Archive for December, 2013

Today is the last day of 2013? Yup…

Posted in Interesting Encounters on December 31, 2013 by vincentloy

Hmmm…another year is gone. The first thing on my mind now is ‘What are the greatest things I have done this year that leave a lasting wonderful memory?’ It must be my family trip to Europe in early 2013 during the long Chinese New Year break. Eventhough the trip was a bit rushed and felt incomplete to cover six central European countries within 10 days, but I do have a great and relaxing time back then. The other oversea trip this year was the Cambodia trip during Hari Raya break and it still got me excited despite I had been to this country before. These two trips alone made my year slightly more awesome!

‘Typical working life’ best describes how I went through this whole year. In 2012, I had a few months of getting lazy and awesome break before settled on a job in last half of the year. This year, I think I’m already getting used to the working life as an architect (now still an assistant) since I have been doing the job from day one to the last day in 2013…and to continue in following year(s). Honestly, it’s quite boring, but well, that’s life. We have to work to earn money and survive, especially in recent time when our cost of living went up, thanks to the government on increasing prices on almost everything that matter to our daily life.

I heard that there may be a demonstration or some sort of gathering tonight, on the new year’s eve at Dataran Merdeka to protest the government’s unreasonable actions on price hike. Let’s hope no one is hurt tonight and that I prefer people to focus more on celebrating the arrival of new year 2014 with a joyful countdown instead. Do that protest on the other day. Tonight is all for countdown and party! Don’t spoil the mood. Many hotspots in KL would be very crowded tonight as usual as people packed the streets, clubs, cafes, parks and malls to join the fun and festive atmosphere to welcome 2014 with fireworks and shows. Where would be going tonight to celebrate?

I still couldn’t believe that today is already the last day of year 2013. That’s very quick. It happened like a glimpse of an eye that another year is over. 2013 had been an ordinary year for me, nothing fancy or extra unique, but I do accomplished several goals (like saving to a certain amount of money, going all smooth and done on time in my job, and some more which I prefer to keep it to myself…won’t be revealing too much of my private matters, right? haha) this year. I think I’m going to set few new goals or so called resolutions as famously known as at end of a year (won’t mention here too) for 2014, and I’m looking forward to that. Wish me luck and all the best!

And last but not least, I am happy to inform that this blog post is surprisingly the 1300th post of my blog. What a way to end the year; finishing year 2013 with 1300 posts in total. Double ’13’. By the way, let’s enjoy the last day of the year and get ready for the countdown and fun tonight!

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In remembrance of the late Hong Kong superstar, Anita Mui (1963 – 2003)

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

Year 2003 was a tragic year for Hong Kong not only due to the SARS outbreak but also in entertainment industry when two of the very iconic stars, Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui died in that particular year. This year, on April 1st, a tribute and a memorial concert was made to mark the 10th anniversary of Leslie’s death. Now, on 30th December, the same would be organized in memory of Anita Mui Yim-fong (10 October 1963 – 30 December 2003), as she had left us exactly a decade ago.

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‘Anita Mui’ is a familiar name to all Chinese. Before she turned into a highly successful singer and actress, she experienced much hardship in her childhood and had to entered show business at the age of 4 to support her family. She then joined the first New Talent Singing Championship in 1982 and won the first place, hence starting out her route to success and fame. In subsequent years, popular for her distinctive voice, she won huge number of awards including Best Female Singer award consecutively from 1985 to 1989 and Gold Song Gold Award in 1989 for the song ‘Sunset Melody’ which became one of her signature songs throughout her career. She had released over 30 albums and organized nearly 300 live concerts, and reached peak of her singing career to the point that she is recognized as the ‘Madonna of the East’ in the West, Cantopop diva and queen particularly in 1980s.

At the age of 28, she stepped down from the industry to make way for newcomers and she had mentored several of them, most notably, Andy Hui, Denise Ho, Edmond Leung, and the band ‘Grasshopper’. She returned from retirement in 1994, and in 1998 at the age of only 35, she was awarded RTHK Golden Needle Award, being one of the youngest recipients of the lifetime achievement award. Besides singing, she had also starred in over 40 films in 20 years of her acting career. She was known to portray all kind of roles from comedy to tragedy with immense effort and her hard work won her Best Actress at the Golden Horse Awards, Asia Pacific Film Festival and also in Hong Kong Film Awards for her role in film ‘Rouge’. This made her the first Hong Kong music queen to be equally rightful to be known as film queen. Her other notable films are A Better Tomorrow 3, The Top Bet, Justice My Foot, Fight Back To School 3, The Heroic Trio, Wu Yen, and July Rhapsody (her last film).

