Thursday, February 28, 2013

Comics this week

Artifacts #25- You always knew this was coming. A team of the artifact-bearers will go after the Darkness. However, now that it’s here…I’m kind of disappointed by the battle. After some thoughts, I think I figure out the problem. Basically, this is the first part of a crossover, The Progeny, but writer Ron Marz tried too much. I know a lot of readers complain about the set-up issue before the battle, but the set-up issue is necessary and anyone who doubts that need to read this issue. At times, there were too much going on as Marz had to set a fast pace to cramp how Tom Judge setup the team and the battle against Jackie within the page count. Truth be told, there’s not much wrong with this issue but the pacing of the story is just wrong.

Justice League Dark #17- When this story arc first came about, I must say I was less than impressed. Making Tim Hunter a magical king returning to save his world hasn’t made my pulse raced but I have to say artist Mikel Janin and colorist Jeromy Cox seem to be having fun with the whole Science vs Magic battle on the world of Epoch. Also, we finally see Frankenstein do something of note. I still say the arc isn’t great but it’s fun and very enjoyable. Ultimately, that’s what matters in comics.

I, Vampire #17- Everyone knows how I feel about the cancellation of this great series and it seem the cancellation caught writer Joshua Hale Fialkov out as well. The artist mess of the previous issue seems to have been settled but the slow deliberate pace of the story in earlier issues have gave way to a quicker pace as Fialkov is in a rush to wrap things up. Parts of the story jump but with only 2 issues to go and so many plots to tie up, I think that’s understandable. Hopefully, Fialkov will finish the series on a high.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Higher Fines Please!

On the blog, SpotlightOnSingapore, the writer of the blog complained about the LTA (Land Transport Authority) being high-handed for issuing fine to vehicle that are illegally parked. The writer complained about CISCO officers who go into quiet private estate at night and into backlanes to look for these illegally parked vehicles.

I fail to see what the big deal is.

My position on LTA and CISCO issuing fines to these vehicles is totally different from the writer of Spotlight. I think there's nothing wrong with LTA or CISCO fining illegally parked vehicles; I am all for it. In fact, I don’t think they done enough!

I feel that a $70 or $120 fine for a vehicle that’s could cost up to $100,000 for the owner is nothing. If you are illegally park and can get away with it, great for you. But if you got fined, you pay the fine. That should be simple to understand right? What’s there to complain about? I don’t think any driver in Singapore can say they “don’t know” they cannot park or stop at roads with parking restriction lines.

However, the fine amount is so small I question who much the fine truly hurt the owners. I hope LTA revised their fines amount and make it costly for owners who park their vehicles illegally.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Singapore's Real Problem

An article on Reuters indicated that some Singapore companies are planning to leave Singapore due to rising costs and slow growth. The article state that a “severe labor shortage” is hobbling businesses in Singapore as the government tightens its immigration policies.

As a Singaporean, I find that extremely strange because if there’s a tightening of foreign labor in Singapore, I sure haven’t seen it. Singapore has the most open immigration policy in the region, if not in the whole of Asia, and a “tightening” of the policy will make Singapore…well, still the country with the open immigration policy in the region!

It’s laughable to hear anyone complain that Singapore is losing business due to “immigration policies”. Seriously; if there is a country right now in this region with an even more open immigration policy than Singapore’s, please tell our government about it because they are being heavily criticized from all quarters for having too open of an immigration policy!

Singapore isn’t losing business due to our immigration policies; it is losing business due to high inflation. A resale HDB flat in Bishan smashes the previous record of S$1 million set by a flat in Queenstown when it sold for $1.1 million; COE for cars almost reach $100,000; at the same time, wages for Singaporeans are stagnant.  

