Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why This Mask?

Singapore is in a flutter today as international hacker group Anonymous is threatening to disrupt key infrastructure in Singapore to protest against the government's new online media licensing rules. Announced via a YouTube video, a person wearing a Guy Fawkes mask even claimed credit for the work of "The Messiah", a hacker who had broke into two Singapore government websites recently.

However, I'm not here to talk about the threat. Honestly, even if the Youtube video is legit and Anonymous is successful on it's attack on government what? Anonymous is an annoying irritant to people they attack but hacking into websites isn't going to bring down any government.

No, what I really want to talk about is the Guy Fawkes mask they keep wearing! As someone who read and liked Alan Moore's "V For Vendetta", I really wish Anonymous would stop wearing the mask for their own purpose. "V For Vendetta" is a great work, and I really do not like the fact that a hacking group is using it while threatening to do something illegal.

Not only that, they're not even doing it right! I mean did anyone in Anonymous asked Alan Moore or David Lloyd for permission to use their creation for something like this? I mean what's this about telling the Singapore government to stop their new media licensing rules? "V" don't ask! He's an anarchist, he's just go out and stop it. Not only that, he'll destroy everything in his path to do it. "V" isn't out to change the world, in the story he's there to destroy it!

That's the "V" character in "V For Vendetta". He wasn't a hero. Alan Moore wrote him as a character that makes you question if he's right or just crazy.

On second thought, that does sound like Anonymous.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Now It's A Problem

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed said something truly funny today. He said that Malaysians need to stop putting a price on their votes if they hope to see any progress in tackling corruption in the country. 

Everyone heard of the pot calling the kettle black but coming from him, this is in a league of it's own.

Now the man is right. By all accounts, corruption is getting worse in Malaysia but Dr Mahathir is about the last man in Malaysia that has a right to complain about it. Okay maybe the Chief Minister of Sarawak may have something to say about that, but if not no. 1 then Dr. Mahathir is no. 2! 

The man served as Malaysian Prime Minister for 22 years until his retirement in 2003, and in all that he did nothing about it. Hell, you can even say corruption served him well! Now he is retired and suddenly corruption is a problem in Malaysia? 

Dr Mahathir; what you said was so funny, it was almost sad. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Coming Floods

It's been 1 year since superstorm Sandy hit the east coast of the United States, flooding the streets and subways of New York and Jersey. Since then, the world has been facing natural disaster after natural disaster and just to make sure Singapore isn't left out of the fun, today the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) announced that the total rainfall Singapore will have this coming December and January will be 10 to 20 percent higher than normal.

The reason for this is due to the La Nina phenomenon that should bring more rainfall to Southeast Asia this year. What does this means? It means Singapore will have floods again! Just last month, many areas in Singapore were hit with floods and even yesterday, flash floods occurred at Changi. So as we are hit by floods by year end, we know why.

Or to be more accurate; the Singapore government has a ready-made excuse on why we are going to have floods later this year.

Monday, October 28, 2013

She's A Threat?

The news that the United States government has been spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel is no surprise. Governments spy on each other; it’s just the way of the world. However what’s surprising is the news that the US has been tapping the chancellor's phone since 2002, even before she was chancellor.

Now it is understandable that countries want to spy on each other, but the scale (and time) of the spying by the Americans is crazy. Mrs Merkel is a well-known friend and ally of America, she was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, and she had been spied on by the Americans for over a decade? What’s more is the fact that the Americans justified the spying as in the interest of “national security”. Seriously?

A leader of an allied country has been spied on for national security? I mean Germans complain that Merkel is too pro-American, and yet she’s a threat to American national security? I wonder what the Americans call Putin or Assad?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Not Going To Happen

Last month, Hong Kong adopted an official poverty line. Seeing the similarities between Singapore and Hong Kong, many Singaporeans activists have been asking the Singapore government to do the same in Singapore. Thus far, the Singapore government has refused to do so.

Do not hold your breath thinking that’s going to change.

