Friday, May 31, 2013

Never Had A Chance

After just a few months, the National Environment Agency (NEA) has decided to throw in the towel on their tray return initiative. Started by the NEA earlier this year, the initiative was to encourage Singaporeans to return trays themselves after eating.

To say that it had failed is an understatement. Singaporean had not only ignored the initiative, we are actively making fun of it. There’s even a Facebook page named “Say NO to Tray Return Singapore”!

Now for all the talk about this being a reflection on the lack of social graciousness and giving jobs to cleaners, the simple reason is that we Singaporeans just can’t be bothered. We eat, then we go. Most young Singaporeans I know don’t even clean up after themselves at home, you expect them to clean after themselves in public eating places?

Dream on people! The vast overwhelming majority of us do not even think of returning the trays, much less actually doing it! Be serious; everyone knows Singapore graciousness ends the moment we actually need to do something! After all, it’s not for no reason the Courtesy Lion resigned from being the courtesy ambassador.  

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Comics this week

Earth 2 Annual #1- This is false advertising. Yes, I know the Batman of Earth 2 did make his debut in the annual but seriously, he should not be on the cover because this annual is not about him. It is about Captain Atom (?), Al Pratt. The false advertising is kind of disappointing because I found this issue to be excellent. The backstory of Pratt was interesting with the slow evolution of his mental state both sad and understandable. He should be the guy on the cover, not Batman!  

Justice League of America #4- Now that was a surprise! The end of this issue was shocking and while I convinced writer Geoff Johns will pull a rabbit out of the hat (somehow), I must say I did not expect the last scene of the main story. Artist David Finch had another excellent issue and after a so-so start, this JL spin-off had been on a tear in the last 2 issues. And the hint on who the main villain is…very, very interesting.

Justice League Dark #20- I missed picking up this issue last week and had to get it now. I'm still wondering if I should have bothered. With the Trinity War crossover coming, all the JL titles are trying to set the stage for it with varying degree of success. JL Dark has had the worst of it. The main problem is that JL Dark is a team of magic-users which ties poorly with the other 2 superhero JL teams. The guest-star of the Flash in this story highlighted this problem. I give credit where it’s due; writer Jeff Lemire & Ray Fawkes did their best and put together a story that for the most part work. However, the Flash still struck out like a sore thumb among the swords and spells. Which make me question how these 3 JL teams will fare together in the crossover.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Age Is Nothing But A Number

I admit I did not see this coming. The San Antonio Spurs has always been a contender in the NBA but with the ageing trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, I thought they were too old to run with younger teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder. I was wrong.

In an act that showed that experience trumped youth, the San Antonio Spurs has reached the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007. What’s more impressive was the way they did it. The Spurs got back into the Finals by sweeping the Memphis Grizzlies in 4 games in the Western Conference. What’s more is that with the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat locked in a heated tussle in the Eastern Conference, the Spurs now have at least a week to rest before playing their next game. With Duncan, Parker and Ginobili all on the wrong side of 30, this is rest that will be needed by the Spurs.

With a sweep in the finals of the tough Western Conference, and probably facing a tired opponent from the East, the San Antonio Spurs will be the favorites in the NBA Finals. Just to show that sometimes, age is nothing but a number.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I Don't Get It

At 26 years of age, Singapore permanent resident Yoga Dirga Cah­ya has threw in his hat for the next Indonesian election scheduled next year. It seems that the Indonesian Parliament has a seat for the 4.5 million Indonesians living overseas and Mr. Yoga intend to be that MP.

Mr. Yoga came to Singapore in 2004 at the age of 18 to study at the Nanyang Technological University’s School of Biological Sciences, with the aid of a grant from the Singapore Ministry of Education. He then served out his three-year bond at the National Environment Agency (NEA) while volunteering with the Indonesian community here in Singapore.

Now some Singaporeans are unhappy about this as Mr. Yoga is staying in Singapore and had been a recipient of a grant from a Singapore ministry. They feel that Mr. Yoga being an Indonesian MP would somehow constituted disloyalty to Singapore.

I said "somehow constituted" because I don't get it myself. My fellow Singaporeans; please under stand this. When foreigners come to Singapore, they come here for the money and the jobs. Singapore do not sell a Singapore dream like America. We are not the homeland of an ethnic people like China, India or even Malaysia. We are $!

