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36th Hong Kong Film Awards

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2017 by vincentloy

The 36th Hong Kong Film Awards was held last evening to honour the best of Hong Kong films released in 2016. I didn’t pay much attention to this awards this year (and also last year) as I didn’t watch most of the nominated films. Most of their movies nowadays just didn’t appeal to me with similar genre, similar style, similar story, poor visual effects and too depressed. Their movies also fail to break out of their boundary to reach out to international market due to the reasons I highlighted earlier.

The presentation ceremony yesterday has its free online streaming but that service is not available in Australia. Hence, I couldn’t watch it live. Anyway, I still manage to hear part of its live broadcast from Myfm, a Malaysian radio station. It’s a 3 hours and 30 minutes long ceremony. Very interesting poster for the awards ceremony this year (see below):

I’m more excited with the presence of many celebrities in the awards ceremony such as Jackie Chan, Leon Lai, Aaron Kwok, Karl Maka (he is the bald guy in the classic hit film series ‘Aces Go Places’ with Sam Hui), Eric Tsang, Miriam Yeung, (and many other recognizable faces) than the results. Here below is the full list of winners for the 36th Hong Kong Film Awards:

Best film
Trivisa


Best Director
Frank Hui, Jevons Au, Vicky Wong (Trivisa)
Best Actor
Gordon Lam (Trivisa)
Best Actress
Kara Wai ( Happiness )


Best Supporting Actor
Eric Tsang (Mad World)
Best Supporting Actress
Elaine Jin (Mad World)


Best New Performer
Tony Wu (Weeds on Fire)
Best Screenplay
Trivisa
Best Cinematography
Peter Pau, Cao Yu (See You Tomorrow)
Best Film Editing
Allen Leung, David Richardson (Trivisa)
Best Art Direction
See You Tomorrow
Best Sostume and Make-up Design
The Monkey King 2
Best Action Choreography
Operation Mekong
Best Original Film Score
Peter Kam, Yusuke Hatano (Soul Mate)
Best Original Film Song
Anthem of Shatin Martins (Weeds on Fire)
Best Sound Design
Kinson Tsang, George Lee Yiu-Keung ( Cold War 2 )
Best Visual Effects
The Monkey King 2
Best New Director
Wong Chun (Mad World)
Best Film from China and Taiwan
Godspeed

Overall comment:

‘Trivisa’ is the biggest winner of the ceremony with 5 wins, including the coveted ‘Best Film’ prize. The film also won for best director, best actor, best screenplay and best film editing, taking out most of the important categories. ‘Mermaid’ which has a total of 8 nominations failed to win anything at all in the ceremony. The movie which is a critical box office hit and is directed by Stephen Chow is one of the only two films nominated in this awards that I did watched. The other one is ‘The Monkey King 2’ which won for ‘Best Visual Effects’. Gordon Lam is being nominated for the first time in lead actor category and he won it at the first attempt. Kara Hui also won surprisingly for best actress from her role in ‘Happiness’. This is her third best actress win in history of Hong Kong Film Awards. She has also won a best supporting actress award 3 years ago. She is now the second actress that has won the most best actress awards, only behind the legendary Maggie Cheung who has won it five times in the past. On the other hand, past winners and veterans Eric Tsang and Elaine Jin emerged as winners again this year in supporting actor and actress categories respectively from their roles in ‘Mad World’.

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

 

Return of Gallen Lo in ‘Provocateur’ (2017).

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2017 by vincentloy

Gallen Lo is a famous veteran actor who has starred in many critically successful TVB dramas particularly in 1990s and 2000s. In recent years, he took extensive long break and didn’t shoot any dramas. His last TVB series is 2009’s ‘Born Rich’ (I didn’t watch that). However, I do remember well and admired some of his past iconic and powerful roles in dramas like ‘Golden Faith’, ‘Feminine Masculinity’, ‘Secret of the Heart’, ‘Old Time Buddy’ and ‘At The Threshold Of An Era I & II’. He has won best actor in TVB Anniversary Awards for three times, becoming the actor with most best actor wins in TVB (a record tied with Roger Kwok and Wayne Lai). He is also the first recipient of best actor award in 1997 when TVB started introducing their awards presentation that year.

