Friday, October 31, 2014

Hello Is Harassment

The latest viral video on Youtube right now is the "Street Harassment Is Real" video where a director filmed an actress walking around New York City and getting harassed by men on the street. 

Now I won't argued that there were some outright harassment shown in the video, including a guy who quietly followed the actress for over 5 mins, but like some men I have to question why some of the interaction in the video is considered harassment. I mean most of the guys did nothing but look at the woman while some just said "hello" and “have a good day”.

To this, the director, Rob Bliss, says this, 
“Imagine that you are that girl — or, better yet, imagine that you are you,” he said. “And you’re walking down the street and every guy you saw in that video said those exact same things to you. How would you feel?”

Yes, you read that right. By reputation, everyone knows New York City is an unfriendly city but to have an actual New Yorker openly saying that "hello" and “have a good day” is just not something you say to a stranger in the city? Well, that just settle it. New York City has to be the world's unfriendliest city!  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Review of John Wick

If there’s one line to describe John Wick, it is this; John Wick is a kick-ass action movie.

That’s it. Those of you looking for Oscar winning performances or tear-jerking dramas, go someplace else but if you are looking for a slick polish action movie, then this Keanu Reeves film is one you need to watch.

Reeves stars as John Wick, a man who just lost his wife Helen to cancer. Knowing she was dying, his wife posthumously send a gift to him in the form of a puppy named Daisy, hoping the puppy would help Wick cope with his grief. Wick and Daisy connects but their relationship is cut short when a Russian gang member named Iosef (Alfie Allen) broke into Wick’s home, killed Daisy and stole Wick’s car.

After that, Iosef bought the car to a chop-shop but the shop owner Aureilo (John Leguizamo) refused to have anything to do with the car and even punched Iosef for bringing the vehicle into his shop. Iosef immediately reports the incident to his father Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist), the head of a major Russian crime syndicate in New York. Aureilo explained to Viggo what happened and Viggo beat and berate his son. He then explained to Iosef and his second-in-command Avi (Dean Winters) who John Wick was; one of the best assassin in the world, nicknamed the "Boogeyman".

From there, it’s one straight line of a vengeance movie as Wick faced off against Viggo, who in an effort to protect his son, put a $2 million bounty on Wick’s head.

As I said earlier, John Wick is an action movie and a very good one. The fights are stylish and the way Keanu Reeves handle the action scenes is something to behold. This is a welcome return to form for Reeves who has been threading water for the past couple years ever since the Matrix trilogy ended.

Also the way the movie expanded John Wick’s world was very well done. The revelation that Wick was part of an old assassin society based around an unassuming hotel named the Continental was marvellous. Although they weren’t in the movie much, directors by David Leitch and Chad Stahelski clearly show that the society has its own rules and code of conduct and anyone who runs afoul of them will have to suffer the consequences.

I also liked the performances of the actors in the movie. Reeves was great and so were the supporting actors. When Viggo first learned of what happened, all he said was, “Oh” and Nyqvist nailed the scene. Nyqvist with that one word managed to convey Viggo’s shock, surprise and rage. Never had so much been said on such a simple word.

However, not everyone was great. I know Adrianne Palicki has managed to gain a reputation as an action actress but I thought she was terrible as Ms. Perkins. She just didn’t seem comfortable at all as the movie femme fatale. I can’t help but think that another actress would have done a much better job at it.

I also thought the ending was poor. After all the kinetic shootouts and fights, the ending was kind of passé. A fist fight in the rain at the docks? I seem that a thousand times before and I didn’t need to see another one.

However on the whole, I thought John Wick was an excellent action movie. The action was cool and while the story was simple, it got the job done. Bring on the sequel! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Comics this week

Earth 2: World’s End #4- After getting the conflict between Earth and Apokolips into gear, the writers of this weekly series decide to have a setup issue. Mr. Miracle and the World Government came to a deal while Batman’s team descent into the Fire Pits. Also Aquawoman unleash Atlantis’ super weapons after losing the city to Death, one of the Furies. So I won’t say the issue is useless, a lot does happen, just surprising as I thought the fight was just kicking into gear. Also if they are going to set things up, why don't they show what happened to Constantine who showed up last issue? A good issue, but not perfect.

Sinestro #6- After so many crossover, I am going to drop all my Green Lantern books. They are great and going strong, but there are just too many crossovers for my liking. Sinestro #6 is an example. I missed a lot as the issue starts with the aftermath of an attack by a New God on the Corps and Sinestro seemingly intrigued by the attacker. The end of the issue was great, an example why I like this series so much, just too bad about all the crossovers. 

