Archive for china

Will be heading to Zhangjiajie on February next year during the CNY holiday. Can’t wait for it!

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2017 by vincentloy

My parents went to the MATTA Fair today. I couldn’t join them these two years as I am currently in Australia for my study. It’s a fair (held twice a year) where most travel and tour companies set up their booths in Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) to promote their travel services and packages (usually comes with certain discounts too). That’s the time when my dad will usually choose which places to go for travel during the next Chinese New Year holiday every year and make reservation.

I will tag along normally for these annual Chinese New Year trips. My dad’s budget is very tight in these recent years as his business is not doing that well and that he spent huge sum of money on my current postgraduate education here in Australia. Hence, I couldn’t really voice out my dissatisfaction over the places he preferred to go. I understood that. But I’m very pleased that he still look out for my opinions. What a great dad he is! So, today he kept on updating me on the places he researched today during the fair through Whatsapp. There are not much choices since our budget is very low and every tour packages’ price shoot up a lot.

My dad’s first wish is Spain and Portugal. That is too far from reach as it costs more than 10k for a person. My wish is Egypt or Dubai but those places also costs around 6k for a person. We then narrowed it down to South East Asia and China region. We have covered some major parts of the South East Asia in the past and we don’t feel like visiting the remaining ones that we have not visited before such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Philippines (I think no tour for Laos and Brunei). So, … China. I have been to China several times too but China is huge. There are still many places worth exploring in China. The last time I went to China was in 2014 when we went to Yunnan. So, that would be a 4-years gap already when we visit the country again next year in 2018.

I would like to visit Shanghai but my dad visited it before. We like Xian (love to see the famous terracotta warriors) but there is no tour group going to Xian during the Chinese New Year holiday next year. Too bad. My dad saw this place called Shandong and Qingdao but after I did some quick research on that place, I’m not interested. We felt like going back to our motherland, Hainan Island but there’s not much to see over there and my dad complained that the package only gave us 4 days (too short). And then, we went to our final and confirmed selection; Zhangjiajie. Finally…after a long discussion this afternoon.

Have you heard of Zhangjiajie? It’s not as famous as Beijing or Shanghai but it is indeed a place known for its beautiful nature (especially its mountains and the recently popular glass bridges that made its news all over the world). It still costs over 3k for a person and the tour will be taking 8 days and 7 nights. I am still excited for this trip although this place is not top preferences as stated earlier. This trip will be my first planned trip after my graduation end of this year. My friends do plan for a vacation end of this year after we completed our study but till now, there isn’t any concrete planning on that yet. Zhangjiajie, see you in February 2018! It’s time for me to enjoy some breathtaking views of nature that Zhangjiajie offers! I did a quick research and the place is indeed very beautiful! I hope the scenery when I am there will be as picturesque as what I saw on the internet just now…and I can’t wait to walk on that scary glass-floor bridge!…it will be some wonderful opportunities for some great photography during this trip!

Countdown: 5 more months to go! Now, I have to get back to my thesis week although it is Sunday today (there’s no such thing as free weekend for architecture students!).

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

 

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Shanghai Tower named CTBUH’s Best Tall Building Worldwide in 2016 and won Emporis Skyscraper Award 2015

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2016 by vincentloy

Shanghai Tower is a 632 metres tall skyscraper located in Shanghai, China and is currently the second tallest building in the world. Completed in 2015, it is also the tallest building in China, a country that has been actively building supertalls in recent decades. Designed by Gensler Architects, Shanghai Tower has 128 floors and is one of the three supertall buildings in the prime area in Pudong. The other two are the Shanghai World Financial Center (492 metres high) and Jin Mao Tower (421 metres high).

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Recently, the tower is named Best Tall Building Worldwide in 2016 by Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Besides that, the tower has also won the Emporis Skyscraper Award 2015. It’s a double joy for the tower. Shanghai Tower has accomplished such level of recognition due to many reasons. Some of them are its elegant spiraling cylindrical form, energy-efficient performance of the building, extraordinary double-skin facade, world’s fastest elevator, etc.

