Wednesday, November 30, 2011


On 22 July 2011, Anders Behring Breivik became one of the world’s most hated man when he staged twin attacks in Norway that killed 77 people and injured 151. Since Norway doesn’t have the death penalty, Breivik was expected to serve a lengthy jail term.

Now he may not even receive that. Psychiatrists have concluded that Breivik that he is suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and was in a psychotic state during the attacks. According to Norwegian law experts, this means Breivik will almost certainly be detained into psychiatric care rather than receiving a lengthy jail term.

This also mean there is a good chance of him getting out if and when psychiatrists pronounce him cured. I say…So what if Breivik is insane?

This man killed 77 people and there is a chance he could walk? I thought the Norwegians were crazy not to execute him but even the chance that he might actually be freed one day is ludicrous.

So what if the man is insane? That doesn’t change the fact 77 people are dead because of him! Seriously, men like him are why we need the death penalty. If the Norwegians execute/kill/murder (whatever you want to call it) him, the family and friends of the victims have a chance of closure but now? They are faced with a chance that Breivik might one day be freed.

Now that is insane!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A New Era?

In the General Election (GE) in May, the PAP got 60% of the total votes which was its lowest share of votes in some decades. Not only that, they lost a GRC (Group Representation Constituency) to an opposition party for the first time. It was tidal wave result as the GRC was designed to safeguard seats for the ruling party.

Worse was to come on August 27th, when the PAP backed candidate, Tony Tan, managed to scrap only 35.2% of the total votes to pull off a win in the Presidential Election. With these results on his mind, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong publicly pledged a “new PAP for a new era” in his speech during the PAP party convention. He promised that the PAP will adept to the new political environment and be more interactive with the Singapore population.

Most Singaporeans I know treat his promise with a yawn.

The problem is that these promises had been made before. Countless PAP ministers and members of parliament had promised to listen more to the ground even before the GE in May. These include issues that affect Singaporeans like high housing prices and the presence of foreigners in Singapore.

However housing prices are still high and the amount of foreigners in Singapore is still vast. To many Singaporeans, like me, the PAP has been saying the right things without doing anything. Take the housing prices for example. For months, a string of “experts” from the government has come out to insist the housing prices will come down next year but thus far, there has been no data supporting this assessment. All Singaporeans seen so far is a series of half-hearted "cooling measures" that had cooled nothing. Housing prices has NOT come down and Singaporeans are basically tired of hearing the PAP trying to talk down the market without nothing anything.

No one want to just hear the right things from the PAP, they are now waiting for the right actions. As they say; talk is cheap! The PAP need to come out with new policies to convince Singaporean they are serious about listening to the people.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Search For Life

In the search for alien life, I guess it’s only fitting that our closest planetary neighbor, Mars, is the recipient of the world’s most ambitious mission to physically find life in outer space.

NASA had launched a 900kg robot named Curiosity, to the Red Planet to study if it is suitable for life. Supposed to land in August next year, the giant rover is equip with 10 sophisticated instruments to study the rocks, soils and atmosphere on the planet over a 2 year period.

Personally, I find the idea of such missions great. Even though most scientists believe that Mars do not have the capacity to support life, you never know how life could adept to their environment. Here’s hoping a safe landing for Curiosity!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Comics this week

Green Lantern: The New Guardians #3- After 2 lackluster issues, this series finally kicked into gear. Picking up where #2 left off, it is the Guardians versus the 7-ring Kyle Rayner. It was a blast. I still say the series focused too much on Kyle but at least in this issue, we get to see the other Lanterns working together. The potential of this series is great and for the first time, we are seeing glimmers of it. Here’s hoping for more to come.

I, Vampire #3- Thus far, I, Vampire has been the surprise hit of the New 52 and rightfully so. Keeping up with the different POV style of the series, writer Joshua Hale Fialkov tells the story through the eyes of Professor Troughton, one of the 2 new characters introduced in this issue. He also added some backstory to Andrew and confirmed that this series happens within the DCU. The only question I have is the artwork of Andrea Sorrentino. Her style seems like a good fit for this series but her style also makes it difficult to get into the fight scenes. In the fight this issue, her Andrew just posed too much for my liking. Still, overall I would say this issue is a good read.

Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time #17- In many ways, the early books of “The Wheel of Time” were adventure books. The early books showed Rand, Mat and Perrin traveling around the world and showed off the deep history and mystery of the world they lived in. This issue shows the difference between books and comics. Showing off the world in a book is something of a delight as your imagination can run wild while reading the description of the world. Reading about the history and mystery of the world in a comic book is something else as there are pictures showing you the world; your imagination can’t run wild as when you are reading a book and this is why this issue (which is a travel issue) just doesn’t cut it for me. It’s not badly done, but it doesn’t have the magic the book has. It’s the medium and the difference between books and comics that is at fault here.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The 'Cinderella Law'

It’s called the 'Cinderella Law'. Faced with a growing problem of its youth being addicted to playing online games, South Korea puts into effect a 'Cinderella Law' that requires all online games to block players under age 16 from playing between midnight and 6 a.m.

As expected, the law has its opponents which include several South Korean gaming companies like Nexon and NCsoft. It should be noted that part of their problems with the law is on how the companies could possibly compile with it. It’s not unusual for players to lie about their age when they signed up for a game (I know I did) and how they could stop players from circumventing the ban by connecting to overseas servers, which have no such restriction.

These are all valid questions. It does seem that the South Korean government passed the law without fully thinking it through but on the whole, I am in support of it. Frankly, there is no reason for kids to be playing online game between midnight and 6 a.m. There had been times when I did it but I’m a working adult. Some kids below 16 (and some above that age) do not have the self-control to tear themselves from the computer and a law like this is great.

It’s true that there are some questions about the implantation of it but on the whole, the spirit of the 'Cinderella Law' is good. A law like this is something I believe Singapore should look into as well.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Acceptance Of The Inevitable

So Israel believes that Iran is less than a year away from being unstoppable in its goal of producing a nuclear weapon and the United States has introduced new sanctions on Iran. I doubt the timing is a coincidence. However I believe there is only one thing Israel and the world can do in such a situation; accept a nuclear-powered Iran.

Now I know the governments of the United States and Israel have stated that they would not accept a nuclear-powered Iran and have not ruled out a military strike to Iran to stop or delay Iran’s nuclear ambitions but the simple fact of the matter is this; you can’t stop Iran! Every military leader from the United States and Israel have stated that air strikes on Iran's suspected nuclear sites would not be effective as there are too many of them and they are too spread out.

Yet the leaders of the United States and Israel have not ruled out possible air strikes on Iran's nuclear sites!

I do not understand why would you want to do something like that when even your own military leaders say will not work? Despite what the leaders of Israel says, I don’t believe the sky would fall if Iran got their hands on a nuclear bomb. The reason is that North Korea got their hands on nuclear bombs years back and no war has erupted on the Korean Peninsular yet.

Also, it is highly unlikely that Iran would do anything even if they got their hands on nuclear weapons. After all, Israel has hundreds of them, the United States has thousands of them and Iran can’t have…1, 2, 3?

That makes no sense. The United States and Israel can’t stop Iran so they must accept them. The alternative is an attack on Iran that would not work and a conflict that would engulf the whole of the Middle East. Compare to the alterative, accepting a nuclear-powered Iran would be the wise thing to do.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I’m not a fan of movie remakes. Especially Hollywood remakes. Especially Hollywood remakes of classics! Especially Hollywood remakes of anime classics! (Dragonball: Evolution, I’m looking at you!)

So when I heard that Warner Bros.' is doing a live-action movie remake of Akira, I was like, “NO!” Then when I read that Kristen Stewart is to play Kei, the female lead in Akira, I was like, “Oh, NO!” Now I read that Stewart’s character is now called Ky Reed and she's part of an underground movement to expose the government for turning orphans into living weapons.

My reaction to this; this movie is going to be crap!

Monday, November 21, 2011


At the current South-East Asian Games (SEA Games), Singapore’s athletes has been going quite well. That includes our bridge players who won a surprise gold and silver in Palembang.


