Saturday, March 30, 2013

Comics this week

Justice League Dark #18- Huh? Jack Hunter is a mage just like his son, Tim? I'm sorry but this twist from writer Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes makes no sense. At no point in the "Death of Magic" did Jack Hunter ever showed any magic powers, how the hell did he suddenly got them now? Artist Mikel Janin and colorist Jeromy Cox did everything they could to salvage the mess but there's only do much they could do with a twist as nonsensical as this. 

I, Vampire #18- It is with a heavy heart that I write this review. This great series will end with the next issue and the cancellation has caused the quality to drop as writer Joshua Hale Fialkov tries to salvage an ending out of a storyline that was designed to go a lot longer than 3 issues. As Fialkov rush the story, the artist in this issue, Fernando Blanco, seem rushed as well. Certain details in the art is missing and at certain points, I have a hard time understanding the scene. It’s understandable that the quality has dropped due to the cancellation but hopefully Fialkov can finish everything off with a high in the last issue.

Red Lantern #18- Ring the bells, the best issue thus far in the "Wrath of the First Lantern" crossover comes from...a Red Lantern issue! Yes, the forgotten and much mocked stepchild of the Green Lantern universe have managed to do something the rest of the GL series have not; make me feel that the story of the crossover is actually moving forward. For that, writer Peter Milligan deserved an award. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Even For Charity

Chihayafuru is the title of a manga created by Yuki Suetsugu. It is a surprise hit based on a traditional Japanese card game that almost no one outside Japan had heard of and it even has a hit anime series. Now, doing her bid for charity, Suetsugu recently hosted an auction that gave the winning bidder the right to appear in the Chihayafuru manga.

The winner of the auction could even decide if they want to be a rival, a classmate etc, of the main characters and Suetsugu say she is also open to requests to which character the winner wants to appear with. All profits from the auction will go to helping those affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

In a show of how popular the manga is, the start bid for the auction was 5,000 yen (about US$52), but it quickly rose to 100,000 yen (about US$1,050). Now I am all for artists and writers doing their bid for charity. However, I am also together against artists and writers selling scene time for money. 

The fact that the money will be used for a good cause is an altogether different matter. Even if it’s for a good cause, selling scene time in comics is something I’m against. This may be a one-off, but this is a slippery slope and something I hope will never happen again. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Landmark Ruling In New Zealand

In what’s called “a landmark ruling”, international students in New Zealand have been barred from working in the sex trade. Yes, it means that before this, foreign students in New Zealand were allowed to be prostitutes.

If you are anything like me, you are probably laughing your guts out right now. Now some countries, including Singapore, allow prostitution but you’re telling me that foreign students in New Zealand were allowed to be prostitutes before this “landmark ruling”?

I can understand allowing foreigners to be prostitutes, but foreign students? For real? Truly? Amazing but true. 

Monday, March 25, 2013


The Amazing Race is my favorite reality show. Frankly, outside The Voice, it's the only reality show I see regularly. There's just something great about seeing contestants doing all those detours and roadblock in strange countries around the world.

In a recent episode of the show, contestants were in Vietnam and were filmed at the site of a crashed U.S. B-52 bomber. There was also a segment where players had to listen to a pro-communist anthem being sung. For that, the producers found themselves on the receiving end of public backlash from the American public.

Why? Seriously, I must have watch 2 dozens shows and movies showing American soldiers killing thousands of Vietnamese. You know, the land where thousands of Vietnamese died from American bullets, bombs and Agent Orange.  I never heard any complains about sensitivity then. 

And The Amazing Race got into trouble for a small segment in Vietnam? Considering all the movies they made about the Vietnam War, it's a little rich for Americans to be complaining about it now. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Game of Thrones- The TV show

The Game of Thrones is a hit American TV show based on writer George RR Martin’s fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. I’m a huge fan of the first book of the series, The Game of Thrones, which it one of the best books I have ever read. I still remember my disbelief when Ned Stark’s head rolled.

However, I just can’t get into the TV show.