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Shanghai Tower prevailed over other winners in smaller categories in CTBUH Best Tall Buildings selection to take the top prize after winning the Best Tall Building Asia and Australasia. Best Tall Building Americas goes to VIA 57 West, Best Tall Building Europe goes to The White Walls and Best Tall Building Middle East and Africa goes to The Cube. As for the Emporis Skyscraper Award, Shanghai Tower topped the list of their 10 finalist selection. The other 9 in order from top to bottom are Evolution Tower in Russia (no.2), II Dritto in Italy (no.3), Jiangxi Nanchang Greenland Central Plaza in China (no.4), ABODE 318 in Australia (no.5), Icon Bay in United States of America (no.6), D1 Tower in United Arab Emirates (no.7), 432 Park Avenue in United States of America (no.8), Citygate in Austria (no.9) and ICE II in Canada (no.10).

I would love to visit Shanghai Tower and goes up to its observation deck to enjoy the panoramic view of the city and to purchase a replica model of the skyscraper. If you know me well, one of my hobbies is to collect replica models of famous buildings and towers around the world. This hobby is actually very costly, but what can I do since it’s my interest. I have not visited Shanghai before and I am looking forward for a trip to that city in near future. I think I would be very impressed not only by the supertalls in that city, but also by the overall magnificent skyline of the city.

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

 

Durban to host 2022 Commonwealth Games while Hangzhou to host 2022 Asian Games.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2015 by vincentloy

Last month, the host city for the Commonwealth Games 2022 and also the Asian Games 2022 was announced respectively. These two games are widely considered as the two biggest multi-sporting events in the world, just behind the Summer Olympics. Commonwealth Games involves participation of athletes from over 50 nations which are former territories of the past British empire while Asian Games involves participation of athletes from 40 countries in the largest continent in the world, Asia. Both of the games are held once in every four years, following the similar interval with the Olympics.

Malaysia is part of both of the games since Malaysia was once British territory before we gained independence in 1957, and our country is in Asia continent. We have hosted the Commonwealth Games back in 1998, but surprisingly, we have not hosted Asian Games before. In comparison, even our neighbouring country, Thailand had hosted it five times! And we have none. Our country bid for the games several times in the past but lost. It must be that our presentation to the voters is not good enough every time. Now, lesser and lesser countries expressed interest to host these games mainly due to the concern of the high cost of hosting them.

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Despite that concern, I’m sure that my country, Malaysia is still capable of hosting Asian Games and we should. Of course, hosting Olympics is far from our reach but can’t we go a bit further (by hosting Asian Games) rather than just focusing on smaller games like the next South East Asian Games which is scheduled to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2017? We should dream bigger! Set our sight on Asiad’s hosting job. It’s possible. I think we shall bid for 2026 Asian Games as the host for the 2022 Asian Games had already been decided recently.We missed the opportunity to host the 2022 edition since we are not bidding when there is not much competition around.

For the selection of the host city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games last month, Durban, South Africa is the only city with confirmed bid as the other city, Edmonton, Canada withdrew their bid early this year. Hence, at the Commonwealth Games Federation’s General Assembly, there isn’t a need to vote as there is only a city bidding and hence it is selected officially to host the games seven years from now. It will be the first Commonwealth Games to be held in African continent. The games are set to open on the 18 July 2022, coinciding with the birthday of the late South African President and global icon, Nelson Mandela.

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Same case goes to the selection of the host city for the 2022 Asian Games which was also held last month. There is no other city bidding for the games besides than Hangzhou, China. It is the only city that declared the candidacy in August 2015, a month before the selection. Hence, without any other city battling for the hosting job, Hangzhou is chosen to host the games automatically without the need of voting. If Malaysia bid for this one, we may win because voters may not want to see the games back to China so soon. Now, the voters have no choice. This will be the third time China hosting Asian Games after Beijing 1990 and Guangzhou 2010. Well, I actually expected China to host this again so soon after Guangzhou 2010 because the country has a lot of money and will never have any financial or manpower concern. Furthermore, the country is more than capable of delivering fantastic games with over-the-top opening and closing ceremonies.

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Congratulation to both Durban and Hangzhou for being selected to host Commonwealth and Asian Games respectively in 2022. It is an easy path for them without facing any competition by other cities. Well, I think the sports committees involved should really tackle the issue of high cost of hosting the games. Make the games economical and sustainable, and ensure them to present more benefits to the hosting city after the games rather than leaving behind debts and ‘white elephant’ sporting venues.

