A quick trip to Sekinchan.

Posted in Wonders and Places on December 11, 2017 by vincentloy

Sekinchan is a rural area not far from Kuala Lumpur (around 2 hours drive from the city) that is famous for its beautiful paddy fields. My eldest sister decided to visit this place with her family together with my aunt’s family the past weekend. I joined in at a very last minute’s decision. This is my second quick trip after I came back from Australia late last month. The first one was on last week when I went to A Famosa Resort in Malacca (I wrote about that trip in my previous post too). It’s great for an urban people like me to return to rural area once in a while to experience something different and be closer to nature.

Before highlighting the places that we went to during the trip, I must first write about the place that we were staying for a night during the trip. We stayed in Farm Ville Cafe & Homestay. It is a small homestay comprising of few reused containers and the place is facing a large paddy field for exceptional scenery. The price is also quite affordable. This is the first time I’m staying in a container-themed hotel. It was a cool experience although I have to admit that there are some disadvantages such as noise that can easily transmit between containers, lack of covered walkways, and security concern. The homestay has a kids’ pool, cafe, trampoline, bicycle facilities, etc.

The main places that we have visited in this trip are;

Redang Beach (well, this is not in Redang Island but in Sekinchan. This place had been the setting for a Hong Kong drama few years ago that starred Ruco Chan and Rosina Lam…I forgot the drama’s title.)

Sekinchan 3D Art Gallery (small and the displayed arts are not world-class but still a fun place especially for kids)

Sekinchan Rice Processing Factory (a huge factory with gallery explaining the process of creating rice and history of the town)

Firefly Park Resort (this is in Kuala Selangor which is just 30 minutes drive from Sekinchan. Had the opportunity to view the fireflies in the dark on a boat. The last time I had been here doing this was about 2 decades ago when I was just a small kid. Very hard to capture the moment in pictures.)

Sekinchan is a nice place to visit. While the food here are cheap (even seafood too), the entrance fees to the attractions here are a bit costly. I certainly felt overcharged. These kind of places are not that popular in the past. However, in recent years, a lot of tourists flock to these areas as they are not that far from city and they are great spot for quick getaway during normal weekends.

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MY SELECTION OF THE BEST FOR TVB 2017 DRAMAS

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2017 by vincentloy

The Singapore’s Starhub TVB Awards 2017 and TVB Star Awards Malaysia 2017 have concluded. The remaining Hong Kong’s TVB Anniversary Awards that will be held on 21st January 2018 is the last of the annual three awards ceremonies presented to honour the best of TVB actors, actresses, series and programmes that aired for the past year. I personally have this habit of choosing my own list of winners too based only on the dramas that I have watched in that particular year. And for this year (2017), I watched the most number of TVB dramas, at 16.

Here below is the list of all the 2017 dramas that I have watched (completed):

  • Rogue Emperor.
  • Recipes To Live By.
  • Burning Hands.
  • Tiger Mom Blues.
  • Destination Nowhere.
  • Provocateur.
  • My Dearly Sinful Mind.
  • My Unfair Lady.
  • Phoenix Rising.
  • Bet Hur.
  • A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch.
  • The Unholy Alliance.
  • Line Walker: The Prelude.
  • Oh My Grad.
  • Legal Mavericks.
  • The Exorcist’s Meter.

I am now currently watching the ‘Heart and Greed 3’ and I will not include this drama for this year’s contention as it will only finish its airing on mid of January 2018 (that’s next year already). And without delaying further, here’s below are my selection for the best in 2017 TVB dramas. The result is solely based on my personal opinion, taking in analysis from precursor awards, from online discussions, and from my personal judgement without any bias or unfair decisions. Top 5 are listed for each categories (15 categories in total) with the winner highlighted.

