3 Malaysians in Top 10 finalists of Top Million Star.


‘Top Million Star’ (星光大道) is a televised singing competition from Taiwan where talented young Chinese singers from all over the world join to compete for the championship in the end after rounds of elimination. It is a famous singing competition due to its long history from the many past seasons of ‘One Million Star’ and ‘Chinese Million Star’. Now, the title is changed to ‘Top Million Star’. In the past, this competition had successfully led to the discovery of many extremely good singers and eventually the rise in their fame in Chinese entertainment industry too. Do take note that there is one Malaysian Chinese female contestant named Jess Lee in the past whom had won this competition and becomes a singer based in Taiwan now.

11781611_10152931562092407_1929919597874274435_n

In this latest season, it all began with 50 contestants. Malaysia do have several representatives from Astro (3 from this year’s Astro Star Quest and 2 from last year’s Astro Star Quest) and also several others not from Astro (independently). I have exceptionally high expectation to Apple Kho, the winner of this year’s Astro Star Quest, an annual local (Malaysia) competition that I have been catching up very closely too. She had a great voice and she has the capabilities to try on different approaches and styles in her singing and overall performance. Well, she is quite beautiful too and already has an image of a singer.

This televised singing competition is aired every Saturday at 8pm in Astro channel 300, and that’s the same time with the airing at Taiwan if I’m not mistaken. Unfortunately, that is the time when we will go out for a family dinner which will usually takes very long time. Furthermore, it also coincides with the broadcasting time of the Astro Classic Golden Melody Singing Competition (competition for the elderly) of which my dad is very keen to watch too. So, we will usually wait for the next day (Sunday’s afternoon) for the replay of the ‘Top Million Star’ latest episode every weekend. It is a 2-hour show every week, but it is actually not that long. The huge amount of advertisements in between is the most annoying thing.

Let’s get back to the progress of the competition so far. After many rounds, we do have 10 finalists now. 40 contestants were already eliminated due to mistakes in singing, poor selection of song, and many other reasons the professional judges can find out easily. And a good news is that in the top 10, 3 of them are Malaysians. That’s a wonderful result. However, only one of the three is the Astro’s representative, and she is Apple. Well, that is quite expected but she do went through tough and risky time in the earlier rounds too when she did almost get eliminated previously. Luckily, she wasn’t. Now, she is in Top 10 and is looking good to enter top 5 hopefully.

12106832_10153073264197407_4754754312642854601_n

Well, let’s not forget the other two Malaysians, a weighty boy and a cute-looking girl. Both of them are good too (well if not, they won’t be in Top 10 obviously) but I still prefer Apple. She always sings with no mistakes and delivered performances which are perfectly fine and smooth. However, that advantages may also turn out to be disadvantages as judges wanted something different and surprising (wow) from her every time. Steady all along may not be good always. Let’s hope she can nail it and continue to impress the judges. I’m also glad with the frequent changing of the judges which allows for different exposures, advice and lessons to the contestants from seniors of different backgrounds or countries. Now, let’s wish for the best to the 3 Malaysians in this ‘Top Million Star’ competition.

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

Advertisements

My latest favourite skyscraper in KL: Ilham Baru Tower.


Forget about Petronas Twin Towers. I knew Malaysians are all bored to see the twin towers already since we have been seeing it for almost 20 years. However, we can’t deny that the twin towers still remains as the most striking icon or landmark of our nation. Despite losing the title of world’s tallest building years earlier, Petronas Twin Towers are still the current world’s tallest twin buildings. If we ignore the towers for a second, what is the other skyscraper in the city of Kuala Lumpur that you admire the most?

For me, my latest favourite skyscraper in the city is the Ilham Baru Tower (let’s shorten it to IB Tower). It is a tall mixed-use skyscraper comprising of offices and serviced apartments and is located nearby the twin towers. It is also nearby to my office, and hence, I can get to see the building for almost every day. I’m not tired of catching every glimpse of it. Well, you can easily spot the building from far since it is tall enough to stand out among the rest of the cluster of buildings in that part of the city.

DSC01257_zpsu6av874i

There has been a number of varying technical information regarding the building from what I have browsed from some sites online. But based on The Skyscraper Center (official site for worldwide skyscrapers), IB Tower has a height of 298 metres and a total of 64 floors above ground. However, I think the height and number of floors of the tower have been reduced to 274 metres and 58 floors respectively. It would be nice if someone can clarify to me about this issue.

