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Today marks the 9th anniversary of my blog!

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2017 by vincentloy

My blog is celebrating its 9th birthday today! It is now 9 years old. Wonderful!

28th September 2008 was the day I first created my blog here under WordPress platform and I wrote my first ever post in a very informal and brief delivery. Now, I have over 1900 posts containing multiple informative articles, critical news and analysis, content reviews, or just a personal diary of what I have been going through from time to time. At first, I didn’t expect that my passion in blogging would come to this far, and not to mention that I have produced over 1900 posts to date. I have to be very excited and proud of myself for that!

Actually, in these few months, I do have a lot more in my mind to write in my blog here. However, I don’t have the time for it as I’m currently being overwhelmed with my thesis work. I promised that I will get back to my blog here actively right after I finish my thesis. And that would be end of this November. Two more months to go and I’m free to return to my hobbies (blogging included).

One more year to go and my blog will be reaching the one decade anniversary’s milestone. And for now, Happy 9th birthday to my blog again and wishing for me and my blog to have another awesome 9 years ahead!

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

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16th anniversary of 911 and new iPhone X release!

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2017 by vincentloy

Two days ago, 11th September 2017 marks the 16th anniversary of the tragic 911 terrorist attacks in the United States. A news that had the world stunned and in shock. The image of the World Trade Center twin towers collapsing after being hit by passenger planes still haunts the minds of millions of people especially the Americans. 16 years have passed, and all shall move on. There is a small tribute ceremony held to mark this particular anniversary on the Ground Zero site, now redeveloped into a Memorial Park with the finished new 1 WTC tower. Some have commented to only organize such memorial ceremony once in every five years, rather than once a year as a sign for people to move on from this sorrow memory.

 

I disagree in my personal opinion. You can have 364 days a year to ‘move on’ but why not just take a single day in a year to look back to the past and remember this tragedy and the lives lost from it. It’s not a big request. A simple tribute ceremony as a gesture of respect once a year is still reasonable. At the end of the day, we do not wish to see any more terrorist attacks happening in this world. Attacks of such proportion in September 2001 on the US is terribly wrong. Every time I re-watch the clips of the news coverage or videos taken by the public during the twin towers’ attack and collapse, I’m deeply saddened. These terrorists are inhuman for doing such nasty things.

And, the day after (yesterday) is also a big day in US. Apple has just announced its latest release of the new iPhone X (and iPhone 8 and 8Plus, Apple Watch Series 3) yesterday to the public in a grand product launch event. It is also the first grand event that is held on the Apple’s new campus that is shaped like a ring (or a huge alien ship) that reportedly costs US$ 5 billion dollar to construct. What an expensive building. I contributed some for it too since I am an iPhone user. I’m a bit excited for its new iPhone X (X means 10 in romans to mark the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone release back in 2007). It has glass on the phone’s back for wireless charging ability, facial-recognition feature to unlock phone, absence of home button, screen filling up the whole front of the phone, latest operating software (IOS 11), better camera technology, etc. All these new features may have been done by the other smartphone brands earlier but hey, now it’s Apple’s turn. Due to its branding, hence all of its products are super expensive.

But I’m still attracted to it somehow. Will I buy? No. My previous iPhone 5 died last year. I can no longer wait for this new phone and so I bought the iPhone 7 in October last year. Now, even my iPhone 7 is considered out-dated even it is just one-year old. If my previous iPhone 5 can survive for another year (last until now), then I will certainly go for this new iPhone X. But it costs a whopping US$ 999 at least. Crazy…On the other hand, nobody really wants to talk much about the other products; iPhone 8 and 8 Plus which is just a slight upgrade from iPhone 7. As for the new Apple Watch Series 3, its new features are the ability to make and receive calls and surf internet. A very small gadget but with multiple advanced functions. Will I buy it? No. I don’t think I need it. Fancy and cool stuff but not necessary. I’m fine with just the smartphone. And on top of that, it’s very costly!

There are more and more great smartphones out there by other brands. Hence, I think Apple do really need to further step up their game in their future products. This new iPhone X may looks awesome but still there is nothing really ‘breakthrough’ or very ‘wow’ from it.

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

 

29th SEA Games, Kuala Lumpur 2017 closes on the Merdeka Eve

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2017 by vincentloy

After about two weeks of competitions, the 29th South East Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur 2017 has finally came to an end. The closing ceremony was held yesterday in the same venue, Bukit Jalil National Stadium on 30th August 2017. That’s also the Merdeka Eve (a day before Malaysia’s 60th anniversary of independence).

