Archive for September, 2013

Starhub TVB Awards 2013 result.

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

Starhub TVB Awards is an annual awards presentation in Singapore in collaboration between local TV operator, Starhub with TVB, Hong Kong’s largest TV station. This awards is usually presented much earlier before the year ends, hence excluding some series that are scheduled to broadcast in last quarter of the year. These series will then be carried forward to next year’s awards consideration. This is opposed to TVB pattern of usually emphasizing on the end-year series (called anniversary series) for better advantage in the much prestigious TVB Anniversary Awards held annually in December.

I didn’t pay much attention to this Starhub Awards because I’m a Malaysian, and we do have our own awards presentation to TVB dramas which is the annual MY AOD Favourites Awards. But since Starhub TVB Awards is involving Hong Kong series, I’m going to write a post on its result this year too, along with my brief comments. The star-studded awards presentation (a lot of TVB artists attended) with 20 awards presented was held in Marina Bay Sands, Singapore on 28th September 2013 (last Saturday).

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Results of the 4th Starhub TVB Awards (2013): (Source from the awards’ official website: http://starhubtvbawards2013.com/en/tvb-award-winners-2013)

Red Carpet Star – Linda Chung.

Star of Perfect Poise Award – Raymond Lam.

Most Glamorous Female Artist Award – Kate Tsui.

Everlasting Glow Award – Linda Chung.

Classic TVB Character – Michael Miu.

(The five awards presented above are quite unnecessary for me. It feels like these awards are presented just to please more TVB artists. There isn’t any effort needed throughout the past year in dramas for them to win these)

Most Improved TVB Actress – Mandy Wong.

Most Improved TVB Actor – Him Law.

(100% agree for Mandy, and 60% agree for Him. For most improved actor, I prefer Oscar Leung first before Him Law)

Best TVB Female Newcomer – Christine Kuo.

Best TVB Male Newcomer – Jason Chan.

(100% disagree to these two results. Both are heavily promoted by TVB nowadays but that doesn’t mean they are both qualified to be called ‘best’. Sorry, but it’s true. Perhaps, there are no other truly good newcomers with great potentials. That’s why they win)

My Favourite TVB Theme Song – Little Something by Mag Lam (Season of Love).

(Didn’t hear this before. Not much to comment)

My Favourite TVB On-screen Couple – Bosco Wong & Niki Chow (A Change of Heart).

My Favourite TVB Variety Host – Pauline Lan in Lady First – Singapore.

My Favourite TVB Variety Show – Lady First – Singapore.

My Favourite TVB Mega Variety Special – TVB Golden Viva Spectacular (Live).

(Nothing to comment for the four awards above)

Singapore Media’s Favourite TVB Drama – Triumph in the Skies II.

My Favourite TVB Drama – Triumph in the Skies II.

(I am not surprised that Triumph in the Skies II won. Its popularity skyrockets not only in Hong Kong but also in mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia)

My Favourite TVB Female TV Characters – Myolie Wu (Triumph in the Skies II), Linda Chung (Witness Insecurity), Tavia Yeung (Silver Spoons, Sterling Shackles), Kate Tsui (Highs and Lows), Michelle Yim (The Confidant), Niki Chow (A Change of Heart).

(All are very deserving except for Niki Chow. Quite surprised that Michelle made it here which I’m happy for her. It’s very hard for a veteran actress to win awards based on popularity like this one.)

My Favourite TVB Male TV Characters – Raymond Lam (Highs and Lows), Moses Chan (Beauty at War), Bosco Wong (Witness Insecurity), Kenneth Ma (Three Kingdoms RPG), Julian Cheung (Triumph in the Skies II), Ruco Chan (Slow Boat Home).

(Wait. How come Francis Ng is not in the winning list. Singaporeans don’t like him maybe. And wait, last year’s TVB king, Wayne Lai also didn’t make it. Weird.)

My Favourite TVB Actress – Tavia Yeung.

(No objection. Everybody expected her time came to grab TV Queen in a row; first in Malaysia last year, then in Hong Kong last year, and now in Singapore as Starhub TVB Queen)

My Favourite TVB Actor – Bosco Wong.

(Wow. Bosco won Singapore’s Starhub TVB King. Quite unbelievable, but I think it should be the time to honour him with a major award after so many years. After Kenneth or Raymond, it shall be him.)

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Sorry if my comments offend you particularly to those who are fans of artists that I find not deserving enough. It’s my sincere individual opinions.

