Today marks my 10th anniversary on Facebook!

Posted in Explosive News and Results on March 4, 2018 by vincentloy

I was greeted with a fascinating short clip showing on the top of my Facebook home page today. It’s a clip from Facebook informing me that I have been on this social networking site for exactly 10 years now. Wow! I think the first time I signed up to Facebook was when I was in a computer lab in Limkokwing University when I was in break between classes with some of my friends. Well, that video today reminds me that the day was 4th March 2008. That time, Facebook is considered still new to Asian markets (it has started for four years already) and I immediately get in due to the curiosity and huge popularity the site is getting that has overtaken other earlier social networking site such as Friendster.

Ever since, I have been constantly checking on Facebook for every single day. This happens to most people now. Facebook will be the first (or among the first) site you will check once you wake up in the morning daily. Just scrolling through the home page and checking out updates and posts by your added friends has become part and parcel of everyday’s life. I have to admit that using Facebook is wasting a lot of time and it is up to you to control yourself and not spending too much time on it. Anyway, it is still a wonderful platform to check out on how your friends, family and relatives are doing and also to look out for some interesting posts or news (but beware of fake viral news). After 10 years, Facebook now is still as relevant and as popular as before, unlike some other online websites that have been forgotten.

On the other hand, in few months later, I would be observing another 10th anniversary too. That’s my blog here; it will be turning 10 years old in this September. Year 2008 turns out to be the year that I started to engage myself more with the internet (signing up to Facebook and starting my own blog here in WordPress). That was also the first year of my tertiary education as I was taking Foundation in Built Environment that year in Limkokwing University, Cyberjaya. I’m not much into internet before that when I was still in secondary school, mainly due to my primary focus on the SPM examination. All that was history over a decade ago. Time flies…

Today is the day of the 90th Academy Awards too! After months of awards buzz and multiple precursor film festivals and awards, it all comes to an end for 2017 Hollywood films tonight when the Oscars ceremony begins. Well, technically, the event is on the next day morning for us in Asia due to the time zone difference between US and Asia. I hope I can find a place online to stream the event live tomorrow smoothly without any interruption. I am particularly excited for this year’s race! I am still hoping for ‘The Shape of Water’ to win best picture but I think ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ will win in the end due to the strong support to the latter especially from the actors branch that forms the largest group in the Academy. Jimmy Kimmel is hosting the ceremony again this year.



Last day of CNY!

Posted in Interesting Encounters on March 2, 2018 by vincentloy

Today is the 15th day of the Chinese New Year celebration and that means it’s the last day of the festival! Happy Chap Goh Meh! I didn’t get many angpow this year as I was away in China on the first half of the 15-days festival. However, I managed to earn some extra money in this time around from winning lottery. I seldom buy lottery but it looks like I have a bit of luck from 4D this year. It would be great if this luck continues in the rest of the year.

As usual for every year, me and my family attended a worshiping ritual (some sort of ceremony) last evening to wish for abundance of luck this year. Those who are born in the Year of Sheep (that’s me) is predicted to be not doing that well this year (luckily not the worst) according to Chinese zodiac forecast. Hopefully, things will turn out much better for me. I didn’t really believe much into such thing, but when you are told to attend this kind of rituals, I will just obey. Putting all that aside, I will just have a positive mindset to deal with anything that comes in 2018.

Since me and my parents were in China during the previous CNY eve, we couldn’t gather with the rest of my family for a proper reunion dinner on that evening. Hence, we postponed that important dinner to last Sunday. We had a great time (and of course a great meal at Hee Lai Ton Restaurant in Serdang). The dinner costs almost RM 1000. That is my first and last time tossing yee-sang, a must-do during CNY. Besides the trip, this year’s CNY was kind of boring to me. Well, at least this year, I didn’t get to be overwhelmed by questions like ‘why are you still single?’, ‘when are you getting a girlfriend?’, ‘have you started working?’ by the typical aunties.

