I.M. Pei, one of the world’s most famous and greatest architects, dies aged 102.


Ieoh Ming Pei, or simply known as I.M. Pei is a name no stranger to anyone in the architecture field across the world. I’m certain there are a lot of people not within this field do heard of this name before too. He is the man behind some of the world’s most recognizable buildings in the world.

He is one of the earlier architects that I have researched before in my undergraduate study years ago. I have read some architecture books that present some of his best works and I’m very inspired. I did wrote a blog post about this legendary architect two years ago too, in conjunction with his 100th birthday (link: https://vincentloy.wordpress.com/2017/04/28/i-m-pei-an-architect-who-just-celebrated-his-100th-birthday/).

This time around, I’m writing about the news of his death and the huge legacy he left behind in the world of design and architecture. He passed away yesterday at the age of 102.

Here’s come a quick biography; I.M.Pei, a Chinese-American architect was born in Guangzhou in 1917. In 1935, he moved to United States to began his architectural education. His career lasted for over 60 years and he had designed over 70 buildings across the world. Some of his most famous works are as follow:

Mesa Laboratory, Colorado, USA (1967)

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, New York, USA (1973)

John F. Kennedy Library, Boston, USA (1979)

Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas, USA (1989)

Bank of China Tower, Hong Kong, China (1989)

The Gateway, Singapore (1990)

Louvre Pyramid, Paris, France (1993)

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ohio, USA (1995)

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar (2008)

Macao Science Center, Macao, China (2009)

Some awesome buildings, right? His design style is very obvious; his emphasis on strong geometric patterns enable him to create some very distinctive buildings ranging from museums to skyscrapers around the globe. He has won various awards and honors in the past; AIA Gold Medal in 1979, 2010 Royal Gold Medal from Royal Institute of British Architects, 1983 Pritzker Prize, 2003 Henry C. Turner Prize, 1992 Presidential Medal of Freedom, etc.

R.I.P, I.M. Pei. You have been a huge inspiration to me and I hope to be just as half as successful as you are (that would be great already).

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

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‘Avengers: Endgame’ sank Titanic in box office, and is now certain to topple ‘Avatar’ as the new worldwide box office champion.


As of this writing, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ has grossed a total of US$2.238 billion in worldwide box office. That amount is already sufficient to get past 1997’s ‘Titanic’ to become the second highest grossing film worldwide. ‘Titanic’ grossed a total of US$2.187 billion. However, when you adjust the figures for inflation, ‘Endgame’ is still way far behind. Movie ticket price is way much lower in 1997 than the price on the present day (ticket price now is like almost 3 to 4x higher). That’s what inflation means.

Let’s not get things complicated with this inflation stuff. The official table is still on the figures not adjusted for inflation. So officially, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ is now no.2, and the movie has now just entered its third weekend. There’s still long way to go before the movie is no longer showing in cinemas worldwide. Hence, looking from the current statistic, it looks almost certain for the movie to dethrone 2009’s ‘Avatar’ as the world’s highest grossing film in history. ‘Avatar’ grossed an epic total of US$2.787 billion.

‘Endgame’ needs another US$600 million to break that record. That shouldn’t be too hard. But for now, I’m already looking at the possibility of the movie going a step further, which is to be the first ever film to gross over US$3 billion. I think it’s possible. ‘Endgame’ has like a 50% shot for that unprecedented milestone.

Recently, James Cameron who is the director for both ‘Titanic’ and ‘Avatar’ congratulated Marvel for their accomplishment in the box office as there’s a movie that finally ‘sunk’ Titanic. There has been no other movies in the past that got to do that (let along beats ‘Avatar’), with the closest being 2015’s ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ that grossed US$2.068 billion. For your information, currently there are five movies that are in the prestigious 2-billion dollar club (Avatar, Avengers: Endgame, Titanic, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Avengers: Infinity War). Breaking into the 1-billion dollar milestone is no longer a tough challenge now as there are almost 40 movies which accomplished that goal.

