Music Obsessions – October 2020

Welcome to the next Music Obsessions! Its been quite a good month with some nice music that popped up on my radar. Maybe slightly less selection than previous months but there’s some decent choices here.

Enjoy!

You Are My Hero (“Chasing Dream 我的拳王男友” Main Theme) 你是我的英雄 – 刘艾立 Erika

Johnnie To is a director of a wide range of movie genres although probably he is most known for his action films. Chasing Dream (review) was something of a hidden gem for this year’s Fantasia Festival and I ended up liking it a lot more than I expected. The main theme is pretty awesome.

Pretty Please – Jackson Wang & Galantis

Jackson Wang’s music this year has been fantastic. Starting with a killer hit with “100 Ways” and then using the same actress to create this video with some great vibes and rhythm of chasing a girl down the street. Its giving some strong vibes of Ne-yo’s video “One in a Million”, right? Either way, its super feel good. I do like this new direction that he’s been choosing for his music instead of the pure rap music. I like this style of Jackson Wang more than the bad-ass Jackson Wang a little more. Granted, I do think Papillon is a pretty cool song in general.

I Really Like You – Jerry Yan & Shen Yue
(‘Count Your Lucky Stars’ Ending Theme)

Easily one of my favorite series this year, the main theme for the series is pretty good for Count Your Lucky Stars but I love both Jerry Yan and Shen Yue even if this was a huge gimmick for the Meteor Garden fans (old and new version) but they really do have chemistry even if everyone moaning about the age gap. Back to the music, the ending theme is so cute. Paired up with this video, its just a perfect match and wraps up the really cute vibes from the series.

My Little Night Light 小夜燈 – 鄭欣宜 Joyce Cheng

The latest find for the month has to go to Joyce Cheng’s latest music release. I don’t know if its the fact that I still have a night light or the lyrics itself that seems to really connect with me but this song just tugged at my emotions quite a bit. Its a nice song whether its the melody or the lyrics, its actually quite beautiful.

That’s it for this month’s Music Obsessions!
What have you been listening to?

Book Review: The Water Rat of Wanchai (Ava Lee #1) by Ian Hamilton

Out of a totally spontaneous venture to the bookstore a while back, I bought this book which is the first of a series called The Water Rat of Wanchai.  Why I chose it is because it is set using a female protagonist who is Chinese-Canadian and well, Wanchai is in Hong Kong.  I always like to venture into these sort of books, even though this one, I’ve never heard of before.  Peculiar enough is that the author is not Chinese so I was interested in how authentic the interpretation of it would be. Lets get started with the plot!

the water rate of wanchai coverAva Lee is a Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant living in Toronto.  She affiliates her business with a close family friend called Uncle who is in Hong Kong.  Her job is to take on contracts from people who have had money stolen from them and track down where it has gone, in exchange her service is a commission of the amount she was able to collect back, in full or not.  This time, she is sent to take care of business of a friend of Uncle’s who swam down from mainland China when China was in turmoil.  Its a relationship and bond that can’t be broken.  She needs to help his relative Andrew Tam seek out money that he lent out for a wholesale fish import business that had gone bad and the owners were completely off the radar.

The Water Rat of Wanchai is a very smart novel.  It approaches it in a way where our strong female character leads us onto a journey where we learn about her abilities and how she uses certain qualities to get what she wants with her extremely sensitive observation and analysis skills.  The only issue I had was that at times, Ava Lee was too tough.  Tough to a point where its unrealistic even though the novel aims at possibly being more realistic as its set in very real places around the world.  Sometimes, Ava Lee can also be a character where her feminism is slightly overbearing.  As much as those characteristics may hinder her character, we do get a few surprises to her character.

The most intriguing part of the novel is how the investigation proceeds.  It really pulled me straight into the action and every step of the way, it kept me wondering what Ava Lee would do to solve her problems.  Going into foreign countries and having to deal with other cultures and their own set of politics as well as using many resources to trace where she had to be next to try to retrieve the money.  In many parts, I actually sensed the urgency of the situation and by the end, the book had turned into a page-turner.

The Water Rat of Wanchai has a lot of good features to it and its compelling and engaging to read.  It is a page-turner and a pretty good mystery novel.  Ava Lee is an interesting character to put on paper.  She shows a lot of Chinese values and qualities enveloped with the Canadian born values to mesh into someone who can transform herself to be likable in certain situations.  Forensic accounting would’ve been what I’d have wanted to do if I had become an accountant so to me, it had a even deeper meaning and stronger connection.  I like investigation and analysis in stories and this one did a very good job at it.

Definitely recommend it! As for me, I’ll be looking for the second one in the series soon!

A Word A Week Challenge: Boat

This week, Sue at A Word in Your Ear challenged us with the word BOAT!

