Friday, July 29, 2016

Comics this week

Jupiter’s Legacy Vol. 2 #2- Writer Mark Millar really want to hit the ground in this follow up series. Just like in #1, #2 jumped right in with the action as Chloe’s team battle Japanese psychic Raikou to break supervillain, Repro, out of prison. Artist Frank Quitely outdid himself in the opening scene as the battle was very well-done. The only problem I have with this issue is that you really need to read Jupiter’s Circle to really understand it fully. Outside that, this is a wonderful issue.

Ms. Marvel #9- It’s quite clear by now writer G. Willow Wilson intend to make her own story in the mess that’s Civil War 2. Now that’s a good thing, but at the same time I have to question just how much she can do when the main plot of the event is so all over the place. The simple fact is that Kamala has no reason to be as loyal to Captain Marvel as she is shown in this arc. Yes, she’s a fan but she barely knows Captain Marvel whereas she knows guys like Bruno and Josh all her life. It just doesn’t make much sense she would have such a hard time with this. I can understand Marvel is trying to have the character straddling the two sides before picking one much like Spiderman in the original Civil War but seriously, as things are now it shouldn’t be a hard decision.

Spider-Gwen #10- I’m sorry but what the hell is going on in this issue? The issue by writer Jason Latour and artist Robbi Rodriguez jumped all over the place with emphasis on action that made no sense. There was one sequence where Gwen’s father was in his house, then on the roof opposite his house confronting Frank Castle, and then immediately back in front of his house comforting Gwen. Did Captain Stacy suddenly gain superpowers or something? Ridiculous! 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Shameless Plug!

As some of you might have notice, I had been writing a web story for the past 2 months (Please click on my profile to go to my blog where the story is posted). “The Dungeon Hive” is a fantasy story of a dungeon and the mind that controls it.

Now I first posted “The Dungeon Hive” on the Royal Road website. Royal Road (RR) is a site for amateur writers that focus mostly on fantasy stories. Currently, it has been going well. My story has a rating of 4.06 out of 5 on RR and has 104 followers. 11 people even tagged it as one of their favorites on RR. All this on a story that currently only has 10 parts.

In case you are wondering; Yes, this is a shameless plug for my story. Go read “The Dungeon Hive” right now! I need your views! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Studying Thin Air

Pokemon Go hasn’t even been released in Singapore yet and already there has been calls to ban the game in the country. A few days ago, a woman wrote to The Strait Times newspaper asking the Singaporean government to ban the game.

She was widely laughed at.

Then things took a surreal turn when the Singapore Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim told reporters at an event that the government will “study very, very carefully whatever that is brought into Singapore” and "ensure that the game will not harm lifestyles here".

I have to ask; what’s there to study? 

They are trying to study a problem that does not exist. The game hasn’t been released here yet so how can there be a problem for something that does not exist yet! Not only that, it’s not even a potential problem. This game has over 21 million players throughout the world and they want to setup a study on the rare occurrences of people getting hurt playing the game. That is just stupid.

I mean seriously; the game hasn’t even been released yet and they want to study the effects of the game in Singapore? What’s there to study? Thin air? 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Not Missing The Boat

Well , that didn’t take long. Just a day after the US Justice Department move to seize more than $1 billion in assets due to the scandal at 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Singapore has gotten into the act.

Singapore said that it had seized S$240 million in assets from individuals linked to alleged fraud at 1MDB. The Monetary Authority of Singapore said that bank accounts of about S$120 million in the accounts and properties belonged to Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho and his immediate family was seized and their ability to deal in properties were curtailed.

Needless to say, this is just a drop in the bucket when you consider that more than $3.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB but it does seem that Singapore is afraid to miss the boat and is now making their claim of the money. 

Too bad for the people of Malaysia I guess; whether it’s with the US government, the Singapore government, or in the bank accounts of corrupt Malaysian “businessmen”, they are not going to see the money anytime soon. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The 1MDB Seizure

The 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) saga just will not end. I think it goes without saying that Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak just want everyone to forgot about the issue but it's just not happening. Worse is that he has now been officially linked to the billions of dollars that were siphoned off.

The US Justice Department has officially moved to seize more than $1 billion in assets including luxury real estate and a jet allegedly bought with money pilfered from the 1MDB state investment fund. The news came after a months-long international FBI probe and according to court filings made, the US alleged that billions of dollars were siphoned off by Najib's stepson, Riza Aziz, a family friend and other officials.

This is big because this is the first time anyone has tried to take back money from 1MDB. Switzerland and Singapore have frozen millions of dollars worth of assets on suspicion of 1MDB-related embezzlement and money-laundering, but no one has went for the money yet. Also, no major figures have been brought to justice. That too might change.