So when the job is done and the money is earned, the foreigners will go back to their home country. What's wrong with that? Is that unusual or even unexpected? No, it's seem perfectly normal and natural to me.

Yes, Mr. Yoga got a grant from the MOE. I didn't forget but if someone is going to help you fund your education, what are you going to say? No? I don't think so. Mr. Yoga took the money and had already fulfilled his bond. That is over and done with. So if he intend to be a MP in Indonesia, I say good luck to him.

Monday, May 27, 2013

This Is Torture!

Last week, Aerosmith was in town for the Social Star Awards. Till now I’m still not sure what the award show was for but hey, Steven Tyler and gang were here so I don’t care.

However, if we really want Singapore to become some hotspot for celebrities, we really need to stop torturing them. I mean some genius actually gave Steven Tyler durian! I means seriously, giving an ang mo a durian? Worse, giving an ang mo a durian and asking him to eat it with a plastic spoon!  

Talk about bloody torture! 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Totally Ignored

For a few months now, several government ministers in the Singapore government have commented that the once-sacred university degree is no longer the key to a good life. No less than 3 different ministers had said so;

-          National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said: “You own a degree, but so what? You can’t eat it. If that cannot give you a good life, a good job, it is meaningless.”
-          Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said that a good qualification alone does not guarantee a career, let alone a job.
-          Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing said that soft skills, not a degree, are the most important thing for young people to learn.

I totally agree. With the massive influx of foreigners with degrees coming into Singapore, having Singaporeans getting degrees is no longer necessary for Singapore. However; good luck to the government trying to convince Singaporean parents of this!

Personally, I find it hilarious that our government is changing its stance on education. I mean this is the government that had for decades telling Singaporeans to study hard or lose out. Now suddenly, a degree is meaningless?

Hilarious! It’s hilarious because Singaporean parents are going to totally ignore it. I mean what happened to all the talk about this being “a competitive world” and “a degree is needed to get ahead”? You think Singaporean parents, who grew up on these slogans, are going to tell their kids education is not important? Good luck with that. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Comics this week

Justice League #20- With Trinity War beginning soon, it’s time for the soon dreaded lead-in issue. This one is better than usual because writer Geoff Johns focused on new recruits Firestorm, Element Woman, and The Atom. The Atom especially played a big part in this issue as Johns made her a double agent for Amanda Waller and the Justice League of America. There was even a special guest-star from the Maritain Manhunter that hinted of what went on when he was still on the team. Overall, it’s a fine setup for the Trinity War.

Green Lantern #20- The “Wrath of The First Lantern” will not be known as a great or even a good one, but it’s place in comic book history will be known as the last story writer Geoff Johns did to end his run on Green Lantern. In the 9+ years he had been on the series, Johns had turned not just Hal Jordan but the entire GL cast into top line characters. His introduction of the emotional spectrum sounded like total lunacy when it first came about but now, the other Corps got their own regular series! Getting supporting characters so over that they could be popular enough to get their own regular series? Now that takes some doing. For that alone, Johns’ run on GL is going to be remembered as a great one. 

Green Lantern: The New Guardians #20- With the “Wrath of The First Lantern” crossover over and done with, this epilogue deals with the aftermath of what happened in GL #20. In many ways, this issue showed the problems facing this series. The original idea of The New Guardians was to shown a group with all the various Corps involved. However, it has become the Kyle Rayner’s series with Kyle front and center in the series. Even artist Andres Guinaldo’s beautiful work on the paintings of Kyle did not manage to cloud the sense I had for some time now’ this series need a new focus. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Review of Iron Man 3

I must say I didn't enter the cinema with a lot of expectations. Iron Man 2 wasn't a particular favorite of mine and this third movie starring  Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark wasn't high on my list of movies to watch. Fortunately, it seems third times the charm as Iron Man 3 is far better than Iron Man 2.