Most Favourite On-Screen Partnership

  • Edwin Siu, Raymond Cho, Matthew Ho (A General, A Scholar And An Eunuch)
  • Kenneth Ma, Raymond Wong, Dominic Ho (Bet Hur)
  • Charmaine Sheh, Samantha Ko, Connie Man (Bet Hur)
  • Pakho Chau, Benjamin Yuen, Priscilla Wong (Line Walker: The Prelude)
  • Vincent Wong, Sisley Choi, Owen Cheung, Ali Lee (Legal Mavericks)

Most Favourite TV Veteran Artiste

  • Michelle Yim (Tiger Mom Blues, My Dearly Sinful Mind)
  • Lee Kwok Lun (Recipes to Live By, Bet Hur, A General A Scholar And An Eunuch)
  • Cheung Kwok Keung (Recipes to Live By, The Unholy Alliance)
  • Mary Hon (Recipes to Live By, The Unholy Alliance, Oh My Grad)
  • Law Lok Lam (Provocateur, My Dearly Sinful Mind, Phoenix Rising, Legal Mavericks, The Unholy Alliance)

Most Favourite TV Villain

  • Lee Kwok Lun (Recipes to Live By)
  • Lee Shin Cheung (Provocateur)
  • Grace Wong (My Dearly Sinful Mind)
  • Louisa So (Phoenix Rising)
  • Pal Sinn (Legal Mavericks)

Best Technical Production (Visuals, Scores, Editing, Costumes, Make-Up, Production Design)

  • Burning Hands.
  • Legal Mavericks.
  • The Unholy Alliance.
  • The Exorcist’s Meter.
  • A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch.

Most Favourite On-Screen Couple

  • Pakho Chau & Priscilla Wong (Line Walker: The Prelude)
  • Ruco Chan & Nancy Wu (The Unholy Alliance)
  • Vincent Wong & Natalie Tong (My Unfair Lady)
  • Kenneth Ma & Charmaine Sheh (Bet Hur)
  • Joel Chan & Elaine Yiu (The Unholy Alliance)

Most Favourite Drama Theme Song

  • ‘The Night You Left’ by Fred Cheng (My Dearly Sinful Mind – ending theme)
  • ‘Walk With You’ by Kayee Tam (My Unfair Lady – sub theme)
  • ‘Forgetting Myself’ by Hana Kuk (Line Walker: The Prelude – ending theme)
  • ‘Love Before One’s Eyes’ by Stephanie Ho (Legal Mavericks – ending theme)
  • ‘Out of Reach’ by Hubert Wu (The Exorcist’s Meter – sub theme)

Most Improved TV Actress

  • Koni Lui (Tiger Mom Blues, Oh My Grad)
  • Winki Lai (Destination Nowhere, Provocateur)
  • Jacqueline Wong (Provocateur)
  • Ali Lee (Provocateur, Legal Mavericks)
  • Sisley Choi (Recipes to Live By, My Dearly Sinful Mind, Legal Mavericks)

Most Improved TV Actor

  • Hugo Wong (Recipes to Live By, Burning Hands, Legal Mavericks, The Exorcist’s Meter)
  • James Ng (Destination Nowhere, A General A Scholar And An Eunuch)
  • Matthew Ho (Tiger Mom Blues, A General A Scholar And An Eunuch)
  • Mat Yeung (My Dearly Sinful Mind, Bet Hur)
  • Owen Cheung (Legal Mavericks)

Best Actress In A Supporting Role

  • Elaine Yiu (The Unholy Alliance)
  • Susan Tse (The Exorcist’s Meter)
  • Jacqueline Wong (Provocateur)
  • Koni Lui (Tiger Mom Blues)
  • Natalie Tong (My Unfair Lady)

Best Actor In A Supporting Role

  • Ram Chiang (The Exorcist’s Meter)
  • Benz Hui (Line Walker: The Prelude)
  • Joel Chan (The Unholy Alliance)
  • Mat Yeung (My Dearly Sinful Mind)
  • Owen Cheung (Legal Mavericks)

Most Favourite TV Female Character

  • Elena Kong (Tiger Mom Blues)
  • Grace Wong (My Dearly Sinful Mind)
  • Priscilla Wong (Line Walker: The Prelude)
  • Nancy Wu (The Unholy Alliance)
  • Sisley Choi (Legal Mavericks)

