Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Borders Is Back

When Borders shut its doors in 2011, book lovers in Singapore cried in anguish. I remember spending a lot of time at its Wheelock Place outlet browsing through its great collection of books so when I read that a Borders bookstore will be opened in Jurong by year end...forgive me, but I did a little jump of joy. 

Popular Holdings had announced that they had acquired the Borders brand for Singapore but frankly, I didn't thought much of it. I certainly didn't thought they would open a Borders store so fast! Now some people may complain that Jurong is too far from the city central but who cares? 

Borders is back. Welcome back Borders! 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sell Him!

£130 million? Take the bloody money! If I'm a fan of Tottenham, this will be what I will be shouting to Spurs chairman Daniel Levy. 

When Real Madrid first offered Tottenham £85m to buy star Gareth Bale, I thought they should have sold him. However Spurs chairman Daniel Levy insisted that the Welsh winger will not be sold and while I thought he was wrong, I could understand his reasoning. Bale scored 26 goals in all competitions last season and almost single-handily got Spurs into the Champions League. You do not want to sell your star player if you can help it, so that is understandable.

But with Real Madrid rumored to be making a second bid at a world record fee of £130 million, they will have to be crazy to say "no" again. Tottenham could buy 2-3 world class players with £130 million. The sale could let Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas remake the team to his wishes and that's not even counting the fact that Bale joined Spurs from Southampton for just £10m 5 years ago in 2007!

So fans of Tottenham, get Spurs chairman Daniel Levy to sell. £130 million is a deal you do not say "no" to!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Blame The Moon

Do you ever had a night when you just can’t sleep and had to sleepwalk to work the next day? Well instead of saying you had a bad sleep, now there’s exactly something to blame!

You can blame the full Moon!

Researchers from Basel University in Switzerland have conducted a study that found evidence of a "lunar influence" on sleep patterns. Volunteers of the study slept two separate nights at a lab under close observation. They were unable to see the Moon from their beds but the study showed that the volunteers took five minutes longer to fall asleep and slept for 20 minutes less when there was a full Moon. Brain activity related to deep sleep also dropped by nearly a third around the full Moon.

The researchers were unable to determine why the full Moon had such an effect on human biology but the results seem undeniable. So the next time you have a bad night sleep, if there is a full Moon, you know who to blame. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Against The Shadow of The Batman

Earlier this week, news broke that the "Man of Steel" sequel will feature Batman in a team-up with Superman. I said I wasn't in favor of it. Now it is reported that Teen Wolf star, Tyler Hoechlin, is in line to be the new Bruce Wayne.

If I am him, I wouldn't touch the role with a 10-foot pole. 

The simple reason been that if he do take the role, he will be compared to actor Christian Bale. In "Batman Begins", "The Dark Knight", and "The Dark Knight Rises", Bale has made the role his own. He is The Batman; The Bruce Wayne. He will be forever linked to the role like the way Christopher Reeves is linked to Superman.

Although I think Hoechlin is doing a fine job on Teen Wolf, going up against the shadow of Bale is another matter altogether. Frankly, I don't like the odds of anyone when compared to Bale. If I am Hoechlin, I would just say no. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Comics this week

Justice League Dark #22- This is Part 3 of the Trinity War and after two excellent issue, writers Geoff Johns and Jeff Lemire slowed things down by changing the pace of the story. Now I won’t say nothing happened in this issue because they did. Wonder Woman asked JL Dark to find Pandora, Batman opposes that idea saying it's too dangerous. The JLA and JL Dark are spilt picking a side while the remaining JL members join Superman and the Question in search of Dr. Psycho. Despite all that however, there is a sense that pieces are being moved to set something up. Basically, this is a setup issue that feels like a setup issue. That’s always a bad thing. Fortunately, artist Mikel Janin saved the day. I had been a fan of his work at JL Dark but in this issue, his work went to another level. Not only are his characters flawless, he did a marvelous job squeezing everyone together without making the issue feel bloated. Frankly, he is having fun drawing all the characters of the various JL teams and boy, does it show or what!

