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The month of June starts with the end of The Amazing Race 29

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2017 by vincentloy

I have been following every episodes of The Amazing Race Season 29 each week. I have actually followed this reality television show for several continuous seasons by now. I love this program which sees a number of teams in pair travelling across the world, completing tasks, having arguments within themselves or with other teams, experiencing difficulties, brace the extreme challenges and sweating it all out to win the final grand prize of US$ 1 million. In this Season 29, the teams are formed by choosing within the group of individual participants who are completely stranger to one another.

I look forward to the new episodes every weekend and they traveled to countries like Panama, Brazil, Norway, Italy, Greece, Vietnam, South Korea, etc to complete tasks. Matt and Redmond are a great team that I first foresee their potential to win this season of The Amazing Race. They have been performing very well and consistently in every episodes. However, their poor decision of choosing train as their mode of transport in Seoul and the carelessness of their taxi driver later on the same day who brought them to other location has cost their opportunity to win the race. What a bad day that turns everything over for them! They were the last team to get kicked out before the final leg which is so unfortunate.

The final 3 teams that successfully proceed to the final leg are Scott and Brooke, Tara and Joey, and London and Logan. These 3 pairs were always considered the underdogs earlier on as they have not performed very well in the earlier legs. And to my surprise, luck is on Scott and Brooke’s (picture below) side on the last two crucial legs. Everything seems to be very smooth for this pair and they indeed win the race in the end and won the 1 million dollar. A huge congratulation to them! I actually find it unexpected because they are actually one of the weaker teams as compared to the rest. I also cannot stand the consistent whining by Brooke in every legs. She is too annoying and unbearable throughout the whole race. She can’t even do a simple task properly and loves to scream ‘I’m dying’ even at simple task of just running around. Scott should just get the whole bunch of the 1 million dollar just for putting up to her. Brooke do not deserve a single cent from this win. She should seriously work on her attitude. She now literally becomes my most hated person in The Amazing Race series, and will not be remembered as the winner of this reality show. Now, I have to wait for the next one, The Amazing Race 30 and I hope it will be out very soon. That will be the iconic 30th edition of the show!

On the other hand, did TVB has no new own dramas to show now? It has two timeslots every evening on the television. TVB ended up putting a mainland China drama and an old local drama made 10 years ago currently. This is a very bad move. People will just move away from their dramas for now. TVB should really appreciate the viewers and not letting them leave with such move especially in this year when the station will celebrate its 50th anniversary. I’m sure you have a lot of other completed dramas in shelf ready to be released out. I have no choice but to watch ‘Phoenix Rising’ now, a drama that was actually made a decade ago and they choose to release it now. They did release this drama earlier on though in oversea market.

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

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‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ (2016) cross 1-billion mark, movie review for ‘Manchester by the Sea’ (2016), and final thoughts before Oscars’ nominations announcement tomorrow.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2017 by vincentloy

‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’, the latest film in hugely successful Star Wars film franchise has recently grossed over US$ 1 billion in worldwide box office intake. This film that was released on December 2016 has a story that sets before the original 1977 Star Wars film (hence a prequel) and it starred Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, etc. I watched that movie and I did gave a short review for it in my earlier post. As of 23rd January 2017, the film has grossed US$ 1.011 billion. It is now the 28th film in history to cross the 1-billion mark and it is also the 4th film in 2016 that is able to do so. The other three are Captain America: Civil War (US$ 1.153 billion), Finding Dory (US$ 1.027 billion), and Zootopia (US$ 1.023 billion).

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Coincidentally, all the four highest grossing films in 2016 (of which each of them gross over US$ 1 billion) were distributed by Disney. What a huge success for Disney last year then. The 5th film in the list also goes to another movie distributed by Disney, and it is ‘The Jungle Book’, but it could only accumulates US$ 966 million (still a huge box-office hit). Everyone is loving Star Wars (but not me, and I find that the Americans love it very much), hence this box office outcome for ‘Rogue One’ is very much expected. This also comes after the big hit from ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ in 2015 that managed to gain US$ 2.068 billion, becoming the third movie in history to cross the near-impossible 2-billion mark. The next Star Wars film to be released in cinema is ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ on end of this year and I’m sure it is going to achieve similar success in box office too.