Sounds fitting to do this post, since yesterday, I know a certain boat that murdered me yesterday resulting in a day off today and how I just want to lie in bed and when I get up, stretching all those aching muscles!  It resembles something like this

Dragon boat!

Dragon boat!

I love dragonboat but man, yesterday’s practice (after not going for a month) was brutal! My abs and back are especially in pain! Lots of stretching due for the rest of the day…but you know, I LOVE IT! 🙂

Next up, I’m going to continue to use some older pics from within the past few months!

Some of the best are from Hong Kong in last November!

On my way to Lamma Island, surrounded by boats :)

On my way to Lamma Island, surrounded by boats 🙂

 

Fishing boats off of Stanley harbor :)

Fishing boats off of Stanley harbor 🙂

Charlie Brown and Snoopy canoeing at Snoopy World

Charlie Brown and Snoopy canoeing at Snoopy World

After that, we head off to Burlington Waterfront 🙂

Burlington Waterfront!

Burlington Waterfront!

And to bring you all back to home (Montreal), on the Old Port waterfronts we see ships or boats 🙂

at Old Port in Montreal

at Old Port in Montreal

Still counts, right?

My brain is really tired.  So tired that words are actually flowing to my brain but dragonboat did this to me so here we go!

This is my response to Sue at A Word in Your Ear’s A Word A Week Challenge: BOAT and please follow the link HERE to see other fantastic responses 🙂

Cold War (2012)

Prior to this past week or two of movie watching, I’d have to say that Resident Evil: Retribution was almost the best one I saw in 2012 (guilty pleasure and fun).  I still have a lot to catch up and right now, I’m saying that 2012 movies kicked some serious ass.  It was the year of amazing animated films and then we had the record-breaking The Avengers, then yesterday I reviewed The Bullet Vanishes and says that its been a while I’ve seen something so awesome in the Hong Kong industry.  Hong Kong entertainment has successfully regained my hope in it.  Cold War was a masterpiece, okay? Wait, wait…I’m getting ahead of myself!

cold war posterDirector: Sunny Luk, Longmond Leung

Cast: Aaron Kwok, Tony Ka Fai Leung, Kar Lok Chin, Charlie Yeung, Ka Tung Lam, Andy On, Terence Yin, Andy Lau, Michael Wong, Eddie Peng

The Commissioner of Hong Kong Police (Michael Wong) is away for conference to talk about Hong Kong raising itself to be called the safest city in the world through their technology and security systems set up and protocols.  Shortly after their departure, one of their emergency unit vehicles have vanished off the grid and no tracking devices on the 5 officers and the car itself could be located, while at the same time, a building  explodes in the middle of the heart of Hong Kong. The police has to now find the balance between not ruining their safest city reputation but not threatening the citizens either.  Normal protocol is that the Deputy Commissioners usually take over the role as Acting Commissioner to lead the assignment.  Right away, Deputy Commissioner Lee (Tony Ka Fai Leung), responsible for the operations takes the reins and summons everyone to an emergency meeting to start reacting with project “Cold War”. However, Deputy Commissioner of management Lau (Aaron Kwok) forces him off due to his connection to one of the missing officers being his son Joe (Eddie Peng) and takes over the operations instead to prevent him from overreacting and treating the situation too subjectively, especially if this was now considered a kidnapping and possibly a terrorist attack.

Deputy Commissioner Lau and Lee fighting for the role of Acting Commissioner

Deputy Commissioner Lau and Lee fighting for the role of Acting Commissioner

The plot thickens as we hit the continuing plot that enters, but if I told you all that, then what would be the fun of you watching it, right?

This crime thriller is intense as hell! My brain is overloaded by  how to even start describing this.  Its smart and fast-paced.  There will be some twists in the story especially seeing it has a 2 level plot line, that happens where you won’t even guess and then some that you probably might see but still be wowed afterwards.  The story is pretty incredible and held up by literally *almost* everyone in the entertainment business.  Most of them are veteran actors and if they aren’t, they will possibly one day get there.  On the contrary, both directors are green and its their first directing effort but their days working in as art director and assistant director really helped them out.  My mind was totally absorbed and my eyes were glued to the screen. There was some action that had me on the edge of my seat and then some parts that had me wondering who was behind all this.  I mean thats the first thing we, as the audience, and the police want to figure out, right?

