Archive for December, 2014

Through the last day of the year with sorrow, for Malaysian flood victims and QZ8501.

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

This is it. Today is already the last day of the year. Perhaps, we are currently not in the mood to celebrate the arrival of a new year this time as our country is once again felt into trouble. In March this year, our plane MH370 disappeared without any trace or clue till now, and then in July, our plane MH17 was shot down. Now, our country made headlines in global news again from the current flood tragedy which is the worst in the nation’s history.

Flood situation worsens in north-east Malaysia

The flood that started many days ago had affected majority of the states in Peninsular Malaysia, particularly from north east region of West Malaysia. There was a point of time when the flood water rises over second floor of buildings situated on low-lying land. More than 200 000 people are evacuated and left homeless. Till now, there are about nine deaths reported from the flood which is said to be the worst the country has ever witnessed. Fortunately, our country stand united to contribute all sort of assistance to the flood victims currently, and things can still considered to be in control. However, more works are expected after the water recedes to rebuild homes and bring back normal lives to the affected people. Now, I do hope that the flood will be over really soon.

Our emotion could not be made worse after receiving news of another plane disappearing on last Sunday’s morning. That is an AirAsia Indonesia plane labelled QZ8501, en-route from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore with 162 people on board. We do frequently catch up and hope for miracle from this disappearance as the plane is owned by Malaysia-based low-budget airline; AirAsia. We are somehow related to this aviation disaster too. And now we were updated with more heartbreaking news that the plane is confirmed to have crashed into Java Sea and the crash site has been determined when bodies and debris were located from yesterday onwards. It’s certainly painful to accept this, even for us, who have no family member or relative on board that ill-fated flight. I hereby express my deepest condolences to the next-of-kin of all the people on board the plane. R.I.P. QZ8501.

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What I am capable of doing now is just to hope for a much positive year ahead. 2014 is seriously been a very bad year particularly on aviation disasters. Five in a single year, with two and a half (considered that AirAsia incident as half) of them involving my country, Malaysia. How sad and tragic it is. I also sincerely wish that everything for MH370, MH17 and QZ8501 will be resolved very soon to leave no question unanswered for justice to all. I hope 2015 would be the year for all that to be solved with no more delays.

It’s the New Year’s Eve today. Time to say goodbye to 2014. What’s my new year resolution? I do have some challenging objectives on my mind for the year 2015; go for active exercising, finish a puzzle I bought like a year ago, commence my post-graduate Master study (preferably oversea), reached a certain amount of saving, find a girlfriend (haha…depends on fate), etc. Hope I can deal with all that smoothly. Time to list down your new year’s resolution too, so that you can start year 2015 brightly like me with aims and goals ahead!

blank list of resolutions on blackboard

Hmm…still couldn’t believe that there is now only few hours left to bid farewell to 2014. It’s been very fast and sad year for Malaysia. Looking forward to much better year ahead, and that’s you; 2015!

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

My blog’s statistics for the year 2014.

Posted in Explosive News and Results on December 30, 2014 by vincentloy

As the year 2014 is reaching its last few days, I would like to publish a post revealing how my blog is performing for the year. I got to see how my blog statistics are from my personal admin dashboard, and I felt like sharing a bit of it out to let my readers know which posts of the year that got the most attention, etc. WordPress did provide us with a report card of our respective blog, but I’ll keep that as private.

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1. Most Viewed Blog’s Post of the Year in Total Views : TVB Star Awards Malaysia 2014’s nomination list is out.

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(Post link: https://vincentloy.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/tvb-star-awards-malaysia-2014s-nomination-list-is-out/)

Published on: October 25th, 2014.

Views to the post as of end of December 2014: Over 7 100.

2. Most Viewed Blog’s Post of the Year in Average Daily Views : TVB Star Awards Malaysia 2014’s nomination list is out.

(Post link: Same as above)

Views to the post on average daily count as of end of December 2014: Over 110 views daily.

3. Most Commented Blog’s Post of the Year : TVB Star Awards Malaysia 2014’s nomination list is out.

(Post link: Same as above)

Total number of comments to the post as of end of December 2014: 51.

4. Most Liked Blog’s Post of the Year : TVB Star Awards Malaysia 2014’s nomination list is out.

(Post link: Same as above)

Total number of likes to the post as of end of December 2014: 15. (Average: 4 1/2 stars out of 5)

Comment: Same blog’s post. That post must be gaining the most attention for the year, as it has only been published for two months and already generated huge amount of interest to people looking for TVB Star Awards Malaysia’s tickets or further information.

5. My Most Favourite Blog’s Header of the Year : February 2014’s Header.

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Featuring: A man ice-skating, being a representation for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games that took place in February this year.