She was also actively involved in charitable works. She had established ‘Anita Mui True Heart Charity Foundation’, a nursing home in San Francisco, a fund-raising concert for SARS-affected families, etc. Her tremendous contribution to the entertainment industry and also in charity made her to become one of the most loved stars and her death in 30th December 2003 was a very heartbreaking news to all. She died from cervical cancer at the age of 40, and before she left, she organized a series of immensely touching farewell concerts to say goodbye to her fans on stage. Her funeral in January 2004 was attended by many celebrities and thousands of fans.

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She was most famous particularly in 1980s, at the time when I do not even exist yet. However, even younger generations knew her well, a proof of her fame that never fades even to this day, a decade after her death. She remained as one of the most prolific icons from Hong Kong. On the other hand, tonight, there will be a memorial concert organized by her close friends, Jacky Cheung and Eric Tsang in honour of her legacy. Anita Mui (1963 – 2003) will be forever remembered.

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UPDATE – I had just watched the two and a half hour live broadcast from Hong Kong of a tribute programme and a memorial concert (mentioned in previous paragraph) to the late Anita Mui. Very touching and a great effort. They made it a great emotional ‘surprise’ party to her as everyone do remember Anita till this day. I am glad to find huge number of very popular celebrities (Eric Tsang, Jackie Chan, Andy Lau, Jacky Cheung, Aaron Kwok, Maggie Cheung, Sammi Cheng, Anita Yuen, Tony Leung, Carina Lau, Miriam Yeung, Andy Hui, Edmund Leong, Denise Ho, Sandy Lam, A-Mei, George Lam, Alex To, etc) going up on stage to sing or to deliver heartfelt speech. A very meaningful memorial concert to Anita Mui. I also like the short front programme before the concert when they show bits of Anita’s popular songs, her background, her time on winning awards, her scenes in some films, etc.

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

In Malaysia, we do have X’mas atmosphere too! Merry Christmas!

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2013 by vincentloy

I am living in Malaysia, a country with tropical climate of which the four seasons don’t exist. I can say it’s good but we will never have the opportunity to enjoy winter or get a chance to play with real snow here (unless you are in the Snow World theme park at Genting Highlands). However, I’m lucky enough to have gone to other countries to experience what is it like to be in winter season. It is fun if that is only for a few days and not for long. Back to here, I have to say that Christmas celebration in Malaysia will never be awesome cool or ‘complete’.

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To compensate that and to further add joyous festive mood on this Xmas season in Malaysia at the end of the year, we have major shopping malls particularly in Kuala Lumpur beautifully decorated annually for this festival. Our malls here tend to willingly spend a lot on this not only as a mean of celebration but also most importantly is to boost their image and to attract more visitors to come and shop. And one of the most striking shall be none other than the Christmas decorations in Pavilion KL. It never disappoints me every year. I had been there last week, and here are some of the photos I took.

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My two baby nephews enjoyed it. At this time of the year, the main entrance and the central atrium of the mall will be ‘permanently’ crowded with visitors taking pictures and fascinated by the wonderful Christmas decorations and set-ups. Pavilion KL had the theme ‘Christmas Wonders’ this year. Well, there many other shopping malls that you can visit to check out their amazing Xmas decorations too in different themes like Sunway Pyramid, Mid Valley, Suria KLCC, Berjaya Times Square, etc. Not long after, all that will have to be replaced with Chinese New Year decorations.

It’s going to be Christmas Day soon, and hence I take this opportunity to send my early Christmas greeting to all who are celebrating this spectacular occasion! Have a wonderful Christmas and happy holiday!

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Also not to forget that there is actually a Chinese festival today before the Christmas. It’s the Winter Solstice or known as ‘Dongzhi Festival’ among the Chinese. Happy Winter Solstice too!

Then, new year celebration would be just around the corner!

TVB 46th Anniversary Awards 2013; Highlight and Result.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2013 by vincentloy

The annual Hong Kong’s TVB Awards Presentation 2013 (萬千星輝頒獎典禮2013) just concluded few minutes ago. It is a two and a half hour star-studded awards show attended by almost all nominees and invited guests. Held on 16 December 2013 in TVB City from 8.00pm to 10.30pm and hosted by Carol Cheng and Amigo Chui (as usual every year), the awards recognize and honour the best of TVB programming and series for this current year that will be ending very soon.