The ceremony fell short of excitement as there isn’t any performance by the next host country, Philippines. The host country of the next games has to deliver a performance in the usual tradition of the closing ceremony. However, Philippines had only decided to host it not long ago, they had no preparation to deliver a performance in that short notice, and that they wished to save the budget for the games’ hosting two years later. Hence, a no show from them. It was just a simple and formal handover ceremony from Malaysia to Philippines. This games also see among the worst performance by Philippines as they only won 24 gold medals, well below the 50-gold medal target they set earlier. Well, I’m sure they are going to do much better in the next edition as it is going to be hosted by them. Home advantage.

Same goes to Malaysia this time. Home advantage. And adding that with some obvious biased decisions by the judges in several sports in this games. The end result is an extraordinary victory for Malaysia in this games. We collected 145 gold medals, 92 silver medals, and 86 bronze medals, for a total of 323 medals. That’s more than enough to top the medal tally (Thailand came in second with 72 golds, we get more than double of that). Our last biggest achievement in this games was way back in 2001 (also held in Kuala Lumpur) when we won 111 gold medals. We set 111-golds as our target this time too and we accomplished far beyond that. Despite all the biased judgements and organizing sports that Malaysia is good at (typical for any host countries), I have to still admit that Malaysia really did a good job here. Well, it’s quite easy to win medals here. We have to move on after a word of congratulations! We have to raise our bar high by aiming to win more medals in bigger games like Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games.

Back to the closing ceremony. The ceremony was very boring. There is no cultural performance by the next host country (Philippines) as stated earlier, and there is only a very short performance by Malaysia to end the games. Other than that, it was all the formal stuff (handover, extinguishing of flame, national anthem, parade of athletes, etc). After that, the ceremony is dedicated as a Merdeka countdown celebration with over an hour of boring singing. The song choices are very poor (all Malay songs with no universal appeal) that did not highlight the diversity of the nation. How do you expect people from other countries to enjoy this? Even I as a Malaysian do not like this too. I thought there would be a grand countdown to Merdeka but that is not happening. Instead, we got a speech from the Prime Minister which is a happy news for all Malaysians too because he announced next Monday as an additional public holiday to mark the success of the country in this SEA Games. I think that’s the only one good thing that comes out from his mouth. Well, that holiday didn’t mean anything to me as I’m now here in Australia for my study. Sad…

 

  

All my people back in my country is enjoying this long 5-day of holiday combining Independence Day, Hari Raya Haji, the weekend, and this one extra special public holiday. I’m jealous of that. After the Prime Minister’s speech that ended past 12am, there is no official countdown to this historic day to my major disappointment. Even the fireworks that end the ceremony are not much. Everything in the opening ceremony is much better. This closing ceremony is like ‘well, we shall end the games by just showing how proud we are to be the overall champion of the games…that’s it’. No effort, no creativity, and no ‘wow’. This also belittles the participants from other countries and foreign audiences.

There would be this 9th ASEAN Para Games (sports for the disabled) to be held next month. After that, we say goodbye to KL (still a good host despite all the negative issues like wrong flags, biased judges, bad bus drivers, bad supporters’ attitudes, etc). Next SEA Games, Manila 2019!

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

29th SEA Games Kuala Lumpur 2017 opens with surprisingly good opening ceremony!

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2017 by vincentloy

The 29th South East Asian (SEA) Games Kuala Lumpur 2017 has officially opened with a magnificent opening ceremony held just now in Bukit Jalil National Stadium. I am not in Malaysia but I am glad to be able to watch the ceremony live just now from YouTube. It began on 8.17pm (20:17 time for this year of 2017). I didn’t have high expectation of the ceremony, as you know, it is Malaysia. I remembered that our opening ceremony for 1998 Commonwealth Games was nothing exciting and I don’t even remember a single moment from the ceremony in 2001 when we last hosted this SEA Games.

Then, I am left surprised. The opening ceremony just now was actually good. Not to the point that it was incredible or out of this world, but it is still a great show. We of course cannot compare this to Olympic-level ceremonies. This is considered breathtaking at SEA Games level. The ceremony is short (just two hours) and I’m fine with it. The official speeches were short (good too). The first half of the ceremony is dedicated for all the official procedures like flags parade, athletes parade, and oaths taking. Then, came the second part that I’m looking forward to which is the performance segment.

