R.I.P. Stan Lee, the Marvel Comics legend.


I was shocked to hear the news of Stan Lee’s death this morning. His death yesterday had left the Marvel Comics fans across the world and artistes who have played Marvel characters in all the recent popular Marvel superhero films in grief. His passing away was met with a wave of tributes, including Marvel stars and friends Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, Tom Holland, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Lawrence, Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and many more.

Stan Lee, born on December 28, 1922 was an American comic book writer, editor, producer, and publisher. He was the Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics, and later its publisher and chairman, leading its expansion from a small division of a publishing house to a large multimedia corporation. In collaboration with several artists—particularly Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko—he co-created fictional characters including Spider-Man, the Hulk, Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Black Panther, the X-Men, and—with his brother, co-writer Larry Lieber—the characters Ant-Man, Iron Man, and Thor. Besides that, he pioneered a more complex approach to writing superheroes comics in the 1960s and revolutionized them by introducing superheroes designed to appeal to older readers than the predominantly child audiences of the medium.

Following his retirement from Marvel, he remained a public figurehead for the company, and frequently made cameo appearances in movies based on Marvel characters. Meanwhile, he continued independent creative ventures into his 90s until his death. He died due to pneumonia yesterday (November 12, 2018) at the age of 95.

I always enjoyed all his interesting cameo appearances in almost all of the Marvel films. He would appear out of sudden in a scene for just a few seconds that would certainly tickle the excitement of Marvel fans. We would see his cameo for Marvel films next year too such as the much anticipated Avengers 4 (as he had already filmed them this year), but after that, we would no longer be able to look out for his cameo anymore. That’s sad. The person who co-created some of our most favourite fictional superheroes had left us and he will be forever remembered for being one of the legends behind Marvel, an icon. Rest in peace, Stan Lee.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

Advertisements

France won FIFA World Cup 2018!


Congratulation, France! It must be a very festive and joyful atmosphere now in France for it has just won the World Cup! It defeated Croatia 4-2 in the final held yesterday in Russia. France took the cup once again after 20 years as their last win in this prestigious tournament was back in 1998. This is their second win in the history of the tournament. Although losing in the final, but we should give a big round of applause to Croatia. It is a small country and has ranking much lower than its competitors in football, and yet managed to go through all the way to the final. It is already a wonderful achievement.

This marks the end of Russia 2018 World Cup. No more football fever or staying up late for the matches. I didn’t watch any of the matches this time unfortunately. I’m not that interested into football and the timing is not good (most of the matches are on late night or past midnight). I originally planned to watch the final but I couldn’t even do so as I was stuck in a traffic congestion on my way back to Singapore from KL last evening. I’m expecting to reach home at about 11pm just in time for the final, but I ended up reaching home at 1am. The match ends exactly at 1am.

In the history of the World Cup, only 8 countries have won before. They are Brazil, Germany, Italy, Argentina, France, Uruguay, England and Spain. They are all European countries. Asian countries just couldn’t perform to their level in this sport and I wonder why. Brazil won the cup for the most times at 5 while Germany and Italy are right behind at 4 wins. Germany which won the previous edition in 2014 got eliminated in the group stage this time to the surprise of everyone. Other powerhouse countries like the ones which have won before (mentioned above) also lost and none of them made it to the final besides France (which eventually won the cup).

France has just celebrated Bastille Day (National Day for France) on Saturday (14th July) and this World Cup win the next day is just simply amazing. Must be an awesome weekend for the French. With the World Cup 2018 now concluded, attention now slowly shifts to the next one which will be held at Qatar in 2022. Another 4 years to wait for all the football fans. Nevertheless, there are still many other football championships besides than World Cup to watch like UEFA Euro, etc.

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

Half of the year is gone, and so is the current on-going World Cup.


The month of June has ended and that means half of year 2018 is gone. Things come and go at lightning speed. I couldn’t believe that I have finished my thesis about 8 months ago, graduated in a beautiful ceremony at Perth and went for a trip to China 5 months ago, and have worked in this new office in Singapore for 2 months already. In no time or to be exact, just 6 months from now, we will bidding farewell to 2018. That is quick.

