Archive for October, 2012

Spotted two very interesting new buildings in KL today…

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2012 by vincentloy

Today after a meeting on drive back to office, I spotted two very interesting new buildings in a part of KL that I have not explored before. The area is somewhere behind Bank Negara Malaysia (National Bank of Malaysia) building nearby the Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square) and the DBKL Building. From that part of the city, what you can see mostly are trees surrounding and not highrises. The Memorial to Tun Hussein Onn (former Prime Minister) is also located there.

The first building I spotted is a tall highrise under construction. What attracted my attention from the building is its’ twisting form. I thought I would only see this kind of building in Western countries or in Singapore (as seen from The Reflections at Keppel Bay by Daniel Libeskind). I didn’t expect that KL would have its own twisted building too. Fantastic. Even the gigantic columns at the lobby area are tilted too. Cool…Then, from the detail provided from the information board, I found out that this iconic building is designed by GDP Architects, one of the leading architecture firms in Malaysia.

 

(Image above showing the rendering of the KKR2 Tower from http://www.gdparchitects.com/img/projects/KKR-tower/kkrtower_photo02.jpg)

 

(Image above showing the tower under construction and is expected to be completed by next year. Image from http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c224/dengilo/DSC09621.jpg)

 

The building would be used for Ministry of Public Works (Kompleks Kerja Raya 2) and would have 37 floors. The building would reach up to 175 metres. That’s quite tall. Would be much more impressive if it’s taller (over 25o metres), but it’s current height now is already sufficient enough to express its interesting form as compared to mostly bland-looking buildings in that old part of the city. The tower is also targeted to be the first Green Building Index (GBI) Platinum ranked building in Malaysia. (Info from http://www.gdparchitects.com/projects/current/KKR-tower.html)

The next appealing building nearby would be a much lower structure. Sometimes, height isn’t a matter on determining how striking a building can be. The building is called Sasana Kijang under Bank Negara Malaysia and it functions as a museum/gallery or better known as Financial Services Resource Centre as stated by the architecture firm behind it; Hijjas Kasturi Associates, another famous architecture company in Malaysia. The very interesting cladding caught my attention while the overwhelming use of steel and glass at the lobby area is fascinating. It clearly showcases the beauty of materials and striking contemporary design but I find the building would be better if it’s situated at Putrajaya.

 

(Image above from http://www.flickr.com/photos/oshhisham/4280937608/sizes/z/in/photostream/)

 

(Image above from http://fc01.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2010/355/9/a/sasana_kijang_bnm_by_ciinx-d35daoq.jpg. Click on it for larger view)

According to the website of Hijjas Kasturi Associates (http://www.hijjaskasturi.com/) regarding this project, it is mentioned that ‘the plan, the building and the expression of the facade are inspired by traditional monetary and cultural forms’, but to be honest, I hardly see the link.  It is inspired from the shape of the Cowrie shell, a popular form of money in the Malay Peninsula during the 3rd century with its building façade derived from the geometric patterns of traditional Malaysian songket motifs, reflecting the hand woven fabric designs. (Info from http://www.bnm.gov.my/index.php?ch=8&pg=14&ac=2326)

Finally, I can see increasing number of buildings with amazing architecture in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. The city seriously needs more beautiful buildings like these!

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Happy Halloween!

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , on October 31, 2012 by vincentloy

Happy Halloween!

This celebration isn’t hugely popular in Malaysia (as well as in whole Asia except Hong Kong) and so it’s just an ordinary day and night for most of us here. But I believe this celebration must be big and more festive in Western countries and so I send my greeting to those celebrating it, mostly in the West far from my side, on the East. But I think this year’s celebration would be dampened by the impact of Hurricane Sandy which is one of the worst in decades. I can see how destructive it is as seen from the news widely reported over here as well. Hope it would goes off very soon.

Well, in Malaysia, some still do organize costume parties in smaller scale and only involves small group of people, particularly friends. Trick-or-treat is something very unusual here, and same goes to other Halloween-related activities like carving pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns, lighting bonfires (unless you are coincidentally on camp trip), playing pranks, etc. Some would take this opportunity to tell ghost stories, watch horror films or visit haunted attractions, but we can do that on any day too.

Is there any nice horror films on theaters now? I had watched ‘Hotel Transylvania’ not long ago and I find the animated movie very interesting. Don’t need to recommend me any ghost movies because most probably I won’t be watching those in cinemas (I have to admit I’m quite scared when it comes to this, but I can watch it at home). But on other hand, I love to watch those psycho movies with brutal killing as the theme. But these are much more popular back in 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s.