TOTO vs 4D

How difficult is the new TOTO? From what I see; very very difficult!

Earlier this month, Singaporepools changed the TOTO system. There are now 49 numbers to choose from instead of 45 and you will win something if you match 3 numbers instead of 4. Also, the total winnings of the lottery increased.

However from what I see, the extra 4 numbers on offer has made winning the TOTO very difficult. In the latest TOTO draw, not only did no one won the Group 1 prize; no one even won the Group 2 prize!

No one even won the Group 2? In all the time I have play TOTO, I have never seen that before. I have always thought that TOTO was better than 4D but after this change, I have to change my mind.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

What's The Problem?

When Yahoo! News reported that Singapore pastor, Joseph Prince, has a reported net worth of $6.3 million and an annual salary of $700,000 (here), many Singaporeans raised their eyebrows at the figures. Many asked if it was right that a pastor be paid so much and if he should be so rich?

I agree with the questions. Personally, I am very uncomfortable with a pastor earning over half a million dollars a year but I shall also say this; Pastor Joseph Prince has done nothing wrong or illegal.

Pastor Joseph Prince is the head of his own megachurch, New Creation Church has over 30,000 members, and the pastor has to my knowledge been above board in his financial dealings. He didn’t try to hide his wealth or salary. The fact that his salary do not come from New Creation Church itself is another plus in my view.

Basically it comes down to this; I am uncomfortable with a pastor being so rich but if the members of his own church has no issue with it and he isn’t doing anything illegally, who the hell am I to say anything? I’m not even a Christian! If there's no foul, well...what's the problem?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Comics this week

Amazing Spiderman #8- The last stop before Spiderverse, this issue had us looking at the team-up between Peter Parker and Kamala Khan and tried to get fans excited with the new Silk series. It failed on both counts. However the issue was saved by the backup where Mayday Parker, Spider-girl, becomes the latest Spider to be hunted by Morlun’s family. I must say I was surprised by the dark turn of the story but after what they did with the Spider-friends, I guess I shouldn’t be. It’ll be fun to see how Mayday stacked up alongside Assassin Spider and Superior Spider-Man as the death squad of the Spiders. Bring on the Spider-Verse!

Earth 2: World’s End #3- 3 issues in and things got moving as the conflict went into high gear. Apokolips makes its move as the 4 Furies engaged Earth’s heroes while the planet itself steadily moved into the solar system. The stakes are high and I have to congratulate the multiple writers and artists who worked on this issue on getting that right. I mean you know things are bad when Khan, Dodds and Sloan are all working towards a common goal and you could literally feel the tension as the heroes had to decide between several bad options before making the “least bad” one. Add that to the sudden appearance of Constantine and you got one hell of a potent mix of a comic book.   

The Multiversity: The Just #1- The big knock again Multiversity has been that the issues don’t seem to have too much connection with each other. If you are one of those readers, you might want to skip The Multiversity: The Just #1 because writer Grant Morrison is continuing in the same vine. You know what…I dig it! The Just is wonderful as Morrison turned the teen heroes of today into the adult heroes of tomorrow as The Just shows a world where most of the heroes of today has passed on and their “titles” of heroes were inherited by their children. It can be a little confusing at first but as I read on, I couldn’t help but be drawn in by this world. Artist Ben Oliver may have a lot to do with it but I can clearly see how interesting this world is and DC may have a goldmine here. If they have a “The Just” series like Earth 2…who knows?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Simple Solution

When Qatar was controversially awarded the 2022 World Cup by FIFA's executive committee in 2010, I said then it was a bad idea. Two years later, FIFA is still trying to make the bid works.

Faced with the prospect of playing in the summer heat of the Middle East, FIFA has been trying to think of all kind of ways of making it possible to hold the tournament in Qatar. Ideas ranged from moving the Qatar World Cup to late 2022 in winter, to moving it slightly earlier in early May, to starting games at 1am to avoid the worst of the heat.

I have a better idea. Just move the whole tournament to another country! That solves everything right? Sometimes the simplest solution is the best solution. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Too Much Of A Good Thing

That’s what I thought when I read that Warner Bros. will be releasing more than 10 movies based on DC superheroes. With the successful Marvel had these past few years, it’s little wonder why Warner Bros. would want in on the act but 10 of them?