Half of the year is gone and so is the current on-going FIFA World Cup 2018. The round robin stage is over with all countries having gone through matches within their assigned group. One of the major shocking news is that the previous champion, Germany has lost at this stage to people’s disbelief. People are now talking about this champion’s curse whereby the previous winner will usually lost in the next edition. It happens to many countries in the history of the World Cup too coincidentally.

We are now in the knockout stage at round of 16 before proceeding to the quarterfinals. Famous teams like Portugal and Argentina failed to succeed here and that means a surprising early goodbye to famous footballers like Ronaldo and Messi. A lot of good teams were already eliminated. England looks to have a good path ahead to get closer to the podium, Brazil seems to be making a comeback and will not face Germany this time around, Sweden and Spain are strong teams so far, and the host nation, Russia is still in the game.

It looks likely that there will be only intense matches to come before its climatic final on 15th July. So far, I have not watched a single game of this once-in-a-four-years tournament as I have no particular excitement for it and also I do not have a lot of free time for it. I think I will be only watching the final. Anyway, I am still updating my blog here with some info about it since it is a prestigious and a very popular sporting event. When the tournament reaches the later stages, it’s time for some predictions.

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

Movie review for ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ and 2-billion box office milestone for ‘Avengers: Infinity War’.


Dinosaurs return to the big screen. The fifth film in the Jurassic Park film franchise, ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ opened on international markets much earlier than its debut in the US to our delight. We get to watch it two weeks earlier. The release of this latest film also coincides with the 25th anniversary of the first film that started it all. Can’t believe it has been 25 years already since the first time we are seeing the ‘kids hiding in the kitchen scene’, ‘raptor knowing how to open a door scene’, ‘T-rex saving the day at the end of the movie scene’, etc.

In this ‘Fallen Kingdom’, the story sets few years after the event in ‘Jurassic World’ whereby the theme park is now permanently closed and left abandoned. The dinosaurs roam freely until a volcanic eruption on the island occurred that will put them into extinction once again. Owen and Claire returned to the place to rescue them but were actually tricked to do so by a businessman to make profit by selling them and on the other hand creates another powerful hybrid dinosaur called Indoraptor. Another hybrid dinosaur on the limelight after the terrifying Indominus Rex that brought an end to the ‘Jurassic World’ theme park in the 2015 movie.

I think I have very high expectation before the movie and so after watching it just now, I felt a little disappointed. I have to say that 2015’s ‘Jurassic World’ is better and more exciting than this one. Well, this ‘Fallen Kingdom’ is also worthy of a praise by me mainly due to the fact that the people behind it can still creatively moving the story forward from and after the first four movies. The starting scene of this that features the Mosasaurus escaping is thrilling while there are still some heartstopping scenes after that. However, the level of intensity seems to have gone down and the supposingly climax-reaching scene in the end couldn’t hit me.

The 2015’s ‘Jurassic World’ has a great introduction scene to the opened theme park, had a great flow of story in the middle, and a jaw-dropping finale fight scene between the dinosaurs. All that is gelled into a great and an entertaining movie. This ‘Fallen Kingdom’ couldn’t reach that high standard set by its predecessor, but it is still a good effort. I like the play of light, shadow and colour in this one which delivers it into a darker tone and intended horror buildup of the story (there are still some funny moments to lighten up the mood). Besides that, I am also moved by some very sad moments involving the dinosaurs as the movie also goes deep to the emotional side.

I missed the post-credit scene unfortunately (didn’t know that Jurassic Park movies now beginning to have post-credit scene too) but I knew the details of it already and find it unimportant. Jeff Goldblum is in here but for a very unimportant cameo role who is just present to deliver some golden quotes. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ a total of 7.3. It’s still fun and nice to watch; I will never get bored of another Jurassic Park film.