Most Favourite TV Male Character

  • Ruco Chan (The Unholy Alliance)
  • Vincent Wong (Legal Mavericks)
  • Kenneth Ma (The Exorcist’s Meter)
  • Benjamin Yuen (Line Walker: The Prelude)
  • Edwin Siu (A General, A Scholar And An Eunuch)

Best Actress In A Leading Role

  • Kristal Tin (Destination Nowhere)
  • Elena Kong (Tiger Mom Blues)
  • Jessica Hsuan (My Unfair Lady)
  • Ali Lee (Legal Mavericks)
  • Nina Paw (The Unholy Alliance)

Best Actor In A Leading Role

  • Ruco Chan (The Unholy Alliance)
  • Kevin Cheng (Destination Nowhere)
  • Benjamin Yuen (Line Walker: The Prelude)
  • Vincent Wong (Legal Mavericks)
  • Kenneth Ma (The Exorcist’s Meter)

Best Series

  • Legal Mavericks.
  • A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch.
  • The Exorcist’s Meter.
  • Line Walker: The Prelude.
  • The Unholy Alliance.

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You are free to leave comments on my above picks. They are selected after a thorough study and considerations. Now, we will wait and see how many of my selections above differs to the result from the coming Hong Kong’s TVB Anniversary Awards.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Emporis Skyscraper Award 2016

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2017 by vincentloy

The result for Emporis Skyscraper Award 2016 was announced recently. It is an annual prize to honour highrise buildings with excellence in both aesthetic and functional design. The award first started in year 2000 ranks 10 best buildings worldwide annually which are chosen by Emporis editors. They are architectural experts from across the world. For your further information, Emporis is a real estate data mining company that collects and publishes data of buildings worldwide with particular emphasis on skyscrapers. The database now also includes low-rise buildings and other structures. Only buildings completed (built) in 2016 are considered for this award’s selection.

The winner for Emporis Skyscraper Award 2016 is Via 57 West in New York City, USA. The pyramid shaped winner, designed by the Danish architects BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, was recognized by the award jury for its fascinating and extraordinary shape which breaks new ground in design. VIA 57 West is a hybrid between an European perimeter block and a classic American skyscraper.

Claiming the second place is Torre Reforma from Mexico City, Mexico. With a height of 804 feet, it is Mexico City’s tallest skyscraper and also the world’s tallest exposed concrete structure. The jury specifically praises the intelligent environmental solution for a skyscraper. The building is composed of two exposed concrete walls and one main glass façade. The concrete walls protect the interior from direct sunlight and reduces the cooling load. Mexico City is known for its high seismic activity. For this reason, Torre Reforma has a triangular footprint and combined with the latest engineering knowledge, it is supposed to withstand heavy winds and earthquakes for the next 2,500 years.

In third place the expert jury voted Oasia Hotel Downtown, in Singapore. The project stands out with a remarkable red façade and 21 different species of plants in 1793 planter boxes turning into an urban oasis. The facade is overgrown with different vines to ensure the building’s facade is always lush and resilient during different weather conditions. Moreover, the tower offers four open sky gardens which allows wind to pass through the building for good ventilation.

Here’s below is the Top 10 Skyscrapers for year 2016 as selected by Emporis that reveals the remaining 4th to 10th place winners.

  1. Via 57 West – 142 metres high, 34 floors, New York City, USA. Architect: BIG. (30 points)

2. Torre Reforma – 245 metres high, 57 floors, Mexico City, Mexico. Architect: LBR Arquitectos. (27 points)

3. Oasis Hotel Downtown – 190 metres high, 27 floors, Singapore. Architect: WOHA Architects. (25 points)

4. MahaNakhon – 314 metres high, 77 floors, Bangkok, Thailand. Architect: Buro Ole Scheeren. (23 points)

5. Elbphilharmonie – 110 metres high, 25 floors, Hamburg, Germany. Architect: Kallmorgen & Partner, Herzog & de Meuron. (18 points)

6. 56 Leonard Street – 250 metres high, 57 floors, New York City, USA. Architect: Herzog & de Meuron. (17 points)

7. CTF Finance Centre – 530 metres high, 111 floors, Guangzhou, China. Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. (13 points)

