Tuesday, July 31, 2012

1.3% Gold Only

With the London 2012 Olympics well underway, news about the Olympics is everywhere. That’s to be expected as over 4 billion people from around the world will be tuning into the games at one point or another.

News about the games also includes this little “fun” fact; the gold medals won by the athletes are not actually gold! The gold medals won are actually 93% silver and only 1.3% gold. Copper takes up the rest.

So the gold medals are actually SILVER!

Sorry but I don’t really think this is “fun”. I think this is kind of embarrassing! I know gold prices are at record highs right now but 1.3% gold? All these athletes spend 4 years training for the Olympics and all they get is…well, a silver medal? I know the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is a non-governmental non-profit organization, but come on! Surely they have enough in the bank to have more gold inside a gold medal!

And if you think that is poor, the gold medal is at least better than a bronze. When Brazilian judoka Felipe Kitadai damaged his bronze medal in the shower, the IOC replaced the medal for him. At the grand cost of US$4.71.

That was all the metal in the bronze medal was worth.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Give This Guy A Gold Medal

The words on the banner said it all! This is a picture of Chen Guanming, a 57-year-old Chinese farmer who took over two years to cycle from China to London for the London Olympics.

Yes, you read that right. He CYCLED from China to London! Cycling over 60,000 km through 16 different countries, he first went through Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, but was turned back at the border of Myanmar (boo, boo, boo). Left with no choice, he changed course and slowly wound his way through the mountains of Tibet, traveled across Central Asia and then Europe. All in his rickshaw!

Now, that is what I called the "Olympic Spirit"! I’m from Singapore where people complain about a 10min delay on the subway so the Olympic authorities really need to give this guy a gold medal for this awe-inspiring journey that lasted more than 2 YEARS!

Bravo Mr. Chen. You truly are a man that showed the world what the spirit of the Olympics is all about!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Comics this week

Star Wars: Blood Ties – Boba Fett Is Dead #4- This issue picked up actually where the last issue dropped off; Conner Freeman discovering something he really, really shouldn’t have and freaking out over it. It was fun seeing how unaffected Sintas Vel was about the whole thing. As if she knew for a fact men would run for the hills once they knew who her ex-husband was. Smart woman that. The only disappointment I had was how writer Tom Taylor basically dumped all his good work on the Governor and suddenly made him an egomaniac. I know he was supposed to be a man in pain but the cliché way he went about it in the safe house was rather anti-climatic. Overall however, this was a good mini-series. It wasn’t as good as the original but things were tied up pretty nicely and Taylor made sure he left room for the sequel. A good nice piece of work.

Justice League Dark #11- John Constantine was, and always will be, an arrogant SOB. Too smart and too confident for his own good, he always has the problem of thinking he’s the smartest guy in the room. So if you are interested in seeing this guy taken down a notch, PICK UP THIS ISSUE! The rogue magician got what’s coming to him and boy was it was fun to watch. The last page alone was worth the price of this issue. All that and we get to see Tim Hunter in the New 52 for the first time! A very promising story arc that’s getting better and better!

I, Vampire #11- Just how powerful is Andrew Bennett? I think this is something writer Joshua Hale Fialkov needs to figure out quickly. In this issue, Bennett basically stopped time and space. Now I get that he’s an all powerful vampire but that may be overstepping it in a big way. His new powers need to be reigned in or he may become a vampire Superman, which will be a problem as the series continues. Luckily artist Andrea Sorrentino saved this issue by coming up with some stunning work. Her last few scenes of the humans being turned into zombies were truly great works of art.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Not For F2P

Generally speaking, I'm not a player that is either pro-F2P (free-to-play) or anti-F2P. To me, it depends strictly on the MMORPG in question. 

Some games like Maplestory needs to be F2P or else...well, no one will play it. The game basically has no story or anything out of the ordinary (expect its cuteness) that will draw players in if it’s not F2P. However, some games are not suitable to go the F2P route. Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) is one of those games. I played the game for over 4 months and I will say this is one game should not go the F2P route. 

The reason is that the main draw of the game is the class stories. In SWTOR, each class has their own storylines and anyone who had played SWTOR will tell you that the class missions are in a class of their own. They are better than the other missions. In the game, I reached level 80 in both my Jedi Consular and Bounty Hunter characters (one for the Republic, one for the Empire) and I reached 80 well before I finished Planet Crollia. And you know what I did when I reached 80?