On the other hand, I have watched another new film just now. It’s a 2016 film called ‘Manchester by the Sea’. The reason I watched this movie is because it receives a lot of awards buzz and also overwhelming critical acclaim, with many praising and awarding best actor to the lead of the story, Casey Affleck. I stand with the minority this time. I think this movie is good, but clearly not a masterpiece or a solid top-notch drama as claimed by various critics out there. The movie, written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, revolves on an uncle (Casey Affleck) who is tasked to take care of his teenage nephew (Lucas Hedges) after the boy’s father dies.

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What’s good from this movie is the acting. I find that Casey Affleck did well for his performance here. He nailed all the scenes when he has to convey subtle emotions and expressions. It’s not easy to do that and yet he did it. In past years, we always see showy and dramatic performances that got the actors and actresses winning awards. This year, it’s time to recognize subtle performances. This is one great example and it’s not easy to be done. Hence, I have no issue with Casey being nominated for best actor in Academy Awards and even winning it next month. However, I still think that his performance here in ‘Manchester by the Sea’ to be not perfect yet, as I find some of his scenes are a bit over wooden and pale. Lucas Hedges is great as the teenage boy in the movie and he should get a best supporting actor’s nomination. Same goes to Michelle Williams as Casey’s ex-wife in the movie. Her screen-time is very little and yet she manages to conquer those emotional scenes very well. A best supporting actress nomination for her. Other than acting, there is actually nothing else great about this film. It has a plain story, poor editing, and unsuitable background score too. It’s supposed to be a dramatic and a moving film, but in the end, I don’t feel anything. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Manchester by the Sea’ a total of 7.0. And all those points are mostly from acting only. This is one over-rated 2016 film.

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The nomination list for the 89th Academy Awards will be announced tomorrow. Me, as one of the moviegoers who also loves watching Oscar-type movies are quite excited for it. Who will be snubbed this year? Who get to sneak in? Which film gets the most love? And which film gets forgotten? All will be revealed tomorrow.

As for my final thoughts before the nomination list’s announcement tomorrow, I think there would be a few surprises in the nomination list as expected since Academy loves to give us some shock and surprise every year. ‘La La Land’ is expected to get the most nominations, and together with ‘Manchester by the Sea’, ‘Moonlight’, ‘Fences’, and ‘Arrival’, these 5 films look like they are a lock-in for the best picture nominees. There are 3 or 4 more slots in that category and all the other potential films are trying to squeeze in. Best actor race is not that interesting this year and it looks like Casey Affleck is going to take the Oscar home. On the other hand, best actress race is very competitive this year. It’s like anyone can win it this year with no clear favourite and that makes this category intense and exciting. Alright. I will leave more of my opinions when I published the nomination list in my blog here as soon as it is revealed tomorrow.

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

 

Review for TVB drama ‘House of Spirits’.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2016 by vincentloy

My eyes are teary now. Why is that so? I have just finished watching the final episode of a TVB drama called ‘House of Spirits’ and that finale was full of many very touching scenes. I also felt sad right now because this drama is now over as I wanted to watch more from it. I believe many people out there who have been catching up with this series since end of June would feel the same like me too. You will not understand how much I wanted this series not to end this quick.

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‘House of Spirits’ (一屋老友記) is a 2016 Hong Kong drama of 31 episodes by TVB that has concluded just less than two hours ago with its airing of the final episode. It revolves around an eldest brother who has to unite his family (brothers and sisters) and mend the bad relationships among them after their father has passed away. They were all forced to live in the same home due to their father’s inheritance. It is an old house previously occupied by their deceased father and was now also inhabited by two kind ghosts. The drama has a mixture of comedy, family and supernatural themes, and they make up for a very interesting series.