8. The L Tower – 205 metres high, 59 floors, Toronto, Canada. Architect: Studio Daniel Libeskind. (12 points)

9. Beijing Greenland Dawangjing Tower – 260 metres high, 55 floors, Beijing, China. Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP. (10 points)

10. Sumitomo Fudosan Roppongi Grand Tower – 231 metres high, 43 floors, Tokyo, Japan. Architect: Nikkon Sekkei Ltd. (7 points)

The winner, Via 57 West is one of the precedent studies for my Masters’ thesis. It is not very tall, but made a huge visual impact to the New York City’s skyline due to its unique design that challenges the convention of skyscraper typology. I do like the 2nd place winner, Torre Reforma too as the huge vertical bare concrete wall is a stand out among typical fully glass-clad or solid painted walled skyscrapers. The 3rd place, Oasis Hotel Downtown is to be complimented for its striking red-coloured cladding that allows landscaping to grow on it. The other buildings look fantastic too and they are mostly designed by famous architects. I have personally visited the Bangkok’s MahaNakhon Tower. Although it looks nice with its pixelated feature, but the way the architect explained how it relates to the city context doesn’t resonate to me at all.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Reference:

https://www.emporis.com/awards/2016

 

Birthday at Safari Wonderland, A Famosa Resort, Malacca.

Posted in Explosive News and Results on December 4, 2017 by vincentloy

This year’s birthday is slightly not ideal but I’m still contented with it. Today, I officially turned 26 years old. Having to admit that you are a year older from now on is something that I’m not that happy for but is a fact that I have to accept. I’m now in the age zone that nears to 30. Oh no…! I should be very excited once I returned to Malaysia after finishing my postgraduate study. However, things didn’t get to the best that I’m expecting.

Just a week before leaving Australia, I had an excruciating pain to my teeth after a dinner. I thought it is just a minor problem and I will wait till I return to Malaysia to look for dentist. In the end, I had to have my wisdom tooth and another tooth besides it on my lower jaw to be removed due to an infection. It costs me a whopping RM950. What an expensive meal! Now, I couldn’t eat any of my favourite Malaysian food yet as they are mostly spicy, icy or very heaty (these food to be avoided at this period of time to wait for my wound to recover). Haiz…Still have not tasted my favourite chilli pan mee, durian, cendol, etc ever since I’m back last Wednesday.

I’m having my birthday today in A Famosa Resort, Malacca to visit the Animal Safari Wonderland. I have been there at least twice in the past. This time, I’m accompanying my sister and my two little nephews for this quick one day trip. They were very excited to see all the animals. I’m not. I find that there are not much animals there in the safari and the whole area is very poorly maintained (run down state). The live shows are poorly executed with little effort and excitement. The whole resort looks the same ten years ago. There has been no upgrade works to it which are very necessary to keep it running well. If you have visited the resort once (it has the animal safari, water theme park, golf course, cowboy town, villas, etc), I highly recommend you not to visit it again. The entrance fees are also very expensive and not worth it at all. We seriously need to improve on the tourist destinations to attract more foreign and local visitors to our country.

Today is also the day I’m getting the grade for my thesis that I have spent a lot of effort in it throughout this entire year. I obtained 78 for it and it equals to a distinction. I’m satisfied with this result but I’m still disappointed as I am only mere 2 points away from a high distinction, a target that I set earlier. Anyway, these marks are no longer that important once you are out in the professional practice after the study is over. The most important is as long as I can graduate with  good results. I still achieved consistently satisfying result for all the semesters throughout this two years of my Masters. Alright, so for now, my birthday wish is to get a good job soon after my graduation for a flourishing career and future ahead!

Last month of 2017 is welcomed with the awesome ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ trailer!

Posted in Miscellaneous on December 1, 2017 by vincentloy

My postgraduate study is finished and I have returned to Malaysia two days ago. November ended and now comes December, the last month for the year 2017. Time flies. We will saying goodbye to 2017 very soon.

