Archive for April, 2016

Movie review: Captain America – Civil War (2016)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2016 by vincentloy

Hi, guys and girls! It’s me posting on the last day of the month. I have just returned home from watching the ‘Captain America: Civil War’ at Westfield Carousel shopping mall with my housemates. I felt slightly unwell recently but I have to go ahead with the movie today as I had purchased the tickets online earlier. It’s just bad and costly to waste it. If I’m not mistaken, this would be Captain America’s last stand-alone film before Marvel put its full focus on the other remaining and also new superheroes as well as the Avengers.

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Well, this isn’t really Captain America’s stand-alone film after all since most of Marvel superheroes also joined in the fun in this third installment of Captain America’s film series. Why? Because the storyline here is about Civil War. The disagreement between Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Steve Rogers (Captain America) due to political interference added with Captain insisting on saving his best friend, Bucky (Winter Soldier) from many evil plots he had done after being brainwashed led to separation of the Avengers team into two group, and eventually fight between them. There is still a bad guy behind all this in this movie but he is not really a threat at all besides than making things up to create this war between the Avengers themselves.

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I enjoyed all the action sequences in this movie, but beyond that, I find there is nothing much to compliment for. The conflict between Tony and Steve is sad but nice to watch, and I’m happy that they sort of trying to resolve their difference by the end of the movie. I also enjoyed seeing new superheroes joining in like Black Panther and the very young Spiderman. So now, we see Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Falcon, Ant-Man, War-Machine, Black Panther, Winter Soldier, and Spiderman. What a huge group. It’s like it’s another Avengers movie (the next Avengers movie will be the Infinity Wars which is to be split into two parts). Heyy…but where’s Thor and Hulk?

Spiderman here talked a lot even during the fight but it’s funny to see he acted that way here, which makes way for his movies later on under Marvel cinematic universe. Since Spiderman had been previously taken up by two actors in their respective film franchises, I’m hoping to see a new and a fresh Spiderman character and storyline to develop now under this young actor (Tom Holland) by Marvel in his future films. He is a talented actor (saw and amazed by his performance in ‘The Impossible’ few years ago, a tsunami movie of which he starred with Naomi Watts) but I still find that he is a bit too young for this role. Anyway, let’s move on. I find that there are a bit too much of boring and draggy talking scenes in between. Besides that, I’m actually hoping that the villain behind this plot would be much stronger or poses real threat to the group, and now, it ended up quite disappointingly for me as he is just an ordinary man. But beyond that, this movie is all good, but just not a great masterpiece. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Captain America: Civil War’ a total of 7.1. And if you have not watched this movie, please wait till the very end of the movie after the credits for one mid-credit scene and one post-credit scene. Don’t miss them.

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

 

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The last tuition-free week of the semester is over. And a drama review for ‘The Last Healer in Forbidden City’ (TVB 2016)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2016 by vincentloy

It’s wonderful to have tuition-free week somewhere in between the semester. It is a much needed break to relax for a while before continuing to the last half of the semester. Too bad, it’s almost the end of Friday by now and my last tuition-free week of the semester is over. In this break, I get to chill, having a lot more rest, and do assignments slowly…I mean very slowly. After this, there is no such thing as ‘slowly’ anymore as more important deadlines are around the corner before the end of my first semester.

The coming Monday is ANZAC Day, and is a public holiday here in Australia. Yup, my holiday would be extended for an extra day. Searching up the web leads me to learn that ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations and the contribution and suffering of all those who have served. Oh, now I know. It’s a memorial day. We have no such holiday back in Malaysia. I only remember April 25 every year as my second sister’s birthday.

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Recently, I had concluded watching a new TVB drama entitled ‘The Last Healer in Forbidden City’. It is a Hong Kong historical fiction period drama of 20 episodes which revolves on the account of a physician played by Roger Kwok, of the Guangxu Emperor mysterious death at the age of 37. The story tells mostly before the Emperor’s death and how the very talented physician make his way and contribution into the palace. The drama is actually partly based on true events (real history) and partly fictional for the drama purpose. I’m happy with this mixture as I’m quite interested in the history of the late Qing dynasty and I’m happy to see how it mixed with the fictional storyline to create this series.