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

World’s highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge opened in China recently with the level of hype I never expected.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2015 by vincentloy

I guessed most of you should have known this by now; China had recently opened the world’s highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge. It is also China’s first bridge of its kind. Videos of people ‘bravely’ crossing and introducing that particular bridge are widely circulated through social networking sites and reported in most news articles recently till the point that almost everyone is talking about it now. Experiences of the first pack of the bridge’s visitors; some closed their eyes while crossing due to the fear of height. Some felt dizzy straight away. Some were afraid but successfully crossed through the entire bridge to prove his/her guts.

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If you still don’t know anything of this bridge, you must be living in the jungle. For me, it is nothing more than a glass bridge. It is interesting but I’m surprised of the level of hype it obtained now till the point that I have to share it in my blog here. I will only check out the bridge if I’m happened to be passing by or visiting the national park where it is located. If not, I would not purposely go there just to see the bridge. Anyway, here you go for a bit of information regarding this bridge; When translated directly to English, the bridge is called Brave Men’s Bridge. It is a glass walkway of 300 metres long and is suspended 180 meters above a sheer drop in Shiniuzhai National Geological Park, China’s central Hunan Province.

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Each of the glass panes is 24 millimeters thick and is believed to be 25 times stronger than normal glass. One worker who built the bridge assured that the bridge will stand firm even if tourists are jumping on it. “The steel frame used to support and encase the glass bridge is also very strong and densely built, so even if a glass is broken, travelers won’t fall through.”, he added. The bridge was originally a wooden bridge before the park experimented by replacing a small section with glass in 2014. It decided to increase the thrill by revamping the whole overpass earlier this year, making it China’s first all-glass suspension bridge.

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Hunan is due to open another glass bridge later this year in the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon area, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) northwest of Shiniuzhai. When completed, the Zhangjiajie structure will be the world’s highest and longest glass bridge — 430 meters long and 300 meters high. Well, it appears that China is not only stretching their limits in building supertall skyscrapers (their recent trend) but also in constructing terrifying and challenging bridges like this one. This glass-bottomed bridge that allows people to ‘enjoy’ views directly below their feet is already drawing huge crowds due to its viral promotion on the internet as well as coinciding with the Golden Week of China, a week-long of holiday for China’s National Day celebration currently. This is the time when millions of China nationals will go for a vacation both inside or outside of country.

Talking about tourists from China. I’m not being discriminating but I believe most of you think the same. They have very bad moral and most of them don’t behave well. I have been a traveler quite frequently and I always bumped into usually large group of tourists from mainland China either in their country or even in other countries. Well, most of them are now wealthy and can go travelling anywhere they like. But their values of conduct are extremely low. Their discipline are awful. Whenever I encountered them, I find them really irritating, annoying, noisy, and showing disrespect to the tourist places. Well, there have been many articles showing their bad attitudes (not queuing, peeing on the public, harassing human-shaped sculptures or statues, vandalizing buildings or monuments, spitting wherever they like, etc) shared out and I couldn’t agree more. They don’t feel embarrassed by their own actions and that is what got me surprised. Something must be very wrong to their moral education in the past when they were young. Totally terrible…I’m not targeting all the Chinese nationals…but most of them!

I guess after this holiday week, the glass bridge would be extremely dirty straight away with multiple stains (of spits everywhere maybe…) or maybe even declared unsafe soon since there must be ‘thousands’ of them rushing to cross the bridge and it simply couldn’t hold the huge weight anymore. Who knows…

(Images and some information in this post are from this source: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/09/27/travel/china-glass-bridge-shiniuzhai/)

Just finished ‘Master of Destiny’, a Hong Kong joint China TV drama.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2015 by vincentloy

風雲天地 (Master of Destiny) is a Hong Kong joint China television drama created by famous Hong Kong director Wong Jing. At China of which it is aired earlier, the series has a total of 40 episodes as per information from its wikipedia page. However, we in Malaysia (also for Hong Kong) get to watch the version of the series that has only 32 episodes (8 episodes shorter) and the series had just ended with its finale yesterday.