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The series starred Bobby Au, Nancy Wu, Joyce Tang, Jonathan Cheung, Koni Lui, Helena Law, Bowie Wu, Lau Kong, Tsui Wing, Bob Cheung, and many other supporting cast. Their performances were very natural and impressive in this drama. It is actually not easy to act in comedy drama too because you have to withstand all the funny things while you are acting those hilarious scenes. Those hilarious expressions are also not easy to be delivered and the cast were all convincing in it. Bobby Au still shined and he managed to lead this huge cast very well. I’m supportive of him being crowned best actor end of this year for his performance in this drama.

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Nancy Wu is the first female lead but Joyce Tang, the second female lead had overshadowed her here. Joyce is an impressive actress that should be recognized more and she really did an amazing work in this drama. Nancy Wu has been crowned best actress last year, and so I have no issue giving this year’s TV Queen title to Joyce for her excellent performance in this drama. Nancy’s character isn’t that well rounded here, but she do gave her best as well and she do really catch some attention particularly in the last episode when she cried in front of an empty bed as she couldn’t see the two ghosts whom had just been revealed as her grandparents.

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Jonathan Cheung is considered quite new in TVB and I can see a lot of potential for him in the future. He managed very well in all his past supporting roles he had been given. This is also not an exception. Koni Lui also gave fantastic acting as his wife in this series. I’m supporting both of them to win Most Improved Male and Female Artists end of this year. They really deserved it, not only in this series, but also in their other works this year. On the other hand, even the little girl who acted as the daughter of Joyce Tang gave a very good performance. As for the veteran cast, they were simply amazing as well.

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The story is a good one. It is quite fast-paced and I enjoyed every episode of this drama. I had a very great time watching it every evening before I’m going to bed. This series truly had given me a lot of entertainment with many funny moments and also at the same time, intense scenes especially those quarrel scenes. There were mysteries, some plot twists, touching times and above all, this series taught us to love and spend more time with our family. There were still some flaws like some unresolved questions (why only Nancy Wu’s character cannot see ghosts but all other characters can?, how about his two male housemates…what are their conclusions?, etc). I personally think some issues can be expanded further. This series would be much better if it has 40 episodes. 31 episodes right now is just a bit not enough. We are craving for more due to its engaging storyline and impressive cast. The NG scenes at the end of every episodes are also very hilarious.

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Overall, this drama is certainly a great one and has brought me laughs and tears (especially in the final episode just now) for over a month. It also feel so good to see the family transitioned from being cold among each other to the heartwarming outcome in the end. The happy ending gave a perfect conclusion to this drama eventhough it’s still sad to see the ghosts leaving but they have to since their wishes were all fulfilled and the family is now harmonious. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘House of Spirits’ a total of 8.2. I’m also glad that this drama is getting high popularity (currently among the highest rated dramas of 2016) and a lot of attention not only from Hong Kong but also from overseas. This drama is also so far, the best TVB drama of the year in my personal opinion. Not to be missed. Very interesting, entertaining, engaging, dramatic and a good quality series this year. It will be a strong contender for best series in this year end’s award season.

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

Malaysia’s journey in Thomas Cup 2016 ended in semi-final.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2016 by vincentloy

Thomas Cup (and Uber Cup) arrived again. These two tournaments (Thomas for male and Uber for female) are one of the most prestigious badminton tournaments and they are held once in every two years concurrently. This year, both are held in China. The reason I’m paying attention to this is because Malaysia is in it for every editions of the tournaments since their inception.

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Malaysia lost out in earlier rounds in the group matches for the Uber Cup. That is expected since our girls team isn’t good all along. We just bank in on our boys team from the very beginning. So, I’ll just put my focus and a bit of my analysis and observation to Malaysia’s performance in Thomas Cup this year. In the earlier group matches, Malaysia won its opponents quite easily, including winning over South Korea. South Korea is now seen as one of the very strong countries in this particular sport and yet, Malaysia defeated them to my surprise. Hence, Malaysia topped the group and was to face Taiwan, a much easier opponent in quarter final.

