Sunday, June 29, 2008

Singapore Toy & Comic Convention 2008

Yesterday I managed to go to the inaugural STCC held at SICEC to take a look. When the news first started spreading around (I read it from spaceactionhero's blog), I think everyone expected it to be a huge event. For one I think alot of money has gone into the marketing, and it was done quite well I'd say. Nobody expected it to be on the same insane scale as US comicons (or whoever did can dream on for about 10 years), but the way they made it to be I thought it would be a pretty crazy event.

When I got there I realised that it was only ONE exhibition hall. Gee, I thought it would have at least covered an entire floor. Registration was up there, not downstairs. And for some funny reason, I guess they were sick of it or what, when I walked to the pre-registered queue the lady just gave me my stuff without even checking any of my details at all. So sticking the passband on, I walked in.

Let's just skip the boring parts shall we? I expected more Japanese stuff. More current figurines, more merchandise, instead of 'safe' products like shelves and shelves of Power Rangers and Gundams and FF7 figurines. You really that kiasu or what? And there was alot of emphasis on western and modern toy figurines. I can't exactly term it since I'm not really into that field, but it's a Stikfas type of thing. Loads and loads of it. Which I'm not really interested in.

Still, there were a couple of interesting things to be seen.

One-piece-only yo-yos.

Well this isn't anything new, but I still find the Yoda-Dooku figure uber cool.

And this. This is a movie chair that Animax was exhibiting. You know like those simulator rides where they shake you around for abit? Except this is for the home, I'm guessing. Not very hard shakes (or maybe you can program it). Limited to rumbles, mild crash shocks, lifts falls and horizontal tilts. They were playing FF7:AC (what else right) and I watched the hair-raising motorcycle chase scene, if you remember. I didn't feel very absorbed, but I'll give it to them because it was bloody noisy there and there was no way even the best 7.1 Surround system could completely engulf you into the movie. But I think it is a fantastic experience enhancement. Especially if you have a movie room. Because if you do, you probably have enough money to buy like 16 of these chairs. And just for trying it, they give you a cool Animax gridded sketchpad! Here's the video I took of the next pair who went after me.

Online Videos by


I think I was so desperate to get something out of there that I didn't think much when I walked past a booth randomly offering Ninja Gaiden II for $74.90. Considering I usually pay $69.90 at Best Denki for most games, it's an alright price, even if it's marked up abit. I'll talk more about it when I've played it for abit more.

Anyway back to my catch. My second one was one that I'd eyed a couple of years ago. Yes it's an old product but I don't care because when you get a 15cm tall Sephiroth figurine with his Masamune sword as tall as him...

You don't care.

Like the pose I made him do? LIKE THE SWORD? OH MY GOD I CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF IT.

Ok. That's it for my catches. Just two. I wanted to get one of the yo-yos since I'm a collector of sorts, but the seller said it would only go on sale today, since "it just came in yesterday and we have to calculate the prices".


Bu he estimated it to be anywhere from $20-50. And this is the good thing about being prevented from buying something you like, you get a chance to think about it.

And I think meh. Forget it.

Conclusion. For it's hype, the convention was disappointing. Too small, and quite a limited range of exhibitors. Were they hoping for too much when they put toys and comics together? Sure they are highly interweaved and interrelated, but they can stand very well on their own, and by putting these two together when you have next to no experience holding such conventions here, perhaps you're trying to mash a bit too many things together for a starter. But nevertheless I still applaud it. I think it's a great effort at least and I hope that the organizers will barrel through with future conventions.

This could be the start of something good.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

How did NS change you?

It was my first book out two days ago, and already I'm preparing to return to camp later this evening. I thought I was suitably adjusted to military life after a week, and wondered whether in typical Singaporean kiasu fashion they just wanted to keep us in a whole other week just to be sure. Turns out I learnt much more during the second week, and gears started running even smoother.

This is of course talking about life in the military, barring all the lessons (close combat training, rifle stripping/cleaning, etc.). Those are things you learn to become an operational soldier, and should be distinguished from everyday life and military culture.

And so with an intensive two weeks dipped in army life, one is bound to have lost some of your civilian habits and picked some up from the army. The most obvious ones are biological and physical changes, especially sleeping and waking up early. Also, I seem to be sweating at the slightest instance of heat or stillness in the air. Which doesn't actually bother me, but it seems to disturb everyone around me. I hope it's not the smell, I don't think I sweat that much, but I seem to have perpetual water blobs crowning my head, and I seem to radiate heat like a recently shut-off engine or something.

And then there are also habits that you find are good and hope to take back with you, but you don't. One of mine for example is the water parade. Water parades alone can make up half or more of a day's total intake of water. One would think that it would inculcate an awareness of adequate hydration, with or without physical activities, and make you drink more water, but no leh! I keep forgetting to drink water, and then the next moment I notice the color of my pee and I freak out and gulp down two cups of water.

One habit I hope not to bring back is swearing. I don't think much explanation is needed when I say swearing in the army is more for humor and laughter than for anger. You just keep throwing things out everyday, every minute, and that makes you so apprehensive to open your mouth when you're at home, just in case you slip and go "G'd mornin', fuckface."

A habit I hope not to lose is what you're reading now - decent command and execution of the English language. I probably can count the number of people on one hand that I speak to with my atas English in the Army, the other 96.3% I speak to in Singlish, crude Hokkien crude Malay crude Cantonese Mandarin Yugoslavian Croatian... and so I'll want to keep it because I'll need it more than ever when I ORD and go into the workforce.

Now, what did you learn and/or lose while in NS?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Off to the Dusty Island

In an hour I will be leaving for Tekong, where my reluctant affair with the Singapore Armed Forces will begin.

Having acquired myself a 3.5G Nokia E51 (no camera version, thanks Daniel!), I will try to update whatever I feel is safe to update on my Twitter account. If you aren't already signed up to Twitter, you can just mark the page or subscribe to its RSS feed. If you are, be sure to follow me.

Now all that's left is for you to keep me in your prayers, so that I don't tear anything more than underwear, and my E51 or ZEN doesn't get stolen.

Recruit Wong, out.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Gaki no Tsukai

I am a person who is rather easily tickled. Very often in fact, I laugh for no seeming reason, to the slight concern of my friends. Imagine then when I watch a show where the greatest of Japan's comedians gang up on three or four unfortunate comedians as punishment for having lost an earlier challenge. The rules are simple. Do not laugh under any circumstances, or suffer. Sounds familiar? You've probably seen this clip before, that's why.

Downtown is Japan's top variety show at present, and so is the comedic duo of the same name. Their various punishment games have made it into the online world for their extreme mirth and torture. It is already funny enough when someone like me watched an unsubtitled episode of it, but when some kind soul does the subbing, the show improves by 5 times.

For your enjoyment are two episodes broken into multiple parts and subbed. You will find the rest of the clips of the episode in the after-play menu.

Warning: If you are going to watch the episodes below, be warned that they air as specials and range from over an hour to over two hours long in total. Bookmark this page or return to my blog another day if you have to - I'm not going to be responsible for your loss of time.

Punishment Game in High School:

Punishment Game at the Hot Spring Inn:

Punishment Game - 24h Tag: