Archive for August, 2017

29th SEA Games, Kuala Lumpur 2017 closes on the Merdeka Eve

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2017 by vincentloy

After about two weeks of competitions, the 29th South East Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur 2017 has finally came to an end. The closing ceremony was held yesterday in the same venue, Bukit Jalil National Stadium on 30th August 2017. That’s also the Merdeka Eve (a day before Malaysia’s 60th anniversary of independence).

The ceremony fell short of excitement as there isn’t any performance by the next host country, Philippines. The host country of the next games has to deliver a performance in the usual tradition of the closing ceremony. However, Philippines had only decided to host it not long ago, they had no preparation to deliver a performance in that short notice, and that they wished to save the budget for the games’ hosting two years later. Hence, a no show from them. It was just a simple and formal handover ceremony from Malaysia to Philippines. This games also see among the worst performance by Philippines as they only won 24 gold medals, well below the 50-gold medal target they set earlier. Well, I’m sure they are going to do much better in the next edition as it is going to be hosted by them. Home advantage.

Same goes to Malaysia this time. Home advantage. And adding that with some obvious biased decisions by the judges in several sports in this games. The end result is an extraordinary victory for Malaysia in this games. We collected 145 gold medals, 92 silver medals, and 86 bronze medals, for a total of 323 medals. That’s more than enough to top the medal tally (Thailand came in second with 72 golds, we get more than double of that). Our last biggest achievement in this games was way back in 2001 (also held in Kuala Lumpur) when we won 111 gold medals. We set 111-golds as our target this time too and we accomplished far beyond that. Despite all the biased judgements and organizing sports that Malaysia is good at (typical for any host countries), I have to still admit that Malaysia really did a good job here. Well, it’s quite easy to win medals here. We have to move on after a word of congratulations! We have to raise our bar high by aiming to win more medals in bigger games like Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games.

Back to the closing ceremony. The ceremony was very boring. There is no cultural performance by the next host country (Philippines) as stated earlier, and there is only a very short performance by Malaysia to end the games. Other than that, it was all the formal stuff (handover, extinguishing of flame, national anthem, parade of athletes, etc). After that, the ceremony is dedicated as a Merdeka countdown celebration with over an hour of boring singing. The song choices are very poor (all Malay songs with no universal appeal) that did not highlight the diversity of the nation. How do you expect people from other countries to enjoy this? Even I as a Malaysian do not like this too. I thought there would be a grand countdown to Merdeka but that is not happening. Instead, we got a speech from the Prime Minister which is a happy news for all Malaysians too because he announced next Monday as an additional public holiday to mark the success of the country in this SEA Games. I think that’s the only one good thing that comes out from his mouth. Well, that holiday didn’t mean anything to me as I’m now here in Australia for my study. Sad…

 

  

All my people back in my country is enjoying this long 5-day of holiday combining Independence Day, Hari Raya Haji, the weekend, and this one extra special public holiday. I’m jealous of that. After the Prime Minister’s speech that ended past 12am, there is no official countdown to this historic day to my major disappointment. Even the fireworks that end the ceremony are not much. Everything in the opening ceremony is much better. This closing ceremony is like ‘well, we shall end the games by just showing how proud we are to be the overall champion of the games…that’s it’. No effort, no creativity, and no ‘wow’. This also belittles the participants from other countries and foreign audiences.

There would be this 9th ASEAN Para Games (sports for the disabled) to be held next month. After that, we say goodbye to KL (still a good host despite all the negative issues like wrong flags, biased judges, bad bus drivers, bad supporters’ attitudes, etc). Next SEA Games, Manila 2019!

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

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It’s my country 60th anniversary of independence today!

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2017 by vincentloy

The 29th SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia had just ended yesterday and now, we came to a big day in Malaysia! It’s our country’s 60th anniversary of independence!

Happy Independence Day to all Malaysians! Although I’m not in Malaysia now, but my heart stays in Malaysia! As I always said, I love my country (but not its government). Today is 31st August 2017, and on this day exactly 60 years ago, our nation proudly gained independence from the British. Without the effort by our first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman and his aids, our country would not be able to achieve what it is today.

This is the day when I was reminded how I love to decorate my class every year in this one month of national celebration with many Malaysian flags. They were hanged everywhere in the class and in the whole school compound. Our class would sometime even win the prize for best National Day decoration. On the other hand, I also love the competition whereby each classes will have all of their students performing chosen Merdeka (independence) theme song. What I love about it is not the singing but the practice and rehearsal sessions for this competition that will took away some of the normal class sessions. Haha…Time to sneak away from boring classes.

I have to admit that our country is not as united or harmonious as it seems to be. The past history and mentality of some citizens of the nation are still hindering the national effort to bring all people close together despite the differences in races, religions, cultures and backgrounds. Anyway, the country is still considered peaceful and great to live in. The Malaysian food is the best! The Petronas Twin Towers are our glory!

Last but not least, I would like to wish to all Malaysians a Happy Independence Day! 60th birthday, man! Enjoy the long holiday too! What’s my wish for the future Malaysia? Grow much faster, have the government changed for the good of everyone, have the currency value (Malaysian ringgit) increases as much as it can since the currency is so low now, limit number of immigrants in the country (obviously too many of them now) and more united with no more racism. We should not call ourselves Malay, Chinese or Indian but as a Malaysian!

“Selamat Menyambut Hari Kemerdekaan ke 60!”

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

TVB drama review for ‘A General, A Scholar And An Eunuch’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2017 by vincentloy

‘A General, A Scholar And An Eunuch’ (超時空男臣) is a science-fiction comedy drama by Hong Kong’s TVB. Based on the theme of time traveling, it tells the story of three imperial officials from Ming dynasty who accidentally traveled to modern day China while searching for a missing princess. The 32-episode drama starred Edwin Siu, Raymond Cho, Matthew Ho, Grace Wong, Kristal Tin, Rebecca Zhu, David Chiang, James Ng, Tsui Wing, etc.

The series has just aired its final episode few hours ago. Finally, another TVB drama completely watched for this year. This is an interesting drama. A story about time travel. What could go wrong? The series started with many good laughs as the three officials have to adapt to the modern world. I can remember the first few episodes were seriously very funny. As the story progresses to more serious business involving Kristal’s restaurant, I am still engaged. However, I find that this drama is a bit draggy after episode 20. It loses appeal at that point but come back nicely in the last few episodes. The flow and the story would be much better if it is cut short to 28 episodes.

I noticed there are quite a number of illogical points or strange plotholes throughout the story especially when it nears its end. Well, I can ignore them since this drama is never about being logic in the first place. It was a fun premise, then added with some quick romance and challenges in businesses the modern-day characters have to encounter. I have to admit that the conclusion (final episode) was sad and appears more like an open ending. But after a second thought, I actually like this ending. It will be at least more memorable and stays away from typical happy-ending drama from TVB. Well, at least, Edwin finally admits in his heart that he do love Kristal.

Everyone in the cast did a good job in this drama. Kristal Tin has a lot of series coming up this year and I’m sure she was tired working on all of them. It must be stressful for her. However, she still managed to deliver to her role here as the anchor of the story. I’m still rooting for her to win Best Actress this year so far, not from this drama, but from ‘Destination Nowhere’ drama released earlier this year. I seldom see Edwin being good in taking on main lead role, but hey, he is actually not bad in here. His consistent posture and expression (to reflect his Ming dynasty period when he is a general) show how much he dedicated to this role. Grace Wong on the other hand is well known to be able to elevate her expression in her acting and still people don’t get disturbed by it. Due to this ability, she shined in all her recent roles including her award-winning role last year in ‘A Fist Within Four Walls.’

