Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Comics this week

Darkseid War: Batman #1- It shows how good the Darkseid War is that DC is actually having tie-ins for a sotry that is only shown in the regular Justice League series. Usually tie-ins are for events, not regular storylines but the Darkseid War is so good, expectations is being made. Unfortunately, this tie-in just does not do it for me. Writer Peter Tomasi and artist Ferando Pasarin tried their best but a sideshow of Batman in the Mobius just that; a sideshow. I mean it's hard to take this issue seriously when the cosmos is out of whack, Darkseid is dead, and the Anti-Monitor War is still out there. Having Batman confront a small-time hood like Joe Chill is just too much of a climb down to take seriously. 

Secret Six #7- Now that the first arc is out of the way and the team is now together, writer Gail Simone can get into the meat of the Secret Six. Basically how could a bunch of no-good second rate villains work together as one and why would they do so. The main plot Simone has is the protection of one of their own; 16 year old Black Alice. I like the twist that the villainous magical villains were incline to give Alice a chance than the heroes and what's more is the reasoning behind it. The heroes do not want to risk the survival of the world while the villains...well, they don't care as much about the risks to the world. Sort of make sense why Black Alice would eventually becomes a villain right? 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hold the COI

Has there been a change in the rules I didn’t know about? That’s what I was thinking when I read the Ministry of Health (MOH) response to the opposition WP’s (Workers’ Party) call for Committee of Inquiry (COI) to investigate the Hepatitis C virus infection cluster at Singapore General Hospital (SGH).

The MOH released a statement saying the Singapore government will convene a COI provided the WP is prepared to lead evidence before the COI.

I’m sorry but I always thought a COI was convened to investigate. Since when must a party who ask for a COI need to present evidence before the COI they are asking for? If there’s evidence already, then what’s the need for the COI? I mean is there a need for an inquiry if you already have evidence? That’s just stupid isn’t it?

Now I’m a guy who’s willing to give the government the benefit of doubt but I feel the call from the WP was very reasonable and their response was anything but. At least 5 deaths are now linked to the outbreak at SGH and there are questions on why the public and the MOH were never notified of the outbreak till months later.

From what I read thus far, the discovery of the Hepatitis C cluster was somewhere in April/May but the MOH was only notified of it in late August. By all accounts, that’s wrong. The SGH waited 3 months before informing MOH and I don’t think anyone can blame the public for asking why there was such a delay. Mistakes were surely made so it’s reasonable to ask why the outbreak happened and why the SGH waited so long to inform the government. These are very reasonable questions and an independent COI will answer them.

So I agree with the WP’s call for a COI. Hold it, investigate, answer these questions and put in steps to prevent it from happening again. Not holding the COI will just give more problems for the government as…well, why shouldn’t a COI be held? Do the government know something they’re not telling? Do they know the answers to these questions so a COI is a waste of time?

If so, then the Singapore government need to inform the Singapore public. There was an outbreak that should not have happened and then SGH delay informing people about the outbreak. Why? These are questions the public deserve answers to. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Great Rumor

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is now just two months away and fans throughout the world are all looking forward to the highly anticipated film. Many places have even arranged “Star Wars Marathon” event so that people can see all seven movies one after another in one go.

Good luck to the crazies who will take up that option but this post is on the various rumors for the movie. Specifically, I want to talk about the rumor that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” big bad guy will be…Luke Skywalker!

According to the trailers released so far, it seems Luke failed to restore the Jedi Order as the Jedi and the Force are considered stories and legends to the new characters of the movie. So rumors are that Luke turned to the Dark Side because of his failure. 

In a way, the rumor makes some canon sense. Star Wars I to III has Anakin turned into Darth Vader. IV to VI has him restored to the Light due to his son, Luke. So the rumors go that VII to IV will have Luke on the Dark Side and redeemed by someone else, maybe his daughter.

