Archive for August, 2013

Why is it on Saturday? Anyway, Happy 56th Merdeka Day!

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2013 by vincentloy

Why is 31st August this year falls on Saturday? If it’s a day earlier, then we are going to enjoy the Independence Day’s public holiday on Friday. If it’s on a day later (on Sunday), the following Monday would be designated as public holiday too. Either way, we would be having a longer weekend. But now, the fact is it’s on Saturday. Too bad. Only usual two-days break on this weekend. Nevermind, not long after that, we are going to enjoy another public holiday soon on 16th September (which is on Monday) due to Malaysia Day.

Tomorrow, we would be celebrating 56th Independence Day of the nation. I have heard of the theme of the Independence celebration this year, but I couldn’t remember it because it’s just too long and not iconic enough. I recalled something that carries the message of willingness to sacrifice for the country. Ahh, it’s ‘Malaysiaku Berdaulat, Tanah Tumpahnya Darahku’. Long right? For me, honestly, I wouldn’t be that noble to sacrifice till ‘the drop of my blood’ but I would love to contribute for the country. My parents always encourage me to work oversea in near future since there is a much brighter exposure and opportunities in many other countries. I couldn’t help but to agree, but in the end, Malaysia is still my ‘root’, the place where I was born. I will still be back if I have went to somewhere else.

National flags were put up everywhere in conjunction with this celebration. On each day this week, while I am working in my office, I heard loud noises of military aircrafts flying by over the sky of Kuala Lumpur, the capital where most of the Independence Day celebration will be held. These aircrafts must be performing for the Independence Day Parade tomorrow’s morning. On the other hand, the Putrajaya International Fireworks Competition returns this year. There would be fireworks display synchronised with beautiful music by six competing countries (including Malaysia) over the beautiful administrative city of Putrajaya at night of 30th and 31st August, 13th, 14th and 15th September and also on 2nd October 2013. Each show would be around 25-minutes long. This might be one of the events you would not want to miss. I had watched one of the fireworks shows few years back and it’s fantastic.

Today is Merdeka Eve, and it’s going to be a much more happening and festive Friday than ever. Of course, much worst traffic congestion is predicted all over the city as night approaches. I have just returned home from work, just finished escaping from the madness on the roads. People, particularly tourists and youngsters will party all out tonight and countdown to the nation’s 56th independence anniversary at several popular hotspots particularly at Bukit Bintang area, KLCC, Dataran Merdeka, etc. By 12am, there would be fireworks display from these places as usual. I take this opportunity to wish a bit early to all Malaysians, Happy 56th Merdeka Day! (Selamat Menyambut Hari Kemerdekaan ke-56!) May our country continue to excel and fast becoming developed nation by 2020 as targeted in Wawasan 2020.

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(Image source: http://www.hasani.com.my/images/56%20merdeka.png)

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Movie review: The Smurfs 2 (2013)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2013 by vincentloy

The little blue Smurfs are back to the big screen! And so does Gargamel, the evil witch. Despite not receiving greater media attention compared to the Despicable Me’s yellow minions, the smurfs still prove to be highly popular especially for kids. For that reason, things do not stop from ‘The Smurfs’ movie in 2011, and so now here comes its sequel ‘The Smurfs 2’ in 2013. Now, the Smurfs team up with their human friends again to rescue Smurfette, who has been kidnapped by Gargamel since she knows a secret spell that can turn the evil sorcerer’s newest creation – creatures called the Naughties – into real Smurfs.

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I have to say this movie should be very appealing and amusing to young children. They must not miss this, as the movie provides everything that would entertain young children very well. As for adults like us, it’s just so so… Not very good, but also not very bad. I thoroughly enjoyed the film since I take it very lightly. There are a few good laughs from this movie eventhough many are actually quite silly. Yes, the evil witch, Gargamel returned with not only of more evil plan, but also of more silly acts together with his cat. Hmm…it appears that the cat has more screen time now and it’s helpful as it is the cat that brought out most of the hilarious parts in the movie.

