Archive for August, 2011

It’s Malaysia’s 54th Independence Day!

Posted in Miscellaneous on August 31, 2011 by vincentloy

Today is the second day of the new year celebration for Muslims around the world, but particularly for Malaysians, today is also the Independence Day for the nation! Selamat Hari Raya once again, and also Selamat Menyambut Hari Kemerdekaan ke-54! (Happy Muslim New Year and 54th Independence Day).

Let’s write a bit of history regarding the independence of our nation back in 54 years ago…On 12am, 31st August 1957, the Union Jack flag in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building at the field now called Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square) is lowered while the Malayan flag is raised officially for the first time. On that morning in Stadium Merdeka, our first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, declared the official independence of Malaya (only peninsular Malaya, not yet Malaysia) and shouted Merdeka for seven times. For further information, Peninsular Malaya together with Sabah and Sarawak as well as Singapore (out from nation years later) formed Malaysia on 16th September 1963.

Malaysia now is already a free nation for 54 years! We have seen many progress and growth of the nation in many aspects, and we are hoping for a developed nation by 2020 as stated in Wawasan 2020 (Vision 2020) by the most influential former prime minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir. We have heard of ‘Malaysia Boleh’, and now, a more famous slogan by our current prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak; One Malaysia. 9 years later, we are going to achieve that!

The official celebration for the Independence Day is postponed to September 16, as to hold celebration concurrently with the Malaysia Day on 16th September, and to still concentrate the current time on Hari Raya celebration. My wish for the nation is that it would continues to grow and prosper, with no corruption and laziness (which is impossible as seen in current situation of the nation). Again for the last time, Happy Independence Day to Malaysia for the 54th year!

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Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri!!!

Posted in Miscellaneous on August 30, 2011 by vincentloy

The fasting month for the Malays finally comes to an end, and that marks the new year celebration for Muslims around the world. Here, I would take this opportunity to wish all Muslims, particularly Malaysians, Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri!

I personally do not have close Malay friends, and so there is no invitation to any open house. I’m fine with that as I usually have no appetite towards all the typical food served during open house. Anyway, I like the tradition of having open house here, especially in Malaysia, where all people of different races are gathered together, showing the spirit of peaceful society and One Malaysia.

Many would have went back to their hometown. Selamat Balik Kampung! Days ago, many are already leaving the cities back to their hometown which is a tradition to celebrate Raya with the elderly whom remained to stay out of the city. However, nowadays, there are increasingly number of people whom decided to just stay at where they are to celebrate Raya. Hence, the city of Kuala Lumpur now still full of people, particularly Chinese, and only less congested.

For me, I would continue to enjoy my one-week long holiday while allocating some time for my assignments as usual. For my Malay friends, let’s forget about the workloads for a moment, and enjoy the celebration to the fullest. Start an open house! Play fireworks (eventhough it’s banned)! Gather with family and friends! Enjoy! Selamat Hari Raya!

KL – SK – KL – SK – KL

Posted in Architectural Territory on August 29, 2011 by vincentloy

That is where I drive to and from just now, to meet up with my groupmates in starting the assignment on case studies based on Uniform Building By Law (UBBL), separated into good and bad categories. It’s the day before Hari Raya, and many would be already taking the leave today, or even already granted holiday…so I start from my destination in KL a bit late compared to usual timing which requires over 40 minutes to reach SK (Seri Kembangan).

There are surprisingly still quite a lot of cars on roads and highways at this time, despite many should have already went back to their hometown. I guess many people nowadays just preferred to stay to celebrate Hari Raya. At SK, we had a short discussion on the assignment before having our early lunch in a food court nearby, most famous in Equine Park. After that, I’m driving back to KL, together with my groupmates, to observe around low-cost housing available in the city, taking pictures and analyzing for the assignment.

There are a huge number of low-cost flats, double-storey, single-storey, and upper-linked housing (which previously shown before in slides by a professor lecturing on housing in Malaysia), which formed a perfect place for our case studies, either in bad or good categories. The area is at Taman Ikan Emas there in Cheras. Then, we went to another place in Cheras, at Taman Connaught to look at two flats that appeared to be very dilapidated and very low-cost. However, we are surprised by the better design, facilities and appearance inside these flats.