Mr. Chan Chun Sing, the Minister for Social and Family Development, has all but confirmed that Singapore is not considering having an official poverty line, and I'm not surprised. For all the talk about "cliff effect" and "no such thing as poverty in Singapore", this is the real reason why. Once they adopt an official poverty line in Singapore, the Singapore government will need to raise salaries of workers in Singapore as we need to have a minimum wage.

It makes sense right? If you have a poverty line, then it's just common sense that the next step for the county is to have a minimum wage. And in super pro-business Singapore, that's just not going to happen.

Singapore is a rich country with low unemployment. Yet the reason for this is the relatively low salaries of workers in Singapore. Earlier this month, The New Paper ran a story about a family living out of a van at the carpark of East Coast Park. The family may be homeless but the sole breadwinner has employment. He earns $2,100 a month with a take-home pay of around $1,7000.

Internationally that’s not poor but in high-cost Singapore, that’s not enough for a family to survive on. In the past few years, the number of rich people in Singapore has steadily increased but most, if not all, of them are foreigners who came to Singapore and took up Singapore PR. Wages have been stagnate as Singapore have opened up the floodgates for foreigners for low wage jobs. Salaries for these low wage foreigners are so bad that they have went on strikes and Singapore has been having problems attracting foreign workers.

So now not only are the salaries of foreign workers rising, the Singapore government is also going to have a poverty line (which will lead to a minimum wage). Sorry, but I just don't see that happening.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Comics this week

Justice League #24- After a less than exciting start, the Forever Evil event has been steadily picking up steam and this issue of the Justice League is the perfect example of why. In this issue, writer Geoff Johns manages to do two things. In the first part of the issue, he fleshes out the origin of Ultraman. I don’t know if Johns intended to do it but I found Ultraman’s origin to be hilarious. The destruction of Krypton, the relationship between Papa Kent and Mama Kent; the twisted ways of Earth 3 was refreshingly funny. After watching the saintly Martha Kent stand up to Zod in “Man of Steel”, seeing the fact that Mama Kent is an addict in this universe is comedy gold. Then in the second part of this issue, Johns shine the light on Black Adam. His return is more than welcomed as, finally, we have someone who can stand up to the all-powerful Crime Syndicate. With the great art of Ivan Reis backing up the story, this is an excellent issue all around.

Justice League Dark #24- There is something call “too much of a good thing”, and I’m afraid DC has reached that threshold with John Constantine. As the Justice League showcase the Crime Syndicate and Ultraman, and the Justice League of America spotlight the JLA trying to escape their prison; JL Dark spotlight…John Constantine? I will admit Nightmare Nurse might be an interesting addition to the team in the long run but unless he’s been given a mandate from editorial to push John Constantine, new writer J.M. DeMatteis need to move away from the character. Considering how popular he is, there is a real danger that the character might overshadow the whole JL Dark. Well, at least artist Mikel Janin is still on board.

Red Lanterns #24- Like most readers, I believe Red Lanterns is the weakest of all the Lanterns books out there. A few more issues like this, and everyone will be singing a different tune. Written by Charles Soule, and with art from Alessandro Vitti, #24 is great. Soule manages to capture the character of Guy Gardner, the rest of the Red Lanterns, Relic, and push forward the story of the “Lights Out” crossover; all at the same time. Now that’s impressive. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Lenders and Borrowers

Yesterday, I read an article in the newspaper about debtors being harassed by legal money lenders. Now the article was clearly on the side of the debtors with stories of the money lenders harassing the debtors at their home, workplace and in public. Sorry but I have a hard time having sympathy for the debtors.

Call me old-fashioned but I believe that if you owned money, then it is your obligation to pay it back. In the article yesterday, there was one debtor who complained about the money-lenders who harassed him at his workplace. However if you read the article, he also disclosed that he owned money to 15 money-lenders to a total of $40,000!

Sorry but what did he expect? Come on, if you are one of the 15 money-lenders and knows this guy own money to 14 other money-lenders, what would you do? Wait patiently and hope you are not the last guy to be paid or go chase after the guy for your money? To me, there’s no question what I would do.

