Saturday, March 31, 2012

To Watch Or Not To Watch...

Football fans in Singapore are now up in arms over how much they need to pay to watch the UEFA Euro 2012. StarHub, Singapore's official broadcaster of the tournament, have announced that customers need to pay between $58.85 to $69.55 to watch the Euro.

Of course, Singaporeans are unhappy about the price as it is twice the amount they had to pay 4 years ago for Euro 2008. But guess what…Singaporeans will still pay it.

That’s just a fact people. Everyone knows Singaporeans will not be happy with the prices they need to pay just to watch the month long tournament, especially when you consider that customers in Malaysia who subscribed to the sports package on Astro TV get to watch the Euro 2012 at no additional charge, but guess what…Starhub is the only game in town. So if you don’t pay, you don’t get to watch.

It’s that simple. Complaining about it will not change anything. Just remember the bitter complains to Singtel 2 years ago during the FIFA World Cup, did that change anything? No! So unless you are willing to miss the Euro, pony up the money people!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

And They Were Wrong Because...?

In a video that went viral in Singapore recently, a group of youths were showed beating up a driver of a Ferrari outside Orchard Towers, leaving the driver lying on the street.

However most Singaporeans who had seen the video thought that the youths did nothing wrong. In the video, a young man and his girlfriend were walking across a zebra crossing when they were almost knocked down by the Ferrari driver. The young man swore and made a rude gesture at the driver who came down from his vehicle and confronted the young man. After an argument, the driver threw the first punch at the latter. Five more youths immediately ganged up on the driver and started punching and kicking him.

In a move that puzzled many Singaporeans, the police have now arrested two men who beat up the driver of the Ferrari. I am one of those Singaporeans who are puzzled.

I think this whole incident is totally the fault of the driver. It was a zebra crossing and the couple were walking across it. Without question the driver was at fault for not stopping at the zebra crossing. After that, the young man swore at him.

That is a natural reaction. Anyone is his position would have done the same thing. The driver should have never came down from his vehicle (strike 1), after he did he compounded his problem by arguing at the young man instead of apologizing (strike 2), and then he threw the first punch (strike 3).

And the guys who beat up this idiot were the one called up by the police? What sense does that makes? I mean if you almost knock someone down, for god sake at least say a “sorry” right? And this idiot threw the first punch to boot!

I don’t care if it was 5 on 1, I don’t think these boys were at fault in this matter. Anyone, including me, would have done what these guys did.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hope For Gamers

For those people looking for a person to spend the rest of their life with, go straight to World of Warcraft (WoW). It is true and there are statistics to back it up!

According to Online University (I have never heard of them before either), they had compiled data that shows that a whopping 75% of Warcraft players are currently or had dated someone else playing the game. And with 12 million WoW subscribers online everyday, chances are that if you send out enough requests for a date, someone will respond!

Now that is truly WOW! Too bad for me I never played the game except for the free trial. However I am currently on Star Wars: The Old Republic. So any female SWTOR players in Singapore want to hook up?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Strange Call

After losing his Aljunied seat in the last General Elections (GE), former Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo has pretty much stayed out of the limelight. I always thought that was unfortunate because Mr. Yeo was one of the more popular government ministers in the Singapore government.

Mr. Yeo is now back in the stoplight though the People’s Action Party (PAP) probably wished he wasn’t. Last week, Mr. Yeo publicly acknowledged that many Singaporeans had lost faith in the PAP government and that Singaporeans have to set aside political differences and work together as a nation. Most Singaporeans including the Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) secretary-general Dr. Chee Soon Juan take his statement to mean the ruling PAP and the opposition parties.

If that is the case, then I find the statement to be incredibly strange.

Mr. Yeo’s statement urged politicians from both the ruling and opposition parties to work together with people's interest at heart. However, there are less than 10 opposition Members of Parliament right now. That’s nowhere near enough for the opposition to affect policy in any meaningful way. Why this call to work together when everyone knows the PAP ruled the roost? It just makes no sense.