However US Attorney General Loretta Lynch did pull some punches. The US never refer to Najib by name, instead going for "Malaysian Official 1," Described as a "high-ranking official" in the Malaysian government with control over 1MDB, "Malaysian Official 1" was the "ultimate beneficiary" of bank local Malaysia bank account which held tens of millions of allegedly misappropriated funds.

We all know who she as referring to but considering the man is Prime Minister of Malaysia, I think it's understandable why he wasn't explicitly named. Still, the US has made their move. Now the big question is whether other countries will follow. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Comics this week

Astro City #37- It's amazing that after so many years, writer Kurt Busiek can still surprise me. I mean wow; what an issue! After the Steeljack arc, Busiek is now on another grand story arc and it is great. The story is on, get this, the musical history of Astro City. No, for real! The story starts with a travelling (magical?) musician named Silverstring in the Old West who died near Astro City and then went on to the turn of the 1900s when the music "ragtime" was the rage. The issue then ends at the start of the jazz era in the 1920s. All the while showing how the music of the time affects the people and the heroes/villains of the city. Wow! What an issue! Pick this one up people!

Justice League #1- After the "Darkseid War", I can understand why DC want to revamp the series. I mean you are just not going  to top "Darkseid War". Having said that, I must confess I'm a little disappointed by this issue. It seems like a rehash of Rebirth and much like Rebirth, it's a little underwhelming. I'll give time for writer Bryan Hitch ad artist Sandu Florea to impress me, but this is not a good start.

Rai #15- Rais can have children! Okay, that's not new. In the previous Rai series, the Rais in that series can have children so I guess it make sense the Rais of this series can have kids as well. However, I'm a little surprise writer Matt Kindt didn't push more on this angle and instead went for the action route. Still, the history of the Rais is interesting to say the least and that's never a bad thing. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Pokémon Go Hell!

Good god, this is getting out of hand.

By now we all know Pokémon Go is a social gaming phenomenon. The game demands players to go to real-life locations to catch Pokémon and going through social media, you can clearly see how much people are into in. Hell, there's a guy in New Zeland who quit his job to go Pokémon Go hunting.

However, it's not till you read the celerity pages that you can have a good idea about how big the game is. It seems famous people are not excluded from the Pokémon Go hype. Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, Big Aoki, John Mayer and Justin Bieber are all into the game. Hell, John Mayer even share a photo of him (proudly) spending US$99.95 dollars on 14,500 PokéCoins.

So hell; when is this stupid game coming to Singapore?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Back

Common sense has prevailed!

That's my thought when I read that the Star Wars character Grand Admiral Thrawn is now not only back but also part of Star Wars canon. Thrawn first appeared in Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy of novels (1991-1993) as the Grand Admiral who held the Imperial Empire together after the lost of the Emperor and Darth Vader in Return of The Jedi.

However when Disney took over, Thrawn and all characters in the Expanded Universe (which includes Star Wars books, video games etc) were placed under what was called the "Star Wars Legends" banner. That were now considered non-canonical story that does not reflect or affect the Star Wars movies or TV series.

Problem with that was the simple fact that Thrawn is a fan-favorite! Fans loved the cold, skillful and cunning Chiss who gave the winning Republic all they could handled despite being out-manned, outgunned, and having no Force-users on his side. Fans wanted Thrawn back and Lucasfilm, wisely, has now decided to give in.

Thrawn will be part of Star Wars Rebels: Season 3 and Timothy Zahn confirmed he is writing a new Thrawn novel (simply titled Thrawn). So finally; common sense has prevailed!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Comics this week

Birthright #17- In movies, there are scenes where the main characters sit down and just talk. Often, these scenes are the highlight of the movie. A sit down in comics is much more rare but writer Joshua Williamson made it happen and artist Andrei Bressan drew the hell out of it. Yes, the Rhodes brothers got their fight but the sit down was easily the highlight of this issue. More of that and it would be great.

Web Warriors #9- Having the Web Warriors spilt all across the weave sounds like a great idea on paper but in practice…not so much. The problem is that the team is spilt over so many worlds, there just wasn’t enough time for writer Mike Costa to do justice to all of them. Having said that however, having a Harry Osborn as a Spiderman and seeing his reaction to Spider-ham were great. And the final scene? Very promising for the next issue! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Gambler Cameron Is Out

After 6 years, British Prime Minister David Cameron is now officially no longer the PM of the United Kingdom. After taking one too many political gamble, the next Conservative PM will be Theresa May who has won the race to succeed Mr Cameron.

Though the UK has been in a period of growth under his leadership, unfortunately Mr Cameron's legacy would probably be defined by the decision to have the “Brexit” referendum. The result of the referendum was to leave the EU, and Mr Cameron’s resignation came soon after. After the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, it was just one gamble too many for the now-former PM.

