Archive for the Interesting Encounters Category

Goodbye Malaysia….I’m back to Perth.

Posted in Interesting Encounters on February 22, 2017 by vincentloy

Goodbye Malaysia! I have come to Perth for my final year of postgraduate study. I arrived here yesterday early morning and got back to my house accommodation in the afternoon. I spent the whole day yesterday unpacking my stuff and buying the needed groceries. It was tiring but it’s really good to come back to the same room I had stayed on last year. It’s also lovely to know that the laundry in my accommodation is now free! Yes!

Once I got here, the first thing I’m surprised with is the weather. It is right now summer in Australia but the weather is chilling. It is supposed to be nearing 40 degree celsius in the afternoon but the temperature couldn’t even get past 25 degree celsius. I felt like I am on Genting Highlands right now with the current temperature. At night, the temperature even dropped to around 10 degree celsius. Well, I don’t need to be that happy so soon for not encountering extremely hot weather. It’s because the weather forecast stated that this weekend is going to be hot with temperature rising to nearly 40 degree celsius to match the supposed-to-be summer season now.

The semester hasn’t started yet and so I’m still quite free right now. I will take the time to walk around in the campus and visit the city once again. I can’t wait to meet back my fellow classmates and also to get to know two new housemates in my flat this year. My first class of the semester is on next Tuesday and I’m informed recently that there is no orientation session for us this year. Damn…if I knew it earlier, I would not be coming to Australia so soon so that I can enjoy my break in Malaysia a bit longer.

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Time flies. I still remembered very well how much I’m anticipating to return to Malaysia on the past November for my long break. Now, the break was over and I’m back here. Very soon, I will be finishing the programme and graduates.

(Copyright reserved to the image in this blog post. Kindly request permission if you intend to use it for any purpose.)

Few more days in Malaysia before flying back to Perth

Posted in Interesting Encounters on February 16, 2017 by vincentloy

My excessively long three-months school break is finally ending soon. Next week is already the Orientation Week at the campus but that is none of my business since it is for newcomers. The semester will only start on the week after, but I will be flying back to Perth next Monday already. Hence, I have only few more days here in Malaysia to enjoy before all the stress from the study strikes again for this final year.

What I have mostly done in the past three months?

Changed my room’s appearance

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Once I’m back to my home last November, I couldn’t stand the messiness and the past poor arrangement of furniture in my small little bedroom. Besides than cleaning up the whole room to make it pleasant to atay in, I also bought new study table, chair, bedside table and some accessories from IKEA while throwing away some old stuff. I also hanged an image of Hong Kong city skyline in puzzle I completed some time ago, and placed some decorations on wall mounted planes (also from IKEA). Now my room doesn’t look like a store room anymore.

Watched a lot of movies

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Yes, I watched a lot of movies since I have all the time in this long holiday. This period (November to January) is the best time for me to catch up on some last year’s films that I have missed earlier as well as chasing all the Oscar-bait films that were typically released within that period too. Watching movie is one of my most favourite things to do as you tend to forget about everything else and just immerse into the drama and fun of those films.

Went for vacations

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During the Chinese New Year, I went to Hanoi, Vietnam with my parents and got to see breathtaking places like Tam Coc and Halong Bay. That 5 days 4 nights trip was a great one. We followed a tour group of only 14 people (the lesser the better) and we find it was worth the price that we have paid. Another new country checked on my list of countries that I have traveled to before. Not long after that, I also went up to Genting Highlands (I count that as a vacation too) to enjoy the colder air up there, visit the new Sky Avenue shopping mall and to try my luck (I won a bit in the end).

Rot at home

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Most of the time, I was just in my home, rotting. Well, that is the essence of holiday when you just get to do nothing. Afternoon nap, watching a movie or two in a day, Hong Kong series marathon, playing games, searching for random stuff online, surfing Facebook twice in an hour and not setting any clock alarm are all possible in this break. The next time I got to have this kind of break again is on this end of June for my mid-year break. Now, I have to be prepared to turn off my ‘lazy’ mode.

