Ending the weekend with final episodes of TVB ‘Succession War’.

Saving money is the priority this weekend after a heavy spending on Universal Studios last weekend. I already had an outing yesterday plus a movie and so for today, I will just stay at home most of the time. That’s the best way to keep the money in the wallet. End of the month is near and I can’t wait to get my hard earned salary. I have been spending the day mostly being online on Facebook and YouTube, taking a nice rest in preparation for busy weekdays ahead as usual, and had just watched the exciting final two episodes of TVB drama ‘Succession War’.

It is a historical drama that starred Ruco Chan, Shaun Tam, Selena Lee, Elaine Yiu, Natalie Tong, Angelina Lo, Yoyo Chen, Jonathan Cheung, Stephanie Ho, Matthew Ho, etc. The drama revolves on the last 28 days of the life of Qing dynasty court official Heshen, who is known for being the most corrupt court official in Chinese history.and focuses on the Emperor’s attempt to eliminate him. The drama has 28 episodes, and each episode reflects one day of the storyline. That’s a cool approach and it helps to get the story fast-paced and not lacking any depth, thanks to the multiple helpful flashback scenes.

Ruco Chan is very convincing as Heshen while on the other hand, Shaun Tam who is portraying as the emperor is doing very poorly in this drama. I have never seen him in any dramas before and so I think he is inexperienced. All he do in this drama is to forcefully show his very angry face in every scenes. One same facial expression (and the deep ‘Batman’ voice) for almost the entire drama. An emperor can still convey his power and fearfulness through many subtle ways, but Shaun Tam is just not knowing how to do that or is not given any useful advice by the production team. I hope he do knew all these criticism and improve on his acting skill since we will be seeing him in more dramas in the future.

The girls in this drama are just taking on minor and supporting roles but they too shine due to their great performances and story arc that binds the whole series together. Selena Lee is beautiful and excellent as the imperial noble consort. She has improved a lot over the years and I can say that by now, she is a best actress material. Too bad, this drama isn’t focusing on the females and she will not get any recognition or awards from her role here although she nailed it very well. Elaine Yiu and Natalie Tong are also great in their respective roles that are very similar (helping Ruco on his mission with all kind of sacrifices while being his lovers). Also not to be missed out is the fantastic performances by the veterans such as KK Cheung as the retired emperor and Angelina Lo as the dowager noble consort.

The number of good TVB dramas every year has been decreasing rapidly. ‘Deep in the Realm of Conscience’ is a poor drama and I was surprised by the huge rating and critical reception it gets especially from mainland China. On the other hand, I’m shocked that this ‘Succession War’ receives very low audience viewership and isn’t getting the popularity that it deserves. I personally think that ‘Succession War’ is so much better than that boring ‘Deep in the Realm of Conscience’. The former is very engaging and delivers exciting storyline in every episode up until its aired finale just now. The only bad thing from ‘Succession War’ is Shaun Tam’s acting. Other than that, everything is good. Even my dad who seldom watch dramas is praising it. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Succession War’ a total of 8.1. The best TVB drama of the year so far.

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


‘Captain of Destiny’, the best TVB series of the year so far.

‘Captain of Destiny’ (張保仔, literally as Cheung Po Tsai) is a 2015 Hong Kong historical fiction sci-fi television drama of 32 episodes by TVB. The drama is a retelling of the story of 19th century Chinese pirate Cheung Po Tsai and his conflict with the Qing imperial army, meanwhile encountering a time-travelling police constable from the 21st century. The drama starred Ruco Chan, Tony Hung, Grace Chan, Ram Cheung, Elaine Yiu, Maggie Shiu, Joel Chan, Mandy Wong, Susan Tse, Lau Kong, etc. It is a grand production and is one of the four anniversary series of 2015 to mark 48th anniversary of TVB.


This series which concluded just now with its final episode also won the Most Favourite TVB Drama at the Singapore’s Starhub TVB Awards 2015 yesterday. Despite receiving average points in viewership rating at Hong Kong, the drama is being very well received and I’m one of them who have more praise to this series compared to all the other dramas released this year. It is just so good and always kept me intensely catching up to latest episode of the series every night. In the first few episodes, I came to watch the series with less expectation but then I’m surprised by the great quality of storyline and characters the series present to TV audiences as the drama develops. I still enjoyed the time-travel concept eventhough TVB had used this idea many times before in the past.

