Archive for february

3 major potential upsets tomorrow at the Oscars.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2017 by vincentloy

The 89th Academy Awards is finally just around the corner. It will take place tomorrow and to watch it live, I have to purposely wake up early on Monday morning (time difference). Fortunately, I don’t have any class to attend on Monday for this semester. I have been staying closely with the awards season this year and it gets more exciting day by day as the Oscars gets nearer. I had in the past posted the full nomination list of this coming Academy Awards alongside my predictions on who should and who will win on that evening.

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Just a day before the ceremony, I’m here to write on 3 major potential upsets that may happen tomorrow in the Oscars.

First one would be ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ winning the Best Animated Feature over the frontrunner, ‘Zootopia’. ‘Zootopia’ has been leading the race in this category ever since with wins in many precursor awards including some major ones like Annie Awards, Golden Globe Awards and Critics’ Choice Awards. However, do not look down on ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ that has been in the second place to many people’s predictions in winning the best animated film. The movie has also won multiple precursor awards including the BAFTA which is a strong indicator of Oscar winner in animated film category. I myself love ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ much more than ‘Zootopia’ and I would love it if it really takes home the award tomorrow. In my opinion, it has a much more better story, better visual, better style, better characters, better animations, and better effort than ‘Zootopia’ and the remaining three other nominees; ‘Moana’, ‘The Red Turtle’ and ‘My Life as a Zucchini’. I would love this upset to happen. It’s time to reward Laika, the production company behind this work. Their past works are three also great stop-motion animated films (all were nominated but didn’t win); ‘Coraline’, ‘Paranorman’ and ‘Boxtrolls’.

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Next major upset will be in Best Actress category. The frontrunner now is Emma Stone from her wonderful performance in ‘La La Land’, a film that has been getting a lot of love as shown from the 14 nominations it gets in this Academy Awards. She has won best actress in Golden Globes (musical and comedy), Screen Actor Guild and BAFTA. She is great in that movie. However, her performance is not the strongest compared to the other nominees in this category. It is very obvious. People are just voting her because it is Emma Stone and she is likable, and is not voting based on performance in the film. I would like to see Natalie Portman to win this as a major surprise of the evening. Her performance as Jackie Kennedy in ‘Jackie’ is tremendously good. People just think that it is too fast to award her the second Oscar since she won it few years back from her performance in ‘Black Swan’. Hey…stop that mentality. If she deserves it, then she deserves it..no matter how many she has won before. Another ‘dark horse’ contender will be Isabelle Hupert from ‘Elle’. Deep down in my heart, I still think Natalie has a shot at it because Academy usually loves people who acts as a real-life historical figure and Natalie nailed that role effectively and with a lot of effort. Seen as the early favourite as Natalie won best actress at the Critics Choice, her momentum went downward because the movie ‘Jackie’ is not getting a lot of attention unfortunately.

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The last major potential upset I foresee is in best supporting actor. Currently, Mahershala Ali is the one to beat from his performance in ‘Moonlight’. I didn’t see that movie. He has been also sweeping many precursor awards and hence many see him as a lock in this category, up until when he lost the award surprisingly in Golden Globes (to Aaron Taylor-Johnson in ‘Norturnal Animals’) and in BAFTA (to Dev Patel in ‘Lion’). Mahershala is still in the lead position to win supporting actor as he did won at Critics Choice and at Screen Actors Guild. However, Academy usually love to award Best Supporting Actor to someone many didn’t see it coming. Hence, get ready to watch some drama when the name in the envelope tomorrow is not stating ‘Mahershala Ali’. I’m thinking that all the other nominees has a chance for it except Lucas Hedges since he is too young for it, and I’m wishing for Dev Patel to win it. It’s because I watched ‘Lion’ and I’m amazed by his performance in there.