To me, his statement would only make sense if it is meant for members of the PAP only. The evidence has been piling up for a while now. Outside the loss of Aljunied GRC in the GE, many Singaporeans voted for Dr. Tan Cheng Bock (who is a PAP veteran) instead of the PAP-back Dr. Tony Tan in the Presidential Elections last year.

To me, Mr. Yeo’s statement does not seem like an off-the-cuff remark. After his defeat in the GE, Mr. Yeo said that he will help the PAP to reform itself for the Singapore public. Dr. Tan Cheng Bock went even further after his defeat in the Presidential Elections, publicly stating that there was a spilt in the PAP, and that the grassroots were not happy with the PAP leadership.

You put two and two together and it seems to me that Mr. Yeo’s statement reflect that of a frustrated man. Any reform Mr. Yeo seems to want has failed and the spilt within the PAP stated by Dr. Tan Cheng Bock is still there. Time will tell if the spilt will hurt the PAP in the next GE.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Mariana Trench

James Cameron is best known as the director of “Titanic,” '”Avatar,” “Terminator,” and several other films which made millions at the box-office. Now the man has made into the history books by being only the second man to reach Earth's deepest point.

Cameron used a specially designed submarine to dive nearly seven miles into the Mariana Trench. The Mariana Trench at 35,756 feet deep is the world’s deepest ocean trench and is estimated to be 120 times larger than the Grand Canyon. The first and only time anyone dove to those depths was in 1960 and back then, they only stayed for 20 min. Cameron will stay down there for 6 hours!

Say what you want about the man’s movie, but you can’t dispute the fact that he has balls. At that depth, even a simple engineering mistake would destroy the small submarine and kill him. Good luck to him!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Once Upon A Time...

Recent reports showing that sales of residential property by developers had surged in February made some people in Singapore wondering if the Singapore government is going to put in new rules to cool down the market.

I look at these people and ask two simple questions; “What do you mean by new rules?” and “Why are you surprised by the increase in sales?”

Once upon a time, HDB (Housing and Development Board) flats were built primarily to provide affordable housing for the masses. Public housing in Singapore is still currently managed by the HDB but the term “affordable housing” has become an oxymoron.

I mean how else can you explain a HDB flat in Toa Payoh selling for $894,000? A few months before that, a bungalow at Sentosa Cove sold for a record $39 million. Since last year, after the General Elections, the Singapore government has been talking about cooling the property market in Singapore. However that’s all they have been doing.

The current government policy seems to be trying to talk down the market instead of doing anything concrete. Any measures the Singapore government had put in place, like the stamp duty rule, have been half-hearted at best and both Singaporeans and foreigners know it. That is why housing prices has been holding steady since the end of the year and why it is slowly creeping up now.

What new cooling measures are people talking about when there were hardly any old cooling measures in the first place? As for the increase in sales…well, with all the half-hearted attempts, is anyone truly surprised by that?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Comics this week

Justice League #7- After the opening arc showing the forming of the Justice League, writer Geoff Johns changed tack by focusing on the daily grind of keeping a supergroup functioning. That unfortunate man for the Justice League is Colonel Steve Trevor. Taking the spotlight this issue, Johns show the thankless job the colonel has in being the liaison between the League and the U.S government. It’s an interesting way of coming down from the action-packed opening arc but if that’s the way he wanted to go, Johns really should do away with the opening fight that had the League overwhelmed a minor villain. Its fights like that which made Justice League such a hard sell for fans; they are just too powerful. On the plus side is the Shazam backup story. Johns remade Billy Batson into a confused problem child; which is miles apart from the old character. Not a fan of the character to begin with, I’ve no problem with the revamp but fans of the old Shazam series will. Interesting to see where Johns will go with his take of the character.

DC Universe Online: Legends #26- The finish is finally here. After a series of stops and starts, DCU Online is finished and writer Marv Wolfman did a good job at it. Personally I got a kick out of how Brainiac admonish Lex for having bad villain habits even while trying to be a hero who saved the world. Some habits died hard! I won’t call this a great series but on the whole, it has been fun.

