Malaysia calls it ‘movement control order’, while Singapore calls it ‘circuit breaker’.


Beginning next Tuesday, Singapore will be sort of experiencing the similar situation as what Malaysia is currently in; partial lockdown. However, the measures to be observed here in Singapore are more relaxed than the movement control order (MCO) in Malaysia. It should be the time for Singapore to do so…it is already far behind other countries in implementing that despite high number of coronavirus cases observed daily here too.

Yesterday, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the decision to implement a partial lockdown or which he prefers to call it as ‘circuit breaker’ to prevent further jump in the coronavirus cases in this island nation. The word ‘lockdown’ creates panic. Hence, Malaysia uses the term ‘movement control order’ while Singapore uses the term ‘circuit breaker’. The latter sounds so technological…

This ‘circuit breaker’ which is to begin next Tuesday, April 7th will see closure of all workplaces except for those considered essentials. All schools will be closed. All dining outlets will be open but only available for takeaways and delivery services (no dine-in allowed). All entertainment venues, attractions, museums, retails (except essentials), gyms, public swimming pools, fitness clubs, casinos and theme parks will be closed. This will continue for a month. The current measure of 1m safe distancing isn’t enough as there are now a lot of unlinked local cases which shows that community spread is evident.

However, there are quite a number of places that will remain open unlike what we see now in Malaysia. In Singapore when this circuit breaker starts, I can still go out for haircut, I can still go out for exercise or jogging and I can still go out anytime to buy my food and stuff.

I have started working at home since mid of last week due to all the existing measures Singapore has implemented to control the Covid-19 outbreak. I have a lot of works to do for this month and hence this ‘work-at-home’ practice isn’t actually a good thing. For most others, it will be good as they can simply jump to their bed during the working hours whenever they want without their bosses knowing if they are not that occupied for this month. I even have to rush for my lunch in the past few days working at home.

I also have to adapt to working with laptop as I’m already used to working with desktop (larger screen) in the office. It is pretty hard to work with CAD and BIM using laptop due to the much smaller screen and lower speed. No choice…I have to work with it for at least a month now. Why are there so many things in rush deadlines for me now while almost the rest of the world comes to a halt or a brake now due to Covid-19?!

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

Malaysia’s MCO extended until 14th April and US now has the highest coronavirus cases in the world.


It looks like my whole family is going to stay at home in Malaysia for a little longer. Just few days ago, the Malaysian Prime Minister had just announced the decision to extend the current movement control order (MCO) until 14th April. The order often seen as a partial lockdown of the country was originally scheduled to end at 31st March. However, due to constant huge number of coronavirus cases and more deaths reported daily, the government has no choice but to extend the order for the well-being of Malaysians.

To all Malaysians in Malaysia, be responsible and stay at home. The front-liners stay at work for us and you have to stay at home for them. Cherish this time together with your family, to get enough rest at home, do some house cleaning which you will never or avoid doing during normal days, learn to cook new recipes, still work productively at home, watch some movies, etc. There can still be many things to do at home.

My family is going to be getting more bored at home (they already are despite only into 9th day of the order with many more remaining days) while it’s almost business as usual over here in Singapore where I am staying and working. Of course, there are some measures here such as strict social distancing and suspension of events, but it has still not come to a point like at least a partial lockdown as observed in Malaysia. It has been almost 2 months since I last went back home to KL. I usually went back once a month. However, due to the travel restrictions, I couldn’t go back. It’s okay…health comes first.

The streets and roads over here in Singapore have also become much quieter recently. I guess most employees have already been directed to work at home and it is going to happen to my office beginning next month too to avoid large gathering of people including at the workplace. All entertainment outlets here including cinemas, bars and karaoke outlets over here will be closed until end of April too. I do observed that many people including our office lunch group do practice social distancing during our lunch time at the hawker centres or restaurants too.

As of today, Malaysia has recorded 2161 cases with 26 deaths while Singapore has 732 cases with 2 deaths. This virus pandemic is getting more serious day by day, especially at Europe and United States. US has now overtaken China as the country with the highest number of coronavirus infections at over 86 000 cases as of today (China recorded over 81 000 cases). Italy is also closely behind with over 80 000 cases. There are news saying that the virus will stay on for at least a year. Oh no…this is worrying…it certainly gives a huge impact to not only the world’s economy but also to our daily life. I hope everything will get back to normal as soon as possible.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

 

Review for Hong Kong drama ‘Forensic Heroes 4’.