Personally, I have little to no sympathy to people who borrowed money and then try to hid behind the law to avoid paying back the money they took. If someone borrowed money from 15 money-lenders, then he should expect some of them to go to his workplace. Legal or not, it should be common sense.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

No Contest

Since winning the Malaysian Super League with the Lions XII, coach V. Sundramoorthy has been in hot demand with various teams in Singapore and Malaysia going after his signature. Early this month, the football coach once known as “The Dazzler” made public his decision to leave the Lions XII team to coach the team of Negeri Sembilan.

I admit I was a little surprised by the decision as Negeri Sembilan is in the Malaysian second-tier, but with a reported salary of $15,000 per month, Sundram’s decision is understandable. Sundram is not the only one leaving the team. Key Lions XII players Shahril Ishak, Baihakki Khaizan, Hariss Harun and Safuwan Baharudin are all rumoured to be eyeing high-paying moves to Malaysian and Thai sides next season.

This means that a year after winning the Malaysian Super League, the Lions XII will be a vastly different team next season. I don’t blame any of the players or Sundram for this. The blame I believe falls strictly on the shoulders of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).

Last season, the Lions XII team did very well. We finished in the top 3 of the League and reached the semi-finals of the Malaysia Cup. Yet, the FAS never tied down the contracts of our coach or our top players. Yes, some might argue that there was no way the FAS could reached or matched the rumored salary on offer, Baihakki Khaizan is rumored to have been offered a contract worth $25,000 per month, but that doesn’t mean the FAS should have allowed the contracts of Sundram and gang to run out.

Even after the success last season, the FAS only offered one year or two year contracts to the players. Those on their final contract year were allowed to run them out. Honestly, that is just stupid!

Singapore needs to tie down the contracts of our top players and we need to do it yesterday. The FAS need to change their policy of 1 year contracts or we are going to have an ever changing Lions XII team every year. Worse, considering what the teams in Malaysia are offering our players, it’s not even a contest. 

Players (and coach) who worry about their long-term career would always prefer to head north of the Causeway where not only would they get better salary, they will get a longer contract to boot! Singapore has always worry about being "competitive" compared to our neighbors. In the realm of football, we are not even close. 

Great Service

Last month, I reported about Games For Windows Live being going the way of the dodo. Now, Warner Bros. has announced that their Batman games are going to give up on the Games for Windows Live platform in favor of Steam! 

Now that's service! Warner Bros's Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City games are two of their most well-received games and their decision to "import" the games onto Steam is great. They did not have to do this but they did, and not only that, the Steam versions of the games will automatically be upgraded to Game of the Year versions! 

Moving from a broken-down platform to Steam and then be given a free GOTY upgrade? Wow! I'm not sure if this free upgrade will work in Singapore, but no matter what, this is great!  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Dreams Do Come True

You know how when babies are born, their parents and grandparents always dream of great things in the babies’ futures? 13 years ago, a grandfather in Wales put his money where his mouth and boy did it work out well!

When Harry Wilson came into the world 16 years ago, his grandfather, Peter Edwards, dreamt that he would be a great footballer. So when his grandson was just 18 months old, Peter Edwards went to a bookmaker and placed a £50 bet that his grandson would eventually play international football for Wales. He was given odds of 2,500 to 1.

On Tuesday, Wales was playing Belgium and in the 87th min, Welsh manager Chris Coleman sent on 16-year-old Harry Wilson for his international debut and in turn made the dreaming grandfather £125,000! Peter Edwards promptly retires after collecting the windfall. 

As you can see, dreams do come true.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Comics this week

Batman/Superman #4- Oh! Now that’s unexpected! The world of the older Superman and Batman is Earth 2; the same Earth 2 that currently is an ongoing series! Not only that, this arc gave a reason why Darkseid attacked Earth 2 in Earth 2 #1! The subtle way writer Greg Pak has inserted that fact into the story is so unlike the current loud, proud and brash New 52 DC that I’m beyond surprised. I’m shocked! Backed by the solid art of Jae Lee & Yildiray Cinar, and you have a new series that’s going to be a hit.