Director Shane Black, replacing Jon Favreau, kept a brisk pace throughout the movie as a suffering Tony tried his best to live in domestic bliss with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). However his past catches up with him as botanist Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) and her wealthy benefactor, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), tried to get Stark Enterprise to invest in their prize project, Extremis. An unstable program that change the human DNA chain to cure the sick, regrow missing limbs and even make you super strong, Pepper rejects investing in the project as she feared the technology could be a weapon.

At the same time, an international terrorist called the Mandarin (Sir Ben Kinsgley) launched a series of attack on America, one of which landed Stark security chief Happy (Favreau) in a coma. Stark publicly vow vengeance and from there the movie goes into overdrive as we discover the link between Extremis and the Mandarin.

For a summer blockbuster, Iron Man 3 is surprisingly smarter than most blockbusters you'll see. For one thing, having Tony suffering from PTSD (due to the events of “The Avengers”) was a smart move. Tony is just a man, and after fighting gods and an alien army, it makes perfect sense he would be suffering from the battle.

Now I know some fans, especially those who read comics, were very unhappy about the twist on who the villain was, but I thought it was kind of funny. Having the switcheroo works, especially when they started talking about fears of the general public and how well it played to focus groups. Funny social commentary is always a plus in my books.

Also the cast did a great job. Sir Ben Kingsley was the clear standout performer as he basically played two roles in this movie, and he did them with great aplomb. The scene when the truth came out as Tony cornered the Mandarin only works due to his brilliance. Robert Downey Jr. and Guy Pearce also did good work in the movie.

Outside that, having a new director seem to do the trick as Shane Black gave the movie an energy that I thought was missing from Iron Man 2. There are some very impressive set-pieces in this movie. The raid that destroyed Stark’s Malibu pad was great and the mid-air rescue (if somewhat ridiculous) was spectacular.

Having said all that, some parts of the movie wasn't to my liking. The finale was somewhat anti-climatic. Having Tony ordering 30+ Iron Man suits into battle was overkill. Frankly, it gave him too much of an advantage. In movies, heroes are supposed to be the underdog, not the overwhelming favorite in the battle.

Also, there was a slight overload of characters and some of them got lost in the shuffle. Rebecca Hall's character changed side for no reason near the end and Don Cheadle's James Rhodes had too little screen time.

However as I said earlier, I found Iron Man 3 is far superior to Iron Man 2. It's not as good as Iron Man but it's also not the feared kiss of death for the  “Iron Man” series. It's a good superhero movie backed by a good performance from the cast. In short, as its receipts has already shown, Iron Man 3 is a solid blockbuster.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Pot Meets Kettle

As the AIM-PAP saga refused to die, the People's Action Party (PAP) has now decided to go for a different tack. Coordinating chairman of the PAP's Town Councils, Teo Ho Pin has claimed that there is a "questionably close relationship" between the WP and FM Solutions and Services (FMSS), its managing agent for Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC).

As they say the best defense is a good offense, and the PAP is taking that to heart as they are trying to turn the tables on the Worker's Party (WP). Unfortunately, the WP is not biting. WP chairman Sylvia Lim has thus far refused to answer the questions raised by Mr. Teo, instead daring Mr. Teo to make a report to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) on the matter.

Naturally, Mr. Teo has not said anything on the matter and in part that's one of the reasons why his claims on FMSS has not gained any traction with Singaporeans. However, it is not the main reason. The main reason for the dismissal of the claims by Mr. Teo is that to Singaporeans, this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Now the PAP may claim that the WP was the pot calling the PAP black when they have the same relationship with FMSS that the PAP has with AIM, but guess what; that doesn't matter. The simple reasons are that,

1) the WP said it first and, more importantly
2) when the WP first blew up the scandal, the PAP didn't say anything about the relationship between the WP and FMSS. They defended their deal with AIM as normal and correct. So to Singaporeans, if you are saying your relationship with AIM is perfectly okay, how can you now say the WP and FMSS has a "questionably close relationship"?

The two relationships between PAP-AIM and WP-FMSS are pretty similar and there lies PAP's problem. If the relationship between WP and FMSS is "questionable", then the relationship between PAP and AIM is also questionable! If the relationship between PAP and AIM is normal, then saying the relationship between WP and FMSS is questionable becomes ridiculous.