That’s it. There are actually many other available low-cost housing in KL, particularly in Cheras for us to complete our assignment, but let’s just end the so-called site visit of our own. Cheras is a very good place for that as it is a booming town near the capital where many low-cost housing are built back in around two to four decades ago. Then, I have to bring back my groupmates to SK, and then going back home, back in KL. So, that’s how my trip ended such way, from KL to SK, then to KL, then back to SK (where I experienced serious traffic congestion along the way at KL, probably the time for early leaving after work today), and finally back to KL, in a duration of over 6 hours (with approximately 2 hours 30 minutes spent on the driving alone). A bit tired after that, which is also due to the reason that I had a insomnia yesterday’s night.

First time to MAXX Theatre, largest digital hall in Malaysia

Posted in Interesting Encounters on August 28, 2011 by vincentloy

IMAX Theatre had been opened for so many years in Berjaya Times Square and I never went to watch a show there before. Even when the operation is taken over by Golden Screen Cinema (GSC), the whereabouts of the theatre remains unknown to me eventhough I can consider myself as a frequent visitor to Berjaya Times Square (around 5 to 8 times a year). Just now, I finally did, went to watch a movie in 3D in the MAXX Theatre, which replaces its former name, IMAX.

It is on 10th level of the mall, just besides the Berjaya College of Nursing and Health Sciences and facing the Cosmos World Indoor Theme Park. The location is quite secluded but still attracts a lot of people, and now is dedicated for 3D screening of movies by GSC which is based on 1st and 2nd level in the mall. The theatre itself is a very huge hall, with over 30 continuous seatings per row, which totals up to 555 seats, making it the largest digital hall in Malaysia. Same goes to the size of the screen, which is so huge and appeared to be curved inwards for better motion picture’s quality. The audio system is also excellent. The seats are comfortable and wide enough.

What is the movie I watched this time? It’s Final Destination 5 again, which I had watched it two days ago, but this time is in 3D. Watching it in 3D really brings the audiences to another dimension, different from watching it in normal 2D screening like what I did two days ago at Alamanda Putrajaya. Many parts of the film is specially created for impressive 3D visuals, especially at the beginning credit scene, death scenes, as well as the end credit scene where all the death scenes from previous 4 films are shown in quick mode. The number of people in the hall for the movie is much greater this time, and so the intensity of the audiences’ reactions are much higher as expected after a shocking scene is shown. Eventhough I do feel a bit uncomfortable wearing the 3D glasses over my own glasses while watching it, but the quality from it turned out to be too impressive until I forgot the discomfort. I think this film is much better to be watched in 3D.

I have had wrote a review from the film in my previous post, you can check it out. I’m just impressed eventhough I have already watched it twice. This is by far the best film of its franchise, even better than the original one. I’m now waiting for Final Destination 6, expecting something more brilliant and terrifying! Hope someone could really sort it out to make the franchise continues soon….Now, for 3D screening, I would prefer for MAXX Theatre; bigger hall, bigger screen, more seats, better visuals, better audio, and also similar price with ordinary halls in other places with 3D screenings too. Anyway, I seldom go for 3D….2D is already satisfying for me.

Rio 2016 Masterplan revealed few days ago…AECOM winning the design competition.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2011 by vincentloy

The first international architecture competition held in the country achieved – literally – a globalized result. The English firm AECOM – with the American Bill Hanway as chief architect and Brazilian Daniel Gusmão as project author (architecture/master planning) – won the International Competition for the Master Plan of Rio 2016 Olympic Park. AECOM is also responsible for London 2012 Olympic Park Master Plan. The name AECOM is an acronym for Architecture, Engineering, Consulting, Operations and Management.

The announcement of the three winning projects and the three honorable mentions demonstrated the international character of the contest: a Brazilian, an Australian and a Portuguese firm received the honorable mentions. As for the three winning projects, the third place went to the project signed by Portuguese architect Tomás Fernandes Almeida Salgado; the second, to architect Ron Turner, representing an American firm which was associated with the Brazilian firms CDC (Coutinho, Diegues and Lamb) and MPG (Miguel Pinto Guimarães ); the winner was the English project. For the following three images, don’t need to read the words but just focus on how the site transforms during and after the Olympics 2016.