Supercrooks #1- With the success of The Walking Dead, there’s seems to be trend of writers creating works for movies and television. Supercrooks seem to be Mark Millar’s attempt at this. Reading this issue, I was struck by how well and easy it would be to convert this into a movie. The story involved a small-time supervillain who is trying to help his old mentor by pulling a heist in another country. Now why Spain has no superheroes when America is filled with them is a plothole you can drive a truck through, but a supervillain heist series is something new. For that along, Millar and artist Leinil Yu got my money for the 4 issues ride.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Teenage Alien Ninja Turtles?

Oh Michael Bay, sometimes I think you truly deserved all the brickbats thrown your way. For those of you who do not know, Michael Bay will be producing a live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Expect in this version, the turtles will NOT be mutants but aliens from outer space!

Needless to say, fans of TMNT are up in arms. Reaction from fans had been so negative and so widespread that Bay himself had to come up with a statement asking fans to wait as there’s not even a script yet.

No chance! Let me give you my view on this matter; the heroes in a half-shell are NOT aliens! The title is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, not Teenage Alien Ninja Turtles! What nonsense is this! What in the world was the studio thinking giving the green light for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie and letting the producers make the turtle ALIENS?

Here’s hoping the Shredder will make mincemeat out of these alien turtles!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

More Breakdowns Coming

On Thursday morning last week, there was another train disruption in Singapore. This time trains on the North-East Line (NEL) were stopped due to the fact that two steel cables snapped in the tunnel at Outram MRT station.

Frankly, Singaporeans are no longer surprised by a breakdown in our subway system. So the fact that the problem was found at 5am and it took them over 10 hours to fix the problem is not really an issue with Singaporeans. Singaporeans are furious with the breakdown, they are far less concern on the “why”. No one is asking why the two steel cables snapped, they just want the government to prevent it from happening again.

However I am more concerned about the “why” of the breakdown between Harbourfront station and Dhoby Ghaut station. The reason I’m concerned is that well… they have no idea why it happened! There is still no reason given for why the steel cables were broken. In fact according to SBS, the steel cables were expected to outlast the NEL. That is not the case and it seem they are at a loss on why.

Singapore Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew has even admitted that the problem was “not the same problems that SMRT faced in December" and that “he would have to sit down with SBS Transit to find the root cause of the engineering problem”. Even sabotage has also been floated around as a possibility on why the cables broke.

The fact that the SBS has no idea why the steel cables broke is to me is more alarming than anything else. This isn’t one issue which you can fix. You have 2 major but totally different problems occurring within 3 months of each other and no one seem to knew why it happened! They know what happened, what the fault is, but no idea why the fault happened in the first place!

That tells me that that the subway lines in Singapore are facing a systemic problem. This also means that other major issues may/will occur within the rail system. Major issues that would cause more breakdowns which would be difficult to prevent as the problems may be totally different from the problems we faced so far. I think it's highly likely the breakdown last week will not be the last breakdown we will see in Singapore.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition?

Surprising news came out of the gaming world last week when it was announced that a game company called Overhaul Games would “re-released” the classic game Baldur's Gate. Called Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, the new game is to use a "re-forged version of the Infinity Engine" that run the original Baldur's Gate.

As a fan who had played Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate II and Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, I say…”NOooooooooooo!”

Now, I’m not one of those gamers who are against remakes of classic game. The Fallout series for example got a shot in the arm with Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. However what is this "re-forged version of the Infinity Engine"?

If you want to remake the series, then bloody hell remake the series! Give the Baldur's Gate franchise the remake it deserve with a new game engine, new storyline; not a new vision of an engine that is over 10 years old!

A re-released of Baldur’s Gate on an ancient game engine? Sorry but I’ll pass. If Overhaul Games want to remake the franchise, then do it right!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Star Trek Online

Star Trek Online (STO) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) based on the popular Star Trek series. Developed by Cryptic Studios, the makers of Champions Online, the game launched to a lot of criticism in 2010 before Cryptic steadied the ship and moved the game to a F2P (free-to-play) format.