It’s that time of the year again when I would log into my Runescape free account to complete special event to earn some special reward on selected festival including this Halloween. This year, the task player need to do is ghost hunting which is quite interesting but not that challenging. I finished that task in less than 30 minutes eventhough I have to travel all around the big ‘world’ in the games. Anyway, it’s fun to get back to the games after such a long time. I’m going to log in back for Christmas event two months from now.

Last but not least, Happy Halloween to all who are celebrating it! Have fun and enjoy the night! It’s also the last day of October, and let’s get ourselves ready to welcome November 2012, the second last month of the year.

 

(Image above from http://i1191.photobucket.com/albums/z467/h2a1k/hall/111.jpg)

Why I always couldn’t sleep on Sunday’s night?

Posted in Interesting Encounters on October 29, 2012 by vincentloy

That’s a question I’m trying to answer today, now! I had enough already. I realized that I always had insomnia every Sunday’s night and for that reason, I couldn’t concentrate on my work on every Monday. I had the same problem for the past weekend. I went to bed around 11.30pm. I closed my eyes. But then, I just couldn’t fall asleep eventhough I’m trying very hard for it. I need to sleep, man! If not, I’m going to be very tiring the next day.

Ahh…that’s it! I kept changing my position on the bed and looking at the clock from my phone several times. And I just got much frustrated when it’s already midnight and I’m still awake. My eyes are closed most of the time, but how come I’m not sleeping yet!. Time flies, and then what the heck!, it’s morning already. Oh..no! I need to get to work and it’s Monday morning! So, I get to work in a very moody and tiring situation. I’m going to have a nice sleep tonight to cover what I have been suffering yesterday’s night. This is annoying. So, I came to the point that I have to figure out what causes the insomnia I had particularly on every Sunday’s night.

I think there are several causes for that. First of all, in my usual weekend, I would sleep very late (usually after 1 or 2am midnight). Hence, I think my brain couldn’t adjust to the much earlier time for sleeping on Sunday’s night after the weekend on which I would usually get to my bed from 11pm or the latest 12am. Well, that’s few hours of difference and there is no doubt my brain still running active on that point of time. But the sad thing is that I have to sleep early as I have to get to work early in the morning the next day onwards before the next weekend arrives. So, there is no solution to this cause.

Next cause; in usual Sunday’s dinner, I would have drank a lot of Chinese tea. And drinking tea is good for keeping you awake to continue on unfinished works. But then, it is bad for me who have to get to rest early to get myself energized for work the next day. Tea is something like coffee, which is capable of keeping you awake and it is scientifically proven. Hence, if you don’t have coffee, you can try tea if you don’t want to sleep. Solution; I still would drink tea, but in much lesser quantity next time in my Sunday’s dinner. But I love Chinese tea. So, in the end, there is still no perfect solution to my problem, and I still had to deal with this insomnia problem particularly on my rest at Sunday’s night. Just now, I find it so hard to keep my eyes open in front of the desktop I’m working on and I almost fall asleep several times just now. Luckily, no one saw. I’m saying no..no..no.. to this!

Liew Daren won his first ever international title, at French Open 2012

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2012 by vincentloy

It is a great news and it is an indication that there would be a young badminton player following the footstep of Lee Chong Wei in the sport. Liew Daren who is now 25 years old is the second best men single shuttler of the country and he is currently ranked over 20th placing, still very far from the success Lee Chong Wei enjoyed for so many years.

Lee Chong Wei is going to retire soon (he is 30 years old now) and his very last possible outing would be Rio 2016 Olympic Games only if his physical condition is good. There is a huge demand for a new younger player to continue the nation’s hope in international competitions on this particular sport. Hence, Liew Daren’s name comes to the place. Among all the junior players, he is seen as the most talented one. Despite still performing in quality far from what we see from Chong Wei, Liew Daren still had time (but actually not much time left for him to learn) to improve and he needs to get involve into more tournaments to give him experience over the sport so that he can gain advantage on skills and tactics.

I am quite surprised that he got into the final of the French Open 2012 Super Series last weekend. And what’s more important to that is him winning the tournament in men single category, defeating Viktor Axelsen from Denmark. Well…that’s his first ever international title and he must be very happy over that achievement. A big congratulation to him! Well, that should be only the beginning, for him to get more exposure on international tournaments, in hope of winning more titles and succeed Chong Wei to becomes Malaysia’s next badminton star and a big threat to China’s rule in the sport soon.