Now, he returns for a new TVB drama called ‘Provocateur’. I’m watching this drama because he is in it. He portrayed a cosmetic business mogul who encounters various difficulties such as his business challenges, his long lost son who came back to take revenge on him, his declining health, etc. This 25-episodes drama also starred Fred Cheng, Ali Lee, Jacqueline Wong, Jonathan Cheung, Lee Shin Cheung, Raymond Cho, etc. I think this is Fred Cheng’s first leading role in a drama.

I have high expectation from Gallen. He did well on his part but I think his role isn’t anything special. There is not much ways for him to showcase his acting or express his talent. In most of the time, he was just walking around, having his hand on his head while thinking on some business strategies and chatting with the others. I knew sometimes acting is from the very subtle yet powerful facial expression. Gallen did has those moments in this drama but those scenes are too much and it lessen the essence and strength of the outcome. Even the part when he had terminal illness, he also couldn’t perform to the point that it moves me. I also noticed that he is getting really old looking now. Well, he is 55 already. But I do enjoy his involvement in this drama as a senior and his collaboration with many young cast.

I have heard that Fred Cheng actually didn’t get this leading role at the first place. It was supposed to be someone else but due to schedule conflict, the other actor dropped this role and Fred came in. He is not bad in acting but I think he is incapable of taking this important leading role, plus he has to face Gallen most of the time throughout the whole series. He is much better in supporting role. His expressions especially in scenes when he has to show his revengeful face are awkward and appeared ‘forced’. He just can’t balance it and went overboard. His character in this drama is being helped by a group of his friends specialized in pulling off tricks. This reminded me of ‘Burning Hands’ which is released not long ago before this series. In ‘Burning Hands’, we saw Ruco Chan being helped by a group of his friends too. Such a similar idea in both dramas. Fred’s chemistry with his on-screen partner in this drama, Ali Lee is very low too.

Ali Lee has a big year in 2016. She has starred in a lot of dramas last year and she won Most Improved Female Artiste Award in TVB Anniversary Awards 2016. She is good. But his acting in this drama is just very average and a bit wooden at some point. It felt like she is uninterested on this role. On the other hand, Jacqueline Wong who is also a newbie actress contributed a lot of her passion into her role as Gallen’s daughter. Let’s give her more roles. At first, I didn’t have any expectation from her, but after watching this drama and seeing how she develops together with her character, I’m engaged. I have no issue seeing her nominated for Most Improved Female Artist award end of this year.

I’m glad that this drama only has 25 episodes. Not any longer. The plot fits best in this 25 episodes. While I particularly didn’t enjoy some decisions in the storyline, the overall drama is still solid. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Provocateur’ a total of 6.8. It’s a series that will be easily forgotten after a month or two. A ‘cheaper’ version of ‘Burning Hands’ and a plain comeback role from Gallen Lo.

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

Top 10 Tallest Buildings in the World (as of April 2017)

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2017 by vincentloy

The two cities that witness the birth of skyscrapers are Chicago and New York City in United States. That was over a hundred years ago after the introduction of steel framed construction and passenger elevator that enables buildings to be built much taller. Now in 2017, only one building in United States that is placed within the top 10 tallest buildings in the world currently. The other 9 are generally all located in Asia. Here below is the current top 10 tallest buildings in the world as of April 2017. The list only includes completed buildings and does not include television towers, observation towers, masts, antennas or buildings with very little percentage of habitable floors.