Yes, bridge as in the card game! Now I’m not one of those guys who thinks only Olympic sports should be in a regional competition like the SEA Games, but a card game like bridge has no place in a sporting competition.

Now, I’m not saying there is no skill involved in playing bridge but if bridge is allowed in a sporting game, then why not poker, mahjong or even Magic: The Gathering? These are all games which require some level of skill; does it mean all these games should be in the SEA Games?

Of course not! They are not athletic sports and neither is bridge. No offense to the bridge players currently at the SEA Games but they should not be there.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Comics this week

Justice League #3- You know when I heard that the first story arc of the Justice League would be set on the founding of the team and that the New 52 would showcased younger versions of Superman & company, I was ready to accept some changes. Boy, I wasn’t ready enough. Writer Geoff Johns ready took the “younger version” theme to the extreme with Wonder Woman. In this version of Wonder Woman, Diana is a woman who is a naive superhero…and I mean NAÏVE. This issue wasn’t a bad read and I can foresee a lot of Wonder Woman fans being very unhappy with this version of Diana. On the plus points, Jim Lee's Justice League is one that showed him back at his best. His attention to details is still a little lacking but the battle scenes are great. If you like superheroes getting down and dirty with villains, this is the issue for you.

DC Universe Online: Legends #17- The release of this series has been all over the place due to the New 52, and frankly this series deserved better. The issue starts off with Hal Jordan and Sinestro on the devastated world of Korugar. After a short side-trip by Sinestro to explain the battle between his Corps and Brainiac’s forces, the battle continued with the Sinestro Corps taking the fight to Brainiac. They failed as expected but the joy was in the journey. Writer Tom Taylor managed to convey the doom desperation of the battle and the massive mistake of the Green Lantern Corp not to help in the battle against Brainiac. Like I said earlier, this series deserved better because it is by far one of the better series on the stands right now. Forgot some of the new 52 titles (which are crap), this is the series DC should be concentrating on.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Beside The Point

Currently on Yahoo Singapore news, the most read article right now is on who was the one responsible for opening the floodgates for immigrants in Singapore. Most Singaporeans believed that long-time Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew is the one responsible for the policy but the writer of the article, Chua Suntong, believed that current Emeritus Senior Minister (don’t ask me what that means) Goh Chok Tong is the one most responsible.

I say; who cares?

I think an argument about who is most responsible for the policy is slightly beside the point. The problem of too many immigrants in Singapore is one that we still have because Singapore is still accepting immigrants even though 1 in 3 people in Singapore are foreigners.

Having an argument about who is responsible is pointing the finger without solving the problem. I’m not interested if Lee Kuan Yew, Goh Chok Tong or Lee Hsien Loong is responsible for the policy; I’m concern about how they will fix it!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Strange NBA

The last NBA season was widely considered to be a successful one. The Miami Heat managed to get 3 star players, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, on the same team and this move increased publicity for the league.

Somehow though, most of the teams (22 out of 30) in the NBA still managed to lose money. Accordingly to reports I read, the losses amount to about US$300 million. The owners of the teams blame this on the division of basketball-related income between them and the players. In the last labor agreement, NBA players got 57% of the income. This year, there would be a new labor agreement between the owners and the players, and this time the owners want a 50-50 division of basketball-related income.

The players are offering a 52.5%-47.5% spilt which they say would cover the owner’s loss of US$300 million. The owners do not dispute that but has insisted on a 50-50 spilt to guarantee profit for them. This is the part where I got lost.

Now I only have a passing interest in the NBA nowadays but I do not understand how the owners could get away if the call is for “guarantee profits”! I mean as a businessman, it’s my job to make my business a successful, my job to make my business a profitable one.

Here the owners have a union who is willing to cover all their losses, and they are still not happy? The NBA players are offering them a deal where there is almost no way they could make a loss and they are not taking it? A deal where they can’t lose is not good enough for the owners?

What kind of businessmen are they? If someone offered me a deal where there is no downside and plenty of upside, I would race you to the pen! No wonder the idiots are going to the courts!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Libya’s Troubles Not Over Yet

A month after the death of Moammar Gadhafi and already, the various rebel factions in Libya are now fighting over the spoils of war. Rival factions have clashed for 4 straight days on the outskirts of Tripoli. 2 things are obvious from these clashes.

