Archive for March, 2015

5 Fast Facts of the Eiffel Tower not many people know.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2015 by vincentloy

Today marks the 126th anniversary of the official opening of the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. The tower is one of the most photographed landmarks in the world. Nobody in this planet would not know of its existence, popularity and glamour. And I’m very glad that I have visited the tower once, back in 2013. I was in awe and immediately took pictures of the tower in whatever spots I can find during that trip. The tower is beautiful in any angles. A magnificent addition to the beautiful city of Paris.

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It has been 126 years since Eiffel Tower first opened to the public for sightseeing, and the Google Doodle (pictured above) today is designed in conjunction with the anniversary. Many of you knew about the tower, but do you actually know the history behind this structure which was once the tallest in the world? This tower is meant to be only a temporary structure; to be demolished after a period of time. But fortunately, it didn’t. And we are all glad that the tower still stands amazingly today. Here, I’m about to share with you five fast facts regarding the Eiffel Tower (original source: http://heavy.com/news/2015/03/when-did-the-eiffel-tower-open-to-the-public-facts-date-photos-google-doodle/)

1. Elevators weren’t ready for the tower’s opening celebration.

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The tower, which is 324 meters (984 feet) tall, was designed by French entrepreneur Gustave Eiffel (pictured above) and engineers Maurice Koechlin and Stephen Sauvestre. According to History.com, the tower’s elevators were not ready when the Eiffel Tower opened to the public March 31, 1889. The Eiffel Tower’s website says Eiffel climbed the 1,710 steps of the tower to plant the French flag at the top. He was joined on the climb by members of the city council of Paris and reporters. A 21-cannon salute marked the occasion. According to the tower’s website, Eiffel inscribed in a woman’s fan “the French flag is the only one with a 300 meter pole.”

A celebration with council members, other dignitaries and about 200 workers who helped build the tower was held at its base. The elevators were a significant technological challenge for the tower’s engineers and they were considered a great achievement, according to the tower’s website. Hydraulic lifts were used to bring guests up and down the tower. Visitors to the tower began using elevators by the end of May 1889 and continue to do so today, in newer, more modern lift systems.

2. The idea for the tower was born out of a competition.

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The tower was commissioned as part of a competition by the Journal Officiel to “study the possibility of erecting an iron tower on the Champs-de-Mars,” according to the tower’s website. The proposal by Eiffel, Koechlin and Sauvestre was selected out of 107 entries. Construction began in January 1887 and took five months for the foundation to be built. About 100 workers in a workshop and 132 on site used 5,300 drawings from engineers to build the tower, which has more than 18,000 parts. The tower was completed in two years and opened to the public in 1889.

3. The tower was a controversial project.

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According to History.com, the idea of the tower was met by many critics, who either saw it as structurally unsound, or as an eyesore in the middle of the city. The tower’s website says artists from around Paris sent a letter to a newspaper protesting the tower’s construction before it opened to the public. They wrote:

We, writers, painters, sculptors, architects, passionate lovers of the beauty, until now intact, of Paris, hereby protest with all our might, with all our indignation, in the name of French taste gone unrecognized, in the name of French art and history under threat, against the construction, in the very heart of our capital,
of the useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower, that public spite, often marked by good sense and a spirit of justice, has already baptized the Tower of Babel.

Without becoming hotheaded or chauvinistic, we have the right to loudly proclaim that Paris is a city without rival in the world. On its streets, its widened boulevards, the length of its admirable embankments, along its magnificent walks there will suddenly appear the most noble monuments ever fashioned by human genius. The soul of France, creator of masterpieces, shines from this majestic flowering of stones. Italy, Germany, Flanders, so justly proud of their artistic heritage, possess nothing comparable to ours, and in every corner of the universe Paris calls forth curiosity and admiration. Are we to let all that be debased?

Eiffel fought off the protesters. He responded in a letter of his own:

I will tell you all that I think, and all that I hope. For my part, I believe that the Tower will have its own beauty. Do people think that because we are engineers, beauty plays no part in what we build, that if we aim for the solid and lasting, that we don’t at the same time do our utmost to achieve elegance? Are actual conditions of strength not always compatible with the hidden conditions of harmony? The first principle of architectural aesthetics is that the essential lines of a monument should be determined by it fitting perfectly into a setting. But what condition did I need to address in the case of the tower? Resistance to wind. Well, I maintain that the curves of the four groin vaults of the monument, based on calculations, starting with the enormous and unused footing at the base, are going to taper up to the summit, will give a great impression of strength and beauty, because they will convey to the eyes the boldness of the conception in its totality.