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

Last trip to Genting last weekend before flying back to Australia again

Posted in Interesting Encounters on February 7, 2017 by vincentloy

Since I have returned to Malaysia for my study break last November, I always wanted to go up to Genting at least once before I’m returning to Australia again for my study. That wish is fulfilled when I got to go up to that famous mountain resort last weekend with my parents. It would be a big wish if I am still a child because I remember how much I wanted to go up there with my whole family when I was a little kid for all the fun at the theme parks there. Now, the only reason we go up there (being an adult already) is the ‘fun’ from the casino.

I can’t believe that I’m still getting free room promotion up until now at the First World Hotel which is now the largest hotel in the world in term of number of rooms since the addition of an annex building to the Tower 2 not long ago. Complimentary room….now that’s good as I got to save money on the room for something else. There is a visible change to Genting Highlands since I last visited it over a year ago. The construction for the new outdoor theme park called 20th Century Fox World to replace the old one is still on-going and I find that their progress is very slow. Perhaps the frequent misty weather is not helping the construction site. Its opening has been delayed several times and now I’m guess the long-awaited theme park (will be the world’s first 20th Century Fox World theme park) will only be ready by 2018. Part of the previous land on the former outdoor theme park is also allocated for a new shopping mall called Sky Avenue and it has been partially opened when I visited it last weekend.

This Sky Avenue has over 70 new restaurants (Dragon-I, Madam Kwan’s, Absolute Thai, Morganfield’s, Burger & Lobster, Malaysian Food Street, etc) and retail shops (Adidas, Samsung, Padini, Giordano, G2000, Puma, Skechers, etc). Besides that, it has three atriums, with one of them decorated with huge LED screens all around for a magical visual display for visitors. There would also be a new casino in here (not opened yet) as well as a cable car ride at the Awana Skyway (already opened) linked to this building. I guess this Sky Avenue Mall will be fully ready together with the opening of the outdoor theme park in 2018. An impressive new addition to the mountain resort that has been here for almost 50 years. A transformation is needed to keep Genting ‘alive’ and this Sky Avenue is part of it. Next time, we will have more choices for places to dine and we can even do great shopping up there. By the way, do not confuse this mall with Genting Premium Outlet, another mall under construction currently at the lower level of the peak.

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As for my luck in the casino, I won only RM100 after two days of playing. I only played roulette. On Saturday’s afternoon before dinner, I lost RM300 on the roulette table. It is so hard to play the table one because the minimum bet is RM20. That is so expensive. Only the rich can play them now. Not me. After dinner of which we met our relatives coincidentally, I went in to the casino again to try my luck. This time, I played the roulette on machine because their minimum bet is much lower at RM5 and I won back RM300. That’s no win and no loss at the end of the day. Before leaving Genting on Sunday afternoon, I went into the casino with my dad again and this time I won from playing the machine’s roulette. Well, only RM100 as mentioned earlier. Well, better than nothing. I tend to spend quite a long time in casino not because I’m an addict to gambling, but because I like to see other people’s games in the casino and all their drama from either winning or losing. I also enjoyed being stopped by the guard at the casino’s entrances to check my identification because it means I look younger than 21 years old, the minimum age to enter the casino. Haha…

We also visited the Genting Visitor Gallery to explore the success stories behind the resort’s founder, the late Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong. We and many other people usually just passed by that area without noticing this gallery. This time, we finally went in to catch a glimpse of the history of the resort. There are a lot of images of the founder or his son (Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, now the boss of the resort) with foreign dignitaries, prime ministers, famous people, etc as well as a huge replica model of the whole Genting Highlands on display in this rather small gallery.

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Yesterday, me and my family finally had a better ‘reunion’ dinner. Better here means more costly compared to the much more economical dinner we had on the Chinese New Year’s Eve earlier when my eldest sister and her family are not present. Last night, we had the dinner at Harbour Seafood Restaurant in Cheras. The dishes served are generally good but their services are poor. The restaurant was crowded with lack of staff and so we didn’t get the required attention. Last night is the first time I tossed ‘yee sang’ for this year’s Chinese New Year festival that is going to end this Saturday. It is the usual practice here for Malaysian Chinese to toss ‘yee sang’ as high as possible while saying out their wishes. Typical wishes are like good health, great fortune, world peace, excel in study, and so on. This year, I said out an extra wish while tossing; get our prime minister to jail. And my family laughed but agreed. Haha…I guess most Malaysians agree and wish for this to be true soon.

