Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Singapore Whiners

Singaporeans has always had a reputation as a bunch of whiners who complain about anything and everything. It is a reputation we well-deserved.

Anyone who doubts that can just look at the latest figure that came out from the Land Transport Authority (LTA). They report that Singaporeans called in to them 1.36 million times last year. This means that someone is calling LTA once every 24 seconds to complain about something on the transport system in Singapore.

How the hell is that possible? One complain every 24 seconds for the whole year? Even with the breakdowns on the MRT, that is a ridiculous amount of calls. I don’t know how much the customer service operators of LTA are been paid but whatever it is, they deserved a raise.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Parking Wars

Now everyone in Singapore would have heard about the Ferrari accident at Bugis Junction and about how the vehicle was driven by a Chinese national. The accident became an incident for Singaporeans to rage against Chinese nationals in Singapore who blatantly disregard the law.

On STOMP, there is now a new thread on a foreign woman who was issued a fine for illegal parking and was so aggressive with the enforcement officer that the police had to be called in to resolve the situation. People on STOMP are saying this is another incident where foreigners ignore the rules of Singapore and expect to get away with it. 

Yes, it seems that things have gone too far for my follow Singaporeans, so much so that they seem to have lost their minds in their foreign-bashing.People; drivers complaining, whining, bitching, screaming and shouting at officers who give them a parking ticket is NOT a foreigner issue! 

This kind of parking “dispute” happens all the time.  Everyone, including Singaporeans, does it. And when I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE! Anyone who don’t believe can go watch a show call “Parking Wars”. The show show “incidents” that make this one looks tame.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Highlander Reboot

Rebooting! That seems to be the main thing ongoing in imagination-starved Hollywood right now. In the coming months, we are going to have reboots of Spiderman and Total Recall on our screens but don’t think for a moment they are stopping there.

Oh no they are not! Rumors are that there will be a reboot of the “Highlander” franchise. When I first read about it, I thought, “Cool! Nothing wrong with that.” Then I heard that the studio intend to have Ryan Reynolds as the new Highlander. Ryan Reynolds? 

For those of you with no idea, that’s the guy who was the Green Lantern. Ryan Reynolds, with his boyish looks and wholesome smile is going to be an immortal that cuts people’s heads off? Nothing against Reynolds (he exactly wasn’t that bad as Green Lantern) but just look at that face. Does that even remotely looks like a centuries old immortal Highland warrior to you? 

Sure as hell don't to me! I think I’ll pass on this reboot.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Simple Reason

On Saturday, the voters in Hougang rejected once again the ruling People's Action Party (PAP). In the by-election, the Workers' Party (WP) retained the seat after winning 62.09% of the votes cast.

Despite the slight loss of votes for the WP, the victory is still considered a good win for WP as the PAP had trained all their big guns on Hougang. Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean led the charge as the PAP tried to give their candidate, Desmond Choo, as much help as possible against WP’s candidate Png Eng Huat. Yet despite the blitz, the PAP only managed 37.91%.

Now everyone has their own opinion on the win by the WP and the inability of the PAP to make a dent in Hougang. Despite all the talk of the rise of the WP, the basin of democracy in Hougang, the youth of Desmond Choo; I think the reason why the WP won is much simpler. People did not care about Yaw Shin Leong.

When the WP expelled Yaw Shin Leong from their party on 14th Feb, it was due to allegations of extramarital affairs. I had said on several occasions that this was a stupid thing for the WP to do because no one cares about the allegations. Most people in Hougang, most people in Singapore, do not care about the extramarital affair and no one called for his resignation or ouster.

So when the by-election came along, everyone just voted along the same party lines because nothing has changed!! The people voted for the same party because they don’t care about the affairs Yaw Shin Leong had that led to his ouster. It just didn’t matter.

That indifference more than anything is the reason why the WP retained the Hougang seat with only a minor dent in popularity. No one cares! In short, the expulsion of Mr. Yaw Shin Leong from the WP on 14th Feb was much ado about nothing.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

X-Men Gay Marriage

As a comic book reader, I of course had picked up X-Men comics before. Once the X-Men were the top of the pile, a must-have, for comic book readers but in recent years that is no longer the case.