I will admit the Star Trek IP meant nothing to me and I avoided the game at launch due to the bad press. However since the game is now on Steam, I thought I gave it a try. It was a good decision as I found the game to be highly enjoyable.

The game is set in the 25th century and the player plays as the captain of their own ship. Players are able to pilot their ship in space, and can also beam down to planets and spaceports as a player character in an “away team” like in the Star Trek series. There are many missions/quests in the game which are very varied. I especially liked the way Cryptic separated the missions storywise. Diplomatic missions are missions that do not require any fighting, exploration missions are missions that require you to go into uncharted sectors, episode missions are missions that require fighting and are part of a larger story-arc. The decision to separate the missions this way make a lot of sense storywise and it's good to see the developers nodding at the way Star Trek should be.

One thing different about STO is that the design of the game offer players 2 different combat systems. During the space combat portion of the game, players need to position their ships to fully utilize their shields while during the away team portion, players lead an away team during ground combat. Personally I find the game's space combat to be very entertaining while the away team combat to be a little hit-and-miss. However both are fun in their own sort of way which is a good thing as most missions I had played through so far (especially the episode missions) required you to use both combat systems as the missions have both a space and away portion.

Star Trek fans would like this game as Cryptic stayed mostly true to the IP. Star Trek actors Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy provided voiceovers in the game while most missions were filled with long logs that provide background stories to the game. The game also wasn’t shy about name-dropping. Kirk, Spock, Jean-Luc Picard, Wolf, Deep Space Nine; the game was filled with references to them.

I also enjoyed the Duty Officer System. The Duty Officer System allows players to assign NPC characters, called duty officers, to tasks both on and off the player's ship. Once the duty officer is assigned to a task, no further input is needed from the player to ensure its completion. This means that I could send the Duty Officer to a task and logout of the game. Once I am back in, if enough time has passed, the officer would return and I would gain in-game rewards for the completion.

Of course the game is not prefect. The mapping system is strange. A lot of times I have to re-read the mission text to find out exactly where I have to go and even then sometimes I can’t be sure as the name of the sectors and systems are slightly different at times. The leveling of the game also seem a little strange. I won’t say it’s a slow crawl like Global Agenda but the xp you gain on missions is a little off. Episode missions give you a lot of xp upon completion but other missions like exploration missions gave you almost nothing.

Still I have to say STO is a fun game that stayed true to its IP. It doesn’t do anything great but there’s enough uniqueness in the game to let it stand out from the other F2P MMOs out there. Definitely worth a play!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Comics this week

Green Lantern #7- Of all the corps in the DCU, the enigmatic Indigo Tribe is by far the least well-known. So I was intrigued when I read that the latest arc would have the Tribe in it. However writer Geoff Johns has a problem he needs to deal with first. That’s the problem of what to do with Hal Jordan. The current series has Sinestro as its main character and if that’s what Johns want, then he needs to run with it. There’s no need for him to shoehorn Hal into the story like he did in this issue. I mean Sinestro had to go across the galaxy to pick up Hal so that they can partner up again. That’s just ridiculous! It’s good that Doug Mahnke is back doing the art but Johns need to step it up.

Demon Knights #7- After 7 issues, the first arc of Demon Knights comes to an end. As usual, writer Paul Cornell and artist Diogenes Neves put together a good issue on one of the best series in the New 52. Everyone got a moment to shine including our favorite DC barbarian, Vandal Savage. As good as Paul Cornell's script is, to me Neves is once again the star of the show. His artwork give energy to the desperate fight by the Knights but also showed the dirty, heartbreaking aftermath of war. The only complaint I have on his work is that at times there was too much going on but that is minor compare to the overall work he put in. An excellent finish to a great opening arc!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Don’t do it!

Don’t do it! That’s my reaction when I read that a group of South Korean and Russian scientists are planning to bring the woolly mammoth back to life via cloning.

10,000 years after the species went extinct, there now seem to be a race to see who can bring back the mammoth first. Outside this group of scientists, a researcher from Kyoto University, Japan, also has a plan to resurrect the species.