First, we were shown in the present setting of Hong Kong when a female police constable (Grace Chan) accidentally traveled back in time to Qing dynasty from a waterspout when she is on a mission to catch a criminal named Bandit King (Ruco Chan). Once back to 200 years earlier, she met the famous pirate Cheung Po Tsai (Tony Hung) and his gang. Here the story goes between the pirates’ life and the life in the palace emphasizing the 11th prince (Ruco Chan again) who is a hardworking prince in mission to eliminate pirates. Many events followed between these main characters and the story development went very well in a good pacing mixed with light fun moments as well as serious and intense situations.


Ruco Chan delivered yet another impressive performance as the 11th prince. His character here is very diverse, requiring him to deliver multitude of varying emotions and he nailed it. He conquered all the scenes he is in with powerful strength and expressions. Eventhough he is not in the titular role, but he shines over the rest in this drama. No wonder he won Most Favourite TVB Actor in Singapore last night too for his performance here. Very well deserved and I do hope his winning continues to TVB Star Awards Malaysia next month as well as the Hong Kong’s TVB Anniversary Awards in December. It’s time for him to be rewarded. Tony Hung portrayed the titular role and I’m fine with it. However, I find it weird that his character is not being given much attention throughout the series eventhough his name makes the series’ title. That has to be case when you have another lead role, the 11th prince of which I have said earlier that stood out better than the rest including this titular character of Cheung Po Tsai.

Grace Chan is a newbie artist and she should not be promoted too quickly by the TVB station by taking up this first female lead role here. The outcome is you get a performance that is poor and heavily criticized by many people. It’s not her fault mostly but I do cannot stand the overly exaggerated expressions and voice she shown in this drama. On the other hand, I also cannot stand anymore on the cute acts by the 11th prince’s lady servant, portrayed by Kelly Fu. However, her acting is far more natural than Grace. It is the veteran actors and actresses that back the series a lot too. Villains like Lee Shin Cheung (as admiral), Elaine Yiu (as concubine), and Lau Kong (as emperor) and others like Susan Tse (as concubine), Elliot Ngok (as imperial eunuch), Maggie Shiu (head pirate’s wife), and Ram Cheung (pirate’s strategist) did very well. Joel Chan and Mandy Wong also contributed very convincing performances in their respective supporting role too.



Besides that, I’m also surprised by the effort put on the visual effects of this series. The visual effects especially during the war between the imperial army and the pirates are exceptionally good if measured by TVB standard. I’m stunned and amazed by that battle scene. It looks very cool, technically brilliant, intense and exciting. However, I am actually hoping for like two or more of those battle scene to further expand the storyline on the strained relationship between the pirates and the government. So actually, I don’t mind the series to be 40 episodes long.  The effort put on production design, costume and make-up design, and editing should also be complimented for this drama. The drama’s opening theme song by Fred Cheng, closing theme song by Ruco Chan and episode’s plug song by Linda Chung are all very nice to listen to and suits well to this drama’s heart.

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As for its ending just now, I’m very happy of how this series came to such a thought-provoking conclusion. It is an ending made with a lot of thoughts (and a nice twist) and I like that. I’m tired of typical non-moving yet happy ending made to most of TVB series in recent years. I’m also surprised to see Raymond Wong making a cameo appearance in the end as a pirate. Why him? It’s because he is originally cast to portray Cheung Po Tsai and not Tony Hung. So letting him to appear in the very last minute of the series’ ending would be quite interesting. In general, this drama is definitely the best TVB series of the year so far and if the next series ‘Lord of Shanghai’ isn’t as good as it is expected, then I see no problem for ‘Captain of Destiny’ to take home Most Favourite TVB Drama in both TVB Star Awards Malaysia and also in Hong Kong’s TVB Anniversary Awards. It is really very good and delivered beyond my expectation. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Captain of Destiny’ a total of 8.2. That’s the highest rating for a series I have given this year. Even Grace Chan’s bad acting here couldn’t pull the series down to below 8 points from me.