I skipped the rest of the Crollia missions and just concentrated on the class missions. I got on my speeder and just raced to the class missions, skipping everything else. To my knowledge, a lot of players do the same thing in SWTOR. So if the game goes F2P...everyone will play the class missions and that’s it!

You are going to have a pure empty space in the gameworld where everyone is just racing to the next class mission location. SWTOR is not a pvp game or even a combat-based game. It’s a storyline game and its greatest strength will be diluted if it goes F2P. Hopefully Bioware and EA will have more sense than that.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Worth Applauding

In the past year, several civil servants have been in court on various charges of cheating and misappropriation of funds. Arguably the most infamous of who was Liew Chee Meng. A clerical officer at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), he faced 455 charges of cheating the government up to $600,000.

Now it seems there’s another case coming up.

Media reports said that the Ministry of National Development (MND) has suspended a National Parks (NParks) officer responsible for purchasing 26 foldable Brompton bicycles worth a total of $57,200. Bought to enhance work productivity of NParks officers, the bikes were worth $2,200 each and ever since the purchase came to light, the Singapore public has been questioning the need for bicycles worth over $2,000 each.

The suspension came as a surprise as Minister Khaw Boon Wan had just defended the purchase on 4 July on his blog and even called for an audit to be carried out to prove that everything was in order. However the audit uncovered discrepancies, including the fact that the procurement period lasts only 3 days, instead of the standard tender time of 14 days and that the tender was called during Chinese New Year where most companies were closed for Lunar New Year.

Now some people on the internet are saying Mr. Khaw has egg on his face as he had defended the purchase and was the one who called for an audit. I respectfully disagree.

Mr. Khaw clearly believed that there was nothing wrong with the purchase. If he did, he would never have called for the audit. Also the entry on his blog that defended the purchase was titled "Value for Money". Ironic, I know but it just prove the fact that Mr. Khaw firmly believed that there was no problem with the purchase.

The audit was called and they found a problem. Did they sweep it under the rug to save face? Did they pretend that there was no problem with the purchase? No! They did an audit, found a problem and immediately took action.

I applaud the MND, NParks and Mr. Khaw on having the courage to take immediate action against the officer despite the embarrassment and questions that would arise from it. This is an action that Singaporeans should get behind as it proves that the Singapore government is actually doing its job. It prove that there was an actual audit done, and that a government agency and their minister are not too proud to admit they are wrong and immediately rectify a problem.

So instead of throwing brickbats at MND and Mr. Khaw, Singaporeans should applaud them. To me, they did something admirable here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Beijing Floods

Another who read the news in the past few days knows about the floods that hit Beijing. The heaviest rainfall in 60 years caused floods that killed 37 people and sparked fierce criticism of the Chinese government.

In a mark of how out of touch the Chinese government is, the propaganda chief of Beijing, Lu Wei, has ordered Chinese media to “stick to good news about weekend floods”. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read this.

What good news is this guy talking about? Is this about the 37 people who had died? Is about the lack of warning to the citizens? Is it about the fact that waters rose to 2m in less than half an hour due to the city’s poor drainage systems? Is it about how all these happened in the capital of China?

This is a disaster. This is a crisis and authorities want to “focus” on good news? Man, how out of reality can you get?

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Real Sign

Last week, retired businessman Goh Poh Ket, 65, got into a fight with his neighbour over parking space outside their homes along Jalan Chulek. Some people had commented that this is another sign Singapore is bursting at the seams.

Sorry but you guys are wrong. This incident is about bad neighbours fighting over a parking space. It happens all the time, even before the open door policy for foreigners. However do you want to know a real sign of Singapore bursting at the seams?

It’s reports that Singaporeans are now buying properties and moving to Malaysia. Now, Singaporeans moving to Malaysia is nothing new but what’s new is the type of people moving to Malaysia.

It used to be only Singaporean Malays who go to Malaysia but nowadays, we have Singaporeans Chinese buying properties and staying in Malaysia. And we are not talking about retirees here; Singaporeans in their 30s and 40s are moving north of the Causeway and moving their families along.

You want to know a sign of Singapore bursting at the seams? When young Singaporeans decide to vote with their feet and move their money and family out of Singapore because they believe they will have a better future away from Singapore. Now that’s a sign!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Blatant Sexism Works!