In recent years, the X-Men had been overtaken in sales by other franchises like the Batman, Green Lantern and Spiderman books. In a bid to boast sales and reclaim the mantle as a series that pushes the envelope, in Astonishing X-Men #51, they will have the first gay marriage in Marvel comics.

I have not been following the series for awhile but do know that the characters, Northstar and Kyle, had been shown to be in a gay relationship for a few years already. I have nothing against that but having a gay wedding might be a step too far.

Frankly, I think this development will hurt the series, and the X-Men brand. There are a lot of people, even in America, that are against gay marriage and this event will turn a lot of people off. I don’t care for a moment the argument of equality for gays in America and I can say with some certainty most readers of comics don’t either. It's a matter of whether this event will hurt or help the brand. I seriously think it will be the former and not the latter. After all we pick up comics to enjoy them, not for social changes.

Whether gay marriage is legal or not in America is something I care nothing about but in showing this marriage, Marvel is shooting themselves in the foot. And the X-Men brand has been hurting enough without this extra “help”.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Comics this week

Green Lantern: The New Guardians #9- Sigh! All those interesting characters in all those Corps and it seems DC is trying to kill off so many of them. After the deal made with Invictus, the various members of the New Guardians spilt up and returned to their own Corps. Writer Tony Bedard has wisely used this time to focus on the different members of the group. After Arkillo last issue, this time it is Saint Walker. It was fun to note how in awe the other Blue Lanterns are of the first Blue Lantern and how uncomfortable Saint Walker was at their almost worship-like devotion. When the attack by The Reach came, the others naturally fell in line to follow “The Blue Lantern”. Unfortunately, the next issue is titled “The Last Stand of The Blue Lantern” so it doesn’t look for them. However I have hope; these blue guys are just too interesting to be destroyed. All Will Be Well!

Justice League Dark #9- After the 'Rise of the Vampires' crossover, I’m going to give this series a chance to impress me. So far so good because there’s a whole new lineup for the team starting with this issue. Having John Constantine as the team leader made sense and the new team dynamic works pretty well. Basically everyone insults Constantine with one-liners while taking orders from him and the insults falls off the bastard like water off a waterfall. And the finish was great! Tim Hunter, Tim Hunter, Tim Hunter!

I, Vampire #9- You know when Andrew Bennett got his new powers, I was expecting him to do something far more than bringing all the vampires in America together just to keep them pen up. Maybe writer Joshua Hale Fialkov has some master plan he hadn’t revealed yet. I hope so because the start of this new story arc does not look good.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

About Time

With the by-election in Hougang set on 26th May, campaigning for the seat is now well underway. After a few boring days, the campaign for both the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) and the incumbent Workers’ Party (WP) has only recently went into high gear.

The traffic accident along Rochor Road is still hurting the PAP and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean had to come out and say that people (cough, the opposition, cough) are trying to use a “tragic accident” to hurt the PAP. The PAP then launched an attack on WP’s candidate Png Eng Huat, claiming that he is dishonest over his intentions surrounding the non-constituency Member of Parliament scheme. This follows a leak of the minutes of a WP meeting where Mr. Png was spoken of as a candidate for the scheme. WP’s Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang then came out to condemn the anonymous leak and say this is a “weak attempt at the discrediting the WP”.

Basically, both sides are claiming the other side is using cheap shots against them.

About bloody time I say! I was worried when the first few days of the campaign were so boring that the by-election wasn’t even on the front few pages of the newspaper. All the talk of this being a “gentleman campaign” was nauseating. Seriously, this is the way politics should be. Down and dirty; accusations and counteraccusations flying around; and both sides trying to come up on top. About time both parties get serious about it!  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review of The Avengers

“The Avengers” (or to be more exact “Marvel's The Avengers”) is a superhero movie that features a team-up of Iron Man, Black Widow, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor and newcomer Hawkeye in one big, gigantic package. Produced by Marvel Studios and directed by Joss Whedon, it features an all-star ensemble cast that has everyone from Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man), to Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), to Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury).

The story starts with the Asgardian god Loki (Tom Hiddleston) coming to Earth via the Tesseract, an energy source of unknown potential in the possession of the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D. Loki takes the Tesseract and uses his scepter to enslave Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) as well as physicist Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård).

Faced with the might of a god, director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury decided to go with the "Avengers Initiative", a program to bring together super-powered beings of Earth. S.H.I.E.L.D.