6. My Most Favourite Blog’s Post of the Year : 8D 7N CNY 2014 Trip to Yunnan, China. 

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(Post link: https://vincentloy.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/8d-7n-cny-2014-trip-to-yunnan-china/)

Comment: What’s better this year than the post of which I sum up my whole over-a-week trip at Yunnan, China early this year with interesting descriptions and photographs. 

7. My Most Active Month of Blogging of the Year : January 2014.

Total blog’s posts produced in January 2014 : 24 posts. Coming in second place closely is August 2014 with 22 posts.

8. Month with Most Views and Visitors of the Year : July 2014.

Over 40 000 views and 24 ooo visitors in July.

9. Top 5 Countries Visiting My Blog for the Year :

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(a) Malaysia. – Over 97 000 views. 

(b) United States. – Over 67 000 views. (highest views to my blog outside of my country, Malaysia)

(c) Singapore. – Over 30 000 views. 

(d) United Kingdom. – Over 15 000 views. 

(e) India. – Over 13 000 views.

10. Total Views to My Blog for the Year : Over 375 000 views.

An increase of 5000 views compared to year 2013.

11. Average Views Daily to My Blog for the Year : Over 1000 daily views in average. 

A slight increase too compared to year 2013.

12. Total Blog’s Posts Produced for the Year : 205. 

One blog post for every 1.8 days in average. That’s what I called active blogging.

13. Day in the Year with Most Views : July 28th, 2014.

Total views to my blog on that particular day : 4 933.

Now, I’m hoping for a much better and improving figures for my blog next year. I’m excited that it is improving in statistics, showing that it has the capabilities to appeal to wider audiences across the world as time goes.

 

 

A look back into events that defined year 2014.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2014 by vincentloy

It’s unbelievably quick that another year is coming to an end. There were some good moments in the year that we were happy for but in 2014, it seems that there were more bad news that left us saddened and wondered why did that happened. While it appears that there is lesser natural disasters in 2014 (we are thankful for that) but on the other hand, more traumatizing man-made tragedies were witnessed this year. This made me realized that there is a balance in everything. We’ll see the good and the bad inevitably.

2014

In just few days before 2014 concludes, it’s a good idea to recap on major events that defined this particular year;

Ebola

The re-emergence of the deadly virus Ebola was the biggest health talking point in 2014. The virus developed in several countries in West Africa and has since spread to other African countries, Spain and the United States. The virus is known for its particularly high mortality rate – approximately 71% of infected patients die from the virus – and for its eye-watering effects, which include internal and external bleeding as well as heavy vomiting. There are currently over 18 000 cases and about 7 000 deaths (true figures may be three times higher) reported from this virus outbreak that captured the world’s attention from the seriousness of this disease.

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ISIS

2014 saw the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, an extremist group otherwise known as ISIS, who moved across Iraq and other areas with the objective of capturing Baghdad, the capital city, and transferring control to their group. The group has received widespread condemnation for its appalling human rights record, and in particular for the savage beheadings of their enemies, including two American journalists, one American, and two aid workers from Britain.

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Israel – Gaza Conflict

While I’m not that clear or knows in detail on the history of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, what really saddened me is their conflict that escalated into war at Gaza Strip. Tension that first started from land border and humanitarian crisis between the two regions reached its peak this year in early July when three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas members and then seven Hamas members killed from Israeli airstrikes in tunnel explosion. Thereafter, seven weeks of Israeli bombardment, Palestinian rocket attacks, and ground fighting resulted in deaths of over 2200 people. It was only until end of August when an open-ended ceasefire was announced.

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Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and Flight 17, and other aircraft disasters in the year.

This is the first time my country made it to the worldwide headlines and sympathy for at least two times this year, but for something very tragic. A mystery captured the imagination and broke the hearts of the world in March when Malaysia airlines flight 370, which on March 8th was supposed to travel from Malaysia to Beijing, suddenly disappeared, seemingly leaving not a trace of the fate of the plane. Though a full-scale search and rescue was conducted, the plane’s whereabouts or the bodies of those on board have yet to be determined eventhough it is reported earlier that the plane is presumed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean.

The aviation industry suffered again in July, when Malaysia Flight 17 crashed in Ukraine, killing 298 people on board, including 15 crew members after it is believed to have been shot down by missile. An international investigation is currently on its way to find out the truth and the event has caused widespread economic sanctions by Europe and United States on Russia, the country supporting the separatist group in Ukraine which is believed to be responsible for the downing of the plane but has not been verified yet.