As of now, two 2019 movies grossed over US$1 billion. They are ‘Avengers: Endgame’ and ‘Captain Marvel’ (this movie grossed over US$1.121 billion). They are both Marvel films. Three other films are expected to join the 1-billion dollar club too this year and they are ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’, ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’. I’m predicting that the solo Spidey movie is finally going to gross over 1-billion due to the continuing buzz from ‘Endgame’. There are 5 other films this year that may have a chance to go past 1-billion too; ‘Aladdin’, ‘Toy Story 4’, ‘Frozen 2′, Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ and ‘Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw’. It would be insane if there a total of 10 movies in this year alone that grossed over US$1 billion respectively. Anyway, that’s seems almost impossible.

There’s another movie that I’m highly anticipating this year especially after watching its teaser trailer that has just been released a moment ago; ‘IT: Chapter 2’. The trailer looks promising and it’s cool to see the ‘Losers Club’ now being in the adults and has to take down the evil and terrifying Pennywise the Clown again. The movie which is set to release on early September this year is going to do well in box office too, but not to the level of hitting 1-billion or so as it is a horror film which does not appeal to a fairly large chunk of the general audiences.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

 

1 year after the historic GE14.


Today marks the first year anniversary of the historic 14th General Election of Malaysia that took place on 9th May 2018. There is still a little regret in me for not doing my part as a Malaysian on that day. I was only few days into my new job in Singapore that time and so I couldn’t take any leave (unless it’s unpaid) to return to Malaysia to cast my vote. The voting day is on a normal weekday. It’s one of the last hurdles by the previous nasty government (Barisan Nasional) to prevent Malaysians staying abroad from coming home to vote since they knew most of them will vote for the opposition.

Anway, the coalition (Pakatan Harapan) that I wish to vote on still win in my constituency as well as at the federal level for the first time ever since Malaysia gained independence in 1957. The country erupted into cheers on that very late night when the results kept pouring in with many seats being won by the opposition. The dream to see a new Malaysia turned to reality with Pakatan Harapan winning enough seats to form the federal government. I stayed till 3am++ on that night to watch live broadcast of the result and I’m so excited to see BN lost.

So, now, a year after that historic election, how is the new government been performing so far? My grade to them would be just B-. Not bad, but there’s a lot that can and should have already been done by now. I knew that the previous corrupted government has left the country in serious debt and made it hard for PH to implement policies they promised. However, PH can actually fulfill some other policies, but due to their weak stand and opposition from certain groups, they pulled out. They should be more firm in their decision. Majority of Malaysians voted for them, and hence expecting them to fulfill their manifesto. Not multiple U-turns to what we have been seeing for the past one year.

Tun Dr Mahathir is a great leader and has my respect and admiration. However, it is very obvious that he is too old to be able to lead the country well. He is a likable guy, but age do really matters. Some of his principles are really old-fashioned and only suits well to perhaps two decades ago (during his first tenure as Prime Minister) and not now definitely. His act of taking in the ‘rubbish’ from UMNO (accepting party hoppers) to strengthen his own party is problematic and disturbing. He has one more year to go before passing the duty to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. I hope that Anwar will take the country to a much greater height soon.

It’s obvious that the support for Pakatan has been decreasing especially now when UMNO became close friend with PAS (while MCA and MIC stay quiet without any power to object…by the way, that MCA’s Wee Ka Siong keep blasting the government every single day but turned into a silent puppy when UMNO decided to marry PAS…what a joke!). Racial card is used again to create tension and to weaken the government. Pakatan should really do something wise and strict about it before it gets worse.

Most ministers are inexperienced and I’m fine with that. They need more time and I accept that reason. After this one year of perhaps ‘probation’, I wish that they will step it up on the game from now on. If not, I’m seeing a high chance of BN taking over the government back in the next general election. I do not want to see that happening. I do not want to see Malaysia returning to the old failed state. As for Najib, why is it he is still around walking as a free man? The court process has been taking too long.

So, this is my view of the Pakatan government since taking the power exactly a year ago. They are doing slightly above average but not great. Let us hope for more great progress from PH in the coming years to bring my beloved country, Malaysia into a nation of multiple success stories, rather than being called previously as a country of kleptocracy.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

 

‘The Defected’ has so much potential with great cast but couldn’t impress in the end.