One; the National Transitional Council (NTC) is unable to control their own forces. Libya's interim leader, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, said the NTC had brought together elders from the feuding areas to discuss the dispute, but the fighting is still ongoing. Two; the Western powers that bought the NTC to power have washed their hands off Libya. No word has come out of London, Paris or Washington on the fighting. It seems that after Gadhafi, they have no interest in who rule Libya or peace in Libya as long as the oil flows.

You know, fighting between the rebels force was always on the cards but boy; that sure didn’t take long. I guess it was too early to say the Libya civil war is over.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Real Time

I read about the survey that '1 in 5 employees in Singapore work 11 hours daily' and thought, “That doesn't sound right.” The survey also says 31% of Singapore employees worked for nine to eleven hours daily, and almost half of them took work home more than three times a week.

However like most surveys, it’s not totally accurate. I have to say those numbers are underestimating the problem.

The main thing is that although these are the “official” work time of Singaporeans, these are just a drop in the bucket compare to the real time Singaporeans put in at work. I will give you an example; ME!

I’m supposed to work 8 to 8 and a half hours daily depending on my shift. Do I work just these hours? No, because I have overtime at least once a week. Do I claim overtime for these extra hours? No, because the extra hours are not officially overtime but considered “time-off” which I can claim later. Can I claim these “time-off”? No, because the office is short of people and they require people to do extra work. If they need people to do extra work, quite naturally you cannot claim your “time-off”.

These “time-off” are not record officially as overtime and they are also not part of my working time. They are, like I said earlier, just unofficial time at the office where I put in extra work. I have over 17 hours of time-off on my record right not. I have no idea when I can claim these hours, and I’m not alone. Almost all of my colleagues are in the same boat.

So I can easily say the survey showing '1 in 5 employees in Singapore work 11 hours daily' is wrong. The real hours are a lot higher than that!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Comics this week

Artifacts #11- Writer Ron Marz is the go-to guy for Top Cow right now and thus far the veteran writer has delivered. It says a lot about his work when even as the universe hangs in the balance, Marz still manages to deliver a story that’s shows the more intimate side of the characters. He also did the smart thing this issue by moving the focus away from Sara (Witchblade) and Jackie (Darkness). I especially like the tough guy talk between Ian Nottingham (Blood Sword) and Michael Finnegan (Glacier Stone). I’m not impressed with artist Jeremy Haun’s work this issue but overall the series has been a nice surprise. Top Cow feels the same way. Artifacts is now an on-going series.

Demon Knights #3- Artist Diogenes Neves has been doing some great work thus far in Demon Knights. His pencils have been fantastic, his characters have been spot-on and his layouts are perfectly in tune with writer Paul Cornell’s scripts. I put everything in the present tense because #3 is just as good, if not better than the previous 2 issues. The shocking last page of this issue shows perfectly the great work Neves has been doing thus far. If you have not pick up this series yet, then let me tell you this; you are an idiot!

Green Lantern #3- This issue picks up exactly from where the last issue ended with Sinestro and Hal still on Earth agreeing to the terms of their alliance. The back and forth ego talk between the two was pretty entertaining and in many ways that sum up this new series so far. It’s not earth-shattering and groundbreaking like the previous GL series but it is still a fun read. Writer Geoff Johns has a good grasp of Sinestro and Hal and artist Doug Mahnke’s dynamic style is perfect for cosmic characters. The only problem I have is that Johns seems a little unsure which character is the main guy in the series. Even as he sort that out, Green Lantern is still a good fun read.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The London Cabs

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced that they have agreed to extend the operation of London cabs for another year. Originally, SMRT Taxis had announced that they are phasing out its fleet of London cabs when their license expires next year.

However complains from the Singapore public, mostly from handicapped people, has put pressure on LTA to allow the London cabs to continue operations. Wheelchair-bound people who rely on London cabs to commute are cheering the latest decision from LTA.