Now I know the TV show is actually bigger than the book series. It is widely considered the most pirated TV show of 2012 and the popularity of the show had bought new fans, most of whom wouldn’t touch a fantasy book if their life depended on it, to the series. There are conventions where fans dressed up as characters of the show; all sort of goods are being sold based on the show; there is even a fan that recreate scenes from the show on his website via the medium of Lego.

I have all the books, and the show seems to follow the book pretty faithfully, but I just don’t get it. I just can’t get the Game of Thrones as a TV show and I think I know why.

It’s on TV.

I think that’s my problem with The Game of Thrones. It’s a fantasy show of dragons, knights and swords on television. A medium that I think doesn’t suit the genre. So as the third season of the show start, I find myself in a strange situation. Watching a show I know the story of in a medium which I don’t think suit the story.

Of course with all the fans it has, I’m in the minority. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Careful Statement From MAS Does More Harm Than Good

Ouch! For those of you who don't know, Global Witness is an international NGO which has been around for about 20 years. Established in 1993, it works to break the links between natural resource exploitation, conflict, poverty, corruption, and human rights abuses worldwide.

With a charter like that, it's small wonder they decided to target Sarawak's Chief Minister Taib Mahmud. Mr. Taib had been the Chief Minister of the Malaysian state for the past few decades (since 1981) and has been accused of corruption for years. In a "sting" operation, , investigators posing as foreign investors got Taib's cousins and lawyers on video discussing plans to buy Sarawak land (illegally) for hefty profit and how they could evade taxes by funneling the money through Singapore.

Global Witness even put up a video titled "Inside Malaysia's Shadow State" which had went viral in the region. In it, a lawyer for Taib's family, Mr. Alvin Chong openly told the investigators it's "obvious" to go through Singapore to evade taxes as the Singapore government "has a China Wall... a firewall. They will not tell the Malaysian government nothing". He then went on to say that Singapore is "the new Switzerland. We operate Singapore accounts too, both personal and corporate entities".

What's worse for Singapore is that the video had snippets of conversations that implied that this arrangement is something that had been done before. When the investigators told Mr. Chong this plan seems very well-though out, he smiled and said he had "done it many a times". The video even had one of the Chief Minister's sisters, Norlia Abdul Rahman, describing how the money for the deal would be paid for in Singapore and that “it had been done before”.

Ouch! If there were any doubts that Singapore has become a centre for money laundering, this video pretty much settled it. This isn't the first time Singapore had been accused of being a centre for money laundering. Indonesia say about 20 Indonesian, all suspected of crimes in Indonesia, are all hiding out in Singapore.

In the wake of the video, both the Ministry of Finance and Monetary Authority of Singapore had come out with a careful statement on the claims made in the video. The statement state that the Singapore government do not withhold information requested by the Malaysian government.

Unfortunately for the Singapore government, that wasn't the main point of the video.

Seriously, who cares if info has been passed from Singapore to Malaysia? The main point of the video is that MONEY passed from Malaysia to Singapore. Money that was gotten from a dodgy land deal that went through Singapore to evade taxes. Did that happen? Had it happened before?

On this, there is silence from Singapore. And that is, unfortunately, as good as admitting it.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Comics this week

Justice League #18- “The Grid” opens up the Justice League to new members as the team have try-outs. This was a pretty engaging issue as various superheroes were invited up to the Watchtower but I also think it was pretty pointless. I mean some of these heroes had just stopped an invasion from Atlantis, now they had to have a try-out? Still the issue was saved by a few excellent character moments as well as good work work from artist Jesus Saiz. Another plus is the Shazam backup which was slightly longer than usual. This was a good thing as the backup here was one of the best in quite some time. I hadn't been all that impressed with the Shazam story thus far but maybe the story just need more pages to work. There was no backup last issue and maybe that's why the story was longer this issue. If that's the case, then I suggest DC keeps this new arrangement of the backup once every 2 issues.

Justice League of America #2- The team of the JLA comes together for the first time in a strange and comedic meeting. I must say the meeting was truly funny with Vibe and Hawkman providing the main laughs. We also get to see the characters' roles on the team; Vibe is the wide-eyed rookie, Stargirl as the public face of the team, Hawkman is the tough guy; and for the most part, everything's good. Personally, I rather writer Geoff Johns forget the anti-JL angle of the team and focus on the Secret Society. The argument between Amanda Waller and Steve Trevor was ponderous and overly long, but the worse thing about it was that nothing new was established. The two were merely stately their position like they did in #1. Even with these minor problems, I see promise with the story of JLA and with the art of artist David Finch, this series may have some staying power.