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

Just finished my first TVB series of the year, ‘Noblesse Oblige’.

‘Noblesse Oblige’ ( 宦海奇官 ) is a Hong Kong drama sets during Qing dynasty that starred Kenneth Ma as To Chan Fung, a lazy but good-hearted county magistrate who is given the task to clear the government from corrupted officials. Tavia Yeung starred as Kenneth’s sidekick, Wai Lam whom is a Buddhist nun. The 21-episodes long drama also starred Joel Chan, Ram Chiang, Susan Tse, Lau Dan, Benjamin Yuen, Cilia Lok, Yoyo Chen, Lee Shing Cheung, etc.


This is the first TVB drama of the year that I watched, and the series ended just now with its two finale episodes on Saturday’s evening. I enjoyed this series because while it is a light-hearted production, the plot also includes in some serious matters (mostly on politics and corruptions) to create some exciting dramas. At one point, you get to be entertained by quite a number of good laughs from the series, while as the scene switches, you get to see real ‘business’ going on.


At the very beginning, the series reminded me of ‘Rosy Business’, a very critically-acclaimed drama back in 2009. That series, along with ‘Noblesse Oblige’ were also produced by Lee Tim Sheng. He usually stood out on delivering some very good quality series to save TVB. Of course, ‘Noblesse Oblige’ is not as serious or as intensely good like ‘Rosy Business’. This time, Lee puts a bit more emphasis on comedy to this series (for something different) and it still worked, eventhough ‘Rosy Business’ is still better. As the series progresses, ‘Noblesse Oblige’ gets back to ‘typical’ low-drama moments that many present TVB series are experiencing. That’s a bit of disappointment there. Luckily, this series is short and won’t waste much of our time on further pointless story development.

Kenneth Ma is mostly exaggerated on his acting in this series. I think it is needed for his type of role here to push things slightly beyond boundary a bit for better result. However, his acting doesn’t really improves. Same goes to Tavia Yeung. She is mostly shy, quiet and easily ignored in the series despite she is the first female lead. Even her fellow mate, Wai Yu (portrayed by Cilia Lok) had far more interesting and catchy role here. Tavia’s character is only needed to protect and love Kenneth. Her past story, revealed only in the last two or three episodes of the series appeared to be ‘forced’ into the drama and is unappealing. Ram Chiang is good as supporting role here (he is always good in this kind of role).


Fortunately, the drama’s ending is not bad. It’s a happy conclusion to Kenneth and Tavia (always like to see them as an on-screen pair. They are very compatible) and to his family and friends too. The main villain (Lee Shing Cheung) died, but I actually preferred him to be put to justice by the emperor himself rather than being killed by revenge. This implies to us that taking revenge like this is reasonable. That’s not the way it is supposed to be. The killing scene is also quite similar to that of ‘Overachievers’ drama last month in its finale episode too. Before I forgot, Lee Shing Cheung did absolutely brilliant as the villain here. Very good veteran actor. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Noblesse Oblige’ a total of 7.4. Better than many typical TVB dramas nowadays, but still not that good to the point that I can remember this for long.

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

Best Cities in Ancient and Traditional Architecture

This is pretty much similar with the previous post entitled ‘Best Cities in Modern and Contemporary Architecture’ but of course my approach now is on ancient and traditional architecture for this post. This is a whole new fresh idea of having a list of top cities around the world with best ancient and traditional architecture, and this list is the first of its kind.

These cities listed would definitely have their long period of existence and fame and is rich on culture, background and history respectively. Before you even scrolled down to check on the list, you might have already thought of some cities which will be on the list revealed afterwards. First of all, these are the seven cities with best ancient and traditional architecture, fully chosen by me after several research, observation and consideration.

1. Beijing, China

2. Rome, Italy

3. Athens, Greece

4. Cairo, Egypt

5. Istanbul, Turkey

6. Siem Reap, Cambodia

7. Central Java, Indonesia

Hmm….I think I would add three more cities as usual for honorary mentions and to make up for a best 10 list.