Personally, I’m all for the decision. Although I have never taken a London cab before, having them around is an option which is good for the public, especially handicapped people. However, it was stated that the extension for the London cabs is only for 1 year.

That is too short. I think LTA need to extend the license for longer than a year because when the extension period ends in 2013, handicapped people will again face the same problem as they do now. A longer extension would be in the interest of everyone.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Queue No. 3031

For the past month, I had been playing DC Online. A MMO set in the DC universe where you fight alongside Superman, Batman, The Joker among others, I found this to be a pretty good game.

The game is more of an action RPG than most MMOs but that’s not a problem for me. I always like games who take risk so it was okay for me. I was enjoying the game when the game went free-to-play (F2P) or more accurately a hybrid payment scheme. I admit; news of the game going F2P was one of the reasons I pick up the game in the first place. I have no problem with the game going F2P.

What I have a problem with is the way Sony screw up the transition. I still have days left on my subscription but when I login, it says, “You are queue no. 3031.” Now I can understand the influx of new players once the game goes F2P but surely under a hybrid payment scheme, you give priority to current subscripters right?

Not for Sony! I do not understand why but Sony does not have such a program. Sorry Sony but why in the world would I continue with my subscription with the game (which I was thinking of doing) if I am no. 3031 in queue along with all the F2P players who are queuing without paying a cent in subscription?

Giving priority to current paying customers ought to be a given. I have play F2P games and always understood that paying gamers have priority over me. Sony should have got this right from the moment the game went F2P but for some reason, this is not the case. For me, that is a terrible screw-up.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Posting Their Life

In recent days, Singaporeans were shocked when a teenage girl boasted on Facebook that she had slapped her mother and called her several names. Ho and beholden the questions of how young Singaporeans are losing morals!

To these people I say, “Don’t sweat it. Nothing has change.” Seriously, children and parents having disagreements is something that has always happened and parents and children getting “physical” with one another is also not new. Personally, I don’t think this incident show any decline of “morals” but the stupidity of teenagers nowadays who post their whole life on social media for the world to see.

That is something I'm worried about! In the past when such incident happened, kids are smart enough to keep their mouth shut about the matter. No one talk about it, even with close friends. Nowadays kids post the incident on Facebook!

That girl is a moron!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Adamantine Palace by Stephen Deas

In the fantasy genre, dragons are a staple. In almost all fantasy novels, you will see a few dragons in the books fighting it out. So it’s is rare to see a book with an original twist to the dragon mythos. To his credit, Stephen Deas gave it his best shot.

In the world of The Adamantine Palace, dragons are highly-prized domesticated mounts for knights and an example for military might in the empire. The Adamantine Palace lies at the centre of the empire and is home to the Speaker, the ruling head of the Dragon Kings. Elected by the various kings and queens of the empire, the current Speaker will have to step down soon and the various princes, queens and kings are all plotting to install their candidates in the position.

Murder and betray are par for course but while the humans argued and plot, a new danger arise when a dragon slipped out from the leash of the humans. A white dragon named Snow with his handler, Kailin, became lost during an ambush and time passes, Snow began to regain his mind. To me, this is where the book got interesting.

We discovered that the dragons were not truly domesticated but drugged by the humans. The problem for the humans is that without the care of the alchemists and their drugs, the dragons will revert back to their true nature. And their natural state is that of a highly intelligent, dangerous, powerful and telepathic creature who view humans as nothing but food. Not only that, Snow now knows and understand how humans have been drugging dragons for hundreds of years, so you can add rage to that mix.

Feeling highly violated, Snow now has a dream of freeing other dragons and destroying humanity and their civilization. This while the humans are still playing their political games in the Adamantine Palace.

First off, I have to say Deas has an interesting plot for his series. The Adamantine Palace is the first of a trilogy and the overriding plot of the series is very good. The fact that dragons are a force of nature is something other books have done before but Deas emphasis the fact that in his world, dragons are a brutal force of nature who are at the top of the food chain. The part where Snow simply ate Kailin because he was hungry shows the brutal fact of the food chain.

There is also a very good idea about how humans keep the dragons in check. The drugging of the dragons and the institution that was created to maintain the drugging of the dragons are very well done. It is an institution that required a lot of people to maintain and you can understand why Snow blames the whole of the human race for the act.