Green Lantern: The New Guardians #18- Nothing I haven't read before. That's my view after reading #18. This issue has the First Lantern torturing the various lanterns of the New Guardians and failing with most of them. This has to be the fourth or fifth issue where this happens and...I'm just no longer interested. I don't know if it's deliberate but writer Tony Bedard put together a pretty funny issue here with the First Lantern's reaction with Larfleeze being the funniest of the lot. Still, I just can't seen to get into the crossover. The title may be "Wrath of the First Lantern" but thus far I found the First Lantern to be anything but angry. He seems more bored and curious than anything else and "The Curiosity of the First Lantern" is not a good idea for a good crossover. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Unexpected Bailout

They never wanted a deal.

That’s what I think when I read that the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forced Cyprus to impose a one-off tax on Cyprus bank depositors as a part of a bailout of its banks.

Like most countries in Europe, Cyprus' banks are heavily exposed to the Greek debt crisis and now required a bailout. However the fact that the EU and the IMF required Cyprus to impose a tax on people who saved money in their banks is a first. Since the Great Depression, countries throughout the world had been on the warpath in protecting banks and ensuring that there are no bank runs. Under the Cyprus bailout terms, that had changed.

Under the 10 billion euros bailout, people in Cyprus with less than 100,000 euros in their accounts would have to pay a one-time tax of 6.75%. Those with sums over that would have to pay 9.9% in tax. Yes, a 10% tax on people who had saved money!

Yet as people throughout Europe and the world protested at the terms of the bailout, the devils are in the details. You see, in some ways Cyprus is a lot like Singapore. For years, Cyprus found growth not through industry but as a tax haven for the rich. Although the Cypriots never admitted it, they are a tax haven. Rich wealthy individuals stored their money in Cypriot banks to escape taxed in their own countries.

So when Cyprus needed a bailout, I don't think there's any question that officials in the EU and the IMF were less than thrilled. They were probably asking themselves why in the world would they want to throw their money to save banks in a tax haven? I mean if you look at it from that point of view, even the idea of a bailout for Cyprus' banks is ludicrous.

Which was why they imposed this 9.9% tax on people with savings over $100,000!

The EU and the IMF do not want to bailout Cyprus. It makes sense that they don't want to. Cyprus is a tax haven which has an economy that is based almost entirely on getting tax evaders to park their money off-shore into their banks. Although mostly Russians, I have no doubt that tax evaders from various EU nations also parked their money in Cyprus. If you were an official in Brussels, Berlin or Paris, would you want to bailout Cyprus?

The answer to that question is an easy one. The Cyprus government has now postponed a vote on the bailout as they are no sure if they have enough votes in parliament to pass the deal. If they don't and the bailout terms are rejected, the biggest cheer you hear won't be from the Cypriot public. It will be from Brussels, Berlin and Paris. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Step Too Far

Okay; now we are going too far. Now anyone who read my blog knows that I agree that there are way too much foreigners in Singapore. I agree that Singapore need to stop or at least slow the intake of foreigners.

However, I draw the line at boycotting or insulting people who patronized a foreign food chain. Philippines biggest fast food chain, Jollibee, opened its first shop in Singapore last week, and the internet are filled with comments insulting the people, mostly Filipinos, who lined up at the shop on opening day.

That is just stupid. Jollibee opened a shop here in Singapore because there are a lot of Filipinos here in Singapore. Yes, the shop is here to cater to them. What’s wrong with that? Guess what; that’s called business!

If Singaporeans want to complain about the numbers of foreigners in Singapore, that’s one thing. However when you complain about people from a specific nationality just because they patronized a shop, that’s a step too far. That’s just called racism. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Wonderful Disaster

As a long-time gamer, I greeted the news of the terrible launch of SimCity with…glee! I’m sorry for all those people who bought the games but could not play due to the game servers being down but I love the fact that it happened.

