel, the West most stalwart ally in the Middle East, now find itself in another diplomatic spat with one of its more friendly neighbors.

As democracy keeps getting push in the Middle East, I can’t help but think what government will take over Syria if the current regime actually falls? Not only that, I also wonder if that will actually be good for the peace and security of the world?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Comics this week

X-Men: Schism- Since this is the X-Men, you know a fight is just around the corner and well…it was kind of disappointing really. Now I can understand that writer Jason Aaron is trying to make the new Hellfire Club a big threat but to have a team consisting of Magneto, Namor and Emma Frost crushed in this way by a bunch of kids is disbelieving. Worse this bunch of kids is then defeated by Idie? That’s just ridiculous! However the main plot of the series is the growing rift between Wolverine and Cyclops and while we see the beginning of that in this issue, I can’t see how this incident starting the break in the bond between Wolverine and Cyclops. Wolverine may not like using a kid like Idie but almost everyone in the team had done much worse than what she did this issue. Hopefully things will change in #4 as currently, Schism has been kind of disappointing.

DC Universe Online: Legends #14- Last issue writers Marv Wolfman and Tony Bedard start putting Brainiac’s plan into motion and the payoff here is great. There’s a slugfest between Superman and Wonder Woman while the emotional quote is being filled by Superman and Lois Lane. Also I like how the writers are not confining the action strictly to Earth as Hal Jordan got a call to go to Oa as Brainiac make his move on other planets. Not prefect but a good issue overall.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Revamped by J.F. Lewis

Revamped is the sequel to Staked, a novel about the master vampire Eric and his latest vampire girlfriend Tabitha. Much like the first book, Revamped is a book that features a lot of sex and violence and shows vampires as the big and nasty creatures of the night they are. In short, this is a book that shows vampires as VAMPIRES!

(If you are still with me after that intro, then you are a true vampire fan so read on.)

Revamped picks up where Staked left off. Master vampire Eric had been blown up along with his strip-club and he is now floating around as a ghost. However there are still people loyal (and scared) of him, so his followers/friends/lackeys successfully resurrected (if that’s the right word to use for a vampire) him back into a vampire body. Once he got his body back, Eric sought out a way to retrieve his old girlfriend’s Marilyn's soul and has to cut a deal with a demon named J'iliol'lth for information to do so.

In the meantime, Tabitha decided to throw her lot with the vampire high society and keep away from Eric. Her bewildering entry into high-end vampire world was filled with confusion and a dispiriting realization of the vicious vampire world she was joining. Adding to her problems was the discovery of her unique vampire power, Vampire Doll. A power that allowed Tabitha to mimic the body of human, this power made her a hot commodity in the vampire community but most of the vampires are more interested in her power than her.

As the novel goes on, the stories of Eric and Tabitha converged rather messily as vampires, demons, werewolves, ghosts, immortals and everything in between (cough, vampire car, cough) get involved in the story.

For fans of Staked, the good news is that Revamped is more of the same. The dark humor and the violence are still there while the point-of-view style of writing between Eric and Tabitha works again. Eric is still a bloodthirsty vampire who does what he wants, whenever he wants because he is powerful enough to get away with it. If that means ignoring the rules and killing a couple of vampires who looks like kids, then that’s what he is going to do. Just like in Staked, these aren’t your wimpy, vegan, do-not-kill-human Twilight vampires.

Also I like the fact that J.F. Lewis expanded the supporting cast by letting Eric gain a couple of thralls. The thralls were a little hit-and-miss but I like the idea of it. The author also fleshed out the supernatural world as well as the hierarchy of the vampires, usually in a humorous way. The vampire chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, grape sherbet explanation was a hoot and showcased the humor of the series.

However at times, it does go too far. J.F. Lewis never took the genre too seriously and while it worked beautifully most of the time, there were times in this book when I felt he went overboard. The vampire car idea is just stupid. I know some people might like the idea of a bloodthirsty car that need blood the way other cars need petrol, but it was just too crazy for me.