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And yup…in less than two weeks, I will be flying back to Australia. No more trip to Genting for at least another year. Last time, I usually went up there at least four times a year.

(Copyrights reserved to images in this blog post. Please request permission if you intend to use them for any purpose.)

Less than a week to Chinese New Year and I’m frustrated by almost everything.

Posted in Interesting Encounters on January 23, 2017 by vincentloy

Chinese New Year is just around the corner and I’m supposed to be excited since the time for me to get angpow and to go to Vietnam for a vacation are near. However, I’m feeling frustrated rather than delightful surprisingly. I’m frustrated because this Chinese largest festival is coming too early this year. It gives me and my family not enough time to bask ourselves into this lunar new year’s mood. There’s not enough time for me to do CNY shopping, to buy CNY cookies and biscuits, to visit malls to check out variety of CNY decorations, etc.

Me and my family visited three malls yesterday. That’s a record. We planned to spend our Sunday on two malls earlier but my dad couldn’t find his favourite sport shoes to buy after visiting several stores. I didn’t realize my dad is that picky in choosing not only shoes, but also shirts to purchase. We ended up visiting Aeon Jusco Maluri, then Cheras Leisure Mall, and finally Sunway Velocity Mall. My dad bought the most stuff since he didn’t buy any new clothes yet (and I did so last month). I also didn’t come home empty handed again this time as I bought another new collared T-shirt for me to wear this coming Saturday most probably for the first day of CNY because it’s red in colour. It’s Chinese colour for prosperity.

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While millions of Americans are currently frustrated by their newly-elected President, me here is also being frustrated by our government over here in Malaysia. That one needs no further explanation. If not, I can be writing a novel here on that issue. Instead, I wish to highlight my recent frustration by the public sectors in Malaysia. We constantly experience water disruption especially in this highly-populated Klang Valley region. Since I’m back to Malaysia from November last year, my house has already experienced water disruption for over three times. This has happened more frequently in recent years and is certainly troublesome to all. Furthermore, the authority didn’t even bother to inform us earlier on the disruption. Sometimes, they do informed, but their schedule is totally off (not accurate). Very very poor management of water supply. SYABAS…what are you doing?

My house’s electric meter has broken down and has been replaced on July last year. And till now, we still did not receive our electricity bill that reflects the real amount of power we have used. I have made complaints through countless emails, plenty of calls, and even went ahead to visit their headquarter office at Dua Sentral Complex in KL. And yet, none of my effort is paid off. The best thing TNB can do is telling me that our new meter is not updated into their main system and hence their billing couldn’t read our home’s meter and can only print out our bill monthly based on assumed reading (average usage). They told me they will work on it and I have been waiting for few months, and still it has not been done. I’m sure no one in TNB is doing their work. Very lazy and incompetent. You guys are the one making us setting our mindset that our authority is super lazy and not doing anything. It is in fact true and has not been changed since the beginning of time. No one to be blamed but your own…this is a fact and is a notice to all government bodies and authorities of Malaysia. Also not to mention the very slow and unstable internet speed in this country. How can we be a developed nation if you guys work like that?

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Not only I’m angered by the authority, I’m also frustrated by private sector. Since getting a new debit card equipped with Mastercard function (it’s compulsory to change all ATM card to debit card now), I couldn’t make any online transaction at all with that card. I made more than 5 calls to the bank (AmBank) and they couldn’t solve my problem at all. It’s just a simple problem and a huge bank couldn’t even solve it. What a shame. Also not to mention how hard it is to get someone from the bank to just answer my calls every time. You see…so many things not resolved since I’m coming back home from Australia last year. I’m already here for 2 months already. There is no other way that I can avoid from being frustrated by all that issues. This post is here for me to write out all my anger and hopefully can get rid of it so that it won’t affect my mood this weekend for Chinese New Year and for my vacation to Vietnam.