I love it because maybe now gaming companies will think twice before tacking on an “always-on” label on their games. SimCity require players to be always connected to the EA servers in order to play the game but as demand outstrip supply, players found that the servers were always full and they were unable to play the game they just bought.

The non-playable state of SimCity had caused EA tremendous problems as even major news agencies like CNN were reporting on it. All this embarrassment for a system that might not even be needed for the game to work! Gaming sites on the internet has posted claims that several industry insiders, including some from EA itself, admitting that the “always-on” state of SimCity is not needed for the game to function. It is a tool used primarily to prevent cheating, hacking, and video game piracy.

Talk about stupid!

Mind you, SimCity isn’t the first game with this problem. Remember Diablo 3 and its launch? I also have no idea why that game requires you to be connected to a server. It is a very playable single-player game. As a gamer of many MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) games, I have no problem with the idea of connecting to the internet to play games but if games like SimCity and Diablo 3 do not require an internet connection, then there must be an option for us to have off-line play.

Having an internet connection should NOT be a requirement to play games if the game does not need it. It’s that simple and I hope the SimCity disaster will teach gaming companies a hard lesson on that. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Still More Expensive

On Wednesday, COE prices showed a mark decrease in price for Cat B COE. This means that for big vehicles are now cheaper for small vehicles. Does this means it’s time to go and buy a big car for the family?

No! And it’s a BIG FAT NO!

Although the COE car for a luxury car like a Porsche is now cheaper than one for a Toyota, people need to understand one simple thing. The COE is not the only thing you need to pay to buy a car. Outside the COE, buyers also need to pay the registration fee, also know as the ARF (Additional Registration Fee).

And under the new rules, the ARF of a luxury car will be much higher than that of a small car. Take for example a car with the OMV (Open Market Value) of $75,000. In the past, the ARF is based totally on the OMV so a vehicle with the OMV of $75,000 will have an ARF of $75,000. This is what you pay to register the vehicle.

However, under the new 3 tier ruling, the ARF for this vehicle will be $107,000. So this means that although the COE for Cat B is $58,090, over $16,000 below Cat A, any money saved on the COE will be given back under the new ARF scheme.

That is even before you bring in the cost of the stricter loan policies that were announced along with the new ARF system. So before you go out there and put a down payment for a luxury car, do your sums. The COE is not the be-all and end-all in the price of a car.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Comics this week

Threshold #3- Give writer Keith Griffen credit; the man has guts. 2 issues in and there’s already a truckload of characters in the series but what does the man do? He bought in more characters like Lonar. Yes; as in Lonar, a New God of New Genesis. Introducing him bought things to a whole new level as we saw that the people of Tolerance don’t really believe he is a god. The “Hunted” fan-site on the first page is a good idea and I hope to see more of that if the story stays on Tolerance. One thing I could do without is this current trend DC has of splitting work between artists! On the Hunted section of Threshold, the first 10 pages are by Tom Raney, while the next 10 are by Phil Winslade. Both artists did a good job but this is one trend I don’t understand the need for and I hope DC would stop doing it ASAP. Get one artist for the whole issue.

Demon Knights #18- The whole crew is back together! Etrigan, Madame Xanadu, Jason Blood and at the end, Vandal Savage has rejoined the knights and now it’s time for the fated battle against Cain and his vampire horde. Not a moment too soon because writer Robert Venditti spend the better part of this issue on a less than enthralling reunion between Exoristos and her Amazon sisters. Considering that Exoristos is the least interesting character in the whole team, this was something I could have done without. I also have to say artist Bernard Chang’s work is very uneven in this issue. On some pages, his work is fine; on others, it’s terrible. He need to be more consistent in his work.

 Bloodshot #9- The attack on Project Rising Spirit is, thankfully, finally over. Writer Duane Swierczynski had a plan going into this as by the end, the issue set things up nicely for “The Harbringer Wars”, Valiant’s first crossover first the company restarted a year ago. In many ways, that seen to be the problem for this story arc; there’s just too much time spent spinning wheels. The pacing slowed in this arc, and that’s painful to watch considering how breakneck the pace was in the first arc. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but hopefully the coming crossover would bring the series back.  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

F-35 Are Too Costly

Now I know that the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) need to replace our aging F-5 fighters. The F-5 are about 20 years old so replacing them is understandable. However, why in the world are we even considering the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as a possible replacement?