Now I’m not sure if they can actually do it; my question is why would they want to? The mammoth has been extinct for over 10,000 years, is there any environmental or even scientific reason why they want to do this?

Outside the need to play god, to see if they can do this, there’s no valid reason to bring back the mammoth. The woolly mammoths may have once roamed the Earth but they are now part of history. Leave them there!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It's Simple

Here in Singapore, there has been a big outcry from employers over a recent government rule to allow maids in Singapore a day break once per week. Singaporeans are saying they can’t do without their maids.

This has led to some questions on how and why maids have become so indispensable in Singapore. I personally don’t understand the question because to me the answer to that is so obvious it’s a non-question. Maids are indispensable in Singapore because young Singaporeans don’t do housework. It's that simple! No one likes doing housework but in Singapore, the problem is extreme. Most can’t cook to save their lives and laundry means the washing machine.

That’s why maids are indispensable. Singaporeans need them because they do stuff we can’t do ourselves.

Monday, March 12, 2012

“John Carter,” The Non-Flop

When a movie is said to have bombed, you would expect that the gross of the movie to be terrible right? Not so in Hollywood!

In another show of how Hollywood is on another planet, they have pronounced that “John Carter,” Disney's US$250 million sci-fi movie to be a flop because it made…US$100 million in its opening weekend? Man, talk about crazy.

“John Carter” made US$30.6 million in the U.S and US$70.6 million outside of North America. How in the world can anyone called a movie that made US$100 million in its opening weekend? What’s even funnier was that the movie opened in line with Disney's projection and surveys showed that people who saw it, liked it! And this is a flop?

“John Carter” is a movie about a Confederate soldier who found himself transported to Mars, where he becomes involved in a battle among alien races. Obviously, he went too far. All he needed to do was to go to Hollywood to be among aliens!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Comics this week

DC Universe Online: Legends #25- I said last week that the story in DCU Online now has nothing to do with the story of the online game anymore, and this issue prove it once again. Writer Marv Wolfman and artist Mike Miller has diverted from the story written for the online game and in some ways the series is better for it. I won’t be sad when the series finally end caused the finish looks like it will be a fun ride.

Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time #22- The early books of the Wheel of Time series could be called adventure books. The books have Rand, Mat and Perrin on a journey across dangerous lands and it was fun. This issue shows how well Robert Jordan did his job as the fun and danger of the journey was shown in full by writer Chuck Dixon and artist Andie Tong. Andie Tong was especially solid this issue as her work with colorist Nicolas Chapuis made the issue full of life. An excellent issue.

Villains For Hire #4- I just knew it. The Purple Man got taken down way too easily by Misty Knight. No surprise also on Paladin returning as well as the agreement between Misty and Puppet Master. For a series called Villains For Hire, this series became as expected Heroes For Hire. Too bad caused a real Villains For Hire series would have been fun.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

$120,000 Bonus

I will admit. I don’t get Minecraft. I don’t understand why it’s such a hit. To me, Minecraft is a game with no real story, bad graphics and silly gameplay.

However I have to admire Minecraft developer Markus "Notch" Persson. In celebration of 5 million sales of Minecraft, Persson gave $3 million to all his employees in his company, Mojang. The thing is; Mojang is a small company with only 25 employees. That means each person gets $120,000 a person!

Talk about a bonus!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Common Sense

Now we all know that sporting events like Olympics and the World Cup are important to countries. They are chest-thumping events where the countries can show how powerful and great they are.

So it’s no surprise when we hear of the absurd lengths countries would go to ensure a good showing at the Olympics. Even by that standard, the latest directive by the British Olympic Association takes the cake.

The British Olympic Association has warned/told its athletes not to shake hands with other athletes, visitors and dignitaries during the upcoming Summer Olympics in London due to fears of spreading illnesses. They fear that sickness could affect the British medal count.