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It’s a short series and I quite enjoyed it overall. Roger Kwok is excellent as the main male lead while Tavia is also steady as the first female lead. The supporting cast consisting of Pierre Ngo, Jonathan Cheung and veteran actress, Helena Law as Empress Dowager Cixi were all fantastic in their respective roles. The story, despite not the best I have seen (I expected better) and also came with several plot-holes, is acceptable in current TVB’s standard. However, the very ending of this series left me frustrated. They just kept showing the two main leads suddenly staring at the sky for almost a minute long in the very end of the drama’s 20th (final) episode when Roger Kwok asked Tavia Yeung whether she managed to find her love. I knew the way the scene was done is to make it an open-ending but I absolutely didn’t find it right or necessary here. Keeping it closed and everything resolved would be be a better conclusion in my opinion. Anyway, I still enjoyed this drama but will be quickly forgotten by the year end before the awards season. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Healer in Forbidden City’ a total of 7.3.

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

New things learnt while being in Australia. On the other hand, it’s Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday yesterday and Earth Day today.

Posted in Explosive News and Results on April 22, 2016 by vincentloy

Now, I have been in Perth for over two months already. What are some of the new things I learnt while staying here?

(a) Drinking alcohol here has been a very usual thing. I realized I had been doing it at least once a week now. Back in Malaysia, I seldom drink…like once in a few months. Well, I’m in Australia, alcohol is like part of the life here and so I have to be part of it now too.

(b) Don’t go out at night without wearing a jacket. It’s autumn here but it’s already very cold at night recently. The temperature can drop to 12 degree celsius lately. Worst feel is when the wind blows and I knew I was definitely shaking. Malaysians don’t get used to this kind of weather…maybe yes, for one day to a week, but not everyday like this.

(c) It’s really quiet out there once evening starts. Yes. There is literally no nightlife here. Everything will be closed by 6pm or somewhere around that time. It is so different back in Malaysia when even the malls will open till 10 or 11 pm. In Perth’s neighbourhood, it’s dark and quiet out there at night. It’s creepy and also dangerous to walk outside alone.

(d) The ‘Australian language’. It’s still English but Australians love to shorten every words they think is possible to the way that I’m not familiar with the new word they spoke out in the end. For example, they say ‘breakfast’ as brekky, ‘barbeque’ as ‘barbie’, ‘afternoon’ as ‘arvo’, etc. I guess their unique slang is created due to them being lazy to speak original words which are longer to be pronounced.

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On the other hand, yesterday marked the 90th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Last year, she broke the record of being the longest reigning British monarch and now, she crossed another level by becoming the first British sovereign to celebrate 90th birthday. On the throne for over 60 years, she has been a very iconic world’s royal figure and a very respected lady by leaders across the world. Three portraits of her with some companions were released yesterday in conjunction with her birthday and one of them is the cutest, featuring her with her two youngest grandchildren and five other great-grandchildren.

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That was yesterday. Today is the Earth Day. Happy Earth Day! What you can do? Be good to our planet, save and take care of the environment, practice 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle), appreciate and plant more trees, avoid things that will cause pollution, etc. A simple step from each of us means a lot to Earth. Help not only on this day but also on everyday onward. Saying these make me slightly guilty as I’m not that good in taking care of the environment too. Guess that you and I have to change that mindset too.

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

KL crossed a milestone by having 20 buildings in the city each exceeding 200 metres high.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2016 by vincentloy

Not many cities in this world could have over 20 buildings that are each at least 200 metres high respectively. To make it into that list, I can only think of some mega cities like New York, Hong Kong, Chicago, Shanghai, Dubai, Tokyo, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chongqing. And by 2016, my home-city, Kuala Lumpur will become the 10th city in the world to join the list with exactly 20 buildings that are each over 200 metres high in the capital of Malaysia.

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Yes, till 2016, only 10 cities crossed over this milestone and I’m quite excited that KL is part of it. We also love to build tall here in Kuala Lumpur, a trend that is particularly popular in rising cities in China as well as in Dubai nowadays. Having a lot of tall buildings in the city helps to create more city landmarks as well as enhancing the overall skyline. This also provides an ideal solution to short amount of land for development especially in dense urban areas.

Here below is the list of the current top 20 tallest buildings in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia that includes the architecturally topped-out buildings, but not including television or sightseeing towers. You can see the building in the 20th place hit the 200-metres mark precisely to help push the city to join the 10-city club as mentioned above.

