Archive for May, 2013

Yea…end of May already.

Posted in Interesting Encounters on May 31, 2013 by vincentloy

May has been one of the longest months of the year for me. I don’t know. I just feel that the days in this particular month are passing too slow. In early May, the topic that I had written the most in my blog here is none other than the Malaysian politics. On May 5th, my country had its 13th general election. The result…you knew, I knew. Nothing surprising. The ruling coalition won, but the opposition pact gained higher number of individual votes and still lost. Conclusion: the system of allocating the seats is wrong and unbalanced.

That’s it. I would not want to continue debating on politics once again here. No more. Time to settle down. Another four to five years more from now before I am to continue writing back on the politics when the next election is near. This month, I’m quite eager to watch several new movies released this month. Iron Man 3, Epic, Fast and Furious 6 are the movies I’m looking forward to this month. And I watched all of them eventhough the price of movie tickets now is getting higher as I found out recently. Great movies by the way. You can check out my personal review to each of the mentioned movies.

I had mentioned I had quit watching several recent TVB dramas lately as they are very poorly made. Boring and confusing storyline and lack of excitement. You know what series I am referring to if you have read my previous posts. So, no series to catch up this month, and that made my night quite boring. Luckily, there are two interesting television programmes from Hong Kong too that had my attention; Office of Practical Jokes and Super Trio Maximus. The former is a tv show which made pranks or tricks to artists by Johnson Lee and his group of staff, while the latter is a very famous tv game show with successful history…and we got to see the return of Eric Tsang with his fellow buddies getting back to host this very entertaining show. Both programmes are awesome, but these are usually going to end very fast.

What else to conclude the month? Ahh..This month also marked the first anniversary of me working in my present company. It’s my first job in architecture field, and I had gone through a year of that. Cool! I learned a lot and I found out it’s so much different than what we have learnt in our study in the past few years. Probably, after a while, or perhaps another year more, then I will continue back to further my study to master. This month, I had also been writing a lot of construction updates on several iconic skyscrapers currently under construction around the world; One World Trade Center (New York), Shanghai Center (Shanghai) and Chow Tai Fook Centre (Guangzhou). My interest on skyscrapers never gets away from me.

 

Movie review: The Croods (2013)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2013 by vincentloy

A Wednesday’s night for a movie at home, on my bed, in an air-conditioned room, while outside is pouring. What else is more comfortable than this. And the movie I had just watched is ‘The Croods’, an animated feature film released early this year that received generally very favourable reviews. And indeed, it’s a very fun and entertaining film; it sets in a fictional prehistoric era when a a man’s position as the leader of his family of the cavemen is threatened by the arrival of a genius who comes up with revolutionary new inventions, like fire, as they trek through a dangerous but exotic land in search of a new home, and also in search of what life truly is for them.

The-Croods-Poster-2013

The story itself is very engaging. First, we were introduced to how the cavemen live to stay away from risks and dangers while his daughter whom is adventurous and always curious was bored by his dad’s over-protective behaviour. Then, his daughter met a genius, whom helped the cavemen family to seek for safety and look for what life is really for them. However, the arrogant dad gets embarassed and jealous by the boy’s talent. All that leads to a wonderful and fascinating adventure in this one hour and thirty minutes long animated film. Not short, not long. Just the right amount of time to deliver the whole appealing story.

The-Croods-2013-Movie-Image

I had a good time watching this. It’s fun and interesting all the way. There are some cute scenes (how the family sleep in the cave, how they end the day with story, how grandma getting so desperate for food, etc), some funny moments (how the cavemen experiences new inventions like fire and shoes, and especially those scenes involving the sloth, the genius’ pet as it loves to make special effect), and also some serious parts as the group encounters danger, attacking creatures, and awkward new things along their path to find a place out of ‘the end of the world’. Beautiful visuals and lovely score are also offered that brought this story to a greater height.

Guy-and-The-Croods

You will definitely enjoying this animated feature when you take it lightly and just see the story flows. It’s carried out in fast pace, and so it won’t get you boring in any second of it. A solid piece of entertaining and relaxing film not to be missed plus it’s a visually dazzling adventure story. Moral of the story; life has to be adventurous so that we can go forward for better ‘tomorrow’. I find that quality of animated films nowadays are getting better and better. That’s good. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Croods’ a total of 7.8. One of the best animated features of the year. I think this would gets into Oscar’s nomination in best animated feature category next year.

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

Construction update: Chow Tai Fook Centre, Guangzhou

Posted in Architectural Territory on May 28, 2013 by vincentloy

Besides than Shanghai, there are quite a number of other Chinese cities that are experiencing rapid economic growth and high demand for construction of skyscrapers. Guangzhou is one of the cities I mentioned. Right after the city was selected to host the prestigious Asian Games 2010, Guangzhou observed a huge transformation, from construction of many state-of-the-art infrastructures to implementation of many new developments to showcase what a modern typical Chinese city could offer to the world. And Guangzhou is not missing out in terms of skyscrapers building too.