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Also not to forget two other unrelated aviation disasters that happened in July this year. TransAsia Airways Flight 222 from Kaohsiung to Magong crashed and killed 48 people in Taiwan and Air Algerie Flight 5017 that killed 116 people on board the plane en-route from Burkina Faso to Algeria but went down in Mali. On 28th December (just yesterday), another plane, AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 carrying 162 people was reported missing on its route from Surabaya to Singapore. It’s seriously a bad year for aviation.

Korean Ferry Sank

In April 16th, 2014, a South Korean ferry MV Sewol en-route from Incheon to Jeju Island capsizes and sinks after an unmanageable cargo shift, killing more than 290 people (mostly high school students on board) and also 2 rescue divers. The ferry carrying 476 people is believed to have made unreasonably sudden turn to starboard that resulted in the ship tilting, hence the disaster. According to the Coast Guard, the sudden turn caused the cargo to shift to the left, causing the ship to experience an incline and to eventually become unmanageable for the crew. Overloading of cargo is also seen as a contributing secondary factor to the sinking of the ship.

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2014 in Sports

2014 must have been a tiring year for athletes, sportsmen and sportswomen across the world as it is the year filled with many international sporting events. Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup, Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and Incheon 2014 Asian Games all took place this year. The most memorable sport moment of the year would be the semi-final match between Germany and host nation, Brazil in FIFA World Cup 2014 when Germany won by a huge 7-1 margin in goals that left Brazil in huge distraught. It is even called as the most humiliating defeat in World Cup history. Germany eventually went on to win the Cup for their fourth time after defeating Argentina in the final.

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My country, Malaysia had shown poorer performances particularly in Commonwealth and Asian Games this year. The country did not achieve the already-lowered gold medal target set in both of the games, and is also involved in doping cases (one for our wushu athlete in Asian Games that resulted on us surrendering our gold medal back to the games, and another one for our world number one men single player in badminton, Lee Chong Wei whom had been tested positive in drug in BWF World Championship held in Denmark this year). We also failed to win the Thomas Cup this year given the bright opportunity when China is kicked out, but lost out to the surprisingly great Japan team in the final, and it’s their first ever win of the Cup.

Rosetta Spacecraft

On November 12th, Rosetta, a spacecraft launched by the European Space Agency, landed on Comet 67, making it the first mission to successfully land on a comet nucleus. It was a remarkable achievement for mankind for myriad reasons, but perhaps the most impressive fact is that the spacecraft – which is the size of a fridge – could travel hundreds of millions of miles and land on a 2.5 mile wide asteroid. As the Guardian Newspaper put it, that’s like firing a shell from London and hitting the head of a nail in New Delhi, 4,000 miles away (FOUR thousand!).

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The achievement of the European Space Agency should be heralded, as should every piece of good news that comes our way. In an age when a lot of what we hear is bad, evil, or outright terrifying, it’s worth remembering that there is still plenty of good out there in the world. Let’s all try to make sure that we hear some more of those good moments in 2015.

Also let us not forget these two songs that were such a worldwide hit this year and eventually spawned countless cover versions; ‘Happy‘ by Pharell Williams and ‘Let It Go‘, the original song for the current world’s highest grossing animated film, ‘Frozen’ that was released in 2013. And the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which is first started as a movement to attract and encourage more people to donate to ALS Foundation (for patients with motor neuron disease), but then went viral across the world after participation of thousands of celebrities and popular international figures.

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The massive protest in Hong Kong that demanded for universal suffrage from China on their election of the Chief Executive also made headlines in global news as the demonstrations took well over two months from late September to early December. Many protesters used umbrellas for defense against the police, and hence that has become the representative symbol of the movement known as ‘Umbrella Revolution‘, but ended with no positive outcome.

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That’s all for some very memorable highlights for the year 2014. This is a really good time to look back to our recent past and hope for a much better and positive years ahead.

(Part of this article is contributed by Helen Jones, a freelance article writer. Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web.)

The last movie review in the year. And that’s for three movies in a row.

Posted in Miscellaneous on December 28, 2014 by vincentloy

When the year is ending, there is always this time for me to catch up with some movies released early this year that I may have missed. I’m now also in the mission to increase the number of films this year that I have watched to at least 50 and currently, I’m short of only few more. In these few days when there are quite a number of breaks and free time, I had watched three movies in a row, and they are ”71′, ‘The Interview’, and ‘Penguins of Madagascar’. So, this post would be my last movie review in the year, and it will briefly highlights my opinions on that particular three films.

