Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Bye Bye

For nearly 30 years, The New Paper has been around. Come tomorrow, that’s no more as the paper takes it's final bow today. Now I’m sure there will be some Singaporeans who are sad to see the paper go but for the majority of Singaporeans, they would meet demise of The New Paper with indifference.

The main problem as I see it is the simple fact that although The New Paper had tried to change itself many times, it has failed to distance itself from The Strait Times. Yes, it has more sensational stories, arguably a better football section, and more colour pictures but when it came to the meat of a newspaper, the stories were pretty similar to those of The Strait Times. It was really The Strait Times’ young brother so when advertisers cut down on promotion via advertisements in newspapers, The New Paper would be the one who get hit the hardest.

To me, The New Paper has always been just sort of there. The Strait Times is still around and with all the news currently online, I don’t think I would miss it too much. Sorry but that’s just the truth. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Blame Game

As quickly as that, the Singapore national football team are out of the AFF Suzuki Cup. The biennial football competition is contested by the national teams of Southeast Asia and Singapore had slumped to their worst showing in the 20-year history by finishing last in their group.

The blame game has already began with the players, the coach, the management, are getting some of the blame. To me, the blame game starts and ends on one thing; age.

Simply put, the national team is too old. The defence is anchored by 38 year old Daniel Bennett, our main striker is 31 year old Khairul Amri, and our captain is 32 year old Shahril Ishak. Our team is just too old to compete and that’s not something the players or the coach can control.

That’s on the Football Association of Singapore. Our youth development has failed so if there’s anyone to blame on the Singapore team getting kicked out on the first round of the Suzuki Cup, it’s on the FAS.  

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Comics this week

Spider-Gwen #14- What happened? The first half of this issue was excellent with Matt Murdock finally making a play to make good his deal with Gwen. Then…the art went to shit. I had said several times I do not agree with Marvel’s use of duel artists on an issue and this issue is Exhibit A on why. The difference in style between artists Robbi Rodriguez and Chris Visions is so huge, for a moment I thought there was a printing error. It was just terrible and that’s bad because writer Jason Latour threw the kitchen in this issue with a guest star from Jessica Drew and showing how awesome of a villain Matt Murdock would make. Too bad about the art switch. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Ditto Is Here!

You have to give this to Niantic; they do not rest on their laurels. Since Pokémon Go was launched, Niantic has been making subtle changes to the game and while some changes have not went down well with fans, other changes had been welcomed.

Ditto for the Ditto. The final missing Pokémon in Pokémon Go outside the legendary has finally appeared in the game and Niantic did not just stop there. Taking advantage of the Pokémon shape-changing ability, Niantic threw in a twist by having Ditto show up in the map as another Pokémon. This means you could catch a simple Rattata, and then after catching it, it shows up as a Ditto!

That’s brilliant! Using the power of Pokémon to give a sensible twist to the game? Not only is it great, it also give an explanation on why Ditto was missing till now. Smart and clever at the same time!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Goodbye F1

Formula One (F1) supremo Bernie" Ecclestone has publicly said that he believed both Singapore and  Malaysia will no longer be hosting the F1 Grand Prix once their current agreement expires in 2018. I can only say one thing to that; it’s about time!

I don’t know about Malaysia but I never thought Singapore was a good fit for the F1. It’s an open secret to everyone in Singapore the race has been losing money since it came to Singapore and it’s became a yearly nightmare to close off part of the Marina Bay area for the race. Though the visual of the night race was great, the fact is neither the racers nor the teams were all that interested in coming to Singapore in the first place.

Singapore is a small country with no car manufacturing industry to speak of. The price of cars in this country is so high, most Singaporeans who own one has to take multi-years loan just to own it. We are just not a good fit for the F1 so goodbye night-race, and I hope the Singapore replacement is a better fit for you.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Comics this week

Jessica Jones #2- Putting writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Gaydos together was the smartest move Marvel did recently. I know, between Civil War 2 and The Spider-Clone Saga, there’s not a lot of competition but you only need to read this series to know why the few people who read it are all raving about it. The dark and gritty series probably won’t last very long so enjoy it while it’s still here.

Justice League #9- Someone has managed to hack the power rings of the Green Lanterns, the computer in the Batcave, and even Cyborg’s body. The Justice League is under attack from a foe with a vendetta against them, and this person is…a recent widow who did all this from the basement of his house? Really? That’s the best writer Bryan Hitch can come up with? Hopefully, there’s a twist somewhere in the next few issues because this explanation is just stupid.