Avengers #21- If there’s still any arguments that Infinity is a crossover instead of an event, this issue settle it. #21 shows the Galactic Council’s victory over the Builders and the way of the victory is first shown in #20 of Avengers. The main Infinity series never even hinted at the betrayal of the Ex Nihilos. Writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Leinil Francis Yu put together a very good issue here; too bad about the wrong marketing though. 

New Avengers #11- Even though this was marketed as a tie-in to “Infinity”, New Avengers has been pretty much doing its own thing. I’ve always dislike the title of this series since technically The Illuminati are not part of the Avengers; since when did Reed Richards and Black Bolt join the Avengers? Outside that, the group has been doing some very un-Avenger like things like destroying whole worlds, something even Thanos approved of when he found out this issue. I do like the way the tension is slowly rising with you sensing how things are coming to a head as their past actions are fast catching up to them. Good issue but not really a tie-in with Infinity.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Correct Decision

As widely expected, the Malaysian Court of Appeal upheld the decision to ban the word "Allah" from the Bahasa Malaysia section of Catholic weekly Herald. This decision surprised no one as even Malaysian Christians, who make up about 9% of the population, did not believe they had a chance.

Now the Malaysian courts has a reputation of being corrupt and a long history of making bad decisions. This is not one of them.

Frankly, I cannot understand why Christians in Malaysia want to use "Allah" as the name of their god. The Christian God has a name. The authors of the New Testament took for granted the existence of the God of the Old Testament. They believed in Yahweh, "the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob," whom the Jews worshipped as the one true God.

Now Malaysian Christians want to use "Allah" as the name of their God? Sorry but that makes no sense. As amazing as it seems, for once, the Malaysian Court of Appeal made the correct decision here. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Review of Gravity

Gravity is a science fiction and space film written, produced, edited and directed by Alfonso Cuaron, the director best known for 2004's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. However all the talk I have heard of the movie centered on one name; lead actress Sandra Bullock.

The film stars Sandra Bullock as bio-medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone, a mission specialist on her first space shuttle mission which is to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. During the final spacewalk, NASA warn her team of debris from a Russian missile strike in a satellite. Shortly after, the debris hit the team and the only survivors  are Stone and veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney). With their shuttle destroyed and communications from NASA lost, Stone and Kowalski has to find a way to safely go back to Earth.

If that sounds like a simple plot, that's because it is. Gravity is a very simple survival movie, only it is set in space. 3 things however made it more than just that.

1)Alfonso Cuaron shows a steady hand in the director's chair and belief in the performance of his two leads.
2) It is a beautiful film. The special effects of the movie is great. I didn't watch it in 3D but even then, I was very very impressed with it. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki was brilliant as he managed to show the beauty of space in all its glory.   
3) Bullock won the Best Actress award at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance in The Blind Side in 2009. She is going to win another hatful of awards for her role as Ryan Stone.

The third point is extremely important as Gravity is basically a one person film. No other actors shows up except for Bullock and Clooney, and Clooney is basically a glorified extra here. The movie depends on Bullock and she delivers. Even when she was in her spacesuit, Bullock was able to bring to life Stone's life on Earth. You could feel her pain as she was discussing the death of her young daughter in a schoolyard accident with Clooney. The performance is even more remarkable when you consider the fact that we can't see her expressions. And the end when she finally reached Earth; her joy at finally feeling the gravity of Earth? Brilliant!

I won't say Gravity will be the best movie you'll see this year but with great special effects and a very solid performance from Bullock, this will be one of the better ones. Go and watch it!

Friday, October 11, 2013

What Singaporeans Really Care About

 On Wednesday, a fire at SingTel’s Bukit Panjang exchange knocked out its broadband and mobile services. Services were disrupted and even now, 2 days after the fire, services are still not fully up.

However, do Singaporeans complained about their internet or how some banking services like ATM were down? No. The biggest complains I heard are from punters who are unable to buy 4D on Wednesday, the day of the draw.  Singporepools, the leading operator for lottery and sports betting, even had to extend the time of the draw till 9pm, instead of the usual 6.30pm, for the punters. Reporters even interviewed one who waited 3 hours, in vain, to buy 4D.