I’m surprised that the role of the creative director is given to a Chinese this time. Cool. That’s a wise decision. I’m not intending to be racist here but giving major role to a Chinese in Malaysia is a very seldom occasion. Give us a chance and we will deliver. And he (forgot his name) delivered. I’m amazed by his ability to combine the traditional shows with contemporary elements for the performances. It’s hard to do that and he accomplished it. I can still experience the unique diversity of Malaysia (and ASEAN overall) through traditional dances and outfits, but at the same time, listening to vibrant modern music and seeing high-tech colourful lighting and projection all around. The choreography and synchronisation aren’t at the best but the effort is there. The presentation appeared to be like a mess for a time but overall, the energy was there.

Before watching the show, I have fear that the ceremony will be overwhelmed with very traditional dances and songs. I’m now certainly in relief. The songs during the performance are also great and complements to the energetic atmosphere of the almost fully-packed stadium. As for the stadium, I love the newly refurbished stadium. It looks awesome with the new skin cladding and modern LED lights. A major disappointment of the ceremony would be the cauldron. It’s just a huge chunk of cylinder mimicking ‘oil lamp’ (the broadcaster said so). That part is supposed to be intense and exciting. The end result is not. Lack of effort on this crucial part of the ceremony. And I don’t even know the last torch bearer. Apology but who is she? The last torch bearer is supposed to be someone who is the most excellent in world sports. By the way, where is our beloved Datuk Lee Chong Wei? He is not appearing at all in this ceremony. He is the best choice for that spot.

Last but not least, the concluding fireworks is awesome although I wish for more. Generally, the ceremony is great and is a good effort but it lacks ‘wow’ moment. There literally isn’t any ‘wow’ moment in the show. All the ‘suspended in the air’ show in the ceremony fall short of excitement too. The idea of having LED lights installed at the side of audiences’ seats reminds me of the same situation for London 2012 ceremonies. Well, I’m fine for this idea to be reused again to make the show better. Now, the games begin and we will see if Malaysia could reach its target by winning over 111 golds and topping the medal tally. The games will end with a closing ceremony on 30th August 2017, which is coincidentally the eve of the country’s 60th anniversary of independence celebration.

(Images in this post are from The Star Online and YouTube screenshots)

One almost done, one has half way to go, and one is still on ground. Updates on three supertall construction projects in Kuala Lumpur.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2017 by vincentloy

Kuala Lumpur is ranked among one of the best city skylines in the world. It gained such recognition due to its splendid array of clustered buildings topped with the iconic Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower. However, the city skyline is going to further transform, thanks to the many new skyscrapers currently being built in the city. They are going to immensely impact the city skyline due to their enormous heights. The city won’t look the same after every few years and I look forward to see more tall and nice-looking buildings being constructed in the city.

Here are the 3 supertall skyscraper projects in Kuala Lumpur that are receiving high attention and shown together are their latest construction images. Render is shown for each project below too. Supertall building refers to a building that exceeds 300 metres in height.

1.Four Seasons Place. 

It is a 65-storeys mixed use tower currently under construction besides the Petronas Twin Towers. Once completed, it will have a final height of 343 metres. It will contain a hotel, serviced residences and a shopping mall at the podium. After undergoing multiple delays and design changes in the past, the tower has now finally rising quickly. It has structurally topped out not long ago and the work on the building’s crown has started. It will top out architecturally before last quarter of the year and will open next year. Once completed, it will be the third tallest building in the country, right after the two twin towers that sat beside it. Now, it has already made the twin towers to look not as tall as in the past eventhough it is still shorter than them by a little over 100 metres.

 

This one is ALMOST DONE.

2. TRX Exchange 106 Tower. 

It is a 106-storeys office tower currently under construction at the Tun Razak Exchange site. Once completed, this new region will become the financial hub of the city. Once completed, the tower will have a final height of 452 metres. It surprisingly will have the same height as the Petronas Twin Towers. You may wonder that it should be taller than the twin towers since it almost has over 20 floors more than the twin towers? Nope. It’s because this TRX Tower has no spire to add up to its height. The construction for this tower is very fast and it has now already half way to its top. It has now already making a huge impact to the city’s skyline. The highlight of the tower will be its crystalline crown.

This one is HALF WAY TO FINISH.