Formerly, it was the 391 metres CITIC Plaza that took the title of the city’s tallest buildings for many years. Due to the impact from the Asian Games 2010, the city then experienced much greater economic growth and saw the construction of Guangzhou International Finance Center which is completed in 2010. The building is at a height of 439 metres, which then becomes the new tallest building in the city. It’s still the current tallest in the city, but not for too long, as another project is on-going now for the construction of a much taller skyscraper.

It’s the Chow Tai Fook Centre. Previously, the proposal went for a twin towers of similar design on the east and west plot of land. Guangzhou International Finance Centre now occupies the west, while the east is allocated for another design now instead. That’s where the Chow Tai Fook Centre is. Totally different design. No more twin concept, but now Chow Tai Fook Centre is much taller than the earlier proposed height. It would have a height of 530 metres with 111 floors of mixed use purposes consisting of a hotel, residences and office spaces. Check its rendering below:

99219177

It is designed by Kohn Pederson Fox, the one behind the design of Shanghai World Financial Center too. The design is quite simple yet elegant at some point, on which I find my impression towards Kohn Pederson Fox’s designs is always the same. Simple, clean, yet beautiful. It is expected to be completed by 2017, and once completed, it would obviously be the tallest building in the city, and one of the country’s tallest too. However, it would still be slightly shorter if compared to the nearby Canton Tower (a telecommunication and sightseeing tower) for the title of Guangzhou’s tallest man-made structure. Canton Tower stands at a height of 600 metres.

Looking to the current progress of its construction, I find that this building is going up really fast. Another surprising progress after I have recently checked on the update of the Shanghai Tower. There are reports that the building now reached around 40th floor in structural construction and its core gone up to above 45th level already. That’s quick. I think it could be even completed way before the deadline (by 2017 which is four years from now). Probably be finished by 2015 instead. That’s the efficiency shown by the construction workers! Good job. The cladding had even started at the lower levels. But if comparing this design to the original proposed twin towers, I prefer the twin idea. It would look much better for twin towers to be there which would acts as a beautiful frame overlooking CITIC Plaza  on one side and Canton Tower on the other side across the river along the central axis cutting through Guangzhou’s central business district (CBD). But since it’s replaced now with one of the original twin towers and the remaining one being the now under-construction Chow Tai Fook Centre, both would still be a great addition to the skyline of Guangzhou.

p1120490f

DaQT1Pa

This building starts to look massive already!

(All images in this post are from skyscraperpage forum discussing on this particular building. Several information in this post are from various credible sources throughout the world wide web)

It’s confirmed; Cambodia is my next oversea destination…again.

Posted in Wonders and Places on May 27, 2013 by vincentloy

I had been to Cambodia before back in year 2010. But that is not a fully vacation trip. It’s more like a study trip with the whole class when I’m still taking the architecture degree course. Each of us had assignments to do, and had to choose and analyse a potential site for our design of something like a guest house. There’s a bit of pressure there. That’s what I remembered. By the way, it’s a nice and enjoyable trip with the whole class, which sums up to quite a lot of people. Going out in a huge group is really interesting. You can meet your friends somewhere on the street easily.

That was back in three years ago. Time flies. My dad has never been to Cambodia before and he had suggested earlier to go there on this upcoming Hari Raya break. Some of his friends are interested too and would like to come along. My dad had also thought of somewhere else to go, providing us with several options. However in the end, I persuade him to go to Cambodia instead. I had been there before and it’s a very interesting country to visit. Recommended it to him, and yes…he agreed. Since I would be free on the Hari Raya break somewhere in August as well, I had decided to follow him on the trip too. We will go with a tour group as usual.

Last week, my dad had booked the trip. Today, he handed the itinerary for me to see. It’s going to be a five days four nights trip. I had visited most of the places to be included in our tour. Those are like the Toul Sleng Museum, Independence Monument, Naga Casino in Phnom Penh and Tonle Sap boat ride, Angkor Thom (includes Angkor Wat of course, Bayon Temple, Ta Prohm Temple) in Siem Reap. Would I get boring if I’m going to visit those places again soon? I don’t think so. Instead, I can even briefly explains to my dad on some backgrounds or details of the tourist destinations if he missed out listening to the tour guide as he always does in previous trips. On this coming trip, I would be much familiar with the tourist attractions and could even hang out with my dad at night on leisure time at some recognizable places like the famous Pub Street in Siem Reap and get to ride on tuk-tuk which both are not included in the itinerary.