Not long after, it will be MY AOD Favourites Awards 2013 turn which is always regarded as the forecast to actual result of TVB Anniversary Awards every year.

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

Movie review: Percy Jackson – Sea of Monsters (2013)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2013 by vincentloy

When I browsed through new movies on cinema website recently, I find that there isn’t any appealing films up to my preference. There is only one that had a bit of my attention, which is ‘Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters’. However, that one is a sequel. For this reason, I purposely find and watched its predecessor back; ‘Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief’ released three years ago. The first one is a great and engaging film, and I do have interest on action-adventure films like this that are based on Greek mythology (involving Olympus gods like Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, etc).

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‘Percy Jackson’ films are basically teenager version of ‘Wrath or Clash of the Titans’. The titular character of the former is a demigod, son of Poseidon while the main character in the latter is the son of Zeus. Very much similar, but ‘Percy Jackson’ movies are much lighter and relevant to even young children too. In ‘Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters’, a group of half-blood (demigods) led by Percy embarks on a quest to the Sea of Monsters to find the mythical Golden Fleece to restore their dying safe haven (a tree that protect the Half-Blood Camp gets poisoned, hence the barrier fading out) while trying to stop an ancient evil, Kronos (father of Olympus) from rising. None of the Gods (Zeus, Hades or Poseidon) appears in this movie unlike the first one.

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This sequel truly did not disappoints its predecessor and it delivers well from where it ends in the first story. It will certainly provides a good platform for future sequels too on which I’m looking forward to. This time, the group of heroes (Percy, Grover and Annabeth) gets bigger with additional new characters, Tyson (Percy’s half brother whom is a cyclop) and Clarisse (a very proud female demigod). Both are very interesting characters and made up for a better and much exciting adventure we are looking for from this kind of movie. There are also more solid action-packed sequences and great visual effects displayed which is a very important aspect for a mythical adventure film.

The main casts especially Logan Lerman delivered brilliant performance. This time, there would be also praise for more comedy-filled moments, most notably the lightning-speed taxi with the three eyeless drivers, and also the part where Grover pretends to be a cyclop and wear a gown. However, there are also bad points I wish to highlight from this movie. Since the movie is titled ‘Sea of Monsters’, I am hoping for more scenes on that sea itself, means harder obstacles there, like maybe fighting huge sea serpent there or uncontrollable tsunami. However, it seems nothing much happened in that quite a brief scene besides than being consumed into the ‘monster’s stomach’ and the movie gives itself the title of ‘sea of monsters’. On the other hand, I also wish for more life-threatening and intense battle with the resurrected Kronos, the giant ancient horrifying evil, and yet, it gets defeated so easily by Percy in the end. Slightly disappointed by the final battle.

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Nevertheless, this movie still delivers with entertaining adventure, solid plot, clean storytelling, great visuals and good acting. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters’ a total of 7.5. For the first one, ‘Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief’, I would give 7.4. It’s usually harder for a sequel to perform better or similarly to that of its original, but this one is an exception.

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

Happy awesome 5th birthday to my blog here!

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2013 by vincentloy

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28th September 2008 was the day I started out this blog. Not long after Beijing 2008 Olympics, my passion on writing stuff (on anything that I find interesting and is deserving to be shared) builds up. I wish to put it down on a book or a diary, but that’s no point if no one else read it. It’s not something intended to be secretive or confidential. Internet had been a very powerful and influential tool in our present time. Hence, I turn to blogging, a medium that could share my words to every parts of the world. By 28th September 2008, my thought finally transformed to solid action; by creating this blog through WordPress after several steps to set up.

What’s the date today? It’s 28th September 2013. That’s exactly five years from the ‘birth’ of my blog. I couldn’t say anything else besides than wishing my blog a wonderful 5th birthday! My blog, which I considered part of my life is now 5 years old! My ‘baby’ is now 5 years old! Five years ago, it’s a humble and small little blog not known to many others. Now, it gained over two million visits, attracted over two thousand comments, having posts shared over a thousand times, and is followed by over 100 people around the world. If compares to many other giant blog sites (usually with hundred of authors), my blog here is no where to be seen. However, I am very pleased, satisfied and grateful of the current position of my blog which is fully run all by myself.