Honestly, try not to attend to this kind of movie with high expectation. It’s not meant for it. In the end, you will find that it is actually quite a satisfying and enjoyable moment watching it. Luckily, the movie took only about one and a half hour, and things go pretty fast. I don’t find any draggy or boring parts from this movie. Everything goes quite well and focused on delivering the story. The adults might also be fascinated with beautiful setting shown as the story sets mostly in Paris, France while the kids will usually concentrate on even the slightest movement the smurfs made. Anyway, they are adorable characters. La…la..la, la, la, la.., la, la, la, la, la….

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In the end, Gargamel is not dead yet, which indicates that he will be back again for the third instalment planned earlier to make up for ‘The Smurfs’ trilogy. (the third one will be out by 2015…not going to miss that one as to complete the trilogy). In the post-credits scene, he is shown pulled into a portal that drives him back to his castle accompanied with his cat he pulled together. While the smurfs enjoyed another happy ending as usual and as predicted. Overall, it’s quite an enjoyable and entertaining movie not to be missed for young children. Yes, it’s unambitious, but  it’s clearly not a waste of my time either. I’m not disappointed. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Smurfs 2’ a total of 6.6.

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

Durian season is back! Lovely.

Posted in Interesting Encounters on August 24, 2013 by vincentloy

Nearby my house, there is a road between two close roundabouts that is nicknamed ‘Durian Road’. It’s just a typical road but not when the durian season comes. Now, durian season is back and the roadside is filled with many stalls selling the king of fruits. Tons of durians are piling on the ground, usually attracting a lot of buyers at night and sometimes causing traffic congestion along the road. Whenever we drive pass the road, we would smell strong durian aroma which may be unpleasant to durian haters but not to me, a durian lover.

But the price durians are on sale here is quite high. We can only afford to have ‘durian kampung’ (typical village durian) which is at lower cost, while the much better quality type of durians like D24 and Musang King are out of our sight as they are very expensive here. But we are lucky enough yesterday that my brother-in-law brought a lot of D24 and Musang King durians back from Pahang. Yummy…really delicious. The strong taste, creamy texture and yellowish orange colour of the fruit is really mouth watering. I’m going to eat a lot eventhough knowing it’s not actually good for health. But trying it for only few times in a year shouldn’t be a problem, right?

Nowadays, durian is used to flavour wide variety of foods particularly sweet edibles. There are now durian cake, durian cheese cake, durian crepe, durian pancake, durian cream puff (famous in Malacca. I miss this one), durian roll, durian sweets, durian chips, durian ice cream, durian milkshakes, durian cappuccinos, durian pancake, durian mooncakes, etc. Mid-Autumn Festival is approaching and mooncake sale is on the run. What’s heavily advertised now is the Musang King durian mooncake. The price of typical lotus seed paste mooncake is already extremely high nowadays, and so I couldn’t imagine the cost of having one Musang King durian mooncake. Forget about it.

Now, Malaysia starts to do foreign business involving durians. Sydney, Australia will be the first foreign market to receive Malaysian durians in fresh chilled form through a new packaging technology.  It’s a way to make money and also to promote the king of fruits internationally. Malaysians oversea whom like durian would treat it as a good news for them as they would finally have the opportunity to taste the fruit even in foreign land. On the other hand, I also heard news that people from China are purposely organizing trips to Malaysia recently just to try durians. Wah,.,some more crazier durian lovers than me.

 

Update again for the supertall Shanghai Tower.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2013 by vincentloy

From now on, I think I couldn’t get my eyes off the updates on the under-construction Shanghai Tower at least for once in a month. I have been frequently visiting the Skyscrapercity forum websites to check on construction progress of several supertalls and Shanghai Tower now got the most of my attention. The tower has recently had its structure topped out at an approximate height of 600 metres above ground, but it will few months later that the glass crown will finish the tower to final astonishing height of 632 metres.