We had no trouble going through that and then we made it to the semi final. Here, Malaysia was up against Denmark. It should be looking good for our side too especially when we had won the first two matches. We just need to win another match to score 3 points out of five planned matches. However, things started to get unfortunate for Malaysia from the third match onward. In first match, Lee Chong Wei won over Viktor Axelsen as predicted. However, this Denmark player gave Chong Wei a tough time but luckily, Chong Wei managed to win in two games of which their scores in both games were neck-to-neck.

The first men doubles pair, Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong also managed to make us proud by giving us a much needed second point. Then, the second single match arrived where disaster struck Malaysia. Iskandar is our player here and he had won in all his games previously in this tournament before this semi-final. He is over confident and was being too cocky after leading in the first few points. From there on, the opponent strikes back with good tactics and won over Iskandar in the end. I personally don’t like Iskandar’s attitude on court. He had to fix that up soon and he still lacks the experience needed. He must understand that only smashing will not help you to win.

Then, our second men doubles also disappointed us. Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong whom were once an excellent pair (been former world champion, former Asian Games champion, former Commonwealth Games champion) are getting old and tired already. They won first game easily but performed below expectation in the second and eventually in the rubber game as well. Finally, all hope was on Chong Wei Feng for the last match to determine which country will enter the final. Wei Feng was too slow and steady on his attacking, and he also made mistakes on net. Very obvious and careless mistakes, and he look like he has no ‘fire’ or energy at all even before he started playing. In the end, he got defeated. So, we won first two points but Denmark fought back hard to win the last three points. 3-2. Denmark won and get to proceed to the final which is scheduled to be held tomorrow. They are to face Indonesia. If Denmark win, this would be their first ever Thomas Cup victory.

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The sad face our our team’s captain, Lee Chong Wei shown on TV live with a glimpse of the Thomas Cup trophy on the left of the screen. There are still many things needed to be done to improve on our national badminton team, for both the boys and the girls. Denmark stunned me yesterday in the semi final with some excellent performance that I didn’t expect that could come out from them. They proved that an European country can still do very well in a sport favored in Asia. I was thinking that maybe Malaysia has chance to win the cup for the 6th time this year after we saw the surprising exit of China and South Korea in the quarter final. That hope went to an abrupt end in the semi final yesterday of which I did watch the matches live from YouTube. We have to accept the fact that we lost again and we have to move on. They did their best but certainly could be much better. So now, the next thing I’m looking forward to is seeing some of our players doing very well and winning a medal or two in Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games that will arrive in less than three months from now.

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

Movie review for ‘Ip Man 3’ and ‘Anomalisa’ (2015)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2016 by vincentloy

I’m very free with nothing much to do on this first weekend of the year. Yesterday on the New Year’s Day, I went out to Bukit Bintang and visited three malls at once (Pavilion KL, Fahrenheit 88 and Lot 10) for movie (Ip Man 3) and shopping. Had fun on the outing yesterday but definitely not my wallet since I do bought a jacket and a long pants. Furthermore, I had lost over 200 bucks on rummy gambling during the evening of New Year’s Eve. That’s my most unlucky day playing rummy in recent years. So, on this weekend, I think it’s the best to just stay at home to avoid from using up my hard-earned money again. With nothing much to do, I had watched one more movie and it’s ‘Anomalisa’. Here’s the movie review for these two movies.

First is ‘Ip Man 3’. It is the latest sequel and it is also known to be the final movie of the trilogy of this successful Hong Kong film series about Ip Man, a legendary master of Wing Chun martial arts. Donnie Yen reprised the titular role and as expected, he is great in it. His excellent performances in all these three Ip Man films made him a kungfu movie icon with immense popularity (many people now called him as Ip Man rather than his real name, Donnie Yen). Usually, sequels wouldn’t work out as well as the first movie in any film franchise but it is an exception in this case. ‘Ip Man 3’ delivered in all aspects, from the plot, action sequences, acting, effects, etc. I can say that it is even better than its first two predecessor films.