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These are my last opinions before the Academy Awards tomorrow. What do you think? My biggest wish is still to see ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ winning Best Animated Feature. It totally deserves it way more than the others. ‘Zootopia’ has the edge just because of its right timing to the current political situation in USA. It’s just an ordinary animated film, and no where near the excellence delivered by ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ in nearly all aspects.

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

 

Winners List for The 88th Academy Awards (The Oscars).

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 29, 2016 by vincentloy

Many social networking sites are now overwhelmed with news of Leo finally taking his first Oscar! Yes, Leonardo DiCaprio finally won his first Oscar for best actor in a leading role after having been nominated many times in the past. The world is very happy and excited for him right now and we all agreed that he should have win it much earlier as he is a one great Hollywood actor who excelled in all the film roles given to him.

Yes, the 88th Academy Awards (or famously known as the Oscars) was held successfully few hours ago to honour the best of films in year 2015. Here below is the full list of nominees with the winner in bold in each categories alongside my brief opinion:

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Best Picture
“Spotlight”
“The Big Short”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Brooklyn”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Room”

Opinion: My personal choice is ‘Room’ but the movie didn’t get enough buzz to fight with ‘Spotlight’, ‘The Big Short’ and ‘The Revenant’ for the top three spots that are only seen as the potential to grab this prestigious honour. ‘Spotlight’ won multiple best movie prizes before the Oscars and I’m not surprised that the movie win Best Picture here. However, I don’t really enjoy the movie unlike most others.

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Best Actor in a Leading Role
Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”
Matt Damon, “The Martian”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”

Opinion: As I said earlier, finally Leo is taking home his first ever Oscar which is long overdue for this talented actor. In my personal opinion, I think it is a three-way-tie for best performance by a leading actor this year; they are Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Fassbender and Eddie Redmayne. Eddie had just won this award last year. So, it’s between Michael and Leo. Leo had more nominations with zero win in the past and so this is his year and I agreed.

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett, “Carol”
Brie Larson, “Room”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy”
Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”

Opinion: Another expected result as Brie Larson is extremely wonderful in ‘Room’. She and his son in the movie portrayed by Jacob Tremblay drive the movie to its critical success. It’s her first nomination and she won it straight away.

Best Director
Lenny Abrahamson, “Room”
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, “The Revenant”
George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”
Adam McKay, “The Big Short”

Opinion: Alejandro G. Inarritu is brilliant in his job as a director. We saw that excellence in ‘Birdman’ last year and he did it again this year in ‘The Revenant’. He won this award back-to-back and this is the third year in a row Mexicans winning best director in the Oscars.

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Best Original Song
“Earned It,” “Fifty Shades of Grey,” Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio
“Manta Ray,” “Racing Extinction,” Music by J. Ralph; Lyric by Antony Hegarty
“Simple Song 3,” “Youth,” Music and Lyric by David Lang
“Til it Happens to You,” “The Hunting Ground,” Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga
“Writing’s on the Wall,” “Spectre,” Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

Opinion: ‘Writing’s on the Wall’ is a good song for the latest James Bond movie titled Spectre but it’s still not as good as Adele’s Skyfall for the previous James Bond movie. Out of the five nominated songs, I have only heard this one and so I’m fine with this song winning in the end.

Best Original Score
“Bridge of Spies,” Thomas Newman
“Carol,” Carter Burwell
“The Hateful Eight,” Ennio Morricone
“Sicario,” Jóhann Jóhannsson
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” John Williams

Opinion: Expected result. This is the only category that ‘The Hateful Eight’ gets to win.

Best Foreign Language Film
“Embrace of the Serpent”
“Mustang”
“Son of Saul”
“Theeb”
“A War”

Best Live Action Short Film
“Ave Maria”
“Day One”
“Everything Will Be Okay”
“Shok”
“Stutterer”

Best Documentary Feature
“Amy”
“Cartel Land”
“The Look of Silence”
“What Happened, Miss Simone?”
“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”

Best Documentary Short Subject
“Body Team 12”
“Chau, beyond the Lines”
“Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah”
“A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”
“Lasy Day of Freedom”

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale, “The Big Short”
Tom Hardy, “The Revenant”
Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight”
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”

Opinion: Many previously predicted Sylvester Stallone to win for his great comeback role in ‘Creed’. I didn’t watch it and so I couldn’t comment further. I have seen Tom Hardy, Mark Ruffalo and Mark Rylance in their respective nominated performances and Mark Rylance is the best and so he should be rewarded. And yes, he won it.