The 10 DC movies named are as follows:

• "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" (2016)
• "Suicide Squad", David Ayer (2016)
• "Wonder Woman" (2017)
• "Justice League Part One" (2017)
• "The Flash" (2018)
• "Aquaman" (2018)
• "Shazam" (2019)
• "Justice League Part Two" (2019)
• "Cyborg" (2020)
• "Green Lantern" (2020)

Now as a long-time fan of superhero comics, I love the fact that there are movies in the pipeline but 10 movies in 6 years? Good god, that’s overkill even if you don’t count the Marvel movies.

I hope between them, Marvel and Warner Bros., the two rival studios do not kill the genre. Give us fans some room to breathe guys. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Comics this week

Deadly Class #8- Unlike most people on the internet, I’m no fan of writer Rick Remender’s work on AXIS but in Deadly Class, he is still showing his class (pun intended). #8 gave us the backstory of Marcus and it is suitably horrifyingly awesome. I like the way Remender didn’t sugarcoat anything. Yes, Marcus had good reasons for doing what he did but that didn’t change the fact that he killed a lot of people and was responsible for the deaths for more. The pain the memory bought to Marcus was beautifully illustrated by artist Wes Craig and after last issue so-so return, it’s great to have the series back on form. 

Justice League #35- The game within a game continues as the unlikely and uneasy alliance between Lex and the Justice League continue to give writer Geoff Johns a lot to work with. It’s fun to watch the self-righteous and honorable JL team trying to work an angle on Lex when they have nothing to go on but past history. The fact that Lex is now more afraid of some unknown entity out there than he is of the League is something none of them want to accept and it’s fun to watch the continuing duel of wits between Batman and Lex. More please!

Ms. Marvel #8- Since the beginning, we have seen Kamala Khan fumbling around on her own and that’s part of her endearing charm. She’s a young slightly confused, hardworking working-class hero who is just trying her best after gaining some superpowers. Her inexperience told this issue as the giant robot that attacked her school caused great damage and injured her. Luckily she was rescued by Lockjaw and Medusa and the Inhumans given some answers on how her powers work. Writer Willow Wilson’s strong writing continue to make this one of Marvel’s best and as long as she's on the title, this series looks good for the long haul.

Who Cares?

The simple unspoken rule in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is that Singaporean Malays are barred from certain sensitive vocations in the SAF. The simple and (to me) outdated belief is that as a country surrounded by Malay majority countries, Singaporean Malays might not want to fight against their ethnic kin if we ever go to war.

So when the SAF introduced the SAF Volunteer Corps (SAFVC) for new citizens yesterday, some Singaporeans are questioning why permanent residents who only been Singapore citizens for one year are allowed to be a Naval Combat Engineer (for example) when a born-and-bred Singaporean Malay who has lived here all his life is not?

It is a good question but the simple fact of the matter is this, “Who cares?” As a Singaporean who has been through National Service and almost through his reservist period, I can tell you this with great conviction, "Most of us in uniform have no desire to be there". 

That is just the truth and I think most Singaporeans know it. So if there are some “volunteers” who want to be a combat engineer, would I complain? Hell no, and with the exception of the few “on” Singaporeans, I don’t think most Singaporeans (Malay or otherwise) would either.

So don't ask why these new citizens are allowed to be in these vocations. If they want them, they are more than welcome to them. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Sports Hub Pitch

You would think they would have learned their lesson. 2 months ago when the Singapore Sports Hub was opened for the game between Singapore Selection and Juventus, many people (including me) complain about the terrible pitch.

Today, the national teams of Brazil and Japan are to play a friendly on the same pitch and…it is not much better. The coaches of both teams have openly complained about the pitch with Brazil coach Dunga voicing concerns about his players getting injuries. The pitch is so bad even the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) declared that the pitch was “far short of international playing standards”.

The FAS could say that of course as they are not in charge of the Sports Hub, thus not in charge of its pitch. Which begs the question just who is in charge? It’s been 2 months since the Juventus game, that’s more than enough time for grass to grow. This is Singapore after all and it is ridiculous that a stadium that cost millions of dollars to build can't even get it's field right.