Constantine #5- Sigh! Constantine just can’t seem to catch a break. After a bloody good issue last month, the series run smack into the “Trinity War” crossover. The result, as you might suspect, is less than stellar. First off, please pick up Justice League Dark #22 before reading this or it won’t make sense. Seeing John Constantine with the power of Shazam is fun while it lasted but seriously…who read Constantine for a superhero slugfest? 

Batman/Superman #2- #1 was a confusing mess but unfortunately, writer Greg Pak picks things up in this issue. The story comes into being as we discovered that Batman and Superman have entered into a new world and had been fighting their doppelgangers. The inner monologues of all 4 Clarks and Bruces keep it flowing and more importantly, help focused the story so that we actually know what is going on. Lois, Catwoman and Wonder Woman all made an appearance in this issue with Lois and Selena giving the story a degree of humor. The art by Jae Lee is as solid as always and I especially like his portrayal of Catwoman. That was one sexy cat! I wasn't too hot about this series after #1 but with this issue, I discover I may have been too hasty in my judgement. With the creative team come out with more issues like this, this series may have some life indeed.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Why So Long?

In the latest case of financial and criminal wrongdoing by a member of the Singapore Police Force (SPF), a senior officer from the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) was charged in court this morning for misappropriating $1.76 million between 2008 and last year.

Edwin Yeo Seow Hiong, 39, was the head of field research and technical support at CPIB when the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) caught wind of his gambling activities in Marina Bay Sands (MBS) casino. Mr. Yeo was then suspended his duties at the CPIB amid an investigation into his suspected financial wrongdoings.

Once the news broke this morning, the Singapore government launch in damage control mode. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has appointed an independent review panel to look at the possible lapses into the agency's audit system and financial procedures, while Deputy PM Teo Chee Hean (who is also the minister in charge of the Civil Service) called the case "particularly serious".

I also think this case is very serious. I think it’s very serious because it took 10 months before Singaporeans knew about this case and that is way too long. Mr. Yeo was suspended his duties at the CPIB in Sep 2012 and only now, July 2013, do we know about this. I understand this case is embarrassing for the SPF but surely they know that it's just a matter of time before Singaporeans know about the case! The SPF should have let Singaporeans know about this case way before it got into the courts. Why did it take 10 months before Singaporeans know about it? 

Clearly it is in the public interest to let Singaporeans know that a senior officer in the CPIB has been stealing money from the CPIB for the past 4 years right? That shouldn't even be a question. Singaporeans deserved better than to be kept in the dark. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Get The Masks Ready

The haze has Malaysia. Parts of Malaysia are now covered in the haze once again as the burning of the forest in Indonesia now continuing. The only thing stopping Singapore from getting the haze again is the wind, and that's something the Singapore government recognize as the National Environment Agency is already telling Singaporeans to expect the haze to return.

What does this tells me? It tells me that despite all the talk of an ASEAN coordinating center, Indonesia doing their best to tackle the forest fires, fines issued to companies who practice the slash and burn method of land clearance; Indonesia cannot/will not stop their farmers from burning the forests of Java and Sumatra in order to clear land for cultivation. It also tells me that there's nothing the Singapore and Malaysia government can do to Indonesia to stop the forest burning.

I mean this has only been a few weeks since the region suffered its worst haze, with the Air Pollutant Index reaching record highs, and now it's back again? So people of Singapore, get your mask ready. The haze will be back, if not now then surely next year. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Man of Steel Sequel

"Man of Steel" has been a box office bonanza for Warner Bros. After taking in US$620 million worldwide, a sequel was always on the cards so when "Man of Steel" director Zack Snyder announced that the sequel will have Superman teaming up with Batman in the "Man of Steel" sequel, fanboys around the world shouted in delight.

I’m not one of them.