Trinity #3- After reading, I have to say this issue is something you will either get or not, depending on how well you like going through Batman’s origin story. Writer Francis Manapul goes through similar ground in Batman's purpose and guilt but put in enough freshness to just about get a pass from me. He’s a little lucky artist Clay Mann did some excellent work here to compensate for the been-there, done-that story. A good enough issue on its own, but I’m still waiting for this series to launch. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Not Dead Yet

Who says Pokėmon Go is on the wane? Niantic Labs sure didn’t and they got the stats to prove it. Recently, Niantic Labs held their first Pokėmon Go event for Halloween and it was a huge success.

Niantic Labs said that during the 5 days event, players caught 1.3 billion Pokémon with the ghost Pokémon, Gastly, being caught the most. However, most players don’t do the event for the Pokėmon. Most players, like me, were there for the candies!

The event increased Pokémon Candy payouts for every Pokémon caught and even the Professor got into the act, giving Trainers two Candies instead of one for every Pokémon transferred to him. Some players even say the best part of the event was the Buddy Pokémon which award four candies instead of the usual one.

With such rewards, players responded.  So don’t believe the rumours. The death of Pokémon Go has been greatly exaggerated.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

'Strong' Deterrent

There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that the verdict was meant to prove that Singapore will not tolerate people using the local banking system for money laundering. I am of course talking about the case of Singapore private banker, Yak Yew Chee, who was jailed on fraud charges relating to Malaysia's 1MDB financial scandal on Friday.

Allegations that huge sums were misappropriated from the Malaysian state fund through money-laundering have triggered a massive corruption scandal which Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak seems to have survived. However Yak Yew Chee, a former managing director at the Singapore branch of Swiss bank BSI, was not so lucky as he became the first figure to be convicted in the international saga. Mr. Yak pleaded guilty to four charges of forgery and failure to report suspicious transactions related to the investment fund and was sentenced to 18 weeks in jail by the court. He was also fined $24,000.

The crime involved transactions that include a transfer of $110 million that went through six banks and nine accounts before landing up at the Swiss bank account of Selune Ltd. Yak was paid a bonus of $7.5 million for his part of the deal.

Wait, what? He was paid over $7 million for a crime that was over $110 million, and his punishment was 18 weeks in jail with a fine of $24,000? I know this is white collar crime and the $7.5 million he got was given to the Singapore government but come on!

Like I said earlier, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that the verdict was meant to prove that Singapore will not tolerate people using the local banking system for money laundering. However I’m afraid the fine and punishment involved is not going to deter anyone.  $24,000 for a crime that was over $110 million? That's really going to deter people. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

More Pokémon On The Way

Of all the Pokémon Go websites out there, the most famous is arguably The Silph Road. With the latest update of Pokémon Go, the people running The Silph Road proves once again why that is the case.  introduces new incentives for playing - and may hint at the arrival of 100 more Pokémon to the game in the near future.

While the latest update was to add in a new rewards system, but has got everyone’s attention is the news that the people from The Silph Road has found a hidden code in the game that appears to be placeholders for the next generation of Pokémon. That’s right; the 100 Pokémon that were introduced to the game in Pokémon Gold and Silver are now on their way to Pokémon Go.

More Pokémon means more walking; more catching; and more fun to be had. In short, more Pokémon is always a good thing. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Comics this week

Superwoman #4- Is she crazy or is it an extension of her new powers? That’s the question facing Lana Lang when she begins to see a vision of the dead Lois Lane. While Superwoman's illness gets worse, Ultrawoman put her plans in motion. This was a fun and well executed issue with good art from Emanuela Lupacchino and Ray McCarthy. The only drawback is that at times it’s a little too talky. If writer Phil Jimenez can rein that in, it would be great. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Trump Wins

The results are in and Donald J. Trump will be the 45th president of the United States of America. He will be the first person to hold the office despite having no prior political or military experience and many people will consider this an upset.

I don’t. America is such a divided country that a good portion of Americans do not care who the candidates are. A good number of Republicans will not vote for a Democrat, and the feeling is highly mutual on the Democrats side. That’s why anyone following American news channel will see news anchors across various news agency all saying the same thing; this election will be close.

Also, despite all the talk of Hillary Clinton being the favourite, she was never able to pull away from Trump. At the end, her campaign was derailed by the FBI who did the Republicans a clear favour. Honestly, I think America made a huge mistake here with Trump. You don’t make a guy who tweeted at 3am in the morning the President of your country! You just don’t.