First off, the F-35 are still in development...since 2001! The American single-engine fighter has been on the drawing board for over a decade and it's still not ready. Second; the development of the F-35 has been  plagued with delays. Everything from its software, to its engine, even its fuel dump system has faced some problems during its development. Third and most importantly; there is the issue of its cost. The delays of its development has caused the cost of the plane to spike. The Pentagon has estimated that the cost for the development of each F-35 to be around US$150 million. 

US$150 million for each plane? Come on, does Singapore really need a squadron of fighter jets each costing US$150 million? Like I said earlier, I can understand the need for the RSAF to get new planes but the F-35? Forget them; they are not ready and even if they are, they will cost too much. The RSAF should and need to look for alternatives.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Will People Turn Up?

On February 16th, around 4,000 people showed up at Hong Lim Park to protest against the Population White Paper. The protest was groundbreaking as it was the first political protest in Singapore for a long long time. 

On May 1st, the event organizer of the protest, Mr. Gilbert Goh, will hold another protest against the White Paper at the same location. The second protest will be held on Labour Day, a public holiday in Singapore, and it seems clear that the organizers are hoping to get even more people to attend this protest.

Personally, I questioned if that will happen.

The main problem I see is that the White Paper was passed in February. It is now March and the second protest will be held in May. As they say; time heal all wounds, and although people are still angry about the White Paper, would 4,000 people turn up for the same cause in May? 

I guessed time will tell. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Fukushima Nuclear Lessons

2 years ago, Japan was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami that left more than 18,000 people dead or missing. I was at work when news first came in on the earthquake and tsunami. However it wasn’t till lunch break, when I saw video images on the television, that I truly realized just how bad the situation was.

As services are being held in Japan today to mark the anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami, it seems the lessons that should be learnt from the disaster had been lost. The earthquake and tsunami caused the Fukushima nuclear reactor to go into meltdown, prompting the Fukushima nuclear crisis, arguably the worst nuclear crisis the world had ever seen.

Since the disaster, most of Japan's 50 nuclear reactors have remained off but Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, under pressure from the business sector, has indicated he wants to restart the reactors after safety checks have been met. As I'm not from Japan, I have no idea how pressing their power needs are, but no matter how badly it is, I fail to see how restarting the nuclear reactors is the right thing to do.

If there is one lesson we can learn from the Fukushima nuclear crisis is that no matter how well the safety features are at the nuclear plant (and Japan have some of the highest in the world), things only need to go wrong ONCE. One big mistake, another big earthquake, and we will have another the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Like I said earlier; I have no idea how pressing Japan's power needs are, but is it truly worth that risk? 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Comics this week

Earth 2 #10- Karel Wotan is a guy? Writer James Robinson and artist Nicola Scott continue their surprisingly entertaining run on Earth 2 by springing another surprise on us. Really, I truly thought the androgynous-looking, green-skinned mage was a woman. Joke aside, this issue expanded the Doctor Fate storyline by introducing us to the wonderful Tower of Fate. Nicola Scott outdid herself here because so marvelous was the tower that it seen it had a life of it own. Also, the short scene between Alan Scott and Sam’s father was great. Filled with sadness and regret, it was one of my favorite moments thus far in the series. I understand some people still can’t get over the fact that these characters are NOT the old JSA, but take these characters as they are and you will enjoy a wonderful tale.

 Green Lantern #18- I’ll admit. Thus far, the “Warth of The First Lantern” has been entertaining but not earth-shattering for me. It’s better than the “Rise of The Third Army” but nowhere near the highs of “Sinestro Corps War”. However this issue, Part 5 of the crossover, makes me think there is a chance for it to reach there. Writer Geoff Johns takes the dark route here as Hal Jordan, Simon Baz and Sinestro all try their best to escape the Dead Zone. The ending was a surprise, a grim tease that was perfectly partnered by the art of Szymon Kudranski. The only problem; there was no B’dg in this issue. After a so-so start, , the “Warth of The First Lantern” has kicked into gear.