I know the duo was stated to appear together in the "Justice League" film in 2017 and they appear regularly in a long running comic series “World’s Finest”, but I don't see the need to put the two of them together in a Superman film. The main thing is that both characters have their own successful franchises. The two characters have between them over 10 films, and never once had there been a guest star.

If you ask me, that’s the way it should be! Batman and Superman films should be standalone films that focus strictly on the character headlining the film. Having both of them in a Justice League film makes sense because Justice League is a team but having Batman in a Superman film will do nothing but diminish Batman, and vice versa.

Of course my views don’t mean much when fanboys around the world are jumping up and down. With Batman on board, the "Man of Steel" sequel will be box-office dynamite (which is probably why he’s in the sequel) but that doesn't change my argument. In simple basic terms, Batman should not be in a Superman, and vice versa, because they are not needed! 

Both characters have proven that they can carry movies on their own, so why the need for a team-up in a Superman film? Have them together in a Justice League film is one thing but having Batman in the "Man of Steel" sequel will do only one of two things; either Batman will overshadow Superman, or Batman will be overshadowed by Superman. I am looking forward to neither scenario. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

World Cup Is Free In Europe

YES! That’s my reaction when I read that Europe's top court ruled that countries in the European Union can insist that the World Cup and Euro football tournaments be available to all on free-to-view TV channels. This means countries in Europe can insist that the World Cup next year be broadcast free of charge in their country! 

As a Singaporean who had to miss the last Euros because I refused to pay over $60 just to watch a 1 month tournament, this is great news. Yes, I know it’s almost impossible to expect the Singapore government to do the same thing in Singapore but man; it is great to see FIFA and UEFA (which own the commercial rights to the tournaments) get their ass handed to them. The courts just gave them a bloody nose and it is a truly satisfying thing to see.

Now if only the Singapore government can do the same. I know I said it’s almost impossible but hey, a guy can dream right? 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Comics this week

Ballistic #1- Comics is a medium where almost anything can happen. Creators do not need to worry about budget and this is why comics like Ballistic can be made. Coming from the mad minds of writer Adam Egypt Mortimer and artist Darick Robertson, Ballistic is set in a world where technology had mended with genetics. Cars  don't just fly in this world, they fly because the cars can grow wings! Machines don't just break down in this world, they break down because they get sick or if they saw something that frighten them. Yes, this is a crazy world and the over-the-top action of its citizens makes this crazy world even more fun. Take a look at this offering from Black Mask if you want something different from your usual comics fare.

Justice League of America #6- After the events of Justice League #22, the Trinity War truly starts as the JL and JLA teams go at it. I was rather surprised that Doug Mahnke was the artist in this issue instead of regular David Finch but on a certain level it made sense as Finch's darker style might not be suited for the superhero slugfest that dominated this issue. I also liked the way the fight ended and the way writer Geoff Johns brought the JL Dark into the picture. Thus far, it's two out of two for the Trinity War.  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Moody Rate Cut

As rating agency Moody cut the rating of Singapore’s 3 home-grown banks to "negative", Singapore’s reaction has been almost immediate. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has come out to defend the banks, stating that the banks have the highest average credit ratings among banking systems worldwide.

In a further step, the MAS all but guarantee that low interest rates are here to stay in Singapore. They said that while some borrowers are at risk, especially when interest rates rise as a result of a tightening of US monetary policy, "the local banks are not at risk". This statement directly referred to Moody's statement that cited mounting domestic household debt and rising property prices in Singapore and in countries where the three banks are active.

However the statement by the MAS has not swayed anyone and most people believe Moody’s rate cut to be the correct move. The reason for this is simple; the rate cut has nothing to do with Singapore! The reason for Moody’s rate cut is because of the deflating 200 pound gorilla in the middle of the room; China.

See the statement by Moody and note the part that state “in countries where the three banks are active”. The “countries” refer to in the statement is frankly just 1. China has come in with some bad numbers recently and our banks, with their heavy exposure to China, are getting the rate cut as a result. It’s no coincidence that banks in Australia, another country with heavy China exposure, are now also under pressure.