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No longer having issues with the Japanese army or foreigner’s challenge in the past two films, Ip Man (Donnie Yen) tried to settle for a low-key life with his wife and his son. However, he is interrupted by triad people led by a Westerner (Mike Tyson) who tried to burn down school and abducted his son. Later, he is also challenged by another Wing Chun master, Cheung Tin Chi (Zhang Jin) while at the same time learnt that his wife is slowly dying from cancer. A wonderful, engaging and a moving storyline that never fails to have my attention throughout the whole movie. The action sequences and choreography are quite a lot, fantastic and kept me at the edge of my seat. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Ip Man 3’ a total of 8.4. A great movie that lived up to my expectation. This is also personally my best Hong Kong film of the year 2015. I’m sad that this is the end of the Ip Man film franchise with Donnie in it. It is also widely reported that this may be Donnie’s last martial art film since he is also getting old already.

It’s time for another animated movie, ‘Anomalisa’. I only watched this after knowing of the critical acclaim this movie received and it is now a strong threat to ‘Inside Out’ for best animated film in 2015. The movie is about Michael Stone, an author of books on the subject of customer service who struggles with his inability to connect to people. One night, while on a routine business trip, he meets a stranger who changes his world view. The plot appeared easy to be understood but the movie turned out to be very ‘deep’, introvert and weird for me. I also didn’t expect that the movie is slightly adult-themed which is unnecessary and plays no role at all in anything for the story. However, I’m impressed by the stop-motion effect and the unique cinematography of this animated movie. Besides that, I’m not attracted to this kind of movie. I just couldn’t understand it and I’m possibly one of the very few who couldn’t really get this film. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Anomalisa’ a total of 6.3. I just couldn’t see how this movie is getting universal acclaim from critics.

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

Another Malaysian winning the popular Taiwan singing competition, Top Million Star 2015

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2015 by vincentloy

Malaysia Boleh! This is a slogan we seldom get to use but definitely worthy to mention yesterday as a Malaysian had won the Top Million Star 2015 ( 星光大道 ), a prestigious and popular Taiwan singing competition last night. He is Daniel Cheah. After going through many past rounds successfully for the past three months, he took home the championship in the final stage yesterday which is broadcast live both in Taiwan and in Malaysia. However, since I’m busy yesterday during its live broadcast, I only get to watch it just now from YouTube. Congratulation to Daniel Cheah for taking home the top prize! You made Malaysia proud.

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Previously, another Malaysian do won this competition before which has had quite a long history in Taiwan that is also known to have produce many successful artists. She is Jess Lee, known for her powerful voice and vocal and she managed to win the competition back several years ago. This time, Daniel is the second Malaysian to win in this competition and we (Malaysian Chinese) are all very happy about it eventhough I’m actually personally rooting for Apple Kho, another Malaysian to win. She managed to enter into the top 6 contestants and in the final round but only placed 5th in the end.

Apple Kho who won this year’s Astro Star Quest competition few months ago did delivered steady and solid performances during this Top Million Star competition. However, she isn’t good in selection of songs and that she has been just steady and stable all the way with hardly any room for further breakthrough. When you listen to her performing first two to three songs, you get excited and very pleased with her beautiful voice and brilliant skill. However, as she progresses further, people would slowly find her to be on that mark without further surprise or improvement. There is also another Malaysian in the final stage called Susean Yong and she is placed 6th. Well, from the very beginning, I already didn’t see any chance of her going to the top and I find her only lucky to be able to enter into final stage as her performances are nothing special besides than only delivering happy-go-lucky songs. I’m not trying to be rude and that is her only benefit which is not enough to win in this competition that seeks everything.

6 finalists and 3 of them are already Malaysians. Another 3 are Taiwanese. It’s like battle between these two countries and fortunately, the championship goes to Malaysia this time. Daniel is very splendid and I’m surprised of how much he progresses further in his final two performances just now. He just nailed both songs beyond perfection. He doesn’t have the handsome look nor does he have a nice body, but he certainly proved to everyone that he seriously can sing and perform! Congratulation to him once again! Now I wondered how come he did not join the local Astro Star Quest earlier? Hmm…And I suggest that this Top Million Star competition to invite also Chinese participants from mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore and anywhere else to further expand the international appeal of the competition.