  1. Burj Khalifa, 828 metres, 163 floors, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (completed in 2010).

2. Shanghai Tower, 632 metres, 128 floors, Shanghai, China (completed in 2015).

3. Makkah Royal Clock Tower, 601 metres, 120 floors, Mecca, Saudi Arabia (completed in 2012).

4. Ping An Finance Center, 599 metres, 115 floors, Shenzhen, China (completed in 2017).

5. Lotte World Tower, 555 metres, 123 floors, Seoul, South Korea (completed in 2017).

6. One World Trade Center, 541 metres, 104 floors, New York City, United States (completed in 2014).

7. Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre, 530 metres, 111 floors, Guangzhou, China (completed in 2016).

8. Taipei 101, 508 metres, 101 floors, Taipei, Taiwan (completed in 2004).

9. Shanghai World Financial Center, 492 metres, 101 floors, Shanghai, China (completed in 2008).

10. International Commerce Centre, 484 metres, 108 floors, Hong Kong, China (completed in 2010).

This list will change drastically from year to year due to rapid increase of construction of supertall skyscrapers in the world in recent decade. More and more new buildings are reaching further to the sky. Out of the current top 10 tallest buildings in the world, half of them are in China (this doesn’t even include Taipei 101 in Taiwan). 8 of them soar above 500 metres in height respectively too. Also noted is that every buildings in this top 10 tallest list has over 100 floors respectively. The tallest in the world, Burj Khalifa has been on the top of the list for over 7 years now. By 2020, it is expected to be defeated by Kingdom Tower, a skyscraper currently under construction in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. That tower is projected to soar above 1000 metres (1 km!) when completed in 2020.

The oldest supertall in this list is Taipei 101 which is only 13 years old by now as it is built in 2004. More and more new buildings are joining the list with two newcomers this year; Ping An Finance Center and Lotte World Tower at No.4 and No.5 placing respectively. Former world’s tallest buildings and still the current world’s tallest twin buildings, the Petronas Twin Towers are kicked out of the top 10 list this year as they are now placed at No.11 (and 12) with height of 452 metres. Too bad…my home coutry’s famous twin towers are now out of the ranking. Anyway, in few years to come, Malaysia will have another new supertall; PNB 118 Tower that will certainly join this top 10 list with a height of over 600 metres.

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

Pritzker Prize 2017 Winner: Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta (RCR Arquitectes)

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2017 by vincentloy

The recipient of this year’s Pritzker Prize, the world’s most prestigious honour to architect, is a little less known. The recipient goes to not only a single person this year, but three, who works under one office; RCR Architects. They are Rafael Arana, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta. Well, it’s not about popularity and the ‘star’ appeal to win this honour. It’s about one’s significant contribution to the field of architecture to be able to receive this award.

Here are an article from Dezeen (original source: https://www.dezeen.com/2017/03/01/key-projects-pritzker-prize-laureates-rcr-arquitectes/) that introduces us to this award-winning architecture office, RCR Arquitectes:

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Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta all studied at the School of Architecture in Vallès, and set up their practice in their home town of Olot, Catalonia, in 1988. Their work ranges from public and private spaces to cultural venues and educational institutions, each designed to closely relate to the environment of its site. The three architects started working locally, designing an athletics track for the town in 2000 before creating their own office in an old foundry there eight years later. RCR Arquitectes’ other projects in Olot include a private house and a restaurant.

Many more of the studio’s projects over the past 10 years have also been located in Spain’s Girona province, ranging from a winery to a kindergarten and a public theatre. Later the firm began building slightly further afield – completing an art centre and a museum in France in 2014. Often collaborating with other architects, the trio uses materials like recycled steel and plastic. The Pritzker jury described their projects as “beautiful and poetic”. “Each building designed by these architects is special and is uncompromising of its time and place,” said the jury citation. “Their works are always the fruit of true collaboration and at the service of the community.” “They understand that architecture and its surroundings are intimately intertwined and know that the choice of materials and the craft of building are powerful tools for creating lasting and meaningful spaces.”

See 10 key projects by RCR Arquitectes below, in roughly chronological order:

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Tossols-Basil Athletics Track, 2000, Olot, Girona, Spain

Looping through two clearings in an oak forest, the running track avoids the trees and is coloured green to blend with its surroundings. The natural topography of the site provides stands for spectators, while a small pavilion comprising two Corten steel volumes includes a bar and storage for the football field.