I do have fun watching this drama. A great and a hilarious beginning, a steady story development but a bit draggy in the middle, and an unusually sad yet memorable ending. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘A General, A Scholar And An Eunuch’ a total of 7.5. I’m guessing the four of them (including the princess portrayed by Grace) have no choice but to return to Ming dynasty to avoid rewriting the history that will affect its future (the present).

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

5 Architects That I Admire.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2017 by vincentloy

There are quite a number of popular and successful architects out there across the world. They made their names well known in the architectural industry due to their incredible design projects that won them multiple recognition and awards worldwide. They may be popular also due to certain iconic design styles or expressions they possess that sparks a new wave in architectural applications. Out of all, I consistently pay close attention to 5 of them. Who are they? Here below I list down the 5 architects that I admire with my favourite three projects of theirs respectively.

Mies Van Der Rohe

  • One of the four Fathers of Modern Architecture
  • “Less is more.” & “God is in the details.”
  • Favourite project 1: Barcelona Pavilion.

  • Favourite project 2: Farnsworth House.

  • Favourite project 3: Seagram Building.

Zaha Hadid

  • First female Pritzker Prize winner
  • Queen of the curves – fluidity of geometry
  • Favourite project 1: Guangzhou Opera House

  • Favourite project 2: Heydar Aliyev Center

  • Favourite project 3: Port Authority Building, Antwerp

Adrian Smith

  • Master in Skyscrapers, architect for current world’s tallest building; Burj Khalifa
  • Recipient of CTBUH Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Favourite project 1: Jin Mao Tower

  • Favourite project 2: Pearl River Tower

  • Favourite project 3: Jeddah Tower (future tallest in the world)

Bjarke Ingels

  • Defier of traditional architectural conventions or dimensions
  • Innovator of the Year in architecture by Wall Street Journal
  • Favourite project 1: Via 57 West

  • Favourite project 2: 8 House

  • Favourite project 3: Mountain Dwellings

Ole Scheeren

  • Rising star architect
  • Architect of multiple iconic projects across the world
  • Favourite project 1: The Interlace

  • Favourite project 2: CCTV Headquarters Building

  • Favourite project 3: Mahanakhon Tower

Trivia: The next 5 architects that I admire are Daniel Libeskind, Norman Foster, Cesar Pelli, I.M. Pei and Tadao Ando.

What about you? Who are your favourite architects?

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

29th SEA Games Kuala Lumpur 2017 opens with surprisingly good opening ceremony!

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2017 by vincentloy

The 29th South East Asian (SEA) Games Kuala Lumpur 2017 has officially opened with a magnificent opening ceremony held just now in Bukit Jalil National Stadium. I am not in Malaysia but I am glad to be able to watch the ceremony live just now from YouTube. It began on 8.17pm (20:17 time for this year of 2017). I didn’t have high expectation of the ceremony, as you know, it is Malaysia. I remembered that our opening ceremony for 1998 Commonwealth Games was nothing exciting and I don’t even remember a single moment from the ceremony in 2001 when we last hosted this SEA Games.

Then, I am left surprised. The opening ceremony just now was actually good. Not to the point that it was incredible or out of this world, but it is still a great show. We of course cannot compare this to Olympic-level ceremonies. This is considered breathtaking at SEA Games level. The ceremony is short (just two hours) and I’m fine with it. The official speeches were short (good too). The first half of the ceremony is dedicated for all the official procedures like flags parade, athletes parade, and oaths taking. Then, came the second part that I’m looking forward to which is the performance segment.

I’m surprised that the role of the creative director is given to a Chinese this time. Cool. That’s a wise decision. I’m not intending to be racist here but giving major role to a Chinese in Malaysia is a very seldom occasion. Give us a chance and we will deliver. And he (forgot his name) delivered. I’m amazed by his ability to combine the traditional shows with contemporary elements for the performances. It’s hard to do that and he accomplished it. I can still experience the unique diversity of Malaysia (and ASEAN overall) through traditional dances and outfits, but at the same time, listening to vibrant modern music and seeing high-tech colourful lighting and projection all around. The choreography and synchronisation aren’t at the best but the effort is there. The presentation appeared to be like a mess for a time but overall, the energy was there.