It’s simple economics. No matter how much Singapore wants something, they will not be able to buy it if their wages are too low and the price is too high. Inflation, not immigration is Singapore’s problem and that is something that (hopefully) our budget this year would tackle. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Comics this week

Justice League #17- One thing about Aquaman is that while he’s a great hero; most of the time, he’s a terrible king. Aquaman do not have a political bone in his body and being a politician is part of the skill-set needed in a king. Personally, I think it’s one of the reasons why the Aquaman of the New 52 is such a success. He can be the hero without being the half-ass king he’s always been. So when Aquaman became king again at the conclusion of this crossover, let’s just say I have my doubts. Frankly I don’t think writer Geoff Johns should change something that’s not broken. Having Aquaman taking the throne seems out of character, at least for this version of Aquaman. The same thing can be said of him sending his brother, Ocean Master, to jail. What happened to the brotherly love he's been shoving down our throat since Aquaman #1? The ending was a little of a letdown considering the excellent setup but it’s doesn’t change the fact that the crossover is a success. It’s just too bad; “Throne of Atlantis” was good when it had a change to be great.

Justice League of America #1- When you first don’t succeed, try again! That’s seen to be the motto for DC right now. With the cancellation of Justice League International, DC is trying again, this time with Justice League of America. Like most #1, Justice League of America #1 is a setup issue with Amanda Waller (rant: DC, bring back the fat version!) and Steve Trevor discussing the various people that will be on the team. Geoff Johns writes yet another DC series but I do enjoy the selection of David Finch for this series. Without question, the concept of the U.S. government wanting a group of superpowers who will only be answerable to them opens up an espionage angle on things and Finch’s version of characters like Hawkman, Catwoman and Martian Manhunter looks darker (and better) than the earlier New 52 version of them. Finch’s art is dark and gritty and if that’s where this series is heading, then there may be hope for this latest JL spin-off.

Green Lantern #17- Remember when I posted that the “Rise of The Third Army” storyline was overly long and often tedious? Well, it looks like I was on to something because in a page of this issue, The Third Army got turned to ashes by the First Lantern. I’m not sorry about the loss of the Third Army but seriously, after all those issues it’s a letdown to see them destroyed within a page. The new “Wrath of the First Lantern” storyline is a crossover so I will be collecting all the issues and I have to say Volthoom seems a lot better as a villain with his reality-changing powers than the Third Army ever was. Here’s hoping its going to be a lot better than “Rise of The Third Army.” 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

“Harlem Shake” Is Not A Dance!

I wouldn’t call myself a music person. I listen to the radio and know the songs, but I can’t play an instrument and can’t sing to save my life. However even though I’m a non-music person; it is still better than dance!

I can at least understand why people like the music they like (even if I don’t agree with them), but when it comes to dance…I can’t do it. I can’t dance. And if I try, I look like a bloated whale washed up on a beach.

The Macarena, Gangnam Style; never done them even when the crazes were at their peaks. Can’t do them either; yes I’m that bad.

However, as much as I can’t do either of those dance craze; it is nothing compare to the total confusion I have with the newest dance sensation, the "Harlem Shake". In case you don’t know what it is; the "Harlem Shake” usually has one person breaking out a dance move to a beat before some other people join in with their own style. The dance has no particular step or style; in fact, supposedly the more awkward looking the move, the better. YouTube now has over 12,000 “Harlem Shake” videos and thousands are being added everyday.

I wish to state my views clearly on this. “Harlem Shake” is not a dance!

I mean as bad as the Macarena and Gangnam Style is, at least there are some stupid movements you need to follow. This latest dance fad doesn’t even have that! “Harlem Shake” has no moves, no steps, no rhythm; you just do whatever you want.

Hell, even I can do it! So please, don’t call “Harlem Shake” a dance. Any dance move I can do is no dance move at all.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

National Defence Duty

Member of Parliament (MP) for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC Hri Kumar recently suggested that Singapore imposed a “National Defence Duty” on foreigners and PRs living in Singapore. The idea has been ridiculed by almost everyone in Singapore and looks dead on arrival.

I have to put my two cents worth on this. I don’t think the idea is that bad…provided he make a change in it! That is to allow Singaporeans to avoid National Service as well if they pay this “National Defence Duty”.

I mean it makes sense right? If foreigners and PRs living in Singapore have the option of not doing National Service, surely Singaporeans should have the option as well. I’m sure there’s plenty of rich Singapore families who would be more than willing to pay money for their sons to avoid serving 2 years in the army.