8. Agra, India

9. London, England

10. Edinburgh, Scotland

Some of you might not agree to some of the cities listed here, or you may have some recommendation of other cities that you feel more deserving, feel free to comment. Actually, there are some other minor cities with great history and traditional architecture like Venice in Italy, Prague in Czech Republic, Barcelona in Spain, Paris in France, etc. All these Western cities do have similar outlook and hence it is impossible to insert them all into the list. I am trying to find cities with appealing and breakthrough historical landmarks and architecture.

Seven Wonders of Ancient World

The list of Seven Wonders of Ancient World is actually compiled by some Hellenic tourists particularly in the 1st and 2nd centuries BC. The conquest of much of the known world in the 4th century BC gave Hellenistic travelers access to the civilizations of the Egyptians, Persians and Babylonians. These visitors began to list what they saw and compile a list of wonders, total in 7.

Out of the seven wonders of ancient world, 5 are from ancient Greece, which shows the success of Greece in art and architecture. The travelers did not travel further to ancient Chinese civilization and hence no Chinese structures is identified. Here comes the list which is also the 8th publication of seven wonders in my blog:

1. Great Pyramid of Giza

It is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis, Egypt with initial height of 146.5 m. It is constructed over 14 to 20 years period concluding around 2560 BC as the tallest man-made structure on Earth for over 3800 years. It is the oldest of the seven wonders of ancient world and the only one to remain largely intact.

2. Hanging Gardens of Babylon

It was built in the ancient city-state of Babylon (currently Iraq) around 600 BC by King Nebuchadnezzar 2 for his homesick wife. The gardens is destroyed by several earthquakes. It is quadrangular in shape, terraces-like consisting of arched vaults on checkered, cube-like foundations allowed for plantations. It is 30m long and 30 m wide and appears like a theatre.

3. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

It was a temple built in 550 BC dedicated to Greek Goddess, Artemis at Ephesus (currently Turkey). The whole temple was made of marble except for the roof. It is a 120-years project to build this temple, by architects Chersiphron and his son, Metagenes. The original temple was around 300 feet by 150 feet and about 50 feet high. The temple is rebuilt in 323 BC with larger scale with more than 127 columns.

4. Statue of Zeus at Olympia

The statue was made by Greek sculptor, Phidias around 432 BC at a workshop, then erected in the Temple of Zeus, Olympia, Greece. It is around 12 m tall and occupied half of the width of the aisle of the temple. It is a chryselephantine sculpture made of ivory and gold-plated bronze.

5. Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

Known as Tomb of Mausolus, it is a tomb built between 353 and 350 BC at Halicarnassus (currently Turkey) for Mausolus, designed by Greek architects, Satyros and Pythis. It stood approximately 45 m high and each of the four sides was adorned with sculptural reliefs created by four Greek sculptors; Leochares, Bryaxis, Scopas of Paros and Timotheus.

6. Colossus of Rhodes

It was a statue of the Greek God Helios erected in city of Rhodes on Greek Island between 292 and 280 BC to celebrate Rhodes’ victory over ruler of Cyprus. It stood over 30 m high, making it one of the tallest statues in the ancient world. It is built with iron tie bars with brass plates fixed to it to form the skin.

7. Lighthouse of Alexandria

It was a tower built between 280 and 247 BC on the island of Pharos at Alexandria, Egypt to guide sailors into the harbor at night. With estimated height of around 140m, it was among the tallest man made structures on Earth for many centuries. It could be seen from up to 47 km away.

There it is…curious on why some ancient structures from China are not in this list? It is because that the travelers have not been that far to China. Hence, all these structures are just at Western and Middle Region of the world.

(The pictures do not belong to me and the information obtained is from researches throughout the internet)

Seven Wonders of Ancient Egypt

Egypt is one of the earliest civilizations on Earth with over 3000 years of ancient civilization and over 2000 years of modern Egypt which is what we can see today. The civilization concentrated on the lower reaches of Nile River, which is the life force for the empire. Over 3000 years ago, the Egyptians had created ample of finest monuments the world has ever seen and till now, many hidden mysteries still laid beneath the desert of Egypt.