February has ended and it’s now March already. I have few more days to myself to get ready with my portfolio and then off I go, heading out to look for a great job somewhere outside Malaysia. I do hope to be able to get into a famous architectural office in Singapore or Australia. My last resort would be back working in Malaysia (feeling comfy staying back in KL but really not attracted to the low pay here). But for now before getting nervous to that, it’s time for me to be excited for the 90th Academy Awards happening this Sunday (Monday’s morning for Malaysia). I have been paying huge attention to this year’s ceremony as I have watched all of the 9 nominated films for best picture (also have watched most of the other films contending in other categories too). The race for best picture is still wide open at this stage and that is what makes this year’s Oscars so exciting! However, I find that there are no exceptionally excellent films last year (only moderately good). Well, we will see who get the coveted Oscars few days later…



Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games ended with Norway leading the medal tally.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2018 by vincentloy

The 23rd Winter Olympic Games, Pyeongchang 2018 concluded yesterday with a spectacular closing ceremony. This winter games did not receive much media exposure and hence I find it difficult to find any website to watch the ceremony last evening. In the end, I only managed to watch highlights of the closing ceremony from one or two news.

Norway led the medal tally with 14 gold, 14 silver and 11 bronze for a total of 39 medals. Norway, which came in second place at Sochi 2014 emerged as the overall champion in this latest edition of the games. Germany came in second with 14 gold, 10 silver and 7 bronze while Canada made it to third place finish with 11 gold, 8 silver and 10 bronze. The host nation, South Korea had 7th place finish with 5 gold, 8 silver and 4 bronze. This winter games are usually dominated by European and Western countries as winter sports are more common and popular over there than in Asia. With a bit of home advantage, South Korea emerged as the top Asian nation in this games.

This is the first Winter Games for Malaysia. I am not expecting any medal finish since my country is very new to this. There are only two athletes representing Malaysia and I can see they have placed their effort in it although they lost in the end. Malaysia do not have winter season and so it’s much harder for us to take part in winter sport. Anyway, I’m still looking forward to more participation by the Malaysians in winter sports in near future.

I have noticed one sport that looks weird to me. I have never seen it before. After a bit of research, the sport I mentioned is called ‘curling’. Curling is a sport in which players slide stones on a sheet of ice towards a target area which is segmented into four concentric circles. The curler can induce a curved path by causing the stone to slowly turn as it slides, and the path of the rock may be further influenced by two sweepers with brooms who accompany it as it slides down the sheet, using the brooms to alter the state of the ice in front of the stone. The action of the brooms is the one that made me laugh a little. It’s really the strangest Olympic sport I have ever seen and this is the first time I’m seeing it from Pyeongchang 2018 although this sport has been contested in the previous games before.

So now, this Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games has ended. The next edition will be in Beijing for 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Beijing, China will be the first city in history to have hosted both Summer Olympic Games (in 2008) and Winter Olympic Games (in 2022, 4 years from now).

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

Cody and Jessica won The Amazing Race Season 30. I would have preferred other teams to win.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2018 by vincentloy

A lot of things are ending. This month is ending soon and that means my holiday is finishing. The two trips for this month (one to Perth, Australia for my graduation and the recent one to Zhangjiajie, China for vacation) were over. The 15-days Chinese New Year festival is also ending when this month concludes. And ‘The Amazing Race Season 30′, the reality television show that I have been catching on recently has also ended. I suddenly felt ’empty’. There is nothing more for me to look forward to in entertainment / leisure . Now, I’m getting nervous as I’m about to welcome the next stage in my life which is getting a job. No more long holiday…

As mentioned earlier, I have just finished watching the latest season of ‘The Amazing Race’. This show has now entered the 30th season (I have been following this since several years ago on its earlier seasons). If you didn’t know about this TV show, it’s a reality game where 11 teams of two complete tasks on every episodes to move forward till the final leg to win US$ 1 million. In this Season 30, teams traveled to Iceland, Belgium, Morocco, France, Czech Republic, Zimbabwe, Bahrain, Thailand, Hong Kong and finally back to United States.

As I was not around for the past week, I covered the last 4 episodes in a row for ‘The Amazing Race Season 30’. It was fun but I was not that happy with the outcome.

Team Indy (Alex & Conor) were eliminated in the second last leg at Hong Kong. They were a great team to watch. They have been on the 1st position multiple times in the earlier legs but luck is not on their side in the 11th leg. This leaves Team Big Brother (Cody & Jessica), Team Yale (Henry & Evan) and Team Extreme (Kristi & Jane) to become the final three teams to compete in the crucial last leg (12th leg) in San Francisco, USA. I’m going to be straightforward in my words. I don’t like Jessica from Team Big Brother. She literally contributed nothing in most of the show and yet her team ended up winning the race. This is mostly due to contribution by her partner, Cody who is very physically fit and has huge advantage in most tasks that require physical strength. That is so unfair to other teams particularly Team Extreme and even Team Indy when each members are equally good and competitive. Jessica is very weak and complained a lot throughout the entire season when even she has to do nothing much. She depends mostly on Cody who is a monster and handled a lot of things pretty quickly. Luck is also on her side in the final task that requires some puzzle solving.