Aaron Kwok as Deputy Commissioner/Acting Commissioner Sean Lau

Aaron Kwok as Deputy Commissioner/Acting Commissioner Sean Lau

A lot of you may not know Aaron Kwok but he was red-hot at the same time as Andy Lau.  He was the youngest of the four singers to reign in the industry in the 90s.  I loved this guy for a time even more than I loved Andy Lau as a singer.  When Aaron Kwok first started in movies, he didn’t do that many.  He was in Future Cops (which I reviewed HERE) but it was more of a cameo.  In the past 8-10 years (I have a lot of catching up to do on Hong Kong movies), he’s been staring in a lot of action thrillers.  I have a few that I haven’t seen sitting on my shelf but I’m pulling them out and watching them pronto.  This guy was amazing.  Pllus, there’s this whole having brushes of grey hair showing that makes him even more attractive.  There’s this thing that he does with his eyes to emote that is hilarious but also intensifies the whole situation.  Its awesome! He was totally in the role and man, to see him become such an outstanding actor makes me so proud.

cold war andy lauI talked about Andy Lau before! Hey, whats he doing here? He has a cameo as the Security official and comes out in 2-3 scenes.  What more do I have to say about him.  He’s great.  Now, if we look at Tony Ka Fai Leung who plays Deputy Commissioner Lee, there is really nothing to say.  He’s a Hong Kong equivalent Academy Award Best Actor so his skills are top notch.  I’ve always seen him doing gangster roles or slimmy perverted husbands (like in the horror movie Dumpling).  Seeing him as a police officer was a shock but at the same time, he proved to me that he fit the role even with his strong and stubborn character.  As much as there was a clash with the internal police HQ with the management and operations, they both had amazing sparks every time they hit the screen together.

cold war police

“We Serve with Pride and Care”

On the image above, its to point out, this is the 3rd Chinese movie in a row that I’ve watched with Kar Lok Chin. This guy is not particularly on my radar but from 1995 to his two movies in 2012, I can see now that he’s changed his acting style and especially in this one, he has earned my respect.  This guy came out from doing stunts and in this one, he gets to show off some of it again and goes all Bruce Willis (making fun of himself getting old).  On top of that, on the left standing up, we have Ka Tung Lam.  I’m not sure if anyone knows him but this guy has grown also.  I haven’t seen him in movies in a while (maybe its because I stopped watching it) but he always does these jerk roles but he is quite convincing at them.  One other person I’d like to mention made me jump with absolute joy was the cameo of Commissioner played by Michael Wong.  I haven’t seen the guy in ages.  I used to love his movies, so I was super excited about it 🙂 I kept going through the movie hearing his voice and being like, “hmm, that voice is so familiar.  Who is it?” Then BAM, there is he! *sorry, excuse the minor fan girl moment*

cold war icac confrontation

Awesome crime thriller with so many intense moments.  Loved the whole cast, maybe a bit less the young dude up there, but he was still pretty good.  Its officially my favorite movie of 2012 🙂 I don’t really see how anything else could’ve been better! I’m not going to go on with it because I’ll keep have fangirl moments.  I’m pretty sure they will have a sequel so GO SEE IT (if its accessible to you)!

I’ll leave you and go to my corner and continue drooling over this movie 😉

A Word A Week Photo Challenge: Industrial

This week’s Sue has chosen the word INDUSTRIAL! I spent a whole week taking forever to get this post up…hoping that I would get a chance to walk around Montreal and snap some pictures.  However, work still seems to have rules my life.  At least, I have a long weekend, so what can I complain about?

Instead of Montreal, I bring in more Hong Kong pictures.  I took a lot of pictures so its turning out to be quite useful.  Hong Kong is quite an industrial place filled with industries because of its geographic location and it differs from where you are on the main island, or outlying islands.  The public transportation is very varied.  With the handover, the phenomenon I hate the most and probably could ramble on forever would be the land filling operations. In order to expand the economy, they only way for them to have more space is to fill in the ocean with land.  I extremely hate this.  Hong Kong is essentially a harbor, and what is the meaning of some day just closing up the water.  It wouldn’t be a harbor anymore, right? Anyways, enough of this rambling, it’ll just get me all worked up.

Here are the industrial Hong Kong pictures!

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Ocean side industry and plant

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Not the MTR but another form of train KMR…New Territories public transit

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Boats, cranes, water…My guess is they are filling the ocean…

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Preparing for business

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Fishing Boats (I think)

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Plant on outlying Lamma Island

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Double Decker Bus

Here we go! My interpretation of INDUSTRIAL.  Everything industrial has its good and its bad.  We just always have to hope that industrialization will bring more pros than cons to the society and all other elements involved.

Drop by Sue’s blog A Word in Your Ear to check out this challenge and other responses, or even join in this fun challenge right HERE!

Christmas in Hong Kong!!

After Halloween, it seems to be the cue for all things Christmas to slowly be brought alive everywhere. Hong Kong is no exception.  Christmas lights in Hong Kong are remarkable.  They light up on the big buildings and on both sides of the harbour. All the shopping centers have their own unique themes and decorations.  In 2009, I went in the core of the action so there was more back then.

Its the end of my Hong Kong month but to overlap a bit. It will also start my Christmas month with the decoration I had a chance to see live or even in the process of set up.