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Bell–Lloc Winery, 2007, Palamós, Girona, Spain

A descending pathway with angled steel sides funnels visitors down from opposite directions to the entrance of the winery. Once inside, the material also creates a vaulted ceiling over the wine production machinery and barrel storage areas, where gaps in the roof allow slithers of light into the underground spaces.

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Sant Antoni – Joan Oliver Library, Senior Citizens Center and Cándida Pérez Gardens, 2007, Barcelona, Spain

Situated in Barcelona’s dense Eixample district, this cultural venue was intended to break the continuity of its historic street. A bridging section of the front building – which houses the library – provides public access underneath to a courtyard behind, where a low-slung volume wraps around the edge.

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Barberí Laboratory, 2008, Olot, Girona, Spain

RCR Arquitectes transformed a former foundry in their home town into their own offices and studio. Elements of the original building, like crumbling walls and a steel structure, were preserved. They were then paired with huge expanses of glass to create light-filled workspaces.

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El Petit Comte Kindergarten, 2010, Besalú, Girona, Spain
In collaboration with Joan Puigcorbé

Gradients of colourful plastic create a rainbow effect across this kindergarten building. A courtyard at the centre lets children play outside in a protected environment, while the plastic allows coloured light to flood the spaces inside.

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La Lira Theater Public Open Space, 2011, Ripoll, Girona, Spain
In collaboration with Joan Puigcorbé

To form a covered public space for theatre productions, the architects built a slatted-steel box, with angled sides and open ends, over a plaza sandwiched between two old structures. The volume faces a river and is connected to the opposite bank via a bridge made from the same material.

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Les Cols Restaurant Marquee, 2011, Olot, Girona, Spain

Swooping over this restaurant is a lightweight structure made from thin metal pipes, with translucent plastic stretched across the top. The canopy evokes the experience of dining al fresco, and extends beyond the enclosed space to protect those who are actually eating outside.

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Row House, 2012, Olot, Girona, Spain

When renovating this house in their home town, the architects exposed the underside of its tiled roof and concealed circulation on either side behind thin vertical louvres. In the central space – illuminated by a giant glass wall at the back – contemporary insertions form a sunken kitchen and dining level, with two separate mezzanines for lounging and sleeping above.

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La Cuisine Art Center, 2014, Nègrepelisse, France

Tucked inside the stone walls of a historic chateau, rooms made from steel and glass wrap around three sides of the building’s internal perimeter. These spaces host exhibitions, conferences and workshops dedicated to the art and design of food and cooking, and face a central courtyard that is used for larger events.

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Soulages Museum, 2014, Rodez, France
In collaboration with G Trégouët

Contemporary art exhibitions are housed within weathering-steel boxes that cantilever slightly from a small slope. The galleries are linked by glazed corridors and bridges, forming a route through the museum.

After receiving this prestigious honour, this Spanish firm along with these three leading architects shot to fame immediately in world of architecture.

(Images and information in this post are from the following source (also stated earlier): https://www.dezeen.com/2017/03/01/key-projects-pritzker-prize-laureates-rcr-arquitectes/.)

 

Happy Chinese New Year! It’s the year of rooster!

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2017 by vincentloy

I’m wishing everyone a Happy Chinese New Year! This wish is particularly for my family, relatives, friends, neighbours, and to all Malaysian Chinese! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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The lunar new year comes early this year. This Chinese largest festival (known as Spring Festival in China) always falls on February every year. But for this time, it’s on end of January. We have just finished celebrating the new year 2017 and now we get to celebrate another one. Next year, this festival will be pushed back to February due to additional days in our lunar calendar once every four years.

We now say goodbye to the year of monkey and welcomes the year of rooster. Rooster is the main character this year and unfortunately, it’s also usually the main character in our Chinese dishes. Chicken dishes everywhere and my two nephews love to eat them the most.