Best Animated Feature Film
“Anomalisa”
“Boy and the World”
“Inside Out”
“Shaun the Sheep Movie”
“When Marnie Was There”

Opinion: Happy for ‘Inside Out’ to win as it is really the best animated film last year. This is the only category that appeals to the kids and I don’t think ‘Anomalisa’ should win (that movie is adult-themed eventhough it’s technically brilliant). I’m happy that the Academy is making a right decision as previously many hinted that ‘Anomalisa’ may be a spoiler.

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Best Animated Short Film
“Bear Story”
“Prologue”
“Sanjay’s Super Team”
“We Can’t Live Without Cosmos”
“World of Tomorrow

Best Visual Effects
“Ex Machina,” Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams
“The Martian,” Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner
“The Revenant,” Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

Opinion: I’m quite surprised that the film with smallest scale and budget win in this category. Anyway, I’m fine with Ex Machina winning it. Well, at least give this wonderful film an award!

Best Sound Mixing
“Bridge of Spies,” Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo
“The Martian,” Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac Ruth
“The Revenant,” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

Opinion: From here onward, it’s all for Mad Max: Fury Road. The movie literally won almost everything in technical categories which is expected earlier but I didn’t see that coming in such a huge number. Mad Max eventually becomes the biggest winner of the night with 6 awards. I’m fine with the movie going home with four. Six is a bit too much for it.

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Best Sound Editing
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Mark Mangini and David White
“The Martian,” Oliver Tarney
“The Revenant,” Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender
“Sicario,” Alan Robert Murray
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Matthew Wood and David Acord

Best Film Editing
“The Big Short,” Hank Corwin
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Margaret Sixel
“The Revenant,” Stephen Mirrione
“Spotlight,” Tom McArdle
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey

Best Cinematography
“Carol,” Ed Lachman
“The Hateful Eight,” Robert Richardson
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” John Seale
“The Revenant,” Emmanuel Lubezki
“Sicario,” Roger Deakins

Opinion: Emmanuel Lubezki overwhelmed us with awesome cinematography in ‘Gravity’, and he won this award for it. He did it again in ‘Birdman’ with unique one continuous shot in ‘Birdman’ last year. Now, he’s back with third consecutive win from his work in ‘The Revenant’. He deserved it again but he should make way for others from now on.

Best Make-Up and Hair-Styling
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin
“The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared,” Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
“The Revenant,” Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini

Best Costume Design
“Carol,” Sandy Powell
“Cinderella,” Sandy Powell
“The Danish Girl,” Paco Delgado
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Jenny Beavan
“The Revenant,” Jacqueline West

Opinion: There isn’t anything exciting for costume design in Mad Max obviously. I would have prefer Cinderella or The Danish Girl to win for their beautiful and wide range of costumes.

Best Production Design
“Bridge of Spies,” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich
“The Danish Girl,” Production Design: Eve Stewart ; Set Decoration: Michael Standish
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration: Lisa Thompson
“The Martian,” Production Design: Arthur Max ;Set Decoration: Celia Bobak
“The Revenant,” Production Design: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Hamish Purdy

Opinion: My personal choice would be Bridge of Spies or even The Danish Girl. This is why I said earlier that Mad Max should be taking home 4 Oscars, and not 6.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Rooney Mara, “Carol”
Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight”
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”
Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”
Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight”

Opinion: I’m glad that Alicia Vikander won for her amazing performance as the supportive wife that went through an emotional roller coaster in ‘The Danish Girl’. She is also incredible as the robot in Ex Machina. She is one big rising star and this is the award right on time to mark her big entry into Hollywood for many years to come. This is the only category that ‘The Danish Girl’ can win as expected.