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Here below is the winner list of TVB 46th Anniversary Awards 2013, together with my brief comments to each categories:

Most Improved TV Male Artiste: Vincent Wong (Friendly Fire, Season of Love, Sergeant Tabloid, A Change of Heart, Will Power)

Comment: Vincent Wong deserved this award. He delivered very impressive performance, thanks to his seniors who had been slapping him so many times in two series that brought him to this fame and eventually this award (Damian Lau in Silver Spoons, Sterling Shackles last year and Susan Tse in Will Power this year).

Most Improved TV Female Artiste: Eliza Sam (Inbound Troubles, Triumph in the Skies II, Sniper Standoff, The Hippocratic Crush II)

Comment: Already knew it’s time for Eliza. At first, I don’t think she deserved, but after watching her latest performance in The Hippocratic Crush II, I do see that she really improves. The series’ episode 27 and 28 are totally the time for her to shine and she did it well. Now, she is deserving and successfully got it. But she is too much of being heavily promoted. Slow it down.

Best Supporting Actor: Benz Hui (Bounty Lady)

Comment: A very unexpected and surprising result. I expected Him Law to win it, since he did amazing performance in The Hippocratic Crush II as ‘Yeung Chung’ and it is his breakthrough role to date too. Nevertheless, Benz’s hilarious role in Bounty Lady got me entertained but not really to the point of impressing me.

Best Supporting Actress: Elena Kong (Triumph in the Skies II)

Comment: This is the result everyone will be satisfied. Elena 100% deserved it. She had very impressive acting skill and she shined in every characters from third wife in Silver Spoons, Sterling Shackles last year to Head Zhe in Triumph in the Skies II and most recently as Yuen Sam in Bounty Lady. A very professional and talented actress. She had the potential to climb up to best actress category soon.

Best Informative Programme: Pilgrimage of Wealth II

Comment: Didn’t watch it. So nothing to comment. I think this is something about journey around Asia and how it inspires our life.

Best Variety Programme: Three Amigos Bon Voyage 

Comment: Didn’t watch it. So nothing to comment. But it’s quite interesting to see that this programme had three veteran actors travelling around Europe.

Best Programme Host: Tony Hung & Priscilla Wong (Pilgrimage of Wealth II)

Comment: Didn’t watch it. So nothing to comment. But both of them make a good couple as host.

Most Favourite TV Male Character: Julian Cheung as Captain Cool (Triumph in the Skies II)

Comment: Expected. His cool character as pilot Captain Jayden is everyone’s favourite and obviously super popular. No need to further explain. But I don’t really like the character that much, maybe because I am not a girl.

Most Favourite TV Female Character: Krystal Tin as Yiu Man-ying (Brother’s Keeper)

Comment: Happy that Krystal win this. Yiu Man-ying is a very likeable character and Krystal’s good portrayal to it is an extra point. I love this character. It’s a rough, shrewish, straightforward but nice character. A very interesting character.

Best Leading Actor: Dayo Wong (Bounty Lady)

Comment: Another shocking result. Bounty Lady has not even finish airing and Dayo himself is not present. His acting is no doubt solid but I prefer it to be handed over to others, particularly Francis Ng or Ruco Chan. Anyway, Dayo is a top-notch actor and he did well as usual in Bounty Lady, another one of his comedy productions.

Best Leading Actress: Krystal Tin (Brother’s Keeper)

Comment: Very happy that she wins best actress. Sorry, Linda. You didn’t had any outstanding role this year. Your time for this award will come very soon. Krystal portrayed her character so well and she totally deserved this award. Her acting is certainly highly-acclaimed.

Best Series: Triumph in the Skies II

Comment: Quite predictable that this sequel drama won since it is the highest rated and most popular series of the year. But I’m dissatisfied when they don’t even announce the top 3 or top 5 like they used to do in previous years. But to be honest, to compare the quality of series, Brother’s Keeper stands at a slightly higher position.

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Generally, the awards show this year is quite hilarious with awards’ nominees, recipients, presenters and hosts frequently making funny remarks. I also do agree with the 50% voting by public and 50% voting by professional judges for best actor, actress and series categories and 100% public voting for most favourite TV male and female characters awards. However, there are few things I am displeased; the organizer kept on forcing and limiting people to end or to cut short their words as usual every year, lack of highly prolific figures to present awards (at least last year we had Deanie Ip and Miriam Yeung, this year we only had Anthony Wong), and artists kept on thanking the TVB high executives to the point I can remember all their names (Tommy, Sandy, Virginia, etc) and I think they were also sick of their names being thanked so many times but lacked of sincerity. Overall, the result this year is quite satisfying except for some categories with surprising winners. And I’m surprised to see that Francis Ng did come to join the show despite empty-handed in the end.