I also enjoyed the fact that although the dragons are setup to be the villains of the series, you can understand why they intend to destroy all humans in the empire. Villains whose actions are understandable always work better. It’s almost fitting the consequences the humans are going to face when the dragons slip their leashes.

Of course, there are some poor sections of the book. This is Stephen Deas’ first novel and it some ways, it shows. Although this is a book about dragons, the book is spilt in two halves. One showing the adventures of Snow, and the other showing the various plots and schemes of the princes, queens and kings all aiming for the Speaker. Basically, I think he tried to do too much.

The dragon parts of the book works well and are the highlights of the book. The political sections of the book work less well. One of the reasons is that the book is told through various points-of-view. POV books allow the writer to cover a lot of ground but it can also lead to some uneven characterization. Queen Sheriza is one that comes to mind. Her relationships with her 3 daughters were never flesh out and she was like a well with no water. She seems like a deep character but there is nothing in the book that we can drink from.

Personally I would prefer it if the writer dumped the whole political section of the book and concentrated solely on Snow. I would have liked to read more about her dreams and her memories of how the land was like before the drugging of the dragons.

Also some of the chapters are very, very short. So short that sometimes I wondered why Deas bothered. Worse is the fact that the book is told through various POV so some characters has only 1-2 chapters before they are gone.

However, I must still say this was an enjoyable book for me. The book has a strong plot and the some very interesting characters. The Adamantine Palace isn’t perfect but if you long for a book showing strong, brute dragons, this is the book for you.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Running Out

The never-ending stream of new MMORPG games looks to have run its course as various gaming companies have announced either the closure or delayed of games. Several MMO companies are canceling titles, laying off staff and halting development of new MMO title.

Most people, even gamers, would not have noticed anything as currently this trend is only affecting the smaller companies and lesser known games. LEGO Universe and Troy Online (which lasted all of 3 months) announced their closure while several companies have also announced layoffs.

Not to sound insensitive to people who had lost their jobs but it’s about time! To me, there are just too many MMO games on the market. The amount of new titles (mostly poor) on the market obscured the market as older titles see a lost of player population due to player migrating to new titles to check them out. I admit I’m also guilty of this.

So to me, it’s not actually a bad thing that the poorer titles are going the way of the dodo. Sad that people are going to lose their jobs but the better titles will survive. In the end, that’s for the better of the MMO gaming industry.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Greece Needs To Go

With the Greek referendum now off the table, it looked like Greece will continue to be in the eurozone for awhile. I believe it would be better for Europe, Greece and the rest of the world if the Greek get out of the Euro now!

Now I understand why European leaders have been trying hard to keep Greece in the eurozone. If Greece goes, it would be chaos on the global economy. Greece would have to default on its debts and European banks who lend Greece their money would be unable to get their money back. That was the main reason why banks agreed to accept a 50% loss on Greek bonds in the latest bailout package. Also countries who had funded the earlier bailouts, the ECB (European Central Bank) and the IMF (International Monetary Fund) can all forget about getting back the money they lent Greece.

Guess what? Even if Greece enforce all the austerity measures they agreed to; even if China and Japan suddenly decide to help bailout the eurozone (not bloody likely in my view); even if there is no more financial crisis of any sort in the world for the next 10 years; Greece could still default!

Frankly the bottom-line is this; Greece is bankrupt. That’s just the long and short of it. Greece is bankrupt and it is hurting the rest of the Euro nations with its presence in the group. Just the fears of a Greek default caused Italy's borrowing rates have jumped to record levels, and that is a big problem because Italy’s debt is much greater than Greece. This is also the reason why I think it would be better for Greece itself if it get out of the eurozone. There is a real chance that Italy, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain would default sooner or later. If just one of these countries default, Greece would be affected as well if it was still in the eurozone.