With China undergoing a slowdown, frankly it comes no surprise that banks with big exposure to China are under the microscope. Singapore got another problem because most of our trade is with the US and with a tightening of US monetary policy looming, our banks are facing faced a potential double whammy.

Thus the downgrade by Moody. The MAS can come out with as many statements as they want, but it won’t change a thing because the problem for Singapore banks lies not in Singapore, but in China.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Best SF IV Player In The World

As a country, Singapore is always about being no. 1. Singaporeans are almost obsessed about having the busiest port in the world and having the best airport. Well, now Singapore can boast about being no. 1 in another area.

Singapore has the best Street Fighter player in the world!

22 year old Ho Kun Xian has been crowned the best player in the world for Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition when he beat a player from Japan at the 12th annual Evo Championships in Las Vegas. A three day competition, Evo is the world's largest tournament for fighting video games with competitions for Super Street Fighter, Tekken, King of Fighters and others.

In a competition dominated by Americans, Japanese and South Koreans, Singaporean Ho used little-played Gen to beat his Japanese opponent who was using Akuma. Entertainment website IGN had posted the finals which you can see here

Congratulations Ho Kun Xian, best Super Street Fighter IV player in the world! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

The PM Wade In

As the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) try to do a full court press on the opposition Workers’ Party (WP), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has now waded into the conversation. He called on WP secretary-general Low Thia Khiang to investigate the issue of the cleaning of hawker centers in Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East, a constituency overseen by WP.

PM Lee says this affects the integrity of the WP but by going on the attack, he just made things difficult for himself. The PM now faces a few tricky problems. One; the WP has shrewdly refused to rise to the bait. Mr. Low runs a tight ship at the WP and they had basically ignored the issue outright.

Two; the reason why the WP could ignore the issue is because Singaporeans just do not care. Like my post earlier, most Singaporeans do not care about the issue. Most Singaporeans do not view this as a case of “integrity”, but two political parties squabbling over small matters to score political points.

Basically, this is an issue that has no traction. Most Singaporeans are in disbelief that our PM is wading into an issue over the cleaning of a hawker center. What’s next; he going to question road sweepers over the cleaning of the streets in Hougang? He’s the Prime Minister of Singapore and he’s arguing with the opposition over the cleaning of an eating place?

That’s ridiculous. Its one thing if a relatively minor Cabinet minister of the PAP goes on the attack on things like this, but the PM should not be involved in this. He is the head of the Singapore government and frankly most Singaporeans expect him to be worrying about things more important than who cleans a hawker center. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Clueless Coup

Since the coup in Egypt last week, ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood has been on the ropes with hundreds of supporters been arrested by the Egyptian military. However they will take heart from one thing; outside been good at arresting people, the coup leaders has been clueless about everything else!

Once they ousted President Morsi, the military quickly named Adly Mansour, a relatively mid-level judge, as interim President who said he wanted to form a government of national unity. However that one statement is about the only they got right since the coup because outside that, it has been a comedy of errors. Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning diplomat, was supposed to be prime minister, but his appointment was blocked by the Salafist al-Nour Party. The al-Nour party then withdrew from the talks to form an interim government when over 50 Muslim Brotherhood supporters were gunned down by the military in a sit-in protest.

Interim President Adly Mansour and the military had to quickly change tack. They named Hazem El-Beblawi, a liberal economist, as the interim Prime Minister, and Mohamed ElBaradei, who was supposed to be Prime Minister, is now the interim Vice-President. Interim President Adly Mansour also announced a new election timetable. The timetable was rejected as expected by the Muslim Brotherhood, but it was also swiftly rejected by the National Salvation Front (NSF), the main liberal opposition coalition who had supported the coup.

So now you have 2 important political parties who had at first supported the coup now withdrawing their support; a Prime Minister who is now the Vice-President; and an election timetable rejected by almost everyone. Oh, and for the kicker, the military has announce an arrest warrant for Mohammed Badie, the supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is a move almost certain to enrage the supporters of the Brotherhood, but what's worse is that the arrest warrant came less than 24 hours after Interim President Mansour, the man they appointed, tried to offer the Brotherhood posts in his government.