I have never heard of the “Merry-Land Resort Theme Park”. Evidently it’s some sort of combo theme park/resort/golf club in southern China and you know how I know? I know because the theme park is now in the news with a blatantly sexist promotion.

In a bid to boost visitor numbers, the management of the theme park came up with a strange promotion; half-price admission to women in mini-skirts shorter than 38 centimeters. The theme park actually has female staff members waiting at the park entrance armed with rulers! Women wearing short dresses and shorts do not count, only skirts. Oh, and coincidentally (or not) a “water-splashing festival” is taking place at the park at the same time and the park encourages patrons to splash the ladies with water.

You know what’s even stranger? The unapologetic sexist promotion is working! The park’s deputy manager, Li Wenxing, said that visitor numbers have soared since the campaign was implemented and female visitors are more than happy with the campaign.

What does this tell you? It means blatant sexism works! Quickly; we need some theme parks in Singapore to follow this great example!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Comics this week

Justice League #11- The first story arc of JL was great as writer Geoff Johns gave us a good story of how the team formed. This follow-up story arc was always going to have a hard time to match it and thus far, I have to say it has failed. The whole fight between Green Lantern and Wonder Woman just makes no sense. I like a good brawl between heroes as such as the next guy but it need to make at least some sense in the story. Outside the art of Jim Lee, this issue was flat. Just like last issue, the Shazam back-up got the better of the main story. This Black Adam seems more evil and angry and Billy Batson finally got somewhere. However when the backup beat the main story twice in a row…

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

An Own Goal

What drama! On the first day of the hearing for what has been dubbed the "Hougang by-election case", drama filled the court when Mr Wong Siew Hong tried in vain to stop the case from proceeding. Lawyer M Ravi was to argue a case at the High Court on whether the Prime Minister of Singapore has unfettered discretion in deciding whether and when to call by-elections when Mr Wong who was a representative of the Law Society, showed a letter to the judge from Mr Ravi's psychiatrist, Dr Calvin Fones Soon Leng.

The letter stated that Mr. M Ravi is currently unfit to practice law due to a relapse of bipolar disorder.

However the drama quickly turned into confusion when Mr Ravi openly questioned the letter from the psychiatrist. The letter stated that Dr Fones reviewed Mr Ravi on May 14 "following the concerns expressed by his friends" but Mr Ravi claimed that the date should be July 14 and he only saw the doctor for 10mins on that day. Not only that, Mr. Ravi claimed that the doctor never told him of any concerns he had of his health. Mr Ravi also insisted that this letter was just a ridiculous conspiracy against him to block him from arguing the case.

If that wasn’t enough, the Law Society then publicly hung Mr Wong out to dry when it said that Mr Wong acted on his own and that although Mr Wong is the appointed lawyer to represent the society to liaise with Mr Ravi and Dr Fones in regard to Mr Ravi’s condition, there was “no application whatsoever by the Law Society to in any way prevent Mr Ravi from appearing in Court”.

Now everyone in Singapore is asking what in the world prompted Mr Wong to go down to the High Court (on his own) to present a letter from Mr Ravi’s psychiatrist Dr Calvin Fones when he did not get any go ahead from the Law Society? Also how could the doctor send the letter, which was wrongly dated, to the society without informing his patient first?

So rather amazingly, it’s the Law Society and its member Mr Wong Siew Hong that are in the hot seat right now. Not only is Mr. Ravi not in trouble, he came out smelling like roses! In short, if this was an attempt to block the case from being heard, as alleged by Mr. Ravi, it was so amateurish done it was a bad, bad own goal.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Worrying Speech

On the news today is a speech given by Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen in which he stated that the Singapore government need to strike a balance between economic growth and inflow of foreigners. Mr. Ng also said that such a balance is based on what Singaporeans are willing to support, because if Singapore tighten too much, the jobs of Singaporeans will be at risk.

Not for the first time, the Singapore government see the forest but missed the trees. The main problem Singaporeans have with foreigners is the fact that the jobs of Singaporeans ARE being affected by the number of foreigners in Singapore. Singapore has one of highest rate of foreign influx per capita in the world and its an open secret that Singaporeans above the age of 40 are being squeezed out of the labor market by the influx of cheap young foreign labor.

And what’s all this talk about "balance"? Since when has there ever been "balance" in Singapore's foreign influx policy? 1 in 4 people in Singapore is a foreigner (some say 1 in 3) so it’s a little late for the government to speak about “balance” now.

