Archive for May, 2016

Time to talk about TVB series back.

Posted in Miscellaneous on May 28, 2016 by vincentloy

Yesterday, I have completed yet another TVB series. ‘My Dangerous Mafia Retirement Plan’ (the title in English sounds long and weird) is a 25-episodes Hong Kong modern comedy drama which revolves on a group of triad members who are no longer in their prime years and must learn to survive in middle age. The former leader of a triad had to adjust his life outside while being assisted by his old friend after being in prison for twenty years. The series starred Kent Cheng, Tommy Wong, Eliza Sam, Mat Yeung, Joel Chan, Kingdom Yuen, Alice Chan, etc.

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I didn’t actually plan to watch this series because I find the plot not that interesting or has appeal to me. However, I have nothing else to watch and I wish to find at least an episode of a series to spend my time every evening for a bit of entertainment, hence I went ahead with this series. I’m quite surprised that it turned out to be quite a good drama. Not so serious, touching at some moments, funny at others, this drama is enhanced with good acting by the cast.

Eliza Sam surprised me the most and her acting here was very realistic, natural and very well. She certainly improved a lot and I think she is now better than the many other newbie artists whom are very bad in their acting but TVB insisted on giving them many significant roles (like Sisley Choi, Grace Chan, etc). Same goes to Mat Yeung who had shown to us that he can take on bigger role rather than his past involvement mostly in very minor or uncredited roles.

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Kingdom Yuen is a veteran actress I like to watch her on TV and she hasn’t been in drama for many years already. It’s good to see her back but she delivered over exaggerated expressions in this series. I knew her character requires her to do so, but I think still she overact in here. But that’s not a major problem. Generally, this series is not bad, but still not excellent either as I think it will be another one of countless TVB series recently that we will forget their existence after several months. This series stands no chance for the year end’s TVB awards, but it’s still a good form of light entertainment for me in the past month. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘My Dangerous Mafia Retirement Plan’ a total of 7.0.

Last weekend, I had also concluded watching the ICAC Investigators 2016, a short drama of five episodes about five different corruption cases solved by the Hong Kong ICAC investigators. The series, aired every Saturday, starred Ruco Chan, Kenneth Ma, Elena Kong, Elaine Yiu, Natalie Tong, Chris Lai, and many other new artists as well. The series gave me more knowledge of what ICAC do and exposed me to variety of possible corruption activities in real life. But the series is too short, but I think that is because the producer already ran out of idea of new cases (storyline) to develop as this franchise has been here for decades. I will give a quick rating for this as well; 6.6.

ICAC Investigators 2016(廉政行動2016) Overview And Promotional Stills TVB 2016 AHMIKE.com

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

Sudden fascination into Ned Kahn’s works, particularly the ones in Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2016 by vincentloy

Recently, I watched a documentary from Megastructures series on Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. The documentary generally shown us the design development and the engineering marvel of the project which is an integrated resort comprising of hotel, convention and exhibition centre, observatory, shopping mall, casino, etc. Completed in 2010, it is billed as the world’s most expensive standalone casino property and it subsequently became a new iconic landmark for Singapore. Here’s below is the less-than-an-hour documentary about Marina Bay Sands I mentioned just now:

I had visited Marina Bay Sands twice in the past. I admired its bold appearance, striking design, iconic features as well as its picturesque setting on the Singapore waterfront. As I have been there myself, I saw other things on par with the beauty of the overall form and view of this megastructure that should be mentioned. Those are the art installations in the resort. The most striking installations of them would be the ‘Wind Arbor’, ‘Rain Oculus’ and ‘Tipping Wall’ and they were all designed by an environmental artist and sculptor named Ned Kahn.

His works usually involves capturing an invisible aspect of nature and making it visible; examples include building facades that move in waves in response to wind; indoor tornadoes and vortices made of fog, steam, or fire; a transparent sphere containing water and sand which, when spun, erodes a beach-like ripple pattern into the sand surface. For me, his masterpieces amplify nature, make use of naturally activated kinetic energy, made spectators aware of the nature around us, complement the spaces they are at very well while strongly engage to the public. I’m fascinated by his works which are also present in many other parts of the world.

Below is a video describing Ned Kahn’s works in Marina Bay Sands and the resort’s architect, Moshe Safdie’s comments on the former’s art works.

Beautiful, aren’t they? These works made me admire Marina Bay Sands more as they add extra aesthetics and beauty to the already striking design of the resort.

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Wind Arbor (topmost), Rain Oculus (middle), and Tipping Wall (bottom) are in Marina Bay Sands and are all designed by Ned Kahn. Watch the video above to see how these amazing art installations work.