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I can’t remember the names of the 5 winners of professionalism awards, but these are all awarded to those who had been acting for decades in TVB and pretty much deserving for it. Same goes to the Lifetime Achievement Award. That’s it. Looking forward to TVB 47th Anniversary Awards 2014 next year.

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

Drama review: The Hippocratic Crush II (2013)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2013 by vincentloy

The Hippocratic Crush II (On Call 36小時 II) is a 30-episodes medical-themed drama and is a sequel to the successful series of the same name last year. It is also one of the two anniversary series this year, the other being the Will Power of which I didn’t watch that. Its predecessor last year was an unexpectedly successful series that rejuvenates medical theme implementation in drama after Healing Hands many years ago and saw the series winning several number of awards. Hence, I’m looking forward to its sequel now, but in the end, I am quite disappointed.

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I’m happy that most of the original casts (Kenneth Ma, Tavia Yeung, Mandy Wong, Him Law, Benjamin Yuen, etc) returned to this sequel but the huge addition of new casts (Lawrence Ng, Koo Ming Wah, Sherna So, Eliza Sam, Tracy Chu, etc) made things worse. I don’t mind if you add only a few new characters for something refreshing but not this much which significantly reduced screen-time for the original casts that we had interest into. Now, it’s like mixing too much of things into one bowl and I couldn’t really taste well on each ingredients. The pointless cafe setting, excessive unnecessary scenes with annoying Yannis character, and several other stuff worsen the situation.

The story follows from the original series with now the favourite on-screen couple, Kenneth and Tavia now married. People wanted to see more from them and also from Benjamin and Mandy pairing, but what offered mostly now involves the new circle (pathology department, Lawrence and his gang) which is very non-engaging and boring. Their side story basically dragged the whole show and leaving it not as inspiring as its predecessor. I find it very hard to pay attention to the series when they appeared. Even now, the group of former housemen whom now promoted to junior trainees were all ignored and put aside, only appearing in few short meaningless scenes. Very disappointed. The production team made several wrong decisions that got this sequel failed in quite a number of aspects. And I can’t feel any tension in most of the operation scenes which are supposed to be heart-stopping moments.

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The series started off very dramatic and exciting with a brilliant and promising first episode. Then, it goes downhill as it develops with nothing meaningful, touching, nor that interesting going on compared to the first series. It’s like nothing is happening. Luckily, things turned better back when it reached episode 27 onwards, but that was almost reaching the finale already. Particularly, Episode 27 and 28 involving death of Che Che character are the most touching and saddest episodes not only of this series but also of all that I have seen in recent years. Honestly, it got my tears out. Very touching and heartbreaking. Awesome, but that is only for one or two episodes. The ending (two finale episodes) was just ordinary and nothing impressive or outstanding. Dr. Cheung’s accident was too fast. Nevertheless, the series still had a good and meaningful conclusion and a happy ending.

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The casts delivered strong performance including the newbies, particularly Tracy Chu and Eliza Sam. Him Law did a great job on his crying scenes and I think this is his breakthrough role to date as ‘Yeung Chung’. Kenneth’s role diminishes while Tavia maintains her form. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Hippocratic Crush II’ a total of 7.0 only, a mark much lower than expected, and much lower that its successful predecessor (I think I gave 8 points and above to the first one). This sequel just didn’t work out well. I felt boring in most episodes, and it is not that exciting, interesting, appealing nor inspiring like the first one. They are just not good in making sequels. Fortunately, it had a nice theme song named ‘Sequel’ and is also sang by Joey Yung.

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

Movie review: The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2013 by vincentloy

‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ is the second instalment of a three-part film franchise of ‘The Hobbit’ of which the story took place sixty years before the events in the highly successful ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. Directed by Peter Jackson, it first started with ‘An Unexpected Journey’ in 2012. Quite a great start and we caught a glimpse of the terrifying Smaug dragon that took over the Lonely Mountain from the dwarves kingdom in the last few seconds of the film.

