Archive for July, 2017

Perth greeted me with extreme cold!

Posted in Interesting Encounters on July 31, 2017 by vincentloy

I safely landed on Perth early this morning! Went straight to home and have a nap till afternoon to recover on the sleepless night I had in the plane. Woke up and went immediately for a quick essential grocery shopping before going to the first class of the semester on 4pm. As soon as I landed on Perth, I felt the cold deep to my bones! It was a huge transition from the very hot climate in Malaysia to the wet winter in Australia now.

I’m back to this beautiful small city of Perth, Western Australia. (Picture above from: http://www.visitperthcity.com)

The highest temperature today is about 12 degree celsius. It may not sound very cold for you, but it is for me. My body is shaking and I can the air I breathe out in the evening. Continuous rain and strong wind for the whole day today makes it almost unbearable for me. If not for the class to attend, I would not want to step out of my house at all. The class is over after 2 hours, had a nice dinner and great catch-up with my classmates and now I’m back to my room with my heater on. That’s the most comfy thing ever for today. Ahh…also the hot shower I took just now too.

The first class was fun with great lecturers and classmates. It’s my first class of the semester on the last day of the month. It will be August tomorrow. A 2-hours workshop once every week (that’s the only class for us this semester) and some fun-looking assignments that will get us prepared to enter the working industry soon after we graduate. This unit is like a ‘side dish’ to the thesis (full meal) that will complete the semester as well as the whole course.

So, let the countdown begins. 4 more months for me to endure to finish this postgraduate study. 4 more months to end my journey in education. I have no plan to go for PhD which is not necessary unless you want to be a very theoretical-based professor/lecturer in the future. 4 more months before going to the full ‘working’ mode. 4 more months before I can no longer call myself as a student (to enjoy all the student benefits) eventhough many would still mistaken me as a young school kid. It will be my last critical mission of the year. Finish the course with hopefully good results.

Last day in Malaysia and semester starts tomorrow.

Posted in Interesting Encounters on July 30, 2017 by vincentloy

My holiday has officially come to an end. This mid-year break that last for about a month is over. Today is my last day in Malaysia before flying back to Australia tonight. My very final semester starts tomorrow with a class in the late afternoon. I only have a single class session for this semester but never ever think that I’m very free. Most of my time will be spent on the thesis and I think I will be very busy for the entire semester till the very completion and final presentation of my thesis.

I don’t know why but this time, I have a strong feeling of not wanting to leave Malaysia. I’m like a little kid who doesn’t want to go to school. Haha…it’s weird. This emotion is not that strong in the previous occasions. I think it may be due to this holiday being too short and I certainly have had not enough of it. On top of that, I’m also pre-occupied with many stuff to do during this break. I also couldn’t accomplish certain tasks that I promised to do during this break before it begins. What a failure…but whatever!

I didn’t expect there is an orientation session for final year student last Friday. I’m still in Malaysia and so I skipped that. I would get the information from my friends but I still think I may have missed certain crucial information. Once I’m back to Perth, I have only a short period of time to prepare the works required for my thesis’ progress. Stress arriving even in the first week of the semester already. What a life! Fortunately, I only have two units this semester; one is the thesis project and another one is the Professional Practice 2. Once I’m done with them, I’m officially done with this Master of Architecture programme! Can’t wait for that!

By the way, I noticed that I watched significantly lesser number of movies this year. I think that’s because I have to allocate more time on my final year of study and also that I don’t have the urge to watch more movies this year. However, I do watched more Hong Kong television series this year. Right now, I’m catching up to two series concurrently. Well, now I know the reason where my time goes to…not for concentration into my study as claimed before. Haha. They are considered my only way for entertainment during this coming period of time that is expected to be stressful. Alright…time to pack my luggage and get ready to the airport. Bye…

Movie review for ‘Baby Driver’, ‘Dunkirk’ and ‘Spider-man: Homecoming’ (2017).

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2017 by vincentloy

I spent this last week of my holiday intensely catching up to some new movies. They are ‘Baby Driver’, ‘Dunkirk’ and ‘Spider-man: Homecoming’. Each of them has been receiving critical acclaim and obtained over 90% rating in Rotten Tomatoes. They are good films, but in my personal opinion, I don’t really think that they are exceptional to that point of acclaim that they received right now. Check my review below to find out why. By the way, I look forward to watch ‘Baby Driver’ because the star even came to Malaysia recently to promote this movie. I wish to watch ‘Dunkirk’ because it is directed by Christopher Nolan. Enough said. And lastly, I go for ‘Spider-man: Homecoming’ because I wouldn’t want to miss a single Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film.