Dedicated to exploring the physics and beauty of natural phenomena such as Fog, Wind, Fire, Light, Sand, and Water, Ned Kahn uses his abundant technical skills to bring these elements to the public through interactive sculptures and large scale installations in buildings, galleries and science museums worldwide. Giant whirlwinds, dramatic fire tornadoes and rippling current generators call attention to the forces of nature available to us on demand through art yet take place independently through weather and geological processes. Other phenomena such as ocean wave action, wind and the play of sunlight through fog are explored through outdoor installations which encourage appreciation for our environment.

“I’ve always looked at my artworks as potentially serving as reminders of how beautiful and mysterious Nature is, with the hope that when people have an experience of awe while watching a natural process unfold, it can fuel their compassion towards the natural world. I’ve tried to create an art that gives people a chance to have this kind of experience.”

Sources:

http://nedkahn.com/

http://greenmuseum.org/artist_index.php?artist_id=55

Denmark won Thomas Cup 2016 and its their first ever win for this trophy.

Posted in Explosive News and Results on May 23, 2016 by vincentloy

Congratulation to Denmark for winning this year’s Thomas Cup! You have proven to all of us that not only the Asians can master badminton. Even the European can deliver on this particular sport as well. From their winning today after an exciting final match with Indonesia, they made history by becoming the first ever European country to win Thomas Cup, a prestigious team-event badminton championship that is held once in every two years. Denmark is now also the fifth country to have ever win the Cup (after Indonesia, Malaysia, China and Japan). Japan won it in the 2014’s edition (it’s their first time win of the Cup too) after defeating Malaysia in the final two years ago in New Delhi, India.

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This time, Malaysia’s journey fall short as they could only walk their way to the semi final stage after being defeated by Denmark in 3-2 on last Friday in matches that I watched all of them live from YouTube. Malaysia had to settle for bronze medal this time. The last time Malaysia won Thomas Cup is way back in 1992! I was only 1 year old back then. Just now, I did watch part of the matches in the final and Denmark prevailed in 3-2 over Indonesia. It is their historic win and they totally deserved it. I am stunned by their excellent performances on courts in this tournament. They played it so well to my surprise. Indonesia had to be content with silver while Malaysia and South Korea are both the second runner-ups.

2016 Thomas Cup

On the other hand, Uber Cup 2016 champion is China. Well, at least they didn’t disappoint the local crowds by at least getting a trophy for the female side (Thomas Cup is team event for the boys while Uber Cup is the equivalent for the girls). Watching Thomas Cup 2016 was taking away a huge part of my past weekend as the matches were very long and time-consuming.  At the same time, I have to work on my assignments, particularly on my culture subject as I’m having an oral presentation later in a few hours time. I’m nervous as usual but I’m ready, and I hope everything would be fine and smooth later during my presentation. I did practice on my speech and limit myself into the required time-frame today. My housemates would be feeling weird of hearing me talking to myself in my room frequently today. Haha…

The last Saturday was a bad day…in terms of its weather here in Perth. A strong storm and wind struck Perth for almost the whole day in the last Saturday and it caused blackout in most areas including my area here. I’m left without any electricity for like five hours. I didn’t expect it to be that long since this is a First World country. In the end, its just like in Malaysia; blackout easily from rain or wind, and then only be restored after a long period of time. I couldn’t do anything in that five hours (couldn’t work on my tasks) and so I had to take an afternoon nap. Time wasted. Luckily, I managed to finish up my planned works mostly today.

It is now less than 4 weeks to the end of my first semester. More crucial countdown is that there are only two weeks left for my major design studio submission! Hmm…Now, I would want the remaining part of this month and the whole June (next month) to end quick!

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

Malaysia’s journey in Thomas Cup 2016 ended in semi-final.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2016 by vincentloy

Thomas Cup (and Uber Cup) arrived again. These two tournaments (Thomas for male and Uber for female) are one of the most prestigious badminton tournaments and they are held once in every two years concurrently. This year, both are held in China. The reason I’m paying attention to this is because Malaysia is in it for every editions of the tournaments since their inception.

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Malaysia lost out in earlier rounds in the group matches for the Uber Cup. That is expected since our girls team isn’t good all along. We just bank in on our boys team from the very beginning. So, I’ll just put my focus and a bit of my analysis and observation to Malaysia’s performance in Thomas Cup this year. In the earlier group matches, Malaysia won its opponents quite easily, including winning over South Korea. South Korea is now seen as one of the very strong countries in this particular sport and yet, Malaysia defeated them to my surprise. Hence, Malaysia topped the group and was to face Taiwan, a much easier opponent in quarter final.

We had no trouble going through that and then we made it to the semi final. Here, Malaysia was up against Denmark. It should be looking good for our side too especially when we had won the first two matches. We just need to win another match to score 3 points out of five planned matches. However, things started to get unfortunate for Malaysia from the third match onward. In first match, Lee Chong Wei won over Viktor Axelsen as predicted. However, this Denmark player gave Chong Wei a tough time but luckily, Chong Wei managed to win in two games of which their scores in both games were neck-to-neck.