19685065989_63582b3d67_b

The tower is now still under-construction but has already topped out to its final height. It is expected to be completed by this year and opened next year. It is designed by Foster + Partners under the leading architect Norman Foster who have once received a Pritzker Prize (highest architectural prize in the world handed out annually to individual). Well, he is also the one designing Troika Tower (tallest residential building in Malaysia) which is just right besides the IB Tower. It’s great to have famous foreign architects to come and design something fantastic for buildings in my city.

DQqfpj9

The design of the tower resembles a bit of the famous Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong from that glass cladding with zig-zag pattern feature. Well, IB Tower has a much darker-toned glass and is more complicated with integrated louvered fins which act as sun-shading device for the building. That is essential since the weather can be very hot in Malaysia. The form of the tower is also very interesting as a portion of an upper section of the tower is cut-in to make way for outdoor sky decks. The cut-in makes the building ‘lighter’ and gives extra ‘dimension’ and ‘depth’ to its form.

PVvukWl

I have written a post on this building about 3 years earlier when it is still at its early stage of construction. The link to that post: https://vincentloy.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/ilham-baru-tower-a-soon-to-be-addition-to-tall-buildings-in-kuala-lumpur/. It’s cool seeing the building rising up quickly to the skyline of the city and finally it has topped out and nears completion right now. Not only a great addition to the many buildings in Kuala Lumpur, IB Tower is also now the fourth tallest building in the city (also in the country), just behind Petronas Twin Towers and Telekom Tower.

From rendering to reality now:

download

IMG_2646

More information of the tower can be found in these following websites:

http://www.ilhamtower.com/index.html

http://skyscrapercenter.com/building/ilham-baru-tower/9344

http://www.fosterandpartners.com/projects/ilham-baru/

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1119813

(Images in this post are obtained from the forum site with link shown above except for the last image of which I own the copyright)

 

Brother’s Keeper; a series I enjoyed till its ending yesterday.


‘Brother’s Keeper’ (巨輪) is a Hong Kong’s TVB series that depicts the moral life struggles of two half-brothers Tin-seng (Ruco) and Wai-son (Edwin) during the late and post-colonial periods of Hong Kong and Macau between the years 1980 and 2013. It ran in 32 episodes and had just ended yesterday’s night with a rather satisfying and meaningful finale. The drama which is one of TVB’s grand production of the year starred Ruco Chan, Linda Chung, Edwin Siu, Krystal Tin, Louise Lee, Louis Yuen, Susan Tse, Leanne Li, etc.

2013-e5b7a8e8bcaa_brothers-keeper_cant-poster-e6a9abe78988o

The first point I wish to compliment on this drama is the inclusion of true historical events that were set against the era, including Hong Kong’s 1980 Touch Base Policy, Macau’s relaxed immigration laws of 1982, the 1991 goldsmith robberies, the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong and Macau to China in late 1990s, the 1998 Hong Kong financial crisis, the 1999 Macanese triad wars and chaos, the 2003 Hong Kong SARS outbreak, and the 2008 Hong Kong financial recession, of which serves as some of the key plot vehicles that drive the changing fates of the brothers and their families. It is a very good, interesting and logical approach to develop the story.

As for casts’ performance, the one that stood out is none other than Krystal Tin. She had a very good and appealing character and she nailed it. Often nicknamed as ‘Shrewish Ying’ in the drama, she delivered outstanding performance that should be recognized with award end of this year. As for Linda Chung, her character here is a bit too sloppy and thoughtless and it is not a breakthrough role for her. However, she did improved a lot on her expressions and crying scenes that I find not annoying anymore. Nevertheless, she is regarded as the top contender for best actress this year. Ruco Chan also did a great job as the main lead with convincing acting. He is no doubt a solid lead actor. As for Edwin Siu, he carried out his role well but not good enough. And I had to dislike his character at the part when he treat Ah Ying so bad with no emotion and had been wasting her youth for a decade.

cb071402119e6f9201eee602a4288937

The story began in a quite an exciting and interesting pace, but then as usual to TVB’s pattern, everything will be dragged and slow in the middle portion while the final few episodes are a bit too rushed. The story is developed through flashback that went quite consistently but illogically. In 1980, Tin-seng and Wai-son roughly aged between 10 – 18. By 2013, they should be at least aged between 43 to 51, and they were still that energetic just like their younger days (especially Tin-seng that had to do all the actions to capture the triads) and they were all still ‘waiting’ for relationship outcome. The production team surely didn’t look into this error.