Witchblade #164- What would you do if you have to kill your child to save the world. For a hero like Sara Pezzini, she would kill her child for the greater good. For a villain like Jackie Estacado, the world can go to hell. That’s the intriguing story of “The Progeny”, the crossover that started in the Artifacts series and in many ways, it makes sense. A true hero like Sara would do the ultimate sacrifice, but a self-centered bastard like Jackie would not only dammed the world, he would also do everything in his power to make sure his daughter stays safe. The open question of who is right and who is wrong is not answered because...well, in many ways there's no good answer to such a question. And that's what make this crossover so interesting.  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Abstention

If you are a Member of Parliament (MP) from the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), you can do no right! That seems to be the attitude of some people in Singapore if you look at the online reaction of some people to PAP MP, Mr. Inderjit Singh.

During the debate of the Population White Paper, several PAP MPs went up to talk of their opposition to the white paper but when push comes to shove, only one did not toe the party line and vote for it. The MP is question is Inderjit Singh who opposed the Population White Paper and walked out when the vote took place. His vote of abstention was noted and during an interview with the local newspaper, Lianhe Zaobao, he expressed the reasons for his non-vote.

Now the PAP is a party known for their strict party discipline. I can’t even remember the last time a PAP MP did not toe the party line, so I’m impressed with the courage and conviction shown by Mr. Singh. Unfortunately, it seems a lot of people are not. Some people have posted online that Mr. Singh’s abstention was nothing but political theater. These people in Singapore seem to think that an abstention means nothing.

These people are wrong. Or to be more exact; these people don’t know a good thing when it hit them on the head. The fact that there is a PAP MP who is willing to abstain from a vote is great news for the democracy of Singapore. This is a good thing and the last thing we need is to have MPs being flamed online for it.

One simple fact is that the Singapore opposition just does not have the numbers required to stop the white paper. Even if Mr. Singh voted “no”, it would not stop the paper from being passed. In fact with the 60+ advantage the PAP has in Parliament, it won’t even make a dent.

Yet despite knowing this, we have a PAP MP who was willing to take a public stand on the matter. That is great news for Singapore and any who thinks otherwise, who isn't a PAP supporter, need to have their head examined. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fighting In Sabah

What the hell is going on in Sabah? When I first heard that 300 Filipinos had intruded into the Malaysian state to claim Sabah as part of a former Philippine sultanate, I (like a lot of people) though it was nothing but a publicity stunt.

The Filipinos may had taken over a village in Sabah but they had no support from the Philippine government and their leader, Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, seems more interest in getting money than pushing his ancestral claim of Sabah as part of the now defunct Sulu sultanate. However things have now gotten serious and the Malaysian has no one to blame but themselves.

Malaysian forces backed by fighter jets have launched a ground assault against the intruders but have apparently failed to achieve their goal of ousting them. The Malaysians have admitted that mop up operations in the area had failed to find any bodies and “suggested” that at least some of the intruders might have slipped away.

Some? There were over 100 intruders, some reports had the number as high as 300, and you can’t find a single body? That’s not “some; that means ALL the intruders had escaped the ground assault. What’s worse is that this means the intruders has escaped a cordon that had been in place for over 2 weeks!

You can tell how funny the whole thing is by the reaction by the intruders’ supporters in the Philippines. A bemused spokesman for the sultan Jamalul Kiram III told news agencies that he had spoken with the leader of the armed group about eight hours after the ground assault was launched and was informed the Malaysian attack had occurred "away from where" their men were. Basically, the Malaysian attacked the wrong place, not knowing that the intruders had broken the cordon!

What the hell is going on in Sabah? Over 100 armed intruders are in Sabah and the Malaysian don’t even know where the intruders are? Now I can understand it’s extremely difficult to completely flush out the gunmen because Sabah is heavily forested and they have natural sympathizers in the state due to the many Filipinos living there, but to completely miss the area where they were at?