I will admit I was initially skeptical about this movie. I was thinking that some of these characters have their own movie franchises already, so a movie showing all of them was kind of unnecessary. Worse, if the movie bomb, it will hurt the movie franchises of the characters.

Luckily for us, my fears were unfounded. “The Avengers” is a movie that will satisfy both fans of the comics and movie-goers who never pick up a comic in their lives. With a script by Whedon and Zak Penn, the one-liners come thick and fast and you could see how much fun the actors have with the script. It is (surprisingly) a genuinely funny movie and I can understand why some people even called the movie an action-comedy.

As you can probably guess, the main meat of “The Avengers” is one thing; action, action and more action! There are 3 big set piece battle scenes in the movie and director Joss Whedon delivered on all 3 of them. Even by today’s standard, the movie has some larger-than-life moments (and special effects) that make you go “Wow”.

Also helping is the direction of Joss Whedon. Director Joss Whedon is a well-known geek and he packed the movie with references on the mythology of the characters but he also let the actors go on with their stuff. Robert Downey Jr continues to own the character of Tony Stark, playing the character with an effortless coolness. Mark Ruffalo stamped his own mark on Bruce Banner, playing the character with a measure of zen calmness. However the best work for me was done by Tom Hiddleston. His Loki has a sense of menace to him but at the same time he wasn’t over the top. He also managed to give Loki a mischievous sneer which works perfectly for the God of Mischief.

Of course not everything worked. The movie’s big cast was always going to be difficult to juggle. Whedon had a good go at it but without question some characters had more focus than other. Thor only showed up in the latter half of the movie and Captain America was almost a non-entity till the final fight in the movie.

Also the movie tend to assume movie-goers knows the characters. It wasn’t a problem for me but if it was your first time seeing a Marvel movie, I can’t help but think you will be wondering about Captain America’s flashback; why Thor was looking longingly at a picture of Jane Foster; why Pepper Potts was so friendly with Agent Coulson etc. The movie assumed that people seeing the movie knows some of the background of the characters.

However I was happy with the movie on the whole. I was surprised by how genuinely funny the movie was and with good action sequences thrown in, “The Avengers” is a good example of how fun superhero movie could be. It’s not a classic like “The Dark Knight” but watch the movie for a good fun ride.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Why The Surprise?

That’s my questions when people are surprise that private home sales still rising in the month of April. Why is there any surprise at all that private home sales in Singapore are still rising?

Despite all the talk of cooling measures by the Singapore government, private home prices have never went down. Prices may have risen more slowly since the cooling measures but it is still rising.

Despite all the talk by government analysts saying there will be a 30% drop in property prices this year, this has not happened because rich foreigners are still buying Singapore homes. They do this no matter the price because they do not believe the Singapore government is serious about making home prices in Singapore more affordable. Why should they bother about the price when they do not believe the Singapore government will allow the price of homes to drop substantially?

To be fair to them, most Singaporeans don’t think the Singapore government is serious about making home prices in Singapore more affordable. It had been pretty obvious for months that all the cooling measures has not work because private home prices never went down (a drop of 0.01%? Don’t make me laugh) but we have government agencies like the Ministry of National Development (MND) insisting that the cooling measures “are working”.

That’s why people (Singaporeans and foreigners) keep on buying homes in Singapore. As long as the Singapore government refused to admit their cooling measures are NOT working, as long as the prices do not come down (HDB house at $900,000), as long as people don’t think the Singapore government is serious about making home prices in Singapore more affordable; home sales and housing prices will continue their upward trend.

To me, not only is the rise in private home sales not a surprise; it should be expected!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Best Laid Plans

Sometimes you just have to feel for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. When the Workers’ Party (WP) expelled their Member of Parliament (MP) for Hougang, Mr. Yaw Shin Leong, on 14th Feb, it represented a golden chance for the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) will finally retake Hougang after 20 years.

He did almost everything correct. He took his time before calling the by-election; he trained the whole of his party’s machinery in Hougang; and then it all got hijacked by a traffic accident!