This movie is expected to gross over US$ 1 billion (I’m thinking about US$ 1.3 billion) in its final box office revenue just like its predecessor. ‘Jurassic World’ in 2015 gained over US$ 1.6 billion worldwide. ‘Fallen Kingdom’ is predicted to earn lesser than that but will still easily cross the 1-billion mark. On the other hand, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is in a certain position to reach the 2-billion box office milestone by end of this weekend or latest by early next week. It will be the only fourth film in history to reach that impressive figure (after ‘Avatar’, ‘Titanic’ and ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’). Now the question is whether it will eclipse ‘Star Wars: The Force Awaken’ which earned US$ 2.068 billion back then for the third spot in the table of highest grossing films of all time (unadjusted for inflation). There is quite a high possibility for ‘Infinity War’ to do so.

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

 

 

Pyeongchang 2018 kicks off with eye-catching opening ceremony.


Pyeongchang 2018, the XXIII Olympic Winter Games is held from 9 to 25 February 2018 (some events being held on 8th and 9th prior to the opening ceremony). This international sporting event brought Pyeongchang, a once quiet town 180km from the capital Seoul, South Korea into spotlight. The games feature 102 events in fifteen sports disciplines. 2,952 athletes from 92 National Olympic Committees are slated to compete, including the debut of Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore.

Wow…I can’t wait to see how Malaysia will perform in this Winter Olympic Games. I don’t think Malaysia will win any medal since this is only the first time Malaysia is participating in Winter Olympics. We have only two athletes competing (Jeffrey Webb will compete in alpine skiing while Julian Yee will compete in figure skating). Although we have lack of experience (hard to get involved in any winter sports in Malaysia where no winter is observed), but I’m still wishing all the best to these two Malaysian athletes in Pyeongchang 2018.

Pyeongchang defeated Munich (Germany) and Annecy (France) back in 2011 to bid for the hosting job of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Previously, Pyeongchang had bid to host the 2010 and 2014 editions but lost out respectively to Vancouver and Sochi (Vancouver hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics while Sochi hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics). Success is finally observed in the third time bidding. Third time a charm for Pyeongchang.

The opening ceremony was held yesterday’s evening at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, a stadium with 35 000 seating capacity purposely built for the games and will be demolished after the games ended. The Games were officially opened by President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in and the ceremony was also attended by Kim Yo-jong (representative of North Korea and sister of Kim Jong Un), Mike Pence (Vice President of USA), Shinzo Abe (Japanese Prime Minister), Antonio Guterres (United Nations Secretary General), Thomas Bach (President of International Olympic Committee), etc.

I didn’t watch the full ceremony but I do looked at the highlights of it from many news sources. Some of the major highlights of the ceremony include the marching of North and South Korea together in the athletes’ parade under a unified Korean flag, two men impersonating as Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in the stadium and being kicked out, the world’s largest drone show in history during a performance segment of the ceremony, etc.

(Images in this post are from Vox at https://www.vox.com/2018/2/9/16995150/2018-winter-olympics-opening-ceremony-photos) 

World’s Ten Tallest Cities in 2018


I have written a post on the top 10 tallest buildings that will be completed this year (2018) few days ago. Now, it’s time to proceed to another similar topic; world’s top 10 tallest cities in 2018. How do I decide which cities are taller? Taking reference from Ultrapolis Project website that sorted world’s tallest cities several years ago (and is now no longer doing so, hence the statistics on its website not being updated), I look to add up the height of top 20 tallest buildings in a particular city and divide them by 20 to get the average height of 20 tallest buildings in that city.

At first, I look to only add up the height of top 10 tallest buildings in a city only, and not 20. However, later I found that top 20 will make the data more credible and better visualize the ‘tallness’ of a city. Buildings mentioned here include the topped-out ones but exclude the telecommunication or observation towers as they are non-habitable structures. The list of top 20 tallest buildings of the cities across the world can be found from Emporis website, and it is a very reliable source of information besides than Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). Before going down the list below, which cities do you think will be included in this list and which one of them is the tallest of them all?

