Archive for January, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year! Wishing you the best in this Year of Horse.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2014 by vincentloy

Happy Chinese New Year! I’m taking this opportunity to wish to myself, my family, my relatives, my friends, my neighbours and to whoever celebrating it a wonderful and prosperous new lunar year! May this Year of Horse brings perfect health, joy, happiness, prosperity and luck to all of us! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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It’s the time of the year again to visit relatives, friends or neighbours, exchanging gifts and getting angpows (red packets), eat a lot of new year biscuits and mandarin oranges, family reunion, going back hometown, play fireworks or firecrackers, having small gambles, tossing ‘yee-sang’ (traditional CNY food serving), out for Chinese New Year movies, and wear beautiful new clothes. Just put aside school or job matters, forget about it, and have fun on this wonderful new year celebration. Enjoy the festival with all that fun CNY practices to do and happy holiday!

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For me, I have been celebrating Chinese New Year (or commonly known as Spring Festival in China) in my own way, quite different from the most others. As usual on this period of time annually, I would be flying oversea for a family trip. And this year, we will be heading to Yunnan, China. But the trip this time only commenced tomorrow, and hence, it has been quite some time ago since I last spending the first day of CNY still in Malaysia. And for that reason, I will be not available to update my blog here from tomorrow onwards till 9th February as I will be away enjoying my vacation. Once I’m back, I will update my blog with a post of my trip as expected every year. Will be plenty of beautiful photos from the trip soon.

CNY mood all around! Have a blast and a joyful CNY celebration! Goodbye to Year of Snake, and see you twelve years later. Now is Year of Horse! Happy Chinese New Year once again, and Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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

CNY Eve already! And my holiday begins…

Posted in Interesting Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2014 by vincentloy

Oh no…not in a good condition as soon as I wake up in this morning on the day of Chinese New Year’s Eve. My throat is not feeling well! I haven’t even eat a lot of CNY biscuits, and now my throat isn’t comfortable already. Not good. Not good. Tomorrow comes the Chinese’s biggest festival, and the day after, I’m going on a trip. Hope everything would be fine by tomorrow. Luckily, the leave I took from my work began today and I had time for a bit of rest and also for…

… My room’s cleaning. Since it is the traditional belief of prohibiting the Chinese from cleaning up their houses on the first day of lunar new year, the last-minute task has to be done today. My room is small, but still, I spent several hours cleaning it alone. Those things I have not touched for a long time had been in very dusty conditions, and I managed to throw off a lot of unused stuff, which all ended up in four rubbish bags. Now my room is neat and clean, ready to usher in the lunar new year. I also managed to put up a bit of CNY decorations in my room, just to bring up the festive atmosphere.

Well, today is already the Chinese New Year’s Eve. And it’s a very nice sunny day. Time to say goodbye to the year of snake, and welcome to the year of horse. Me, who is born in year of goat would be doing quite great this year according to Chinese’s horoscope forecast. Hope it will be. Have you reach your hometown yet in time to gather for family reunion dinner tonight? Or are you still stuck in traffic congestion while on the way? Stay calm, and drive safely! Wishing everyone a safe trip! For me, I already had early reunion dinner together with yee-sang’s tossing last week. Hence, tonight, we are going to go for normal dinner only. Even this is a hard task to us as most of the shops and restaurants out there are closed already.

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February is on its way too. The blog’s header stays as it is (as seen above and also at top of my blog’s page) for another 15 days till the CNY celebration ends. Once the festival is over and when I’m back from my family trip, it would be almost middle of the month already, and then only it’s time to put up a new blog’s header. Would like to wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year and Happy Holiday! Gong Xi Fa Cai! Expected to hear a lot of ‘bang’ or ‘boom’ noise tonight as fireworks lit up the sky everywhere including my neighbourhood to welcome the lunar new year of horse! Okay…time to pack my luggage. Bye…

Movie review: The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2014 by vincentloy

‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’ is a film directed by acclaimed director, Martin Scorsese, and is based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government. There are three reasons to persuade me to watch this;

a) it received very positive reviews from critics and audiences. Even many of my Facebook friends are recommending this.

b) it starred Leonardo di Caprio, one of my favourite male actors, and I have not seen him in movies for quite some time.

b) it has won Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Leonardo di Caprio at Golden Globes 2014, and obtained huge number of nominations in the current awards season, including at the upcoming Academy Awards, hence cementing its quality.