I have just finished watching a TVB drama named ‘Forensic Heroes 4’ (法證先鋒IV). It is the 4th installment of a highly successful Hong Kong series franchise about forensic teams investigating variety of murder cases. I remembered the first two series were very good while the third one is still watchable. This fourth one is disappointing. This 30-episode series starred Raymond Wong, Selena Li, Shaun Tam, Alice Chan, Rebecca Zhu, Roxanne Tong, Fred Cheng, Yumiko Cheng, Kelly Cheung, Jonathan Cheung, Susan Tse, etc.

The drama started off very well with a linked murder cases; a carefully thought out story arc that has a lot of depth and plot twist in it. The first story arc also had heavyweight guest stars such as Patrick Tse and Michelle Yim. It got me engaged straightaway to the series. However, once this arc ended and more individual murder cases (following story arc) coming in, it gets more bland and lacks effort. The cases became uninteresting. All the following murder cases also become more predictable without any suspense or twist anymore (I almost immediately knew who the murderer is when every new cases appear).

On the other hand, most of the cast only need to deliver a one-tone facial expression (very serious face) during the investigation. I knew it is normal to be serious in such situation but the over-emphasis of the drama on their one-look faces throughout the entire drama is not something to enjoy looking at. The cast is poorly selected too. I don’t feel any chemistry between the partners in the series and the writing for their relationships felt very lazy and unconvincing. The only cast I can see doing good here is Roxanne Tong who is actually not in the original cast as she is only needed afterward to replace Jacqueline Wong due to the latter’s scandal last year.

The reason this drama still gets huge TV rating is because many people have no choice but to stay at home to watch it to pass time due to the recent coronavirus outbreak. It is definitely not because of the quality of the series. This drama is poorly executed. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Forensic Heroes 4’ a total of 6.0. I actually laughed a bit seeing the very last scene of the final episode. That shouldn’t be the intended reaction.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

Malaysia on movement restriction order from 18th to 31st March 2020


With daily increase of over 100 new Covid-19 cases in Malaysia, the government led by the new Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has announced late yesterday’s night that the country will be on movement restriction order beginning tomorrow (18th March 2020) to 31st March 2020 for a total of 14 days to prevent further outbreak of the virus.

Due to his speech being too general, many are left in confusion and panic state as a lot of questions are left unanswered. Will that affect all the Malaysians who commute to Singapore to work and return to Malaysia in the evening daily? We only got the answer this afternoon and it gave so little time for those affected to prepare (for both employees and the employers). Many business owners are also left confused on whether their jobs are considered ‘essential services’ and unsure on the necessity to close during this period…how about salary arrangement to employees for the month? salary deduction?…leave deduction?…

This is the result of a half-baked speech by the Prime Minister who has no idea on the severity and details of such order. Well, what do we expect from this newly formed backdoor government. We only started to see out a little more details rolled out this afternoon, and that’s just few hours away from the movement restriction order (which is almost like a lockdown already).

However, imposing this movement restriction order is indeed a right decision. But do Malaysians truly follow this order and stay at home most of the time? I hope so. All Malaysians should play a role to prevent further outbreak of this virus that has also claimed 2 Malaysian lives today (first two deaths in the country from the virus). Do not take this lightly.

My dad and my sister’s business have to close for two weeks and there are sure to be huge financial losses this time. But health is of utmost priority. They will be too free at home during this time. All entertainment outlets have to be closed (including Genting Highlands, all number betting outlets, cinemas, etc). I even plan to go to Johor Bahru this weekend and now it has to be cancelled. Disruption to a lot of things. But this is what Malaysia has to down to contain the outbreak.

Hopefully everything will be better and situation improves significantly after this 14-days period. Meanwhile, it’s normal daily routine over here in Singapore; working, working and working…

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

Covid-19 coronavirus is now a critical worldwide concern…


Just as we thought that February was the worst month ever due to the outbreak of the coronavirus (named Covid-19), we were wrong. The outbreak is still quite contained to within China and several Asian countries in the last month. The current widespread infection of the virus across the world is much more worrying. Recently, World Health Organization (WHO) has also declared the Covid-19 outbreak as pandemic.

