Archive for July, 2013

The Apprentice Asia

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2013 by vincentloy

Earlier, we have ‘The Apprentice’ from US, a reality game show hosted by Donald Trump, a real estate magnate and businessman. Now, came a version for Asia itself; ‘The Apprentice Asia’ hosted by Tony Fernandes, a successful Malaysian entrepreneur known for founding AirAsia, the world’s best low cost airline. The show is basically a competition involving a number of contestants from different backgrounds in enterprises where in the end one will be hired to be the host’s apprentice. I didn’t know much on this kind of show at the time when the US version is on the run years ago. And so I missed that totally.

But this ‘The Apprentice Asia’ did caught my attention, as it is based on my home city, Kuala Lumpur with Tony Fernandes, a Malaysian hosting the first of its kind for Asia. Originally, there are 12 contestants, divided into two groups, and the number reduces after each episodes featuring different type of tasks that will have one contestant fired for the poorest performance. Let me quickly sum-up every task; Task 1 – sell fish at a wet market for highest profit. Task 2 – create a 30-second viral video to promote Expedia. Task 3 – makes a sales pitch for 3 Taiwanese products. Task 4 – promotes new Nescafe coffee machine. Task 5 – make biggest profit from trading with virtual money. Task 6 – manage part of Hilton KL hotel for a day. Task 7 – design new set of uniforms for AirAsia staff. Task 8 – produce a live commercial for Volkswagen Beetle. Task 9 – face interviews with Fernandes’ associates.

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(Image source: http://www.xfm.com.my/Xfm/files/d6/d62eeaad-62b1-4edb-ab5c-4c682ea1ab35.jpg)

I missed the first episode. Never mind. Out of all the tasks, I find Task 2, 3, 6 and 7 to be the most interesting. And the final task shown in the finale episode aired just now is to organize a charity fundraiser for AirAsia Foundation with a cocktail event and a charity auction which should be the biggest thing the finalists have to handle respectively. In the earlier episodes, I see potential from Alexis as seen from his solid performances in all tasks, but too bad, he performed not very well on the interview task (Task 9) hence getting eliminated. Then, I start to see credibility on Andrea from Singapore and Jonathan from Phillipines whom eventually became the two finalists, responsible for the final task. Both are equipped with great knowledge, strong passion, intellectual thinking, dynamic leadership, etc. There are three Malaysian contestants (that’s a lot), but all three are seriously not good enough, and so no where to be seen later on. It’s now only between Jonathan and Andrea.

But still only one will be chosen. In the final task, it’s quite obvious that Andrea felt isn’t very comfortable and slack in performance, while on the other hand, Jonathan managed to get to the top of situation with his right attitude of dealing with such events. In the end, as predicted, Jonathan is hired (means he won the show) and becomes the first apprentice of Asia. Congratulation to him! He must be very happy and that Philippines (his country of origin) would be very proud of him too! Andrea is still a very talented young adult, but I find she still lacks some skills, perhaps regarding her emotional management and slight attitude problem. What I dislike about the show is that there are too much attacks of words in the boardroom. That doesn’t necessary show how good you are, but instead, only show off to people how great your English proficiency is.

But sometimes, I do like how their ‘fire’ pushes them to voice out everything they can to obtain an opportunity from Tony Fernandes to prevent from getting ‘fired’. If there is a second edition, I’m looking forward to it too. But I wish to see participants who are better prepared (more deserved to be on this kind of game show), and involvement of more countries in Asia (like Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam, etc); and also limiting the competition to only ‘one country, one contestant’. So far, the first of ‘The Apprentice Asia’ concluded just now was quite a good show too.

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A week left to Raya and my trip to Cambodia

Posted in Interesting Encounters on July 31, 2013 by vincentloy

Another month is coming to an end. Next week, it’s going to be the festive Hari Raya celebration in early August. Raya is coming earlier and earlier every year. It’s nothing related to me but my family is taking that opportunity of quite a long break to go for an oversea trip. I will follow. Where are we heading to? Cambodia. A nearby South East Asian country famous for the Angkor Wat complex which is depicted on its national flag too. The country also has several other interesting places to visit particularly temples. Next week, I promised I’m going to take a lot of awesome pictures of Angkor Wat like the one shown below:

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(The famous Angkor Wat. Image source: http://threeland.com/images/core/Angkor-Wat-Cambodia.jpg)

If you have been a follower of my blog, you would have known that I have been to that country before, for once several years ago  with my whole class in degree course. It’s a huge group together with the lecturers, and it was a fun and enjoyable trip despite accompanied with assignments to do over there. Now, by next week, I would step my foot again to the country, but this time, as a full-time tourist. This would be a short getaway from hustle and bustle working in KL everyday. Life needs a break. That applies to everyone including you too.

Hence, I would be away from Malaysia in five days from the coming Wednesday (7th August) till Sunday (11th August). Not a very long trip, but sufficient enough to enjoy all the famous tourist attractions or places in two cities, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Early next week, I should be starting to pack for my luggage. And by now, I already started thinking on what to buy as souvenirs for my colleagues and friends. Always a hard question whenever I’m going for a trip. Keychains? Too ordinary. Magnets? Only suitable for own use at home, doesn’t work well as gift. Cambodia is famous for those religious carvings, but that doesn’t seems appropriate too. What to buy aah? Will sort it out later during the trip. I promised I won’t be back empty-handed.

Why Cambodia, especially for me who had been there before. My dad expressed interest earlier to visit the country when he still could walk well. Ageing is inevitable, and honestly, a trip to Cambodia is not suitable for elderly as we have to walk or climb a lot of stairs at those famous temples in the Angkor Thom area where the Angkor Wat is only one of the main structures in the area. So, it’s time for him to visit the place when he still has the energy. Furthermore, I could also guide him on our own since I have been there before but honestly, I hardly remember the way though. And Angkor Wat is really beautiful and I think I didn’t manage to take impressive pictures in my previous trip to the place when part of it is under repair works. So, this time would gives me another chance.

A year after London 2012

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , on July 30, 2013 by vincentloy

A year ago, the world witnessed the successful opening ceremony of the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games on 27th July 2012. Ohh, it’s been one year anniversary of the games already. I couldn’t believe it. I felt like the games just ended not long ago. I remembered very well that in weeks before the games, the anticipation is already building up high worldwide as everyone is watching on how London is going to stage the world’s biggest sporting event. And yes, London delivered.

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(Opening ceremony fireworks. Image source: http://sport-onthebox.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/BBC-London-2012-Anniversary-programming.png)

Eventhough its opening and closing ceremonies are not on par compared to Beijing 2008 in terms of scale, proportion, synchronization and performance levels, London 2012 was still a very successful games. I recalled that I purposely wake up in the middle of the night just to watch the opening ceremony. I love to watch things like that. And what I remembered the most till now from the ceremony would be the scene of James Bond (by Daniel Craig) with the Queen in parody jumping off a helicopter to enter the Olympic Stadium. What I like is there is some sort of humour and lightness in this ceremony which is not seen in Beijing 2008.

And not to forget also Rowan Atkinson’s appearance in the ceremony as the popular Mr. Bean character. That’s cute. The part of lighting of Olympic cauldron is also quite unforgettable. We don’t see this kind of thing in Beijing 2008, and that’s what still makes London 2012 memorable eventhough Beijing 2008 impressed me more. Let’s not compare anymore. One is something happened a year ago, and not to mention another one was like 5 years ago. In London 2012, the most impressive performance from Malaysia would definitely falls on Lee Chong Wei, as he bagged another Olympic silver medal for the country in badminton. Pandelela Nirong also helped Malaysia to score a bronze medal in diving.

That was Malaysia’s best performance in Olympic history despite not having able to win a single gold medal from this games so far. Nevermind, three more years later, all the best athletes, sportsmen or sportswomen would gather again to compete in the next edition of Summer Olympic Games, Rio 2016, to be held at Rio de Janeiro, a breathtaking city in Brazil. By the way, I remembered that the London 2012 Olympic Park would undergoes some kind of renovations or transformations into a large urban park after the games as planned. I wonder how is it going so far now since it’s already been a year after London 2012.

Genting Highlands to have the world’s first 20th Century Fox theme park soon.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2013 by vincentloy

The outdoor theme park of Genting Highlands has been a favourite place for kids back in my childhood years. I visited the theme park several times and it’s fun. But years after years despite several attempts of expanding and introduction of few new attractions, the rides seems to be getting boring and old to everyone too since we have tried all. The coasters are not that great anymore. The place becomes less popular but Genting Highlands still attracted huge number of visitors every year mostly due to its casino, the only one licensed in Malaysia. Now. Here comes the good news.

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(The current appearance of the outdoor theme park. Image source:http://www.etawau.com/Geography/KualaLumpur/GentingHighland/OutDoorThemePark/GentingOutdoorThemePark730.jpg)

I first heard a news last week that the outdoor theme park will be closed beginning 1st September this year to make way for a refurbishment. I first thought that it is a rumour. But then, it’s all true. And yesterday, it’s openly announced that the considered-dilapidating theme park will turn into the world’s first 20th Century Fox theme park. Wow. That is awesome. Everybody knows 20th Century Fox, a motion picture giant. That’s famous ‘brand’ or symbol in the Hollywood movie history.