Now I don’t know if this rumor is true, most likely it’s not, but I have to say this; I hope it is true! This is a great idea and I could see why it has taken a life of it’s own on the internet. Having the iconic hero of Star Wars going to the Dark Side may be too much for Disney but…by the Force, it’s a great idea. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Comics this week

Justice League #45- The King is dead; Long live the Kings! That's seems to be the motto of the Darkseid War after last issue's shocking ending. With Darkseid now dead, the balance of the cosmos is now out of balance and certain members of the Justice League have now inherited part of the power. Basically some members now have the powers of gods and they are not ready for it. Amazing how writer Geoff Johns had played with all our expectations in this storyline and how good of a job he had done. It's no wonder DC is going all in on the Justice League; everything seems to be going right. Even the change of artist was the correct decision. Francis Manapul's work is almost perfect for the darker tone of the story right now. Pick this up, if not then get ready to buy the TPB. You won't regret it.

Payback #2- After the strange, funny, and very interesting debut, writers Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal attempt to extend the story and, for the most part, succeeded. It seems the super-powered repomen that is the Paybacks do not consist of only heroes; villains who have fallen in debt are also in the team and placing heroes and villains side-by-side on the same team seems like a recipe for drama. The only worry I have is that the seemingly easy placement of Mr. Pierce as the "Big Bad" of the series. I hope they are not going down that road. It's too easy of a call.

Rai #11- You have to give writer Matt Kindt credit. Few writers would have so much belief in their ability that they use 3 issues to setup the story. Since Rai's return, that's what been happening as we see the various factions retool and rearmed themselves to take on Father again. The surprising thing is how well it has been going. Kindt is dropping hints here and there for readers on how things are going to play out and it is keeping things interesting. The part where it is hinted that Rai and Rai VIII were not the only Rais to have been banished from New Japan was nothing short of gold for long time readers. And the last page showing the aged Eternal Warrior? Artist Clayton Crain need a pay rise just for that page alone.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Verdict Is In

After an investigation that lasted over 5 years and a 140-day trial, one of the longest in Singapore, City Harvest Church co-founder and senior pastor Kong Hee and five other church leaders were found guilty on Wednesday of all charges of criminal breach of trust and falsifying accounts against them.

Criminal breach of trust is punishable with a life sentence or up to 20 years in prison, and a fine. For falsifying accounts, the punishment is a maximum of 10 years in jail, a fine, or both. However it is unlikely the punishment will be so harsh for the 6 because...well, they didn't take any money from the church. The main question is how the leaders used the money donated to the church. 

Money was used to further the singing career of Kong Hee's wife, Sun Ho, and the money was moved throughout the world to hid that fact. Now some will argue that the church leaders should be allowed to use donations as they wish as the money were donated to the church. Other will argue that using the money to further the career of Sun Ho actually help increase the profile of City Harvest Church. 

I can understand the views of these arguments but in my mind, there was never any doubt the 6 will be found guilty. I mean if the Venerable Shi Ming Yi can be convicted of four charges of conspiracy, misuse of funds and forgery for trying to help his aide return money his aide stole from his temple, these guys had no chance. Good luck to them on the appeal but don't hold your breath.

The verdict is in and it is unlikely to change on appeal unless some new evidence pops out. After 5 years, that is just unlikely. The guilty verdict is here to stay.     

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pray For Rain

One more month! Just wait one more month and it will be over! That's the line fed to everyone in the region by our governments whenever we asked when the haze will go away.

Well, it is Oct 20th and there is only 11 more days to go before October is over. Guess what? The haze is still here. Not only that, it is actually getting worse! Yesterday night, the PSI (Pollutant Standard Index) in Singapore actually hit a high of 442.

Seeing the inevitable, governments in the region has now changed tack. Malaysia's Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has publicly admit that current efforts to fight the fires in Indonesia has had no effect and that only the rainy season can help. Of course since no one can be sure actually when the rainy season will start, no one can say when the haze will go away! Some say it may even take till December for the haze to disappear.

So people of Southeast Asia, no matter if you are Muslim, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, or whatever; start praying. We can now only hope for divine help to solve this problem caused by us greedy humans. Pray for rain people. Pray for rain!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Autotune Is A Fact

Is autotune a bad thing? To me, it is. To me, real singers should be able to sing without the help of digital audio manipulation but you know what; the horse has long bolted out of that stall. So I don't quite understand all the fuss on the "China's New Generation of Sound" video.