WORLD’S TOP TEN TALLEST CITIES IN 2018

1.Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Points: 374.35

Tallest building in the city: Burj Khalifa (828 metres)

2. Shenzhen, China

Points: 338.60

Tallest building in the city: Ping An International Finance Center (599 metres)

3. New York City, United States of America

Points: 313.70

Tallest building in the city: One World Trade Center (541 metres)

4. Guangzhou, China

Points: 311.50

Tallest building in the city: CTF Finance Centre (530 metres)

5. Shanghai, China

Points: 311.25

Tallest building in the city: Shanghai Tower (632 metres)

6. Hong Kong, China

Points: 295.30

Tallest building in the city: International Commerce Centre (484 metres)

7. Tianjin, China

Points: 290.00

Tallest building in the city: Goldin Finance 117 (597 metres)

8. Chicago, United States of America

Points: 280.70

Tallest building in the city: Willis Tower (442 metres)

9. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Points: 275.90

Tallest building in the city: The Exchange 106 (492 metres)

10. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Points: 267.30

Tallest building in the city: Burj Mohammed Bin Rashid (382 metres)

Hong Kong would have topped this list a decade or two ago. However, many other cities in China are now in skyscraper boom and some of them immediately overtake Hong Kong in the race to build taller skyscrapers. Hong Kong appears to have slow down a lot in recent years on that progress, and is now pushed down to 6th spot. China dominated the list again as expected with 5 of its cities in this top 10 list. I am also surprised that a much less known city, Tianjin made it to the list too. Although China is the top country in this trend of building supertalls, Dubai still took the crown for being the world’s tallest cities in 2018. A lot of points to push Dubai to the top definitely comes from Burj Khalifa, which stands at a whopping 828 metres high alone and is still the current world’s tallest building.

I’m delighted that my home city, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is within this top 10 list. Although KL is quite a small city, but we do have a number of tall skyscrapers. I have decided to include in the still under-construction The Exchange 106 Tower (492 metres tall) into the calculation because this building is definitely going to be completed this year and is nearly at the stage of topping out now.

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

New Year 2018 fireworks from across the world!


Happy New Year once again!

I went to KLCC yesterday to join in the countdown and watch the fireworks display at the stroke of midnight. As expected, the area is very crowded as KLCC is the biggest venue for new year countdown every year in Malaysia. I think there is around 300 000. Try to imagine that you are one of the 300 000 and you are surrounded by all the people, all the noises and all the chaos. Well, it is still a one great experience to be able to observe such happening atmosphere and celebrating the arrival of new year with so many people including both locals and the foreign tourists. While others were busy blowing the horns or cheering, I was concentrating on looking up to admire the beauty of the Petronas Twin Towers in the evening. I won’t be bored seeing the towers all these years.

Here’s the video that I captured during the countdown to usher in year 2018 and the fireworks display from the KLCC Park. It is about 10-minutes long.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

It took almost an hour for most of the crowd to disperse and leave the area after the fireworks. Traffic congestion stayed for another two hours. That was insane. I was only able to reach home at around 2.30am and sleep at 3.00am. Although it was a cool experience, but I don’t think I will be joining countdown anytime soon again.

Alright, here comes the much more better new year 2018 fireworks displays from other parts of the world:

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – there is no fireworks this year at the Burj Khalifa (world’s tallest building), and it is replaced with a spectacular light show instead.

Taipei, Taiwan – usual fireworks display from Taipei 101 with visual projection on the building.

Hong Kong, China – fireworks display from the Victoria Harbour with the breathtaking city skyline as the backdrop.

Sydney, Australia – one of the biggest new year events in the world with massive fireworks display from the Sydney Harbour and the bridge. The fireworks in Sydney never disappoints.

London, United Kingdom – fireworks display from the London Eye ferris wheel.

That’s it for the fireworks’ videos. Have an awesome year!

(All videos from this post are from YouTube and they are not of my possession except the first one)