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This is also the time for us, the superstitious Chinese to check on our zodiac forecast of the year. I was born in the year of sheep and so my Chinese zodiac sign is sheep. I found out that this is going to be an average year for me, with nothing really bad or good happening. It’s a fairly flat year for me. I will take that. Well, I’m not superstitious but getting a knowledge of it is something not harmful either, so why not…

I had a fairly plain reunion dinner just now in a simple and affordable restaurant nearby. The important thing is not the cost of the food, but everyone being together on the table for this significant meal. It’s alright. We will be having a ‘grander’ dinner soon for the next weekend when my eldest sister and her family will join in too. I will be spending the first day of the Chinese New Year visiting some relatives and also watching a Chinese New Year movie in cinema hopefully. Then, from second day to sixth day of the celebration, I will be having a vacation in Hanoi, Vietnam with my parents. After coming back, I will be spending that coming weekend (next Saturday and Sunday) on Genting Highlands. That’s it. After that, it’s the end of my Chinese New Year celebration this year before I fly back to Perth, Australia near the end of February to resume the final year of my postgraduate study.

Let’s not talk that far yet. Now, is the time to get prepared to welcome this lunar new year with joyful mood, get dressed in new clothes, get angpows, meet relatives (and hopefully successfully dealt with all those questions from aunties and uncles asking about whether you have boyfriend or girlfriend already or not), gamble (who doesn’t like to play and hopefully win), attend friends’ gatherings, eat all those delicious new year biscuits and cookies, watch all the released CNY movies this year, light up firecrackers or fireworks, etc.

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Once again, Happy Chinese New Year! May you have a blessed year ahead with good health and wealth! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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

New tall buildings rising in KL and latest skyline images of the city.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2017 by vincentloy

Since I’m back to Kuala Lumpur last November and some visits to the city since then, I have noticed some new tall buildings in the city. Some are still under construction but are already visible from far and making an impact to the city’s skyline due to their massive heights. Some have already topped out due to speedy construction and some have been totally completed and opened. So, there must be addition of few more buildings over 200 metres in height in the city of Kuala Lumpur.

But when I check out any latest list of the tallest buildings in the city online from Skyscraper Center, Emporis, Wikipedia, and other sources, there hasn’t been any much difference which is so not right. The list differs in each websites I browsed and I couldn’t really find one that truly reflect the current statistic of the city’s buildings. That is disappointing. Some new buildings are missing in this list and some others on the other list. They should have an accurate and updated database compiling the correct and latest information on this. I also found out some new buildings are listed there but without much essential data present like its height.

Here below are some of the new buildings in the city that are around or over 200 metres in height and should be apparent in the list of tallest buildings in Kuala Lumpur but are not:

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Vortex KL Suites and Residences – Emporis stated it to be 235 metres tall and still under construction. But actually this 58-storey tower has been completed. Skyscrapercity put it at 260 metres high but I don’t think that is correct by looking at its picture.

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Ritz-Carlton Residences KL – Also called as Berjaya Central Park, it is 48 floors high but there is no height data for this building at all.

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Le Nouvel Residences – the taller tower is 49-storey high with Emporis stating a height of 199 metres, just 1 metre short of 200 metres mark.

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Elite Pavilion – this one is going to be 230 metres tall and has 50 floors when completed. Its construction pace is noticeably fast and it is going to be topped out this year.

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Platinum Suites Tower – Skyscrapercity put this tower at 51 floors high but Emporis states 57 floors and 231 metres tall. I don’t think Emporis’ data on this one is right. I knew its top floor swimming pool level is on 51st floor which is also the tallest swimming pool in the city. It also claims to be the tallest condominium in the city, a title previously hold by The Troika Tower 3 at 204 metres.