This has to go down as one of the worst coup in history. A week after successfully ousting an elected President, the Egyptian military still cannot form a government to show to the rest of the world. It makes you wonder if they exactly had any plans on what to do after ousting President Morsi. So far, the answer seem to be a big 'No'. It seem the Egyptian military's hatred for the Brotherhood had overridden their common sense. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Comics this week

Astro City #2- This issue shows why I just love Astro City. This is the story of a woman called Marella, who had just joined Humano Global. The company operates the Emergency Contact Line, the emergency contact line of the Honor Guard and Marella is now one of the operators who screen the calls and e-mails of the public and direct the members of the Honor Guard to real, global-scale threats. Who but writer Kurt Busiek and artist Brent Anderson would show you a world populated by superheroes and then decide to give you a superb slice-of-life story of a lowly call center operator? Wonderful! Welcome back Astro City, you have been missed!

Justice League #22- As the first crossover event of the New 52 that brings together all the Justice League teams, Trinity War has a lot to live up to. Writer Geoff Johns get things off to a bright start by expertly pulling together various story threads from the Justice Leagues, Flashpoint, Pandora, the Secret Society, and Shazam. The story was further enhanced by artist Ivan Reis, who turned in some stellar work this issue. Good story with excellent art; this is a bright start to the Trinity War.

Threshold #7- As the series comes to a close, writer Keith Griffen goes on hyper-drive to close out the story. Lonar and Blue Beetle make their move while Jediah Caul is forced to find the inner hero within that cynical heart of his. The rest of the Hunted are on Tolerance, trying to find an angle to turn the tables on the whole planet. Oh, Threshold! If only DC had given you a chance. You could have been a winner.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

This Is The Front Page?

As the local Strait Times newspaper gave front page coverage to the spat between the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) and the Workers’ Party (WP) on the issue of the cleaning of hawker centers in a constituency overseen by the opposition group, I am struck by one thing. 

The sheer stupidity of putting this on the front page of the paper.

Seriously, this is a question of who cleans a hawker center! Why in the world is this front page news in the papers? I mean between Singapore having to defend its new internet rules from the likes of Goggle and Yahoo, the pre-school teacher who was fired over the video of potential child abuse, and the haze; the front page new is an argument over who is in charge of the cleaning of a hawker center?

I know this is an argument between the two biggest political parties in Singapore but really...who cares? Who ever cared? Maybe the hawkers at the hawker center do, but no one I know ever did. Hell, the argument has been going on so long I think even the hawkers there are tired of it.

Honestly, the Strait Times newspaper is the biggest, most widely read paper in Singapore, so it should have it's finger on the pulse of the nation. An article on who is in charge of the cleaning of a hawker center is not wrong, but putting it on the front page? Singapore's pulse is more exciting than that.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Review of Despicable Me 2

In 2010, Despicable Me was a surprise hit. The animated movie surprised a lot of people, including me, by being a well-made movie that combined laughs with a heart-felt story on family. So the sequel, Despicable Me 2, has a lot to live up to.

After seeing it, I’m glad to say the sequel not only live up to the original, it exceeded it by quite a margin. Yes, Despicable Me 2 is one of those rare sequels that’s better than the original. 

Set three years after the first film, former super-villain Gru (Steve Carell) is retired from the villain game and now plays doting father to his 3 girls, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Fisher). However his retirement was soon destroyed when the Anti-Villain League (AVL) forcibly recruit him to help them find a stolen mutating chemical compound named PX-41, which could transform living things into indestructible killing machines. Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig), the AVL agent who abducted Gru, became his liaison with the AVL and soon became his love interest.

Now directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud had obviously saw the performance of the first film and learned lessons from it. They saw what worked, what did not, and put together a film that shamelessly milked the success of the first film.

Basically, that meant minions, minions and more minions!

