Archive for September, 2012

A short half-day company site visit to Golden Palm Tree Resort & Spa, Sepang

Posted in Interesting Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2012 by vincentloy

Since the design project I’m currently working on in my company is a hotel, my employer suggested for a short site visit to a beautiful beach resort located at Sepang Gold Coast. The hotel is called Golden Palm Tree Resort and Spa, and the site visit today offered me some kind of experience and enable me to learn a few things under my employer’s guidance regarding the atmosphere or feeling we can get from a hotel near beach.

The Golden Palm Tree Resort and Spa is very iconic due to its floating-like chalets sprawling out in a shape of a palm tree from a linear link that goes further to the sea from the main lobby building and banquet hall on the land. It somehow looks a bit like the Palm Island in Dubai, but in this case, there is no man-made island built for this hotel (with only the floating chalets in arrangement of a shape of palm tree). It is no doubt a 5-star resort which offers spectacular view to the wide open sea (Strait of Malacca) especially during sunset or sunrise. We couldn’t catch that moment as our site visit to that place is only in the afternoon for a short while.

It took us more than one and a half hour to reach there from Kuala Lumpur after we went for a wrong direction in the middle. It’s quite hard to find that place, since there is no main road that directly leads to that resort (need to pass through small village-side roads but the direction is just straight to reach the resort without much turning). It’s much further away from Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Sepang Formula One Circuit.

 

 

We walked around from the entrance to the cafe at the side (had a quick lunch there and it’s very windy and relaxing even in the middle of the day). Then, we entered the lobby before going on a buggy ride that takes us to the center of the palm-shaped resort where the main restaurant and the infinity pool are (and also a gym at one side). Next, we proceed to check the outside of the banquet hall (the pre-function zone) back on the land before leaving after an hour. We of course took a number of pictures mainly showing some beautiful details offered from the resort’s architecture and also some pictures of the exterior of those chalets. One night stay at there can easily costs over a thousand bucks as told. Then before we left, we realized that the layout of the resort is somehow quite similar to the layout of the current hotel project we are designing. Anyway, it’s a good site visit. But it would be better if I am not there for site visit but for a relaxing resort stay. Haha…

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Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! Time for mooncakes!

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2012 by vincentloy

It’s the time of the year again when the Chinese celebrates Mid-Autumn Festival on the 15th day of the eighth month in lunar calendar when full moon is observed. This year, the festival falls on this day, 30th September 2012 and it’s a Sunday which gives no excuse not to have this day with family particularly. What’s usually emphasized by Chinese families especially on ‘big’ day like this is the family gathering and dinner together. So, there should be no reason not to allocate little of your time for it unless you are far away from your family. Have a great time with your loved ones!

This Mid-Autumn Festival, or famously known as Chinese Moon Festival, Mooncake Festival and Lantern Festival is considered to be one of the very important festivals in Chinese tradition. Of course, the festival is closely related to eating mooncakes and playing with lanterns and candles particularly to the young kids which can be quite fun too. I remembered those time when I was a kid playing those with my neighbours in front of my house. Too bad, I couldn’t buy many lanterns to hang around as my parents see it as a waste of money, if not, the atmosphere would be very cool with many bright lanterns surrounding you. Such a nostalgic feeling.

For mooncakes, I would never miss this delicacy which are only available for a month every year around this period of festival. In fact,  mooncake is my favourite, on which I prefer more on the snowy one which has to be kept in refrigerator. However, on this year, the sale of snowy mooncakes had been greatly reduced and it’s so hard now to find place selling that. But still, I have already had almost 3 full snowy mooncakes bought from Mid Valley in my stomach earlier already. Haha…Yummy. Couldn’t afford to buy any more as mooncakes are now getting much more expensive. In average, a mooncake now costs over RM12 (so a box of four usually exceeds RM50), and when you cut it into four pieces, one piece which can be finished in only a very few bites already costs RM3 alone. Not worthy to buy a lot. Price is a bit unreasonable.

In concern to that and the sudden desire of my eldest sister to try out on her own, she made jelly mooncakes for the first time this year and her works are quite successful. She made a lot, and we finished them very quick too, which means that her mooncakes are even qualified for sale which many others are doing now as well. But she made quite an effort on it, buying all the necessary stuff and ingredients, then spending a long time in the process. Thanks for her lovely jelly mooncakes, and now I’m actually craving for more of that. Haha….anyway, last but not least, I would like to wish every Chinese a Happy Mid-Autumn Festival for the year 2012!!!