Best Adapted Screenplay
“The Big Short,” Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
“Brooklyn,” Nick Hornby
“Carol,” Phyllis Nagy
“The Martian,” Drew Goddard
“Room,” Emma Donoghue

Opinion: Didn’t watch ‘The Big Short’ and hence couldn’t judge whether its screenplay is really that good or not. My personal choice is actually ‘Room’.

Best Original Screenplay
“Spotlight,” written by Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy
“Bridge of Spies,” written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
“Ex Machina,” written by Alex Garland
“Inside Out,” screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
“Straight Outta Compton,” screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; story by S. Leigh Savidge and Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

Opinion: Didn’t quite like ‘Spotlight’ as my personal picks are ‘Bridge of Spies’, ‘Ex Machina’ or even ‘Inside Out’.

Mad Max: Fury Road is the biggest winner of the night with 6 Oscars; all in technical achievements. The Revenant took home 3 awards (director, lead actor, cinematography) out of 12 nominations (the movie with most number of nominations). Spotlight won two, including the prestigious Best Picture and also the Best Original Screenplay. ‘Room’, ‘Spectre’, ‘The Danish Girl’, ‘Bridge of Spies’, ‘Inside Out’, ‘The Hateful Eight’, ‘Ex Machina’ and ‘The Big Short’ each won one. These films were at least not ending the night empty handed. Films that were previously tipped to win at least an Oscar like ‘Steve Jobs’, ‘Carol’, ‘The Martian’, ‘Brooklyn’, ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ couldn’t manage to do so in the end.

That’s it for the 88th Academy Awards this year.

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

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games concluded.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2014 by vincentloy

After over two weeks of showcasing the best on winter sports among the athletes from across the world, the 22nd Winter Olympic Games, Sochi 2014 ended yesterday with a spectacular closing ceremony. The host nation, Russia topped the medal table as expected with 13 golds, 11 silvers and 9 bronzes for a total of 33 medals. Norway came in second with 11 golds, 5 silvers and 10 bronzes while Canada is third with 10 golds, 10 silvers and 5 bronzes.

The opening ceremony on 7th February was troubled with a serious technical malfunction when one of the five Olympic rings failed to open in a performance’s segment. Well. That’s a big FAIL to the iconic Olympic rings display which is in tradition of every ceremonies of Olympic Games history. Other embarrassing incidents surfaced one after another during the games which had almost made the host nation of the world’s most expensive Olympic Games in history a major laughing stock.

But the hosts hit back in fine style at yesterday’s closing ceremony, with hundreds of dancers choreographed to form the Olympic rings – with the fifth and final ring failing to open AGAIN, as it had two weeks ago – only this time the malfunction was entirely planned. I’m quite surprised that they did this on purpose this time and I actually like it. The organizers showed a welcome willingness to put in a bit of humour based on a major glitch they had about two weeks ago to purely entertain the audiences this time. Interesting!

Performers form the Olympic rings during a show at the closing ceremony for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

Sochi Olympics Closing Ceremony

APTOPIX Sochi Olympics Closing Ceremony

Well, the games officially ended. Before the games, no one knows Sochi. Where is it? It is not even a capital or a major city of Russia. It was just a small resort town. But now after the games, it can call itself proud for having successfully hosted Winter Olympic Games before, one of the biggest sporting events in the world. The high spirit of sports over there hasn’t end yet as Sochi will be hosting the Winter Paralympic Games too, from 7 to 16 March 2014. After that, we will be looking forward to the next edition of Winter Olympic Games; Pyeongchang 2018 at South Korea.

2014 Winter Olympic Games - Closing Ceremony

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

Malaysia’s first dinosaur fossil discovery!