“It’s a competition for the General Urban Plan. Soon, as announced by Mayor Eduardo Paes, the equipment that will compose the Park will be determined through specific architectural competitions in the next months,” says Sergio Magalhães, IAB/RJ president. Two scenarios were considered: the Olympic Games mode, which would ensure the best conditions for the performance of the sporting competitions, and the Legacy mode, which would ensure the viability of installing new, sustainable enterprises after the Olympics.

. The Olympic Park has an area of 1,18 million square meters and will host 15 Olympic and 11 Paralympics sports contests. In addition to the existing equipment – such as the Maria Lenk Aquatic Park, the Rio Arena and the Cycle Track -, the project includes the construction of temporary facilities (such as the hockey center, the tennis courts and the sponsors villa), permanent equipment (science and sports laboratory, athletic track, Olympic hall, media center and hotel, residential, commercial and leisure enterprises), and the preservation of the green areas system.

According to the jury, the winning project stood out mainly because of the concept of operation, separate access for athletes and the audience, the logistics for the transport system, the viability of implementation and a unique access for parking. In the legacy that the project will leave to the city, the highlights were environmental preservation and the viability of maintaining and preserving the lagoon. It’s impossible to read the words in the image below but I think it focuses on the sustainability features of the masterplan:

“The Olympic Park will be an urban development of international standard, which not only promotes the best in design, technology, sports and culture, but also satisfies intrinsic urgent and vital needs to its residents, businesses and the environment. Using our experience, we want to ensure that the investment and energy focused on the Barra neighborhood will promote the greatest possible benefit in the long term, “says Bill Hanway, an American who has been living in London for 14 years. He graduated from Washington University (St. Louis, MO), with a post-graduate degree from the School of Design at Harvard University. . In addition to the operational responsibilities for the global firm AECOM, Bill also provides the design leadership and management of multidisciplinary teams delivering projects in the UK, Continental Europe, the US and the Middle East. His UK work focuses on urban regeneration projects, spending the last five years on developing the London 2012 Olympic and Legacy master plan.

“Reconciling the needs of staging a global sporting event and of a successful and lasting new urban structure is a challenge that our three Master Plans propose to resolve by overcoming the large and small complexities of the Games, allowing a clear and practical approach for the project implementation. Our proposal is an Olympic park of international standard comprising permanent and temporary structures on which the new network of streets and squares of the future city will be located, “added the winner.

(Information above extracted from the following source: http://www.e-architect.co.uk/brazil/rio_2016_olympic_park_masterplan.htm)

From my perception, I like the way the winning company brought forward the attention on the modes which transformed from the games in 2016 to its future as a legacy, with emphasis on sustainability and redevelopment of the area to prevent the case of white elephant and avoids escalating cost of maintenance of the whole Olympic Park after 2016 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is very much similar pattern to the London 2012 as both are designed by the same company in master planning; AECOM. Not much detail is given yet on the master plan which will be sorted out in the next few months before construction begins on the main site for the games where many venues and facilities are concentrated. There is still 1805 days till Rio 2016 ( the next edition would be London 2012 which is only 335 days to go) and the city (Rio de Janeiro) is already making good progress for it. Image below from: http://www.graphito.net/design/rio-2016/

The final episode of a series with the length of a typical film…’Life and Times of a Sentinel’

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2011 by vincentloy

After watching a latest TVB (Hong Kong) series entitled ‘Life and Times of a Sentinel’ (紫禁驚雷 ) for over a month, the series with 25 episodes is finally coming to an end yesterday’s night. To be exact, the amount of episodes should be 26, not 25, as the final episode aired yesterday at Hong Kong has the total length of around 110 minutes.( almost two hours which is similar to duration of a typical film). An ordinary episode of TVB series is usually taking 42 minutes only. And so, I watched the final episode until almost 4am in the midnight. I like such drama that focuses on evil plans and brilliant tactics used in palace where scheming is inevitable.