 

(Image source: http://www.chinatravel.com/focus/mid-autumn-festival/cards/card-4.html)

My first visit to first H&M store in Malaysia today

Posted in Interesting Encounters on September 29, 2012 by vincentloy

H & M is a Swedish multinational retail company and is currently the second largest global clothing retailer. I first get to know of this brand back in early 2011 in my family trip to Italy when my sister introduced the store of this brand to me as we walked along a busy shopping street. From there on, I started to have my eyes on this brand (after purchasing a very cool-looking white jacket from the trip) but too bad the company is not opening up any store yet in Malaysia….not until now.

The famous H&M opened up its first store in Malaysia at Lot 10 on 22nd September 2012. That’s only few days ago, and me and my sisters went for our first visit to the store today. Too bad, we couldn’t have the time to be the first few customers on its first day of its opening as those early birds would be entitled to cash vouchers. Previously, Lot 10 in Bukit Bintang is losing behind compared to other nearby malls like Pavilion KL, Sungei Wang or Berjaya Times Square in competitiveness. Many retails in Lot 10 failed to attract high number of visitors. The opening of H&M store in Lot 10 seems like rejuvenate the place once again, but still the other retails had no choice but to see most of the people entering H&M and not their stores.

H&M occupies three floors of one portion of the mall, hence it has a big space enough for sale of countless items and visitors are only allowed to enter at the ground floor. Wow…there is long queue outside the store at Bukit Bintang junction once we reached there this afternoon. My sister brought her two baby sons and thanks to that, we were given priority to enter first as informed by the security guard while the others in the queue started questioning. Haha…I proceed to the male section which is all in one floor together with kiddies section while female section occupies the remaining two floors.

And so, after browsing around, and squeezing in between people (the whole store is flooded with people), I bought three shirts and that costs me well over RM200. Looking at this condition (the popularity the store receives and from what I saw that almost everyone in the mall carries the H&M shopping bag), it is not hard to believe that almost every young Malaysians would own at least a H&M clothing soon. It is being very well received in Malaysia eventhough the clothings offered here aren’t that very appealing as compared to what I have seen from its store in Italy. And I’m quite surprised that the price offered is quite reasonable on most of the items in the store. Yay…gonna have new shirts to wear beginning this week, but that’s a bit painful to my wallet. Anyway, fashion gets to be my priority just now in the store…haha…

Budget 2013 looks so good to the people, but with mindset for upcoming election purpose only.

Posted in Interesting Encounters on September 28, 2012 by vincentloy

Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak unveiled the Budget 2013 today and I see that as one of the last few measures by the ruling coalition to maintain their federal government after the next general election which is expected to be called on anytime soon. Until now, there had been many speculations over the date of the next general election for Malaysia, but still the decision lies on the Prime Minister himself who has not made announcement yet regarding the matter. By the way, the election would still be held latest before next year’s March, for five years in a full term after the previous general election in March 2008.

Tabling of the Budget 2013 today is then seen very essential that would influence the citizens’ mindset on their votes in the next upcoming general election. And so the ruling coalition offered some of the most unbelievably good incentives to Malaysians as announced from this budget, as though the country is so wealthy to afford all those illogical incentives. I won’t reveal the details of the budget here as I think it’s a waste of my time to list down the not-working budget items here. Just now when I first read the summary of the Budget 2013, I laughed. It’s seriously a budget beneficial to the people at ‘surface’ level but then taking double in return from somewhere else beneath from the people themselves also (us). As what one of my Facebook friends said; ‘Stupid!!! You might want to vote BN to get “RM200 rebate for smart phone purchase for those aged 21 to 30 years”. And suffer another 5 years..’. Get it, guys and girls? The budget targeted the young people (us) but we won’t be fooled by them.

That’s what I have earlier mentioned from the title of this post. The budget appears so good to the people, but with mindset for upcoming election purpose only. It’s like when you buy a food with beautiful advertising picture shown, then what’s written below is the fact; ‘diagram is for illustration purpose only’. Same meaning here from the budget. Once the people get to taste the ‘sweetness’ offered and then pick the ruling coalition for the federal government, then they felt into trap. I didn’t read the budget proposed by the opposition since it is not publicized heavily (country here is controlled by government-linked media) but I believe their budget would be much more realistic, workable and productive unlike Najib’s Budget 2013.