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(The famous logo that appears at the beginning of a lot movies. Image source: http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120224113917/xmenmovies/images/b/b2/20th_Century_Fox.jpg)

The theme park to be built on the 10 hectare site, will feature more than 25 rides and attractions that includes thrill rides, water rides, dark rides for children and more. It will be themed based on famous 20th Century Fox films such as Ice Age, Rio, Predator, Alien, Life of Pi, Night at the Museum, and more. There would be also a “Dream Parade” – a one-of-a-kind animatronics parade based on all the characters featured at the theme park. Now, this is seriously getting more interesting. The whole construction would be completed by 2015 and the theme park will be opened officially in 2016. That’s a long wait we have to endure.

The investment of 20th Century Fox Theme Park was part of Resort World Genting‘s refurbishment project which is worth RM 3 billion. This included the construction of an additional 1,300 hotel rooms to adjoin the First World Hotel. Now, I find that there is very less open space now at the peak of Genting. Where are they going to pack in another huge hotel building block? I’m wondering. Nevertheless, this project is definitely going to attract more visitors, gives ‘life’ back to the current theme park site and put Genting Highlands back as one of the top holiday destinations to people of all ages.

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(Overall view of Genting Highlands, the city of entertainment which has been there for almost five decades. Image source: http://www.timingcctv.com/application/entertainment/genting-highland.jpg)

“The development of the theme park paves the way for continued dynamic business growth and in ensuring that Resort World Genting continues to be an exceptional tourist destination both locally and internationally,” said Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman and Chief Executive. Mr Jeffrey Godsick, consumer products president of 20th Century Fox, said: “This theme park marks the launch of our global location-based entertainment strategy.”

Not long ago, Malaysia has opened the Asia’s first Legoland Theme Park at Johor, and now came another bigger news; Malaysia to have world’s first 20th Century Fox theme park. That is just cool. I’m looking forward to visit the new theme park once it is opened. For others, what do you think?  You can make your trip to the old theme park for one last time and make way for something bigger!

Reference:

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/international/20th-century-fox-to-open-theme-park-in-malaysia/article4956014.ece

http://www.stasiareport.com/the-big-story/asia-report/malaysia/story/genting-investing-158-million-20th-century-fox-theme-park-2

http://www.nst.com.my/latest/malaysia-to-get-twentieth-century-fox-theme-park-1.327096

http://www.thestar.com.my/Business/Business-News/2013/07/26/Genting-investing-RM400m-to-build-Fox-theme-park.aspx

Birth of a royal baby sparked worldwide frenzy.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2013 by vincentloy

Congratulation to Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, on the birth of their baby boy on 22nd July 2013 in the afternoon. The arrival of the royal baby whom the gender has been kept a secret till labor yesterday has sparked a worldwide frenzy, with many international media already stationed at London for several weeks when Kate Middleton has reached the final month of her first pregnancy. People, journalists and reporters gathered outside the Buckingham Palace, British’s royal residence awaiting official announcement of the arrival of the baby yesterday as seen in image below. (Image source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/files/2013/07/Britain-Royal-Baby3.jpg)

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The great news is finally here. No more waiting or predicting. Kate, accompanied with William at St. Mary’s Hospital, safely delivered the royal baby boy yesterday, and weighs 3.8 kg. Name for the boy has not been decided yet. Only a day old, and the boy (currently there isn’t any picture of him yet), is already becoming a global superstar. He, the third great grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II, would be third in line to the succession of the British throne. Announcement posted of the arrival of the baby: (Image source: http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/68891000/jpg/_68891768_68891767.jpg)

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William said he and his wife, both 31, “couldn’t be happier” after the birth of their first child. The baby, titled His Royal Highness, Prince (name) of Cambridge, is directly in line to inherit the throne after Charles (the baby’s grandfather), Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest son and heir, and his eldest son William (baby’s father). How lovely and lucky the baby boy turned out to be. The Queen, and Prince Charles are among the first to express their happiness and joy over the birth of the baby, followed by worldwide leaders including US President Barack Obama.

British landmarks including the London Eye and BT Tower were lit in red, white and blue (colours of Union Jack flag) to celebrate the baby’s birth, while Canada bathed part of the Niagara Falls in blue light. Now, everyone is looking forward to take a look of the baby boy. Would there soon be a new wax figure of the baby boy added to the royal family scene in Madame Tussauds Museum around the world? Very high possibility. Even before he is born, he is already getting so famous. Now, he is not only a prince, but also a superstar. Congratulation to British royal family once again for the arrival of the prince!

KLCC and its surrounding.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2013 by vincentloy

Yesterday I went to Suria KLCC, which is one of the malls I least visited in Kuala Lumpur. Reason? Expensive parking fees and not many good places to dine in the mall as compared to other nearby malls particularly in Bukit Bintang region like Pavilion KL and Berjaya Times Square. Besides than having a dinner, watching a movie, and reading architecture books at Kinokuniya bookstore, I also took the very seldom opportunity I have to walk around Petronas Twin Towers and its surrounding.