I also still have a problem with Eric’s power level. In Staked he was powerful, in Revamped he is almost a vampire god! That is a serious problem for me because there just doesn’t seem to be that much that would pose a danger to him. Even powerful vampires like Greta and Winter are like second-stringers compare to him. The idea of the vampire car being his Achilles heel doesn’t work for me because…well, the whole idea of a vampire car is just too much for me.

Still, people who like their vampires mean and vicious and their setting raw and gritty might want to give Revamped a look. If nothing else, it’s not Twilight.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Winter Is Here

Snow from a once-in-a-lifetime Antarctic blast reached
In the past, the northern parts of New Zealand are called the "winterless" north because…well, there’s no such thing as winter there. Not anymore as much of the country is now in the grip of a big freeze.

The "once in a lifetime" blizzards is giving parts of New Zealand their first snowfall in 80 years and is causing major disruption to the country. We are not talking about nice, gentle snowfall here but heavy wintry condition in a country not used to having any snowfall at all.

As they say; pictures tell a thousand words.

Making the best out of bad weather

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

And The Funny Thing Is...

Over the weekend, the English Premier League (EPL) season, arguably the most popular football league in the world, started again. However, the biggest news over the weekend wasn’t the football or the goals, but English football’s most controversial player, Joey Barton.

In the opening game between his club Newcastle United and Arsenal, Barton got his name in the papers for his part in a melee which saw Arsenal’s new striker Gervinho getting sent off. In the 76th minute of the game, Gervinho fell to the ground in the penalty area in an attempt to earn a penalty. Barton reacted by racing towards the Ivory Coast striker, grabbed him by the shirt and aggressively pulled him off the ground. Gervinho reacted by giving Barton a seemingly weak, gentle slap to the face and Barton then fell to the ground theatrically like he had been punched.

Referee Peter Walton gave Barton a yellow card and Gervinho a red card for the incident even though Barton was the one who started the whole thing. However this is professional football, so this is almost normal. What I found extremely funny was Barton’s excuse after the game. He said that he was angry with the dive by Gervinho yet in the same breath agreed that he went down easy because Gervinho “should not have raise his hands”.

So you went over because he dived, yet it’s okay when you dived? But you know what’s even funnier about the whole thing? It is that Barton don’t find anything funny about the whole thing at all! Now that’s hilarious.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Only In 2015

At the recent Singapore General Election (GE), the ruling People's Action Party's (PAP) suffered a loss of votes of up to 6%. The PAP's overall vote share fell from 66.6% in the 2006 GE to 60.1% cent this year.

Months after the GE, its good news/bad news time for the people of Singapore.

The PAP seems to be focusing on where they went wrong and are taking steps to rectify the problem areas. Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew said as much when he said that the reason for the PAP’s loss of votes was due to rising home prices, which were pushed too high by too many new permanent residents and citizens buying properties. He was right. High housing prices was one of the reasons for the PAP’s loss of votes.

That’s the good news; the bad news is that Singaporeans should not hold their breath for the solutions. According to Mr. Lee, the government has done a revamp and the Housing & Development Board (HDB) has promised that supply will meet demand within 4 years. 4 years? That’s in 2015!

You mean Singaporeans has to wait till 2015 before prices start coming down? Mind you, it isn’t housing prices being affordable in 2015 but just coming down! More importantly if supply will only meet demand in 2015, doesn’t that mean housing prices will continue to rise from now till 2015 and will only come down then?

Would Singaporeans be willing to withstand 4 years of rising housing prices? Yup, I don’t think so either.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Comics this week

Artifacts #9- Act 3 of the series officially begins with this issue and it’s off to a good start. After the disastrous fight last issue, Witchblade and the Darkness has a little downtime between fights and they made good use of it. I will admit I was never comfortable with the relationship between Sara and Jackie. The two of them are so different it’s just hard to imagine them having a relationship and a child together. The relationship felt tack-on at times, more of an order from the higher-ups at Top Cow than anything that came naturally from the stories. However this issue touches on the relationship and for me, it worked! Maybe it’s the passionate sex scene between the two but this was one of the few times I felt how Sara and Jackie could be attracted to each other. I have to applaud writer Ron Marz and new series artist Jeremy Haun on their work in this issue. It was excellent.