I mean everything being fair, if foreigners and PRs can avoid National Service with money; why not let Singaporeans do the same thing? As for people complaining about this being a way for rich Singaporeans avoiding...well, there’s already a widening gap between rich and poor Singaporeans now! 

Let’s make it official! Only poor Singaporeans need to do National Service! If there is going to be a price on National Service, let all Singaporeans have the option to pay it as well!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by ArenaNet and published by NCsoft. Set in the fantasy world of Tyria, the game is the sequel to Guild Wars, though set 250 years after the first game.

Much like Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2 features a lack of subscription fees. A purchase of the game is required to install the game but after that, players can play the game for free. There is a cash-shop in the game but that is entirely optional and despite playing the game for around 2 months, I personally never went into it and can’t tell the difference.

ArenaNet has said publicly that they wanted Guild Wars 2 to be different from your standard, average MMO game. On this, I have to agree that they had largely succeeded. From the beginning, Guild Wars 2 asked you to select your character’s background. The choices you picked would customize your own personal story, and that personal story varies very different depending on your choices. The variety of choices at the start of the game was great.

I loved the way ArenaNet almost forced players to help each other in the game. In Guild Wars 2, quests are public and even the group quests (called events) are so. Many times, I was wandering around when the game informed me there is an event on. I could just go to the location where the event was and joined in, even if it had already started. Everyone who joined get experience and rewards depending on how long and how much you did in the event. There’s no need to join a group or get an invitation, you just go to the locations of the event and pitch in. The ease of this system made it advisable and easy for players to help other players and is something other MMORPGs should look into.

Also I have to give credit to ArenaNet on the design of the games. The various zones and cities were very well done. Each of the five starting cities (one for each race) has a distinct look and feel to them. The human’s city of Divinity’s Reach has a medieval fantasy feel to it while the Asura’s Rata Sum is based almost totally around technology. Each city has a style of its own and they were fun to explore.

The game also had beautiful visuals. I’m no graphics snob but I have to say Guild Wars 2 is a beautiful game. I’m especially impressed with the underwater combat and scenes. Water is one of the hardest things to get right in a game and ArenaNet kill it there.

Of course, not everything was golden.

Like most MMORPGs, the story of the game was disappointing. Although I enjoyed the starting story of the character, I was disappointed also because the game mostly ignored your character’s background once you finish with the initial storyline. Around level 30 onwards, once you join one of Tyria’s major Orders, it’s as if the choices you picked at the start did not matter. I thought this was disappointing as I thought ArenaNet was on to something there at the start.

Also, the game doesn’t do a job explaining the various concepts of the game. I exactly thought there was no PVP in this game at first till I notice that I had a PVP world icon at the top of the screen. Also, the game never explained the salvage and item collection system. I mean the system is great but for a long time, I didn’t how to use it and it was only through trial, error and Youtube did I finally figure it out. ArenaNet really need to better explain such matters to players.

Lastly, Guild Wars 2 suffers from a problem most MMORPGs suffer from; class imbalance. I always tried out all the classes and races on offer before deciding on which combination of class and race to continue on. I have to say some of the classes are far and away more powerful than others. It’s still a relatively new game so there’s plenty of time for ArenaNet to get things right but I think this is something they need to take a careful look into.

Guild Wars 2 has been on many gamers’ radar for quite a while, and has been touted (fairly or not) as yet another Wow-killer. After playing the game for about 2 months, I can say that World of Warcraft players can relax. This game is not going to kill off WoW. However, Guild Wars 2 is a very good game. It is a highly enjoyable game that tried successfully to change a few things for the MMORPG genre. Take a look at it and enjoy the ride.

Monday, February 18, 2013

What Would Be The Response?

For years, political parties in Singapore have been complaining about the apathy of Singaporeans. This complain is mostly true because we Singaporeans most of the time have no interest in politics.

So it’s came to me with some surprise when I read that around 4,000 people showed up at a protest at Hong Lim Park during the weekend. The protest was against the passing of the now infamous “6.9 million by 2030” White Paper of the Singapore government.