As the tower’s website says, “time alone always proves the final judge.”

4. The tower was the centerpiece of the Paris World’s Fair in May 1889.

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The tower was commissioned to coincide with the opening of the Paris World’s Fair (Exposition Universelle), a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. The exposition opened in May, with the Eiffel Tower serving as the entrance to the fairgrounds. The elevators were completed by the end of the May, but more than 30,000 visitors took the trek up 1,710 steps in the days after the tower officially opened to the public. Millions of people visited Paris during the World’s Fair.

5. The tower was going to be destroyed after 20 years, but was saved by science.

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According to History.com, the 20-year lease on the land by the exposition expired in 1909, but the tower was saved because of its usefulness as an antenna for radio transmission. Eiffel encouraged scientific experiments using the tower, and that spared it from destruction.

The tower, which was once the tallest building in the world until the Chrysler Building opened in 1930, welcomes more than 7 million tourists each year, with 75 percent coming from foreign countries, according to its website. Two levels of the tower now include restaurants. In addition to being one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions, the Eiffel Tower remains important to the world of science and technology. Radio and television stations still use the tower to broadcast their signals. Also, two new wind turbines were recently installed in the Eiffel Tower, 400 feet off the ground, according to The Verge. The turbines provide enough electricity to power the tower’s first floor commercial areas and serve as a symbol for local efforts to be more environmentally friendly.

(Images and information in this post are from this original source: http://heavy.com/news/2015/03/when-did-the-eiffel-tower-open-to-the-public-facts-date-photos-google-doodle/)

 

Sunday, 29th March 2015. A day of mourning for Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. His state funeral today.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2015 by vincentloy

When the first Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew passed away last Monday at the age of 91, Singaporeans were in deep grief and sadness over the demise of the nation’s founding father. I have also written a blog post in tribute to this great man (check out that post by just scrolling down if you are interested). In these few days, the public from all walks of life were willing to queue up to 8 hours or more (many even overnight as seen in image below) just to pay their last respect to Lee Kuan Yew in Parliament House where his coffin is placed for public memorial service. That’s a strong sign of patriotism of Singaporeans to their first leader after independence.

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Leaders from many countries across the world offered their condolences to Mr. Lee Hsien Loong (whom is the son of Lee Kuan Yew and the current Singapore’s Prime Minister) and his family. In fact, today, when Lee Kuan Yew’s state funeral will be held in the afternoon, a huge number of foreign leaders and dignitaries have confirmed their attendance as a mark of respect and a sign of how important and influential this man was to Asia and to the world. President of South Korea, Indonesia, Israel and Myanmar, Prime Minister of Japan, India, Australia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, King of Malaysia, Vice President of China, Former President of United States (Bill Clinton) and several others will join the state funeral.

The world has lost a great man who not only contributed so much to the success of Singapore today but also helped mentor many leaders in various countries across the world. He was simply terrific and irreplaceable. Goodbye and rest in peace, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. Eventhough I’m a Malaysian (not Singaporean), but being a neighbour of your prosperous and great nation, I do know all the good things you have done for the country. You certainly made Singaporeans proud. The world will miss you.

Remembering Lee Kuan Yew 16 September 1923 – 23 March 2015

Look at how great Singapore is now,…all thanks to the great start and effort by Mr. Lee Kuan Yew as the country’s first Prime Minister. I’m always jealous of how great our neighbouring nation is, and how far behind Malaysia is. That’s a fact no matter how much we love and biased towards our own country, Malaysia. Why can’t our leaders act and work like him…it’s all for the sake of our country! But too bad, history can’t be changed. Singapore has become a famous and a strong developed nation, a very successful one out from nothing in the beginning, while Malaysia is lagging behind seriously right now. We can still change to improve, but our government…haiz…hopeless.