Wow! So much for a sporting event showing off great sportsmanship! The British Olympic Association backed off from the statement later stating that athletes “should use their common sense”. Too bad they don’t have common sense when they decide to release the statement in the first place.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Irrational? Not So

Member of Parliament (MP) Baey Yam Keng recent defense of Chinese scholar Sun Xu is still making the rounds in Singapore. Chinese scholar Sun Xu's remarks that "there are more dogs than humans in Singapore" has caused outrage in Singapore and Mr. Baey had to apologize for his defense of Mr. Sun. Now it seems some people are unhappy with Mr. Baey’s apology.

Ng Bin Hong, in a letter to the Today newspaper on 5 March, expressed disappointment at Baey's apology saying that, "Mr Baey, in urging us to examine if our society is walking in a healthy direction, was one of the few voices acknowledging the social problem we face today…His comments did not undermine Singaporeans but, rather, cautioned against discrimination and bigoted behaviour. It is unfortunate that he ultimately apologised because of irrational, populist sentiments."

Now I have said before the outrage over the comment by Mr. Sun is a storm in a teacup. I don’t truly understand why Singaporeans are outraged about it because to me, it seems pretty clear both foreigners and Singaporeans dislike each other. Singaporeans do not like foreigners as they are competing for jobs and housing with Singaporeans. Most foreigners in Singapore have little to no desire to integrate with Singapore society as most of them have no intention of staying here long-term. Most of them want to return to their home country once they earned their money.

Basically, I don’t quite understand why there’s an outrage because the comment by Mr. Sun is so expected. So what if he’s a scholar, I’m quite certain Mr. Sun is not the only foreigner in Singapore who has said disparaging things about Singaporeans.

However I have to say Mr. Ng’s criticism of Mr. Baey’s apology is so strange it seems to be from another planet. Mr. Ng said that Mr. Baey had bowed down to irrational, populist sentiments from Singaporeans.

Now I don’t know much about Mr. Ng but I have to say I don’t find Singaporeans’ reaction to Mr. Sun’s comments to be either irrational or populist. If Mr. Ng goes to China, India, Australia or any other country and called the people living in that country “dogs”, what do you think it’s going to happen? Mr. Ng must have a very rosy tinted view of foreign countries if he thinks people will not react the same way Singaporeans did.

Just as I think Mr. Sun’s comments to be expected from a foreigner living in Singapore, I find Singaporean’s reaction to his comments to be expected as well! If some foreigner comes to your country and call your countrymen “dogs”, you will react. I don’t care which country you’re from; it’s common human reaction.

For Mr. Ng to say find Singaporeans’ reaction to Mr. Sun’s comments to be irrational; well…that’s just out of this world..

Monday, March 5, 2012

Another Bailout On The Cards

Barely had the ink dried on the last bailout, word coming out of Europe is that Greece will need a third international rescue package worth 50 billion euros in 2015. This is only weeks after the second bailout which was approved last month.

I said last month when the second bailout was approved that I do not think bailing out Greece is going to work and this is the latest indication that I am right. Despite all the talk about how Greece’s problem stem from lazy workers, welfare state etc; the real reason why Greece is in a mess is the Euro. Simply put; Greece never had a strong enough economy to take the Euro as its currency. Their past government had to cook the books to get them into the Euro in the first place!

That is the real reason why Greece is in a mess right now and why no matter how hard they try, they can’t get out of economic troubles. In the past when a country’s economy collapsed, the country’s currency collapsed with it. Their products become cheaper, making it easier for them to export goods out and making their country cheaper for foreign companies to invest in. Tourism will also get a boost as it is cheaper for foreigners to visit.

That is not happening now in Greece because they have the Euro! Despite all the talk of recent weakness, the Euro is still one of the strongest currencies in the world. That’s a huge problem for Greece because the Greek do not have one of the strongest economies in the world.

That is why I say the bailout is not going to work and why Greece and the EU (European Union) need to bite the bullet and get Greece out of the Eurozone. No matter how the European restructure the debt, the Euro is the underlying problem. Until that problem is solved, there’s going to be a lot more bailouts for Greece.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

What They Should Do

A comment by Singapore Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam has become a butt of jokes for all Singaporeans. The DPM said in parliament on Thursday that a family with a household monthly income of just $1,000 can buy a flat in Singapore.