‘The Defected’ (鐵探) is a Hong Kong television drama that currently attracts a lot of audiences. The 30-episode series starred Benjamin Yuen as Inspector Sheung Sing, a policeman who becomes embroiled in a conspiracy plaguing the high-ranking officials due to an incident that almost cost him his life. The other main cast include Kara Wai, Philip Keung, Sisley Choi, Oscar Leung, Mat Yeung, Benz Hui, Ben Wong, Grace Wong, etc.

What I first like from this series is the focus on the rivalry of high-ranking police officials to get promoted rather than being another typical police drama that is all about showing undercovers and catching bad guys. The series at least went into a different direction with an uncommon plot. However, I find that the series didn’t do enough on exploring into this area.

Throughout the entire series, only Kara Wai’s character has the upper hand in almost every situation. The plot can be so much more exciting. One of my suggestions is to have several high-ranking officials (such characters with more prominent roles) plotting out some schemes to take down one another (and not just Kara Wai). There are such characters in the series such as Benz Hui, Ben Wong and Lee Shin-Cheong but they formed no important part of the story. What a wasted potential or opportunity to turn this series into one intense and memorable one.

This series had a great cast. Kara Wai is a good choice to portray the ruthless superior. She stands a chance for best actress win at the end of the year with this performance. She had win a lot from film awards but never from television awards. If the best actress competition this year is very weak, she do have a shot at it. However, in my opinion, there is not much from her role that requires her to deliver memorable acting. In most of the time, she just needs to get her eyes opened wide to show the anger while being confronted, and gets to cry for the death of her son near the end of the series. There is particularly no standout or explosive moment from her alone.

Philip Keung on the other hand nailed his role as the undercover named Bingo. He got me immersed into his performance and I particularly enjoyed his interaction with his mother (portrayed by Angelina Lo). He may have a shot at TV king title but I felt that his role is more of a supporting one (preferred him to get best supporting actor or most favourite male character). His character development is great except at the end when he died so suddenly without any honor for his contribution and sacrifice, and incomplete work that should have been finished by him too. Benjamin Yuen took that job since he is the main lead in this drama. His effort to lose weight and gets pale just for this drama is admired but there’s still huge room of improvement for his performance.

The series started off great with high expectation from me. However, it continues to be quite draggy and concluded with a rushed ending (not much climax even when it is near the end). At first, I saw similarity of quality of this series with ‘Line Walker’ (this series is very good). But in the end, ‘The Defected’ wasted most of its potential and becomes just a slightly above average drama this year to my disappointment. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Defected’ a total of 7.0.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

 

Happy Labour Day!


Happy Labour Day everyone! It’s time to catch a little break in the middle of the week. It would be much better if May 1st falls on Friday so we can have a long weekend. Or it can even be on tomorrow (Thursday) so that we can take one day leave on Friday to enjoy a 4-day weekend break.

One third of the year is gone and it’s the month of May now. Tomorrow marks the 1st anniversary of me working here in Singapore. Time flies. By now, I have mostly adapted to the environment here and have known more places in this island for shopping, movies, exploring and sightseeing.

I have learned a lot in this past one year and there’s so much more for me to learn from my career as a junior architect. On reflecting this past one year and to set myself ready for the following years, I have to be like a skyscraper; rising from the ground to the top as sky is not the limit. You will notice this quote up on my blog’s header for this month too. When you are on the city street, try look up to the buildings above you and you will gain a new perspective in life (besides straining your neck to look up..haha).

What am I going to do today? Nothing much. It’s just one day and it’s on the middle of the week and hence there’s nothing exciting or interesting that can be planned. I will just stay at home, watching stuff (Youtube, my Hong Kong drama and a downloaded movie perhaps), go for grocery shopping, rest and updating my blog here (that’s what I’m doing now).

Without labour, nothing prospers. Happy Labour Day once again! We, who worked hard and contributed so much, do deserves this holiday. Now, I’m already eyeing on the next public holiday which is also around the corner; Wesak Day on the middle of the month.

‘Avengers: Endgame’ crushes worldwide box office with an insanely massive US$1.2 billion debut.


No one single film in history has opened with more than 1 billion in ticket sales. In fact, the record holder for world’s largest opening weekend goes to ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ at US$640.5 million last year. That record is now obviously shattered by the film’s sequel, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ by almost double.