That is why to Singaporeans, the claims by Mr. Teo does not stick. To us, it is a case of the pot and the kettle.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Choosing Sides

As expected, the U.N. General Assembly again condemned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a non-binding U.N. resolution but as they say, the devil is in the details.

While the resolutions did pass the 193-nation assembly, the votes in favor of the resolution has dived. In August last year, a similar resolution condemning the Syrian government passed with 133 votes in favor. This time, there were only 107 votes in favor. The missing 28 votes voted became abstentions.

While it’s normal to think that the 28 countries choose not to support the Syrian opposition this time round did so because of unease about the fractious rebels, I’m afraid that the reason is more mundane and realpolitikal. They changed their votes because now they are unsure if the rebels are going to win. Reuters even managed to get a senior Western U.N. diplomat, speaking anonymously of course, admitting this.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of President Assad personally, but everything is relative. Between the fact that President Assad seems to be winning, terrorists among the rebels, the kidnapping of U.N. peacekeepers by Syrian rebels, and rumored use of chemical weapons by the rebels; you seriously have to wonder if the Western powers are on the right side of the conflict.

Right now things are still considered “fluid” on the ground. If you want to switch sides, now is the time. Once one side got the clear upper hand, if they had not yet, then switching sides will be far more difficult. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Comics this week

Threshold #5- To be honest, I have no interest whatsoever in the new Larfleeze series. However after reading the backup story of this series, I have to say my interest has been quipped. The mini-adventure of Larfleeze and his long-suffering butler Stargrave has been a hoot and I dare say it has overshadowed the main “Hunted” story. It has been so good and funny, I find myself thinking of buying Larfleeze #1 next month. So writer Keith Griffen can pat himself on the back; mission accomplished!

Constantine #3- I admit when I first heard DC was going to cancel Hellblazer and put Constantine in the New 52, part of me thought the new series was going to crash and burn. 3 issues in however and I have been pleasantly surprised. The new Constantine is still a lying self-centered bastard but if anything, this new version is even more devious and manipulative than the old version. In short, DC dialed up everything that makes Constantine such a great character! Even if you’re not a fan, this series is really different than any of the New 52. For that alone, I expect it to have a good long run. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Unjust Firing

When Manchester City first appointed Roberto Mancini as manager, they were well outside the top four of the English Premier League. In about half a season, Mancini managed to get the team into the top four, into the all-important Champion League.

In his first full season in charge, Man City won the English Premier League. In his second full season in charge, they got second in the English Premier League. 2 seasons, he got first and second, and now he’s fired as manager of Man City.

If there’s any doubt that Man City will never reach the lofty heights of Manchester United, Roberto Mancini’s firing as manager has laid that to rest. Sir Alex Ferguson was at Man Utd for 26 seasons and even he did not first or second every year. Mancini got 1 and 2, and he still somehow got canned!

It just shows that with their current owner, even success does not give you a job at the club. If I'm Malaga manager Manuel Pellegrini, I should think twice before picking up the job.  

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It's Not NS

Recently, there has been some talk about allowing women to serve National Service (NS). The talk came up when the Straits Times newspaper ran a report on letting women decide whether to serve NS. The report by Mr. Elgin Toh suggested that Singapore women have an “option” of whether they want to serve NS or not.

Sorry but isn’t that what’s happening now?

There are women in the Singapore army right now. They are there because they choose to be there, they signed on to be there. NS is called National Service because it is a service. There is no choice in it. There is no option for men to opt out of it. If you are going to allow women a choice to be whether in or out, you can’t call it NS. You can’t because it’s no different from what the women are doing right now.

Do we say the women currently in the Singapore army are doing NS? No, so why should we do it for the future? NS is not a choice. If it is...then it's not NS right?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Start Planning For The Next One

As Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim got 100,000 people together in in Kuala Lumpur for a rally to protest alleged electoral fraud in last week’s Malaysian General Election, I have to question; "Is this is the correct move for the opposition?"

Do I think there was fraud in the election? Yes, I do. Do I think it was so massive that the 133 to 89 victory by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government would be overturned? No.

The reason is in the numbers. Currently, Anwar’s allegation is that has been cheated of up to 30 seats due to electoral fraud. Frankly, even if Anwar is proven right in two thirds of those 30 seats, the opposition would still lose!