1 & 2 – Petronas Twin Towers (452 metres, 88 floors each, built in 1998, former world’s tallest buildings and current world’s tallest twin buildings)

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3 – Telekom Tower (310 metres, 55 floors, built in 2001)

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4 – Ilham Baru Tower (274 metres, 60 floors, built in 2015)

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5 – Petronas Tower 3 (267 metres, 60 floors, built in 2012)

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6 – Maybank Tower (244 metres, 50 floors, built in 1988, former city’s tallest building)

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7 – Banyan Tree Signatures (240 metres, 55 floors, architecturally topped-out)

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8 – Vista Tower (238 metres, 60 floors, built in 1994)

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9 – Vortex Tower (235 metres, 58 floors, architecturally topped-out)

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10 – Felda Tower (216 metres, 50 floors, built in 2012)

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11 – Naza Tower 1 (216 metres, 50 floors, built in 2015)

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12 – Maxis Tower (212 metres, 49 floors, built in 1998)

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13 – AmBank Tower (210 metres, 50 floors, built in 1998)

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14 – St. Regis Hotel & Residences (205 metres, 48 floors, architecturally topped-out)

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15 – The Troika Tower 3 (204 metres, 50 floors, built in 2010, tallest city’s full residential building)

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16 & 17 – Berjaya Times Square Tower A & B (203 metres, 48 floors each, built in 2003)

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18 – K Residence (202 metres, 52 floors, built in 2008)

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19 – Lot G Office Towers (200 metres, 45 floors, built in 2013)

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20 – Le Nouvel Tower 1 (200 metres, 49 floors, architecturally topped-out)

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There are actually several high-rise buildings completed recently along KL Sentral region of which their height would be around 190 metres to 200 metres respectively. However, there isn’t a formal database to confirm on this. Some also speculated that the Le Nouvel Tower 1 (the 20th tallest) is actually 199 metres tall, and not 200 metres. Well, there is only a 1 metre difference..so let’s just get over it. In few more years, there would be several more much taller buildings to be constructed in the city, particularly the city’s next tallest building, the PNB 118 Tower that will go beyond 600-metres mark once built.

(Information above is correct as of April 2016. Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Visit to Aquarium of Western Australia (AQWA) today to kick-start my one-week mid semester break.

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2016 by vincentloy

It’s time for mid-semester break! Can’t believe that I have gone through seven weeks of the semester already. That was surprisingly quick, and it is now half way to go before the end of my first out of four semesters required to complete my postgraduate study. In this one week of break, it’s not all about relaxing and chilling after all since I’m equipped with some heavy assignments to work on. But before stressing myself out on that, I have decided to start the holiday with a quick visit to Aquarium of Western Australia (AQWA) today at north of Perth.

I guess it costs AUD 30 for adult to enter, but for us as students (visiting the place with my housemates), we got to enjoy the concession rate (AUD 22 for student). Before the visit, I have checked on the reviews for this place and many returned with highly positive feedbacks. Furthermore, it is the largest aquarium in Australia and the 10th largest in the world. When we first saw the exterior of this tourist destination,  my high expectation faded as its exterior is not appealing and it looks very small.

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Of course, the main attraction would be the fishes and the sea creatures inside. Well, the aquarium featured several settings (that’s typical for most layout configuration for any aquariums worldwide). It has five distinct areas: The Great Southern, The Shipwreck Coast, The Perth Coast, The Far North and The Marmion Marine Park. I do see some interesting creatures on display in here but I’m not in awe, especially when I had just visited Singapore’s SEA Aquarium not long ago which presented a far better experience for me who enjoy seeing marine life. I can’t avoid myself from comparing these two, and hence AQWA lost out by a mile.

It is relatively small in AQWA (couldn’t believe it is the 10th largest), and the lighting quality is poor. Its layout is also not convenient. There are too little sharks in here (and they are very small too), and too many sting rays (bored of seeing plenty of them here). There is only one turtle (yes, one!) I managed to see and some of the creatures just love hiding and don’t want to let us view them. They put a huge but fake crocodile and then show us two real crocodiles which are just the size of my arms!…The underwater tunnel is long but there are not many interesting fishes or sharks in there. I’m not impressed. It can do much better. The coral reefs are not exceptionally beautiful while on the other hand, some glasses (tanks) are quite dirty, hampering our sights to these beautiful marine creatures. Well, AQWA still has some good points. I particularly like the Danger Zone (zone where dangerous and venomous sea creatures are exhibited) and I like the idea of bringing part of the aquarium outdoor.

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Well, we spent only about a little over an hour in there. Nothing much to see and it needs to improve and expand to attract more visitors. I definitely won’t visit again. It makes me wanting to visit Singapore’s SEA Aquarium again eventhough it’s pricier. I had fish and chips nearby there at the Hillarys Boat Harbour and enjoyed an ocean view for a couple of minutes before heading back home.