For the rest of the world…I don’t think I need to go into how it would help the rest of the world if Greece goes right?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Comics this week

Uncanny X-Men #1- There are a few rules you have to follow when it’s the first issue of a new series. You need to introduced the characters, you need to show what the series is about, you need to show why the characters are doing what they are doing, and you need to do all these in an entertaining manner. It's hard and unfortunately I do not believe writer Kieron Gillen managed to do it in Uncanny X-Men #1. Gillen tried to cram all the information in the first half of the issue and then have a fight against Sinister in the second half. However by trying to do too much, he succeed in neither. The main problem for me is the fact that Cyclops' plan to be both superheroes as well as weapons of mass destruction was given short shift in this issue. I mean if he is going to call a meeting of all the big guns of the mutant race, the least he should do is to tell them what actions they are allowed to do to act as deterrent right? I mean there are guys like Magneto and Namor at the table, people who think nothing of killing a couple of hundred people to get their message across. You are going to tell them to be weapons of mass destruction but not tell them what they can’t do? I would much rather Gillen skip the fight in the latter half of the book and concentrated on how the team would function. Lucky for us, artist Carlos Pacheco did a great job to (almost) save the issue. Pacheco captures the characters well and make the action sequences exciting. It’s just too bad Gillen's script trying to do too much.

Villains for Hire #0.1- Writers Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning had a short, forgettable and unsuccessful run at Heroes for Hire earlier this year. Now they are back but with a tweak in the series. Instead of heroes for hires, it is now villains for hire. I dig this. The concept of villains being up for hire works perfectly (much better than the concept of heroes for hire) and having a villain like The Purple Man as the main man pulling the strings is a great idea. Abnett & Lanning picked the correct villain for the job and this prologue fill me with excitement; something Heroes for Hire never did. This is one reader looking forward to the series.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Can't See How This Can Fail

It took a disappointing General Election for them to realize it, but it seems the Singapore government has finally decided to act on a long-standing complaint from normal Singaporeans. That is the number of foreigners working in Singapore.

Or at least it looked that way on the surface. Minister of State for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin announced that the government will have new guidelines preventing discriminatory practices against Singaporeans. These guidelines will include things such as job advertisements indicating that foreigners are preferred, the preferential hiring of foreigners over suitable Singaporeans and preventing companies having an over-reliance on foreigners.

However I say it only looks that way on the surface because the government has refused to put the matter into law! Mr. Tan say that employers’ mindsets must be changed to tackle the problem, so this is something that must be done through “moral persuasion”.

“Moral Persuasion” in Singapore? Right, that is an excellent idea which will work. There’s no way such an idea will fail. In fact, let’s take away all the traffic fines in Singapore and “morally persuade” drivers in Singapore to follow all the traffic rules in the country.

Yes! I can’t see how that can fail.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Stupid Law At Work

As widely expected, Palestine scored a diplomatic victory yesterday when UNESCO granted Palestine full membership into its body. In a vote of 107 for and 14 against, the victory was marred however by the United States saying that it will stop its funding for UNESCO.

Now some Americans may feel that the United States do not really need UNESCO, the U.N. cultural agency, but your country is going to face a big problem down the road. The cutting off of the funding comes due to a U.S. law that prohibits U.S. funding to any U.N. organization that grants full membership to any group that does not have "internationally recognized attributes" of statehood from the United States.

Basically that means the United States cannot fund any U.N. agency that recognizes Palestine as a full member. This will be a huge problem down the road as Palestinian officials have indicated that they intend to apply for full membership with as many U.N. agencies as possible! With the wide margin they got with the UNESCO vote, the Palestinians will win a lot (if not all) of them. That means the United States will have to cut off funding to all these U.N. agencies which will mean a massive loss of influence for the U.S.

For all the funding on the line, you can be sure countries like China, India, Russia, Brazil etc are more than happy to take up the tab to gain influence at the U.N. at the expense of the United States. The bottom-line is simple; if the United States does not engage the U.N., they have no influence at the U.N.

That is why I strongly hope, for their sake, the United States do not cut off funding to UNESCO. The simple fact is that the stupid law in question is insane. No matter how strong an ally Israel is, they are not worth the United States destroying its own influence at the United Nations. Israel is one country, the U.N. is a world body through which the United States can exert influence throughout the world. Simple logic would tell you which is more important.