With a massive US$357.1 million intake from US and Canada, and another US$866.5 million from other territories, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ grossed a total of US$1.223 billion in its opening weekend alone. Countless of films couldn’t even gross near to that figure in their entire run and ‘Endgame’ accomplished that in just its first five days of release.

The movie currently broke almost if not all box office records, including but not limited to largest worldwide opening weekend, largest domestic opening (US and Canada) as well as largest opening in all other countries, fastest film to eclipse US$1 billion, etc. The movie is the 39th film in history to cross the 1-billion mark, is the highest grossing film of 2019, and is currently the 17th highest grossing film of all-time.

Well, the movie is going up to move up the rank real fast. Before the movie’s release, box office analysts were predicting a 250-million opening weekend in the US and Canada, and then later raised the projection to 300-million. It ended up going even further up (over 350 million in domestic debut). Early forecast mentioned the film is going to gross around 800 million at max for its worldwide opening. What we saw now? 1.2 billion debut. That’s a huge gap and it’s a sign that this movie is massively popular and everyone from all parts of the world just wanted to watch it. Who doesn’t? It’s the finale of 21 films that spanned over a decade…and then there’s our beloved huge assembly of superheroes taking down the badass supervillain Thanos and his armies for a final showdown.

So now, how much more further will ‘Endgame’ goes in box office sales? It is no doubt the film is going to dethrone ‘Titanic’ as the second highest grossing film of all time (‘Titanic’ had 2.187 billion). But can it defeat ‘Avatar’ for the prestigious No.1 spot that has not been disturbed for about a decade (‘Avatar’ grossed 2.787 billion)? Looking from the figures now (great statistics), strong word of mouth, huge enthusiasm from audiences in repeat watching, and lack of serious competition till end of May are making it possible to gross over US2.8 billion. Perhaps, it can even be the first ever film to cross the unprecedented 3-billion milestone…

There’s the possibility. And that possibility is really there. We will see how it performs in the second and following weekend to see how big is the drop per week. For now, it is a sure thing that ‘Endgame’ will be the 5th film to cross 2-billion mark. It can even achieve that by just end of this week of early next week. It’s certainly going to be the fastest film to reach 2-billion too. Now, all that is insane. I knew the support and love for this movie is strong but like many others, I didn’t expect the scale to be this huge.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

Jewel Changi Airport shows the world how an airport can be super awesome.


Jewel Changi Airport is a mixed-use development at Changi Airport in Singapore that comprises of indoor gardens, attractions, a hotel, aviation facilities, and a mall of over 300 retail and dining facilities. The main attraction of this ‘mall-in-airport’ complex is an indoor waterfall which is the largest in the world at 40 metres tall. Pictures of the majestic waterfall has been circulating on the internet for some time now since its preview opening earlier this month (11th April). Jewel officially opened to the public on 17th April 2019 (10 days ago).

I have to be there to witness the awesomeness of this structure, and this weekend is the perfect time for it (I was back in Malaysia on last weekend and hence I have to wait it out till this weekend to visit it). I also heard that the crowd last weekend is insane. I went there this afternoon and there are still a lot of people. I’m in disbelief and shock after seeing hundreds of people queuing for certain stores or restaurants there (Shake Shack, Pokemon, A&W, etc).

It took me over an hour to take various pictures of Jewel, particularly its central iconic waterfall (of course) from various angles and positions on different levels of the mall. The canopy park on the highest level is not opened yet (will be opened on June). I left Jewel quite early as I don’t like huge crowd (I have to skip the evening light show…have already watched it online from videos by others). I have seen what I wanted to see and here are some of the amazing shots I have taken:

Jewel Changi Airport certainly shows to the world how an airport can be super awesome and different. You do not only put a mall into it, but you create something unique to turn it into a spectacular destination. The glass-dome structure and the indoor gardens do remind me of Gardens by the Bay. It looks like Singapore is really good on such thing. By the way, Jewel is designed by Moshe Safdie, the same architect behind the iconic Marina Bay Sands. My first impression of it; it’s like entering Jurassic World! Such a beautiful building!