However, for now, the seven wonders of ancient Egypt will be uncovered to see on how astonishing these wonders of Egypt can be, which still fascinate people up until current days. I have watched before the documentary programme of the same title from Discovery Channel probably a year or two back, but I have forgotten much of it. I think it’s time to browse internet to look it up again, and share with you all. Here comes the list:

1. The Valley of the Kings

It is a valley of tombs constructed for pharaohs and powerful nobles of New Kingdom of ancient Egypt for a period of nearly 500 years from 16th to 11th century BC. The valley is known to have more than 63 tombs and chambers including the tomb for Tutankhamun and Ramesses the Great which are decorated with scenes of Egyptian mythology. It is the most magnificent burial ground in the world with many precious treasures buried along the valley with the pharaohs and nobles.

2. Temple of Queen Hatshepsut

It is situated beneath the cliffs at Deir el Bahari near the Valley of the Kings. Designed by the architect Senemut, this mortuary temple is dedicated to the Sun God, Amon-Ra. It employs a lengthy, colonnaded terrace tht deviates from the earlier centralized Mentuhotep temple. There are three-layered terraces measuring up to 97 feet tall. It is constructed in 1480 BC, over 3400 years ago.

3. Karnak Temple Complex

It comprises a vast mix of ruined temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings; notably the Temple of Amun with the Sacred Lake as part of the magnificent site. It is part of the monumental city of Thebes and is the main place of worship of the 18th Dynasty, Theban Triad with God Amun as its head. It is the largest ancient religious site in the world, built in over 3300 years ago. The most interesting feature of the site is the Great Hypostyle Hall in the Precint of Amun-Re, covering an area of 5000 metres square with 134 massive columns.

4. Temple of Ramesses 2, Abu Simbel

It comprises two massive rock temples in southern Egypt which were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses 2 in 13th century BC to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh. The great temple is relocated due to creation of Lake Nesser, artificial water reservoir. Four colossal statues of the pharaoh were erected as the front facade of the temple.

5. Mount Sinai

According to Jewish and Christian traditions, this is the mountain where Moses received the Ten Commandments, hence is one of the most spiritual places on Earth. St. Catherine’s Monastery is built on the mount as the oldest monastery on Earth to mark the sacred event. It has been the center of pilgrimages for over 15 centuries and one of the finest example of Byzantine architecture.

6. Great Sphinx of Giza

It is a statue of a reclining or couchant sphinx (mythical creature with lion’s head and human’s body) that stands on the Giza Plateau. It is the largest monolith statue in the world, standing 73.5 m long, 6 m wide and 20.22 m high. It is oldest known monumental sculpture, believed to have been built in the Old Kingdom around 4500 years ago in the reign of Pharaoh Khafra.

7. The Great Pyramid of Giza

Also known as Pyramid of Khufu, it is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact. It is believed to be built as a tomb for 4th Dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu and constructed over 14 to 20 years period concluding around 2560 BC. Initially 146.5 m tall, it was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3800 years, the longest period of time ever held for such a record. Due to erosion, the present height is 138.8 m.

That’s it. These structures mentioned above are the seven wonders of ancient Egypt. Mainly, all of these are of tombs or temples, except for one, which is a natural landmark,  a spiritual mountain. Many things are of light brown or dark yellow in Egypt, since it is a place of sand, the miracle desert where one of the earliest civilizations was born with life source from the historical Nile River. Many of the ruins of these structures still stand today, well-preserved as the main tourist destinations as well as iconic landmarks of Egypt.

This picture above is beautiful, astonishing and perfect to describe Egypt in one shot. It is also nice to have this picture to end this post.

(The pictures above do not belong to me and the information is obtained and paraphrased after some researches throughout the internet)

Seven Wonders of Ancient Greece

Here, there must be Greece if Rome had already been mentioned. Both are among the greatest Western civilization of the past. Furthermore, it is the Greece civilization that came first (from 8th centuries BC to 146 BC), which resulted in Greek culture influencing Roman empire, which then spread in modified version to many parts of Europe, considered to be the seminal culture which provides the foundation of strong Western civilization.