1380091415_7e11

I’m quite happy and satisfied with the ending of the drama. I’m happy that Tin-seng didn’t really turn bad and I do get the impact at the part when the others realized they had misunderstood him. The finale basically highlights Tin-seng’s situation, how others view him and more importantly how he views himself. Eventhough the ending provides not much of climax or intense scenes, but it still delivered with solid conclusion to all characters; everything solved while leaving open possibility only in the love relationship as well as Tin-seng’s unknown future. The last few dialogues in the finale leaves a meaningful message to our life. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Brother’s Keeper’ a total of 7.6. I thoroughly enjoyed this drama. It’s a very good one, and is considered one of the best this year. Next on my watch list would be the upcoming medical-themed sequel series, ‘The Hippocratic Crush II’.

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

Cali 2013 World Games


Perhaps not many have known about the existence of World Games. It’s no doubt  not as famous or as big as the Olympic Games but it is certainly an international multi-sport event. First held in 1981, the games held once in every four years (similar to Olympics) is meant for sports, or disciplines or events within a sport, that are not contested in the Olympic Games. The World Games are organised and governed by the International World Games Association (IWGA), under the patronage of International Olympic Committee (IOC). The year the games takes place would be a year after every Summer Olympic Games.

The sports contested (usually over 30) includes but not limited to acrobatic gymnastics, aerobic gymnastics, artistic roller skating, dancesport, beach handball, canoe polo, rugby sevens, squash, karate, bowling, tug of war, powerlifting, water skiing, sport climbing, softball, wushu, etc of which some are included as invitational sports. I first get to know on this games four years ago when the 8th World Games was held in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. That is the time when this games received wider popularity and that Kaohsiung hosted it in a grand way that proved successful. I watched its opening ceremony and it was a great effort in a beautiful stadium.

Logo_Cali2013_W

The recent 9th World Games was held in Cali, Colombia from 25th July till 4th August 2013 for a duration of 11 days. It has a slogan; ‘Fair Play to the Planet’. A record-breaking total of 109 countries participated with over 3800 athletes involved, making Cali 2013 the biggest ever in the games history. I didn’t have the interest to watch the ceremonies this time, and let’s just look at the results; the medal table since the games is over. Italy topped the table by winning 18 golds, 13 silvers and 18 bronzes. Russia came in second with 17 golds, 23 silvers and 13 bronzes while the third went to France with 16 golds, 11 silvers and 13 bronzes.

Olympics’ powerhouses like US clinched 11 golds, 4 silvers and 4 bronzes and China won 14 golds, 6 silvers and 2 bronzes. How about my country’s performance? Not bad. At least, Malaysia won a single gold medal and placed 37th (better than no standing), thanks to Nicol David in squash. On invitational sports, Malaysia won 2 silvers and 2 bronzes. Now, Nicol is on her way to prepare for last campaigning to include squash into Olympic Games to possibly end Malaysia’s thirst for Olympic gold medal by 2016. Good luck and may squash be successfully included into Olympics! Cali 2013 had concluded yesterday, and for your information, the next edition, 10th World Games will be held at Wroclaw, Poland in 2017. World Games deserves a much greater attention too, and so I wrote this post for it to share or indirectly promoting it out to my readers.

7Fireworks_burst_over_the_Pascual_Guerrer..he_World_Games_in_Cali_Colombia

873599ca0af52bdbb5630522d6563fd5_Generic

The last two images showing fireworks over Pascual Guerrero Olympic Stadium during Cali 2013 World Games’ opening ceremony on 25th July 2013.

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

An in-‘deppth’ look to Johnny Depp’s success over the decades.


I don’t think I need to introduce Johnny Depp. He is such a famous Hollywood actor known for his ever-changing, dynamic, vibrant or colourful styles and appearances in every films he involved in. He was born in June 9, 1963, which means that today is his 50th birthday. Happy birthday to this spectacular actor! Let me take an in-‘deppth’ look to Johnny Depp’s successful and award-winning career over the decades.

Johnny-Depp-johnny-depp-5664156-1280-800

Depp was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, and raised in Florida, as the youngest of four children of Betty Sue Palmer, a waitress, and John Christopher Depp, a civil engineer. The family moved frequently during Depp’s childhood, and he and his siblings lived in more than 20 different locations, and finally settling in Miramar, Florida. He encountered problems from within his troubled family and also from his love relationship with partners that each didn’t last long. But that is not the case for his critically-acclaimed acting career that span for almost three decades.

Depp’s first major role was in the 1984 classic horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street, playing the boyfriend of the heroine. In 1986, he appeared in a secondary role as a Vietnamese-speaking private in Oliver Stone’s Platoon. In 1990, he undertook the quirky title role of the Tim Burton film, Edward Scissorhands. The film’s success began his long association with Burton. Depp, a fan and long-time friend of writer Hunter S. Thompson, played a version of Thompson (named Raoul Duke) in 1998’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Depp later also starred in The Rum Diary in 2011, based on Thompson’s novel. 