The first men doubles pair, Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong also managed to make us proud by giving us a much needed second point. Then, the second single match arrived where disaster struck Malaysia. Iskandar is our player here and he had won in all his games previously in this tournament before this semi-final. He is over confident and was being too cocky after leading in the first few points. From there on, the opponent strikes back with good tactics and won over Iskandar in the end. I personally don’t like Iskandar’s attitude on court. He had to fix that up soon and he still lacks the experience needed. He must understand that only smashing will not help you to win.

Then, our second men doubles also disappointed us. Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong whom were once an excellent pair (been former world champion, former Asian Games champion, former Commonwealth Games champion) are getting old and tired already. They won first game easily but performed below expectation in the second and eventually in the rubber game as well. Finally, all hope was on Chong Wei Feng for the last match to determine which country will enter the final. Wei Feng was too slow and steady on his attacking, and he also made mistakes on net. Very obvious and careless mistakes, and he look like he has no ‘fire’ or energy at all even before he started playing. In the end, he got defeated. So, we won first two points but Denmark fought back hard to win the last three points. 3-2. Denmark won and get to proceed to the final which is scheduled to be held tomorrow. They are to face Indonesia. If Denmark win, this would be their first ever Thomas Cup victory.

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The sad face our our team’s captain, Lee Chong Wei shown on TV live with a glimpse of the Thomas Cup trophy on the left of the screen. There are still many things needed to be done to improve on our national badminton team, for both the boys and the girls. Denmark stunned me yesterday in the semi final with some excellent performance that I didn’t expect that could come out from them. They proved that an European country can still do very well in a sport favored in Asia. I was thinking that maybe Malaysia has chance to win the cup for the 6th time this year after we saw the surprising exit of China and South Korea in the quarter final. That hope went to an abrupt end in the semi final yesterday of which I did watch the matches live from YouTube. We have to accept the fact that we lost again and we have to move on. They did their best but certainly could be much better. So now, the next thing I’m looking forward to is seeing some of our players doing very well and winning a medal or two in Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games that will arrive in less than three months from now.

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

Movie review: X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2016 by vincentloy

Another weekend is arriving but there wouldn’t be any fun for me as I have to work on my assignments as usual. I think I shall just stay at home and work things out and hopefully everything goes according to plan. And yea, I have watched ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ yesterday exactly on its first day of release in Australia.

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I didn’t plan for that actually. I just went to the campus to print something while still leaving my laptop in my room turned on. Then, I met a friend and we went to Carousel for a meal. After that, we go for a quick shopping as I was still searching for a nice white jacket. It’s a bit weird and disappointing as I have been searching for so many stores and yet there is none of them that sells white jacket with zip. It’s a very common thing with a common color. I ended up buying a grey-colored and that isn’t because it is really nice but just cheap. It costs me only 20 dollars. Then, we noticed that this latest X-Men movie has come out in cinema and so we went for it since we were already in Carousel mall.

I enjoyed this movie a lot. I noticed that this particular film has only received mixed reviews from critics so far and it is below the quality of its first two movies (First Class and Days of Future Past). I have to disagree on that and stands in a minority view. I think this ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ is a great one, almost a masterpiece and is almost on par with the excellence I found in ‘First Class’. ‘First Class’ would still be my best out of these three while ‘Apocalypse’ stays at second spot. ‘Days of Future Past’ received critical acclaim but I personally don’t like it that much. It was still a very decent movie.

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This latest X-Men movie sets in 1980s and revolves on the same group of mutants (now more on newly recruited young mutants) fighting against the world’s first and most powerful mutant, En Sabah Nur (simply called as Apocalypse). The movie deals mostly with these youngsters controlling their abilities, conflict between Magneto with humans, Charles’ management to his school and relationship to his lover, and of course the battle against the supervillain. I enjoyed seeing all of those storylines and I didn’t even find this two and a half hours long movie draggy at all. It’s fun and serious at the same time. The Quicksilver steals the show from his limited scene again just like what he did in ‘Days of Future Past’, while we get to see the young Cyclops and Jean Grey (Phoenix) here.