A viral video showing two kids Jeffrey Li (aged 10) and Celine Tam (aged 7), singing the song "You Raise Me Up" on the singing show "China's New Generation of Sound", the video has sparked controversy over its perceived use of autotune. Viewer of the video has harshly commented on the show's less than subtle use of autotune for the child singers, especially for Jeffery Li.

My view is that there is little doubt in my mind that autotune was used what? Singers use autotune nowadays. That is just a fact. Britney Spears is well-known to use it and even "real" singers like Adam Levine use it. That's just a sad fact.

So cool it on the kids. Yes, they used autotune...along with thousands of others throughout the world.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Godzilla vs. Kong

Okay, this shared universe is getting out of hand. Ever since Marvel hit gold with Avengers, movie studios had been trying their best to make lighting strike twice. Have a series of movies, tie them together in a tent pole film that will (hopefully) raked in a lot of money.

Now some of these shared universe ideas make sense. DC superheroes being in the same world is common sense. Universal monsters like Dracula, The Mummy, Wolfman etc being in the same universe; okay I can buy that. However Godzilla and King Kong? That’s just a step too far.

Now the idea is that Godzilla and King Kong belongs to an ecosystem of giant super-monsters and the human organization, Monarch, are on a mission to discover and uncover the secrets of these monsters. Only problem with this “great” idea? King Kong is known for climbing the Empire State Building and Godzilla is known to be as tall as a skyscraper. Is Kong Godzilla’s little cousin or something?

Come on, putting these 2 monsters together is silly and they intend to have 3 movies? Right now the first movie is planned in 2017 when “Kong: Skull Island” comes out. The following year will have Godzilla 2 and then Godzilla vs. Kong in 2020.

That’s right. Not only are they in the same movie, Kong and Godzilla are fighting against each other. This is even though Godzilla is 3 times the size of Kong! 

And people complain about Batman vs. Superman? 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Comics this week

Superman Lois & Clark #1- The New 52 reset 2 years ago got a lot of things right, but the new Superman was not one of them. You can understand why DC tried to do it. A younger, less experienced and less powerful Superman seems like a good bet to boost the character's popularity but it didn't work. To many people, Superman being around so long it's hard to imagine him as anything less than all-powerful. I'm one of those people. That was why I pick up this issue. An older, more powerful Superman more in line with the classic Superman character? Count me in.

Ms. Marvel #19- The end of the series and writer G. Willow Wilson closes off the series by trying to tie up as many plots as possible. The family dynamics of the Khan family got the majority of the attention as Kamala and her mother comes to an understanding about her superheroing but Wilson also gave attention to the potential relationship between Kamala and Bruno. Not everything was tied up with a neat bow and that's to the credit of Wilson. Look forward to the new series! 

Spider-Gwen #1- The original Spider-Gwen series was a breakout hit for Marvel but this being Marvel, that doesn't stop them from closing off  the series and starting with a new #1. Luckily for them, nothing has changed as the new Spider-Gwen is every bit as interesting as the old Spider-Gwen. Of course this being Marvel, that's probably not going to stop them  from cancelling this series and restarting with yet another #1. Till then, enjoy this series. 

NEL Breakdown

Well, that didn’t take long.

A month after the election and getting the poison chalice that's the Transport Minister, Mr. Khaw Boon Wan got his first MRT breakdown this morning when the North East Line (NEL) broke down. Luckily for me, I got the NEL just after the line got back on but this morning Mr. Khaw got an early taste of the work in front of him. 

Good luck to him. He is going to need it

Monday, October 12, 2015

What A Joke!

The joke that is 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) just does not stop. Former Umno branch leader Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan and his lawyer Matthias Chang were charged today with (get this) attempting to sabotage the Malaysian economy and the country's financial and banking system.

How did they attempt to do this? Well according to the Malaysian prosecution, led by deputy public prosecutors Masri Mohd Daud and Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar, the duo did so by attempting to tell the truth! The duo are accused of committing the offence in France, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore, between June 28 and August 26 this year‎ when Datuk Khairuddin made several police reports in these countries.