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It is banned in my country because of the excessive depiction of sex, drugs and vulgarity in the movie, and that my country is very sensitive on this particular. But I had my way to watch it too. And I’m shocked that this film took 3 hours. A movie this long would obviously have a very solid and properly-developed story. This is a good point for the movie. Nothing lacks, sufficient character’s development and substantial plot to drive the story along that centred on the life of a stockbroker, Jordan Belfort. But I really find it is too long and not engaging enough, and not much drama going on in between besides than those sex, drug and ‘f’words.

The highlight of the movie must be on Leonardo di Caprio, portraying as Jordan Belfort. He brought in stellar performance and I can see he put in so much effort and energy to carry out his highly dynamic role here very well. He nailed it. Congratulations to him on winning the Best Actor at the recent Golden Globes. Hope on Oscar? Too bad, more are eyeing on Matthew Mcconaughey for the Best Leading Actor in the coming Academy Awards from his performance in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’. Nevertheless, nobody will doubt Leo’s acting especially after watching this movie.

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The supporting casts also did fairly well. Most of them just went ‘crazy’ (that’s what needed from their roles in the stockbroker office). Yup, this movie is good, but I just don’t feel that this is extraordinary, excellent or something that I can say ‘best’. It’s light, entertaining, having a good screenplay, and most of all, the presence of a versatile brilliant actor, Leo. But it just didn’t get to me enough. And I find the excessive portrayal of sex and drug in this film are unnecessary. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’ a total of 7.1. And do you know that this film is noted for being the drama film with the word ‘fuck’ said the most in cinematic history. In every short dialogues, I can hear at least one or two of that ‘f’ word. Quite a controversial black comedy film.

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

10 highest grossing films in 2013, and ‘Iron Man 3’ topped the list.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2014 by vincentloy

I think there are few more movies last year that I wished to watch before moving on with many anticipated films to be released this year. Now, let us see which movies of 2013 gained the most in box-office.

‘Iron Man 3’ which is said could be the last instalment in ‘Iron Man’ stand-alone superhero film franchise generated massive popularity, and hence pulling in 1.215 billion dollar, making it the highest grossing film of the year 2013, and overall, the 5th highest grossing film of all-time. This is not surprising, as superhero movies recently proven to be very successful and appealing to movie-goers. It is also the 16th film to pass the 1-billion dollar mark, and it is the only film released in 2013 that successfully reached the milestone. But I don’t really like this movie that much compared to some other notable superhero movies. Anyway, congratulation to ‘Iron Man 3’ for becoming the champion in box-office last year.

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(Image source: http://ultra8bit.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/iron_man_3_movie-wide.jpg)

Here below is the complete list of the…

Top 10 highest grossing films in 2013:

1. Iron Man 3 – 1.215 billion.

2. Despicable Me 2 – 0.954 billion.

3. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – 0.854 billion. *

4. The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug – 0.835 billion. *

5. Fast And Furious 6 – 0.788 billion.

6. Frozen – 0.767 billion. * (reached 1.112 billion as of April 2014, jumped to second place)

7. Monsters University – 0.743 billion.

8. Gravity – 0.677 billion.

9. Man Of Steel – 0.668 billion.

10. Thor: The Dark World – 0.632 billion.

(Note: The film with the star indication in the end indicates that it is still running in theatres worldwide and its total gross will increase.)

Ahh, I watched all the movies in this top 10 list. Looking from this list, it appears that superhero movies remain the favourites (3 is in top 10). Animated movies are also highly popular last year with 3 making the list too. Last but not least, we saw also that sequels (which are usually produced due to the success of their predecessors) effectively gained interest of movie-goers again as 7 in this top 10 list are sequels. As of now, the top 6 films in this list made it to the top 50 grossing films of all-time. And out of these top 10 films, the one that had my highest rating would be ‘Gravity’ starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney which is also the hot favourite in the upcoming BAFTA and Academy Awards where it received huge number of nominations. On the other hand, the original 1993’s ‘Jurassic Park’ is re-released in 3D last year in conjunction with its 20th anniversary, and that made it to become the 17th film to cross the 1-billion mark with final grossing of 1.029 billion. Couldn’t believe this classic movie has been 20 years old already.