Of course I couldn’t remember the mood I had when I first created this blog five years ago, but I’m certain for now that happiness overwhelms me that my blog had comes to this far. Five years up, and is still active with me trying my best to frequently update my blog with interesting information from architecture to international events or news and more individually to things I encountered in my daily life that I find worth sharing. It’s very vibrant or dynamic, as I believe our life is never all about a single aspect only. I admit that back in early years of my blog, I had written a lot of posts with very little effort, poor sentencing or bad grammar. I’m improving myself consistently on this and is very much evident if you compare my recent write-ups with my posting few years back. Now, my posts are not badly written, right?

In conjunction with my blog’s 5th anniversary, there would be a complimentary kiss from me. Haha…just joking. It’s okay. At least, there’s beautiful virtual fireworks display in this post to celebrate.

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If you are a constant reader of my blog, you should have realize this from my blog’s header of the month. It’s a cool visual highlighting on my blog’s 5th anniversary. Last but not least, I would like to wish again to my blog here (www.vincentloy.wordpress.com) a great 5th birthday and also taking this opportunity to congratulate (compliment too) myself for bringing this blog to this far. Google had its 15th anniversary celebration recently, and my blog here named ‘Vincent Loy – My Blog City’ had its 5th anniversary too (not to miss out). Great!

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Pritzker Architecture Prize winner for the last three years

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2013 by vincentloy

Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded annually to honour “a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.” It is founded in 1979 and is often referred to as Nobel Prize in architecture, hence symbolizing the prestige and top honour of receiving this award. I’m now dreaming of whether in future I could have the chance to win this architecture’s highest honor. It’s something very hard to achieve, but I will try my best.

Notable former recipients of this award are Philip Johnson, Sir James Stirling, I.M. Pei, Richard Meier, Kenzo Tange, Oscar Niemeyer, Frank Gehry, Robert Venturi, Tadao Ando, Renzo Piano, Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, Herzog and de Meuron, Glenn Murcutt, Jorn Utzon, Zaha Hadid, Richard Rogers, Jean Nouvel, Peter Zumthor, etc. I recalled the last time I wrote about this award was in 2010, when Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (SANAA) won it for that year. Now, it’s time to highlight the recipients of this award from 2011 to 2013.

2011’s winner of Pritzker Prize is Eduardo Souto de Moura from Portugal. The prize was awarded for his work including Estádio Municipal de Braga (image shown below), the Burgo Tower in Porto and the Paula Rego Museum in Cascais. His buildings have a unique ability to convey seemingly conflicting characteristics—power and modesty, bravado and subtlety, bold public authority and sense of intimacy—at the same time. His design reinforces a sense of history while expanding the range of contemporary expression through beauty and authenticity of materials and construction.

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2012’s winner is Wang Shu from China. He is the first Chinese to win Pritzker Prize (second winner of Chinese descent after I.M. Pei).  His win is generally due to his “unique ability to evoke the past, without making direct references to history” and called his work “timeless, deeply rooted in its context and yet universal”. His architecture has been described as “opening new horizons while at the same time resonates with place and memory”, experimental, and as a rare example of critical regionalism in China. His notable works are Ningbo Museum (image shown below), Library of Wenzheng College, Xiangshan campus of the China Academy of Art and Old Town Conservation of Zhongshan Street, Hangzhou.

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The most recent winner of this Pritzker Prize for year 2013 goes to Toyo Ito from Japan. Unlike the previous two award recipients, Toyo is more popular and known for creating conceptual architecture, in which he seeks to simultaneously express the physical and virtual worlds. He is a leading exponent of architecture that addresses the contemporary notion of a “simulated” city, and has been called “one of the world’s most innovative and influential architects.”  Ito has defined architecture as “clothing” for urban dwellers, particularly in the contemporary Japanese metropolis. This theme revolves around the equilibrium between the private life and the metropolitan, “public” life of an individual. The current architecture of Toyo Ito is aggressively exploring the potentials of new forms. In doing so, he seeks to find new spatial conditions that manifest the philosophy of borderless beings. His notable works are Sendai Mediatheque (image shown below), Bruges Pavilion, VivoCity Singapore, Tod’s Omotesando Building, Kaohsiung’s World Games Stadium, Taoyuan International Airport,  Torre Realia BCN and Hotel Porta Fira at Barcelona.

