Archive for June, 2015

Sunday with dad at Pudu’s UTC, Petaling Street and Bukit Bintang, KL.

Posted in Interesting Encounters on June 29, 2015 by vincentloy

Yesterday I got to spend the whole day with my dad. Only both of us as others were not around on that particular Sunday. He woke me up early in the morning (not that early actually, it’s already 9am) to accompany him to UTC (Urban Transformation Centre) KL to renew his passport. Formerly known as Puduraya (located in front of Plaza Rakyat LRT Station), it is now a one-stop center containing several government offices for people in KL to attend to while still maintaining its original function as a bus terminal. It’s also now called as Pudu Sentral. I had my passport renewed earlier during the weekdays, and so my only role yesterday was to accompany my dad and help whenever possible since I’m familiar already with that place.

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My dad didn’t plan to drive all the way to KL city centre and hence we stopped at Taman Cempaka LRT Station and took the train to Plaza Rakyat since the station is near to UTC KL as mentioned earlier. When we reached there, we were shocked to receive a number that was almost 200 persons ahead of the current turn (number) displayed on the screens. We have to wait for about 200 people!!! That is the longest queue I have ever witnessed. Of course we do not wish to just sit there and wait for several hours at least. Hence, we walked out to the nearby Petaling Street (Chinatown). It’s nice returning to Chinatown with all the happenings on the street surrounded by rows of traditional shophouses.

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My dad recommended a very old and popular place selling unique ‘chee cheong fun’ along the street. Hence, we had breakfast over there and the ‘chee cheong fun’ was really nice. After that, we ate ‘guai lin gou’, a traditional Chinese herbal jelly which is very bitter at Koong Woh Tong. Wow….we were very full by then and continued our walk around Petaling Street just to get over the waiting time for my dad to renew his passport. After an hour, we returned to UTC, and only about 40 people were settled. Still about 160 more before our turn. By using simple calculation, we assumed that we need to wait at least three hours more for our turn. My God. There is no more place around here to hang around.

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Hence, we took a cab to Bukit Bintang, specifically Lot 10 shopping mall. Why? I can get to shop at the famous H&M shop over there, one of my favourite retail shops. I shopped alone (better actually) while my dad was playing with his phone. My dad spent RM200 on renewing passport, while I spent my RM 200 on three shirts from H&M. Sounds fair. Haha…but I also forked out RM200 on my passport renewal not long ago. Done with my shopping and we head straight to the nearby Pavilion KL mall to check out the Raya decoration and also had our lunch there at the Nyonya Kitchen restaurant. Then, it’s about time we head back to UTC. We didn’t take cab this time; we walked back to UTC. Really tired.

Back in UTC, we were relieved as our number was approaching soon and that most importantly, we didn’t miss it. It’s approximately 5 hours wait for our turn. Hmm…luckily, we had many activities in between. After that, everything was fast and smooth and my dad finally got his new passport. We left our house at about 9am and we only got to return home at 4pm. 7 hours to get it done. Or I shall say, 7 hours of nice trip around KL with my dad. It’s exhausting but it’s really nice to spend the day alone with my dad. Love the moments till to the point I wish to share it here with my blog readers.

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

 

 

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The many thoughts on this particular end of June.

Posted in Interesting Encounters on June 27, 2015 by vincentloy

I couldn’t manage to sleep well recently. There has been many thoughts and worries on my head nowadays. The most troublesome of those thoughts is my preparation for upcoming postgraduate study. If everything is cleared, then I would be heading to Australia to pursue my Master of Architecture by end of next month. So, it is only less than one month left from now for me to make all the preparations for the 2-years study oversea. Time is running out, but the university’s staff aren’t helpful and efficient to help me on this. I have to settle many things, have to lodge a student visa application quick, and have to buy many stuff. Hopefully everything will be very smooth for me from now onwards so that I can go on with that plan to finish my Master study.

My second concern is my financial status now. I have to admit I’m quite financially stable right now but not after the upcoming study I mentioned earlier. The postgraduate study in Australia that will takes only two years would costs me over RM 250k at least. Of course, my lovely dad is helping me out mostly on this, but I still have to cover up part of the expenses. It’s my own study, so it’s my own responsibility. I do not wish to spend much of my dad’s money again. He is old, and I’m already a young adult. Should really take care of my own. But after that, it looks very likely that my bank account will be very much empty in 2017 after I graduated. Will be nearly broke. Hmmm….so sad. Why is studying abroad is so extremely expensive?