It is also aired at the same time on Astro on Demand in Malaysia for Malaysians to catch up the latest TVB series with Hong Kong, but we have to pay more. My family didn’t purchase it but I still can watch it in three hours later after it is available online for watching or even download. Back to the series, ‘Life and Times of a Sentinel’ is set in the late 17th century, during the early years of the Kangxi Emperor’s reign over Qing Dynasty of China, the drama stars Nip Dor-po (Steven Ma), a third-grade imperial bodyguard. He is used by both the Kangxi Emperor (Power Chan) and Prince Yu (Kenneth Ma) to pit against each other, conflicting Dor-po’s loyalty for both.

A huge number of casts are involved in this series, but only some are truly famous in the drama industry of Hong Kong; the two main characters; Steven Ma and Kenneth Ma. I prefer a better, more famous or experienced cast chosen for the character of the Grand Empress Dowager Hao Chong rather than picking Ching Hor Wai in this drama. The character plays a very important role in the drama, and yet Ching Hor Wai did not portray it quite well, especially on acting as in a behaviour of a powerful royal. Anyway, it is a good opportunity for her as the veteran are sidelined to the very unimportant characters at past series she starred in. For that role, I prefer Susan Tse. The same issue goes to Power Chan acting as the Emperor, whom is an important character as well. His acting and behaviour throughout the whole series is so similar with the same body gesture. Nothing impressive from his performance.

For the main character, Steven Ma forever did his acting job in a good level. He never disappoints in whatever type of character he is cast in. He is a truly experienced and professional actor that should be given more honour in TVB anniversary awards and given Best Actor Award. While for Kenneth Ma, sorry to say but he is forcing himself to act as the main villain in the series. His facial expression seems so unnatural and forced which gives no satisfaction at all to the audiences. Given a villain role nowadays would actually brought the cast to fame, but I’m sure this doesn’t applies to Kenneth Ma. He needs to learn from better actors in portraying as villain before like Roger Kwok.

The pace and flow of the story are considered fine and satisfying, which are what keeps me watching it from the beginning till the very end. There are many surprising twists to the plot of the story which are interesting and even exciting to some points, but are taken lightly. I think the screenwriter for the series do not plan systematically before he or she started to write for the script, hence forcing the creation of new characters or new illogical twists out of nowhere in middle of the story (and even at the end of the series).  The costumes and hair designs to the casts are also quite impressive. The final episode is also not at its best as more exciting scenes should be expected from it. There are still not enough intensity given to the palace hall’s scene where Prince Yu finally confronts the Emperor to return the throne to him. Only many dialogues are involved there. Anyway, it is still a good series to watch and I would rate this series, 7.1.

One week holiday begins early….

Posted in Interesting Encounters on August 26, 2011 by vincentloy

Since today in usual there is no class scheduled for me, hence today is already the beginning of my holiday for one week, or to be exact, even more than a week (10 days). Usually, the one week of non-contact falls on the middle of the semester which would be like 3 weeks from now, but then is brought forward earlier to next week to coincide with the Hari Raya and Independence Celebration. Hence, we are enjoying the non-contact week faster than any other semester.

Next week is the week of multi celebration for Malaysia. Mentioned earlier, Malays would be celebrating their new year after fasting for a month. Due to the many number of days in holiday next week, many of them and even people of other races would be taking the opportunity to go for family trip or going back to their hometown. On 31st August, Malaysians would be also celebrating Merdeka Day (the day that marks the independence of Peninsular Malaya) for the 54th time, but grand celebration of it had been postponed to September 16, which is the Malaysia Day (the day that marks the establishment of Malaysia). Time to read more on the nation’s history if you don’t know that. If you are not Malaysians, then reading a bit of the past of Malaysia would be something good for a better knowledge of our nation.

The holiday next week doesn’t mean that I can spend all the time doing nothing but just relaxing. The lecturers won’t treat us that good and hope that we are in good progress before real hard tasks really begin after the holiday. Some assignments had been given for us to complete during the holiday, but I’m gonna still have half of the holiday for true objective of the holiday, which is to have fun, either from movies, outings, or even from the assignments themselves. After the holiday, I think serious time begins as we have to struggle all the way till the end of the semester in November.