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2014 by vincentloy

I was quite surprised by this news today. For so many years, we couldn’t discover any dinosaur fossil in Malaysia, and hence there has been early conclusion that this extinct species has not been on this land before. But that statement has to be taken out from now on. Yesterday, the discovery of Malaysia’s first dinosaur fossil is unveiled to the media by two professors from Malaya University and Waseda University respectively.

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Out of several bone fragments excavated at site in the interior of Pahang, a tooth about 23mm long and 10mm wide was the best preserved fossil. It is then identified as belonging to spinosaurid dinosaur. This group were known as carnivorous, fish-eating dinosaurs and were believed to be “semi-aquatic”; live half on river and half on land. If you still have no idea of what this dinosaur looks like, then try to recall back a scene from ‘Jurassic Park III’ film when a T-Rex lost to another giant dinosaur in battle. That giant dinosaur is spinosaurus, a large predator with elongated, crocodile-like skulls and conical teeth. The discovered tooth is believed to be of this particular species which may even grows larger than T-Rex.

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The fossil remains were actually discovered in August last year during field expeditions and a search for dinosaur deposits in Malaysia, which began in September 2012. Currently, the exact location of the excavation will not be revealed first till proper closing off and preservation measures are done to prevent damage to the site. It is now of course treated as the new addition to the priceless treasures of Malaysia. So, we are now looking forward to more great discovery of maybe even other dinosaur species too that had once lived on this land. Researchers said it is expected that large deposits of dinosaur fossils still remain in Malaysia. Cool.

The first fossil is always the hardest to find but, once it has been found, many others are likely to follow. Hope so. I have just returned from Yunnan, China and one of the destinations I visited there is the Dinosaur Valley. I was so excited and in awe looking at the dinosaur fossils exhibits in the museum there. Very interesting. Maybe in few more years, we could have our own national dinosaur museum here in Pahang, Malaysia too. Eventhough it is now just a very small tooth discovered, but it served as a ground-breaking discovery and the start for many others to come.

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

8D 7N CNY 2014 Trip to Yunnan, China

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2014 by vincentloy

Finally, I’m back. What a trip! If you didn’t know, the reason I’m not here updating my blog for over a week is that I’m away for an oversea family trip to Yunnan, China from 1 Feb to 8 Feb 2014 during the Chinese New Year break. I had just returned to Malaysia yesterday’s night, and it was overall an exhausting trip. Here below are the highlights of this trip that I wish to share with you. Right after the list of places I have visited, there is a star rating I awarded based on my experience for that particular tourist destination.

Ok. I promised. More photos than words this time to make this post not that long or boring. By the way, this is one of the not-so-good trips I ever had. I’m not feeling well most of the time (reasons: oily food, place at very high altitude, throat not well even before the trip started), and some places (I mean quite a lot) are nothing spectacular or worthy to visit.

Feb 1 (Saturday) Kuala Lumpur – Kunming

– Afternoon flight to Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, China by AirAsia. Took a little less than 4 hours. Flight of this duration is still bearable, but the cabin space is too tight (that’s usual for AirAsia planes). No tourist destination to visit today. Head for dinner and then back to hotel for rest.

Feb 2 (Sunday) Kunming 

Stone Forest ***

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– Admitted to hospital for about 6 hours due to extreme stomach pain in the early morning. Hence, skipped the first destination: Stone Forest. But luckily managed to join back the tour later on.

Jiuxang Scenic Area ****

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– The boat tour along the small canyon is too short. The caves are made beautiful mostly by the colourful artificial lights. Still there are some beautiful cave formations to see. This place comes with over 700 steps as mentioned by tour guide. Very tiring.

Colourful Yunnan **

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– Nothing to visit here except some shops selling some of Yunnan’s distinctive stuff but in higher price. We spend the time walking around bored and feeding fishes on the pond.