‘Baby Driver’ follows a young getaway driver named ‘Baby’ who is coerced into working for a crime boss in multiple missions. In the process, he never intend to hurt anyone that are innocent and also felt in love with a waitress. The film starred Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, etc. What’s unique of this film is the catchy and continuous music acting as the background score for the movie in almost its entire run. Some actions in the movie also follow with the rhythm of the background music. Great choreography in there. The car chasing scene at the very beginning of the film is also engaging and intense. However, as the story progresses, things start to get slow and boring. There isn’t much development to Baby’s illness in relation to his mother’s death. I can’t felt the progressing love between Baby and Debora. And things don’t match up logically in the end. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Baby Driver’ a total of 7.0 only. I thought I would be impressed looking at all the positive reception the movie has received. But I am left disappointed. Some people said this movie is a mix between ‘La La Land’ and ‘Fast and Furious’ and the outcome is much better. I don’t think so. It is just an ordinary film being over-hyped by its extreme dependence on the music.

Next up is another movie that is also highly dependent on the music to set the mood. It is a war film called ‘Dunkirk’. The movie follows the historical real event, the Dunkirk evacuation. It emphasizes on the evacuation of British soldiers to home away from the German armies during a fierce battle in World War II. The film starred Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, etc. What’s unique of this film is that it is told from three perspectives – the land (1 week), the sea (1 day) and the air (1 hour) and that the movie has very little dialogue with suspense created solely through details. Craftmanship is excellent and is expected as it is directed by Christopher Nolan. The acting by the cast are generally good. The music is loud, heavy and successfully sets the mood eventhough nothing much is really happening throughout the movie. Yes, that’s a problem; nothing much is really happening. The movie lacks drama and actions that a war film should deliver. The music (score) is overused. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Dunkirk’ a total of 7.2. For me, it’s not an excellent war film, which is contradictory to some people who claimed that this is one of the best war films ever made. This movie made me to somehow miss ‘Pearl Harbor’ and even the recent ‘Hacksaw Ridge’. They are much more moving and engaging. This ‘Dunkirk’ didn’t hit to me.

The last movie to review here is ‘Spider-man: Homecoming’. This is the second reboot for this superhero. First is Tobey Maguire, then comes Andrew Garfield for the not so successful reboot. And now, the Spider-man joins back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Tom Holland taking on the titular role. I admired his performance few years ago in ‘The Impossible’, a tsunami movie that also starred Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor.  However, I still find that he is too young for the role. Well, that is what Marvel wanted in their future direction of their movies…and so I couldn’t say anything more. This movie revolves on Peter Parker (obviously since he is the Spider-man) who tries to balance his high-school life with being a superhero, while facing the Vulture (villain whom is on a suit with mechanical wings). Besides Tom Holland, the movie starred Robert Downey Jr., Michael Keaton, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, etc. It is a fresh new way to see Spider-man now as he is now still a teenager with many awkward yet hilarious teen issues. The Iron Man here is like a mentor to this young Spidey boy after getting him to the Avengers team in the last ‘Captain America: Civil War’ movie. On the other hand, Michael Keaton is the Vulture. He is a bit too old for this role and I find that he always get the role that is associated with wings (he has acted as Batman, Birdman, and now as Vulture). The actions are cool but nothing spectacular. For me, I still think that the first three Spiderman movies with Tobey Maguire are the best. Anyway, this ‘Spider-man: Homecoming’ is still a fun movie to watch. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Spider-man: Homecoming’ a total of 7.4.

I thought I would give them over 8 points respectively but I couldn’t. They couldn’t even get past 7.5 from me. I don’t know why the critics nowadays are suddenly so flexible and soft. By the way, I watched the recent leaked trailer for the upcoming ‘Avengers; Infinity War’ (set to be released next year) and I’m so excited for it. Thanos, the big evil boss is finally out to take on all the Avengers! Marvel, please release the clear version of the trailer very soon!

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

 

One almost done, one has half way to go, and one is still on ground. Updates on three supertall construction projects in Kuala Lumpur.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2017 by vincentloy

Kuala Lumpur is ranked among one of the best city skylines in the world. It gained such recognition due to its splendid array of clustered buildings topped with the iconic Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower. However, the city skyline is going to further transform, thanks to the many new skyscrapers currently being built in the city. They are going to immensely impact the city skyline due to their enormous heights. The city won’t look the same after every few years and I look forward to see more tall and nice-looking buildings being constructed in the city.

Here are the 3 supertall skyscraper projects in Kuala Lumpur that are receiving high attention and shown together are their latest construction images. Render is shown for each project below too. Supertall building refers to a building that exceeds 300 metres in height.