(Map of the Covid-19 outbreak as of 12 March 2020)

As of now, the coronavirus has its presence in almost all parts of the world. There are dramatic increase of cases over at South Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran, and most recently in many European countries as well as the United States. In the meantime, in China where the outbreak first started, the peak is over. The virus has killed more than 5000 people and infected over 140 000 people to date. This is an alarming figure that keeps increasing day after day.

Not only it has serious impact to the worldwide economy and tourism, many large events have to be either postponed or cancelled too to avoid mass gathering of people that will enable quick spread of the virus. Priority now is to contain the virus and reduce exposure to it. Many concerts, sport tournaments, film productions, religious events, business conferences, etc have to come to a halt. Even multiple major films expected to be released in these two months are now postponed to further dates. I look forward to watch ‘Mulan’ and ‘A Quiet Place: Part 2’ (they are earlier expected to be released later this month) but now I have to wait longer.

Look like I have to stay at home most of the time during the weekend with nothing much to do. It’s a good thing too as I can save money but it is really quite boring to just stay in the room doing almost nothing interesting. By the way, I do have heavy breathing (sort of shortness of breath) in the past two days and I am a bit worried because it is one of the clear symptoms of the coronavirus. Fortunately, I don’t have any fever, cough or sore throat. I do try to avoid feeling panic due to this and just stay positive. That’s what everyone needs to do in this time of concern.

There are now 200 confirmed cases of the virus in Singapore and 197 cases in Malaysia. We are the top 2 countries in South East Asia with the highest number of cases. Definitely not something to be proud of. The table of list of countries with cases looks like a medal tally now. No one wants to be on top in this kind of table of course.

2020 is a year when many international events are scheduled to take place; UEFA EURO championship, Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games, Dubai 2020 World Expo, etc. The fate of these major events are uncertain now. Even several politicians, famous sportsman and celebrities (such as Tom Hanks and his wife) are tested positive for the virus.

We can only hope that the virus will dies down very soon and no more outbreak so that we can go back to our usual routines and everything is back to normal. In the meantime, we have to practice additional measures on personal hygiene (always clean hands with soap or hand sanitizers, wear mask when necessary, avoid contact with face and eyes, avoid large gathering, practice social distancing or self-isolation when required, etc). These are the basic things we shall do to protect ourselves. Not panic buying, not hurling racist remarks to the Chinese or blaming China for this, not creating or spreading fake news/rumors or false information on the virus, and not creating further unwanted panic.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara named as 2020 Pritzker Prize laureates.


Whenever the Pritzker Prize (architecture’s highest honor) winner is announced every year, I would do a bit of research on what the winning architects have done, their impressive projects and their impacts to the architectural field. Same goes for this year. Although the winners this year are names that we most probably never heard of, but their contribution are certainly worth our admiration. Anyway, popularity shouldn’t be a criteria in judging the recipient of architecture’s most prestigious honor.

With more than 40 years of professional experience, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, partners and co-founders of Dublin-based Grafton Architects, are the first women to be jointly awarded the Pritzker Prize.

“Their approach to architecture is always honest, revealing an understanding of the processes of design and construction from large-scale structures to the smallest details,” the jury’s citation said. “It is often in these details, especially in buildings with modest budgets, where a big impact can be felt.

“We’re not afraid of monumentality and making important gestures when necessary, but we’re also not afraid to recede and be in the background,” she said. “We think about a heroic space and at the same time think about how a human being feels in our space. We think about our agenda as being a humanist agenda, and that’s at the forefront.” said Yvonne and Shelley in a phone interview.

This attention to the human experience is apparent in projects like North King Street Housing in Dublin (2000), where an inner courtyard offers “a welcome respite from the adjacent busy streets,” the Pritzker jury said. Similarly, their Urban Institute of Ireland (Dublin, 2002) “employs what the architects call a ‘crafted skin,’” the jury said, “to create a visually interesting building through changes in materials responding to openings, folds, needs for shade and other concerns.”