A new laptop to use. And it’s Acer again.

Posted in Interesting Encounters on January 17, 2017 by vincentloy

I have used my previous laptop for about 5 years and it is dying. The battery needs to be replaced and some buttons for its keyboard are not working occasionally. It is an Acer Aspire 5750G laptop in dark blue colour. Its specifications are Intel-Core i7-2630QM 2GHz (Turbo Boost to 2.9GHz), NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M (up to 3765 MB Turbo Cache), 4GB DDR3 memory, 640GB HDD, 15.6 inch HD LED LCD. I’m not a particular technology-savvy person and so I didn’t really know much about all those specifications. For me, as long as the laptop is working, not too expensive and looks nice, then I’m okay.

It has been the laptop I have been using for almost every day for past 5 years. It is my second laptop. The reason I bought it because I lost my first laptop while I was in Ipoh. It is a Compaq brand laptop (this brand no longer present now), and it is stolen by robbers unfortunately. Now, it’s time for my second laptop to show ‘aging’ sign with more and more problems but I’m still grateful because it is still usable last year when I have that one and only laptop to work on all my assignments for my study. That laptop is significant, and I’m glad it can still manage to do all that tasks. It can still work now but is getting slower and accompanied with more problems now.

Hence, it’s time for my third ever laptop. I visited Low Yat Plaza, the digital mall in KL last Sunday with my friend who is kind of an expert in seeing those products’ specifications. At first, I would actually prefer to choose other brand this time. Dell is my first option. After a bit of research, Dell appears to be in quite a good ranking compared to all other laptop brands in terms of overall performance. However, when we visited its store in the mall, no one wants to entertain us (their potential customer), and it appears that their laptops are not that appealing. Then, we visited other stores. HP laptops are too expensive, no interest in ASUS laptops, and Lenovo laptops are not equipped with latest specifications. Our last stop was Acer store. Back to the store when I bought my second laptop on the ground floor of the mall. The staff is friendly and serves us well and their new laptops are looking good with great specifications too.

Hence, I ended up buying Acer laptop again. The one I chosen is Acer Aspire F 15 (F5-573G-75T4) in silver colour. It has Intel Core i7-7500U 2.7 GHz (Turbo Boost to 3.5GHz), NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M with 4GB dedicated VRAM, 4GB DDR4 memory (I upgraded it to 8GB), 128GB SSD + 1 TB HDD, and 15.6 inch FHD Acer ColorBlast LCD. It also has backlit light for keyboard and a Full HD 1080 desktop screen. This new laptop costs me RM3899. I also get a free backpack and a wireless mouse from that purchase. Now, this laptop is going to be my ‘main force’ for the next 5 years or more hopefully. I hope it will be good to use. As for my previous laptop, I’m not sure whether I can bring two laptops over to Australia next month for my study. If can, then I will bring two together and I will leave my old laptop for secondary use which may be necessary and useful sometimes.

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

Last post of 2016: Me in 2016.

Posted in Interesting Encounters on December 31, 2016 by vincentloy

Today is the last day of 2016 and so this post will be my last blog post of the year. Goodbye 2016. Another year comes to an end. It’s also the time when you will see a lot of new year’s resolution. I’m not going to mention on that one as I find it pretty useless as most of them will not be achieved usually and are just plain talks. Wishing for good health and world peace are being too general, while wishing for losing weight (not for me since I’m thin enough) or saving more money are some that are near impossible. It all comes down to one’s attitude.

2016 has been a good year for me. It’s the year that I have been switching around between three countries. I live in Malaysia and this is the first time I’m spending most of the year not in Malaysia, but in Australia (Perth to be exact) for my postgraduate study. When I’m away, I somehow miss the view of Kuala Lumpur city skyline, a view that amazes my whole life in Malaysia. This picture below has also been my laptop’s desktop wallpaper most of the time this year.