The first major film that turned Johnny Depp to a box office star is the Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl in 2003. Depp’s performance as the pirate captain Jack Sparrow was a major draw for audiences. He then continued as the main lead in the three  subsequent sequels; Dead Man’s Chest, At World’s End and On Stranger Tides that performed very well in worldwide box office. He had also starred in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in 2007 directed by Tim Burton which won Depp the prestigious Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy in Golden Globe Awards. He had been nominated several times in Academy Awards for best actor too. The many faces of Johnny Depp in films:

the-many-looks-of-johny-depp

Johnny Depp’s other notable works including Sleepy Hollow (1999), Finding Neverland (2004), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Corpse Bride (2005), Public Enemies (2009), Alice in Wonderland (2010), The Tourist (2010), Rango (2011), Dark Shadows (2012), etc. His upcoming work would be The Lone Ranger which he played as an American Indian spirit warrior. The film is scheduled to be released next month. He had also been the director, producer or writer of several of his films. Okay..I better stop here. If I am to continue on writing his success story, this post would becomes a long essay. He is no doubt a talented actor that need no explanation any more. Happy birthday to Johnny Depp. He had made a powerful impact to Hollywood big screen.

(All images and information in this post are from various credible sources throughout the world wide web)

Initiative in ‘Stop LYNAS, Save Malaysia!’ campaign…


Eventhough I’m not there physically for the public demonstration to LYNAS, but my heart fully supported the anti-LYNAS campaign. For your information, LYNAS is an Australian rare earths mining company and it has approved operation in Kuantan, Malaysia. Their involvement in rare earth mining in Malaysia started last year, which sparked public concern over the negative consequences it would contribute to the people especially those living in Kuantan.

The public concern came to a climax these few days, when people started to take further action rather than just condemning in own. Many people have posted message ‘Stop LYNAS, Save MALAYSIA!’ over Facebook and Twitter, which is a sign of support over anti-LYNAS campaign. Some have also been very hardworking by explaining the negative effects of the rare earth processing plant for others to understand. Today, there are over thousand of people participated in demonstration as a strong action to say NO definitely to LYNAS operation. Himpunan Hijau or ‘Green Gathering’ is a success, but then our selfish government said that it violated several rules. Stupid!

Let me tell you something. Australia has a lot of land, as well as a lot of resources including those rare earth targeted by LYNAS. Why they don’t want to build the plant over in their own country which would make everything much easier and convenient for them? Instead, they build it here. Why? Think logically…the answer is very simple; because they themselves known that the side effects of the plant are very harmful to the environment as well as to the human health. Hence, they would prefer to build this kind of thing oversea, and they picked Malaysia, because Malaysian government has accepted their offer (the money) while neglecting the people’s concern. Other countries are staying away from that, but our government??? Haiz…

This is seriously selfish. This kind of business between Malaysia and Australia shouldn’t be allowed, as it is very detrimental, no matter how much money it can contribute to the nation’s economy. That’s why, majority of the people are seriously against LYNAS to continue their operation over here in Malaysia. Their continuous work kills Malaysia slowly. I wonder what happen to the thinking of the goverment nowadays…doing something that is bad for the people. They can’t even think! Hence, STOP LYNAS AND SAVE MALAYSIA!

New 7 Wonders of Nature


The ‘New7Wonder’ Foundation had organized their first campaign to list out the new seven manmade wonders of the world back in 2007 as there are too many different versions of the Seven Wonders of the World. The campaign is closed and the list is revealed. Their next campaign which just started not long ago, is now concentrating on the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Voting has began earlier, and I personally did vote for this campaign, but I forgot which place I have voted. (I voted for it many months ago).

In November 11th (a month ago), the provisional result of the New 7 Wonders of Nature has been released after the counting of votes finalized. However, there are still verification processes going on to confirm on the total votes calculation. However, nothing would goes wrong there, and hence the list published earlier back in 11/11/11 would still be the final and official New 7 Wonders of Nature. Here below is the list in alphabetical order on the latest New 7 Wonders of Nature:

1. Amazon  (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela)

The Amazon Rainforest, also known as Amazonia, the Amazon jungle or the Amazon Basin, encompasses seven million square kilometers (1.7 billion acres), though the forest itself occupies some 5.5 million square kilometers (1.4 billion acres), located within nine nations. The Amazon represents over half of the planet’s remaining rainforests and comprises the largest and most species-rich tract of tropical rainforest in the world. The Amazon River is the largest river in the world by volume, with a total flow greater than the top ten rivers worldwide combined. It accounts for approximately one-fifth of the total world river flow and has the biggest drainage basin on the planet. Not a single bridge crosses the Amazon.