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(Image source: clipart.co)

Next up on my mind is finally not a concern, but rather a joyful thought. After waiting for the durian season for about a year, finally it arrives. Durians are pilling up recently in many fruit stalls purposely opened to sell the ‘King of Fruits’. Durian in Malaysia is forever the best. I like it very much. Enjoyed the smell, the taste, the creamy texture, but not its thorns. Haha…In these two weeks, I’m very much satisfied with all the durians I have eaten. Looking forward to ‘Musang King’ durians soon. Have to eat as much as possible by now. When I’m going to Australia soon for my study, then I wouldn’t have the chance anymore to taste this lovely fruit.

Today, I’m surprised to see many of my Facebook friends changing their profile picture into tones of six different colours. Even Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg did the same. What it is about? I only found out the reason after checking out the worldwide news. Recently, US Supreme Council has lifted its ban on same-sex marriages on all the 50 states in the United States. That means same-sex marriage is legalized now in US. Wow…what a controversial move! It’s a big step forward for LGBT and I believe it receives strong support (as well as objections inevitably).

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(Image source: http://www.theguardian.com)

My thought would be; I’m okay with this decision. Neither strongly agrees or strongly disagrees. The flag of six rainbow colours is a symbol of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) movement across the world, and seeing many people changing their profile pictures to that is a sign of support and celebration to this historical decision by US law. But, I myself didn’t bother to change my profile picture. Haha…But I stand by the principle that love is regardless of age, gender, religion, race, nationality, disability, etc. Love wins.

 

This is my 1600th post! On the other hand, R.I.P. James Horner.

Posted in Explosive News and Results on June 23, 2015 by vincentloy

Rest in Peace, James Horner. I believe not many of you know who he is. He is not a popular celebrity. Not an actor. But I’m sure you must have heard some of his past film scores before. James Horner was an American composer, conductor and orchestrator of film music. He was known for the integration of choral and electronic elements in many of his film scores, and for frequent use of Celtic musical elements. He was an accomplished concert hall composer before he moved into writing film scores of which he found more success in the latter.

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(Image source: http://www.cnn.com)

Okay. I’ll get pass all that biography of this prolific music composer and immediately tell you that the beautiful music you listen and are very attached to from the epic movie ‘Titanic’ (1997) is by this man. The touching film score is so successful that it broke record as the best selling orchestral film soundtrack of all time. The film score also won multiple major awards including Oscars (Academy) and Golden Globes for Best Original Film Score.  Together with Will Jennings, they have also written the film’s signature song ‘My Heart Will Go On’ (sang by Celine Dion) and the song also won Best Original Film Song in both Oscars and Golden Globes.

When you listen again, there would be this whole new level of moving emotion and nostalgia coming into your mind, relating back to the masterpiece movie ‘Titanic’ about the two in love and aboard a sinking ship.

He had also produced film scores for 1986’s Aliens, 1995’s Braveheart, 1995’s Jumanji, 1998’s Deep Impact, 2001’s A Beautiful Mind, 2009’s Avatar, 2010’s The Karate Kid, and 2012’s The Amazing Spiderman. His last work would be the film score for 2015’s Southpaw, a film starring Jake Gyllenhaal set to be released later this year. In total, Horner composed music for over 100 films, and won two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, three Satellite Awards, three Saturn Awards, and was nominated for three British Academy Film Awards. He is extremely talented in this field of which most of his film scores are excellent, epic, moving, and fantastic. It’s a pity that he died in a plane crash yesterday at the age of 61. Hollywood had lost a great legend in film scores.

On the other hand, let’s put aside the sad news and share one big wonderful news of my blog here. This blog post is officially the 1600th post. Exceptional. Couldn’t quite believe that I have actually written this much of posts in my blog here. Have to really compliment my determination and effort on this achievement so far. I believe not many can write up to that numbers. It also means that my blog is frequently updated and I would like to take this opportunity to thank my blog readers (especially blog followers) for their continuous support and visit to my site. Thank you eventhough you may not like what I’m writing or bullshitting over here. You make this possible too.