1.Four Seasons Place. 

It is a 65-storeys mixed use tower currently under construction besides the Petronas Twin Towers. Once completed, it will have a final height of 343 metres. It will contain a hotel, serviced residences and a shopping mall at the podium. After undergoing multiple delays and design changes in the past, the tower has now finally rising quickly. It has structurally topped out not long ago and the work on the building’s crown has started. It will top out architecturally before last quarter of the year and will open next year. Once completed, it will be the third tallest building in the country, right after the two twin towers that sat beside it. Now, it has already made the twin towers to look not as tall as in the past eventhough it is still shorter than them by a little over 100 metres.

 

This one is ALMOST DONE.

2. TRX Exchange 106 Tower. 

It is a 106-storeys office tower currently under construction at the Tun Razak Exchange site. Once completed, this new region will become the financial hub of the city. Once completed, the tower will have a final height of 452 metres. It surprisingly will have the same height as the Petronas Twin Towers. You may wonder that it should be taller than the twin towers since it almost has over 20 floors more than the twin towers? Nope. It’s because this TRX Tower has no spire to add up to its height. The construction for this tower is very fast and it has now already half way to its top. It has now already making a huge impact to the city’s skyline. The highlight of the tower will be its crystalline crown.

This one is HALF WAY TO FINISH.

3. PNB118 Merdeka Tower.

It is a 118-storeys office tower currently under construction on the lot bordering the historical Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur. It is just right opposite my former secondary school, the Methodist Boys School KL. Once completed, it will be the tallest building in the country as well as among the top five tallest buildings in the world at a height of 644 metres. It will surpass the height of Shanghai Tower (632 metres), One World Trade Center (541 metres), Taipei 101 (508 metres) and many other skyscrapers across the world. However, its construction has been very slow and I read a news somewhere that it experienced problem with its foundation. I predict that it will be completed by 2020 or 2021. It will reach this immense height of over 600 metres due to its very long spire at the top.

 

This one is still not rising and is STILL ON GROUND WORK.

Hoping to see great progress from these skyscraper projects once I’m back to KL end of this year.

(Images in this post are from skyscrapercity.com forum webpages)

Wait…one week left for my holiday?

Posted in Interesting Encounters on July 24, 2017 by vincentloy

Yes, it is. I can’t believe it. I will be heading to the airport this Sunday’s evening for flight back to Perth. Time flies. I have already spent a little over one month indulging in a total laziness mode. In this break, I went to Thailand for a trip during the Raya festival, I went to Genting Highlands for a short getaway to enjoy the colder air up on the mountain and I went to Ipoh for a family matter on the last weekend. And for the rest of the time, I’m just spending them at home; a lot of sleeping, a lot of time spent surfing the web, and a lot of time used on watching YouTube and Hong Kong dramas.

By the time I head back to Perth, it will be intense for me as I have to work really hard for my thesis. I should be doing some of the thesis during this holiday but I just couldn’t. Whenever I’m in my house, I felt that everything around me is making me to be not productive and not motivated to do any work. Well, I then promised myself that I will be really working intensely once I’m back to Perth. This will be my last ever break for my postgraduate study that will end this November and I will cherish every moment of it…and now I have less than one week of that.

I’m actually occupied with other stuff to do. I’m not entirely free during this break actually. I have to fetch my nephew from school everyday. I have to take care of them during every Saturday (it’s really tired to look after them and they occasionally find you to play with them…kids are full of energy and can play anywhere anytime even when my house have nothing for them to play). I have to settle my banking matter. I have to settle some university stuff. So many things to settle in my short time here in Malaysia.

For this break in Malaysia, I at least managed to visit the new MyTown shopping centre for the first time, took the MRT for the first time, saw the latest progress of construction of many new tall buildings in the KL city centre region, ate a lot of nice food that I long waited for when I was still in Perth, and met some of my relatives that I have long not seen. I wish to visit the annual ARCHIDEX exhibition held recently, but I was tired and felt lazy to go. I attended this exhibition for several years in the past and the reward  are the many free items I can get by visiting booths.

 

First time taking the MRT.

Posted in Interesting Encounters on July 21, 2017 by vincentloy

The whole Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Sungai Buloh and Kajang Line is complete with the opening of Phase 2 few days ago. Phase 1 was opened end of last year but I didn’t get to take the MRT because that is not the area I want to go. Now, the Phase 2 is opened and riders will get 50% discount on rides up to 31st August 2017. The stations in this Phase 2 are more convenient to me as my house is considered near to them and that I can now use them to go to certain areas in Kuala Lumpur without the hassle of finding parking spots or paying expensive parking charges in the city.