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

Emporis Skyscraper Award 2012’s recipients are…

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2013 by vincentloy

The world’s most renowned annual architecture prize for skyscrapers, the Emporis Skyscraper Award for year 2012, has been given to the Absolute World Towers in Mississauga, Canada. The award, given by Emporis (www.emporis.com), the international provider of building data, is being presented for the thirteenth time this year (first presented in year 2000).  If the awards started out few years earlier, I’m sure my local landmarks, Petronas Twin Towers would win it. By the way, let us look through the top three winners of this prestigious awards this year (for new buildings completed last year) to recognize excellence in highrise design and construction.

Absolute World Towers, which form part of a five-building complex and were designed by the architectural practices MAD and Burka Architects, won over the jury primarily through their unmistakable design: “The way the two structures twist organically by up to 8 degrees per floor is not just a superb technical achievement, but also a refreshing change to the set forms of high-rise routine,” stated the panel of experts in explaining the choice of the pair of towers, 176 and 158 meters tall, as the winner. The curvaceous form of this residential complex earned the building the nickname of ‘Marilyn Monroe’. The two towers also had continuous flowing balconies all around building, thus offering maximum lights to its interior.

MAD Architects . Absolute Towers . Toronto

 

(Image source: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-_k6GHZiydYY/TgmK58wgZkI/AAAAAAAAK1Y/gcz8LmmUWSQ/s1600/MAD+Architects+.+Absolute+Towers+.+Toronto.jpg)

The second-placed project is Al Bahar Towers in Abu Dhabi, designed by Aedas Architects. Due to its innovative and distinctive facade, the skyscraper complex convinces in terms of both climate and design criteria. The outer skin of the facades is rotated by computer in response to the sun’s position, leading to a substantial reduction in thermal energy inside the buildings. In designing the twin towers, the architects drew inspiration from Arab mashrabiya windows – sun and privacy screens found in traditional Islamic architecture. This ‘green’ building is targeted to achieve LEED Silver rating. Both towers stand at a height of 145 meters respectively.

Al Bahar Towers are seen in Abu Dhabi

 

(Image source: http://www.al-monitor.com/files/live/sites/almonitor/files/contributed/jnt_news_in-the-midst-of-the-arab-spring/1-RTR37TJ6.jpg)

The expert jury voted Burj Qatar, a 238 meter tall skyscraper in Doha, into third place. Designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel, it is the building’s exceptional facade design that stands out. The metal mesh facade, whose design – as with Al Bahr Towers – draws on traditional mashrabiya windows and is intended to contribute to protection from the sun, reveals a complex pattern at close quarters. The imposing effect of the ornamental facade reaches its full expression under the dome that tops the cylinder-shaped skyscraper. Another interesting point of this building shall be its large atrium that runs from ground to 27th floor, reaching a height of 112 meters.

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(Image source: http://prafulla.net/wp-content/sharenreadfiles/2013/07/477110/Burj-Doha-Doha-Tower-in-Qatar.jpg)

I do hope that my home city, Kuala Lumpur would be building cool skyscrapers soon so that we may stand a chance to win this skyscraper award in near future. We do have a number of skyscrapers in KL, but most are built quite long ago and are generally cannot be regarded as striking or in state-of-the-art design. Too bad, this awards is not introduced yet when Petronas Twin Towers were completed back in 1997.

Information source:

http://www.emporis.com/awards/2012

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/canada-s-absolute-world-towers-wins-emporis-skyscraper-award-2012-113091800302_1.html

Mid-Autumn Festival is great with mooncakes!

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

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival to all Chinese (to myself and my family too) celebrating it! Yes, today is the 15th day of the 8th month based on Chinese lunar calendar. Well, this festival has a lot of other names too such as Mooncake Festival or Lantern Festival or whatever you call it. This is one of the major festivals in Chinese culture and tradition in case you didn’t know. But it’s just another usual working Thursday in Malaysia, where festivals like this are seen minor and not emphasized. Anyway, this festival still stays strong in our roots and hearts. (Image below from source: T. Chua, 2011, and edited)

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I hope young children are having fun playing candles and lanterns these few nights. I recalled those happy moments I had when I was a child lighting up candles, and from there, creates interesting pattern or pile it up together for a slightly bigger flame, and then putting papers and leaves to burn together too. And my parents will usually came out of the house at this point of time to stop us from doing so. My sisters and my neighbours would sometime joined the fun too. Lanterns (in my childhood years, there are only traditional folded paper lanterns and animal-shaped plastic lanterns) were hung by the side of a wall with help of wood sticks. Really beautiful. I hope young children now still stick to this tradition, but I believe now the more popular choice of lanterns are the electronic ones.