2. Halong Bay (Vietnam)

Halong Bay is located in Quáng Ninh province, Vietnam. The bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various sizes and shapes. The bay has a 120 kilometre long coastline and is approximately 1,553 square kilometres in size with 1969 islets. Several of the islands are hollow, with enormous caves, other support floating villages of fishermen, who ply the shallow waters for 200 species of fish and 450 different kinds of mollusks. Another specific feature of Halong Bay is the abundance of lakes inside the limestone islands, for example, Dau Be island has six enclosed lakes. All these island lakes occupy drowned dolines within fengcong karst.

3. Iguazu Falls (Argentina, Brazil)

Iguazu Falls, in Iguazu River, are one of the world’s largest waterfalls. They extend over 2,700 m (nearly 2 miles)  in a semi-circular shape.  Of the 275 falls that collectively make up Iguassu Falls, “Devil’s Throat” is the tallest at 80 m in height. Iguazu Falls are on the border between the Brazilian state of Paraná and the Argentine province of Misiones, and are surrounded by two National Parks (BR/ARG). Both are subtropical rainforests that are host to hundreds of rare and endangered species of flora and fauna.

4. Jeju Island (South Korea)

Jejudo is a volcanic island, 130 km from the southern coast of Korea. The largest island and smallest province in Korea, the island has a surface area of 1,846 sqkm. A central feature of Jeju is Hallasan, the tallest mountain in South Korea and a dormant volcano, which rises 1,950 m above sea level. 360 satellite volcanoes are around the main volcano.

5. Komodo (Indonesia)

Indonesia’s Komodo National Park includes the three larger islands Komodo, Rinca and Padar, as well as numerous smaller ones, for a total area of 1,817 square kilometers (603 square kilometers of it land). The national park was founded in 1980 to protect the Komodo dragon. Later, it was also dedicated to protecting other species, including marine animals. The islands of the national park are of volcanic origin.

6. Puerto Princesa Underground River (Philippines)

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is located about 50 km north of the city of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines. It features a limestone karst mountain landscape with an 8.2 km. navigable underground river. A distinguishing feature of the river is that it winds through a cave before flowing directly into the South China Sea. It includes major formations of stalactites and stalagmites, and several large chambers. The lower portion of the river is subject to tidal influences. The underground river is reputed to be the world’s longest. At the mouth of the cave, a clear lagoon is framed by ancient trees growing right to the water’s edge. Monkeys, large monitor lizards, and squirrels find their niche on the beach near the cave.

7. Table Mountain (South Africa)

Table Mountain is a South African icon and the only natural site on the planet to have a constellation of stars named after it – Mensa, meaning “the table.” The flat-topped mountain has withstood six million years of erosion and hosts the richest, yet smallest floral kingdom on earth with over 1,470 floral species. Table Mountain boasts numerous rare and endangered species. It is the most recognized site in Cape Town, the gateway to Africa, owing to its unique flat-topped peaks which reach 1,086 m above sea level.

(The information above are shared from the official website of the New7Wonders campaign itself.)

Congratulation to the 7 places for successfully being recognized as the new seven wonders of nature, winning the most number of votes from people around the world. However, I find this list (as typical with all other 7 Wonders lists) to be very subjective and it’s hard to say that this place is more beautiful than that one. I am also quite shocked with the released result which is going to be official by early next year.

There are 28 finalists, and none of amazing places with superb beauty of nature from China is included in the nomination. That is very weird and ridiculous. China is such a big country, and is being known for home to hundreds of places that the nature overwhelms and being known as the places of heaven. And then, none of those places is in the nomination. Huh..so I can say that this campaign is very inaccurate and only depends on the strength of the people’s support towards the nominated place that belongs to their country. I guess no China people are voting or supporting this campaign which is based in Switzerland.

Out of the 7 places listed, three are from South East Asia region. That is a lot, and those places are actually quite ordinary compared to the beauty of some other places that I expected to win and get into the list of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. What a great shock that Great Barrier Reef and Grand Canyon did not win! That is very ridiculous. Both are like the best of the best in nature and yet did not excel to be listed from this campaign. What a joke!

I have been to one of the Seven Wonders of Nature from this list, which is the Jeju Island in South Korea. I have to say it’s a beautiful island, but really not that beautiful enough to be even qualified into this top 7 list. So, actually, I’m quite displeased over this campaign that went off track and goes only to the direction where people are voting, without really think by themselves on which places are better and more deserving to be included into the list. There is no point having the list that comes out from the support of the people over their own country and not judging it correctly based on their own individual perception.