So in short, the duo are detained for…making police reports! The Malaysian Central Bank, Bank Negara, reported that 1MDB had secured three of its permits to transfer US$ 1.83 billion out of Malaysia, based on inaccurate or incomplete disclosure of information which breached domestic regulations, and the Malaysian prosecution decided not to take any legal action even though it's clear that 1MDB had flouted the Malaysian financial and banking regulations.

Then they turn around and charged 2 guys for making police reports? It is almost as if they don’t want anyone to report on 1MDB, doesn’t it? 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Comics this week

Copperhead #10- After the shootout in Copperhead, the chase through the Badlands, Deputy Boo is rescued in this issue. I don't know about you but I thought the ending was kind of anti-climactic. I mean there's enough action and tension in this issue to make it interesting, even a good undercover role for Sheriff Clara, but I thought it could (and should) have been so much more. The plan...just worked too well! Still, this arc by writer Jay Faerber and artist Scott Godlewski show what promise Copperhead has. Hopefully, there's more of the same in the future.

Secret Wars #6- Did I miss something? Last I checked, the survivors from the Marvel and Ultimate Universes were spilt apart by Stephen Strange. So why is regular and Ultimate Reed Richards now working together? Admitting, this gives writer Jonathan Hickman a good way to contrast the two wildly different Reed Richards but I can’t help but think there’s a tie-in somewhere I need to pick up to follow the story. However the biggest problem I have with this issue is why did Strange leave behind a working Infinity Gauntlet without using it? I mean he even got Doom to build his castle in the one place where the Gauntlet would work and...he died without using it? Doesn’t sound anything like the resourceful doctor we all know and love.

We Stand On Guard #4- Well, the Two-Four sure didn’t last long. 4 issues in and about half the squad are either dead or captured. However writer Brian K. Vaughan gave us a glimpse of the bigger picture in the war between America and Canada and artist Steve Skroce proves equal to the task. His art showing the riots and desperation in America is nothing short of amazing. For the art alone, this series is worth the money I spend to buy it. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

(Almost) Clear Skies!

For the past month, Singapore has been shrouded in a haze. However two straight days of heavy rain gave us some respite this morning. Clear skies today people! Okay, not totally but it was a breath of fresh air compared to the past few weeks. Like they say, you don't know what you have till you lost it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

How To Do It?

 Khaw Boon Wan has been Transport Minister for only a few days when he announced that he would like to “evaluate” GrabTaxi and Uber to ensure that there is a level playing field. This is due to the feeling that GrabTaxi/Uber drivers have an unfair advantage over normal taxi drivers as they do not need to get any vocational license before starting to drive.

Now this complain is not new. Governments throughout the world has had the same complaints. One of the reason why companies like Uber  and GrabTaxi are able to charge lower rates is because their drivers do not need training. They also don’t have a private taxi fleet. Their cost is lower, so they can charge lower. So saying there should be regulations on such companies is not new. The question is what can be done.

In simple terms, Uber and GrabTaxi are NOT taxis companies. They are phone apps where any driver with a car can sign up and use the app to pick up passengers. How do you regulate a phone app? That’s the question that needs to be answered. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for some regulation on having some regulation on drivers of Uber and GrabTaxi. Taxi-drivers need to go for courses and pass tests before they can be taxi-drivers. Right now, drivers who just passed their driving test one month ago can use the apps.

However it’s one thing to say something need to be done; it’s another to figure out how to do it. The Transport Ministry and LTA need to figure that out first before doing/saying anything. If the examples of other governments are anything to go by, it's going to be a hard question to crack.

Monday, October 5, 2015


The gold bikini has been sold! Any fan of Star Wars, or anyone who had seen the movies, know which bikini I am talking about.

The first time I saw Carrie Fisher wearing the gold bikini in The Return of the Jedi, I was like "Wow!" So I can totally understand why someone paid $96,000 for it. The slave bikini costume even includes the collar and several chain links as seen in the movie. Jell, I'm not that big of a fan for the movies and even I would want that bikini.