Waiting 3 hours to buy 4D? Man, talk about your priorities. I usually wouldn't even be willing wait 10mins. It tells you what Singaporeans really cares about in their daily lives.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Comics this week

Infinity #4- Thus far in Infinity, I had always thought the space section of the story is much better than the Earth section. Writer Jonathan Hickman has taken his first steps to remedy that in this issue. While the space section is frankly an assassination of a Builder by Thor, the Earth section is backed by a bloody, brutal, drag-out fight between Black Bolt and Thanos. It's wonderful to see Black Bolt finally cut loose, even if he finally lost as expected. I mean how many characters are there that could take on Thanos one on one? I must also say artists Jerome Opena and Dustin Weaver put together a wonderful issue here with some superb work on the action and suspense of the various situations faced by the heroes. An excellent issue!

Astro City #5- We all know Astro City is set in its' own world with a long history of superheroics, and in this issue writer Kurt Busiek tried to give us a rundown on just how far back it goes. The problem with this issue however is the fact that it is basically 4 stories in one, and outside the short story of Mister Cakewalk and Dame Progress (set in a steampunk England on less), the rest are unfinished! I have no doubt Busiek will finish it later, the man like to play the long game, but 3 unfinished stories is 3 too many.

Superman/Wonder Woman #1- I admit, I got this to see if it's any good. After one issue, I have to say it does show some promise. Writer Charles Soule seem to have a good handle on the two leads and artist Tony S. Daniel's work is gorgeous. However the introduction of Doomsday also show a problem this series will have. Superman and Wonder Woman are two of the most powerful characters in the New 52; how many villains are there that could give them a fight when they are together? Still, this issue is very  promising and if the rest of the series is as good as this issue, then DC may have a winner here.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

They Will Leave

Ever heard of the NIC? The National Integration Council (NIC) is there to promote greater social integration in Singapore between newcomers and locals. In short, they are there to promote integration between foreigners and Singaporeans.

For their task, they have something called the Community Integration Fund (CIF). At $10 million, this fund is designed to ease the financial constraints currently faced by organizations interested in organizing integration projects. The fund will provide co-funding of up to 80 percent for integration projects over the next three years.

All good and well, but it's not going to work.

I don't think it's going to work because foreigners are not interested in integration. They are not interested because well...they are not staying! If you ask foreigners why they  are in Singapore, the vast overwhelming majority of them will say they are here for jobs. They are here to earn money to sent home. In short, they are here to make money and once that is done, they will go back home. That's their plan and I say fair enough. No one should be surprised by this.

However if you are one of them, would you be interested in integration? Of course not, why integrate into a community when you know you are going to leave in a few years? Hell, it might actually makes it more painful to leave when the time comes.

That is why I don't think the works by the NIC and its $10 million fund will have any effect on foreigners and Singaporeans. They are barking up the wrong tree. Community outreach is good and fine but few are going to stay due to ties to a community. If they want foreigners to stay, they need sell something other than money and community. They need something that will make foreigners come to Singapore, not to work, but to stay. It's no use to try to change their minds after they come into Singapore. By then it's too late because they already made plans! They need to sell a dream or an idea that would make foreigners want to make Singapore their adopted homeland from the every get-go. 

If not, then foreigners would have little incentive to adapt and integrate with the locals. Why should they? They are leaving in a few years.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Read The Original

Blogger Alvin Lim launched a tirade on his blog, Alvinology, in which he compared National Service (NS) to slavery. As expected, the post got a lot of comments, Facebook shares and page views. What I did not expect was that so many people seem to agree with the post. 

To these people, I have a few questions. Are you guys nuts? Did no one watch Django Unchained? That's slavery. No matter how you dislike NS, how in the world can you compare it to slavery? These two aren't even in the same league! More importantly, did any of you actually read the original BBC report that prompted the tirade?

Look I don't like NS either but guess what, we have things we have to do even though we dislike doing them. It's called a duty. Mr. Lim was moved to post his distaste for NS after reading a BBC report where a Mr. Alex Liang renounced his Singapore citizenship to settle in the United Kingdom. Mr. Liang pointed to NS as his primary reason for doing so. Mr. Alvin Lim agrees with him and wrote on his post how much he hates NS as well. 