So as Japan and Brazil play on the sandy field today, I have to ask, “Just who is to blame for this farce?” 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Strange New Titles From Marvel

You know how people always complain about diversity in comic books? Well, Marvel heard the complaints loud and clear as they intend to release at least 5 new series starring women.
Just as Marvel announced the cancellation of the Fantastic Four, they also announced new series for Gamora, Squirrel Girl, Silk and Spider-Gwen. Add them to the previously announced Spiderwoman series and you get 5 new female-led series. Now I'm all for diversity but I have a question for Marvel, “Why these characters?”
I can understand that there’s an outcry for more heroine titles and Marvel's respond to the cries is a good thing (just look at the new Black Widow, She-hulk, Elektra series) but this new lineup is strange. With the success of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, I can understand the company picking Gamora. Spider-Gwen may be a new character (she has appear in 1 issue so far) but she seem to have struck a chord with fans of Spiderman, so I can understand picking her as well but...why Squirrel Girl and Silk?
Sorry but are these series going to sell? I don’t think so. There may be an outcry for more heroine titles but why not Jessica Jones, or Psylocke or even Songbird? Instead they pick a D-list hero in Squirrel Girl and an almost totally unknown character in Silk?
I give Marvel credit; these are bold choices but will they sell? Nope.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Comics this week

Birthright #1- The issue starts innocently enough with a father playing catch with his son near the woods. The son became lost and after an unsuccessful search, the father was accused of killing him. Years passed, the father became a drunk, the parents got divorced, and the younger son got into trouble in school. Things were bleak before the police got a man claiming to be the missing son. According to his crazy story, he was “spirited away” to a fantasy world where he was a hero. The story is crazy but his fingerprints and dental records match that of the missing boy and he do looked a little like the father. Could his story be true? Well, it is but that’s almost an afterthought to what went on before. The promo of this series showed a warrior with a big sword and fantasy creatures flying in the background. However if you came to Birthright thinking this is Conan 2.0, you would be solely mistaken. Birthright is a FAMILY DRAMA and writer Joshua Williamson hit it out of the park with this one. This debut is well-written, well-paced and very interesting. Artist Andrei Bressan also nailed it filling the issue with many small details that flesh out the story. Looks like a winner!

Earth 2: World’s End #1- Ever since 52 became a smash hit, DC has been trying to make lighting strike twice by releasing a series of weekly titles. All of them ranged between okay to not-so-good but give DC credit; they never stop trying. Earth 2: World’s End is their latest weekly title and it is set on Earth 2, an alternate world where the Trinity died saving the world from Darkseid. Immediately, you can see a problem. Readers who don’t follow the main Earth 2 book will have a lot of back-story to cover. Most of them probably won’t even know who Sloan is, much less how important is the reveal that he was the one who killed Alan Scott’s boyfriend and partner. This fact (and some others) would just fly over your head if you don’t follow the regular Earth 2 series. Luckily for me, I do! I won’t say this issue was perfect but I liked it. More Earth 2 is just not a bad thing in my view.

Earth 2 #27- This issue is the companion issue to Earth 2: World’s End and in many ways, it felt like it. This issue features a story that is entirely reliant upon its readers picking up World’s End and World’s Finest (I honestly have no idea Power Girl and Huntress were back on Earth 2). Add to that the complete utter fake and forced relationship between Batman and Huntress, and between Power Girl and Val-Zod, and you got an issue that’s easily the worst in the series thus far. This issue was like the poor cousin to World’s End and I worry about the series if this is the route writer Tom Taylor is going to take.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dangerous Ruling From LTA

Why not? That’s my question when I heard that the LTA (Land Transport Authority) do not allow taxis to have cameras installed inside them.

I know a taxi-driver who had been robbed sometime earlier this year. After the incident, the taxi-driver was understandably worried as he drives at night and decided to install a camera in his taxi. He paid for it out of his own pocket and his taxi company has no problem with it.

LTA however do.

Why? It seems some passengers are “uncomfortable” about the camera being inside the taxi so they complain to the LTA. Being the cover-your-own-ass agency that they are, the LTA is now ordering the taxi-driver to take out the camera. Why?

Recently, we had newspaper reports of taxi-drivers being robbed, being attacked, or simple being taken for a ride (passengers running off without paying). Yet when a taxi-driver decides to be pro-active and install a simple camera inside his taxi, it is not allowed?

I don’t understand why? Would LTA take care of the taxi-driver’s medical bills if he landed in hospital after an attack from a passenger? Would LTA offer compensation to the driver if he got robbed again? No chance of that happening, but when the taxi-driver try to protect himself, he can’t do so?