I can only hope The Force Awakens would have such an "iconic" costume. Carrie Fisher wore the bikini in 1983. 32 years after that scene, we need another one like this!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Please Don't Tell My Parents I Blew Up The Moon by Richard Roberts

I loved "Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain". That book was great fun so I didn’t waste much time in getting the sequel. "Please Don't Tell My Parents I Blew Up the Moon" is that sequel and once again author Richard Roberts had gave us a fun delightful read.

The story picks up one month after the end of “Supervillain”. Our three protagonists; Penelope Akk, Ray Viles, and Claire Lutre, are now card-carrying supervillains. However even 13 year-old supervillains need to attend school but as you would expect, the trio are bored out of their minds.

After the high of taking on and defeating adult superheroes, school is just boring. Penny, Ray and Claire are just itching to do some villainary so when criminal mastermind, Spider, offered them a job to go into space, the trio literally jumped at the opportunity.

Before you can say “Kids going to space”, Penny had built a bio-spaceship called the Red Herring and off they go towards Jupiter. Once there, they discovered that they weren’t the first humans to go so far from Earth and that human colonists from Earth has been there for decades. Not only that, the colonists are spilt into several groups that don’t like each other very much and they are all at war against aliens from beyond the solar system.

She may be a supervillain, but Penny still thinks of herself as a good person so she tries her best to help out the colonists. She even thinks she could forge a superhero identity in Jupiter, far from the villainous reputation she built on Earth. However after some initial success, her inventions made things decidedly worse and Penny has to go back to what she do best; be the supervillain that saves the day!

Now one of the things I love about "Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain" was how fun it was. Like they say, don’t spoil a good thing and "Please Don't Tell My Parents I Blew Up the Moon" followed that advice to a T. The wild fun hijinks are all here with The Inscrutable Machine (T.I.M) trio facing their problems with villainous panache.

Richard Roberts also got a lot of world-building done in this book. Not only did he make “History” Penny’s favorite subject in school, he also went into the history of the space colonists. We basically got the general details of what happen in WW 2, the discovery of America, all the way to the story of Achilles and Troy. Achilles as a bulletproof superhuman? Yes, more of that please. If Roberts ever get tired of T.I.M, I would suggest he try his hand at writing a novel featuring historical figures as people with superpowers. That would be fun.  

“Blew Up the Moon” is also a much more serious book than “Supervillain”. Unlike the first book where the heroes and villains walked away from conflicts relatively unscathed, many characters in this book got severely injured due to all the fighting. There's even terrible genetic horrors which were created by mad scientists but are now went out of control and intend to eat humans.

The ending of the book is also something I enjoy. The colonists dislike each other with a passion but they know they have to work together at times to face off against outside forces like the aliens. Having failed to help them as a hero, Penny went to what works best; be the villain. She became the “Big Bad” that the colonists have to unite against and even managed to inspire the colonists’ every first superhero “The Kluge”. Now that’s not something you read about often.

As fun as “Blew Up the Moon” is, I have to agree with the people that say it does not match up to the quality of “Supervillain”. The main problem I have is the fact that the space adventure brought T.I.M so far from Earth. Most of the side characters in the first book did not show up in “Blew Up the Moon” and that is a big minus in my mind. Instead of Bull and Master Scorpion, we got Chief, Fabulous and Remmy. Sorry but the Fawkes siblings just aren’t as interesting.

I also can’t help but feel the book was rushed. I read somewhere that the writer sped up the writing of this book due to the success of “Supervillain” and I think it shows. There were parts of the book where I had to go back to figure out what happened; when did that character showed up; where did that invention came from? Perhaps more time with the editors would have served the book better.

Overall, "Please Don't Tell My Parents I Blew Up the Moon" is still a book I would recommend. It’s not as good as "Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain", but that is a high bar to clear. Take it on its’ own, and you will find that this book is great fun. I can’t wait for Book 3.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Comics this week

Justice League #44- After reading comics for over 20 years, it’s good to know that the media can shock the hell out of me. I totally did not expect the ending of this issue. Kudos to writer Geoff Johns for the big reveal and to artist Jason Fabok for his consistently amazing artwork. The only problem I had with the issue was that it was a little crowded with some sub-plots that are going nowhere even after 4 issues (Lex/Superman). However between a shocking game-changing ending and superb art, this is without question an issue all comic fans must pick up.