The speech by Mr. Ng was nice but all it did was once again emphasis the fact that the Singapore government just does not understand the reason behind why Singaporeans are now so against foreigners! Now I find that worrying.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Captured Dog

In Japan, there is a legendary story of a dog called 'Hachiko' who always wait at a train station for its owner, even after the owner had died. In Singapore, a dog has recently been called the 'Hachiko' of Jurong East as it became a well-known sight at Jurong East St 31.

It has been captured.

36-year-old Kevin Teo hired a few men to capture the dog as he wanted to adopt it. Now I have nothing against Mr. Teo but I always wonder why Singaporeans can’t just leave things be. The dog has always minded its own business and seems to prefer living on its own. It ran away every time someone tried to approach it and it has escaped several attempts to capture it before.

Now I understand Singaporeans are city people and as such most of us are terrified of wild animals (cats, dogs, monkey, boars etc), but seriously there’s no reason to start catching or culling every animal that’s roaming free. I mean this dog hasn’t disturbed anyone (quite the contrary in fact) so why the need to catch it?

I hope it has a good home with Mr. Teo and his wife, but if it was up to me; I’ll leave the dog alone.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

No Winner

As widely expected, a British court has cleared ex-England football captain John Terry of racially abusing fellow footballer Anton Ferdinand in a football match in October.

For anyone who do not know, the Chelsea and England defender was accused of calling Ferdinand "black" and using extreme sexual swear words. Terry do not deny saying those words, only that he repeating what he thought Ferdinand had said to him as they traded insults. What’s even funnier was the fact that Anton Ferdinand can't say he heard the remarks. He only complained about the incident after seeing a video from Youtube (of all places) of the exchange.

This is a football match. People insult each other all the time on the field and both players openly admit they were having a go at each other. In the heat of a match, people says stupid things. So I have to ask this; how the hell did this case get to the courts?

Football was harmed. Terry was stripped of his captaincy. England’s preparation for Euro 2012 was disturbed. Who wins here? This case should never have gone to court because anyone with any common sense can tell that it was unwinnable for the prosecution.

Friday, July 13, 2012

It's Free

Free! It’s the magic word in Singapore right up there along with “discount”. It's no secret that Singaporeans like free things and most would willingly go to great length for free items. So someone in Singapore needs to have the same idea as the people at Fantastic Delites.

Fantastic Delites, an Australian snack food company, set up a vending machine to see just how far people will go for free items. As a marketing ploy, the company set up the Delite-O-Matic vending machine at a shopping mall in Adelaide that asks people to do embarrassing tasks for free gifts. The first person only had to put a button 100 times, but then the number started going up and some people had to hit the button 5,000 times. Then the machine got more creative in its tasks.

It started asking people to bow down in worship or to dance in front of the machine…and people did! Of course the prizes got better the more outrageous the task. For pushing the button 500 times, you get a pack of snacks, but for pushing it one million times, you get two packs of snacks and a private island holiday in Fiji.

However according to the website on the company website, no one has pushed the button one million times yet. Silly Australians! If they had done this in Singapore, the prize would be gone by now! It’s free!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Comics this week

Demon Knights #11- Anyone who had read #1 knew that Camelot would work its way into the series sooner or later. Writer Paul Cornell did not disappoint. The link between Madam Xanadu and Arthur came a little out of the blue but overall the issue is a good fantasy issue full of magic, action and a little bit of mystery. The art by Diogenes Neves this issue wasn’t as great as previous issues but it was solid and serviceable. After the so-so last issue, Demon Knight is back on track.

Harbinger #2- One of the things that made Peter Stanchek such a great character is that while he was a nice guy who tries to do the right thing, he makes a lot of bad decisions. This Harbinger relaunch by Joshua Dysart and Khari Evans kept that and this series is all the better for it. One change I do hope they’ll keep is to maintain Toyo Harada as a dark version of Professor X. To me, he has always works better as such a character than an outright villain.

Bloodshot #1- Although Bloodshot was one big hit for the Valiant Universe, I was never a fan of the character. I am a fan of this version of Bloodshot! The main plot of the character seems to be the same with Bloodshot being a man subjected against his will to a scientific experiment that made him into the ultimate killing machine but writer Duane Swierczynski has cleverly mixed several genres into an enjoyable espionage/military/sci-fi story. This issue shows a lot of promise and if the following issues are anywhere near as good as this one, Bloodshot will once again be a hit.  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sporting Equality

With the London Olympics Games coming, I just read a report on “gender equality” on sports. The report made out that this is the first Olympics that women will compete in all 26 sports including boxing.