Team Yale came in second place. Many other teams do not like this pair. However, I find them pretty likable actually. Yes, I knew that Evan is a bit arrogant, always overpowering Henry who is soft at all times and being cold to other teams frequently. But I think that is sometime necessary as this is still a competition. Her way of doing things here are still bearable. I have to admit that Henry has to listen to her sometimes as he get to be blur and weak in certain critical moments (especially in the last task when he actually solved the puzzle first but didn’t get the examiner to check, and that has costed this team the win and the US$ 1 million). Team Extreme is nice (hard to see such competitive and strong all-female team) but they tend to get stressed easily and eventually came in third place finish. So for now, this season is over and I’m already hoping that the next season will start very soon. This reality game show is exciting most of the times.

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

9 days 7 nights Chinese New Year 2018 trip to Zhangjiajie, China

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2018 by vincentloy

I’m back to Malaysia after a lengthy holiday trip to Zhangjiajie, China with my parents during this year’s Chinese New Year festival. Today is already the 7th day of lunar new year and the CNY mood is no longer here. We went to the airport on 14th February for the trip and have returned this morning on 22nd February. So, that’s equivalent to 9 days and 7 nights. I have a wonderful time during the trip (visiting all the beautiful attractions in Zhangjiajie but disappointed by heavy mist that makes it impossible for us to view them clearly and take pictures, not falling ill at all in the whole trip and that’s quite a miracle, meeting awesome people in the tour group).

My advice to the people who are interested to visit Zhangjiajie in the future; avoid visiting the place in winter (like what we did). The mountains are all covered with thick mist and you hardly see anything. Frequent rain also hinder an anticipating wonderful experience visiting these attractions. Also avoid travelling during the busy Chinese New Year period (like what we did) as the crowd is super huge and unbearable at these tourist destinations. We wasted a lot of time just by queuing (or more accurately; squeezing) and in long bus journeys. Nevertheless, we still managed to see some beautiful places and had great time over there. The attractions are all marvelous and interesting. This trip is mostly viewing the natural landmarks, and I have to admit that I’m a bit bored after seeing similar stuff (rocks, mountains, rivers and cliffs again and again) in the later days of the trip.

This is my 4th time visiting China (had been to Hong Kong & Shenzhen in 2006, Beijing & Tianjin in 2009, and Yunnan in 2014). The public toilets are still poorly maintained (very smelly and dirty) while the mainland Chinese are mostly still having some discipline issues (cutting queue, behaving inappropriately, spitting everywhere, etc). These are what you will still experience when visiting China despite the huge growth the country has been seeing in recent decades. And one more thing; when you are going to China in a tour group, it is compulsory to visit some shopping stops (we covered tea, silk, foot massage and body health, and latex mattress).

Here are some of the pictures I have taken during the trip. Besides visiting Zhangjiajie, we also visited Changsha and Fenghuang (all in Hunan province):

Changsha Poetry Wall

Phoenix Ancient Town – highlight: stilted wooden buildings along a river, some famous buildings around here include Xiong Xiling (first Prime Minister of China) and Shen Congwen (famous Chinese writer) Former Residences.

Tianmen Mountain National Park – highlight: world’s longest cableway to reach the mountains, has glass walkway hanging over by the cliff, Tianmen Cave with 999 steps (closed during winter due to slippery steps).

Yuanjiajie Scenic Area – highlight: ‘Avatar’-like mountains, ‘First Bridge in the World’ (natural formation) – cannot see it at all due to misty weather, Bailong elevator – world’s highest outdoor elevator.

Zhangjiajie National Park – highlight: Ten-Mile Natural Gallery (seeing rock formations again).

Baofeng Lake

Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon – highlight: Glass bridge (once the world’s longest glass-floor bridge).