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When this series was at the early planning stage, I’m very excited by news reporting that award-winning actress Deanie Ip will be heading huge list of famous cast in this series helmed by director Wong Jing. Kenneth Ma will also be in the cast. However, both Deanie and Kenneth dropped out and Liza Wang and Edwin Siu were brought in to replace them. Lesser impressive cast, but I would still watch it because it’s refreshing to see a drama by Wong Jing whom is famous for producing brainless yet funny movies back in the 90s.

The series chronicles the rise and the eventual hardships of the affluent Cho family from Hong Kong, which eventually, they fight the corruption that reeks inside their family while being entangled in various troubled relationships. The series starred Liza Wang, Angie Chiu, Hawick Lau, Kenny Wong, Edwin Siu, Kimmy Tong, Natalie Meng, Monica Mok, etc. I thought Angie Chiu, a great veteran actress would have a heavy role here, but in the end, she is more of a minor supporting role only. I thought I would see more of her after her last TVB drama ‘Point of No Return’ 12 years ago that I have watched. Anyway, she is still amazingly beautiful at her current age of 60.

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I decided to watch this series because of its kind of storyline. Revolving on a wealthy family with a huge business background would means a lot of quarrels, scheming and dramas. This series had all that but they are not up to my preferred way or style. There are too many story developments that are not making any sense; the villain (Song Chi Wah) can have so many money on ‘buying’ all the people around on helping to achieve her evil plans like she had nothing else to do besides that, the good girls being too naive (or I should say dumb) for the boys they blindly love, etc. And the thing that I don’t like is the dubbing. Well, I have to get over with it since it is a joint production and it involves cast from mainland China.

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Liza Wang, is as usual, good on her lead role as the tough mother to the family. This year, we saw her in ‘Limelight Years’ and in this one and she was awesome in both of the series. A hardworking veteran actress with solid acting. Hawick Lau is getting more popular now but I think his acting is still not excellent. Just average. Even Kenny Wong and Edwin Siu (as his brothers in the series) were better than him in terms of performances. Also average level of performances by the girls (mostly China’s actresses in this series). I would like to praise Selena Li who portrays the younger version of Liza Wang’s character in the series. She is absolutely fantastic especially in her emotionally-heavy and crying scenes. She should be more acknowledged by TVB by now.

The title of the series suggests something epic, intense and dramatic but the series couldn’t really pull it off especially with the non-engaging storyline and draggy developments as it progresses. I felt bored and uninterested in most of the episodes. I’m left slightly disappointed and now I’m glad the series is over. The happy ending still could not save much of the troubled content of the drama. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Master of Destiny’ a total of 6.8.

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

‘Double-skin facade’ for Shanghai Tower.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2015 by vincentloy

Shanghai Tower is a 632 metres tall skyscraper at Pudong District, Shanghai, China. The building is nearly completed and is scheduled to be opened later this year as the country’s tallest building as well as world’s second tallest building. It is situated in an enclave of three city’s tallest buildings, accompanying the other two; 492 metres tall Shanghai World Financial Center and 421 metres tall Jin Mao Tower. The architect behind the design of the Shanghai Tower is Gensler.

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I had wrote a number of blog posts regarding this supertall in the past, showing how much I love it. I’m impressed by not only the sky-reaching height of the tower, but also by one of its interesting architectural elements; the double-skin facade. What is meant by that? It means that the tower has two layers of cladding enveloping the habitable spaces inside the vertical structure of the building. Recently, I read an article, and in that article, Xiaomei Lee, Co-Managing Director of Gensler Shanghai, shared to us more details and the benefits of the double-skin facade of the striking tower;

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1. Blend public and private spaces. By creating a triangulated outer skin and a circular inner volume, we created a series of atria that could be accessed by the public. These vertical “sky gardens” will house all of the same programmatic diversity that one would find in a traditional, horizontal neighborhood of Shanghai. Our goal was to create 21 individual community anchors that allow the citizens of Shanghai and tenants of the tower to live out their lives on this vertically stacked plane.

2. Insulate the inner volume of the tower and reduces the need for active HVAC systems to heat and cool the building. Eventually reduces electricity and operational costs of the building, and promotes sustainability in usage of the building.