The hilarious, adorable yellow…creatures are the true star of the film. The minions are going to have a spin-off film (Minions) next year and after Despicable Me 2, I can see why. Their wacky hijinks are central to the story and they gave the film a fun energy. You have minions in a music video; minions on the beach etc; and it worked! 

The minions were a comedy goldmine. So much so that I found Despicable Me 2 to be much funnier than Despicable Me. Despicable Me was a delightfully funny film; Despicable Me 2 is a laugh-out loud riot. Like I said earlier, the wacky minions’ antics were key to this.

Also the focus on the love story between Gru and Lucy was fun. I admit this was mainly due to the quirky character of Lucy, but having a love story fresh out the character of Gru and gave the film a needed seriousness amid all the laughs.

Of course, the movie wasn’t perfect. As fun as the love story between Gru and Lucy was, it was also slightly nonsensical. When Lucy suddenly discovered she loved Gru on the plane, a certain amount of suspension of disbelief was required.

Also some characters got the short end of the stick in this one. The 3 girls of Gru, who were the central characters in the first film, had little to nothing to do in this film. Edith was practically a wallflower with Margo and Agnes little better than that.

Still, I have to recommend you to go see Despicable Me 2. It’s a very funny film and easily the best comedy movie I had seen this year. For a funny, fun time, this is the film for you. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Art of Trading

On the BBC website, there is an article on robot traders, commonly known as boxes (a-dark-magic). In the article, it explained the use of robot traders, which are basically fully-automated computers that execute the trading strategies of their trading firms, and the dangers involved in the practice.

The article is mainly concerned about the dangers of using robot traders, using the Flash Crash of 2010 as an example. Now, the warning about using robot traders is correct because I have serious doubts about the use of robots and computers to make trades. However the thing that caught my eye in the article was not the change in the culture of trading and traders, but numbers of traders now operating in the market.

Remco Lenterman, the head of a firm that uses robot traders was quoted saying that an equity desk that used to employ 80 and 100 of human traders 10 years ago, will now employed about 8 today due to robot trading. Now those 8 guys will be mostly computer engineers.

Now a 90% deduction of the workforce in just 10 years may seen drastic to many people, but I believe him. I used to be a futures trader at the Singapore Exchange (SGX) until about 5 years ago. Even now when I tell people I’m no longer there, people are surprised because I was working there for about 10 years. When I first started, the futures exchange was still known as SIMEX. So with almost a decade of experience behind me, most people are surprised that I had quit. 

Most people are also kind of surprised when I say that I jumped before I was pushed. The reason I jumped was because even back then, you could see that everything was getting computerized. Pit trading was been phased out as the big firms were pushing for online trading, mainly to cut cost. It did not take a smart man to realized that with online trading, less traders will be needed. Since then things have been getting worse for traders.

In the past, traders used historic trends, analysis and experience to gauge if a stock was going up or not. Now the rise in robot traders means traders are no longer needed. Trading firms used complex algorithms to decide if they should buy or sell. Correction; they let their computers decide to buy or sell. Frankly to me, that's a disaster waiting to happen.

The main problem is that people are treating trading as if it's a science. Something they can figure out if they just apply the correct math formula to it. It's not. Trading is not a science, it is an art and there is no one-size-fit-all formula to it. That's why I say robot traders are disasters waiting to happen. Sooner or later, mistakes will happen, only this time there will be no humans on site to fix the problem. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Comics this week

Earth #2- As the Wonders and the World Army makes their separate push into the country of Dherain to go after Steppenwolf, they meet up but unlike the normal superhero bash we normally have, the two groups had a negotiation to decide if they could work together. Now this is more like it. One of the fun things about Earth 2 is the fact that things don't normally goes the way it should as in other comics title. Of course saying "No" to the Earth 2 Batman is another plus for writer James Robinson but the unusual nature of the series is something I hope will continue with the new team. Robinson and artist Nicola Scott had done a good job thus far and when the team leaving, I hope the new guys will keep up the good work.