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The visuals are awesome and the fights are fantastic. The soundtrack gave me chills and the script is wonderful. Apocalypse is one mighty villain with countless powers and abilities and is a man almost impossible to be defeated. His strength is what makes this superhero movie awesome. I think out of the many superhero films I have seen in recent years, Apocalypse is easily one of the greatest and most powerful comic book villains been portrayed in movies. But in the end, he still got destroyed in the end with combination of power by the X-Men team. Wonderful movie. It’s very intense and thrilling. I’m against the others by saying that this is even better than ‘Captain America: Civil War’ eventhough I’m sure that ‘Civil War’ would still make much more money than ‘Apocalypse’. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ a total of 8.1. Maybe not the best but certainly one of my most favourite movies of the year. There is always a post-credit scene for this kind of movie and it gives us a hint on who is the villain for the next X-Men movie. This kind of franchise will never end, isn’t it?

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

Let’s talk about movies this week.

Posted in Miscellaneous on May 19, 2016 by vincentloy

Before the final weeks of my semester is approaching, I think I should find a day to relax and ensure I have 0% stress to tackle on some heavy tasks to conclude the semester. Going out for a movie in cinema would be a great idea and I have been doing that for like once in a month since moving to Perth from the last February. One movie I’m anticipating right now and will be released this weekend is the ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’.

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I enjoyed ‘First Class’ very much and I’m also delighted with ‘Days of Future Past’. However, I have read some early reviews on this latest installment and it isn’t that good compared to its first two predecessors. However, I think I would still watch it, and I’m looking forward to all the mutant fights in it. But buying a movie ticket here in Australia is so costly. I can literally have two nice meals for a day with that amount of money.

The last movie that I went into the cinema to watch is ‘Captain America: Civil War’. It’s a good movie but for me, I still think ‘Winter Soldier’ is slightly better than this ‘Civil War’, in contrary to what most other people think. Perhaps people nowadays find it more interesting to see many superheroes teamed up in a single movie. And actually, I’m starting to get tired with countless of superhero films coming in in these recent years. There are too many of them. People now like to produce this type of movies due to its wide appeal and can generate huge profit for the film studios. I’m not against that as long as they produce them with emphasis in quality over quantity.

But hey…their popularity is still intense across the world. Recently, ‘Captain America: Civil War’ becomes the 25th film in history to gross over US$ 1 billion in worldwide box office intake. It’s never easy to join the 1-billion dollar club and another Marvel’s flick did it again. It’s certainly a box-office hit but I didn’t expect it to cross over 1 billion milestone. It is still now not slowing down in its box office intake worldwide and it is expected to reach final grossing of around US$ 1.3 billion. This 13th film in Marvel Cinematic Universe also helped push its franchise over US$ 10 billion in total grossing from its 13 films so far. It’s the first franchise to achieve 10-billion mark.

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On the other side, ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ had accumulated only a little over US$ 850 million. Previously, I expected this movie to gain over US$ 1 billion easily due to the film marking the start of DC Cinematic Universe and that we have not seen Superman and Batman together in a single film before. In the end, it failed to reach 1-billion mark. It is now trying very hard to reach 900 million mark since it’s going to be out of theatres soon. It’s all because the film isn’t well received, unlike Civil War which is enjoying the critical acclaim it gained that helps to push this movie to a huge box office hit.

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

The Amazing Race 28 concluded with Dana and Matt winning this season.

Posted in Explosive News and Results on May 14, 2016 by vincentloy

Another season of ‘The Amazing Race’ has come to an end with its final episode aired yesterday. The Amazing Race Season 28 featured 11 teams and they traveled around the world to finish tasks in each legs and went through series of elimination. The winning team will win US$ 1 million in the final leg if they came first. And the champion for this season is Dana and Matt.

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I enjoyed watching this reality television show since years ago. It’s full of exciting tasks where competitors get to perform daring stunts or cultural activities related to the places they were visiting. It’s fun, challenging and at the same time exposing the competitors to variety of cultures and people across the world. It’s also interesting to see the actions (arguments and mistakes) by the teams and see where it leads them to. It’s dramatic and thrilling for me and that’s why I love this show and I wouldn’t want it to end sometime, hoping for more seasons to come.

Phil Keoghan is the host as usual and I think The Amazing Race would be not the same without him. The three teams that entered the final leg are Dana and Matt, Sheri and Cole, and Tyler and Korey. Despite frequent arguments around, Dana and Matt were both quite consistent and smart throughout the race and I’m happy that they won it in the end. Sheri and Cole were the underdog, and I find this team to be very weak and even not deserved to get into the final. They were worried and scared of almost everything, slow and performed tasks poorly most of the time but luck was always with them as they went through two legs in the last place but those were non-elimination legs. Very fortunate for them. Second place is their best standing already. Tyler and Korey were very consistent (they won most of the earlier legs) as well but they had a bad last leg which was the most crucial one. Hence, they settled for third place.

There are actually some other stronger teams, but they got eliminated in earlier rounds surprisingly, either by sudden serious mistakes or by the devastating U-turn tactics. So now, I have less one television show to catch up every weekend. I’m hoping the next season, The Amazing Race 29 to come quick.

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