Well, there are some places included in the programme that I had not visited before too. Those are Wat Phmon (a Buddhist temple), Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda in Phnom Penh (capital of the country) and Bakeng Hill in Siem Reap (city near the historical Angkor). Many people had mentioned that a visit to Bakeng Hill to enjoy the view of Angkor Wat, Tonle Sap together with sunset is breathtaking. I’m not going to miss it this time. Well, I believed after this round, I would not be going to the country once again. Going for the first time; very exciting and interesting! Going for the second time; quite relaxing and enjoyable! Going for the third time; no way!…boring!, here again!!! This time, I would have fully visited major tourist destinations of the country. It’s priced at RM1900 per pax. Quite expensive, but that price is considered economical compared to tour price to Europe or even to China now. Can you guess what is this place shown in the image below? Yes, that must be the magnificent Angkor Wat! The contrast from the historical structure (in dark here) to the mother nature (sky at the background) is so beautifully captured here in this image which is too bad not taken by me. I’m going to visit this once again by this coming August!

angkor-wat

(Image source: http://therambler.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/angkor-wat.jpg)

 

China wins Sudirman Cup 2013, and it’s their ninth title

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2013 by vincentloy

Congratulation to China for winning the Sudirman Cup 2013! Sudirman Cup is the world mixed team badminton championship first started in Indonesia and which takes place once every two years. There are five matches in every round: men and women’s singles, men and women’s doubles and mixed doubles. This year, the championship was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for its 13th edition from 19 to 26 May 2013.

1991197

 

(Image source: http://static.inilah.com/data/berita/foto/1991197.jpg)

In the final battle between defending champion China and South Korea that concluded not long ago, China emerged to be the winner once again by winning 3 – 0 over its opponent. The Chinese shuttlers did not drop a single set in the final, which further proven themselves to remain the king of the sport. It’s their ninth title (previously China had won it in 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011) overall. What a wonderful performance achieved by them in those years for almost two decades! South Korea had also won it three times (1991, 1993 and 2003) and Indonesia won it once (1989 when it is first started).

Where is Malaysia? Malaysia had never win Sudirman Cup before. In previous Sudirman Cup 2011, Malaysia successfully reached the semifinal stage (it’s our best achievement so far). Eventhough Malaysia failed to move on to the final, but it managed to be at least in top 4 standing. However, in this 2013’s Sudirman Cup on which Malaysia is the host nation, anticipation is high for the country to make it to the semifinal at least. In the end, everyone is hugely disappointed. The country couldn’t even make it to the quarterfinal! Malaysia is not even in top 8 this time. A bit embarrassing.

Malaysia found its luck when it is grouped with Chinese Taipei and Germany in early elimination rounds. To be honest, those are weaker nations in this sport. Malaysia should find no problem getting to the top in this group to get into quarterfinal. However, Malaysia lost 3 – 2 against Chinese Taipei and also produced the similar result against Germany. This is so unbelievable. What a shocking defeat. If we lost to South Korea, China, or Indonesia, then I understand. But now, losing to much weaker countries had shown that our performance had dropped significantly. This is serious! I am so disappointed!

Our standard had gone downfall to a point that everything need to be studied on where the weaknesses of our national badminton team are. Now, Malaysia is no where to be seen after only two days on courts. This is bad. This is bad. China is still so strong in this sport even after so many years. We should actually learn from them to further excel in this sport which is sometime considered our only hope for Olympic gold medal in the future. Forget about it. By the way, congratulation to China once again to have successfully defended their Sudirman Cup title. Malaysia, don’t give up, overcome the weaknesses and do your best in coming tournaments!

James Wan, a Hollywood director whom actually came from Malaysia

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2013 by vincentloy

Let me give you a question before I start to write on this topic. How many Malaysian film celebrities you know that made it to international fame and appeal? Yes, I guess, only one or two, right? That’s Michelle Yeoh of course (reached beyond Hollywood), and probably Angelica Lee whom had won best actress before in Hong Kong Film Awards and Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards. But do you guys know who is James Wan? By the way, he is not an actor.

James-Wan-600x381

Yesterday, when I had watched the Fast and Furious 6, I did a bit of research regarding the film and its future sequel. This sixth instalment of the franchise is directed by Justin Lin, whom had previously directed also three films of the same franchise. However, he had announced to step aside from the directing work in the upcoming seventh instalment. And the job is passed on to James Wan on which the principal filming would begin by this August. Then, it is written on the article that James Wan is actually a Malaysian-born Australian film producer, screenwriter and film director! He was born in Kuching, Sarawak and was raised in Perth, Australia.