The margin of victory may be inflated by fraud but it's hard to imagine BN not winning the election with the information we have now. So what I think the Malaysian opposition should do now is to take the result as what it is; a moral victory where they not only stop BN from getting the two third majority but also took more seats from them. They should do this and look to the future; figure out what went wrong in this election and rectify the identified problems. Top of the agenda is the lack of votes from the rural areas of Malaysia.

Like many people who had looked at the results, I believe there is an urban-rural spilt in the Malaysian electoral. The opposition did very well in urban areas but I think it says a lot that they lost Kedah and Perak as badly as they did. These 2 mostly rural states were taken by the opposition in 2008 but the opposition was comprehensively beaten this time round.

This is the reason why BN won despite losing the popular vote. Whereas the Malaysia opposition did very well in highly populated city areas, BN won the rest of the seats in the countryside. This is a weakness the Malaysian opposition needs to rectify because…well, most of Malaysia are rural areas! It’s a simple case of geography!

With Prime Minister Najib Razak more worried about a leadership challenge in UMNO (United Malays National Organisation) than the opposition now, this is the perfect time for the Malaysian opposition to plan how to get votes from rural Malaysia in the next election. The battle in 2013 is over and with UMNO too busy fighting each other, the opposition should make the most of this head start and start planning for the next one.  

Friday, May 10, 2013

Comics this week

Justice League of America #3- After 2 so-so issues, this issue showed just how good and promising Justice League of America could be. The main reason is that writer Geoff Johns has decided to dump the ensemble cast for an issue and focus on one main character. In this issue, it's Catwoman and everything works! Johns' Catwoman is smart, clever, sassy, and wise-cracks like the feline she's supposed to be. Without question, this has been best issue so far and the art of David Finch fits the dark villain focus of this issue perfectly.  Even the backup story which focus on Catwoman and Martian Manhunter was excellent. More issues with this kind of quality and JLA will give its' two sister teams series a good run for their money.

Green Lantern Corps #20- Everyone now knows I haven't been that impressed with the “Warth of The First Lantern” crossover. However my low view of the crossover has now went off the deep end because somehow DC had managed to release this issue before Green Lantern #20! In case you do not know; Green Lantern #20 was supposed to be the end of the “Warth of The First Lantern” crossover while Green Lantern Corps #20 is the epilogue. Yes; I have the epilogue but there's no sight of the end of the crossover. And comics companies wonder why readers hate crossovers! 

Demon Knights #20- Ever since writer Robert Venditti took over the series, it has been swinging from good to bad. This issue of Demon Knights is strictly in the "good" section. The issue starts with the Knights resting in Themyscira after the battle against Cain's vampire horde. From there, there's a journey to the library of the Amazons before a trip to an unchartered island for the Holy Grail. Of course, there's a monster with tentacles on the island who they have to kill. In short, this issue is pure fantasy goodness. For once, I feel Venditti got a good handle on the characters with the interplay between the Knights being excellent and the humor shining through. The art from Chad Harden works well with the story. In short, the Demon Knights are back!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Out Of Context

A quote equating gang rape to the exercise of democracy has drawn flak to Member of Parliament Zainudin Nordin. The politician is being criticized by people online for being “offensive” to women after posting on Facebook a quote from “Sword of Truth” fantasy series author Terry Goodkind. 

The line goes "Gang rape, after all, is democracy in action."

Singaporeans had reacted angrily to the post and many had demanded an apology or explanation from the MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC. I don’t think he should. I don’t think he should because people are taking that line totally out of context.

The full version of his post which quoted Goodkind goes;

“People use democracy as a free-floating abstraction disconnected from reality. Democracy in and of itself is not necessarily good. Gang rape, after all, is democracy in action. All men have the right to live their own life. Democracy must be rooted in a rational philosophy that first and foremost recognizes the right of an individual. A few million Imperial Order men screaming for the lives of a much smaller number of people in the New World may win a democratic vote, but it does not give them the right to those lives, or make their calls for such killing right.Democracy is not a synonym for justice or for freedom. Democracy is not a sacred right sanctifying mob rule. Democracy is a principle that is subordinate to the inalienable rights of the individual.”