Xibu Street

Charm Xiang Xi Cultural Show

Hunan Embroidery Hall

Tujia Sand Painting Gallery

Jiandu Museum, Changsha – highlight: collection of historical bamboo slips and wooden tablets dating back more than a thousand years ago.

Huangxing Street, Changsha – highlight: main shopping and entertainment district in Changsha, the 452 metres tall Changsha IFS Tower (tallest in the city, construction almost completed and had topped out, same height with KL’s Petronas Twin Towers) is near here.

That’s it for the highlight of my trip. Time for a rest at home after this exhausting yet wonderful trip (totally had a different experience here – visiting the attractions in Zhangjiajie on busy season is like being in a state of a running refugee).

(Copyrights reserved to all images in this post)

71st British Academy Film Awards: List of winners and my overall opinion on the final race to the Oscars.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2018 by vincentloy

The 71st British Academy Film Awards, or simply known as BAFTA took place on 16th February 2018 at London’s Royal Albert Hall. This is the fourth of the five major televised awards in recognizing the best of Hollywood films every year.
‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ is the biggest winner with 5 wins including the coveted ‘Best Film’ prize. The film also won ‘Outstanding British Film’, completing the difficult feat of nailing both the best film prizes BAFTA offered. Its big win here reinforces its position as the Oscar frontrunner particularly in the best picture race where ‘The Shape of Water’ is another serious contender. After winning Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Screen Actors Guild for Best Cast for Motion Picture, and then this BAFTA for Best Film, ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ now is predicted to win Best Picture in the coming Oscars as well. The only major televised award it missed out is Critics’ Choice for Best Picture that went to ‘The Shape of Water’. I’m still hoping that ‘The Shape of Water’ will upset ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ in the Oscars.
As for the four acting categories, it is a lock. Gary Oldman, Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney can now safely practice their Oscar speech. There is no more competition. It is very unlikely that other nominees will win after they won all the major precursor awards leading up to the Oscars. James Ivory is sure to win ‘Adapted Screenplay’ in the Oscars too for ‘Call Me By Your Name’ while competition for ‘Original Screenplay’ remain heated with ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ and ‘Get Out’ battling each other. On the other hand, I’m 100% confident that ‘Coco’ will win Best Animated Feature in the Oscars without any further explanation required.
Leading with 13 nominations, ‘The Shape of Water’ is now expected to take only ‘Best Director’, ‘Best Production Design’ and ‘Best Original Score’. This movie deserves more in my opinion (including ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Actress’, etc) but it looks like no one can block the immense love to ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ from the industry people. On the other hand, it’s a pity that Timothee Chalamet lost the Rising Star Award to Daniel Kaluuya because the latter is a homegrown (definitely an advantage since this category is voted by the public). Timothee Chalamet definitely had a more stellar year (2017) in films (‘Lady Bird’ and ‘Call Me By Your Name’). ‘Blade Runner 2049’, ‘Baby Driver’, ‘Dunkirk’, ‘Phantom Thread’, ‘The Shape of Water’ and ‘Darkest Hour’ win in the remaining technical categories. Notable highlight here is ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ losing ‘Best Visual Effects’ to ‘Blade Runner 2049’ and this hurts its chance in the coming Oscars.
Here below is the full list of winners for the 71st British Academy Film Awards (2018):
Best Film
“Call Me By Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“The Shape Of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” *Winner
Outstanding British Film
“Darkest Hour”
“The Death Of Stalin”
“God’s Own Country”
“Lady Macbeth”
“Paddington 2”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” *Winner
Outstanding Debut By A British Writer, Director Or Producer
“The Ghoul Gareth Tunley”
“I Am Not A Witch” *Winner
“Jawbone Johnny Harris (Writer/Producer), Thomas Napper (Director)
“Kingdom Of Us”
“Lady Macbeth”
Film Not In The English Language
“First They Killed My Father”
“The Handmaiden” *Winner
“The Salesman”
“City Of Ghosts”
“I Am Not Your Negro” *Winner
“An Inconvenient Sequel”
Animated Film
“Coco” *Winner
“Loving Vincent”
“My Life As A Courgette”
“Blade Runner 2049,” Denis Villeneuve
“Call Me By Your Name,” Luca Guadagnino
“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
“The Shape Of Water,” Guillermo Del Toro *Winner
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin Mcdonagh
Original Screenplay
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“I, Tonya,” Steven Rogers
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“The Shape Of Water,” Guillermo Del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin Mcdonagh *Winner
Adapted Screenplay
“Call Me By Your Name,” James Ivory *Winner
“The Death Of Stalin,” Armando Iannucci, Ian Martin, David Schneider
“Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool,” Matt Greenhalgh
“Molly’s Game,” Aaron Sorkin
“Paddington 2,” Simon Farnaby, Paul King
Leading Actress
Annette Bening, “Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool”
“Frances Mcdormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” *Winner
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape Of Water”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Leading Actor
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour” *Winner
Jamie Bell, “Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool”
Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”
Supporting Actress
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya” *Winner
Kristin Scott Thomas, “Darkest Hour”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape Of Water”
Supporting Actor
Christopher Plummer, “All The Money In The World”
Hugh Grant, “Paddington 2”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” *Winner
Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Original Music
“Blade Runner 2049”
“Darkest Hour”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Shape Of Water” *Winner
“Blade Runner 2049” *Winner
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk Hoyte”
“The Shape Of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
“Baby Driver” *Winner
“Blade Runner 2049”
“Dunkirk Lee Smith”
“The Shape Of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
EE Rising Star Award (voted for by the public)
Daniel Kaluuya *Winner
Florence Pugh
Josh O’Connor
Tessa Thompson
Timothée Chalamet
Make Up & Hair
“Blade Runner 2049”
“Darkest Hour” *Winner
“I, Tonya”
“Victoria & Abdul”
Costume Design
“Beauty and the Beast”
“Darkest Hour”
“I, Tonya”
“Phantom Thread” *Winner
“The Shape of Water”
“Baby Driver”
“Blade Runner 2049”
“Dunkirk” * Winner
“The Shape of Water”
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
Visual Effects
“Blade Runner 2049” *Winner
“The Shape of Water”
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
“War for the Planet of the Apes”
(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Happy Chinese New Year! If you didn’t know, it’s the Year of Dog!