On 12th May, a tragic accident involving a taxi and a Ferrari occurred at a junction along Rochor Road. The Singaporean taxi driver and his Japanese passenger were both killed along with the driver of the Ferrari who was a Chinese national in the midst of applying for Permanent Residency. Anger among Singaporeans were risen when it was reported that the Ferrari beat a red light and struck the taxi at a speed above 150km/hr. The taxi was hit so hard, its engine was discovered 30m from the crash site.

This accident became a lighting rod for Singaporeans. There are numerous reasons for this. This accident apparently caused by a driver from China is one of a series of accidents involving foreigners. It involved a rich foreigner who was applying for PR status in Singapore but who blatantly disregard the law here. He was giving a Ferrari (rich man) and it hit a taxi (poor man). The rich/poor divide, the open door for foreigners, allowing rich foreigners to easily apply for Permanent Residency; always an uphill task to take Hougang, the PAP now finds itself having to explain all these policies to the Singapore people.

In an effort to get over the tragic accident, both the PM and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean went on Facebook to express sadness over the incident. In most countries, this incident would be a minor matter but with Singapore’s short campaign period (10 days), every day counts and the PAP had to go on the defensive for the past week instead of attacking the WP like they wanted to.

It seems the tragic accident in Bugis not only claimed 3 lives and injured two; it might also cost the Hougang by-election for the PAP.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Just A Bad Trade

Just a few days ago, JP Morgan Chase & Co reported a trading loss of US$2 billion and the heads are already rolling. The losses came as a surprise to most people as JP Morgan was one of the few banks in America who came through the financial crisis with credit intact.

However they are now suffering heavy losses at a time when most companies listed in the U.S are beating expectations. So what gives?

The answer is simple; they made a bad trade with a trading strategy that was too complex. The bank took on complex derivative positions in a hedging strategy that prove unwise. When they tried to unwind their positions, they discovered the positions they took were too big and too complex to unwind easily. In a low volume market, unwinding their positions caused further losses to their positions which is why even JP Morgan believe the losses would increase to US$3 billion.

Personally, I think people are over reacting. The losses got nothing to do with bad bankers or poor oversight. The losses were just due to the fact that the bank made bad decisions; something that could happen to anyone. Remember, this is the same JP Morgan that came out of the financial crisis smelling like roses.

A bad trading strategy is the cause of the losses, and it is something JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon had already said the bank would investigate and take disciplinary action on. It’s not the end of the world or the start of a stock market crash, just a matter of people making bad trades.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Comics this week

Higher Earth #1- I haven’t been too impressed with the new series from Boom so far but at $1, I decided to give this series a shot. The story involved a man named Rex who hopped into a dimension to find a young girl named Heidi. He tells her both of them are from a different earth, and that she need to come with him. After killing an assassin, they jumped to another earth; a higher earth. If you’re a little confused by the plot, you’re not alone. Higher Earth #1 is a pretty interesting teaser. It gave us swordplay, dimension hopping, cyborg robots etc, without telling us anything. It seem a pretty interesting universe but I will need to see more before deciding if I'm going to pick it up.

Justice League #9- Writer Geoff Johns starts the latest story arc a little different from the first one. The new villain he bought in wasn't that convicing to me but Johns saved the issue by giving the characters their own time in the issue. The flashbacks he put in gave new readers a sense of what the characters are about and after the action of the first arc, this was welcomed. What was even bettter was how true the characters felt! Batman’s reaction after the death of his parents and Cyborg’s relationship with his father were especially progiant. I'm still not sure about the Shazam back-up. Billy Batson’s first day at school was kind of bland and it wan't till the end when we actually saw some magic. Don't get me wrong, I think the story was well-written but a Shazam story without any magic is kind of missing the point with the character. You can change Billy Batson with any other character in the DCU and it would not have make a difference in this story. Hopefully, things will pick up soon for the back-up.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

That's The Reason?

With Singtel having the sole rights to the broadcast of the English Premier League (EPL), almost everyone in Singapore was watching last weekend's season finale on Singtel mioTV. However Singtel dropped the ball when the broadcast suffered repeated disruptions.

With the Media Development Authority (MDA) now probing the disruptions, SingTel has come out in public to explain the reasons for the disruptions. The reason they gave was that too many people changed channels at the same time, so this was what caused the faults.

Really? That's the reason? With two games going on at the same time, Singtel didn't expect people to switch channels? They never prepared for the "off-chance" that people will switch channels to see if Manchester City or Manchester United won the EPL?