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(Image source: Skyscrapercity.com)

I went to Perth middle of February 2016 to commence my Master of Architecture study in Curtin University. But before that, during the Chinese New Year holiday, I actually went to Australia too. That was a vacation to Sydney and Melbourne. Some highlights from the tour is of course a visit to the iconic Sydney Opera House, Eureka Tower, Great Ocean Road and Penguin Island.

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Then, most of the year 2016 for me was on study, study and study in Perth, Australia. My first two semesters of the Master course. Perth is a much more quieter and smaller city compared to Sydney or Melbourne. But still, it’s a very beautiful and peaceful place to stay. I made some new friends (mostly my classmates), getting along with my housemates, doing fine in my study, and able to cook some food (that’s a breakthrough for me since I didn’t cook before besides than instant noodle).

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curtin-campus(View of Curtin University’s campus. Image source: Education.kilroy.net)

In the middle of it, I also went for a trip to Taiwan for a workshop and vacation that took half a month. That was from middle of August to early September 2016. A hectic and exhausting 10-days international workshop at National Yunlin University of Science and Technology at Yunlin and a quick and fun 4-days vacation at Taipei. This is my second time visiting Taiwan. The first time was way back in 2008. 8 years apart. I’m so glad that I’m back there to see one of my favourite skyscrapers, Taipei 101 again.

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I’m back to Malaysia for a year-end break that started mid of last November. I will be back to Perth on end of February next year for my last two semesters of study. Now, I’m in a long holiday.

That’s a summary of my life in 2016. Pretty usual but for me, that’s pretty exciting since it’s the first year I’m living abroad, away from family, home and favourite food in Malaysia. This postgraduate study oversea is an important stage of my life. It’s at least much more interesting than 2015 (2012, 2013, 2014 too) when I just spend the whole year working, working and working. Study life is better. But…no income, just spending…which is bad. Alright, after next year when I’m graduated, I’m back to working life.

For now, goodbye 2016!

From 24 to 25. Getting another year older.

Posted in Interesting Encounters on December 4, 2016 by vincentloy

When I was a kid, you wouldn’t know how much I wish for my birthday to come quick every year. I think many of us are like that too when we were still small, hoping to grow older as fast as possible to become an adult. Now, I’m over 20 and I started to think otherwise. We don’t want to grow old that fast anymore at this stage onward. Well, reality is reality. I’m turning 25 today. Whether I want it or not, it’s already a fact. So, happy birthday to myself. I’m not actually very excited about it as it keeps reminding me that I’m 25 already! I have spent a quarter of a century on Earth.

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(Image source: Quoteaddicts.com)

Birthday at this stage is the time when I would be bombarded with questions like ‘when are you getting a girlfriend?’, ‘you are still studying?’, ‘faster go get married!’, and so on. That is the most annoying part and to answer it all, I will just smile and reply ‘career comes first, and as for the others, if the opportunity comes, I will not miss it…I’ll just let it be.’ Ok…moving on.

I learnt of a very valuable quote in recent days, and I will take it as the most important message I have learnt for the past year when I was still 24. ‘The little details do explain a lot of things.’ This applies not only to the everyday’s life of a person, but also to architecture, a field that I will be spending the rest of my life on. Those little things do actually tell us a lot of things. It’s a simple phrase and I hope you get what it means as well deep down in your heart. I am quite an observant guy, and those small things will be kept in my mind eventhough most of them are not important. That behavior has given me some advantages in certain areas, as well as pain in other areas too. I won’t go into detail on that.

Staying positive is the driver of my daily life and I hope you will be like that too especially at times when you are feeling down. There is ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ in everyone’s life inevitably. We simply have to accept it and move on. As for me, since it’s my birthday too (I supposed it has to be a big day for me?), today has to be an ‘UP’ for me. Well, I don’t mind having my birthday just as another normal day. There is no big deal. What’s important is we take notes of the things that we have learnt from every passing year that may be useful to our coming future.

Already 25. There is no more time to be wasted. I have to seriously get on the things that I aim for beginning from now. There are a lot of dreams yet to be accomplished.