Before watching the show, I have fear that the ceremony will be overwhelmed with very traditional dances and songs. I’m now certainly in relief. The songs during the performance are also great and complements to the energetic atmosphere of the almost fully-packed stadium. As for the stadium, I love the newly refurbished stadium. It looks awesome with the new skin cladding and modern LED lights. A major disappointment of the ceremony would be the cauldron. It’s just a huge chunk of cylinder mimicking ‘oil lamp’ (the broadcaster said so). That part is supposed to be intense and exciting. The end result is not. Lack of effort on this crucial part of the ceremony. And I don’t even know the last torch bearer. Apology but who is she? The last torch bearer is supposed to be someone who is the most excellent in world sports. By the way, where is our beloved Datuk Lee Chong Wei? He is not appearing at all in this ceremony. He is the best choice for that spot.

Last but not least, the concluding fireworks is awesome although I wish for more. Generally, the ceremony is great and is a good effort but it lacks ‘wow’ moment. There literally isn’t any ‘wow’ moment in the show. All the ‘suspended in the air’ show in the ceremony fall short of excitement too. The idea of having LED lights installed at the side of audiences’ seats reminds me of the same situation for London 2012 ceremonies. Well, I’m fine for this idea to be reused again to make the show better. Now, the games begin and we will see if Malaysia could reach its target by winning over 111 golds and topping the medal tally. The games will end with a closing ceremony on 30th August 2017, which is coincidentally the eve of the country’s 60th anniversary of independence celebration.

(Images in this post are from The Star Online and YouTube screenshots)

Kuala Lumpur 2017 SEA Games begins this Saturday.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2017 by vincentloy

My home capital, Kuala Lumpur will be hosting the 29th Southeast Asian Games beginning this Saturday. This biennial event will take place from 19th to 30th August 2017 and will see participation of 11 countries in the South East Asia region. This will be Kuala Lumpur’s 6th time in hosting the games. Its last edition here in KL was way back in 2001. There will be 404 events in 38 sports in this games including the first ever winter-sport (ice skating) events included in SEA Games history.

In preparation of the games, the old sports complex in Bukit Jalil went through a major refurbishment and rebranded as KL Sports City. The sports complex was previously built to host the 1998 Commonwealth Games. That was almost 20 years ago and many areas and venues in the complex were in serious need of upgrade works. And they are now all done for the coming SEA Games. One of the major upgrades is the addition of a skin system to the present Bukit Jalil Outdoor National Stadium. Well, it looks good on the stadium with the LED colour-changing lights on it.

Malaysia hopes to be the top of the medal ranking at the end of the games. This is expected since we are the host nation and there would be advantages on our side as usual. However, in my opinion, reaching the top at this games means nothing. It is just a small regional event. Malaysia shall aim higher by targeting to reach top 10 in future Asian Games (we are placed at 14th place in Incheon 2014 with 5 golds, 14 silvers and 14 bronzes) or even top 30 in future Olympic Games (we are placed at 60th place in Rio 2016 with 4 silvers and 1 bronze…haiz, 4 silvers and not even 1 gold…sad). Opps…we have not even won a single gold medal in the Olympics yet. We are basically weak in most of the sports. Even our performance in badminton (our most popular and considered to be our best shot for medals) keep on dropping in these recent years. We should look up to China on how they train their athletes. They are crazily strong in almost all sports now.

On the other hand, Malaysia should consider strongly to bid for bigger games in the future such as the Asian Games. I remember Thailand had hosted it for many times and we have not even hosted it once. We should bid for Asian Games. I think we have all the necessary stuff needed to host the games. Aim higher. We do not even need to spend much on building new infrastructures as we already have most of them. So why not? It will not cost much and by hosting bigger-scale games, our unity spirit and international recognition will rise. Wait…how about hosting the Olympics? Wow…this dream is way too far. It is still possible if Malaysia and Singapore work together for a joint bid. But for now, we should set our eyes on bidding for Asian Games first. Oh no…we have to wait to bid for the 2030 Asian Games. The host for 2018, 2022 and 2026 games have already been decided earlier. Year 2030…hmm…I will turn 39 years old by then.