Now I have written before on how unpopular the White Paper is but even I am surprised by the number of people who turned up at the protest. To be fair to myself, even the organizers of the protest did not expect so many people to turn up. I read that one organizer thought that around 300 people would turn up; in the end, the exact number of people who showed up was 10 times more than expected!

I have to say this proves that the White Paper has hit a raw nerve among ordinary Singaporeans. The crowd at Hong Lim Park showed up despite the rain and it could be argued that even more people would have showed up if it wasn’t raining.

All in all, the White Paper has been nothing but trouble for the Singapore government. Not only are ordinary Singaporeans dead set against it, the opposition parties in Singapore have quietly and effectively hopped on the bandwagon. Their presence in the debate has made the situation into a political crisis for the ruling People's Action Party (PAP).

The protest at Hong Lim is almost unheard of in Singapore and it present a new set of challenges for the PAP. It would be interesting to see how they response to the political millstone The White Paper had become. The ball is now in their court. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Comics this week

Bloodshot #8- Now I know writer Duane Swierczynski is trying to build a bigger story arc; I understand that Bloodshot is confused and in need of answers. However, the main thing about Bloodshot is that he is a stone-cold killer who is trying to be someone more than that. Swierczynski's Bloodshot seem to have forgotten about the killer part of the deal. Yes, I know he did rip the head off someone in this issue but most of the time, Bloodshot look like a confused drunk here. Bloodshot spend most of this issue getting pummeled by the bad guys and is only saved by the machines in his body. Artist Manuel Garcia is a decent artist but he also seen to be someone who do not know his weakness. Many times in this issue, he drew the heads of the characters out of proportion to the body and it hurts the issue. It's not a bad issue but well...Bloodshot just doesn't seen like Bloodshot.  

Demon Knights #17- At the end of Cornell's run, Demon Knights was running out of gas but with this second issue by writer Robert Venditti and artist Bernard Chang, I can safely say the series is now back on track. Venditti has thus far tried to keep his team small, focusing on Exoristos, Sir Ystin, and the Horsewoman. This focus has made things interesting, especially given that these three characters were lesser characters during Cornell's run. Venditti seen intend to make up for lost time and the 3 characters had been given room to grow. If this issue is an indication of things coming up, I want him to keep it this way. This issue was excellent.

Threshold #2- One good thing about a new anthology series is that with expectations low, the writers feels they have more freedom to try new things. That is the case for Threshold. I mean who would have thought that the space butler of Larfleeze would steal the show from all the characters in this issue. I mean we have a former undercover Green Lantern in Jediah Caul, a killer in Stealth, Blue Beetle, a cyborg rabbit in K-Rot, Larfleeze, the space smugglers called the Star Rovers, and without question, the butler stole the show. WE NEED MORE SPACE BULTERS!

Friday, February 15, 2013

No Evidence

In a verdict that surprised no one, former Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) director Ng Boon Gay was acquitted of all four corruption charges against him. The case has gripped Singapore since late last year when it started but from the very start the prosecution had problems proving that corruption was involved.

Mr. Ng has been having an affair with former IT sales executive Cecilia Sue. Her then employers Oracle Corporation Singapore and Hitachi Data Systems managed to get two separate IT contracts worth S$320,000 from the CNB. The prosecution’s case is that Mr. Ng influenced the tender of the contracts in return for sex.

The problem is that they can’t prove it!

I admit; when I first read about the case, it looked very bad for Mr. Ng. However from the very get-go, I had problems understanding the prosecution’s case. In their opening statement, the prosecution admitted that Mr. Ng had at no time influenced or was directly involved in the process of awarding the two contracts. Yet somehow they still charge Mr. Ng for corruption!

The problem for the prosecution is that they had no proof! Like I said earlier, it looks bad, but even so you still need to prove that there was corruption. The prosecution was unable to do that and frankly, this case should never have made its way to the court. The evidence just wasn’t there. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Ridiculous Stupid IOC

Let me make no bones about my position; the 15 members of International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board are nuts! Wrestling, an Olympic sport since the first Games is going to be dropped for the 2020 edition of the Olympic Games.