Every time when I returned to my house and my bedroom, I will have to clean up all the dust that have accumulated when I’m not around. The problem with the smell and white marks appearing in my wardrobe still exist and I’m very fed up of it already. I have to throw a lot of my affected clothes. This is most probably due to the moist in my room especially on the area where it nears the bathroom and also the lack of natural sunlight and proper ventilation in the room (my room’s window is facing and is very close to the back of another house and my family has this rule to close all windows and front sliding door to prevent mosquitoes to come in) . My only way of preventing or slowing it down (and still not able to get rid of the problem) is to buy water absorber powder, some packets of fragrance and those small white balls (don’t know the name) to prevent moth and insects. But anyway, it’s still great to be back to my own room!

Recently, the long awaited trailer (yes, only trailer) for the coming ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is released. Everyone is so excited (including me). This has been 10 years in the making since the first Iron Man movie in 2008 that started the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A lot of solo and first two Avengers’ movies came in after that and it all lead to this ‘Infinity War’ to end this phase (before the next one). The first Avengers movie made US$ 1.5 billion in worldwide box office. The second one made US$ 1.4 billion too. I’m guess this third one would gross over US 1.8 billion. Sorry, DC. Marvel appears to succeed more in making more critically-acclaimed and box-office topping movies.

What’s more exciting than seeing Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, Hulk, Spiderman, etc gathered together (after their individual films) to fight Thanos (he finally appeared!), the big villain with the powerful ‘Infinity Gauntlet’. And the Avengers’ theme is so exciting to listen to. Now, I can’t wait to watch it in May 2018. Sorry, ‘Justice League’. The hype for DC now (since ‘Justice League’ has been out in cinemas not long ago recently) now dies down immediately and made way for Marvel back, although it is just a trailer.

Let’s move back your attention to exciting highlights of this month. My birthday is coming soon (oh no…I’m turning 26!). There are several planned small trips this month and I can enjoy that with my two beloved little nephews since this month is their school holiday as well. I’m going to enjoy this month to the fullest. There are also wedding dinner for me to attend, some exciting movies to watch (Star Wars, year-end Oscar bait movies, etc) and some outings with friends. I wish that you will enjoy this December too as it is also filled with the festive Christmas and New Year celebration!

My last evening in Perth before heading back home.

Posted in Explosive News and Results on November 28, 2017 by vincentloy

‘Perth, my new home in 2016 and 2017’ is the title for my first blog post in Perth on February last year. I remembered very well that moment when I just arrived alone to my student housing feeling exhausted, unpacking all my luggage to fill up my room, shopping for groceries in a nervous state, go for orientation and visit the Curtin campus for the first time. That marked the beginning of my postgraduate study in Australia.

Time flies. This is my last evening in Perth as I am about to fly back to Malaysia tomorrow’s morning. My postgraduate study period here has come to an end. That was fast. I did return to Malaysia several times during the semester breaks in between but the feeling is not quite like what I’m experiencing right now. My room has returned to its original state (neat and empty); it has returned to the way it looked like when I first entered it in February 2016. There has been so many stuff for me to throw, recycle, donate, clean, and pack.

I am definitely missing my time here in my room, in the flat with my housemates and my time in or outside the class with my classmates. The days of walking over to the campus to attend classes are over and I certainly miss that too. It gave me the chance to walk a bit more (rather than sitting most of the time as it is bad for health) and also to look around for the views. However, I have been a ‘rushing’ guy all this while. It is my pattern to walk very fast to reach my destinations. Only in these last few days in Perth that I slowed down in my path and that gave me opportunity to truly enjoy the beautiful scenery here in this neighborhood.

Well. Goodbye Perth. I am still coming back here next year for my graduation ceremony and also to perhaps looking for a job here as well. I knew it is very difficult and inconvenient to look for job here as the demand is not strong for hiring architectural professionals in this country currently. Besides that, there are also a lot of stuff that I need to do to get the work permit or something like that (also needs a lot of cash for that) to be able to work in Australia as a foreigner. My other option is to look for job in Singapore which is nearer to Malaysia but that is going to be tough too. My last resort would be working back in my own country, Malaysia although I have to admit the salary is really uninviting.