 

(Image above is from http://www.badzine.net/wp-content/gallery/news-fall-2012/liew-daren-6369-fropen2012.jpg)

Those elite men single players from China are absent, thus giving much easier way for many young players in the tournament including Liew Daren. Of course, I would see almost no possibility of Daren winning if China sent Lin Dan, Chen Long or Chen Jin over to compete in this tournament. Let’s be honest. Even Chong Wei would find it hard to defeat them especially the mighty Lin Dan. But then, it is still a great achievement for Daren since he fought all his way to the final defeating other potential players (including the much experienced Jan O Jorgensen), and in the end, to the championship as well. Well done, Liew Daren! Even if it’s only a small title, but you still made the country proud! All the best to you in the future!

Wow…KL ranked No.2 for best shopping city in Asia Pacific

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2012 by vincentloy

Wow! This is quite unexpected.I was like quite surprised just now when I first read on the news regarding this matter. According to the latest Globe Shopper Index in Asia-Pacific region where twenty five cities are assessed, Kuala Lumpur is ranked second best shopping city in Asia Pacific. This is cool! Well, at least there is a positive ranking for Malaysia after being involved in rankings for the bad stuff recently (worst taxi drivers, etc) To check out the full list of ranking and more information regarding the Globe Shopper Index, go to its website: http://www.globeshopperindex.com/.

All the cities were assessed under five categories shops; culture and climate; hotels and transport; affordability; and convenience. Kuala Lumpur achieved the second highest overall score of 65 out of 100. (this marks isn’t high either, but considered high compared to most others). Only Hong Kong scored higher 68.5 edging other cities for its safety, dependable city transport and variety of shops and brands, cementing its position as one of the leading cities in Asia in variety of categories. Shanghai was third with a 63.1 score with Beijing placed fourth at 60.7.

Singapore (60.2) and Bangkok (57.1) were ranked fifth and seventh respectively. The other big cities ranked included Sydney (58.4), Tokyo (56.4) and Seoul (54.8). Well, when I first read this allocation of points, it is hard to believe that even Tokyo gets lower marks compared to KL. And KL only needs 3.5 points or higher to defeat Hong Kong to be on top of the ranking. This is a good sign that our shopping industry had been well received globally with presence of multiple great shopping malls particularly in Bukit Bintang (means Starhill in English) and KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Centre where the iconic Petronas Twin Towers are) regions. That is where the Golden Triangle of KL is, where it is the place with most people at most of the time in the capital of Malaysia.

(Image above showing the most happening intersection in Bukit Bintang. Image is from http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-VOEDQ5C7efg/TVUJVYebBYI/AAAAAAAAAFc/QtF7woSevas/s1600/BukitBintang.jpg)

(Image above showing Pavilion KL in Bukit Bintang which has became the new focal point for shoppers and tourists. Image above is from http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7171/6433906167_cf7168cd72_z.jpg)

“Kuala Lumpur’s specific strength is its ability to combine low prices with a good range of products in a large number of stores, including three of the world’s 10 biggest shopping malls,” the index report stated. For your information, the three shopping malls are One Utama (ranked 4th in the world), Mid Valley Megamall (ranked 8th in the world), and Sunway Pyramid (ranked 9th in the world). Another mall close to the list of top 10 is Berjaya Times Square (ranked 15th).

The great development of shopping industry in Malaysia is to boost the nation’s tourism but I think it is the locals that love to shop that helps brought KL to such a position. And it’s good to see improvement being done over the Bukit Bintang area recently (new air-conditioned pedestrian bridge, cleaner street with presence of security guards, better infrastructures and more decorations added). All that (and more is needed) would certainly helps to bring up the city’s image globally not only in shopping category but also in other aspects. It’s time to push KL to become one of the most liveable cities in the world. Well, that objective seems too far to achieve, but I think we can do it. KL has the potential.

(Certain information in this post is from trusted source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/10/28/nation/12237412&sec=nation)

Movie review: Prometheus (2012)

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

Am I outdated? ‘Prometheus’ had been released to the cinema many months ago and I had only watched it just now. The film tells the story of a team of explorers whom discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race. The film somehow acts as a prequel to the popular ‘Aliens’ franchise and you would only get to know that from the ending of the film ‘Prometheus’.

 

This film had been well received by most audiences, and I’m one of them too who likes the film. Its general plot of scientific exploration in a place stranger to mankind which would lead to a lot of dark mystery and intense adventures already captured my interest. On this film that sets eighty years from now, bringing a team of people for a scientific expedition to discover the engineer of humans. Of course, they found things beyond their expectation, worst than anything ever that could bring an end to human race while leaving open for some unresolved mystery or answers even until the end of the story. This is good, which could suggest that there is no quick end to such an interesting story and that there would be a possibility for a sequel which I would be rooting for it.

