Lex Petros: July 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Malaysian Toy Fair (24-25 July 2010)

Richard told me about the first ever Malaysia Toy Fair and with all the hype I've heard about San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) going on in the States, I thought of checking it out today to see if it was anything close to the conventions held abroad. In the US, these exhibitions would mean appearances by Hollywood stars, founders of toy and gaming companies and box office film releases. On the sidewalk, you'd fine about a million fans donning costumes, carrying their allowance to buy that coveted exclusive merchandise and chasing the opportunity for an autograph of their favorite actors.

On the way, I spotted a very obvious sign of a Transformers die-hard fan as I walked from my car to Mid Valley Exhibition Centre (MVEC). I couldn't help but be amused by the obvious tribute this driver is paying to the 80's animated mechanized phenomenon. For those of you who are curious, D.E.C.P.D. means "Decepticon Police Department".

A RM3.00 entrance fee entitles you a 1-day pass for which you could walk in and out of the exhibition hall. I felt very surreal walking into a world whom I am most familiar with.

Once I walked in, I spotted Rey manning the Shioktoys booth. I saw Rey last night at the shop in e@theto pick up my Hottoys 1/4th Scale Iron Man Mark IV collectible bust.

The media was expected. I think this interview was done by a local talk show.

Of course, being the first one, MTF pales in terms of size compared with SDCC. Still, there is no shortage of SDCC exclusives. Here we have Iron Man from Mighty Muggs.

No short of Sith Lords at MTF 2010. Courtesy of the 501st Legion: Malaysia-Brunei Outpost. My friend and fellow lawyer was there donning a Boba Fett costume. I had hoped to sense the presence of other Trekkers but I guess the dark-side of the force was strong today.

"Hey, aren't ya a little too short to be hunting with us?..."

"Oh yeah? I bet you'd change your mind after I cut your head off and use if for a shield just like I did the alien strapped to my arm now."
Cosplay (costume play) is an important part of any toy oriented affair. Here we have a couple of Halo 3 posers.

I'm so bad, it's a thriller.

No convention is complete without a gamers' corner. Here, we have a Sudden Death tournament going on which is so reminiscent of the Counterstrike days back in 2004-2005.

For a first timer, the event was quite a success. This is the humble beginning of a whole new phase for the toy industry in Malaysia. I hope next year's MTF would see the lights of some special guests from Hollywood. For that, sponsors must see the impact such appearances would have on business. Perhaps they should coincide the event with a major box office release next summer.

I just read that SDCC announced Tron Legacy. It's been 3 decades since the Tron was released which bewildered fans of sci-fi with a depiction of what it's like inside a computer. This highly anticipated sequel is coming soon.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Predators (2010) Review

Last month, I wrote about the movie (click here). After watching Predators, I do not stand to be corrected.
It's at best a rip-off of the 1987 Arnie flick. Same setting, different planet. The dialogue is a lackluster attempt to pay tribute to Predators and the battle in the jungles of Guatemala.
This sequel (after nearly 20 years after Predator) is nothing as suspenseful and thrilling as the old one. It doesn't feel like a hunt and the chase is a little more paced than a morning jog. The casting wasn't exactly a right feel for me-
  • Adrien Brody is not the guy to play a tough guy. He should stick to holocaust victims.
  • Lawrence Fishburne who appeared only about 5 minutes before getting disintegrated should stick to tutoring people called "the One"
The final battle was definitely a rip-off the first movie. The deliberate fires to set off the IR sensors in the Predator's visor and the covered-in-mud trick to be obscured from detection. Whilst they were at it, I wondered why they didn't put in a self-destruct scene. The movie's ending left audiences hanging with a distasteful attempt at a cliffhanger and to hint a possible sequel (whether on the silver screen or in novels)

I take back what I said about the Predators-Aliens crossovers after watching this movie.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mind Your Language

I must have watched my first episode of Mind Your Language sometime back in 1981 on celestial television.