Before the end of the day, I also managed to watch a bit of the live broadcast of the Miss Astro Chinese International Pageant Competition 2015. This annual competition chooses the most beautiful, charismatic and talented young Malaysian Chinese female out of the many contestants (10 in the final stage tonight). The winner goes to Janice but I’m not personally happy with that result. She isn’t the most pretty and for me, she isn’t also in my top 3 picks for prettiest of the 10 finalists. I think she won mainly because of the final stage when she answered a question brilliantly. But that should not be pushing her to the championship. Beauty is still the priority and charisma shall be second. Hmm…the judges this year are also not that professional in my opinion. I prefer the first runner-up, Kathryn to win as she is prettier but however, her answer to the final question isn’t that good which pushed her down to 2nd place. On the other hand, Suk Nee won second runner-up. Let’s wish them all the best in the coming Miss Chinese International Pageant scheduled to be held in Hong Kong (I think as usual) soon. Maybe one of them can make Malaysia proud again by winning that one home!

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

Lee Chong Wei lost again in BWF World Badminton Championship’s Final

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2015 by vincentloy

It has been a busy weekend for me and things didn’t turn out that well as expected. Yesterday, I went to the ARCHIDEX 2015 on its last day of exhibition. This year, I collected very little brochures, bags, and only a single pen. It’s so different to the last few visits to this annual architectural exhibition of which I can have many useful complimentary stuff. On the other hand, I watched two new movies (reviews in my previous post) and they are bad and poorly made. This weekend, I have to spend time working on renovation drawings for my cousin’s shop. That’s a part-time job for me but there is some problem with the 3D modelling and rendering that wasted much of my time which is supposed to be used for other things.

Well, negative feeling isn’t over yet as I watched the final men singles match of this year’s World Badminton Championship just now and Lee Chong Wei lost again. A repeating heartbreak to all Malaysians. He lost to the same guy last year. Who is he? Lin Dan? Nope. It’s Chen Long, the new rising superpower from China. Lin Dan is surprisingly knocked out by Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen in semi-final, hence making the path slightly easier for Chong Wei. However, his last year’s opponent do managed to climb to the final spot with him, and finally defeated him again to take the championship.

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Chen Long is fantastic on all his attack and defense skills on court. He is energetic (well, he is still young, only in mid 20s) and he is able to control the court easily with little mistakes. On the other hand, Lee Chong Wei seems to be exhausted despite already minimal running around the court. His age puts him down. He is already 33. He couldn’t catch up to the pace and strength from Chen Long whom is now famously known as the next Lin Dan. I pitied Chong Wei. He had won many smaller badminton tournaments but seldom wins the big ones. In fact, he had never win Asian Games gold, Olympics gold, or this World Badminton Championship. I guess he has really no luck on his side in major championships.

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Well, he had to stick to his first runner-up position again in the just concluded match against Chen Long. Forever No.2 placing most of the time. He lost in two straight games, 21-14 and 21-17. Well, he is at least better than all the other Malaysian players who lost out in earlier matches of the championship. The current situation looks horrifying for Malaysia with no steady and excellent talents coming out. We have only Lee Chong Wei for all these years and he is definitely going to retire soon (most probably next year after Rio 2016 Olympics that will give him final chance for an Olympic gold medal after only winning two silvers in the past). Even, I think the chance for an Olympic gold medal from him next year is quite slim with Chen Long on his fantastic form in recent years.

Last time, we had Lin Dan who blocked the way for Chong Wei. Now, Lin Dan seems to be out of sight sometimes and things may be in favor for Chong Wei. However, now China has Chen Long to bank on. Arrggh…that’s bad and sad. But we knew Chong Wei did his very best all the time and he is still our Number 1 (despite everyone agreed that he is actually world number two in terms of achievement and performances in this sport).

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