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

 

It’s Earth Hour 2015 tonight. Do your part. It’s just a simple action, but a strong symbol of unity and determination to love and care for our planet, Earth.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2015 by vincentloy

On this evening, from 8.30pm to 9.30pm, …..you should know what is going to happen in that one hour, right? I hope I don’t need to remind you again. It’s the annual Earth Hour event. I don’t want to say anything more, as all that matters now is a prayer of blessing to Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, and also to the victims on board the recent Flight 4U 9525 that crashed onto French Alps, and a simple action of switching off non-essential lights for an hour tonight from 8.30 to 9.30 pm (your local time) in support of this positive Earth Hour movement globally. It’s a very effective action to create awareness among people to love the Earth and a symbol for us to do more than just the one hour to care for the planet. We stand united in support of Earth Hour 2015. Will you?

Official video of Earth Hour 2015 below:

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What you can do in this one hour of darkness tonight? I can suggest many; getting outdoor to enjoy the night sky of stars (I’m sure you must not have done that for a long time), light a candle or two, avoid from surfing internet or playing your phone or computer, enjoy the time with your family or friends, or simplest of all, just have a nice rest you deserved! After the one hour, with lights all turned on back (if necessary), it’s time to think and act further than that. For me, I have to work very hard to reduce my habit of throwing many rubbish every day. Should practice 3R; reduce, reuse and recycle. What about you?

In Malaysia, many shopping malls, public spaces, restaurants, cafes, and iconic landmarks will switch off lights tonight in support of the event including the iconic Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower. I believed my country started participating in this global movement in the early years when Earth Hour campaign started to spread internationally. And I’m glad we support it since then and never stop. But I do hope that more Malaysians will do so, as I find that there are many of us who are not even aware of the existence of this campaign yet. What a surprise! We should actually do something to promote this great event further to all Malaysians, and if possible, to every corner of the world.

Tonight, I will be out for my usual family dinner and so there would be no one at home. So, lights off. Even if you are at home tonight from 8.30 to 9.30pm, try to be in the house with lights off too. Assume that there is a blackout, or just be in the darkness for a while. Your simple action is already very much appreciated. On behalf of Earth Hour’s campaign, I said thanks to you first if you are willing to support.

Celebrating Earth Hour 2010, Canada

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

TVB drama ‘Eye in the Sky’. Review right after its finale.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2015 by vincentloy

‘Eye in the Sky’ (天眼) is a TVB crime thriller series of 20 episodes released this year that revolves on a police inspector brilliantly solving cases with the aid of careful observations and critical thinking from CCTV footages. That is the reason the series is titled ‘Eye in the Sky’ that refers to CCTV. He later changed job to a hotel security manager and found his long lost brother whom is actually a thief, and there goes the story. The drama starred Kevin Cheng, Ruco Chan, Tavia Yeung, Tony Hung, Samantha Ko, Becky Lee, Rosina Lin, Vivien Yeo, Lau Kong, Susan Tse, etc.

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If you do catch up with my previous post few days ago, you should notice that I’m currently following closely and very engaged to this series as it progresses. I have high expectation and hope on this series since it started out really very well. The cast is strong and the story is good. I also enjoyed seeing Kevin Cheng back in TVB drama after not seeing him for some time already. This investigation-themed plot had my interest since success of ‘Line Walker’, a critically-acclaimed drama last year.

But as the series develops, things go downhill. Not very serious and not to the critical stage yet, but you can still sense the drop of intensity as each episodes passed. All I can blame is on the writing. Everything looks promising in the beginning, but the quality of writing keeps on deteriorating and the way it made Jan’s character too shallow is quite a major disappointment. Jan is the female lead, but in this series, I am more excited of seeing Vivien Yeo (the mysterious assassin and a hotel guest) than her. Vivien did improve in her acting after so many years. Susan Tse is acting quite weird in this series, and I knew her character would be killed off.

The highlight of the show is definitely on Ruco Chan. He is a very talented actor. No question to that. In this role of which he played a good son with a wicked heart inside, Ruco did an amazing job. He nailed the role and the way he conveys the emotions whether it is happy, sad, jealous or evil is very brilliant. Perhaps this may be the year for him to be crowned Best Actor, but the timing is not right as this series is released too early and will be forgotten by end of the year when TVB Anniversary Awards will take place. Kevin Cheng also did fairly well, but nothing outstanding. Tavia Yeung performed nothing, but she shouldn’t be blamed as it is the character’s fault, not her.