Ohh, Malaysia has actually a directing talent making his name in Hollywood already and yet we didn’t notice that for so long. Now, have you watch any or all of the films in popular ‘Saw’ franchise which focuses on death games or something gruesome like that? If you are a horror fans of such genre, you must be loving this kind of films. Yes, ‘Saw’ franchise is started out by James Wan in collaboration with Leigh Whannell. Surprised right? The man who actually thought of such a brilliant horror theme and paved the way for much more subsequent films in the franchise is actually from Malaysia! Now, the successful franchise had seven films. And I watched all of it. What a great horror franchise! He is the director and writer of ‘Saw’, producer of ‘Saw 2′, Saw 3’ (also writer), ‘Saw 4’, ‘Saw 5’, ‘Saw 6’, and the latest one, ‘Saw 3D’.

5045964_ori

Besides than that, other of his notable works are ‘Dead Silence’, ‘Death Sentence’ and ‘Insidious’. ‘Insidious’ which is a psychological horror film came to be a huge success in box office reception as well as in reviews and ratings worldwide when it is released two years ago. It is James’ most profitable film up to date. He had also directed the film ‘The Conjuring’ and ‘Insidious Chapter 2’ which both are scheduled to be released later this year. Hmm…he seems to be involved only on horror genre. But nope, now he is signed on to direct ‘Fast and Furious 7’ as mentioned earlier.

It’s an action-packed film involving street racing and tackling some sort of heist or other type of crime. No horror element, but the studio is confident by the ability of James Wan and had selected him for the directing job. So, it’s time for James to explore new element, and let’s hope he would do well on it. Malaysia Boleh, right? Haha… And he is now only 36 years old. Long way ahead for him to make further success in Hollywood screen. Perhaps, in near future, his work could win him a best director and best picture awards in Academy Awards. Let’s hope so. Too bad, he is an Australian citizen now, but still had its root in Malaysia. He is one of the local-born talent not many Malaysians know. Now you know it. I only found it out yesterday. Haha…

(All images and information in this post are from various credible sources throughout the world wide web)

Movie review: Fast and Furious 6 (2013)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2013 by vincentloy

‘Fast and Furious’ franchise which is a series of action films centers on illegal street racing and heists had come this far, to the release of its latest sixth instalment recently. Fast and Furious 6 follows a professional criminal gang led by Toretto who have retired following their successful heist previously, but remain wanted fugitives. A cop then offers to clear the group’s criminal records and allow them to return home in exchange for helping him to take down a skilled mercenary organization led by Shaw and his second in command, Toretto’s presumed-dead lover Letty. The film stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Sung Kang, Chris Bridges, Luke Evans, Gina Carano, and John Ortiz (to name a few).

Fast-and-furious-6-movie

I thoroughly enjoy this film as the director, Justin Lin had maintained to have the story carried out in a much more action-oriented direction as usual. Well, it is the action involving those fascinating cars on roads that appeal much successful to audiences now, and he did that right. There is whole lot of amount of action-packed scenes in this movie, racing your heart out as you watch, as some intense moments are very exciting yet quite unbelievable to a certain extent from this film. Well, film can go for anything, eventhough it’s a bit too exaggerated. Well, that’s the ‘wow’ factor we can observe from this.

movies-fast-and-furious-6-5

The story which continues from Fast Five goes very smooth and well in this one, which now takes place mostly in London (Fast Five was in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). However, I find there is too much emphasis on Letty, on which there are too many scenes involving of how she get into the villain side this time, and how she finally reunited back with Toretto’s group. It would be better if her parts are cut short a bit. Let’s get back to the action sequences. All that are brilliantly delivered in this story eventhough some are too unbelievably risky to the characters. Well, when there is no risk, there would be no heartstopping moments. So, I have to say this movie seriously performs well in terms of its action approach. And when such film is good in action, then it succeeds.

Fast_Furious6

This time, its encounter between a group of criminal (good side) against another group of criminal (bad side). It’s like fighting your evil twins using racing talents, attack weapons, and crazy tactics each side has. That’s interesting. The performance by the casts are solid, which is expected since the casts have done all these similarly so many times in previous instalments already. However, I can assure you that the actions now in this film are much climax-reaching and crazier. It’s a fun ride watching this. There is street racing (of course), gun attacks, fighting sequences, then comes also clash between cars and destroyer tanks, and finally the ending part that involves a huge plane as well. (sorry for a bit of spoiler here)

I am enjoying it generally. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Fast and Furious 6’ a total of 7.7. A great action-packed film. Ohh, there is an extra scene in the middle of end-credit. So, stay a while to wait for it which indicates the possibility of another sequel and how the whole flow of these six instalments works (didn’t understand my point, watch it to find it out). And yes, it’s confirmed that there would be Fast and Furious 7 which is predicted to be released next year. Wow, that is fast too! I think this franchise is getting much more popular compared to the release of its previous five instalments. This ‘Fast and Furious 6’ is going to gain a lot in box office.

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