Green Lantern: War of the Green Lantern Aftermath #2- This issue starts where the previous issue left off; Soranik Natu and her band of Green Lanterns attempting to break into the Guardians’ chamber and assassinate Sinestro. The assassination was stopped by Kyle Rayner but that wasn’t what Aftermath was about; Aftermath was setting up stories for the DC revamp. A lot of questions were left unanswered and while I’m unhappy about that, writer Tony Bedard did a good job teasing the upcoming books. All in all, Aftermath wasn’t great but it was a fine finish to the “War of the Green Lanterns”.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Hike

Now I am not surprised that the rubber-stamp agency that is the Public Transport Council (PTC) decided to approve a 1% increase in public transport fare. Like most Singaporeans, I fully expected this once SMRT and SBS Transit submitted their applications to increase the fare price.

So why am I unhappy about the announcement? I’m unhappy because the PTC sure didn’t take their time with it. SMRT and SBS Transit submitted their applications to the PTC on 11/7. The application was supposed to be pending as the PTC is suppose to calculate the new fare adjustment using a complex formula that takes into account the consumer price index, wage index, productivity gains etc of Singapore.

This complex formula can’t be that complex because the PTC approved the increase on 5/8, less than a month after SMRT and SBS filed their applications. Most Singaporeans have questioned the 1% increase but frankly I think they are barking up the wrong tree. I’m more interested in how they got to this 1% figure after just than a month of “consultation”. To me, that’s a bigger issue than the exact fare hike.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Wait

With our famous kaisu mentality, Singaporeans always want the best, the brightest, the fastest, and we want them all yesterday. Even if we don’t need it!

Singapore is currently trying to update our island’s internet network to a new ultra-fast fiber optics broadband network and over the past few weeks, there has been complains about how Singaporeans has to wait for up to 6 weeks to get their ultra-fast fiber optics broadband network installed. People, you can wait for the next 2-3 years more and it still would not make a difference.

Currently, Singapore has a pretty strong network for our internet and this upgrade to fiber optics is for our future. As internet speed increases in the next few years, it is believed that fiber optics will be needed to keep up with the increased speed. What the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is doing right now is preparing for the future; the future as in 3-5 years later. The fiber optics cables are not need right now. In fact, they will not be needed for at least another 2-3 years.

So for the people complaining about a 6 weeks delay to install your fiber optics, get a grip. Considering when you will need it, a 6 weeks delay for your fiber optics is nothing.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Downgrade But...

Last Friday, the stock markets in Singapore took a beating due to Wall Street falling 512 points in overnight trade. During the weekend, it was more bad news as Standard & Poor's downgraded U.S. credit rating.

Cue another bloodbath on Singapore shares!

The Straits Times Index (STI) was down 4.8% on heavy volume the downgrade by S&P added more uncertainty to an already jittery outlook for the world economy. Frankly, I think it’s overdone.

The S&P downgrade was expected and is the right decision. However the downgrade doesn’t really change anything. I know I’m playing devil’s advocate here but the global economy is still depended on the U.S. Countries like China, Japan, the Middle Eastern countries; all of them still need to buy U.S Treasury bills (even with the downgrade) because their economies depend on it. They can’t stop buying T-bills even if they wanted to!

In simple terms, nothing has change due to the downgrade. The world economy is not suffering due to the downgrade and the collapse of share prices is overdone. Unless the world suffers another financial shock, like Italy needing a bailout, I don’t expect share prices to go too much lower than they are now.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Comics this week

DC Universe Online: Legends #13- Oh…now we are going somewhere. Picking up where they left off last issue, writers Marv Wolfman and Tony Bedard are slowly but surely putting Brainiac’s plan into being. Showing how Brainiac managed to outfox both Lex Luthor and the heroes of the DCU is half the fun in this series and on that level, this series is going on nicely. I just hope the payoff is as good as the buildup.