I actually read the BBC report in question and frankly I fail to see how that BBC report could morphed into a anti-NS tirade. The BBC report was actually a follow-up report on Americans who renounced their American citizenship to avoid taxes in the U.S. As many people knows, the American government is coming down hard on people who moved their money overseas to avoid taxes. Singapore has "benefited" from these people as well, and now a lot of them are looking to renounced their American citizenship to avoid the American I.R.S.

The BBC report is a follow-up where they asked a whole host of people from around the world why they renounced the citizenship of their birthplace and switched nationality. Mr. Alex Liang commented that, "I was born and bred in Singapore but moved to the UK when I was 21 and eventually naturalised as a British citizen after seven years here - I am 37 today. I left Singapore because I had no faith in the government there. Singaporean males were discriminated against by the government because of the compulsory national service and many years of reservist obligations afterwards. That is compounded by the fact that the Singapore government is actively wooing skilled migrants to Singapore. Their "foreign talent" program gives these migrants all kinds of advantages that locals are not entitled to. I gave two years and four months of my life to serve in the army and my reward is to be treated like a second-class citizen. I wasn't prepared to fight the system, so I simply left and settled in the UK instead."

The problem with what he said is the fact that he moved to the UK when I was 21 and he is now 37! He left 16 years ago, well before the Singapore government open the floodgates for foreigners. Also he said that he was naturalized as a British citizen after seven years in the U.K which means he became a British citizen at 28; 9 years ago! Were we flooded with foreigners 9 years ago? No, we were not. That only started about 5-6 years ago. 

I don't want to call him a liar but does a guy who left 16 years ago be someone who could complain about foreigners flooding into Singapore? Also, isn't he himself a foreigner who flood into the U.K? Does Mr. Alex Liang really has a right to complain about the issue? I strongly advise readers to read the original report from the BBC and then ask themselves the same question I did; is that report something that could or should prompt a tirade against NS?

Monday, October 7, 2013

One of The Greats

Vietnam's legendary General Vo Nguyen Giap died on Friday at the grand age of 102. Vietnam will hold two days of mourning for the general, widely considered to be the one of the greatest general in the 20th century. There's good reasons for that.

General Giap, second only to late revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh as modern Vietnam's most revered figure, was widely credited as the strategic genius whose guerrilla tactics defeated the French and American armies. That’s why most military historians put him right up there alongside Douglas MacArthur and Erwin Rommel as the best generals in the 20th century.

I disagree. No disrespect to General MacArthur or Field Marshal Rommel but I don't think there's too much doubt about who is the best. General Giap is the best military generals of the 20thcentury. Yes, some people may argue against his disregard for losses among his own troops but you can’t argue against the results. General Giap was the one who founded the Vietnam People's Army and lead them to victories over a superior force. Twice!

Forgot about the 20th century, how many generals and leaders in history has managed that? General MacArthur and Field Marshal Rommel may be great generals but I believe General Giap is the best of the 20th century and in losing him, the world has lost not just the best in the 20th century but one of the most talented military strategists in world history.

He is one of the greats!

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Weight Cut Nonsense

In fighting sports like boxing, judo, karate etc, there are different weight classes where fighters compete with others within their own weight class. This is to prevent mismatches where one guy is far bigger, or far faster, than their competitors.

However, I had always disliked the idea of weight classes. I can understand why they have it but I always thought the idea of weight class is kind of stupid. This is especially so for fighters who decide to cut weight drastically in order to fight in a lower weight class.

The idea is that if they managed to go into a lower weight class, they will still have a size advantage over their competitors. Like I said earlier, I can understand why they do it, but I can’t understand why fighters put their health a risk for a stupid weight cut.

Recently in Brazil, journeyman MMA (mixed martial art) fighter Leandro Silva died while trying to shed 30 pounds in 5 days before a fight. That’s 6 pounds a day and the Brazilian is hardly alone. Earlier this year, American MMA fighter Diego Sanchez lost 53 pounds in 60 days…and still missed the weight! He was supposed to lose 55 pounds.