I find that decision to be incredible. Wrestling is not very popular in Singapore but even I have to say it should be in the Olympics. Wrestling is one of the original events in the first Olympic Games, it was even in the Olympics held by the ancient Greeks, and now the IOC are saying it is not an Olympic sport? What kind of bloody sense does that makes?

You know what really gets me? Wrestling is out while sports like beach volleyball are still in. You are telling me that beach volleyball is more of an Olympic sport than wrestling? On Yahoo, there is a poll which over 67% of people say that it should be in the Olympics. If you put one up there, I’m sure sports like modern pentathlon and beach volleyball will have far less than 67%.

I don’t care about television viewership or effective lobbying by the other sports; it is ridiculous that wrestling is not considered an Olympic sport! It is more than ridiculous, it is stupid!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Admirable Decision

I, like most people, have no idea that a Pope can resign. When the Vatican shocked the world by announcing the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, my first question was whether that is even possible.

It seen that it is, though Pope Benedict XVI would be the first Pope to resign in over 600 years. Even though I’m not a Christian, I agree that it is a momentous announcement and one I have to admire Pope Benedict XVI for.

Pope Benedict XVI made the surprise announcement saying he could no longer fulfill his duties due to his declining strength and energy. At 85 years of age, that is understandable but his announcement is still shocking because no Pope in living memory had given up his position due to his own personal frailties. I dare say that if Pope Benedict XVI had decided to continue on in his position, no one would say anything. I mean it is so unusual that the Vatican is still deciding what title and what to call Pope Benedict XVI once he resigns.

Instead he made the harder choice and gave up his position and power to make way for a younger, more energetic man. That is admirable and a decision I’m not sure I would have been able to make. Frankly, I don’t care about the Pope or Benedict XVI (like I said, I’m not a Christian) but with this decision, he has my admiration.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Very Unpopular Paper

Recently I had posted on the Singapore government announcing that they intend to continue the policy of open immigration, boosting the population of Singapore to 6.9 million by 2030. I also mentioned the backlash from the Singapore public.

Since then, the Singapore government had tried (unsuccessfully) to put the fire out but backtracking a little. Senior government ministers had tried to change the argument by saying that the population target of 6.9 million is not a target at all but a “worst-case scenario” or a “just in case scenario”. Others have said that it’s not a policy but a “roadmap” for the future of Singapore.

One thing is clear amidst all the confusion and backtracking; the policy/roadmap/worst-case scenario white paper is so controversial that even PAP backbenchers are loath to endorse it! However, being government backbenchers, they have to vote for the policy when push comes to shove.

However, I still have to applaud them on how “creative” they are in publicly expressing their unhappiness at the policy. Take Holland-Bukit Timah MP Liang Eng Hwa for example. On the motion asking Parliament to give its nod to the controversial population white paper, the MP sought to revise the motion by striking the word “policy” off from it!

He argued (I think with a wink at senior ministers) that the phrase “population policy” should be removed, and further elaboration should be provided by the government on their focus on “Singapore’s core citizen population” among other matter. Several other PAP MPs immediately spoke in support of Mr. Liang’s amendments with a few openly criticizing parts of the white paper.

Some would say this does matter as in the end the PAP MPs would all vote in favor of the white paper (and that's what happen) even if they do not like, but I think this tells people just how massively unpopular the white paper is. I mean even loyal PAP backbenchers felt obliged to have their say. If the vote for the PAP goes down in the future, I think we can all say they had more than enough warning. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Comics this week

Earth 2 #9- Writer James Robinson seen to be having a lot of fun writing Earth 2. I mean not only does he introduce Doctor Fate into the New 52, he managed to sneak in an Easter egg in Judo Master. I mean seriously; Judo Master? I took a double take when the Flash got thrown by Major Sonia Sato and then it hit me; Judo Master! I wonder how many people got that one. One thing I have noted is that Robinson seems to have a clear science/magic divide on Earth 2. Wonders who got their powers via science and training (Sandman, Atom, Red Tornado, Judo Master) serve the World Government, whereas wonders who got their powers via magic (Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl and now Dr Fate) do not serve the World Government. That actually makes some sense as these wonders all answer to various mystical entities and as such, don’t and can’t serve the World Government. I’m not sure about Khalid Ben Hassin. I found the holder of the magical Helm of Nabu (and the new Doctor Fate) to be kind of whiny but I’ll wait before giving my final verdict on him. I won’t say this is a great issue, but it sure was a fun one.