For 2014, movies that I think could stand a high chance to enter this top 10 list for its year are ‘The Lego Movie’, ‘Robocop’, ‘300: Rise Of An Empire’, ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’, ‘Rio 2’, ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’, ‘Godzilla’, ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’, ‘Maleficent’, ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2’, ‘Transformers: Age Of Extinction’, ‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’, ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’, ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’, ‘The Hobbit: There And Back Again’. I already listed 15 potential movies that will score big in box office this year and these are also the ones that I’m looking forward to watch this year.

Super Series Premier Maybank Malaysia Open 2014; host nation scored 2 wins.

Posted in Explosive News and Results on January 20, 2014 by vincentloy

It has been quite a while since I last watched a badminton match. Finally, I watched one yesterday on a boring Sunday; the final of Maybank Malaysia Open 2014. This year had just begins, and that marks the commencement of various super series badminton tournaments around the world. Maybank Malaysia Open 2014 is one of them in early year, and now, the tournament has been upgraded for the first time to ‘premier’ edition due to increased prize money to be rewarded to winners.

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(Image source: http://www.maybank2u.com.my/WebBank/mmo090114_home.jpg)

Chen Long from China has been on his top form recently, replacing Lin Dan as the best men single player from China, the country that found excellence in this particular sport. I think Lin Dan is now in semi-retirement mode. Right? Hence, Chen Long now poses high risk to our national hero, Dato’ Lee Chong Wei. However, in the just ended Maybank Malaysia Open 2014, he lost in the early round. I think he is ill. And so, there shouldn’t be any major problem for Chong Wei to clinch his record-breaking 10th Malaysia Open title, and he did it, expectedly.

On his first game against Tony Sugiarto from Indonesia in men single final, he appeared to have reserve a bit of his energy and not pulling in his great action yet, hence staying behind his opponent in points. However, as the result nears 21, he strikes back and win the first game. He then contributed solid performance and won the second game (straight) easily with his strong smash and attacking skills. Winning over RM 100, 000 with awards presented by Prime Minister and his wife, he informed that this may be his last outing in Malaysia Open to make way for other players to shine.

However, the most surprising and joyful news must be the win in men doubles event by our local players too. Great! Who? Not Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong anymore. Their continuous downhill performance had pushed our badminton organization to drop them off in future games. The pair that won yesterday is Lim Khim Wah and Goh V Shem. As junior players, they considered to have put on a great game in the final yesterday against also young players from China. This is their first appearance in final and they won it. Must be a great early ‘angpow’ for them since Chinese New Year is drawing close.They won in two straight games too, and unbelievably, they are quite far behind in points on the second game but then managed to stay focused and led back before winning it after.

Hope that they will continue to improve in future international badminton championships. That’s a great news and a sign of hope for Malaysia at the time when the country is in serious need of young talented badminton players to replace our former badminton stars; Wong Choon Hann retired, Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong had been very bad already, Wong Mew Choo married to Chong Wei whom is planning to retire soon too. But right now, there seems to be no replacement for Chong Wei yet. And wait, no girls?

Two weeks to go to my CNY 2014 trip to China

Posted in Interesting Encounters on January 18, 2014 by vincentloy

Yes. Let the countdown begins. It is now only two more weeks to go before the Chinese New Year, and most importantly, before my annual CNY family trip to oversea. This year, the country we selected is China (my dad’s favourite), and the place we would be heading to is Yunnan, famously known as the Shangri-La. We have purchased the trip during our visit to MATTA Fair few months ago on which every travel companies usually offered trips at lower price. Finally, the trip is now just around the corner after we have waited so long.

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This coming trip costs us RM4500+ per pax. Even trip to China nowadays costs so much already. And four of us would be going on this trip beginning on the second day of Chinese New Year on 1st February 2014. Hence, we are still here in Malaysia on the first day of CNY. We have long not been at home on first day of CNY every year. This time, I think we will spend the day watching movie, visiting some relatives, getting some angpows first, and do last-minute preparation for the trip. This trip will takes 8 days and 7 nights, and we would be flying by AirAsia. I prefer Malaysia Airlines due to bigger space, better service and comfy airport, but too bad, our travel agency only had AirAsia for us. It’s okay since the flight would be only taking about 4 hours. Not that long.

This would be my third time visiting China. The first time was in 2006, when we went to Hong Kong and Shenzhen. That was actually my first time boarding a plane too. The second time was in 2009, when we head to Beijing, a year after the 2008 Olympics. Since my dad missed China so much (I also don’t know why) and it has already been five years since we last visited the country, we were all agreed to return to China this year. And as for our previous trips in the past year of which we usually went to mostly built places (all man-made stuff and built environment), this time we opt for different experience. We seek natural beauty now.