What a bloody joke. I have always known that the armed forces in the region treated our SAF as a joke but I believe after this incident, the Malaysian armed forces are going to take over our position as the laughingstock stock of the region. At least our SAF would know where our enemies are at. The Malaysian can’t even get that right. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Do Away With The Road Tax

One of the stranger things about owning a vehicle in Singapore is that all Singapore-registered vehicles must have a valid road tax (also known as a vehicle licence) at all times. Before you can renew the road tax however, you need to have valid insurance for the vehicle for the full period of the new road tax and sometimes, you need to bring the vehicle for an inspection.

This is something that catch a lot of foreigners out because to them it's strange to renew their insurance before the expiry and it's even stranger that they have to go for an inspection once every two years. In some countries, there's no such thing as an inspection. Maybe that's there reason why the LTA is now loosing the strings on the road tax. 

I know a friend who says a friend of his got into an accident and was unable to renew his road tax due to financial problems. Nothing unusual so far; it's a common problem in Singapore due to the high cost of a car here. What's strange was that this person complained loudly against the late renewal of the road tax and it was successful. Not only that, he was told by the LTA officer that his appeal "will" be accepted even before he sent in the appeal.

I think that's great!

I always thought the idea of the road tax is kind of silly so if LTA can do away with it; that's wonderful news. If LTA is going to accept all appeals on late renewal of the road tax, doesn't it makes more sense to just get rid of the road tax altogether? I mean the idea of road tax is kind of useless in this time and age when everything is in a computer and with the high cost of cars in Singapore, I'm sure everyone will be glad of any savings they can get.

If the LTA is going to accept appeals on late renewal of road tax even before someone makes an appeal, then surely the road tax can't be that important right? Just get rid of it. It's better for everyone. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Coffin Apartment

I’m sure most of us have heard of Japan’s capsule hotel. Basically, it’s a small, no-frills hotel where people can rent a bed a bed for the night that resembled a space capsule. Taking inspiration from that, Tokyo now has what the Japanese called “coffin apartments”.

With sky-high rents in the capital of Japan, some young Japanese now decided that it’s okay to live in a glorified closet. The “apartments” are essentially locker-sized sleeping quarters stacked on top of one another, and residents have to share bathrooms and communal living spaces. Rent for these “coffin apartments” can range between $500 to $1000, which is a lot more than the infamous “cage houses” in Hong Kong. Those cost about $150.

With housing prices such a problem in Singapore, who knows? Maybe in the near future, we’ll see this in Singapore as well. Coming to a place near you; Singapore’s Coffin/Cage Houses!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Why Golf Is Not A Sport

It should come as no surprise to people that I’m not a fan of golf. I don’t understand the appeal of it and I can’t even begin to understand why people consider golf a sport. Golfers don’t even carry their own bag, for god sake!

So when I read that the world No. 1, Rory McIlroy, walked off the course before he finished his round, I think it’s another good example on why golf is not a sport. The world No. 1 player in the world was defending his title at the Honda Classic in the U.S when he hit his ball into the water on the 18th hole. McIlroy started his round on the back nine and was 7-over par after his first eight holes.

Now, I understand that golf is a frustrating game but for the world No. 1 to walk out in the middle of his round? That is not the mark of a true sportsman. Worse, he then blame his early exit on "severe wisdom tooth pain". A wisdom tooth? Michael Jordon once played while vomiting his guts out at courtside! Franz Beckenbauer once played with a broken shoulder! He ran up and down the field with his arm strapped to his body and McIlroy walked out due to a wisdom tooth?

This is a “sport” they want to replace wrestling with in the Olympics? Get wrestling back into the Olympics; wrestling may not have as much money as golf but at least you don’t hear wrestlers pulling out of tournaments due to "severe wisdom tooth pain". And last I checked; the Olympics is still a sporting event!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Great Idea; Bad Idea

When I read that a nonprofit foundation wants to send two people to Mars, I thought it was a great idea. Humans been to the moon, so Mars seems the next logical step. However, I then read that the foundation want to recruit a married couple for the trip.

Talk about a bad idea! 

You want to put a married couple together in a small spacecraft for 501 days? And on a stressful trip to another planet? Someone please tell this foundation the couple might kill each other before they ever get to the red planet. 

I'm all for the journey to Mars. It is a great idea. It would be a great achievement for mankind. But a married couple together for 501 days, not seeing another else but each other 24/7? That's a bad, bad idea.