I can see how well this explanation will satisfy local fans. Right; that will happen.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Greece And the Euro Zone

As Greek President Karolos Papoulias summoned leaders from the various political parties in Greece to try to form a government, financial markets have already reacted by sliding down. The markets do not believe the leaders of Greece could put together a government and believe that Greece will have to leave the Euro zone.

Not a moment too soon in my view!

As I have said before, it would be better for both Greece and Europe if the Greeks leave the Euro zone. The biggest problem Greece faced currently is the simple fact that they do not have an economy that can use the Euro as their currency. Despite current weakness of the Euro, the Euro is still one of the top currencies in the world.

Greece do NOT have one of the top economy in the world.

To be fair, it’s not as if Greece ever had an economy worthy of the Euro. For years various Greek governments played musical chairs, taking turns padding the book to make it look like Greece has an economy worthy of joining the Euro zone. However in truth, they never did and when the financial crisis happened, the house of cards came falling down.

That is the basic problem facing Greece right now. If they had their own currency, the currency would have fell in line with their economy. This would make it easier for them to sell goods overseas and tourism in the country would be up because it would be cheaper for people to visit the country. With the Euro as their currency, none of these will happen. Greece needs a cheaper currency

For all the bailouts, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s draconian economic austerity program, economic technocrats; that is the fundamental problem Europe need to solve if they want to keep Greece (and some of the other countries) in the Euro zone. How to make the Euro (a strong currency) work for the weaker economies in the Euro zone? If they don’t find a solution for that, Greece may just be the first of many countries that has to leave the Euro zone.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Dangerous Walkers

With new technology coming out all the time, I guess it’s only right that new laws are introduced to prevent misuse of the said technology. However, sometimes the authorities can be “over-zealous” in the introduction of new laws.

That’s what I feel when I read that in America, people can be fine for…sending text message while walking! It sounds crazy to me but evidentially police in Fort Lee, New Jersey had issued more than 117 tickets (at US$85 each) to "dangerous walkers".

"Dangerous walkers"? What’s next? "Dangerous sleepers"? "Dangerous talkers"? And at US$85 a ticket? In Singapore, the fines for cars is only usually around $70! No wonder everyone drive in America; walking is more dangerous (and expensive) than driving in America!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Not In Our Dreams

Recently, a report from Bloomberg state that at the current average salary of a Singaporean, it will take him 43 years before he can manage to buy a luxury home in his own country. Some Singaporeans have already taken this as proof on how pricey homes in Singapore is.

I can’t help but laugh at this.I think everyone has sort of miss a point in this. A luxury home? Whoever at Bloomberg who wrote this report don’t know Singapore or Singaporeans very well. Most Singaporeans don’t bother with luxury homes; we can’t even afford a normal flat! Even if a normal couple were to buy a flat in Singapore, they will usually have to take a 20-25 year loan from the bank. A luxury home? It’s not even in our equation; hell, it's not in our dreams! 

So Singaporeans who take this report as proof on how high home prices are in Singapore; don't bother. Most Singaporeans can't be bother about prices of the homes in Sentosa Cove, they just worry about the prices of HBD flats. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Wrong Revamp

I was a fan of Lord of the Rings Online (LOTR). Notice the past tense I used as I haven’t been in the game for awhile. Ever since the game went F2P (free-to-play), I have lost most of my interest but I still try to keep myself up-to-date on developments in the game.

So when I read that Turbine was going to revamp the game, my thought it was a good idea. However when I read that Turbine was going to revamp Moria, my thoughts immediately changed. To the folks at Turbine; Moria don’t need a revamp. If you want to revamp something, do Mirkwood and Isengard instead.

Frankly, the problems of LOTR came after it went F2P. After the initial success of the F2P format, the game has suffered with poor expansions. “Siege of Mirkwood” was poor while “Rise of Isengard” was poor at best! So bad were they, I currently have no interest in the upcoming “Gap of Rohan”.

These 2 areas and their expansion are causing LOTR to bleed players. Forget Moria; compare to “Siege of Mirkwood” and “Rise of Isengard”, the “Mines of Moria” was heaven.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Not A Sure Thing

After months of waiting, the by-election in Hougang is finally set on 26th May. Nomination Day will be on 16th May and parties will have 9 days to make their case to the residents of Hougang with a “cooling off” day before the election.