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I think I had written quite a lot of posts regarding this very impressive-looking tower on this year alone. In previous years, the building’s construction was still at early stage and was no where to be seen in the midst of Pudong skyline, Shanghai. However from this year onwards, the building started to get noticeable even from very far distance as it continues to rise up quickly and towering all other surrounding buildings including its’ two neighbouring supertalls; 492m Shanghai World Financial Center and 421m Jin Mao Tower. Even when it’s now not completed yet, but Shanghai Tower had already bring about a strong visual or impact to Shanghai’s breathtaking city skyline.

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The skyscraper which is designed by Gensler, is now already the tallest building in China, and once fully completed next year, it will be officially the tallest structure in China too (surpassing Canton Tower, Guangzhou which stands at a height of 600 metres) and also becoming the world’s second tallest building (only behind 828 metres tall Burj Khalifa, Dubai). When completed, the Shanghai Tower will join the Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center to form the world’s first adjacent grouping of three supertall buildings. Three supertalls in one area alone plus the Oriental Pearl Tower nearby too. Awesome!

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Shanghai Tower will consists of 12 floors of Class-A office space, retail, a luxury hotel and cultural venues. The uppermost floors will feature the world’s highest non-enclosed observation deck which will then surely offers wonderful panoramic views of the city while making things on the ground level appear as tiny as an insect. The luxury hotel in the tower will be called Jin Jiang Hotel and is located between the 84th and 110th floors, which will then also be the tallest hotel in the world at the time of its completion. The tower will also hold records for the fastest single-deck and double-deck elevators, as well as world’s furthest-travelling single elevator at 578.5 metres, surpassing record held by Burj Khalifa.

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Besides than its awesome height that could easily pierce the clouds (I think so)- (from the image above, you can see even the tower’s shadow crosses over  the river to the other side of the city too, proving its impressive height), it is also the tower’s smooth flowing design that caught my interest. Well, Chinese symbolism regards it as a dragon twisting and flying to the sky. Hmm…a blue dragon then. Its’ double layer glass concept is also interesting and is already visible in one of the images shown in this post. Now, after looking at those beautiful images of the tower, I felt like I couldn’t wait any longer to visit the city soon so that I could be there on my own and enjoy looking and visiting the tower once it is completed and opened to public. Shanghai Tower has now been one of my most favourite skyscrapers in recent years.

(All images in this post are from skyscrapercity forum website pages discussing on this particular tower.)

Celebrating Sammi Cheng’s 25 years in Hong Kong entertainment industry.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2013 by vincentloy

For those living in Asia, particularly the Chinese, you must have heard the name ‘Sammi Cheng’. In case you don’t know, she is a Hong Kong cantopop singer and actress who has been very successful in film and music industry. She has been always referred to as a diva and has been one of the most prominent female singers in Hong Kong since the 1990s, the golden decade of Cantopop music. When I was a kid (in 90s), she is one of my favourite idols. I love to listen to most of her songs and most of her movies are my favourite too. Even in present time, whenever she is coming to Malaysia to hold a concert, I wouldn’t miss it.

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Her fame should not be questionable. It has come to my surprise that even some of my Malay and oversea friends recognized her. in 1990s, Cantopop music peak to fame throughout Asia-Pacific with many notable artists like the Four Heavenly Kings (Jacky Cheung, Andy Lau, Aaron Kwok, Leon Lai) while the females are represented by Faye Wong, Sammi Cheng, Kelly Chen, etc. Sammi Cheng has also been referred by media as Cantopop Queen till these days, furthering proving her popularity that never fades and cementing her position as one of the leading Hong Kong artists to date. She had also been famous for bringing in unique fashions to her dressings in her concerts.