Uh…really? I must say I was surprised when I read this. Why is woman boxing in the Olympics? I am all for women in combat sport, I have no problem with women competing in karate, judo etc, but boxing? How many women are there in the world who compete in boxing?

Woman boxing is a niche sport, at best! It has no place in the Olympics. If you really want more women in the Olympics, then put in sports that women actually plays. Take the example of netball. Surely there are more women playing netball in the world than doing boxing. Why is a niche sport like woman boxing in the Olympics but not netball?

I am all for the trend towards gender equality on sports but equality does not mean both men and women playing the same sports. That’s not equality because men and women like to play different sports. That is just a fact.

To me, having woman boxing isn’t a sign of gender equality on sports. It’s trying to shoehorn women into a sport most of them don’t play and have no desire to. To me, that’s almost the opposite of equality.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Amazing New Life

Tennis great Roger Federer made history once again over the weekend when he won his seventh Wimbledon win. Unlike previous times, this time the crowd was firmly against as he was playing against Briton Andy Murray.

Murray was aiming to be the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936 so it’s fair to say the whole of Britain was against Federer that day…except for a charity. Over 9 years ago, a British gambler Nicholas Newlife placed a 1,500-pound bet on Federer winning Wimbledon this year at the odds of 66/1. British bookmaker William Hill paid up after the Swiss champion won Wimbledon again.

As if the bet wasn’t incredible enough, things got even crazier. Mr. Newlife died in 2009 and at his death he left all his belongings, including his betting slips, to anti-poverty charity Oxfam. The payout for the charity came up to 101,840 pounds!

A 9 year bet that nets a charity over 100,000 pounds. Just as it seems that there is new life in a reported has-been in Federer, there is also new life for the charity a dead man. Now that’s amazing!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Opposite Ends

It is a well-known fact that America and Russia are not friends. The 2 countries find themselves on opposite ends on a lot of issues; the latest being Syria. Now it seems their weather are getting into the action.

Whereas a blistering heat wave has caused 30 deaths in America, torrential rain in Russia has caused severe flooding in the Black Sea region of Russia causing a death toll of 171 people. To put it in even more perspective, the heat wave in America had broken at least 3,000 temperature records in July alone while the rain in Russia is the heaviest in over 70 years. In fact the rains were so heavy, Russian leaders believed that over 2 months of rain fell in the area in just 24 hours!

If things weren’t so tragic, it would be funny. Heat wave in America, torrential rain in Russia; truly America and Russia are on opposite ends of the spectrum in all things.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The "Resorts"

The two casinos, sorry; integrated resorts, in Singapore had been runaway economic success stories in Singapore. Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), were opened in 2010 and Singaporeans have been flocking to them ever since they opened.

Now according to The Straits Times, the Casino Regulatory Authority is considering new proposes to limit Singaporeans entering the ca…integrated resorts. Proposes include limiting Singaporeans to 5 visits per month, stopping Singaporeans without a monthly income from entering, to hefty fines that could reach hundreds of millions of dollars for the "integrated resorts".

I, like most people I spoken to, consider these moves to be stupid. When MBS and RWS were opened, many people (civil groups, opposite political parties, religious leaders) had already told the Singapore government the social problems that would come with opening the “integrated resorts”. In fact, there had been protest even from within the People’s Action Party (PAP), the ruling party in Singapore. The government ignored the protests from everyone and gave the go ahead to MBS and RWS.

Now you have problem with them?

Sorry but Pandora's box has already been opened. The social problems we have now due to the “resorts” are hardly unexpected and frankly none of the proposes on the table is going to stop Singaporeans from going in. Most Singaporeans think this is nothing but a money grab from the Singapore government. The government see how successful the “resorts” are and now want a piece of the pie. I have to agree because nothing else makes sense.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls! The very title gives RPG players a sense of wonder and with good reason. When I first finished Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, I clocked in 100 hours before finishing it. It was that good of a game. I am happy to say that its sequel, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, is just as good!