3. Helps deflect the amount of stress placed on the building’s structure. The outer skin’s 120-degree rotation and taper were able to reduce wind load stress by 24 percent, which reduced our client’s construction costs while simultaneously resolving the issue of typhoon winds.

4. Outer skin is actually suspended in between the tower’s fire breaks, which allowed the contractor to assemble the tower much faster than a traditional building. Quicker construction; saves time and cost.

5. The inherent flexibility in a hanging curtain wall system is another line of defense when dealing with high wind speed and sudden bursts of pressure from typhoons.

6. Acts as a buffer for harsh solar glare, but still allows natural daylight to reach the tower’s interior.

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For full article, click here: http://architizer.com/blog/gensler-shanghai-tower-by-xiaomei-lee/. The article explains further on the design inspiration and also touched on the issue of demand for ‘vertical city’ in China.

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Breathtaking pictures…

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

 

Malaysia in Sudirman Cup 2015: Great start but luck didn’t last any longer.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2015 by vincentloy

This year, the 14th Sudirman Cup is currently being held at Dongguan, China from 10th to 17th May 2015. It is a prestigious world mixed team badminton championship which takes place once every two years. There are five matches in every round: men and women’s singles, men and women’s doubles and mixed doubles. The Cup is named after Dick Sudirman, a former Indonesian badminton player and the founder of the Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI). There is no prize money in Sudirman Cup and only a trophy to be won; players play for their respective countries and to earn BWF world ranking points and national prestige.

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Nations competing in Sudirman Cup 2015. Only teams in group 1 will have a chance to lift the trophy as the teams in other groups fight for promotion. The teams who finish last in the group will be relegated to the lower group, except the final group:

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How is Malaysia performing in the history of this tournament? Not good. Malaysia has never win this championship before. The best our country did was back in 2009 when we advanced to the semi-final. Just that. Not even a single final appearance in the history of Sudirman Cup. At least we have better records at Thomas Cup. And just like Thomas and Uber Cup, China won the most. They are indeed one super strong nation in this particular sport currently.

I’m particularly interested about the result of this Sudirman Cup 2015 recently, particularly from our Malaysian team as this also marked the return of Lee Chong Wei, our most credible men-single player to the sport after he was banned from playing for eight months due to a doping case last year in World Championship. And as usual, he delivered on all the matches and shown to the world that after a long break, he is still one tough opponent to challenge (besides than Chen Long and Lin Dan of course).

Earlier in the group stage, Malaysia surprisingly knocked down another badminton giant, South Korea by 3-2. I did watched parts of the matches, and I’m quite impressed by my country’s performance. Hey…we stand a chance at least to go to semi-final! South Korea is also unbelievably poor this time and delivered many mistakes and obvious weaknesses. I’m quite shocked that we defeated them. Next was India and we won them too by 3-2. This win is quite predictable.

Then, Malaysia advanced to the quarterfinal. Wait…this is a good sign for Malaysia. Let’s hope that we will be drawn to play against weaker opponent in the quarterfinal like Germany or Chinese Taipei. But, luck is not on our side. Malaysia was drawn to meet South Korea again of which the latter defeated India to get into Top 8 standing too. And so, in yesterday’s quarterfinal, Malaysia lost by 1-3, without the need for final match (mixed-doubles). Luck felt short for our country in the time when it mattered the most. South Korea had a successful revenge on us. And actually, the system is a bit wrong. How can we deal with the same opponent again? Badminton World Federation (BWF) have to look seriously into this matter and improve the tournament’s system.

To be honest with you, after my observation in these recent matches, I find that our boys have the potential to excel to further improve their skills. They always delivered the points for us. But certainly not the girls. Sorry, this is not gender discrimination but a fact. We lost in all of our matches in women categories in the tournament (don’t count the mixed doubles). And yea…only the woman in that mixed-double has some hope. The girls have to really look into themselves and work hard quickly to achieve at least a not so embarassing outcome like this. Not to be harsh to them, but please, all have to improve and should not only depend on Lee Chong Wei to give an almost absolute winning point. Even if that is so, Lee Chong Wei is getting older and his strength and momentum on court is decreasing eventually.

Hmm…when can we go back to our country’s golden era in badminton?

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