I have heard and read many good feedback on this new MRT. Finally, yesterday was the day for me to try on taking the MRT for the first time. I still have to drive for about 10 to 15 minutes to reach the station nearer to my house. They should have MRT or at least having LRT (Ampang Line) extended to my area (Taman Muda or Taman Bukit Teratai) that has a huge population but lacks public transportation system. We took the MRT from Taman Mutiara station to Bukit Bintang station. Due to the 50% discount, the ride only costs RM1.50. That’s cheap.

Car park at the station is insufficient. The station is unnecessarily huge with plenty of empty spaces that can be used for setting up kiosks. The train is very new, spacious, clean and brightly lit. However, I felt extremely cold in the train. The air-conditioning is still very new and that’s why it is very cold inside. My destination is at Bukit Bintang station, an underground station that looks great with vibrant red colored reflective cladding. This MRT system is no doubt a great addition to the city and it will eventually help reduce traffic congestion in the city.

More areas should be covered in future addition or extension of train lines so that more people can rely on public transport in Klang Valley. This MRT Sungai Buloh and Kajang Line is only one of the steps to make it possible. Besides that, the integration of MRT with LRT, Monorail or other lines should be made as seamless as possible and the walking distance between their stations should be kept minimal. As for our Prime Minister’s comment that someone told him that our MRT is even better than those in New York, London or Hong Kong, I think he is being too proud of himself. Those were built much earlier and it is very usual for our country’s new MRT to be better looking to them.

First time to the Premium Outlet in Genting Highlands.

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2017 by vincentloy

The Genting Highlands Premium Outlet has opened its door for a month and yesterday is the first time I paid a visit to the outlet. With only about a month staying in Malaysia before flying back to Australia, I pick last weekend as the time for me to go up to Genting for at least once. I treat it as a short getaway to catch the colder air on the resort up on the hills.

The last time I went to Genting was in the past January. That was just 6 months ago. When I went up this time, I’m lost in direction. The whole First World Plaza is now closed and is replaced with the new Sky Avenue Mall. The mall is partially open when I visit in the last January. Some areas in the mall now are still empty and unfinished. The former casino in the First World Hotel’s building has also moved to a much more grand setting in the Sky Avenue Mall. It is now re-branded as ‘Sky Casino’.

That is the place where I lost RM500 on the roulette game on last Saturday’s evening. That was after a not-so-good meal in Madam Kwan’s Restaurant. The food served there are too sweet (the chef love to pour a lot of sugar into the dishes), the quantity are small and the price are unreasonable. Me and my parents moved to the other casino in the Genting Hotel on midnight to try our luck but we lost again. Another RM300 gone from my wallet. Hmm…I will take it as a charity donation to Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay to further develop the resort. View from the hotel room below:

So, we ended up not going into the casino anymore on Sunday on fear of losing more money. We instead had an awesome lunch at Din Tai Fung Restaurant. The food is delicious, the service is excellent, the price is reasonable, and the quality of every aspects are magnificent. Everything is great. Highly recommended place to have a nice meal. After the lunch, we took the new Awana Skyway (RM8 for a person) cable car ride down to the Premium Outlet as mentioned earlier. From there, we get to see some amazing views of the surrounding (the resort, the Chin Swee Temple, Awana Resorts, Gohtong Jaya, the Premium Outlet, and the hills).

From the ride, we also noticed that the construction of the 20th Century Fox World Outdoor Theme Park is super slow. There are still a lot to be done and I think it is highly likely that the opening for the theme park will be delayed again to possibly end of 2018.  Okay…back to the premium outlet. It is the second outlet of its kind in Malaysia (first one is in Johor). It is just an outdoor mall with famous branded stores selling slightly cheaper stuff. There are a lot of people there because it is still new. I won’t go there often if I have been there once.

On our way back home, we stopped by at the Chin Swee Temple for a short visit. The last time I visited the temple was way back many years ago when I was still a teenager. There are many new stuff (new plaza with Genting founder Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong’s statue, new sculptures depicting Chinese legends or beliefs, new vegetarian restaurant and observation tower building, etc) or things to visit and discover in the temple complex now. It also manages to attract a lot of foreign tourists. I’m tired during the visit and so I didn’t climb the pagoda tower. I always climb the tower every time I visit the temple in the past. Not this time.

That’s the end of our short trip up at Genting. Very ‘costly’ (due to gambling…haha) but rewarding in other sense that I got to visit new places this time. In the past, it is always the same for every corners in this mountain resort that has been here for like 50 years. It’s good news that the resort is now evolving to stay relevant and to continuously attract more visitors.

(Copyrights reserved to all images in this post.)