Legend of The Shadow Clan #1- Amazingly, one of the smaller comics company, Aspen Comics, has reached its 10th year anniversary. As a promotion, they intend to come out with ten new miniseries over next ten months. An ambitious undertaking and first up is “Legend of The Shadow Clan”, a story about the Himura family, a normal American-Japanese family who discovered that their ancestors were mystic ninjas and that they had inherited some of their ancestors’ abilities. I admit I only pick this up because of the $1 price tag but don’t let the price fool you; this is a good promising series. As expected from Aspen, the art was good. Cory Smith did an excellent job with both the action sequences and the quiet, subtle family scenes. What is more surprising however was the story from writer David Wohl. Despite how little screen-time the Himura family has, Wohl’s script give you a good sense on their personalities and their relationship with each other. Good story, good art; there’s nothing wrong with this issue. Hopefully, the rest of the mini-series is just as good. If they are, then Aspen has a surprise sleeper hit on their hands. 

I, Vampire #16- For a guy whose own book has been cancelled, John Constantine is one busy man. Not only is he in JL Dark, he show up here as well. Now if I could only understand why? Writer Joshua Hale Fialkov turned in another solid script that was dark, intense and humorous, all at the same time. So I can’t understand why he then had Constantine showed up and spoilt it all. Frankly, the cast of “I, Vampire” is strong enough to carry on without him and (I know its blasphemy) I think the story works better without him overshadowing everyone. The biggest problem with this issue however is not Constantine, but the various artists working the issue. I know Andrea Sorrentino has moved on to Green Arrow and this series is ending, but that still does not excuse the terrible mess. I can understand if DC got 1-2 replacements for this issue but 4? Worse is that each of them is doing an alternate page! Which editor at DC thought this was going to work? Even if the artists are good (and to be fair some of them are), it’s just not going to work when the art style changes page to page. That’s too bad because the writing from Fialkov remind top notch. Hopefully, the last few issues of this great series will have a regular artist working on them. The series, and Fialkov, deserve it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Crime-Free Singapore

Question: “Why is Singapore so crime-free?”
Answer: “Singapore isn’t crime-free! We, Singaporeans, just suck at crime!”

In Singapore, that’s a running joke for comedians. However, it’s a running joke that needs to be revised as Singapore's reputation for being a crime-free city just got whacked by Europol.

Europol said that an international investigation involving 5 countries in Europe had identified 380 football matches in Europe whose results were targeted and influenced by a Singapore-based betting cartel. On top of these 380 matches, another further 300 suspicious matches outside Europe (in Africa, Asia, and South and Central America) have been identified by Europol as being “suspect”.

In total, investigators say they believe the Singapore-based betting cartel had a network of couriers that ferried bribes to pay off players and referees around the world. They believe about 425 corrupt officials and players spread over 15 countries were involved with the cartel.

Now Singapore's role in international match-rigging has long been clear. Infamous match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal was jailed in Finland and another Singaporean, Dan Tan, is still wanted in Italy over the "calcioscommesse" scandal. However, 680 matches that are spread out throughout the world?

Wow! I think there’s something wrong with me because I feel kind of proud of this. I mean these weren’t small games. Some of the 680 suspicious matches include qualifying games for the World Cup, the European Championships, and the European Champions League! That is about as big as you can get.

When Singaporeans do crime, we don’t do it small. For years, Singaporeans have been a punchline on how clean and crime-free our city is. No more! This is the end of that joke! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Extreme Campaign

In Singapore, every time we have an election, the campaign period is 10 days. This is the minimum period needed and in recent memory, it has always been the case. Now I know this is highly unusual in most countries. Most other countries have an official election campaign period much longer than 10 days.