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Eye In The Sky(天眼) TVB 2015 Kevin Cheng(鄭嘉穎), Ruco Chan(陳展鵬), and Tavia Yeung(楊怡)

Things and certain aspects didn’t go deep or fully developed as they should be for an exciting drama till the end. For example, the romance between Kevin and Tavia is very short-lived. However, this series is still enjoyable and carries sufficient substance to be called a series worth my time to watch and remember for at least a few months. Its ending is nothing memorable or spectacular, but it wasn’t bad either. I prefer to have Ruco to inflict more shocking revenge, to have Jan died, etc (to push the drama further or crazier) in the finale. Its ending still has explosive and over-the-top moments but those should be scattered throughout the whole series for a more balanced affection to it.

Overall, it’s quite a good series. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Eye in the Sky’ a total of 7.5. Ruco contributed a lot of points.

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

 

R.I.P. Germanwings Flight 9525. Flying seems no longer that safe anymore.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2015 by vincentloy

One after another. This is something no one wants to see or hear of but unfortunately, it’s happening again and again. Aviation industry is in its darkest in recent years when more and more planes were involved in saddening tragedies lately. Last year alone, we witnessed the disappearance of MH370, then shooting down of MH17, crash of QZ 8501, and several others. Just when we hoped no major airline disaster would happen in near future, we were left shocked again.

Yesterday, a Germanwings Flight 9525 en-route from Barcelona, Spain to Dusseldorf, Germany crashed in the French Alps region, killing all 144 passengers and 6 crew members on board. The reason for the crash is still unknown, and is currently under investigation. What we all knew now is that the plane descends to quite a low altitude and then crashed in the middle of the flight with no distress signal issued. The crash site is in a very remote area within the mountains at French Alps and the plane had disintegrated into a pile of wreckage so heavily that you can barely recognize it was a plane.

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I express my sincere condolences to all the family, relatives and friends of those on-board the ill-fated flight. My thoughts and prayers for them and to the deceased. Rest in Peace, Flight 4U 9525.

Now, we cannot avoid ourselves from asking this question; ‘Is flying no longer seems to be that safe anymore?’. I believe the answer now is ‘Yes’. I was once told that the probability of an airline accident is one in a billion. Now, I don’t think that figure is right. I used to take flights for at least twice a year for my oversea holiday trips annually. Now, I don’t enjoy flying anymore, but still longing for holiday abroad. But you can’t do that without flying?! It’s the only efficient mode of transportation to travel over countries. So, I will still have to take flight in future but with a heavy heart, worrying and always-thought-of-prayer attitude from now on.

In the meantime, I do hope that the worldwide aviation industry would look seriously into all possible angles and measures to prevent airplane disasters from happening again (or at least not that frequent). Have a check and be strict, updated and fully prepared on all aspects from pilot training, airport management and security, air traffic control, plane tracking system, plane maintenance, etc. Please remember that our lives are on you when we are in flight. Wouldn’t want to comment further since I’m no expert in this field.

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Sometimes, we couldn’t prevent such unfortunate events from happening, but at least we can work out to reduce its possibility to assure for a bright and promising flying experience for all in the future.

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

Tribute for Mr. Lee Kuan Yew (1923 – 2015), the founding father of Singapore.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2015 by vincentloy

We woke up today in sombre mood after hearing a sad news from our neighbouring country, Singapore of which we are very close to. Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, whom was Singapore’s first Prime Minister passed away today at 3.18 am (midnight). He was 91 years old.

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Eventhough I didn’t learn much of him from our history education, but I knew he was a great man, for he had built Singapore to what it is now. I admired his effort and determination in achieving things that would be impossible to many others. Let us see Singapore now. Excellent and a beautiful country. Despite it is only a very small country in an island, but it is now one of the world’s most developed nations and a strong country in global economy. And all that started from Mr. Lee Kuan Yew’s administration since 1950s.