For the sake of the world, I hope I am wrong but we can do nothing now but see where the train wreck takes us. I think America is in for an interesting 4 years. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Gridlock

Well, it’s out. The “proposed” changes to the Elected Presidency are now out and to the surprise of…no one, changes has been made. The next President Elections due in 2017 will only be limited to Malay candidates. To me, the fun wasn’t in the changes but the way various government personals and media are trying to explain the changes in a way that is digestible to the Singapore public.

Deputy Minister Minister Teo Chee Hean said the changes to the Elected Presidency will help avoid gridlock. I honestly have no idea our parliament is suffering gridlock right now with just 6 opposition Members of Parliament.  I think the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) need to find a way to make their 60+ advantage in Parliament work for them to prevent this.

Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said the Malay candidate for the presidency must meet the same exacting standards as any other candidate from another race as if in the past if a Malay candidate stands for the Presidency, he will be of a lower standard. Trying to tackle the giant elephant in the room, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong insist the reserved election for the minority race is NOT a maneuver by the PAP to prevent the victory of the opposition in the 2017 presidential election.

Every single one of these “explanations” is laughable. Come on, everyone and their uncle in Singapore knows the only reason the PAP did all these changes is because Tan Cheng Bock came within a whisker of winning the past time and he is up for the election this time. Not able to find a way to stop him from contesting the election, they had to invent some way to stop him.

Thus, the PAP played the race card. And as an example of how gridlock the Singapore Parliament truly is right now, the change to our Constitution was announced by the PM Lee Hsien Loong and everyone said it in a language that shows that this is a done deal. That’s right, that changes to the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore! Now that’s gridlock for you. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

In Defense of The Current Guy

There are only two days to go before we know who would be the next President of the United States of America. In the blue corner, we got the secretive yet experienced Hillary Clinton. In the red corner, we got the famous yet loose-lipped Donald Trump.

In short, whoever the winner is, he/she will be a step down from the current guy. I know there are some people in America who just hate current President Barack Obama but from the outside looking in; I think he did a pretty good job as President. It is showing in his opinion polls as he is so popular right now, he is criss-crossing the country campaigning on behalf of Clinton.   

Now I would agree he would probably not go down as a great President, but considering the mess he inherited from George W. Bush, he did a pretty good job. Under his tenure, America’s standing in the world has improved; the US economy began their slow recovery; and many terrorist leaders, including Osman bin Laden, died during his two terms as President.

Did he make mistakes? Of course he did, but what’s new? No one is perfect and every US President in history made mistakes. On the whole however, I think most people would agree Barack Obama was a better than average President. He didn’t set the world on fire, and he didn’t usher in the next golden age of America. He did his job.

In the end, that’s all you can ask for. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Comics this week

Deadly Class #23- The more things change, the more things remind the same. We see this clearly this issue as Master Lin schooled Saya on the finer points of betrayal and death. Thing is…he does make a certain amount of sense. Master Lin is task with turning Saya into a killer and like all good teachers, he’s not afraid to do whatever is necessary to get things then. The end of the story here he gave Saya a new pledge with a foretelling of the betrayal to come? Man, writer Rick Remender and artist Wes Craig really show their stuff here!

Moon Knight #8- We all know the character of Moon Knight. Marc Spector has a spilt personality which many writers had fun playing with but I can say no one has pushed it as far as writer Jeff Lemire. There is just so much wonderful chaos in this issue that it just works. And the ending; oh, what an ending. I just can’t wait for the next issue of Moon Knight.

Motor Girl #1- A former POW who is now back in America trying to adjust to civilian life while she knowingly has a mental condition that she’s hiding from other people? That in itself would make Motor Girl a potential winner, but that’s not good enough for writer Terry Moore. No, he has Samantha running a junkyard that is visited by a UFO that crashed landed there. When she saw that the aliens were looking for spare parts, she was only too happy to oblige. The first in a long new line of customers? I shall say I always thought Terry Moore to be slightly overrated but count me in on this new series. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Prank In Singapore

The killer clown craze is stupid. Originating in the US, the craze is basically guys dressed in “scary” clown costumes scaring unsuspecting people on the street. It’s so stupid the craze has spread to other parts of the world including Singapore.

I know this because there’s a YouTube video titled “Killer Clown Scare Prank In Singapore”. Uploaded by some guy named “Joel Wong”, the video has become well-known in Singapore because…the clown prankster now under police investigations for being a public nuisance.

What? Are you kidding me? Don’t the police have better things to do? This is a prank, and the only crime I see is the fact it wasn’t a very funny one. Last I check, stupidity still isn’t a crime in Singapore. There's a police investigation for a such a harmless stupid prank? Now that's funny.