Let’s look back at little bit of her history in the entertainment industry that spans approximately 25 years. Sammi entered the industry at a very young age of 16 by participating into a high profile new talent singing contest in 1988. Despite winning only third place in the competition, the sponsoring record company saw her potential and offered her a recording contract. From there on, her success began. She won her first major award, winning best new prospect award in 1990. In following years, she had been among the big winners of every annual music awards, having won ‘Best Sales’, ‘Best Cantonese Release’, ‘Best Hong Kong Female Singer’, ‘Most Favourite Asia-Pacific Female Singer’, ‘Gold Song Gold Award’, etc.

She also broke the record as being the youngest female singer to hold more than 50 accumulated concert nights in Hong Kong. To date, she had produced over 80 studio albums, 10 live concert albums, over 110 singles (songs) with over 30 covers and had hold over 130 concert shows. I personally like many of her songs (particularly romantic songs) and will frequently play her popular songs in present days too when current music couldn’t be compared to the previous 1990s Cantonese classics.

Well, she had been very successful in films too. Before involving in films, she had appeared in several TV series back in 1990s when she is still a newcomer. Her first film debut was in 1992, in ‘Best of the Best’ with Jacky Cheung. From there on, she had been actively involved in many films and had been paired with many other heavyweight stars like Ekin Cheng, Anita Mui, Leon Lai, Stephen, Chow, Andy Lau, Richie Ren, Louis Koo, Sean Lau, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Eason Chan, Cecilia Cheung, etc. Her most iconic and popular works are most probably ‘Needing You’, ‘Wu Yen’ (won her Best Actress Award in Hong Kong People Choice Award), ‘Love on a Diet’, Marry a Rich Man’, ‘My Left Eye Sees Ghost’, ‘Love For All Seasons’, ‘Yesterday Once More’, ‘Everlasting Regret’ (earns Best Actress nomination in Venice International Film Festival), ‘Romancing in Thin Air’ and most recently ‘Blind Detective’.

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Despite not winning any Best Actress Award in annual Hong Kong Film Awards (she held record for being the female with most nominations but without single win in the category), her performance in movies is always complimented for being relaxing and entertaining. I like to see her in movies. On her recent performance in ‘Blind Detective’, she did another amazing job. All to best to her in future nominations. I hope she will win soon. She totally deserves it. On the other hand, now I wondered why there isn’t a wax figure of her in Madame Tussauds Museum in Hong Kong or a star (handprint) of her in Hong Kong’s Avenue of Stars, since her popularity is no doubt apparent.

She had also been actively involved into charity and community works too. Her 25 years of contribution to Hong Kong entertainment industry which has left an immense impact to the whole Asia Pacific should be recognized further. I’m taking off a bit of my time to highlight on that here. And one more thing, do you wonder why I suddenly wrote a post about her on this day? Today is actually her birthday. She turned 41 this year. Never looking old, and body fit all the time. Amazing. Most of the other singers coming out in similar period with her back in 1980s and 1990s had either settled down, married, or retired, but Sammi appears to have not given up, never rests and still standing high. All the best to her!

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

Happy 15th birthday to MY FM.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2013 by vincentloy

If you are not a Malaysian, for your information, MY FM is a very popular Chinese radio station in my country. It first started humble way back in 1998. Before that, many were used to listening to 988 fm. But once MY FM is introduced, there is a major shift that pushed MY FM to the success it has today. Not to look down on 988, but MY FM truly proves to be coping well with the current generation. This year, the radio station that has made its name as the biggest Chinese radio station in Malaysia will be celebrating their 15th anniversary.

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(Image source: https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/1069411_10151581211527569_1657294205_n.jpg)

There will be a birthday bash show or concert to be held tonight at Putra Indoor Stadium, Bukit Jalil in conjunction with MY FM’s 15th anniversary. Themed ‘Fantastic Fifteen’ (promotional poster shown above), the show will features performances by all the DJs and invited guests (singers) from locals as well as from oversea. I’m not a big fan of a particular radio station, but I would have to accept the fact that MY FM has done impressive job so far. I used to listen to this station every morning when I am driving to work. Its morning programme involving Jack Lim, Mei Yan, and Jeff is the most interesting one and usually provides me with a great start to the day with fun and laughters.