First is ”71′, a British historical action film that follows a young and disoriented British soldier whom is accidentally abandoned by his unit following a riot on the deadly streets of Belfast in 1971. Jack O’Connell starred as that British soldier named Gary. This is my second time seeing him (after first noticing him as the teenage villain in ‘Eden Lake’). Now, he has grown up and he contributed a fairly strong performance here that some senior actors should even learn from. Looking forward to see him in another film too entitled ‘Unbroken’. While I find parts of the story is a bit confusing (as I could not really catch up well with the heavy, quick and different English slang spoken in the film), this movie still stood out as one solid and gripping thriller that may surprise you. Out of 10 points, I rate ”71′ a total of 7.4.

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Second of the three films is ‘The Interview’ which now receives great publicity when an organization believed to be linked to North Korea successfully hacked into Sony, which is the company distributing ‘The Interview’ for worldwide release. It is a political comedy film that tells about two men who run a celebrity talk show, and used the chance to interview North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-Un to assassinate him. Of course, North Korea would be angry of this. The film starred James Franco and Seth Rogen as the two main characters. Knowing this is another cheap and awkward comedy from their collaboration, I lowered very much of my expectation. Nothing is good or truly enjoyable from this movie. The comedy part isn’t nice, and the whole political thing behind it is insensitive and illogical (meant to be), and I’m quite annoyed. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Interview’ a total of 6.0. Both of them should stop working on another comedy again. This comedy just didn’t work out for me eventhough now it receives quite a good rating.

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The last of the three films is the animated film ‘Penguins of Madagascar’. It is the spin-off movie of ‘Madagascar’ film franchise and focuses on the four penguins which join forces with an undercover organization called The North Wind to stop the villainous Dr. Octavious from turning all penguins across the world into monsters. I pretty much enjoyed this. It’s fun, simple yet interesting and it follows the typical routes or story but still manages to perform. I had a few laughs, and I even enjoyed this more than all the three ‘Madagascar’ films which are easily forgettable. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Penguins of Madagascar’ a total of 7.7.

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There are few more films in 2014 that I have yet to watch and I’m looking forward to; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, Interstellar, Big Hero 6, Unbroken, etc. Would post my reviews for those films early next year once I have done with them.

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

Watched both The Amazing Race 24 and 25 this year. Loved it.

Posted in Interesting Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2014 by vincentloy

Do you believe it? I have just completed a marathon of watching all the 12 episodes of the latest season of The Amazing Race 25 in just two days. 6 episodes for a day. That sounds crazy but that’s how I spend my Christmas break at home. I enjoyed this American reality television show which already has a history of 13 years in its running. I think you must have heard of this show of which a number of teams (two person in each) go around the world and complete challenges to win US$ 1 million in the end. That’s a huge reward (not to mention some prizes awarded to winner of each legs).

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Just about a few months ago, I took the time to watch The Amazing Race Season 24 which is actually released early this year. From there on, my interest to the show keeps building up and I will certainly catch up with its future seasons. It’s quite interesting, intense and exciting to watch those teams betraying or teaming up with the others, arguing within themselves over matters, fed up or intend to give up in some difficult challenges, took some wrong decisions, made some embarrassing moves, lost in the directions, running madly to pit-stop to prevent from being eliminated, etc. It’s just so thrilling and heart-stopping watching the show. What an adventure for them!

Sometimes, I do think what would happen if I am one of the contestants. I would have the chance to be a millionaire after winning the show, but I think my chance to win it is very slim as most challenges are very difficult, physically and mentally demanding for me. Haha…And by the way, if you don’t know, The Amazing Race is hosted by Phil Keoghan. He is getting pretty old after seeing him hosted the show for 25 times already and more to follow soon. He is very good in the show by the way.

Comparing Season 24 to 25, I liked Season 24 more. The challenges in that season are mostly more interesting, and things are a bit more organized. The winners for that particular race are Dave and Connor O’ Leary (father and son) (featured in image below with KL’s Petronas Twin Towers in the background in one of their legs). They are the first parent-child team to win the American edition of the competition, and at age 58 at the time of filming, Dave is also the oldest person to win an edition of The Amazing Race. Very happy for them to have won that. They deserved it very much. In one of the legs of the race, they traveled to my country, Malaysia too and had challenges at Sabah and Kuala Lumpur.

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Season 25 which had just been released not long ago is not that good. It lacks a bit of excitement and it is quite unfair in certain stages when some with poorer performances made it to next legs while they should actually be eliminated. The time arrangement isn’t in very good order in this season too. The winners for this 25th race are the food scientists, Amy and Maya (featured in image below with Phil). For me, this team is among the poorest or weakest but luck came to their rescue most of the time, and they won the race surprisingly in the end. This team should have been eliminated in the 11th leg (before the final) as the organizer should sticks to the rule of only allowing 3 teams in the final leg. Personally, I prefer Adam and Bethany to win.