Malaysia’s economy is reported to be quite positive (is it? I don’t think so) but that doesn’t mean the country is wealthy until to the point of giving out cash literally to the people. We don’t require these small ‘goodies’, what we need is the betterment of life of all Malaysians in long-term and continuous positive growth of the country. But then, the Budget 2013 didn’t achieve this objective which is what all Malaysians wanted in fact, but go the other way round just to win the hearts of the people so they can win comfortably in next election. Malaysians are not dumb, we see things in long term, we see things not on surface level, and we would know straight on which side to pick for the next election.

Movie review: Bait (2012)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , on September 27, 2012 by vincentloy

I like movie that comes with story of a type of predator hunting a group of people, ultimately reducing the number of survivors in the end by killing off one by one. There have been many movies going on this direction, with killers like crocs, snakes, sharks or several others. And I find there isn’t much new films released with such similar storyline, up until the recently-released Australian film entitled ‘Bait’. The story of the film follow a freak tsunami that trapped a group of people in a supermarket along with hungry and aggressive great white sharks. Wow…that’s exciting.

I find the story to be generally interesting. It’s combining several things together (robbery, tsunami, trap, shark) to make up for an exciting setting without feeling anything awkward as the story goes. Things went quite fast in the beginning, and then came the tsunami which turned the climax on for the film till the death of the sharks. What’s always bad for films like this is the characters themselves which are usually portrayed to be in style of ‘the dumb or the noisy ones died first, the kind couple survived till the end’. This film slightly breaks the norm by having no awful or stupid characters at all but still having some baddies that are correct to my prediction that they would be killed in the film. One bad guy even turned good in the end. (sorry for little spoiler)

No annoying characters…that’s good. Now, let’s move on to the visual effects. The CGI of the shark is quite impressively done eventhough some shots of the shark still look a bit fake. Well, that is still acceptable, unlike many low-budget films that show such a fake creature that wouldn’t get us convinced. The sharks portrayed here are really huge and scary. The performance by the casts which I generally don’t recognize is satisfactory. On this film, they just don’t scream or just be there to get killed (which I hate when it’s too extreme or forcedly made) but shows realistic expression to portray their fear, panic or other feelings in such life-threatening situation. That’s another compliment to the film. The intensity is there, switching from the rising tension at the supermarket level to the basement car park where some trapped survivors realizing there is something deadly beneath the water.

I don’t understand why the film still receives quite a poor review or rating from majority of the audiences. When you compare this with so many other films of this genre, ‘Bait’ is so much better. The story is interesting and goes out of the typical pattern, the pace goes quick and well (no draggy storyline), visual effect is passable (and the sound effect is cool too), no stupid, dumb or noisy characters which can be quite annoying and bad), good performance by the casts, and quite a good script. It’s definitely worth watching, and even thrilling at some moments. Ahh…and there are some ‘shock’ scenes as expected (it’s a giant shark out there hunting you in sudden! There must be some sort of scary surprises in movies like this, not only from the sharks but also from those disgusting dead bodies shown in the film). Out of 10 points, I rate this film a total of 7.2. It’s very recommended for people who like films of this genre.

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

Ghetto Justice 2 (2012); quite an effortless sequel.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2012 by vincentloy

Ghetto Justice last year was a hit with main casts claiming their prestigious wins at TVB 2011 Anniversary Awards from this drama. Kevin Cheng won Best Actor and Most Favourite TV Male Character from his iconic ‘Law Ba’ character, Myolie Wu won Most Favourite TV Female Character from her character ‘Wong Si Fu’ and Sharon Chan won Best Supporting Actress from her character ‘Jing Jing’ from this drama. The success of the drama led to the creation of a sequel released this year; Ghetto Justice 2. I have finished watching the whole drama which is only 20-episodes long yesterday and all I can say is that I’m quite disappointed.

The first drama gave us quite a high expectation to this sequel. Most of the main casts were back together and with addition of some new casts for some sort of freshness. Sharon Chan is no longer in the series and it’s quite sad since her character passed away in the first drama. What’s tragic is the addition of two new casts who do not speak Cantonese very well and their acting is not passable. In other hand, Myolie Wu and Kevin Cheng maintained their professional performances here (same thing we saw in the first drama), but I don’t see any chance for them to continue winning TV King or Queen from this drama this year anymore.