That is just not unhealthy. Such drastic weight cut causes seriously health issues in the long-run and with MMA growing in Singapore as well, I do think MMA companies and organizations need to have some sort of rules to limit weight cut. The last thing anyone wants is any fighter dying due to meet a stupid weight. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Comics this week

Forever Evil #2- Honestly, this should be #1 instead of #2. The story showcase the Crime Syndicate as after taking over the world, they are now faced with the problem of ruling it. Writer Geoff Johns finally decide it's time to push aside the obscure villains that showed up in #1 and concentrate on the Crime Syndicate. It's about time! This issue was excellent because the main bad guys, the Crime Syndicate, are front and centre throughout the issue. Yes, we see a few panels of Lex Luthor, but this was the Syndicate's issue and it was better for it. The art of David Finch is a further plus in my view as his mastery of facial expression is put to good use. After a lackluster #1, it seems Forever Evil is kicking into gear.

Earth 2 #16- Like many people, I have criticized writer James Robinson on his work on Earth 2. Despite the lovely work by artist Nicola Scott, Earth 2 just hasn't been able to crack open the top of the sales chart due to the numerous plotlines in this series. I have said many times that sometimes Robinson is just too ambitious for his own good. But man, when it pays off, it pays off! This issue ended with a big reveal that not only I didn't see coming, but also have to say did not come out of left-field. After all, we all know the Supergirl and Robin of Earth 2 are safely on the New 52, so it stand to reason that the other heroes survived as well. It exactly makes sense! And that final scene of a cracked Earth; Scott outdid herself there. It was beautiful. 

Hinterkind #1- Of all the Vertigo books that came out this week, I have to go with Hinterkind as the pick of the bunch. The story by writer Ian Edginton shows a future where Mother Nature rule the roost and human trying their best to survive as a species in scattered settlements. I like the slow build-up of the story where we get to know the peaceful side of the world first before we get to know the dangers of it. The art by Francesco Trifogli suits the story well especially the wide shots of the landscape that peppered this issue. It shows just how far Mother Nature has reclaimed her planet and how much things has changed for the humans. Very impressive start to a new series.    

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

6 nominations at the Golden Horse but...

Wow! That’s my reaction when I heard that Singaporean director Anthony Chen's film "Ilo Ilo" has earned 6 nominations at the Taipei Golden Horse Awards. The Golden Horse is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) movie award ceremony for Chinese cinema and for a Singapore film directed by a Singaporean to be able to bagged 6 nominations is something truly to be proud of!

This is not the first time "Ilo Ilo" got an international award. Last month, the film won 3 awards in Russia at the 11th Pacific Meridian Film Festival in Vladivostok. Not only that, Chen also won the Camera d'Or, the award for best feature-length film by a first-time feature film director, at the Cannes Film Festival earlier in May.

However as many foreign awards won by Chen and the film, the film faced one big hurdle in Singapore; it is made in Singapore. I know this may seem very strange to some foreigners but in Singapore, Singaporeans ignored Singapore-made movies, shows and music. Things are so bad that some movies made in Singapore marketed themselves as “joint-production” with other countries like Thailand and Malaysia just to boost their box-office takings here on the island.

To the surprise of no one, the movie only got a 1-2 weeks run here in Singapore. Personally I think it's great that "Ilo Ilo" got 6 nominations at the Golden Horse, but will it change the landscape of the filming industry in Singapore.

I doubt it. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Only In America

As the United States government shutdown goes into effect, as a non-American, I have to say I find the situation ridiculous. Most countries in the world do whatever is needed to avoid a shutdown of the government but the Americans are shutting down their government due to…an argument over whether to give every American healthcare?

Now I understand people having different views and arguing about it. However is the question of healthcare so important that you shut down a government for it? I mean Singapore has sky-high healthcare cost and many people want the government to find a way to lower it, but no one in his right mind will argue that we shut down the Singapore government for it.

I mean no one will shutdown the whole government just because you disagree with one part of the government policy, right? What's more is that in this case, the government is trying to give more healthcare, not take away it! Surely you don't shutdown a government for that right? As they say; only in America.