One of the things of childhood past I will never forget and will always be kept in stitches watching the "united nations" on Youtube (click here to go to this channel). Although the series never made it past the 4th season lest there be more political correctness and less racial stereotyping. MYL ran from 1977 to 1979 and the final season in 1986. The show was produced by London Weekend Television, just like Terrahawks.

Who can forget the simple yet catchy theme song which barely lasts 2 minutes.

The premise is simple...A group of 10 foreign nationals learning English and the English way of life under the tutelage of Mr. Jeremy Brown (the late Barry Evans), a lowly-paid English teacher. Then there's Ms. Courtney (Zara Nutley), the school principal who is evidently a sexist in favour of women and according to Mr. Brown, a "pompous old twit" or "the old dragon".

Sidney or fondly called Sid (the late Tommy Godfrey) the deaf-in-one-ear and cockney speaking caretaker and Gladys (the late Iris Sadler), the tea lady shares the same sentiment about Ms. Courtney.

Most importantly, is the classroom compliment which made it all work.

I have to be proud that a fellow Malaysian starred in the British comedy; Penang -born Lim Pek-Sin potrayed Chung Su Lee, a very devout chairman Mao follower who has a penchant for political rallies and carries the "little red book" with her all the time. Lim Pek-Sin starred in a foreign movie last year called "Granny's Ghost" where she played a medium in Hong Kong visiting her grandson in the US unwittingly bringing a ghost along for the trip. Su Lee sits beside Taro Nagazumi (Robert Lee) a Japanese electronics rep who ends every word with an "O". Theyo wereo the only Asian nationalso.

Who can forget the beautiful Danielle Favre (Francoise Pascal), the French au pair with her seductive mannerisms, Maximillian Papadrios (Kevork Malikyan) the Greek who says "Hokay" and his Italian side-kick cook, Gionvanni Capello (George Camiller). Briefly, sexy Swede Ingrid Svenson (Anna Berg) who appeared in Seasons 1 and 3 prove to be Danielle's thorn-in-her-side. Then you have the very stoic Anna Schmidt (Jacki Harding), a German au pair with no tolerance for Max and Giovanni and a very strong grip when handshaking.

From the Indian continents, there's Ali "Oh Blimey" Nadeem (the late Dino Shafeek) a Pakistani constantly settling religious differences with Ranjit "Thousand Apologies" Singh (Albert Moses), the very naive Jamila Ranjha (Jamila Massey) with her yarn and needles. She sits next to Zoltan Szabo (Gabor Vernon) a Hungarian student who only appears in Season 3.

Last but not least, Juan Cervantes (Ricardo Montez), the "Spanish Onion" as Giovanni calls him, going about saying "Por favor", "wrong number" and "So rait" most of the time.

The slapstick humor never fails to force a giggle out of me at least. By today's standards, I think MYL still holds the audience well for a 'sketch quality' entertainment which capitalizes on racial undertones and religions differences.

MYL was one of the first tv programs which tickled me beyond belief and for that I will never give up reminiscing on the many times I died laughing.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Amendments to the Hire Purchase Act 1967

The Hire Purchase (Amendment) Bill 2010 (click here to see the pdf version of the Bill) was passed in Parliament yesterday.