Still, you can’t say his rule has been boring. Good luck for the future; it has been interesting. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pokémon Go

Few games, if any, has threaten the sanity of humans like Pokémon Go. The free app has only been released in 3 countries thus far and already, it is taking the world by storm. Just look on Youtube if you don’t believe me.

The game is basically a real-life version of Pokémon with players needing to walk around in real-life to get to locations where the Pokémon, Pokémon stops and Pokémon Gyms are. Only at these real-life locations would you be able to play the game with the app. 

To the surprise of even game developer Niantic and Nintendo, the game has been downloaded and played so many times, the planned global rollout has been delayed till further notice due to massive demand. So right now the game is only available in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand. Not a good thing for an Australian working in Singapore!

Australian gamer Sonny Truyen was so distressed at not being able to play Pokémon Go in Singapore, he went on Facebook to make a viral rant against the country. Once it made the news, his boss fired him. Yes, a guy in Singapore lost his job because of a game that isn’t even available yet in the country.

Imagine what it will be like once the game is actually available! Time to get a new phone! 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Euro 2016

In a year of shocks, surprises and unexpected winners, I guess it should come as no surprise that we have yet another expected champion. The Euro 2016 is over and the winner is Portugal who shocked host France in the final early this morning. 

Journeyman professional Eder scored only his fourth international goal with a 25 meter screamer that nested in the bottom left corner that gave Portugal the 1-0 victory. He scored in extra-time and with just 11 mins to go, there was no time for France to come back. 

The main man for Portugal however wasn't Eder or even captain Cristiano Ronaldo; it was coach Fernando Santos. With players like Ronaldo in attack, Portugal always has a threat going forward and Santos turned Europe's underachievers into champions by imposing a no-frills defensive scheme that's very hard to break down. 

It might be boring but it worked. Portugal is now champions of Europe. Well done! 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Comics this week

Bloodlines #4- I really don’t understand why this title isn’t higher on the sales chart. 4 issues in and I loved this series. Thus far we have blood at a teenager party in the woods, murders at a children’s birthday party, and now…death and destruction at a homecoming football game. Say what you want, this series is consistent if nothing else. I especially enjoy the slow-burn approach writer J. T. Krul has to the development of the cast. I can understand the blood and gore may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I loved it!

Justice League Rebirth #1- With Rebirth changing the landscape of the DC Universe, it is only reasonable that their flagship title, Justice League, get a Rebirth issue as well. What gets me however is the simple fact that nothing really happen in this issue! We see the 2 Green Lanterns Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz, as well as the new Superman joining the team on a mission, but that’s about it. It is a by-the-number issue that’s frankly unnecessary.

Moon Knight #4- With us well into the first arc, we can see the direction writer Jeff Lemire is bringing the series towards. Unlike previous version of Moon Knight, this Moon Knight is far more into the realm of mysticism and you know what? It works! The idea that Moon Knight is a foot soldier in a war between the gods is not really new but Lemire gave the story a subjective context that makes you wonder if we are just in the mind of a madman instead. This air of mystery gives the series a sense of tension that threatened to burst out of the pages. Excellent! 

Thursday, July 7, 2016


I generally do not play shooters. Yes, I had played some of them before. I have the first 2 Borderlands; I have Spec Ops: The Line; I had played some Counter-Strike, but that’s about it. I’m generally a RPG gamer.

However Overwatch isn’t so much a game but an event. Blizzard had delivered the PR campaign of the year to hype up the game and yes, I had been sucked into it. I don’t mind. I don’t mind at all. I don’t mind because Overwatch is a great game. Not just a great first-person shooter, but a great game period!

On the surface, Overwatch seems pretty much like any other shooter out there. It has a simple formula of two teams of six each trying to win a match. Victory conditions change according to the map; escort missions, control of objective points, or capture of positions. However what make Overwatch different are the heroes.

Overwatch has 21 characters called heroes and they are the heart and soul of the game. They are very different from each other. There is the giant gorilla Winston who has high hit points and can put up a circular shield to defend an area. There’s the dwarf engineer Torbjörn who can build an upgradeable defensive turret that shoot any enemy that comes into range. There's Hanzo who is a sniper and has an ultimate basically kill everyone in its path. There's Tracer who can blink from place to place and even reverse her actions to correct mistakes she made seconds earlier.