Hmm…forget about the pressure of looking for job right now first. It’s time for the last ever long holiday that I deserved and looking forward to enjoy before stepping into the full-time job mode. I’m excited to head back to Malaysia now to meet my family, celebrate my upcoming birthday, going for some planned activities, and eat all my favourite Malaysian food! Last but not least, goodbye Perth again! I have had a wonderful time here (although the city is really very small and not lively most of the time…but that is actually good for students to concentrate on their studies like me)!

Review for TVB drama ‘The Exorcist’s Meter’ (2017).

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2017 by vincentloy

Time for review to another TVB drama that I have watched completely after it aired its final episode just now in the weekend. ‘The Exorcist’s Meter’ which has 21 episodes in total, starred Kenneth Ma as a taxi driver who has accidentally awaken a kind-hearted spirit with power and duty to take down devils roaming on Earth. The drama also starred Mandy Wong, Hubert Wu, Hugo Wong, Moon Lau, Anthony Ho, Susan Tse, Ram Chiang, etc.

I didn’t have high expectation to this series before I started to watch it. To be honest, I decided to watch it because I have nothing else to watch at the moment. In the end, I was surprised by how good this drama turned out. It is not a lousy or ordinary paranormal-themed series. It’s not just about people seeing ghosts and catching demons in a heroic fashion. This series stood out over the rest in this particular genre due to the addition of some very moving storylines, heartfelt characters, and excellent performances by the cast.

First of all, the eyes of the series is on the lead actor; Kenneth Ma. After his success and popularity from his role in 2012’s ‘The Hippocratic Crush’, he didn’t have many good roles later on. This paves way for newer actors like Ruco Chan to speed ahead of him in the race to win best actor. Another newer actor, Vincent Wong is also on the rise very quickly with many fantastic roles in recent years. I’m starting to worry that Kenneth will be left out very soon if he didn’t have a good drama and a good role to take on. Finally, he is back to be noticed again with his role here as ‘Ma Kwai’ in ‘The Exorcist’s Meter’. His acting is very natural and this character gave him opportunity to showcase his acting skill through the many emotional scenes in this series. He nailed this taxi driver’s role perfectly. With his excellent performance here (and also another great work in ‘My Dearly Sinful Mind’ released early this year), I’m supporting him to win best actor at the Hong Kong’s TVB Anniversary Awards.

The other cast members were doing exceptionally well too, although they are mostly lesser-known TVB artists. Susan Tse is very convincing as Kenneth’s foster mother and I don’t mind her winning Best Supporting Actress again. Ram Chiang, Moon Lau and Hugo Wong are outstanding too. I think this drama really puts their acting to the limelight besides Kenneth. This drama also propels Hugo Wong to higher popularity from his very challenging villain role in this drama. He usually took very minor roles in the past and after this drama, I’m sure that he will be given more opportunities to take on bigger roles soon. He is also solid in ‘Recipes to Live By’ released early this year and hence, I have no doubt to support him for ‘Most Improved TVB Actor’ this year.

As mentioned earlier, this drama has a very good script. The loop scenes involving Kenneth’s dead parents, conflict and relationship between Kenneth and his foster mother, friendship between Kenneth and the stone spirit, Ber Ber (Moon Lau)’s relationship with Kenneth and her death, Anthony Ho’s tragic death, etc are all very sincere and moving. Even the action scenes involving demons in this drama are produced with effort as not to make them too typical, lousy or emotionless. Besides that, the two theme songs for this drama sang by Hubert Wu are also nice to listen too and they suit well to this drama. Well, there are still some areas in this drama that can be improved like the production designs, the CGI, some exaggerated acting (but still acceptable due to the nature of this story), etc. But overall, it is a highly enjoyable, fast-paced series that will also makes you cry several times. The ending for this series is also surprisingly good. The last scene is a great one when the stone spirit that sat in the taxi was actually Hou Zai (Kenneth’s younger brother’s soul). This is one solid, entertaining and touching drama that is not to be missed. It defies my expectation. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Exorcist’s Meter’ a total of 8.0. This is the one and only drama in the year 2017 that gets over 8 points from me.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)