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(Image from: http://www.wallcoo.net)

 

 

 

‘Jurassic World’ into the 1-billion club.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2015 by vincentloy

Before ‘Jurassic World’ is released, I’m expecting that the movie will scores big at the worldwide box office. But I didn’t expect it to be this massive! Previously, I was predicting that the movie could ends up earning up to 900 million US dollars, just a little below the first ‘Jurassic Park’ that earned about USD 1.03 billion. Now, the latest (fourth) film in this successful franchise has already crossed over USD 1 billion in its box office intake. The movie is now the 22nd film in history to achieve the milestone. Impressive!

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‘Jurassic World’ had broken many box office records eventhough it is now only out in theatres worldwide for less than 2 weeks (and it is still not opened yet in Japan). The movie had the biggest domestic (US) opening weekend of all time, gaining USD 208.8 million, defeating the previous title holder, ‘The Avengers’ at USD 207.4 million. ‘Jurassic World’ also achieved biggest international opening weekend of all time at USD 315.3 million. That eventually combines for a whopping total of USD 524.1 million for the record-breaking biggest opening weekend overall, taking over the title from ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’ which stands at USD 483.2 million back in 2011 (the movie finally took in USD 1.34 billion). ‘Jurassic World’ is the first film in history to cross USD 500 million in its opening weekend too. The film gained this massive amount of money mainly due to the people’s love for revival of ‘Jurassic Park’ films, higher movie ticket prices nowadays, shared the same release date with big market like China, increase of IMAX theatres, etc.

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There are still many days ahead for the dinosaurs to rampage the theatres, and I’m expecting that this movie would have a final grossing of about USD 1.4 billion. Yesterday’s box office report shows that the movie is already at USD 981 million. Hence, it is inevitable that it will hit USD 1 billion today. And it will be the fastest film in history to reach 1 billion, doing so in only 13 days, defeating previous title holder, ‘Furious 7’ that requires 17 days to pass that barrier. Here’s below is a comparison of how much all the previous ‘Jurassic Park’ movies grossed respectively:

Jurassic Park – USD 1.03 billion.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park – USD 618 million.

Jurassic Park III – USD 368 million.

The first movie is an epic masterpiece by Steven Spielberg. It is one of my most favourite childhood movies and it is irreplaceable. The movie was like a benchmark for a new age to the worldwide films. Unfortunately, the box office figures kept dropping as more sequels were produced. The ratings were also declining for the sequels. There is a concern that ‘Jurassic World’ may not do very well in both. But now, that concern has turned to overwhelming joy for Universal Pictures, the studio behind the movie. It is earning much more than expected and is on its way to break more box office records. Furthermore, the movie had also been received positively eventhough many said it’s still couldn’t match the first film. It’s okay. I very much enjoyed ‘Jurassic World’. It’s a very thrilling dinosaur movie!

You can check out my review for the movie here: https://vincentloy.wordpress.com/2015/06/13/movie-review-jurassic-world-2015/

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Congratulations, ‘Jurassic World’! The movie is now the third movie in 2015 to cross the USD 1 billion milestone. ‘Furious 7’ already took USD 1.511 billion to date, while ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ had already gained USD 1.365 billion. This is certainly a big year for box office as we have had already three movies this year joining the prestigious 1-billion club eventhough 2015 is only half way over. Last year, there was only one movie that could do it; ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ and nothing else. There are some upcoming major films (to be released before end of 2015) that are predicted to cross that mark too like ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ and ‘Spectre’ (latest James Bond movie). Other movies coming up this year that are expected to score big in box office include ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2’, ‘Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation’, ‘Minions’, ‘Ant-Man’, ‘Terminator: Genisys’, etc.

How much do you think ‘Jurassic World’ will earn in final box office intake? No matter what’s the final figure is, the movie is already a worldwide massive hit right now!

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

Father’s Day dinner at Veg Fish Farm Thai Restaurant, Hulu Langat.

Posted in Interesting Encounters on June 21, 2015 by vincentloy

Ahha…today is already the Father’s Day celebration right after the Chinese’s Dumpling Festival yesterday. Have treated myself few traditional sticky rice dumplings yesterday on the day of the Dumpling Festival or formally known as Duanwu Festival (falls on fifth day of the fifth month in Chinese lunar calendar). Today, it’s time to treat my dad as this is his day. It’s also the BIG day for all fathers across the world.