Too bad I did not watch the documentary programme of the same title from Discovery Channel. I’m anticipating to watch it soon.

So, what are the seven wonders of ancient Greece that amaze people with its record-breaking aspects from architecture, art to engineering? There are many ancient Greek structures that were built in huge scale and in more grandeur condition, but only the top seven were chosen to be the best of the best, as the wonder of the ancient Greece.

1. Theatre of Epidaurus

It is a huge theatre which can holds over 15 000 people, designed by Polykleitos the Younger in the 4th century BC. It is used for dramatic performances, ceremonial events, baths and palaestra (wrestling). The original 34 rows of setings were extended in Roman times by another 21 rows. As is usual for Greek theatres (opposed to Roman theatres), the view on a lush landscape behind the stage is an integral part of the theatre. The theatre is marveled for its exceptional acoustic properties too.

2. Statue of Zeus at Olympia

The statue is made by Phidias at around 432 BC. It was erected in the Temple of Zeus, Olympia, Greece and it was one of the Seven Wonders of Ancient World. The seated statue, which stands at height of around 12 m, was a chryselephantine sculpture made of ivory and gold-plated bronze. The statue occupied half of the width of the aisle of the temple and if the statue is made to be a standing figure, then it would unroof the temple.

3. Temple of Apollo at Delphi

The temple was erected on the remains of earlier temple in around 7th century BC and it was designed by architects; Trophonios and Agamedes. The temple was a Doric hexastyle structure of 6 by 15 columns. It is destroyed in 373 BC by earthquake and then rebuilt with similar proportion in 330 BC by Spintharos, Xenodoros, and Agathon around the stylobate (stepped platform).

4. Colossus of Rhodes

It was a statue of the Greek God, Helios erected in the city of Rhodes between 292 and 280 BC. It stands at a height of over 30 m, making it as one of the tallest ancient statues in the world. It is also one of the Seven Wonders of Ancient World. It was constructed to celebrate Rhodes’ victory over the ruler of Cyprus. The statue is believed to be built of iron tie bars with brass plates fixed to form the skin. It is destroyed by 226 BC Rhodes earthquake.

5. Settlement of Santorini

Santorini is a volcanic island located in the southern Aegean Sea. It is the site of Thera eruption, one of the greatest in history which occured some 3 600 years ago at the height of Minoan civilization. The eruption is also the source of the legend of Atlantis. There was once a town, called as Minoan Pompeii (Ancient Akrotiri) which was once destroyed in 1450 BC from the volcanic eruption. The impressive buildings of the town are the three-storeys houses, some even with balconies and extensively decorated with frescoes.

6. Palace of Knossos

The great palace was built between 1700 and 1400 BC with periodic rebuildings after destruction. It is the political and ceremonial centre of Minoan civilization and culture on Crete. The palace appeared s a maze of workrooms, living spaces and store rooms close to a central square. The palace sits on 6-acres of land and had over 1 300 rooms as well as a theatre. Part of the palace is built up to five-stories high.

7. Parthenon

As Colosseum is the icon of Rome, Parthenon is the icon of Greece even till today. It is among the most famous ancient structures on Earth. It is a temple in the Athenian Acropolis, dedicated to Greek Goddess Athena. Construction began in 447 BC and completed in 438 BC. It is the most important surviving building of classical Greece and is the culmination of development of Doric order. The temple had been used as a treasury, church and mosque before. The exceptional architectural features of the temple are the subtle correspondence between the curvature of stylobate, the taper of naos walls and the entasis (visual correction) of the columns.

The overall view of the Acropolis, with the landmark, Parthenon standing overwhelmingly above others. This picture best describes ancient Greece.

Out of all these amazing ancient structures, only some survived till these days while others have been totally out of sight due to destructions from natural disasters or from the people itself. Even the survived structures have some portions partially destroyed. Many restoration works are being made to preserve these priceless structures that holds the key of the ancient Greece. As a conclusion, these seven wonders show how such impressive displays of engineering and architecture were managed in a time when technology is still at its infancy.

(The pictures above do not belong to me and the information from this post is obtained and paraphrased from browsing internet)