The story is very weak. Yes, I like the way everything runs very fast in this drama since it’s only 20 episodes long. Many character’s development had been done on first drama and so more emphasis on this part is over the new characters introduced which are not very likeable. And also, it is very boring to see them dealing with the very poor families again and again throughout the whole drama. I knew their neighbourhood centered on poor-class group of Hong Kong people, but they can actually do many other interesting thoughts on that setting in fighting for justice. For lawyer-based drama like this, I had already expected some small cases that would bring a test to the characters which eventually leads to arrival of final case which would be very serious and impacting to the main characters. From this drama, it is not an exception but those cases touched on are too weak and brought no excitement to the development of the story.

That’s include the final case involving Evergreen Mak as the villain. It’s quite interesting to see a case on collapse of building that seriously affected the much familiar neighbourhood in the drama but that part went too fast. Evergreen Mak is shown to be very brutal and heartless, looking down on poor society, gets angry by the neighbourhood for making his son turning against him and not selling their building for his new development, then ordered people to turn the building down. And so, the building collapse (quite an intense scene but very short) and then, he is killed by Kevin, Myolie covered him, Kevin finally revealed the truth, he didn’t get convicted for murder in the end. That’s it. To be honest, I’m expecting more crazy things particularly in the court between Evergreen Mak and Kevin Cheng to make the final case truly overwhelming. But then, Evergreen’s character so fast got killed.

That’s the issue when everything is within 20 episodes with each episode only 40 minutes long. The story isn’t interesting or exciting. What’s good is the performances by the main characters. Even the script isn’t that well written compared to the first drama. As a conclusion, I find that everything seems to be quite rushed and forced to make this drama happen. Like what I said in the title of this post, this drama is quite an effortless production with poor delivery in substance and content. Truly disappointing. Out of 10 points, I can only give this drama a total of 6.2. Seriously not happy or satisfied with this series. No wonder it received much lower TV rating compared to the first one.

(All images from this post are from various sources throughout the internet)

Something on badminton today; Final of Japan Open 2012 and badminton superstar, Lin Dan gets married

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2012 by vincentloy

Badminton has always been my favourite sport eventhough I have not play the sport for such a long time. It is also the only sport in Olympics that sees higher chance for Malaysia (my country) to grab a medal. Today, there had been two important occasions regarding this sport. First of all is that the final of Japan Open 2012 Super Series was held today.

The championship saw the absence of the whole badminton team from China. The reason is probably due to the current rising tension and conflict between Japan and China over the sovereignty of an island. Hence, that gave a very good chance for other countries to perform in the tournament. And same goes to Malaysia. Malaysia is involved in three out of five finals; men single, men doubles and mixed doubles. That’s considered amazing for Malaysia, but to be honest, if China’s team is there, then there wouldn’t be so many Malaysians’ appearance in the final.

Lee Chong Wei should have an easy scoring looking at his recent form, and yes, he won against Boonsak Ponsana from Thailand in two straight games in men single. Another fortunate event for Malaysia would be the Malaysian mixed double pair, Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying won the mixed double match against an Indonesian pair in two straight games as well. However, things aren’t that good all the way for Malaysia as Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong lost to a junior pair from South Korea unexpectedly in men doubles. They showed such a bad performance just now as I did watch only their match few hours ago.

Another big occasion on this day related to badminton must have been the wedding of Lin Dan, known as the current world best badminton player with a former badminton player as well, Xie Xingfang. Both have been dating for so many years and finally they tied the knot today. Lin Dan had invited Chong Wei to attend but Chong Wei couldn’t due to time conflict with the Japan Open 2012 Final held today as well. Congratulation to the badminton-star couple. Both Lin Dan and Chong Wei might be enemies in court but they are actually friends outside court. It’s time for Lin Dan to start his family after winning so many major championships, and have been so much stable on his wealth and career.

(Image above showing Lin Dan and Xie XingFang posting at their wedding dinner from Lin Dan’s official Facebook page)

Their marriage even became the headline of today’s Chinese newspaper of Sin Chew. That is quite surprising. Ahh, for our Malaysia’s superstar, Lee Chong Wei, he is going to marry a former badminton player as well,Wong Mew Choo next year as reported. Such a similar pattern with that of Lin Dan. Haha…Let’s see whether Lin Dan would be invited or not. I think he would be if there is nothing on their schedule. Both of them had made so much fortune from this sport, and it should be time for them to rest, get married, and get a life! Haha…but for Chong Wei, he wish to stay in top form for few more years until 2016 for his very last Olympic outing at Rio de Janeiro for his ambition of winning Malaysia’s first ever gold medal in Olympic Games. An early good luck for him first.