Couldn’t spend the day with my dad as he went up to Genting Highlands yesterday and had only returned on this late afternoon. Hence, me and my sisters will not waste the remaining day by immediately treating him for a nice dinner at a Thai restaurant in Hulu Langat, which is quite near to our house. We also invited our uncle over. More people is better. The restaurant is called Vege Fish Farm Thai Restaurant. On the road from Ampang to Hulu Langat through the hills and the formerly popular Ampang Look Out Point (now no longer opening), there is a huge signboard of that restaurant on the right side. But the restaurant is actually not there yet. You have to drive down and deep into the jungle and finally you will reach a huge parking area by the restaurant.

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(Image source: http://mmmsaikong.blogspot.com/)

We have visited the place before once a long time ago. It’s a wood-built restaurant around a small lake surrounded by hills. Very lovely atmosphere. There are music, fishes, and jungles. Since my dad is interested to eat Thai food recently, hence we brought him here. We were shocked by the huge amount of cars seen once we reached there about 8.15pm. Then, we knew it’s going to be a lot of people and we must have to wait very long for our food to be served. It’s also a trying time for us already to even find an empty table. The place was full. We get ourselves prepared for the long wait, but we couldn’t stand the extremely poor service by the staff. It’s not their fault. It’s just that there were too many customers at one time, and that left them in a very busy and chaotic situation.

All of our orders (the others too) were messed up. Our vegetables didn’t arrive eventhough we have had asked for it for at least five times. Mistakes over here and there. And we finally finished the meal after two hours. Yes…two hours long! The food are not bad and the price is quite reasonable. But this place is not recommended to visit on special days like today (Father’s Day). Everyone is going there, and they are not able to manage that huge amount of customers. We were so bored in our wait for the food until we tried to calculate how much they can earn in that dinner period with about 70 tables there fully seated.  We say; RM300 for a table. So 70 x RM300. That’s about RM20 000 the restaurant earned for only that one short period of time. Wow…so today I guessed they earned over RM50 000 easily. Just for a single day. My God.

We learnt a lesson; next time, we will only visit this place early (before 7pm) or visit the place during normal weekdays. Anyway, everyone of us was full (after that meal of garoupa fish, lala, crabs, cuttlefish, and vegetables), and most importantly, my dad is enjoying the dinner. He is the star of the day. The VIP of the day. But my love for him comes in everyday. Happy Father’s Day to my beloved dad, and also I take this opportunity to extend the greeting to all wonderful fathers across the world. Have a great weekend!

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(Image source: http://www.cryptoslice.com/)

Two animated movies this week; The Book Of Life (2014) and Minions (2015)

Posted in Miscellaneous on June 20, 2015 by vincentloy

To continue my crazy liking for movies, I watched two more new movies this week, and both of them are animated. First one is ‘The Book Of Life’, a 2014 animated film. Early this week, I had been in the mood to find any animated movie last year that I have missed, and ‘The Book Of Life’ came to my attention. It is being received quite well, and so I don’t find any reason not to watch it. And the other animated movie is none other than ‘Minions’! Everybody is so excited for a stand-alone movie of those cute little yellowish creatures which are so popular after being shown in ‘Despicable Me’ (1 & 2) as Gru’s assistants. And we are so glad that ‘Minions’ (2015) is already released here in Malaysia, over three weeks earlier than US. Anyway, let’s start with a quick movie review for ‘The Book Of Life’ first.

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The Book of Life

‘The Book Of Life’ tells the story of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart, embarks on an adventure that spans three fantastic worlds where he must face his greatest fears. He is forced to be a great bullfighter to respect his family tradition, but from his own heart, he loves to play guitar and wants to marry a girl he and his best friend both felt in love with. The first thing I like from this movie is the very different touch and ‘creativity’ given to all the stuff in the movie, from the characters to the buildings and even the moon. Everything is cubic-like, rigid, and very much geometric. The setting is cool. That’s interesting. It gave way to something new and different to watch.

The plot is engaging and comes with some funny lines of which I enjoyed. It’s just not all about the strength of the plot, the visuals or the humor, but it is the positive and meaningful messages that we can learn from the story that put this movie better than most other animated features. Like ‘always play from your heart’, those sort of thing. There are some nice plot twists too in the story to keep me going. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Book Of Life’ a total of 7.5. It’s distinctive, vibrant and colorful!