There are 3 main changes to the Hire Purchase Act 1967-

1) New sections 17A and 17B (Permitted Repossessors)-
  • The appointment of car repossessors is now regulated. The owner of the vehicle (bank) will now need to appoint a repossessor by issuing a permit in writing, i.e. only those appointed by the Government via the Controller are allowed to carry out repossessions.
2) New section 30A (Booking Fees) and new subsections (1A) and (1B) to section 31 (Deposits)-
  • Purchasers/ intended hirers will now only pay not more that 1% of the price of the car and the owner (bank) can ONLY collect the booking fee when the form set out in Part II of the Second Schedule has been duly completed. If the transaction is cancelled, the purchaser will only be entitled to refunded 90% of the booking fee.
  • Upon signing of the HP Agreement, all booking fees and deposits will be paid to the bank. If the dealer fails to deliver the vehicle, then the purchaser will be refunded in full.
3) Amendment to section 16 (Repossession limits)-
  • the bank cannot repossess your car WITHOUT A COURT ORDER if 75% or more of the cash price of the vehicle has been paid.
  • the bank must still issue a Fourth Schedule notice giving not less than 21 days.
No doubt, the dealers will be effected by this new bill-
  • Since monies will not actually touch their hands, they would need to dip into their own pockets first to secure a car.
  • There will be more applications for overdraft facilities to cover their costs. It must be noted that cash-flow will now be affected.
  • The waiting list is normally a forecast and should the waiting period tires out the customer, a cancellation will mean that the dealer may not get their costs back.
Banks too will be effected-
  • They have to now mobilize more personnel to deal with collection of booking fees and deposits. I suspect a backlog may occur since the car sales in Malaysia have not really been affected substantially.
  • The loans officers will be more itinerant compared to now, when dealers will handle most of the paperwork and deal with the banks at a later time.
  • The hand-in-hand relationships banks have with dealers may now be superficial.
  • Having now to apply for a repossession court order, banks will sustain more costs although I'm sure costs would be awarded. But what about the Courts' views on the matter? Is there going to be a special court to entertain these kinds of applications?

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Lex Iniesta Est Lex

Andres Iniesta has become Spain's local hero overnight. The decisive116th minute goal was the turning point in the long-drawn match leaving the Dutch dream of the coveted cup in pieces. Spain beat Holland 1-0, 26 minutes into extra time.

The controversies and decisions of Howard Webb, the referee at this morning's FIFA World Cup 2010 finals in Soccer City, Johannesburg will be the talk of a lot of towns till the next championships in Brazil-
  • Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk blamed for an indiscipline game and failure to call a free kick to Netherlands. The on-field official showed a second yellow card to Puyol when he appeared to impede Arjen Robben in the 82nd minute, allowing Robben to play on and miss his chance to score. This will always be the summer of their discontent.
  • I'm positive the world's audience saw Nigel de Jong's flying kick into Xabi Alonso's chest which although strongly argued merited a red card only saw Webb dismissing that clear offense with a yellow card.
Holland was of course a man down with John Heitinga's dismissal after a second yellow card 19 minutes into extra-time. Evermore so, the team's desperation would have fueled the derision they had on the English referee. Who can blame them from being "deprived" of a chance at the World Cup.

I can't help but to once again assert that I would have preferred to watch the Germans take on Spain in the finals. But they did well against Uruguay, beating the latter 3-2 despite lowered spirits. Their defeat to Spain took on toll on Miroslave Klosse who fell ill with a flu. Germany's coach, Joachim Loew disallowed the sickly star from playing, lest the Panzers desired to diminish their chances to take on 3rd placing. This decision although tactically sound left Klosse devastated as he lost his chance of beating Ronaldo's record of 15 goals at the World Cup. He was just short of 1 to match.

The fever is over. Rio De Janeiro now awaits football nations to converged again.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010


This is it... for a month now...teams have enjoyed the ecstasy of victory and suffered the agony of defeat. 16 of the world's finest have proved their mettle or gone back to the drawing board. You all have lost sleep over one of the world's most watched sporting event.

Holland vs. Spain...

Soccer City, Johannesberg...

It comes down to 22 men, 0.7 billion people, a bird in Singapore and an octopus in Germany...

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Thursday, July 08, 2010

Semi-Finals: Germany vs. Spain: Paul the Octopus was right

Should have had octopus sashimi for dinner. A cephalopod's prediction came true. Paul the Octopus picked Spain to be the winner in an aquarium with one box painted with the German flag and the other, the Spanish flag. It was right.

Playing a defensive game as I've witnessed can cost you. It's a small margin for error when you need to hold fort for 90 minutes. If a goal is scored in the 2nd half, the whole ball game (no pun intended) turns around and you'd be fighting for your life. That's what happened with the Germans who rallied with the Spanish up until the 2/3 of the 2nd half. Neuer was close to saving it but not close enough.