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Anyway, still looking forward to future seasons of The Amazing Race. A cool reality TV game show. I felt like I’m in the race myself too while catching up with all the episodes of The Amazing Race 24 and 25 this year too. Haha…

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

This is officially my 1500th post, and a short movie review for ‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb’.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2014 by vincentloy

Wow….another accomplishment for my blog before the year ends. My blog here is now home to 1500 blog posts as this is my 1500th post. That’s a huge amount of posts considering the blog is only about 6 years old and everything is mostly written and fully composed by myself as the single author here. I’m very happy of course, as months ago, I have already targeted to get over 1500 mark before the end of the year. And now it does, on today, just few days before 2014 ends.

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I would like to intercept this post with my blessing and sympathy to the people and areas affected by the current on-going flood in several states in Peninsular Malaysia. As of today, over 100 000 people were evacuated as the water level didn’t recede and countless damages were reported. It is the worst flood tragedy in Malaysia in recent years. I hope everything would be fine soon over there. But wait…you don’t need to cancel all the upcoming new year countdown and firework events just to show respect to the affected people. You can still maintain those already planned events and at the same time organize prayer sessions for them. Does that mean I have no new year fireworks (even from KLCC) to enjoy when the clock soon ticks at 12 am to welcome 2015? That’s bad. This year is already not very good for Malaysia, and why don’t we choose to end the year with a bang. At least we can end it great as a positive sign for good things to come next year.

Well, let’s move on to my short movie review for the latest and the third film in ‘Night at the Museum’ franchise. It’s entitled ‘Secret of the Tomb’. It is also one of the last few films for Robin Williams, whom passed away due to suicide in August this year. He is such a talented actor, which can be seen from his role here as the wax for US President Theodore Roosevelt. In this third installment, Larry, the night guard had to travel to British Museum to save the magic of the tablet that keeps museum exhibits alive at night when it started to decay. He continued his adventures from New York to London with the same witty characters and also some new ones.

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This is certainly a family movie. But it didn’t work out that well for me. But if you had watched the first two, you would not want to miss this one, which I believed may be the last of the franchise. I’m not excited or interested by the way the story goes. The only things I can get thrilled is the scene with the gigantic snake monster. That’s all. Others are all plain and feels ’empty’ for me. I have to agree that there are a lot of humorous moments that the film offered, but I never laughed at all throughout the whole movie. Just a small smile on my face for a few times. That’s it. I think the fun elements work better for small kids. I just felt nothing after watching it.

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I think its movie trailer spoiled most of it and reduced my excitement for the movie. It’s still a good family movie especially in this Christmas season, and it’s good to kill off my leisure time. The characters are fun to watch, but in the end, I felt most of the things delivered in the film lacks the magic. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb’ a total of 7.0 only.

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

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

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

On this day exactly ten years ago, a horrifying natural disaster took place that captured the world’s attention and sympathy. On 26th December 2004, a day after Christmas which is also known as Boxing Day, an earthquake of magnitude recorded between 9.1 to 9.3 occurred with an epi-centre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. It is the third largest earthquake ever recorded by seismograph and had the longest duration of faulting ever observed, between 8.3 and 10 minutes. It caused the entire planet to vibrate as much as 1 centimetre and triggered other earthquakes as far away as Alaska.

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While the massive earthquake took place under the ocean, it was the triggered tsunami waves that claimed over 230 000 lives in 14 countries. There was no tsunami warning systems at the Indian Ocean at that time and the waves were reported to be over 10 metres high. Indonesia was the worst hit with over 160 000 dead, followed by Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Somalia, Myanmar, Maldives, Malaysia (my country), Tanzania, Seychelles, Bangladesh, South Africa, Yemen and Kenya. People at as far as Madagascar were displaced as tsunami waves also hit the island. The devastating tsunami swept everything on its path along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean.

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The damages resulted from the tsunami were incomparable, but fortunately, the plight of the affected people and countries prompted a worldwide humanitarian response. In all, the worldwide community donated more than $14 billion (2004 US$) in humanitarian aid. All countries put aside their differences and the world stood together in sympathy, blessing and care for the affected people and countries of the disaster, which is the deadliest ever natural disaster I had ever seen.

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I could still remember very well those clips recording the waves that hit the shore in a horrifying magnitude and swept people along with it. I’m instantly terrified and heartbroken by the scale of that disaster after I watched those clips. Ten years after, I believed all the plans to rebuild the affected areas were completed and people resumed their normal daily life at their respective places. After one decade, the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami remained strong and saddening in our memory.

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