3. PNB118 Merdeka Tower.

It is a 118-storeys office tower currently under construction on the lot bordering the historical Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur. It is just right opposite my former secondary school, the Methodist Boys School KL. Once completed, it will be the tallest building in the country as well as among the top five tallest buildings in the world at a height of 644 metres. It will surpass the height of Shanghai Tower (632 metres), One World Trade Center (541 metres), Taipei 101 (508 metres) and many other skyscrapers across the world. However, its construction has been very slow and I read a news somewhere that it experienced problem with its foundation. I predict that it will be completed by 2020 or 2021. It will reach this immense height of over 600 metres due to its very long spire at the top.

 

This one is still not rising and is STILL ON GROUND WORK.

Hoping to see great progress from these skyscraper projects once I’m back to KL end of this year.

(Images in this post are from skyscrapercity.com forum webpages)

Top 10 Landmarks in the World on 2017 by TripAdvisor

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , on May 29, 2017 by vincentloy

TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel website company that provides reviews of travel-related content and also includes interactive travel forums. The website has been here since year 2000 and has claimed to have more than 315 million members and over 500 million reviews and opinions of hotels, restaurants, attractions and other travel-related businesses. Recently, the website released a ranking of the top 10 landmarks in the world on 2017 as reviewed by its online members. Besides than posting the 10 landmarks below, I will also delighted to share to you which one I have personally visited too.

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia. *

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, Cordoba, Spain.

St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Italy. *

Taj Mahal, Agra, India. *

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, St Petersburg, Russia.

Great Wall at Mutianyu, Beijing, China. *

Machu Picchu, Peru.

Plaza de Espana, Seville, Spain.

Duomo di Milano, Milan, Italy. *

An asterisk at the end of the landmarks’ names indicate that I have personally visited the place. Out of the 10, I have visited 5 of them. Not bad. I enjoy travelling (who doesn’t?) and my family has this habit of travelling oversea at least once in a year and it usually takes place during our lengthy Chinese New Year break annually. We just went to Hanoi, Vietnam early this year (awesome to see the beauty of Halong Bay as the main attraction of Hanoi) and we will go to Bangkok, Thailand next month during the Hari Raya holiday. That’s the time when I’m already back to Malaysia for my mid-year break.

Out of the 5 places I have visited and mentioned above, the ones that fascinated me the most are Angkor Wat, St. Peter’s Basilica and Taj Mahal. I noticed most of the 10 listed landmarks are religious buildings. I think people are more friendly towards religion-sensitive sites when putting their reviews. Whatever they are, they are all impressive man-made structures. Of the remaining 5 that I have not visited, I would love to visit Machu Picchu and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. I’m also surprised that no landmarks in North America made it into this Top 10 list. On the other hand, if there is a chance that one of Malaysian landmarks get to contest in this top rankings, I think it must be our iconic Petronas Twin Towers which now still stand tall as the world’s tallest twin buildings.

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

I.M. Pei, an architect who had just celebrated his 100th birthday.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2017 by vincentloy

I.M.Pei, a renowned Chinese-American architect has just turned 100 years old few days ago. A lot of major architecture websites do share news of his centenary birthday and a glimpse of his architectural projects under his career that spanned over six decades. He defied the typical saying that ‘architect do dies early due to the stress, heavy workload and constantly being all-nighter’.

Born on 26th April 1917 in Guangzhou, China, I.M.Pei moved to USA and studied architecture in University of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Graduate School of Design. He was inspired by works by Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer during his years in architectural education. He was particular fascinated by modern architecture and International Style.

I.M.Pei’s design style is described as modernist with significant cubist themes. He is known for combining traditional architectural elements with progressive designs based on simple geometric patterns. He has designed over 70 projects across the world and has received multiple awards and honors such as the Pritzker Prize (known as Nobel Prize of architecture) in 1983, AIA Gold Medal in 1979, Royal Gold Medal in 2010, Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992, etc.

Here below are 10 of his most iconic works:

131 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, USA (1949) – I.M.Pei’s first project.

Luce Memorial Chapel, Taichung, Taiwan (1963)

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca, USA (1973)

OCBC Centre, Singapore (1976)

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Boston, USA (1979)

Bank of China Tower, Hong Kong, China (1989)

Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas, USA (1989)

Louvre Pyramid, Paris, France (1993)

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, USA (1995)

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar (2008)

Looking just at 10 of his works above, you will obviously notice that he applied strong geometrical shapes into his design. It has become his signature approach in architecture. He designed a variety of projects ranging from community centers to highrise towers. He is no doubt one of the greatest living architects of our generation.

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