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Next up is a review for ‘Minions’. Cuteness overloads! These creatures are so cute. Eventhough they speak their own language that we find it hard to understand, but we still felt what’s going on throughout the whole movie. Their actions, their behaviors, their expressions are all entertaining to watch. However, that’s the only thing I can get from this ‘Minions’ movie. Only entertaining. Nothing else. When ‘Despicable Me 1 & 2’ were out, people wanted to see more of minions. And their dream finally comes true with this ‘Minions’ movie. Now, I see all the scenes with them in it, but I felt nothing and ’empty’ surprisingly. I find that they worked better just being as supporting roles. So I actually prefer them to be back in more ‘Despicable Me’ sequels rather than being in their own ‘Minions’ movies anymore. They are outstanding by the side of Gru or even Scarlet Overkill, but not as the main star unfortunately.

The story started off very well and convincing with many funny moments started rolling in one by one (almost non-stop). The plot; three minions named Stuart, Kevin and Bob are recruited by Scarlet Overkill, a super-villain who, alongside her inventor husband Herb, hatches a plot to take over the world. Looks good, and it delivered an entertaining and hilarious movie. The kids would love it, I’m sure. But for me, I will just take the movie as a light fun and nothing else. Sometimes, an animated movie can be shining or even becomes unforgettable classic, but ‘Minions’ will not be anywhere near that position. ‘The Book Of Life’ is even better than it. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Minions’ a total of 7.0. It’s still fun and entertaining to watch. Bello….Banana….Haha!

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

TVB’s ‘Wudang Rules’, watched it just because there is nothing else to watch.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2015 by vincentloy

‘Wudang Rules’ is a Hong Kong martial arts, action themed television drama of 20 episodes set in present days. It starred Chin Siu Ho, Tavia Yeung, Yuen Qiu, Timmy Hung, Derek Kok, Toby Leung, Jonathan Cheung, etc. This is the series that continues after the end of ‘Limelight Years’ drama of which the latter is slightly more interesting. Since the other series; ‘The Empress of China’ is a China drama and was already half way through, I decided to go with ‘Wudang Rules’ eventhough I’m not interested in every aspects of the series. However, it would be nice to see the return of Yuen Qiu and also Chin Siu Ho (older brother of Chin Ka Lok and previously popular for starring in Mr. Vampire movie as the disciple) in this one.

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The plot; After a set-back in life, former Hong Kong undercover detective Pau Kai-chung (Chin Siu-ho) heads to the Wudang Mountains in Hubei, China to get away from life. At Wudang he re-connects with his former marital arts senior Mo Yee-shan (Yuen Qiu), who now operates an inn and martial arts school in the Wudang Mountains. She also takes in a mentally retarded man named Ho Ching-tung (Derek Kok) with a mysterious past. Kai-chung takes up a job as a chef at Yee-shan’s inn. All is peaceful until a group of martial art students lead by Yee-shan’s daughter Lok Yeung (Tavia Yeung) arrives. From there on, there are many conflicts and laughter in the school while more dark mysteries of Kai-chung and Ching-tung are revealed.

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Eventhough the series is only taking up 20 episodes, but I already find it a bit draggy and boring particularly in the middle part of the drama. When the series started with picturesque setting at the Wudang Mountains and introduction of many interesting characters, it gets me going and wanted to see more of their developments. However, as the series progresses to half way mark, things aren’t seems to be developing with many boring and unnecessary scenes. I tried my best to get past that, and fortunately, the story gets back on track with better-paced plot in the later part of the series.

This is a series not meant to showcase brilliant acting. All of the cast delivered simply an average performances. Eventhough Jonathan Cheung’s character is a playboy and comes with many exaggerated behaviours, but he is the one that made me entertained in almost every episodes eventhough that is only a minor role. He is funny. Everyone else has their part of the story, but nothing comes out great besides the touching moment when a girl gave birth to a baby and decided not to sell it. Now, you must be wondering why I’m still not commenting on the two main leads; Chin Siu Ho and Tavia Yeung. It’s because they are simply too plain in the series. Chin Siu Ho’s acting is no where near the level to be considered good. His facial expression is mostly wooden and rigid. I think he should continue staying away from TV and just retires. Even his younger brother Chin Ka Lok can handle roles better than him. As for Tavia, it is just another role she needs to complete without any challenge or breakthrough stuff.

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The ending of the series is quite good. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Wudang Rules’ a total of 6.8. The series also lacks a bit of ‘kung fu’ scenes or energetic/climax stuff as highlighted from the theme of the series. Now, I’m looking forward to new drama next week entitled ‘Master of Destiny’. This upcoming new series starred Liza Wang again after we have seen her not long ago in ‘Limelight Years’. She is usually good in her series.

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