The by-election was called when the Workers’ Party (WP) expelled Member of Parliament (MP) for Hougang, Mr. Yaw Shin Leong, from their party on 14th Feb. This left the Hougang seat empty and now the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) will have another crack at Hougang.

Now a lot of people say that Hougang is a safe seat for the WP. That is true but I won’t say a victory for the WP is a foregone conclusion. Even though the seat has been in WP’s hands for the past 20 odd years, I would not be surprised if the PAP takes it on 26th May. The PAP is widely expected to bring their whole party machinery to bear in Hougang and against that, the WP will have a serious problem on their hand.

Not helping the matter is the simple fact that this is a contest the WP could have avoided. Mr. Yaw was expelled from the WP for refusing to account for an alleged extra-marital affair to the party. The expulsion was something no one in Singapore asked for.

The simple fact of the matter is that no one in Hougang (or anywhere in Singapore for that matter) cared about any affair Mr. Yaw had. This is Singapore, not America. Who cares if he had an affair? When the WP expelled Mr. Yaw, they turned what was a minor domestic dispute into a political fiasco.

Having said all that, I do agree that the WP has a good chance of holding on to the Hougang seat. Frankly, I’m surprised that it took so long for the PAP to call this by-election. It has been three months since Mr. Yaw was removed from office, and while I understand the fact that they want to sweeten the ground for their candidate, I fear the PAP may have taken too long.

As they say, time heal everything. The shock of Mr. Yaw’s removal has passed and the alleged affair is now even less of a footnote on the political scene. By taking so long to call the by-election, the PAP may have missed the boat of victory.

Chances of the WP winning are good but don’t count the chickens yet. I won’t bet on it but I wouldn’t be surprise if the PAP pulls off a win on 26th May. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Comics this week

Artifacts #17- You know how I praised artist Stjepan Sejic last issue on being a truly gifted talent? I may have understated it. I thought his work last issue was good but it paled in comparison to this issue. I mean the fight between Jackie Estacado and Tom Judge was epic. The fight itself wasn’t that long or bloody but the art by Sejic made that brief fight look like 2 gods going to war. WOW! Buy this issue for the artwork along people; it's that good!

Demon Knights #9- After the first story arc is over, I guess it’s only right that the Knights got a new quest. However I’m not sure about the latest quest shown in this issue. I can understand writer Paul Cornell wishing to show off more of the world he built but the quest to go to Avalon and revive Merlin seems…so expected! With half the knights having some connection to Merlin, you sort of known that the old mage is going to pop-up sooner or later but having it happen in the second story arc seems to be rushing it. However Cornell saved the issue with the last page reveal. The potential new enemy/ally on the last page is interesting with a capital “I”. With Vertigo no longer around, all the Vertigo characters are now in the New 52. However this character is about the last I expected but considering this series is called “Demon Knights”, I really should have known better. If he is playing a big role in the future of this series, consider me sold on the idea!   

Green Lantern #9- That’s it? On the first story arc that focused on the Indigo Tribe, the tribe looked like it’s no more. Well, there’s one more issue in the arc so maybe writer Geoff Johns is going to pull a rabbit out of the hat. I hope so cause the tribe looks and sounds interesting. I’m not surprised by the role Abin Sur has in the creation of the tribe, it has been hinted at before, but the fact that he knows about “the end of the crops” might prove problematic. Abin Sur has always been portrayed as a noble and loyal GL and the fact that he knows of the Guardians going to wipe out the crops but didn’t tell anyone except an old unknown friend from a planet no one has even heard of…well it just doesn’t jell with the character we know and loved. Outside that point, this was a good issue of GL madness.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Perfectly Reasonable

So François Hollande won the French presidential election on Sunday, defeating incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy. At the same time, Greek voters turned on their ruling parties in their election. And suddenly the newspapers are filled with articles on how the election results would “revive” Europe's debt crisis.

The writers must know something I don’t because since when was Europe's debt crisis ever solved? I mean for something to be “revived”, it must first die right? Was Europe's debt crisis ever solved? Did anyone ever claim that Europe's debt crisis was dead and buried? If someone did, I must have missed it!