Yunnan is famous for being a place wonderful in nature, thus giving its nickname as the Shangri-La. Eventhough the beauty of the place may not be the best in winter (the current season), but we have no other choice as my dad can only be free this long during the Chinese New year break for a trip. This trip will provides us a getaway from the hustle and bustle of city’s life, and relaxes our mind with the picturesque nature Yunnan can offer. It is not a famous mega-city, but a place quite secluded, untouched or unharmed by the negative effect of rapid globalization nowadays. According to the itinerary provided to us, we would be visiting mostly natural wonders like forest, caves, lake, national park, mountains, river and valley. Other additional places including the Dinosaur Valley (a museum of dinosaur’s fossils), ancient town and streets, monastery and temple. The picture below shows a sight we would see hopefully on this coming trip:

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Few days later, I think I’m going to start preparing to pack for the trip. And also time to apply for a number of annual leave. Hmm…CNY mood is here. Holiday mood is here. My mind flies to China already. Now, I’m a bit worried of some things associated with China, like the very filthy and smelly toilets, rude behaviour of the locals, and huge number of people crowding tourist’s destinations, thus making it very hard to take photograph and to enjoy the places. I also had a bit of concern of the freezing temperature there (it’s winter now), but wait, maybe I can see snowfall again. Nevertheless, I’m still looking forward to this trip which will commence in a fortnight.

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

TVB drama review: Coffee Cat Mama

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2014 by vincentloy

‘貓屎媽媽’ (Coffee Cat Mama) is a TVB series that started airing mid of December 2013 right after the end-year TVB Anniversary Awards. I already knew not to expect anything from series that is put into this slot, which is usually not getting attention from viewers at this period of time when holiday season overwhelms. And it is the usual practice of TVB to put in low-budget short production on early year’s slot. But since I have nothing to watch, and ‘Coffee Cat Mama’ had only 20 episodes and appears to be a light drama, I had it to kill my time.

貓屎媽媽

The series which starred Michelle Yim, Nancy Wu, Bosco Wong, Eliza Sam, Koo Ming Wah, Vincent Wong, Mimi Chu, etc revolves on a coffee shop named ‘Mr. and Mrs. Bean’ run by Grace with her biological mom, Marcia and her stepmom, So Mei, her friends and particularly her new found love, Bao Chi Tai. The characters eventually encountered issues like indecisive problem, conflict between biological mom and stepmom, friendship, huge gap between mother and daughters, responsibility, workaholic attitude, etc.

Since I had not much expectation, hence I didn’t get any disappointment from this series. The story just develops smooth and steady, and all I was thinking is to get it done till its final episode aired yesterday. The series first started out to be quite refreshing, especially when I have not seen Bosco and Michelle for quite a while in drama. But then, despite there are quite a number of hilarious scenes (especially the scene where Vincent kissed Mimi Chu while he was drunk, mistaken her as Nancy) to give us a good laugh, the story still develops in quite a boring pace. But it is still not that bad and is in acceptable situation. The drama tells us quite a number of coffee knowledge, as it stays to the series’ theme.

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Koo Ming Wah is getting popular nowadays after winning ‘Best Supporting Actor’ not long ago. He is cast into any supporting roles easily and gaining more screen-time. Well, his role is very bad and appears useless in ‘The Hippocratic Crush II’, but not for this one. He had a very interesting role here which is quite substantial to pull the story along. As for Eliza Sam, I thought that she is improving after watching her performance in ‘The Hippocratic Crush II’ that pushes her to win ‘Most Improved TV Female Artiste’ last year. But then I was wrong. She is getting back to her poor form in this drama. Her acting is still not up to the level, and I prefer her to stay back to just supporting role first. She still couldn’t handle major role. Even her younger sister in this drama acted better.

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Other casts generally contributed solid performance. I also do like the scenes between Vincent and Nancy that had Leslie Cheung’s song playing in the background as the late star had been a very important part of their relationship in this drama. The final episode yesterday shown a happy ending. That’s not a surprise. Generally, this series is worth to kill your time off, and is still a good piece of entertainment. Just that there is not enough excitement or excellent substance going on. Don’t expect much from this light-hearted production and you will have a fine time watching it. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Coffee Cat Mama’ a total of 6.6. And by the way, this series has a very awkward name when translated to English.

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