Green Lantern #22- One thing this issue proves is that it's tough being the boss. For years, Hal Lantern is the Green Lantern who was the one most likely to ignore the orders of his superiors and go into things on his own. Now the shoe is on the other foot and Hal gets a taste of what an ass he could be at times. Rookies who do not follow orders, veterans who do not stay at their posts, and all under his command. Yup, the shoe is now firmly on the other foot. If writer Robert Venditti and artist Billy Tan play their cards right, this should be a fun ride.  

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Fickle Egyptians

One year after the first democratic presidential election in Egypt, President Mohammed Morsi has been ousted by a military coup. The first freely elected president of Egypt was overthrown by the Egyptian military just one year in office by protests similar to that of the Arab Spring uprising.

If that prove one thing, it is the fickle nature of the public. Just 2 years ago, the 2011 Arab Spring toppled longtime Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. In the free elections that followed, the Muslim Brotherhood handily won it. Just one year ago, Mohammed Morsi won the presidential election; another free election won fairly by the Muslim Brotherhood. 

Now the people in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, are cheering as the Egyptian armed forces announced they had dropped the Islamist leader in a coup. They also suspended the newly-drafted constitution which had been put in place by the Egyptian parliament after the ousting of Hosni Mubarak, took control of state media, blacked out TV stations operated by the Muslim Brotherhood, and arrested the head of the Brotherhood's political wing. Now all under the cheers of the people in  Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Cheering a military coup for ousting a freely elected President who won a election which almost everyone admit was free and fair. Yes, saying the Egyptian people are fickle is not only correct, it might be an understatement. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Getting Out Of hand

Last week, I wrote on this blog that the U.S. needed to calm down on their hunt for leaker Edward Snowden. Since then, it has been proven without doubt that they are all in on the hunt.

Nothing else can explain why the presidential plane of Bolivia was diverted from France and Portugal on the mere suspicion that Snowden is on board. Yes, a plane belonging to the president of a sovereign nation was refused entry into France and Portugal airspace and to land in Austria instead.

All on the mere suspicion that Snowden, an American wanted by America, was on board. Last I checked Snowden was not wanted in either France or Portugal, so they have no right to refuse entry to the plane even if Snowden was on board. He wasn't but that's almost beside the point because they didn’t even have any evidence that Snowden was on board!

Expectedly, the Bolivians are furious and vowed to make complains against all the countries involved in the matter. Now I may not be a great fan of Bolivian President Evo Morales, but it's hard not to agree with Bolivia on this issue. France and Portugal have no reason to deny entry to the plane even if Snowden was on board.

America may be trying to flex its muscle to show it’s commitment to get Snowden, but there’s a limit to everything. Destroying your relations with two of the most powerful nations in the world (Russia and China) and causing trouble for your allies (France and Portugal) is overreach no matter how you spin it.

I just hope common sense prevail before things get even more out of hand. All these trouble just isn't worth it for one simple tech geek. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Nothing Will Change

You have to give credit when credit is due. As 21,000 people showed up at the "Pink Dot" rally in support for same-sex rights, Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) politician Vincent Wijeysingha officially came out as a gay man on his Facebook page.

I have to give the man pops because he did something and put his name down on something he truly believe in. All credit to the man as this makes him Singapore's first openly gay politician. Just don't expect the SDP or the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) to follow his lead and support gay rights anytime soon.

Yes, 21,000 people showed up at the rally. Yes, it's a record attendance. However politics is a number game and supporting gay rights in Singapore will cost the political parties votes. 

Now some people may say gay right is more accepted by Singaporeans now than ever before. That may be true but would Singaporeans vote for a political party based on this one issue? I doubt so but would people (like devout Muslims and church going Christians) NOT vote for a political party based on this one issue?

Not supporting this issue will cost the parties nothing but supporting this issue will cost them votes. Simply put; this is not an issue that will bring in the votes but will cost them some. For that simple reason, I do not Singapore’s official stance on gay rights to change anytime soon.