The stock markets might be reacting poorly to the election results but I for one do not fear them. I do not think the latest election results came in because of belt-tightening measures imposed in Europe. I think the results came in because belt-tightening measures imposed in Europe has not worked!

Voters are going against the ruling parties because the current ruling parties were unable to solve the debt crisis. There will be no “revival” of the debt crisis because it’s still around! Voters in Europe see that and so they decided to go another direction. It’s a perfectly reasonable reaction. If guys in “Group A” can’t solve your problem, you go to people in “Group B” right?

I can’t see what’s wrong with that. It’s not as if voters in Europe are chasing away guys who are solving the debt crisis. They are voting against guys who had their chance (over 2 years) and who had failed. If I’m a European, I’ll probably do the same

Monday, May 7, 2012

Good Decision Without Any Help

The moment Chelsea lifted the English FA Cup after beating Liverpool on Saturday, questions were asked about the lack of goal-line technology in football. I will ask people to do one simple thing; stop whining!

The “problem” happened when Liverpool striker Andy Carroll met a cross at the far post and powered a header towards goal. Chelsea keeper Petr Cech made a brilliant save to deflect the header on to the bar. Referee Phil Dowd and assistant referee Andrew Garratt waved play on despite Liverpool's insistent protests that the ball had crossed the line. Several people have said that the incident proves that football needs to implement goal-line technology. There is only slight problem with all the complaints.

The referee made the right decision! It was NOT a goal!

A succession of replays from various angles showed that the goal did not cross the line. Guess what people? That means the referee was right! He made the right decision. If anything, this incident proves that football don’t need goal-line technology because the referee got the decision right without any help

Friday, May 4, 2012

Movable Cat Ears

I never got cosplay. I know some people find it cute but I just don’t get it. However I do admire how seriously cosplayers take their hobby.

It’s for that reason I know they are going to go gaga on the latest must-have for cosplayers in Japan. A Japanese company, Neurowear, unveiled its latest product at the "Nico Nico Chōkaigi" convention last weekend; movable cat ears!

Instead of the normal headband with cat ears on it, Neurowear’s latest product detect the brainwaves of its wearer and the wearer can move the cat ears remotely just by thinking it! The product, called Necomimi, allow the wearer to twitch, folding down or up the ears.

I can see why this project will be a hit with cosplayers but I don’t know what I find funnier. That a hobby like cosplay got much advance technology or that such technology is used to move cat ears!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Comics this week

Earth 2 #1- As this issue is the launch pad for the Multiverse, there is a lot of backstory involved; in fact, 80% of this issue is on the backstory. Writer James Robinson took the invasion in Justice League and ran with it. The war with Apokalips still happened but there was no League standing against them, only the trinity of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. At the end of the issue, all the members of the trinity were dead and now it is time for new heroes. The new heroes are the Justice Society. Yes, that’s right! On Earth 2 the trinity came BEFORE the Society. I know some purists are going to scream at that but I think it’s a cool idea. I’ve been collecting comics for 20 years and can’t remember the last time someone wrote Alan Scott and Jay Garrick as young, untried heroes. When DC relaunch the Multiverse (52 worlds) a few years ago, they botched it up by making them too generic and by trying to show off all the worlds at once. With the New 52, there is another launch of the Multiverse and this time, DC learnt from their mistake. Earth 2 is risky without a doubt but it’s also new and interesting. The way the Multiverse should be!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Low Wages But High Inflation

In his May Day speech yesterday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong tackled the desire of Singaporeans for higher wages by saying “higher wages push up business costs, affect our competitiveness, and may cause higher inflation."

Singapore does not have a minimum wage (which even Malaysia has) and the PM say that Singaporeans must raise their productivity to get better wages. There’s a few thing wrong with his speech but the biggest by far is the fact that inflation is already here!

Singapore’s inflation is 5.2% but wages has not been keeping up with inflation. High housing prices has been a bugbear of Singaporeans for years and the sky-high prices of COE have cause owning a vehicle to become a daydream for most Singaporeans. There’s no need for higher wages to cause inflation; inflation is a constant problem for Singaporeans already!

Frankly, having high wages does not equal high inflation but for all the talk by the PM of how higher wages would cause higher inflation, having that problem is still far better than what Singapore currently have. Low wages; high inflation!