Anyway, back to this coming SEA Games. I will still wish for the best for the Malaysian athletes! I have no doubt we will get No.1 in this games in overall medal tally. Let just see this as a warm up for much bigger games ahead. Malaysia Boleh! I hope the country will be doing something cool for the opening ceremony this Saturday! Perhaps matching the quality of the opening ceremonies in Olympic Games. I doubt it.

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

 

Review for TVB drama ‘Bet Hur’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2017 by vincentloy

‘Bet Hur’ (賭城群英會) is a TVB drama directed by famous film director, Wong Jing that revolves on revenge started from a lost in a gambling match between two masters. The revenge continues to the younger generations. The drama is categorized as a gambling drama but gambling is only present on the first and the last episode of the whole 35-episodes series. I was very excited for this drama back then because it is a huge production drama and it has a great cast including those we have long not seen in television before such as Patrick Tse, Nat Chan, and Monica Chan. The drama also starred Kenneth Ma, Charmaine Sheh, Raymond Wong, Samantha Ko, Dominic Ho, Carlo Ng, Joseph Lee, Connie Man, Matt Yeung, Louisa Mak, etc.

What do I think of the drama? One word: Lousy! The drama’s title itself gives a huge false impression. It is so misleading. I am expecting a drama filled with intense gambling, dramatic action scenes and suspenseful plots. I ended up seeing a drama with extremely poor story, illogical plot that doesn’t flow cohesively, and emphasizes more on boring love storyline. I can only see gambling on the first and the last episodes of the drama. That’s it. No thrilling actions or plots going in between. The huge amount of time given to develop the romantic relationship between Dominic Ho and the other two girls is so unnecessary and irrelevant to the whole story. Even the love storyline between Kenneth Ma and Charmaine Sheh is not developed to that level. Everything is not balanced.

The presence of heavyweight cast in this series is a total missed opportunity. They are some great scenes for them to showcase their acting (especially some explosive or death scenes) but they are not enough to save the whole drama. It is a waste to their talents. Nevertheless, Kenneth Ma do has one scene that is amazing but that doesn’t help to push him for any award recognition this year. The old veteran that acted as the nemesis of Patrick Tse in the drama is very poor on voicing out his lines. I always cannot hear what he said. Patrick looks cool at his age but his role is so ’empty’. Nat Chan and Monica Chan couldn’t act and shouldn’t be here at all. Louisa Mak, a newbie actress, performed badly but can be forgiven since this is her first time acting. Her crying (Nat Chan’s crying too) scenes in this drama are awful. Raymond Wong and Connie Man’s characters are very minor and it makes me feel as though they are added to the story just to join in the fun.

I can literally call this drama a rubbish. There is literally nothing going on for almost 30 episodes of the drama. And as the drama nears its ending, the scriptwriter decided to kill as many characters as he/she wants. So many deaths, and surprisingly, I’m not feeling anything. The whole story is badly written. And how about the conclusion? Another bad conclusion. Kenneth’s character has to have evil intentions and has to kill innocent people to win in the end. And he is not going to jail for that? Hmm…that is sending out a bad message to audiences. Charmaine’s character made a good decision to leave him. The only happy thing is at least that the whole bad family is now gone, and the scriptwriter decided to stress on that again and again in the last episode. That is so not necessary.

Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Bet Hur’ a total of 5.0. Out of that 5, 3 points are for the stars and 2 points are for the production effort. No point at all for the story. It’s a total crap. Very disappointed with this series. Let’s get this series out of the mind and I now look forward to the next TVB drama ‘The Unholy Alliance’.

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