Posted in Miscellaneous on February 15, 2018 by vincentloy

Happy Chinese New Year!

It’s the time of the year again for you to return to your hometown, visit your relatives and friends, get ‘angpow’, toss ‘yee-sang’, have reunion dinner, eat all the delicious CNY biscuits and cookies, wear bright red clothing, hang lanterns and decorations, play fireworks or firecrackers, have a fun gambling time (cards, tiles, etc), watch some CNY movies or programmes on TV, enjoying lion dance performance, etc. As for me, it’s the time of the year again to go for a long vacation. I’m currently at Zhangjiajie, China for a lengthy 9 days 7 nights trip on this CNY break. Hence, I’m not able to do most of the usual CNY routines.

Chinese New Year is much more fun when you are a kid. I am reminded on how excited I am when this festival arrives. The whole family would wake up early. My parents will do some worshiping rituals. I will immediately wear new shirt and a family-inherited gold necklace (only wear it during CNY). I will grab some quick CNY snacks first before heading out to my grandmother’s home for a vegetarian lunch. After that, we will be going to some relatives’ homes and enjoy the snacks, chats and of course the ‘angpows’. The second day of CNY is much more interesting for me as we will be spending most of the day on my eldest aunt’s large home where all my other relatives on my mother’s side gathered there too. It was very happening with all the noises and laughters heard from the adults playing rummy and mahjong on upper floor while the kids play cards and other games (also watching TV) on ground floor, and lastly having dinner and playing with the fireworks together in the evening. All these excitement is gone when you are growing up and becoming an adult now. Hence, I opt for a vacation instead since this is the only time when my father can have a long holiday from his business.

This is the Year of Dog according to Chinese calendar. There are 12 animals representing the 12 Chinese zodiac signs. My father was born in Year of Dog as well (back in 1958) and that means he is turning 60 years old this year. Wow…I do not believe on superstitious stuff but I would still pay attention to what those feng shui masters will say about my zodiac sign and forecast of the year. I was born in Year of Goat and I realized that I would not be doing that well this year too (have been told the same for the past few years continuously but I’m still fine). My luck will only comes next year and will last for 5 straight years. Well, I’m looking forward to that but for now, I will just have a very neutral mindset about it. Just listen to those advice but don’t get too affected by them. It is still all up to you to decide your own life.

Happy Chinese New Year once again! May you and your family have a prosperous and a healthy new year ahead! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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