North King Street Housing, Dublin (2000)

Urban Institute of Ireland, Dublin (2002)

In 2018, Farrell and McNamara co-curated the Venice Architecture Biennale, world’s most influential architectural event. The proposed theme, Freespace, sought to explore generosity, reflection, and engagement through the practice of architecture. The UTEC project in Lima, Peru is perhaps the one that has brought most recognition outside Europe to the Irish duo. In 2016, it was awarded the first RIBA International Prize. This year, the office was awarded the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Promoted by RIBA every year, the Royal Gold Medal is the highest honor awarded to an architect or architectural firm in the United Kingdom.

UTEC Building, Peru (2015)

“We are interested in going beyond the visual, emphasizing the role of architecture in the choreography of daily life.” “We see the Earth as client. This brings with it long-lasting responsibilities.” the two said.

Their other landmark projects below:

Kingston University Town House, UK (2019)

Universita Luigi Bocconi, Milan, Italy (2008)

Offices for the Department of Finance, Dublin (2009)

Some awesome projects that I have not heard of previously… Their thoughtful response to site and monumental celebration of building materials are intriguing.

References:

-https://www.archdaily.com/934782/who-are-grafton-architects-20-things-to-know-about-the-2020-pritzker-laureates

-https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/03/arts/pritzker-prize-female-team.html

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

 

 

‘The Invisible Man’ is a superb horror film! And let’s head back to dramatic turn of events again in the current Malaysia political crisis.


The first two months of the year are over and yet I have only watched 3 of this year’s films. Very slow progress for this year so far. Hope I can catch up to the numbers soon and hope for more interesting movies this year. The most recent one that I have watched of which I do highly recommend especially to the horror movie fans is ‘The Invisible Man’. The movie follows a woman who believes she is being stalked by her abusive partner, despite him apparently having died.

The film starred Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, etc. This film immediately reminds me of another film released quite some time ago called ‘Hollow Man’ (this one has its sequel too). Similar premise about a man turning invisible and then committing crime. It’s such an exciting premise and I don’t believe why it took Hollywood so long to create another movie based on this. There can be a lot of possibilities. And in 2020, finally here it comes with ‘The Invisible Man’.

The film is thrilling and kept me to the edge of my seat most of the time. It’s fast paced and the plot gets you to the main point without being draggy. The star of the show is definitely the lead actress; Elisabeth Moss. She is brilliant and portrayed the role very convincingly. She had to delivered her emotions facing nothing but air (if you know what I mean). The horror aspect of this film is fantastic too. The use of creepy silence, eerie dark atmosphere, slow moving shot, and of course the great performance by the actress made this a successful horror film. The jump scares in this film are effective too. Intense, immersive and terrifying, ‘The Invisible Man’ gets a 8.2 out of 10 from me.

Now, let’s move back to the hotly discussed topics in regards to the current political crisis in Malaysia. Just hours ago, the king (Yang Di-Pertuan Agong) has announced that Tan Sri Muhyiddin will be sworn in as Prime Minister as he had secured enough majority. I wonder where the numbers come from as Pakatan Harapan had already secured the majority at the same time. It’s the day when democracy in the country is dead. We voted them out in the past General Election and now (less than 2 years later) the similar bunch of people is coming back to govern the country through irresponsible and undemocratic process. I can’t believe that the king allows for this..This is a major disappointment.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin is not the man for the prime minister’s job. He isn’t fit for the position at all to be honest. And with his cooperation with UMNO and PAS (the opposition bloc), I can see that the corruption, more dirty politics, race-based politics, and above all, the downfall of the country is coming back. Where is the Malaysia Baharu that we thought to have started since the historic election win in 2018? It all goes back to square one, and if not worst…thanks to these power-hungry people that sacrifices the welfare of the country just for their own sake.

We as Malaysians should fight till the end to prevent this from happening. What’s the point of having election when you can form government through this backdoor approach? Pakatan Harapan has the numbers and the King should change his decision immediately. We knew of his intention to end the crisis immediately but that is certainly a wrong decision that will only put the country into much deeper chaos. If we have to protest, we will protest as this is certainly not what Malaysians want.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)