It did not take long for Singaporeans to make jokes out of that. Even when you read the Strait Times newspaper, you can literally hear the laughter from the reporters writing the stories. This was from the Strait Times, a mouthpiece of the government. Then without giving a chance for the flub to die down, Minister of State for Manpower and National Development Tan Chuan-Jin made things worse on Friday when he took to Facebook to “clarify” the comment made by the DPM.

Mr. Tan “clarified” that the DPM was talking about a 2-room flat and then went on to breakdown how his statement is correct. He said that if the family wants to buy a 2-room flat with a selling price of $100,000, he can get 2 grants. One is the “Additional CPF Housing Grant” of up to $40,000 for first-time applicants and the other is “Special CPF Housing Grant” of up to $20,000, which is used for the down payment for the flat purchase. The person can then apply for a loan from HDB for the remaining $40,000, making a payment of $161 per month for the next 30 years.

There are so many things wrong with that clarification I don’t know where to start. Like can you get a flat in Singapore for just $100,000, even if it is a 2-room flat? Like who in Singapore would aim to buy a 2-room flat in the first place? Like can you get 2 grants from the Singapore government when you need to clear a mountain of paperwork just to get one? Like would the HBD give you a $40,000 housing loan when you earn just $1,000 per month? Like how the Additional CPF Housing Grant is only for first-time applicants and is only “up to $40,000”! Chances are you are not going to get the full $40,000. Like how after paying off a 30 year loan, what are your chances of retirement?

Look, this is a simple matter.

The DPM made a mistake. He wasn’t answering a trick question or anything. He was trying to put the screws on Workers' Party NCMP Gerald Giam on Thursday and got caught giving a bad example that had little to no basis in reality.

It was a mistake made on record, in parliament, and in public. The DPM should just dish out some apologies to the public and this will blow over. Any further “clarification” on the matter will just increase problems for the government. It’s a simple matter with a simple solution; just say sorry!

Friday, March 2, 2012


What breakthrough? This was what I thought when I read of North Korea's pledge to suspend uranium enrichment, as well as nuclear and long-range missile tests in return for food aid. News reports call it a breakthrough and the international community has welcomed the deal but...what’s the breakthrough?

To me, the North Koreans lose nothing in the deal. They agreed to suspend uranium enrichment which they no longer need as they have enough for 20 nuclear bombs already; they agreed to suspend long-range missile tests which they no longer need as their missiles can reach Japan already; and in return they get 240,000 ton of food aid.

It’s a great deal for them. You got to give the North Koreans props for getting this deal. They lose nothing and get food aid. They also managed to give their new leader Kim Jong-un a good international image. Brilliant on the part of the North Koreans!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Comics this week

Justice League #6- With this issue, writer Geoff Johns wrap up the first story arc of the new Justice League series. It was a satisfactory though slightly underwhelming conclusion. Don't get me wrong, Johns and artist Jim Lee still managed to deliver an issue full of action and a few character moments for several of the superheroes. Unfortunately, it sort of the standard fare. There’s nothing outstanding in this issue which is disappointing when you consider the 5 issues before, most of which had moments that were outstanding. Still, it was a satisfactory conclusion to a good story and I am intrigued by the back-up story in this issue spotlighting the New 52 newest mystery woman, Pandora. Drawn by Carlos D'Anda, the back-up set things up for the future of the Justice League and it was interesting enough to make me stick around. Here’s hoping for more!

DC Universe Online: Legends #24- You have to give DC some credit. The editors at the company have some balls. They change things up with the New 52 and even on series like DCU Online (which focused on a different world), they are also willing to give the creators leeway to do the same. In the last issue, I thought DCU Online had jumped the shark. I was wrong, they didn’t just jump the shark; they dived in head first and dared the sharks to come at them. The title of the series is slightly misleading because the series now has nothing to do with the story of the online game anymore, and they make no apologies for it! I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do but you have to admire courage.