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Now, in ‘The Desolation of Smaug’, we finally got to see the full mighty appearance of the dragon and it’s even talking, but that is all only shown in the last quarter of the film. So you (especially for kids) have to wait a bit long for it. The story continues from the group of dwarves led by Thorin, the King along with the hobbit (burglar), Bilbo Baggins and the wizard, Gandalf the Grey in the dangerous adventure as their homeland, Lonely Mountain is getting near. What I’m looking forward from it is basically how exciting the adventure can turn out to be and where it leads to, and in the end, I’m quite pleased with the amount of actions and thrills offered.

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From the Mirkwood Forest, then to the Elf Kingdom, and then down a river to Lake-town before finally reaching Gale and the Lonely Mountain, the group frequently faced different obstacles (giant spiders, imprisonment by Elves, attack by Orcs, etc) from one setting to another, which ends with Smaug itself that awaken in the pile of countless treasures. However, I still find that the movie is excessively long and boring in between here and there, where I find that some parts with not much significance can be removed. Fortunately, there are still some funny light moments to get us entertained in the midst of the part intense, part boring journey they had. Nevertheless, the storyline goes well and we got to see the return of Legolas, master of bow and arrows.

This is a big-budget production and so the visual effects and musical score offered are excellent as expected. There are several breathtaking scenes involving state-of-the-art CGI, and of course the dragon itself looks very realistic. As for performance by the casts, everyone contributed fairly. New characters added actions and interest to the show too, particularly Bard, Tauriel and Legolas. Thorin is a bit bad here for forcing Bilbo to get the Arkenstone despite knowing Smaug is nearby. And on the other hand, I find it illogical and weird to see that the fierce dragon talking to Bilbo for such a long time and entertaining him pointlessly. However, I like the part Bilbo tries to keep glorifying the dragon to calm it down.

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In the end, the group of dwarves whom successfully entered the Lonely Mountain failed to contain and kill Smaug, which stumbles out of it and looking forward to wreak havoc to the nearby Lake-town before screen fades to black. What an ending. This makes me very eager to follow up with its finale next year; ‘There and Back Again’. Generally, this is a good adventure movie with a lot of story to tell but a bit of excessively long (taking over 2 hours and 30 minutes), which nevertheless delivered with astonishing visuals and some exciting scenes. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ a total of 7.0. It still falls slightly below my expectation.

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

20th anniversary of Highland Tower collapse.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2013 by vincentloy

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the infamous collapse of Highland Tower, one of the three apartment blocks in Taman Hillview, Ulu Klang, Selangor. The collapse which occurred on 11th December 1993 is the worst structural disaster in Malaysia that claimed 48 lives and had been in a shocking memory to most Malaysians even until these days; two decades after the tragedy.

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There are several events or causes that led to the structural failure of the 12-storeys apartment building. Before the tower’s construction, there was a small stream of water running directly behind the site and a piping system was constructed to divert it to bypass the three towers. Not long after, there was a new housing development on hilltop behind the towers that contributed to land-clearing, hence putting high risk to land erosion and landslides. Water from this new construction site overloaded the existing pipe system and the heavy monsoon rainfall at the end of the year worsened the situation.

Shortly after, excessive water in the area caused landslip and destroyed the constructed retaining wall. The foundations snapped, and the most unfortunate tragedy finally occurred, when the whole Block 1 collapsed to the ground (it leant and fell off to one side) at 1.35 pm, 11 December 1993. A huge number of rescue teams including those from overseas came to assistance, and in the end, and only three people were pulled out alive from the rubble (one was later pronounced dead in hospital). 48 innocent lives were lost, including the son of former Deputy Prime Minister, Tun Musa Hitam.

I was only two years old when the tragedy occurred, hence not knowing anything that time. In my past several trips to Genting Highlands, I was always reminded by my parents of this tragedy as the site could be seen from the highway leading to Genting Highlands. But till now, I still couldn’t find exactly where the site is where the two remaining apartment blocks are still standing. However, both were abandoned and overwhelmed by jungle (undergrowth). Instead, now the site has been a popular source of haunted stories. Curious people or those in paranormal investigation whom have had visited the area generally responded that it was really eerie, cold and spooky there. I have not been there before and I personally don’t like that kind of feeling.

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Learning from this tragedy, I do hope that nothing like this will occur again. As I myself is involved in architecture and construction, I do think that it is very important for our country’s building construction and planning to be done in much proper and in non-careless way to prevent such thing to happen in the future. On the other hand, recently, there is a local horror film released which is based on the paranormal encounters (fictional) in the remaining blocks. I won’t watch it, because it is local production. I think you understand what I mean.

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