As the co-founder and first Secretary-General of the People’s Action Party (PAP), a political party in the island republic, he led the party to eight victories from 1959 to 1990, and oversaw the separation of Singapore from Malaysia in 1965 and its subsequent transformation from a relatively underdeveloped colonial outpost with no natural resources into a “First World” Asian Tiger. He became the country’s first Prime Minister from 1959 to 1990. He held the post for over three decades. After he retired as PM, he subsequently became Senior Minister (1990 to 2004) and Minister Mentor (2004 – 2011) to contribute his valuable advice to the government for the betterment of the nation and its people.

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He was no doubt one of the most influential political figures in Asia. He was a giant. A visionary leader. Asia’s Mentor. Architect of modern Singapore. The news of his death today made headlines everywhere across the world and had many national leaders paying respect and tribute to this great man. His legacy didn’t ends, as it continues to his son, Mr. Lee Hsien Loong, whom is the current Prime Minister of the country.

‘I wouldn’t say everything Mr. Lee Kuan Yew said and done were the right ones. But he does provide a blueprint on how Malaysia should be governed and also offered a glimpse to Malaysians of our country’s potential if governed properly. Rest in Peace to the great Singapore founding father.’

That’s a quote from one of my Facebook friends this morning that I find good enough to explain my feeling right now too. Malaysian government should really learn from him (but in reality, they never do). This is a sad day for Singapore to witness the demise of the nation’s founding father and the ‘architect’ of modern Singapore. Rest in Peace, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. Eventhough he was sometimes controversial, but he certainly made Singaporeans proud. You and your legacy will never be forgotten as long as Singapore is still here, thriving and prospering.

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

My dad’s birthday last Friday. Two movies this weekend. And reminder; Earth Hour next Saturday.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , on March 22, 2015 by vincentloy

Me and my two elder sisters are already in our 20s. We are still young and energetic while our only living parent, our dad is getting old inevitably. I have observed more and quicker white hair growing on him; a pace so fast that the black-colour hair dye could not catch up. Last Friday was my dad’s 57th birthday. In Chinese calculation, he is 58. We treat him with a buffet steamboat dinner together with the whole family last Friday’s evening and we had a great time together eventhough it’s without birthday cake or any formal celebration (he is not into those things). Here, I wished Happy Belated Birthday to my dad, and healthier and happier life for him.

Hmm…another typical weekend comes and goes. As usual, my favourite thing to do in the boring weekend; movies! On Saturday, I watched ‘Chappie’, a sci-fi film that revolves on a robotic police droid that is different with the others when he is stolen and given a new programming of which he can think and feel for itself. The film starred Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, and Sharlto Copley (as Chappie, the titular droid).

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I watched the movie with low expectation as I didn’t want to watch it in the first hand. It is my sister who asked me to watch it with her. And I’m glad I did. The movie is underrated, as I find it deserved much higher rating it attained now in many critics’ platforms currently. The movie is good in almost every aspects, and above all, the sentimental and emotional impact behind this robotic-themed movie is wonderful! This reminds me of ‘Real Steel’, another robot-based film few years ago (that also starred Hugh Jackman) that is also equally good but are both in different plot and direction. Out of 10 points, I would rate ‘Chappie’ a total of 7.7. Entertaining, emotional, great visual effects, amazing music scores, and good endings. You should go and watch it if you haven’t. Didn’t expect it but Chappie is adorable.

Today is the time for ‘Seventh Son’, an epic fantasy film based on a book I guess. The film starred Ben Barnes, Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander, etc. Superb cast, but pointless. Everyone in the cast put up a mediocre performance that lacks power and passion. However, the movie isn’t really that bad as indicated from the low rating it obtained out there. I do enjoyed the many action scenes in the movie fighting evils from monsters, assassins to witches. The movie did performed in the ‘fantasy adventure’ part but on nothing else. It isn’t bad or outstanding but worth my free time on a Sunday’s afternoon. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Seventh Son’ a total of 7.0.

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Now, here comes a reminder for all of you. Earth Hour 2015 is finally approaching. It’s on this coming Saturday, 28th March 2015 at 8.30pm (your local time). Remember to participate just by switching off your non-essential lights for an hour as a symbol of unity and determination to show our love and concern to this beautiful planet. It’s an annual global event that actually and should goes beyond the one hour, and it wouldn’t be without your help and effort. Please do so. Thank you.

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