In the 73rd minute, a corner shot gave Puyol a opening to score. The game was tight with Germany playing defense most of the time. Possession was mostly in the Spanish boys' favour, especially A.Iniesta and David Silva. Their show of skills I must admit, is admirable. The control and seamless passing is like no other I've seen. If not for that watershed corner kick, the Germans would have had a chance as their defense was back up to the brim. Podolski got a close one in from the side-line with Toni Kroos deflecting into the Spanish goal. An equalizer at so close of the match would likely to have been a crucial point for both teams.

Mueller sat out in this match by reason of the previous match offense. Would he have made a difference? Well, I think so. He hasn't missed a game until now.

I guess Joachim Loew's future as the team's coach has now taken the turn for the worse, incidentally his coaching contract has run its course. I think he has done an excellent job and it would be Germany's peril not to renew it.

Needless to say, this marks the end of the Panzer's dream to reach the World Cup 2010 finals, much to the disappointment of a multitude.

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Sunday, July 04, 2010

Quarter Finals: Germany sends Argentina home

Germany celebrates their 4-0 victory over Argentina.

Mueller scored Germany's 1st goal in the 3rd minute of the game. I thought the Argentinians would had put up half an effort to regain their footing so early in the game but their rallying was futile.

During the 2nd half, the Panzer's survived Argentina's relentless onslaught and popped in the other 3. Miroslave Klose and Arne Friedrich scored the subsequent 2 goals in the 68th and 75th minutes to bring them out of any equalizing chances and the 4th by Klosse at the brink of the 2nd half sealed the Argentinians' doom. Lukas Podolski contributed largely to the 3rd goal with an excellent pass from the side line to Friedrich.

Fragmented defenses and what seemed to be a pressured atmosphere lead to the Argentinians' bad defeat in last night's game. Even their coach, former football superstar Diego Maradona showed the immensity of what they were up against. The truth is, Argentina was not playing well tonight. I confess I would have enjoyed evenly matched game with the winner coming out at the brink of defeat. A 4-0 win robs Argentina of their last shred of dignity at Capetown last night.

Whilst the Panzers are ecstatic, the next match between Paraguay and Spain kicks off to determine who they will be up against in the semis. I lack the stamina to watch a 2nd game, so I retire looking forward to know the results later in the morning.

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Saturday, July 03, 2010

Will there be another upset tonight?

Will Cape Town see the Panzers hold their fort and kick their way into the race for the coveted cup or will the Argentinians refuse them just like how they did Mexico? Brazil was the latest casualty in the hands of Holland. The Dutch ousted them South American team at the final moments. Tensions must be high for pundits and fans alike.

Some interesting statistics:-

  • Argentina beat Germany 3-2 in the finals in 1986
  • In 1990, Germany vindicated themselves and sent Argentina off with a 1-0 victory to the trophy
  • In 2006, the Germans managed to snatch victory away from the Argentinians in the quarter-finals securing a penalty kick for 4-2 win
  • The two teams have met each other 18 times previously with Argentina winning eight, losing five and drawing five, while outscoring the Germans 25 to 23 in the process
  • Messi has yet to put in a goal although he has massively contributed in all matches played by Argentina
  • From the likes of the previous matches, it seems that Germany has a strong defense based on skill and discipline, but they cannot now afford to slip like that they did engaging Serbia barely a month ago
  • Argentina have been flawless in their performances so far in the tournament. They won all matches, three in the group league and then grounded Mexico in the Round of 16.

In European Football Forum, the polls predict Argentina a 60% chance of winning against 34% for Germany with a 4% chance of a tie!

I would like to see Germany ride their way safely past this one. Lukas Podolski and Miroslave Klosse must be at their best tonight. At the brink, survival will be granted to the fittest. There must have been some Buenos Aires magic in the air sealing victories for Argentina so far. Their pace is stead and their tenacity seems to know no relent as yet.

No doubt, the pressure for both teams would be astronomical.

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