What nonsense is that? What’s the big deal about a camera anyway? Every MRT station in Singapore has cameras. To my knowledge, most bus interchanges in Singapore has cameras also. Cameras in public transport vehicles are hardly a new phenomenon, so why can’t a taxi-driver put one in his taxi?

This is a stupid ruling by the LTA. Taxi-drivers are trying to protect themselves after the spate of bad news and are willing to pay out of their own pockets to do so. If LTA is not willing to pay for the cameras to protect taxi-drivers, fine but to prevent protection?

That’s not just stupid, it's dangerous!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Naruto Is Ending!

One of the main reason manga has such a following throughout the world is the fact that there are actually permanent character developments. Things just don't get reset via an event and manga series...ends!

Yes, news out of Japan has that Naruto will end next month.

Now I know Naruto's prime was a few years ago but the manga is still one of the best selling manga out there, so I'm surprised that Shueisha (the publisher) is allowing the creator/writer/artist Masashi Kishimoto to end the series. Yes, I know Kishimoto said in 2012 that the series would end in a year and a half but with all the Naruto is still bringing in, did anyone really believed that?

Obviously we should have. Naruto will end on Nov 10.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Get Rid Of The Man

As fears of a police crackdown grows in Hong Kong and the protesters sit down for talks with the Hong Kong government, I have to ask a simple question; Why is Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying so important?

I have to ask this because the man seem to be the central figure in the protest. One of the main demands of the pro-democracy protesters is the resignation of Mr. Leung. However that is something Beijing is refusing to grant. Why?

I mean it's obvious the man have little credibility left and even if he survive, he will find it almost impossible to govern Hong Kong. It is also obvious he is nothing but a yes-man for Beijing! Thus far under his leadership, his team has done nothing but rubberstamp everything given to them by Beijing. In short, the guy is not important!

So why don't China just get rid of him, appease the protesters, and put another yes-man in charge? I mean the guy is just a figurehead, so why not get rid of him and put in another (more useful) figurehead?

The reason seem to be face and pride and that is just stupid. Beijing need to look at the grand picture and the long-term. Hong Kong is not Tibet or Xinjiang, this is a problem that could be easily solved. Sure, some demands of the protesters like universal suffrage are not easy matters to solve but others like the resignation of a useless figurehead are. I mean is Leung Chun-ying really that important to them?

No! So get rid of him, that will defuse the situation and they can start getting protesters off the streets. If they don't and start cracking down, that will just galvanise the protesters and it may become a self-fulfilling prophecy. With Tibet and Xinjiang on their plate, that's the last thing Beijing need right now.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Comics this week

Justice League #34- After the momentous mistake that was Future’s End, we now get back to the regular Justice League and see how much fun writer Geoff Johns has with the new team lineup. One thing about JL is that the team was always tight. No matter how much tension there was between the team members, you always know that when it comes down to it, they will always have each other’s back. That’s not so much the case with Lex, Cold and Power Ring now on the team and the new status quo is fun. And it’s not just Lex Luthor; even Batman and Superman are now playing the intrigue game as they schemed to take down Lex, their own teammate! More of this and we can all forget about Future’s End. 

Moon Knight #8- When it was announced that writer Warren Ellis and artist Delcan Shalvey would leave the series after 6 issues, a lot of people had good reason to wonder how Marvel would continue the hot streak that was Moon Knight. The answer comes in writer Brian Wood and artist Greg Smallwood! Their first together in #7 continued the good work that Ellis and Shalvey did but in this issue, they hit it out of the park! The entire issue is told in a series of geometric shots pulled from cellphones, TV screens, drone cameras etc, and it works! Greg Smallwood need a pay rise for the brilliance that he displayed in this issue and how well his art mesh with Wood’s story of Moon Knight infiltrating Freedom Tower in the middle of a hostage crisis. Sheer brilliance!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

He’s An Eurasian!

Singapore swimming star Joseph Schooling wins gold in the 100-metre butterfly for Singapore at the current Asian Games and what’s his reward from Singaporeans? He is questioned on his background and whether he is a “true” Singaporean.

Okay, having a name like “Schooling” doesn’t help and I fully understand the distaste most Singaporeans have over foreign-born athletes competing for Singapore, but when Singaporeans start questioning whether a third-generation Singaporean is a foreigner; that’s just crazy talk.

Joseph Schooling was born in Singapore. His father, Colin Schooling, 66, was born in Singapore. His mother, May, is a Malaysian Chinese. So you know what that makes Joseph Schooling?

He’s an Eurasian!