Now all the 21 heroes are categorized into 4 different areas; attack, defense, tank and support, the trick Blizzard pulls is this; several of the heroes overlap into different areas. Mercy is a strict support character, a healer who can resurrect fallen allies. Zenyatta is also a support character. He can heal but his main ability is actually a debuff that lowers the defense of enemies. He also has long range attacks to take advantage of the debuffs he put on enemies. So you have 2 supports with 2 very different play-styles. Now times that by 21 and you can imagine the sheer number of combinations this game supports.

Not only that, the game is also very charming. The world Overwatch is set in is filled with load of background info and trying to find these Easter Eggs is part of the fun for a lot of fans. The game's highly detailed character design is nothing short of superb. No two characters look alike and many times you can see the intended role of the character just by looking at it.

The gameplay of Overwatch is a hydra that is very impressive. In fact calling it “very impressive” is an understatement as the way the characters, maps and gameplay interact with each other is a lot more than that. No two matches of Overwatch are the same as players can switch characters mid-match according to the ebb and flow of the match. In fact, switching characters is almost necessary, especially in Competitive Mode, to be successful. This actually helps keep the game fresh as players faced situations that can change in a hurry. Simply put; there’s no one single way to play Overwatch. There are many ways to play the game, sometimes even in a single match.

Overwatch is also a very fast-paced game. When I first saw the demo, I was surprised by just how fast it is. I was a little worried at the pace at first but after playing awhile I think the pace might be a good thing for the game. Matches can be quite fast and it is a game I can see players logging in for 30 minutes of fun before logging out. Also Overwatch has been such a phenomenon there will be no shortage of players in the foreseeable future so no problems on that front.

Of course, there are some problems with Overwatch. For the life of me, I can’t understand why there’s no story mode. I can understand no one play a shooter for the story (look at the lack of success of Spec Ops: The Line if you disagree), but the characters and world are just begging for a story mode. The game is literally filled with them, and Blizzard clearly put a lot of effort in the lore of the world, so why not a story mode? That makes no sense to me.

Also, how much you enjoy the game will depend a lot on the players that are on your team. I lost count of the number of matches I lost because certain players on my team went chasing after the enemy for a kill instead of playing the objective. Defending a control point is especially bad when you have such players on your team. They will chase the enemy outnumbered 2vs6, get killed, and then the enemy will roll over the rest of the team 6 on 4. It just pissed me off sometimes.

On the whole however, this is one game I have to recommend. I mean I’m not a shooter guy and I can get into the game so you can just imagine how fun it is. Buy Overwatch; you own it to yourself to play this game! 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Batman Kills!

In an article in IGN, it is stated that Ben Affleck's Batman in the recent Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice had a kill count of 21 which makes it the movie where Batman kills the most.

Every time I read about this, I feel like slapping my forehead with my hand. Guys, get this in your head; Batman kills! Not only that, Batman kills a lot and kills pretty often. In movie, in comics, in video games; Batman killed before.

Guess what people, when you shoot a missile from the Bat-mobile and the car Batman was aiming at explodes...the guy inside will die. That's the normal way of things and most of Batman's villains are ordinary thugs and criminals. Also guess what, Batman is suppose to kill people. When Batman first came out, he carried a gun and just outright shoot the criminals.

So stop making a big deal of Batman killing people. The original version of Batman is much more trigger-happy than any water-down version of Batman we currently have and yes, that includes Ben Affleck's Batman.

Monday, July 4, 2016

I Just Don't Get It

A LTA enforcement officer was filmed getting into a heated argument with a driver at a Yio Chu Kang MRT taxi stand on 23 June. The video showed the LTA officer yanking a car door open following a heated exchange with the car’s driver. The LTA has since apologized for the incident.

I have to ask…why?

I don’t get it. The car was parked in a taxi-stand. The video wasn’t clear but I think we can all safely assume the LTA officer told the driver to move and the driver refused. Thus the argument. Even if the officer was wrong to yank open the door…but shouldn’t the driver of the car get haul up as well, if not worse?

I mean you were illegally parked, got caught, and then argued with the officer who caught you? Not only was the driver clearly in the wrong, he compounded his act by refusing to move and then arguing with the guy who caught him. And the LTA was the one who said sorry?

I’m sorry but I just don’t get it. If the driver didn’t illegally park, there would be no problem. If the driver just moves off, then there would be no problem. However somehow, Singaporeans seems to think the LTA officer was the one at fault and the driver was the victim of “bullying”.

I just don’t get it. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Last Day of Funan

Yesterday was it. It was the last day Funan Center was opened. Yes, I know the plan was that it would be reopened in 2019 but seriously, how many renovations you know takes 3 years? So I went down to Funan yesterday for nostalgia reasons, I've been going there since I was a teenager, and saw that the management was holding a farewell party. So here's it is; the pictures of the last day of Funan DigitaLife Mall!

As the banner above said; Thank you Funan. Thanks for the memories!