Mr. Nordin is putting forward the argument that the rights of an individual, any individual, is more important that the rights of the group. Now you may not agree with him, but at no point in his argument did Mr. Nordin said that democracy is rape.

Seriously, his post is nine lines long and people are taking one line out of the nine and making it into something that it’s not. What’s more this is a quote from a fantasy author! Mr. Nordin isn’t even the one who said it! Now Singaporeans want him to apologize for something he didn’t say because of something he never meant?

That’s total insanity! His post, which was even said by him, argued about the rights of the individual verse that of the group as a whole. Anyone who thinks his post is arguing that democracy is rape is nit-picking to a degree that common sense is being thrown out the window. Basically, they are talking absolute total nonsense! 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Departure Of A Legend

Just weeks after guiding Manchester United to another Premiership title, manager Sir Alex Ferguson has announced his retirement at the end of the season. Sir Alex will step down following United's home game against West Bromwich Albion on May 19 at the age of 71.

A home game will be a fitting departure for one of the most successful manager in British football. After more than 26 years in charge, Sir Alex will leave with 13 league titles, five FA Cups and two Champions Leagues. No one would thought these success would be possible when Sir Alex took over from Ron Atkinson in 1986.

Frankly, I’m not that big of a fan of his but you can’t question success and there is no doubt Sir Alex’s reign at United will be the stuff of legends. Whoever taking over from him (David Moyes or Jose Mourinho) are going to have impossible shoes to fill. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Whitewash

By now, Singapore is a well-known tax haven. The Singapore government may deny it all they want but evidence had shown it to be a fact. Just 2 months ago, Global Witness put up a video showing relatives of Taib Mahmud, the Chief Minister of Sarawak in Malaysia, discussing plans to buy and sell Sarawak land illegally for profit and then evade taxes by funneling money through Singapore.

Also, there is the case of France's former budget minister Jerome Cahuzac, who just last month admitted to having an undeclared foreign bank account here in Singapore. Tax evaders from far and wide are using Singapore and this is a fact.

So it is with some amusement that I read that banks in Singapore are now been forced by the Singapore government to scrutinize their account holders. Fearful of U.S. and European regulators who are on the hunt for tax cheats, the Singapore government is forcing the banks to report accounts they strongly suspected of holding proceeds of fraudulent or willful tax evasion. This must be done before July 1, because after that the handling of proceeds from tax crimes will be a criminal offence.

I find this change to Singapore's anti-money laundering law to be hilarious. After years decades, of accepting dirty money, suddenly Singapore is trying to clean up! I mean what about those 20-30 Indonesians wanted by the Indonesian government who are currently staying in Singapore and had been here for years? What about the money from the relatives of Taib Mahmud? Are we going to pretend their money never came through to Singapore? Trying to clean up now is like trying to paint the house in a new color and pretending that nothing wrong had ever happened before.

Uh...actually that might work! Let Singapore clean up the banks! Let lift the lid on banking secrecy! Let make sure no more illicit funds comes through to Singapore! As for the money already laundered here; it never happened. You guys get a free pass as long as you get your money out before July 1!

Come July 1; hold and behold, Singapore is a "clean" country once again!

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Result With No Winners

In a result that satisfied no one, the Barisan Nasional (National Front), Malaysia's ruling coalition since independence, has retained control of parliament after winning a hard-fought election. However, the devil is in the details.

Although BN won, you would never have known that if you just looked at by Prime Minister Najib Razak when he held the press conference yesterday. A somber Najib concede that there had been a swing against BN and the final tally echoed his words. The BN won 133 seats, a majority in the 222-member parliament, but it was well below the 148 needed for the two-third majority and below the 140 BN won in 2008. Worse was that for the first time in history, the BN did not win the popular vote. Only 49% of the voters voted for BN.

In 2008, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi did not last a year when he failed to get the two-third majority. Najib didn't get the two-third majority, lost seats and lost the popular vote. Frankly, he would be a dead man walking if not for the fact that there's no ready replacement for him in UNMO.

For opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, the results would probably means the end of his leadership of the opposition. For all the allegations of fraud, even if they are true, the final results of 133 to 89 is just too wide to contest. You can question the margin of victory, not who won. Anwar had already said he would resign as leader if he lost the election and there's no reason for him to go back on his word now. He successfully put the Malaysian opposition back on the map in 2008 and the result this year, even if it's not as good as hoped, has been further success for the opposition.