Feb 3 (Monday) Kunming – Dali

Dinosaur Valley ****

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– This is the most interesting of the whole trip. It’s like we have entered China’s Jurassic Park. We got to see a museum featuring countless dinosaur fossils (my first time seeing all these) and got to learn about the species once dominated this valley before their extinction. But the 4D show provided here is disappointing.

Feb 4 (Tuesday) Dali – Lijiang

Mount Cangshan **

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– Another letdown. We took a cable car up to this mountain and there is nothing spectacular to see from there, except a huge Chinese chess board, a small pond with crystal clear water and some typical waterfalls.

Dali Ancient Town ***

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– Looking at the town from the gate tower makes me feel that I’m in a TVB ancient drama’s shooting. The feeling is great but when it comes to walking down and touring the streets, the ‘ancient’ atmosphere gone. They shouldn’t allow cars or motorbikes to go in (except than tourist shuttle car).

Residential Houses of Bai Minority ***

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– We got to see the courtyard-houses here, but we do see things like this in Malaysia too. Hence, nothing new. The 3-course tea ceremony and the short dancing show featuring costumes and wedding tradition of people of Bai Minority are fine.

Feb 5 (Wednesday) Lijiang

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain ****

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– For visit to this mountain, we had to purposely wake up at 4.00 am and had to go early to the place to avoid massive crowd. But still as we reached there around 6 to 7 am, there were a lot of people queuing already. Wasted few hours just to queue. Hate it. But the view at the mountain is really magnificent and breathtaking. I mean literally breathtaking as we were lack of breath at 4506 metres above sea level. We had to purchase small oxygen tank to breath smoothly. That is the highest point I had ever step on, and it is even higher than Malaysia’s Mount Kinabalu.

Baishui River and Blue Moon Valley (at the mountain scenic area) ***

– Just pass by and is amazed by the crystal clear water and picturesque surrounding at this place.

Impression of Lijiang (performance show) ****

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– Quite an interesting performance show directed by acclaimed director, Zhang Yimou set against the Snow Mountain that acts as a beautiful natural backdrop to the performance.

Jade Water Village **

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– Nothing interesting to see in this village. It’s more like a park, and more relevant to jog and relax there rather than visit the place as a tourist. Fishes in the several ponds here turn out more appealing.

Lijiang Ancient Town ****

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– Beautiful traditional architecture observed here. Wonderful atmosphere in this huge area of ancient plazas, streets, restaurants, pubs and shops rich in heritage value. But we don’t have enough time here.

Feb 6 (Thursday) Lijiang – Shangri La 

Tiger Leaping Gorge ****

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– We are now at much higher altitude. And this tourist destination comes with few hundred steps again. Very tiring. But the view offered below near the canyon is quite impressive. The wind here is so strong and I felt freaking cold. Worth visit anyway.

Feb 7 (Friday) Shangri La (Zhongdian) – Kunming

Pudacuo National Park **

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– Before I came to visit Shangri La (formerly known as Zhongdian), my impression of the place is very beautiful, spectacular, mostly untouched from outer world, like a heaven on Earth. But when I visited the place, it’s nothing more than a small town with small population surrounded by mountains, and that’s it. Nothing more. Another major disappointment. Even this national park offers simply nothing to ‘wow’ us. The two lakes we visited in the park are nothing extraordinary.

Songzanlin Monastery ***

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– This is a slightly smaller version of the Tibet’s Potala Palace.

Feb 8 (Saturday) Kunming – Kuala Lumpur

Yuantong Temple **

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– Just a typical Chinese temple in Kunming city.

Jinma Biji Archway **

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– Considered as the ‘heart’ of Kunming, the plaza features two traditional Chinese archways, and that’s it. The plaza is surrounded by bustling streets, roads and buildings.

Flower Market ***

– The last destination before the trip ends. A huge indoor market selling variety of items like snacks, coffees, jades, herbs and mostly flower-related items. I hate it when the layout or circulation of the market forced us to pass through all the stores before exiting the building.