However, Australia takes the cake Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard just announced that Australia will go to the polls on Saturday 14 September. That’s means Australia will have a whopping 8 months before the election. Some people in Australia are already joking these 8 months will be their pregnancy period!

Now I know in some countries, it is said that the election cycle never ends but still…8 months? That’s a long, long time in politics. So whereas Singapore is extreme in the shortest, it seen that Australia is on the other end of the extreme. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Not Worried Enough

Right now, it’s almost a broken record. Singapore’s population in 2004 was 4.1 million, now it’s 5.3 million. An increase that has driven up property prices, increase inflation, stoked social tension, and cause the previously invincible ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) to lost its swagger in recent elections.

Ignoring their recent election losses, the PAP now publicly report that the population growth of Singapore will continue, with the population projected to be 6.9 million in the year 2030. Of which only 55% will be Singaporeans, while the rest will be "non-resident foreigners". This means that even permanent residents of Singapore will be considered as Singaporeans and natural-born Singaporeans in Singapore will be under 55% by 2030.

As expected, most Singaporeans are against the idea with the internet aflame with comments blasting the government. Most seems surprised at the report, with many saying that the PAP is ignoring the people by announcing this just after losing the Punggol East by-election. Those people are incorrect because I believe it is due to the election loss that the government announced the report now.

The next general election is in 2016, 3 years from now. Announcing the report now means that the government has 3 years to make people forget about the long-term planning of Singapore. Let’s admit it; every election cycle, Singaporeans vote on bread-and-butter issues, not the long term plans of Singapore 14-15 years down the line. The government knows this policy is unpopular, so that’s why they announced it now, 3 years before the next election.

As for why the government does not cancel the policy of open immigration, the answer is simple. The PAP government has already implemented the policy already and is not in any danger of losing their majority in Parliament. Think about it; they hold an 80-7 advantage in Parliament and the opposition posed no threat to them. Anyone who believes a by-election loss is going to change their minds on policies is in dreamland!

So Singaporeans who think that the government is ignoring the people are wrong. The government does care about the elections loss, that’s why they are announcing the population projection now. They’re just…not worried enough to change their minds on policies they have already implemented.  

Friday, February 1, 2013

Comics this week

Aquaman #16- Reading comments on the net about Junstice League #16, it seem most people were unhappy with the issue as all it did was to setup the finale. Personally, I thought it was a fine issue but anyone with problems with JL #16 will probably look at it in a different light with Aquaman #16. Because the payoff at the end was great! Writer Geoff Johns threw it out of left-field but the twist was possible and done well. Artist Paul Pelletier matched the story with some beautiful artwork, even in the Trench when darkness prevailed. An excellent issue that moves the Justice League/Aquaman crossover up a notch; it has become an early contender for crossover of the year.

Green Lantern Corps Annual #1- The overly long and often tedious “Rise of The Third Army” storyline ends in this annual and though the storyline was mostly a bore, the ending was a blockbuster. Writer Peter Tomasi and artist Chris Cross put together an awesome annual that had a breathtaking showdown between the Guardians and…well, almost everyone else. There’s end to end action and for once, Guy Gardener was actually important and, gasp, competent. Credit must go to Peter J. Tomasi for managing to do that. The “Rise of the Third Army” is now over (thank god), now hopefully the writers can get back to business; getting the Lantern books back to the heights of “The Sinestro Corps War”.

Justice League Dark #16- The secrets of the Books of Magic were revealed in this issue and to say it was different from the pre-52 Books of Magic is an understatement. Writer Jeff Lemire basically took the origins of Tim Hunter and reworked everything. Not saying it’s a bad thing because the issue was pretty good, but the “returning king coming back to save the world” role has been done to death. If Lemire was going to rework Hunter’s origin, I was hopefully for something more original. Having said that, this was still a pretty good issue. Artist Mikel Janin turned in an excellent work. His work on the separate areas of Epoch was great, the differences between the magical area and science areas of the world was stark but at the same time, they are clearly set on the same world. Another strong effort in this intriguing series that has slowly become one of the stronger titles in the New 52.