S.H.I.E.L.D #2- This issue end the war between Isaac Newton and Leonardo Da Vinci and, more importantly, finally gave Leonid something worthwhile to do! Of course all this is overshadowed by the confusing, senseless end of the issue which even in the context of this maddening series made no sense. And that take some doing.

Secret Six #36–With this finale, writer Gail Simone closed the series with a big bang. I wasn’t surprised with the tragic end of the Six, betrayed by one of its own, and I wasn’t disappointed by it. The Secret Six will in all likelihood go down as legends in the supervillain community for what happen in this issue. Great end for the series and one more reason for me to hate the new DC revamp!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Falling Off A Cliff

Asian stock markets plummeted in early trade today as stocks in Europe and America fell off a cliff. Result from Wall Street was especially bad as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 4.3% (512 points) and the Nasdaq dropped over 5% in overnight trades.

What is the main reason for this severe drop? You can thank the politicians in Washington. The recent nonsensical debt ceiling debate showed the world a divided government in the U.S. and this eroded hope that the American government can pull together to help the world economy. In the wake of that debacle, traders have lost all confidence in the markets and are now selling everything.

Now there are some people who believe this is the start of a new global recession, a new "double-dip." With the Dow losing more than 1,300 points (10.5 %) in just 2 weeks, that is a scenario that seems more likely by the day.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

PAP Vote Spilt

The wait is over and the date has been announced. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has announced 17 August as Nomination Day for the Presidential Election with Polling Day set on 27 August.

With at least 4 Presidential hopefuls this time, this Presidential Election is set to be the most hotly contested in Singapore’s history. Now everyone, including me, fully expects Dr Tony Tan to win the election but there will be a question of how big of a win he will get. 3 of the 4 Presidential hopefuls are former members of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) with only Mr. Tan Jee Say being the sole opposition candidate. Yes, I know the candidates are not supposed to have any party affiliations but everyone who see Dr Tony Tan is going to think PAP.

Frankly, that’s a problem. Right now, there are 3 different PAP candidates in the election and 2 of them were in Parliament on a PAP ticket. There had been murmuring about how the PAP votes are going to be spilt between the 3 candidates and I don’t think that’s idle talk. Dr Tony Tan is still the overwhelming favourite but I’ll be very surprised if he get an overwhelming victory margin.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Water Cloud

One of the reasons given by non-believers of alien is the lack of water in outer space. Critics believe that as water is the base of life, it is essential for water to exist or there is no way alien life could exist.

The non-believers need to come up with another reason because astronomers have discovered a gigantic, 12-billion-year-old cloud in outer space that is harboring 140 trillion times more water than all of Earth's oceans combined. Water in that amount could wipe out any fears we have about water shortage on Earth in the future.

Although water has been found before in outer space, this is without question the largest quantity we have ever found. So there we have it; there’s a lot of water in space. And I do mean a lot!

Monday, August 1, 2011

No Big Deal

Over the past few days, there has been some talk about how Presidential hopeful Dr. Tony Tan had used his position to help his son escape military National Service (NS). His son, Patrick Tan, stopped his NS halfway and went to Stanford for medical studies.

A lot of Singaporeans are unhappy as disruption from NS is very hard to get and disruption for overseas medical studies is almost unheard of. Now I can understand why some Singaporeans are unhappy about the situation but people; why is this a big deal?

Dr. Tony Tan is a high-ranking member of the government so his son has certain…privileges. In Singapore, we call the son a “white horse.” If any Singaporean out there says they do not know what a white horse is or if they are surprised by Patrick Tan’s disruption; you are na├»ve beyond hope.

Is there any Singaporeans out there who is truly, seriously surprised by this? I mean come on! There is no reason for this to be an issue now when it has been happening for decades and everyone knows it. I want to also add that Patrick Tan went for medical studies. Compare to the son of another high ranking member of the government who skipped the chain of command and sent a letter directly to a former Minister of Defense, Patrick Tan is almost saintly in comparison.

So let’s not make a mountain out of a molehill. What Dr. Tony Tan did for his son is par for course in this country and anyone for say otherwise is lying to himself.