Generally, this trip is quite of a disappointment rather than an excitement. The beauty of nature offered the most from this trip isn’t that fascinating and failed to had me ‘wow’ including the supposingly exotic Shangri La. The very unhygienic public toilets and the typical rude behaviours of the local people made the trip worst. Also not to forget the extreme dryness and coldness of the weather there which made us all not feeling well throughout the trip especially when it comes to its last few days.

Happy Chinese New Year! Welcome, year of snake…

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2013 by vincentloy

Gong Xi! Gong Xi!

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Happy Chinese New Year to everyone celebrating it! Year of dragon (2012) came to an end, and now let us welcome the year of snake for 2013. Snake arrived! Don’t be scared. Snake is now portrayed as cute as possible in CNY decorations everywhere. Saw the Myfm’s version of the CNY’s snake? Very cute, right? But I think the design it too ‘forced’ (too fat and short), making it not looking like a snake at all. Whatever…Ulala…famous slogan for this Chinese New Year.

Now, last year is the year of dragon. This year, year of snake. Next year, it’s going to be year of horse. Then, after that, year of goat. That’s year, when I would turn 24. Ohh…I have gone too far. That is still so long from now. So, now, Chinese’s biggest festival began and would lasts in 15 days. Eventhough in Malaysia, we are only granted two days of public holiday (plus two days of adjacent weekend), but still we have more than enough time to spend the days with your loved ones (family, relatives, and friends). How are you going to spend your CNY?

Usual visiting to relatives, friends and neighbours for angpows and gifts exchange? Yes…that is a usual tradition every year. And that is also the time when we, the youngsters would face many similar questions (finished studying? have any boyfriend or girlfriend? haven’t married? how’s your job? haven’t had any baby?). That’s the first thing those people (your elders) would ask you during not only this Chinese New Year, but every Chinese New Year. Annoying right? But face it calmly, since this is the only way that your relatives use to start the conversation/ interaction (just to ‘break the ice’). Respect them.

Getting angpows is always exciting. But I’m sure I’m getting lesser every year. I don’t remember from when onwards, me and my family didn’t celebrate Chinese New Year at home anymore. I think for at least five years already. We would pick this time to go to oversea for trip every year, and so there is no time for us to visit our relatives. But still, some close relatives would keep angpows for us. Thank you very much. Remember, Chinese New Year is also the time (at least once in a year) for reunion with all the family and relatives. So, enjoy and cherish those moments with happiness. There are also some interesting Hong Kong Chinese New Year films to catch up (as usual in every year), but I’m going to watch those after I came back from my long trip.

Last but not least, I am here to wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year! May you have this year of snake with best in health, luck and in everything else all together! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Preview_Happy_Chinese_New_Year

 

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

29th February today, exists only once in every four years

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , on February 29, 2012 by vincentloy

Ahha, the month of February is not over yet, because there is one extra day for this year, and today is the extra day. Existing only once in every four years, 29th February must be very special to those who are born on this date because they would have only celebrated their birthday on exact date once in every four years. The next time a day of 29th February would be present is on year 2016.

This makes up to 366 days for year 2012. Happy Leap Day!

February is still the shortest month every year. Ohh, now only I realized that I did not watch any new films this month, which is definitely not my personality. I wanted to watch some, like the Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Chronicle, This Means War, and a Cantonese film called Romancing in Thin Air, starring one of my favourite star, Sammi Cheng, but there is never a chance for me this month.

This week, I have been experiencing discomfort over my stomach, thanks to one super oily fried mee I had last Monday. My stomach couldn’t stand the unhealthy and excessive oil. It turned my stomach upside down. Thanks to that also, I have been experiencing nausea, which I hate the most, because the feeling of wanted to vomit is very bad! Sometimes, headache also occurred especially at night, which makes thing worse. Falling sick makes the week not good for me. Anyway for the others, have a nice day, and Happy Leap Day once again!