In short, neither Najib or Anwar won. Neither party got what they truly wanted. The Malaysia Election of 2013 is one that no one won. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Malaysia Decide

Today is the day when Malaysians decide if they will continue with the Barisan Nasional (BN) government, or take a chance with a new government that will be led by opposite leader and former finance minister Anwar Ibrahim. It is a vote, an election, that everyone is looking at because for the first time since independence, there is a real chance that there will be a change in government in Malaysia.

If that does happened, the BN has no one to blame but themselves.

In the last election in 2008, the opposition made startling electoral gains that gave them control of 4 states in Malaysia. Hit with accusations of corruption and cronyism, the BN lost its two-thirds majority in parliament. Fast forward 5 years, and the main accusation against BN this time round is... corruption and cronyism!

To be fair, the BN know about the problem they are facing. Prime Minister Najib Razak had gave out billions in cash handouts to shore up support for BN and he even waited till the end of the term before calling for the election. The Malaysian government's control over traditional media is also ironclad so that is a huge advantage for BN.

However, it says a lot that even with all these advantages, there is a real chance the opposition might be the next government of Malaysia. The opposition pledge to clean up politics and end race-based policies has been a hit with Malaysian voters and some analysts believe that they would end up with more seats this time around. The question is whether they would have enough to be the next Malaysian government.

If Anwar and the opposition managed to do so, then the BN has no one to blame but themselves. The BN knew what the problem is but has been unable or unwilling to do anything about it. They have not learned from their mistake and losses in 2008. For that alone, I will not be surprised if Anwar Ibrahim becomes the next Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Comics this week

Earth 2 #12- By now, everyone is either in the “love it” or “hate it” camp of Earth 2. I’m in the “love it” column. Nicola Scott’s art has been consistently gorgeous and writer James Robinson’s willingness to take chances with the characters and the script has been a joy to read. Comics re-imagined characters all the time, but seldom have they the guts to change beloved characters as much as Earth 2 has. For that alone, it make me a fan.

Movement #1- I loved Gail Simone’s Secret Six series, so I picked up this issue as there were some similarities between the two and I am hoping lighting sticks twice. It might be a little too early but after reading #1, I must say I wasn’t all that impressed with it. The main problem with this issue I think was that Gail tried to cramp too much into an issue. You get your introductory screen for each character, what their powers were, what they were fighting for, who they were fighting against, and it was too much too soon. Not helping was the art from Freddie Williams II which has a gritty but busy quality. However this is just #1, so I’m hopeful Gail can turn things around because there are things here that seems very interesting. The concept of superpowered beings who are heroes but who cares nothing about the law is not new but the youth of the group makes this series different.

Artifacts #27- With this issue being on the search for The Glacier Stone, there was little doubt Michael Finnegan was going to show up. However what the series truly lack is artist Stjepan Sejic. The series truly missed him and tried as he might, replacement artist Marco Turini just can’t match Sejic’s level of work.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Big Crowd at May Day Protest

Helped unwittingly by the Singapore government, a big crowd turned up at the Speaker's Corner at Hong Lim Park yesterday for a political protest against the government's immigration policies. Event organiser Gilbert Goh put the figure between 5,000 and 6,000, though international wire agency AFP estimated the crowd at over 3,000 people.

No matter the final number, the people who showed up proved that the anger against Singapore's immigration policies as not abated. The May Day protest was a follow-up to one held in Feburary where 4,000 people turned up. With the number between 3,000 to 5,000 this time around, the number of people who turned up remained the same (if not, slightly more). This is good news for the protest movement as the number of people who attended has remained constant despite there being a 10 week break between the 2 protests. Most people, including me, had thought that less people would attend the protest yesterday but this is not the case.

Delighted with the number of people who attended, Mr. Goh has already indicated that more protests would be held at the park and that means more headache for the Singapore government in the future. Hopefully, the government would learned a lesson from the AMP saga. For the next protest, do NOT stop people from speaking at the protest. It help the protest movement far more than it hurts.