Skyrim is the name of a northern province in the Tamerial gameworld where the Elder Scrolls is located and IT IS HUGE! However Skyrim isn’t just big; it is beautiful. Everything was drawn beautifully and you could literally sense how much care and effort Bethesda took to ensure everything was gorgeous. Even for me, a guy who firmly believes gameplay and story are much more important than graphics, the landscapes of Skyrim are truly breathtaking.

The overall feel of the game was also top notch. The land of Skyrim is supposed to be mountainous and by the Nine Divines, Bethesda got that down. The mountains, valleys, meadows and people feel just right for the province and the meticulous attention to detail truly made Skyrim a joy to explore.  

Of course as a RPG, the game live and die on its’ quests. On this, Bethesda truly shines. The story of Skyrim wasn’t much to talk about (much like Oblivion), but the sheer variety of quests in the game more than made up for it. I have played over 100 hours and I still have about over 20 quests in my questbook to complete. Better yet, a few of the quests has a “Wow” factor (Hint; Dark Brotherhood) to them that were incredible!

There were some dark spots in the game though. For one, I found that there were a lot of bugs in the game and we are talking about major bugs here that will stop you from completing quests and storylines. I had to go online to find a way to go around the “forever mourning” bug that plagued the Companions quests and mind you, I played Skyrim months after it came out so I’m surprised there’s still such a major bug in the game.

Another bug is the inability to use new “Shouts”. This one drives me up the wall because “Shouts” are such an important ability in the story but outside the ones you learned in-story, there is just no way to learn new “Shouts”. Bethesda put in a lot of them as a sort of Easter egg but what’s the use of finding a new “Shout” in a dungeon when you can’t use it?

Another thing I dislike is the way cut scenes are handled in the game. All the cut scenes (with only a few exceptions) are done in-game. However everytime an NPC walks past you, the NPC will give a comment on your latest exploits. So what happen a few times is that I will be viewing a cut scene, enjoying the story between the characters and then a NPC (who is not involved in the scene) will walk by me and then gives a useless comment that ruined the whole cut scene.

Yes, I know I said the story is not one of the stronger points of the game but to me, this is a silly problem to have. How hard could it be to ensure that useless NPCs keep their mouth shut while you’re in the middle of a cut scene?

In the end however, I have to strongly recommend this game to gamers. While I agree with some people’s comments that Skyrim doesn’t do anything to address the weaknesses of Oblivion, to me it doesn’t really matter. Oblivion was a great game and you don’t need to fix what’s not broken. Despite the bugs, Skyrim gives you big, bold and beautiful open world that will make you waste your life for a month or three. It is a game with great depth and arguably even better than Oblivion. I fully expect it to be acknowledged as a classic in a few years time. Play it if you don’t believe me; you will not regret it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Comics this week

Earth 2 #2- Sigh! I just knew it. Alan Scott’s male lover died and DC continued the tradition of killing off superheroes’ loved ones as a plot device. I will admit that writer James Robinson did a fine job with this issue though. Reimagining Alan Scott as the protector of The Green was a cool touch. I must say I never thought of it but it’s a solid idea that actually made sense. Robinson even put in a good idea on why he is using a ring as a weapon. With the exception of the tasteless killing of Scott’s lover, this was a fine issue.

Justice League Dark #10- I will say this for JL Dark; having John Constantine as the team leader is fun! The arrogant self-serving rogue magician made this issue ticked though I do worry that this series may have become too much of a Hellblazer series. Mr. Mist and Black Orchid are especially overshadowed this issue which I think is a missed opportunity as the duo are the most conflicted two of the whole bunch. Still, the whole issue was a fun read, especially the small tie-in with Demon Knights. Look forward to the next issue!

I, Vampire #10- Powerful people are often arrogant people and with his new powers, that is a hubris that Andrew Bennett got in abundance. Flushed with his new powers, he called in the vampires’ mortal enemies to negotiate a truce. He firmly believed his new powers will be able to keep his side safe; he was dead wrong (pun intended). In many ways, this issue showed how much better as a leader Mary was especially when compared to the naïve Bennett. After a poor issue last time, it’s good to see I, Vampire back on track.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Gods Have Humor

For the past few years, Singapore’s main business and shopping districts had suffered from flooding. So it’s not a surprise when the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) suffered a flood yesterday.

This was the first time the MBS was flooded since it opened as an exhibition centre in the basement of MBS was flooded around noon due to “a drainage issue”. An exhibition there held for the Singapore International Water Week had to be cordoned off till cleaning was completed at the area.