In fact, I found out there isn’t much crazy scenes involving attack to the team from ‘creatures’ (I won’t reveal what it is, but actually I don’t even know what it is) as seen from this film. Well, there is still some very gruesome moments that successfully gave me goosebumps or shocks. It is the great amount of suspense that gets the film delivered from the beginning till the end without any parts felt unnecessary or boring. The pace of the story development went fast too and everything is substantially delivered in this almost 2-hour film. The atmosphere of the film did reminds me of the popular ‘Aliens’ franchise out many years ago but ‘Prometheus’ adds something extra and spectacular to it, thanks also to the current advanced technology in film making industry.

Extra credit is given also to the stunning visual effects. The CGI effects are very impressive which actually helps to get the audiences to go along as the story goes in such out-of-the-world setting. Hence, extra attention or effort is needed on visual effects and the production team for this team did a good job in this particular area. I also would like to highlight on great performances by every cast in the film, particularly Michael Fassbender as David, an android responsible as the ship’s butler and maintenance man. His acting receives great praises from many reviewers to this film and I’m not an exception. He delivers compelling performances, similar to Noomi Rapace as Elizabeth Shaw, the main lead of the film.

Well, there is one thing isn’t goes really well for the film. I’m okay with how the film ended with many unresolved questions, but it is the script that didn’t goes all out in such highly-potential story. The script lacks some sort of substance. Overall, the film is generally interesting, suspenseful and thrilling at some moments particularly in the last half. It is also visually impressive with great selection of casts. It’s a great science fiction film of the year and I’m looking forward to its sequel if there is. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Prometheus’ a total of 7.6.

(Images from this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web and some information from this post are from IMDB.)

 

A longer weekend to enjoy…and Selamat Hari Raya Haji to all Muslims friends.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , on October 26, 2012 by vincentloy

Selamat Hari Raya Haji to all my Muslim friends! Eid Mubarak! (ahha..it’s good to know, respect and learn more from other religions as well, and so that’s the benefit of being a Malaysian as we are in a peaceful multi-racial country) It’s a big festival for my Muslim friends, and so I would take this opportunity to dedicate this post as my greeting of this festival to them.

(Image above is from http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-IN2KaukA0iA/TraI8wAQriI/AAAAAAAABJI/aT9NmQSOqJ0/s1600/hari+raya+haji+2011.jpg)

This year, the day falls on Friday which is perfect as we all would enjoy a longer break this weekend. As expected, it is reported that major roads and highways are congested beginning the past afternoon as many are taking this opportunity to return to hometown particularly Malays when they would celebrate this festival preferably at hometown. For the others, some would take this break for a short holiday elsewhere while some prefer just to stay and rest at home. Money issue forced me to pick the latter choice as staying at home would prevent myself from going out which usually spends money.

This week appears to went off pretty quick for me. I went to Johor on Tuesday and returned the next day for an urgent working matter. Hence, I’m only in the office on Monday, Tuesday and yesterday (Thursday) for this week. Today, Friday is the day for Hari Raya Haji and so it’s public holiday. Lovely…everyone loves public holiday. And one good thing living in Malaysia is that there are quite a number of public holidays over here as we have different races here and so we have multiple festivals from each main religions. Wait…when is the next public holiday? Only two weeks from now when we would observe Deepavali and Awal Muharam. Then, Christmas and New Year…after that Chinese New Year…wao…looking too far already…

It’s always raining nowadays, and so I find it’s better to stay indoor (at home). Home is always the most comfortable place. For the Malays, tomorrow is a big day for them to gather at mosque for praying and ceremonial processions. Yesterday, my employer allowed us to leave work half an hour earlier. Good! We all were already in holiday mood earlier. Haha…that also helped me to avoid traffic congestion which would gets much troublesome later. He also recommends my other Muslim colleagues to visit the Steel Mosque at Putrajaya tomorrow for its breathtaking architecture. I myself had visited the mosque before but didn’t get to enter the building. But looking from outside the building already amazed me, enhanced with picturesque setting of the surrounding backdrop of Putrajaya, the garden city of Malaysia.

Last but not least, I would like to wish to all Muslims particularly my friends and my colleagues, Selamat Hari Raya Aidiladha! May you enjoy the festival with your loved ones and happy holiday as well! Monday, don’t come so fast please!…