Since the station has been established for 15 years, my best memory linked to MY FM would be like in a decade ago when I was still a kid. On every Saturday’s morning when me and my two sisters (all are still kids) woke up but still lying on the bed in the room, my sister would turned on the station through her phone. They never missed a week of not listening for that particular time slot to check out the top 20 music chart broadcast once every Saturday. Nothing unique, but still an unforgettable piece of childhood memory in my mind related to MY FM.

I never attended MY FM’s annual birthday show which is getting larger and larger every year, proving its present success and established history. Previously, it is usually held in Genting’s Arena of Stars. Last year, it moved to Bukit Jalil Outdoor Parking Area that gave the opportunity for fireworks display. This year, it’s in an indoor stadium that could hold up to 10 000 audiences. The only disappointing part is that in recent years, the organiser could only invite singers that are not famous (basically unknown) and most guests are locals. No big excitement then. But anyway, if you are going to the show tonight, hope you enjoy it too! To MY FM, happy 15th birthday to you!

Movie review: The Conjuring (2013)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2013 by vincentloy

I have to admit that I don’t usually watch supernatural horror films because I’m scared. I can be easily freaked out with jump-scare moments or terrifying ugly ghost appearance usual in horror films that usually couldn’t get off my mind easily. But why do I decide to watch ‘The Conjuring’? First, it is because that everyone else is saying all the good things about this film. The film is receiving overwhelming positive feedbacks worldwide. Secondly, it’s because the film is directed by James Wan, a Malaysian. I have to support a work by a talented man who was born in the same country as mine.

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The film, centred on two paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, came to the assistance of the Perron family who are experiencing increasingly disturbing events in their farmhouse in Rhode Island in 1971 once they moved in to the new home. It is based on a true story. What! ‘Based on a true story’? You may not believe it, but I already felt the creepiness in the air. I have just finished watching it. Not only horrifying but also exciting at the same time. Can I sleep tonight? Ohh, come on. Don’t be silly. Let’s move on then.

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I have to say ‘The Conjuring’ is an extremely well-crafted horror film. It has a very solid and suspense-building story. No shallow plot here. It started out with Annabelle doll story that doesn’t quite link to the main story but certainly provides a great precedent to what’s following. Then, we were introduced to a family moving into a new house. It first started with a bit of curiosity and ‘hints’ of what’s next, then a bit of creepy here or there before finally reaching the climax when everything unfolds and goes intense just like a ride you would never expect from a horror film.

It certainly has some smartly-delivered and terribly-effective old-school scares. We may have seen a lot of previous horror films with scenes like door moved on its own, lights off in sudden, disturbing sound heard, looking to the back, etc but for this movie, it’s brilliantly presented that created awesome suspense and raise up the intensity as the story uncovers further. Excellent. The casts also contributed solid performance that made the movie so good and ‘real’ as though we are in the situation itself. Thumbs up to the effectiveness of mood and sound effects for shocks that never feel cheap from this movie.

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A horror film would not be successful if it’s easily forgotten. It means there is no unforgettable scary or creepy parts that are worth to be kept in your mind for a time. This is not the case for ‘The Conjuring’. If you had watched it, I’m sure even after some time, you would still remember things like ‘Annabelle’ doll, music box, 3.07am, wardrobe, hide and clap. Generally, it’s a strong, sensational, thrilling, and horrifying movie not to be missed particularly for horror movie fans. I even watched this even when supernatural horror category is never my type. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Conjuring’ a total of 8.0. An impressive score, the highest ever I have given to a horror film ever since I began writing movie reviews several years ago.

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