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From left to right for first picture and from right to left for second picture – Sentral Residences Tower 1 & 2, St. Regis Hotel & Residences and Q Sentral. These new buildings in KL Sentral Development reach around 200 metres in height respectively and has already been completed except for the Sentral Residences Tower 1 & 2 that are still under construction but have already topped out. However, almost none of these buildings are featured in any list out there for the tallest buildings in the city. Emporis stated that Q Sentral is 49 floors and 199 metres high (but no data in Skyscraper Center), both Emporis and Skyscraper Center stated that St. Regis Hotel & Residences is 48 floors and 205 metres high (so I assume that is the correct data), and Skyscraper Center stated that Sentral Residences Tower 1 & 2 to be 52 floors and 200 metres tall each (but no data in Emporis). Weird right?! Conflicting or incomplete data everywhere.

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KL Eco City Vogue Suite One – This project is expected to be completed by this year and it has topped out to its final height of 243 metres. Emporis states that it has 60 floors while Skyscraper Center said it has 63 floors. Whatever…! When completed, it is going to be the tallest residential building in the city and the whole Malaysia. This is a bit further away from the city area as it is in Mid Valley region. Now, the 310-metres tall Telekom Tower is not the only skyscraper standing in that Mid Valley region.

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Four Seasons Place KL – This one is finally making huge progress after many years of delay in construction. When completed next year, it will be 65 floors high and has a height of 343 metres tall, a much taller companion to the adjacent Petronas Twin Towers (452 metres tall and current world’s tallest twin buildings).

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W Hotel & Residences – Emporis states that it has 55 floors and 235 metres tall but Skyscraper Center states that it has 50 floors and is 232 metres tall. Conflicting data again. This skyscraper will be completed this year.

These buildings above are only those buildings in final stage of construction, topped-out or newly completed in KL that is over 200 metres tall respectively. Skyscraper projects that are still in early stage of construction are not included here such as the PNB118 Tower that is going to be the tallest building of the country when completed at 630 metres high. There is still no visible progress of this skyscraper project after so many years. I’m sure it is going to be completed later than the targeted year 2020 deadline.

Some cool latest pictures of Kuala Lumpur city skyline below before I end this post. Click on the images for a larger and more breathtaking sight.

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(Images in this post are from Skyscrapercity.com)

New Year 2017 Fireworks!

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2017 by vincentloy

Didn’t get to watch any new year fireworks live yesterday in KL since I’m at home with family on 12am last night. Well, I do not have the urge to watch the fireworks here in Malaysia eventhough I enjoy doing so because the displays here are simply too plain and boring every year.

So, I have to look up on new year fireworks display from other major cities across the world that were much more exciting to watch! YouTube is the best place for me to do so today after all cities across the globe has already celebrated the occasion from one time zone to another.

The best fireworks display goes to Sydney, Australia as usual. It is one of the largest new year’s fireworks display and its 12-minutes show was really overwhelming and beautiful. View of the massive fireworks shooting up from the Sydney Harbour and the iconic Harbour Bridge impressed me every year.

Here below are the other new year 2017 fireworks display in other cities that look great too:

London, UK – from the London Eye ferris wheel. Amazing and is always the second best.

Hong Kong, China – I like the idea of fireworks shooting from some buildings in the city but that only happened in the 10-seconds countdown to 2017 and not in the entire show which would make it much better.

Dubai, UAE – from the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa and its surrounding. I’m impressed by the LED projection screen all over the facade of Burj Khalifa during the fireworks show.

Taipei, Taiwan – from Taipei 101, former world’s tallest building. Taipei 101 is the only stand-alone tall building in the city and so shooting fireworks from the tower itself in all angles is possible. And that is what makes their fireworks show every year spectacular. The inclusion of dramatic play of light of the building during the show is also great.

These fireworks shows above are way much better than our pyrotechnic show in KLCC. We couldn’t deliver intense and interesting display every year. It’s always the same one spot and same one style. It would be much better if our city presents a unified show by shooting fireworks from some major buildings in the city with the iconic Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower as the main highlights.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – from the KLCC Park with the iconic Petronas Twin Towers as the backdrop.

That’s it. Happy New Year 2017 to everyone once again! Have a great year ahead!

(All videos in this post are from YouTube)