Why? That’s my favourite part. I got to observe the many cluster of buildings nearby there and analyse their design. Sounds so professional. Haha…It’s just my interest to look at buildings since architecture has been part of my life for several years already. Have you checked out my previous blog’s post here that Petronas Twin Towers are no doubt one of the world’s most famous landmarks (perhaps in top 20). Many people would love to see it, and I got to see it everyday since it’s only few kilometres away from my home. But we, locals, usually seldom take pictures of things we see in common here.

That’s not the case for me yesterday. I observed quite a wonderful surrounding of the KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Centre) region with skyscrapers and parks and so I took some photographs, acting like I was one of the tourists. There are quite a number of new buildings constructed surrounding KLCC especially luxurious apartment buildings and some other buildings in construction which made the built environment a bit much denser which is good as a sign of the city developing. Nevertheless, the KLCC park still remains as a vital green ‘heart’ of the capital city. Enjoy the breathtaking pictures I took yesterday;

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(View from KLCC Park – you can see Citibank Tower, Troika Tower (current tallest residential building in Malaysia designed by Norman Foster), PNB Tower, The Oval Residence, and newly-built Felda Tower)

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(View from KLCC Park to the newly-built Petronas Tower 3, Petronas Twin Towers which are former world’s tallest buildings and still the current world’s tallest twin buildings, and Maxis Tower)

 

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The one that got my attention the most during the short walk-around I had yesterday is a surprisingly quick construction of a twin residential buildings right besides the Petronas Twin Towers and the K Residence Tower (as shown in last image above). After a further research of the project, I found out that the twin-tower complex is designed by famous foreign architect, Jean Nouvel and both the towers are going to be 49 and 43 storeys high respectively. The two towers are now rising tall to be the new companion of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. I’m also glad that there are more and more involvement of famous international architects into new projects here in Kuala Lumpur.

(The images in this post are my own property. Kindly acknowledge me and reference it if you wish to re-use one or all of the images on other sites.) 

World’s most famous landmarks?

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2013 by vincentloy

The world we lived in has been much more amazing due to presence of many impressive and beautiful structures human beings had ever build. These structures which are easily recognizable worldwide are regarded as landmarks and each is usually made an icon or symbol of the respective country where it is located. Some of them had been here for at least few thousand years, while some that made it to this kind of recognition have only been built not long ago and yet still reached out to immense global fame.

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I believe everyone had their own list of world’s most famous landmarks. It’s quite subjective. It depends on every individual’s different background and their level of exposure to the world. But the landmarks that I’m going to list down here would most probably make it to your list too. Here listed is my top 10 list of world’s most famous landmarks.

1. Eiffel Tower, Paris, France. *

2. Great Pyramid of Giza, Cairo, Egypt.

3. Statue of Liberty, New York, United States of America.

4. Empire State Building, New York, United States of America.

5. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, United States of America.

6. Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia.

7. Big Ben Tower, London, United Kingdom. *

8. Great Wall of China, China. *

9. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Italy. *

10. Taj Mahal, India. *

Out of the 10 places listed above, I have visited 5 (the one I bookmarked). Half. Not bad. I love to travel overseas as there are too many exciting and interesting new things out there for me to discover, experience and enjoy. The remaining 5 would be my top priority whenever I had the opportunity to make decision on where to go for oversea trip in future. There are still 10 structures in my mind that could make it to the list;

11. Angkor Wat, Cambodia. *

12. Forbidden City, Beijing, China. *

13. Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. *

14. Acropolis, Athens, Greece.

15. Stonehenge, Wiltshire, United Kingdom.

16. Colosseum, Rome, Italy. *

17. Statue of Christ, The Redeemer.

18. London Bridge Tower, London, United Kingdom. *

19. White House, Washington, United States of America.

20. Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. *

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Same. The ones bookmarked are landmarks that I have visited. Maybe for Burj Khalifa, it’s not counted because I only managed to see it from far (viewing it from the airport during transfer flight). Of course, the last on the list is something I see everyday, as it’s only few kilometres away from my home. I have to say the Petronas Twin Towers’ impressive architecture really make it stands out among many other skyscrapers in the world. Another ten (it seems I couldn’t stop); Hollywood sign (Los Angeles, USA), St. Peter’s Basilica (Vatican City), Buckingham Palace (London, UK), CN Tower (Toronto, Canada), Chrysler Building (New York, USA), Beijing Bational Stadium (Beijing, China), Burj al Arab (Dubai, UAE), Mount Rushmore National Memorial (South Dakota, USA), Arch de Triomphe (Paris, France), Bank of China Tower (Hong Kong, China). These landmarks I mentioned here would usually be having a lot of their replicas built particularly in theme parks too. It is because they are easily identifiable. Landmarks, man!

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