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(Copyrights reserved to all images in this blog post)

A new tower taller than Burj Khalifa to be built in Dubai.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2016 by vincentloy

The current world’s tallest building is Burj Khalifa. It stands at a breathtaking height of 828 metres above ground in Dubai and is nearly 200 metres taller than the world’s second tallest. It has held on to this record for quite a few years already, until its neighbouring country, Saudi Arabia is planning to build a megatall skyscraper called Kingdom Tower in Jeddah. That tower which is now under construction is expected to reach beyond 1 kilometre high.

Recently, another new plan is revealed to build another tower taller than the Burj Khalifa and is to be located at Dubai’s Creek Harbour. It is set to be completed in 2020 (as a gift to the city before Dubai World Expo 2020), which means that there is only about 4 years only for it to be constructed. That’s a very short amount of time for a supertall skyscraper to be built. That’s a challenge but I think Dubai can still make it. Why? Money solves everything. The country is never afraid of spending billions on building countless skyscrapers in the middle of the desert.

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The final height for this planned tower is not disclosed yet but it has been announced that it is going to be taller than Burj Khalifa as mentioned earlier. However, would it be taller than the 1-km high Kingdom Tower for it to be the world’s tallest? Maybe. It is designed by a famous Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava who said the design is inspired by the profile of a lily flower while also mimicking a minaret (Arabic for lighthouse/beacon), a distinctive building commonly found in Islamic architecture and symbolism. The contours of his design will be formed using a cable system that will also anchor the tower to the ground.

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The tower itself will feature fully-glazed rotating balconies and observation decks (of course) as well as interior landscaping that takes influence from the hanging gardens of Babylon (now at dizzying heights). The showpiece observation area will be called “The Pinnacle Room” and will offer  views over Dubai. Alongside this, up to 20 stories will house mixed-use facilities such as restaurants and a boutique hotel. The core of the building, as depicted, will rise up supported by the cable structure, housing all the building facilities and services. At the top, where the diameter is widest, will be the Pinnacle Room that will house an array of greenery.

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“The slender stem serves as the spine of the structure and the cables linking the building to the ground are reminiscent of the delicate ribbing of the lily’s leaves,”said Calatrava’s firm. “The structure also provides a beacon of light at night, with lighting that will emphasize the flower-bud design of the building.” “The design has clear reference to the classic art from the past and the culture of the place while serving as a great technological achievement. In my whole career, I have perceived technology as a vehicle to beauty and to art. This project envisages an artistic achievement in itself, inspired by the idea of welcoming people, not only from Dubai and the UAE, but from the entire world. It is a symbol of an abiding belief in progress.”

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What do I think of this building? It’s a sleek and a slender design, something that is non-typical to present skyscraper’s architecture. However, I wonder how can the huge long cables work to anchor this building to the ground? Is that possible with this height? How can the huge windows at the top floors withstand the extremely strong wind at that level? On the other hand, I’m actually bored of seeing plants and trees inside building again…it’s a popular trend now but isn’t usually successful. Not that excited to this tower except for its mysterious height.

(Images and information in this post are from the following source: http://archpaper.com/2016/04/calatravas-dubai-tower-will-be-taller-than-the-burj-khalifa/)

 

5 Best City Skylines of Australia.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2016 by vincentloy

Australia is now my home for at least two years. It is a huge country but it has much lesser population to my surprise. It has almost similar number of citizens with my country, Malaysia which is actually much smaller in size of its land. Currently, I’m based in Perth for my postgraduate study and so far, I have been enjoying the life over here in this new environment. I also get to know more about this fantastic nation that is home to quite a number of beautiful cities. I’m the one who like to compare city skylines and I find this is a nice time for me to compile a list to rank the best city skylines in Australia. Only 5 cities get contend here:

1 – Sydney, New South Wales.

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2 – Melbourne, Victoria.

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3 – Brisbane, Queensland.

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4 – Perth, Western Australia.

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5 – Gold Coast, Queensland.

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Out of the 5 cities above, I have visited three; Sydney and Melbourne during my Chinese New Year trip early this year with my family, and of course, Perth, the city I’m living in right now. Would love to check out the other two; Brisbane and Gold Coast soon. Eventhough Perth is a smaller city especially when compared to Sydney or Melbourne, but the city still features interesting and picturesque skyline despite with lesser buildings due to its three iconic tallest buildings within close proximity as well as the beautiful Swan River that would make a perfect front for a breathtaking visual of the city. On the other hand, Melbourne has actually more skyscrapers than Sydney but the latter still topped this ranking because of Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. These two national landmarks are simply too magnificent and helped immensely to enhance Sydney’s skyline. Anyway, I think my home city, Kuala Lumpur still topped them all.

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