Last Sunday, my relatives had organized a dinner gathering accompanied with a bit of rituals worshipping the Moon. I didn’t play any of the candles or the lanterns (I’m an adult now) but I do enjoyed watching all my little cousins and nephews playing and having fun. Looking from that, I find myself getting old soon. Haha… In the gathering, out of a sudden, a lantern dropped off and caught fire. It spreads so quick to the nearby plastic bags. Within a second, we freaked out but after a short while, it was distinguished by a slipper. Not my slipper. Hence, an advice to all especially kids; be careful no matter what when playing with fire.

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I love mooncakes, the hallmark of this festival. But mooncakes now are getting so expensive and so I observed lesser people are buying in recent years. The price is very unreasonable. But this is the first time I bought a box of mooncakes with my own money to treat my family. Actually, I am the one who eat the most. Mooncakes nowadays also came in variety of flavours by mixing fruits, cheese, coffees, nuts, or whatever possible. But in the end, I still prefer the original flavour (lotus seed with egg yolk and also the snowy skin ones). My eldest sister is good on making own jelly mooncakes and I like that too.

Last but not least, I would like to take this opportunity to wish every Chinese a Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! May you celebrate this day joyfully and harmoniously.

 

Uninspiring performance from TVB series overall this year

Posted in Miscellaneous on September 17, 2013 by vincentloy

The year is almost coming to an end, and out of 20 series scheduled, there are 4 more series left to broadcast before TVB calls for its annual anniversary awards in December. Out of the four, two; ‘The Hippocratic Crush II’ and ‘Will Power’ are the anniversary series which are the last to air and are usually emphasized and given more advantage before the awards presentation. That’s the pattern of TVB all these years. Three quarters of the year is almost over, and I just realized that I have been watching very less amount of TVB series this year.

Of course, Hong Kong series still stand out if compared to our local production here which is almost reaching to a hopeless point. Hong Kong series has a very good history, and has a number of popular artists still attached to TVB, the city’s biggest TV station. However, in recent years, it is quite obvious that its frequency of delivering dramas with awesome quality is lessening. Many famous artists left the station, particularly to mainland China to earn more and to enjoy enough rest between filming schedules, unlike in TVB, when artists are reportedly paid low and treated with tight schedules and bad scripts. There are not much series nowadays that could gets my attention, and that is why I’m so free now and had much free time to update my blog writing on this particular issue.

This year, I had only watched three series so far (this amount is very unusual for me who has been rooting to TVB for many years from when I was a child). So far, I had watched Inbound Troubles, A Great Way to Care II and Triumph in the Skies II. The first one was quite interesting, with comedic touch to it (thanks mostly to Cho Lam) that entertain us very well. The second one proved to be much dramatic with heavier casts, while lastly, the pilot-centred drama no doubt fills all anticipation so far to those who have been very fascinated by its predecessor ten years ago. On the other hand, I quit watching ‘Bullet Brain’ and ‘Beauty at War’ when the two had not even reach halfway yet. Both are seriously bad. I expect myself to watch another three before the awards presentation. And the one I’m looking forward the most must be ‘The Hippocratic Crush II’, a sequel to the original one which is very successful last year.

There are like two months away before the nomination list for the annual awards presentation is announced, but people are now starting to guess which series has the potential to win the best drama, or which artists may stand a chance to win best actor or actress. I would like to join in the early guessing game too, and let’s see whether my prediction is true or not. For best series, I think it’s a fight between ‘Inbound Troubles’ (this must be a strong dark horse), ‘The Hippocratic Crush II’ (cannot judge early, but I see potential on it too), and ‘Triumph in the Skies II’. This year, sequel is attaining more success.

As for best actor, my pick for top 5 would be Kenneth Ma, Francis Ng, Wayne Lai, Moses Chan and Ruco Chan. Ohh, another surprise; Raymond Lam is not in a single series this year. As for best actress, my top 5 pick would be Tavia Yeung, Joey Meng, Linda Chung, Fala Chen and Kate Tsui. This three major awards are to be determined by popular audience voting system (like last year). As for most favourite male character, I think high chance is on Julian Cheung as Captain Kool in ‘Triumph in the Skies II’. His performance created extreme buzz and is very well liked especially by female audiences. For most favourite female character, I had no comment. That’s it. I won’t analyse much yet. I will bring this up in more detail by November, when the heat and race is on for the coveted awards.