Uh? An exhibition for Singapore International Water Week was flooded? The first time MBS was flooded and it was during Singapore International Water Week? Ironic, isn’t it?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Secret World Patch

When a new MMORPG launch, there will always be bugs. It is a certainty. All of them have it in one way or another. So when Funcom announced that the details of the first major patch of their new MMORPG, The Secret World, you would think it’s a good thing right?

Not exactly…you see, The Secret World haven’t officially launch yet! Yes, I know early bird customers have been playing for a few days already but the launch isn’t official yet. How is it that the company can put together the details of the first patch before launch? It shouldn’t be possible right?

Not for Funcom. Now I played Age of Conan and liked the idea behind The Secret World so to me, Funcom is a company with some vision and credibility. However I find it incredulous that they had managed to put together the game's first major patch before launch! It tells me that Funcom knows about the problems but were unable to fix them before launch so they reveal this to forestall any complains from players.

In theory there’s nothing wrong with that but surely on principal, you should fix the problem before launch. Right now Funcom is saying, “Yes, we know these are the problems. We are trying to fix them. Please play the game with the problems for the moment.”

Now some players might find that Funcom did the right thing by being pro-active but to me, it is just wrong.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Greatest Team Ever!

I expected Spain to beat Italy. I fully expected them to confirm their supremacy by beating the Italians during the 90mins. However I did not expect them to crush the Italians by a score of 4-0.

Yes, I know 2 of the goals came in the last 6mins of play when the Italians went forward chasing the game but 4-0 is still 4-0! This result proved that this Spanish team is not just one of the greatest teams in football history, but the greatest team period!

Now some people have said that the Spaniards are boring; they play too much in midfield; they play without strikers; that Spain's tik-tak football is slow, monotonous, and predictable etc; but you try playing like that. They keep the ball like they owned it and no one can argue with success. This team is the first side to win three consecutive major tournaments (Euro 2008, 2010 World Cup and now Euro 2012). Not even the great Brazilian side in the 60s, led by Pele, managed that.

That is also why I think this Spanish team is the greatest team ever. Great sides almost always have a great player in them. The Brazilian side in the 60s had Pele, the great Dutch side in the 70s had Johan Cruyff, Diego Maradona’s Argentina was the team to beat in the 80s, and the French team in the late 90s and early 00s had Zinedine Zidane, the best player of his generation.

This Spanish team does not have that one great player in it. Although Andres Iniesta and Xavi are the architects of the team, the greatest players in this period are Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo; neither of whom is Spanish.

This Spanish team has a lot of good players but they are a great team without a truly great one. They win and win consistently as a team. That is why, in my humble view, they are the great team ever. They are a truly great TEAM!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Singapore Employers Are Spoiled

That’s right! They truly are! Why do I say that? I say it because even when 1 in 3 people in Singapore is a foreigner; employers in Singapore are still whining about not able to get workers.

That is total nonsense. There are more than enough foreign workers in Singapore. 1 in 3 people in Singapore is a foreigner and you can’t get workers? As they say in the finance sector; it’s not a matter of whether you can buy or sell, it’s a matter of whether you can buy or sell at the price you want!

Singapore employers don’t want just foreign workers; they want cheap foreign workers! They want foreign workers who are willing to work for long hours and low wages. I can understand that because that’s what foreign workers are here for; to suppress wages. It’s not unusual for foreign workers to earn just $4-$5 an hour but times are changing.

Things have been pushed too far. Foreign workers now no longer want to come to Singapore and almost all of them would rather go to Taiwan, Hongkong or even Malaysia! A few weeks ago, the Strait Times newspaper even ran a story on a Chinese national named Zhang Mingpu. The 23 year-old is returning to China after working for a stint in Singapore and he said that he will not be returning. Mr. Zhang said that he could get a pay similar to what he is getting in Singapore when working in China so he would be working in China from now on.

He was talking about China! 

You know wages are a problem here when wages in Singapore is only on par with wages from China! I think that was why Members of Parliament (MP) from the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) recently said that Singapore may need to go “cold-turkey” on foreign workers and asked if immigrants create jobs. 

They have finally realized that wages are truly too low here in Singapore and even though they will not say it in public, they understand that wages in Singapore need to increase. Since the PAP have always refused to impose a minimum wage (and they would lose too much face if they reverse the policy publicly), slowing down the number of cheap foreign workers is the only way to go.