Here’s a gallery of it.  If you want to see where it was, just roll over the pictures, it will show you the location.

A lot of places were just having it go up so its not in abundance.

I promise you more pictures when I go shopping mall hopping this weekend and shoot lots of Christmas decor in Montreal and the suburbs.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

I love reflections, especially in the water.  Seeing as this is still the weekend and I’m wrapping up Hong Kong month.  There were a few more photos from Ocean Park that was all about REFLECTIONS, but this time its the magic of REFLECTIONS in the mirror.

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Thats right! I do that sometimes when I don’t want to buy something. I try it on and take a picture for memories.

Its usually funky hats or headbands in this case.  Do you do it?

Next up, I took you to Sea Jelly Spectacular in Part 2: Ocean Park.  The key to that exhibit was how it was a kaleidoscope concept so we were surrounded by mirrors.

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No one did this when I was there.  Everyone was mesmerized by the actual tank of jellyfish and I was too.

The wall around us was full of mirrors.  Just look at this reflection…isn’t it amazing?

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Can you tell which one is the actual tank and which one is the reflection?

Part 2: Ocean Park Hong Kong

When we get off the Ocean Express, we are at the summit of the park. This is where the fun begins.  If you are into roller coasters, here is where you’ll find all those goodies.  I wasn’t there for the amusement park and still I didn’t have time to finish seeing everything. So I’m telling you right now, its BIG! Ocean Park has developed in a crazy way.  There are rides, performing shows with dolphins and seals, walruses, you name it! and they also have a bird show.

First stop at the summit: THE RAINFOREST

I’ve never been to the rainforest (although I’d love to go one day) but here’s what seems to be there. There are little cute monkeys, lots of insects, spiders, frogs, and snakes etc.  And to make things feel just even more awesome: we have the Toucan.  I love Toucans! Just look at how beautiful they are!

Another worth mentioning is Hercules Beetle up there, he is the strongest animal in the world proportional to his size. He can lift 850 times his own body weight.  Amazing stuff, right?

The rainforest was a new addition in the last 3 years so to me, it was still new.  But the next part is the fresh addition apparently.

We’re heading into Polar Spectacular where we have North and South Pole in two separate exhibits but right next to each other.  I was really excited because I read in the newspaper that they had new baby walrus additions to their families.  Unfortunately I didn’t get to see them.  So it made this area a little more normal.

In North Pole, we have our seals and walruses.  The amazing part was that you walked into this tunnel right under where they swam so it felt like you were underwater.  Just look at this, it felt amazing!

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Then in the South Pole, we had penguins.  They had water splashed all over the glass so it was hard to take good pictures. Here’s one to see these penguins, there were also emperor penguins.

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After that, we walked to the other side and went to one of the original exhibits (in my memory): The Pacific Pier. Have you seen the coast of San Francisco with all the seals sunbathing on the rock? I’ve heard that doesn’t happen anymore, I’m not sure if thats true.  But this part is exactly like that. Except they have people go in to take care of them and feed them to make them do a few tricks.

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After that we got a bit lost looking for the next exhibit, in the middle we took the ride to see the view around Ocean Park and it was beautiful.

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Eventually we did find our way and was the last group to go in to see the SEA JELLY SPECTACULAR! I love this one a lot!

After that was time to go back to the main area on Cable Car and we get the beautiful night view as we took it down. I’m frightfully scared of heights so when we hit the ending area going downhill, I always feel a bit edgy.  I was so glad to reach land…only to be able to catch the Water Fountain Show with fireworks and spitting fire and projections.

That was my fun day at Ocean Park. If you want to visit the Part 1, you can click HERE

Part 1: Ocean Park Hong Kong

Ocean Park Hong Kong is the best park in my book thats in Hong Kong, surpassing by miles Disneyland Hong Kong.

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This park is separated into two areas.  That is one thing that needs to be set out front.  So I’m going to separate my posts into two.  This one is based on the areas in the main area.  Here you will also find the Journey that I took down Old Hong Kong Street from A Word A Week Challenge: Journey from two weeks ago or so.  Other than that there are a few areas that I enjoy visiting.

First one we went to was the Grand Aquarium. Its pretty much like walking through a gigantic fish tank and then walking through the ocean at other times.

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Here are some discoveries I found:

We have the lobsters which are normal. We also have these cute little ones called Weedy Seadragons and Leafy Seadragons.  I find that so adorable.  Then of course we have our seahorse.  Look at that school of fish.  It was a whole path with different mirrors and circles to look through to project them right up until we reached the tube with this swarm of fishes.  It was so pretty.  I can’t show you everything here but there were all sorts of ocean animals from small to big.

After that we went to see the Pandas in the first exhibit which is now called Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures. These pandas were given as gifts from China in 1997 to celebrate the Hong Kong Handover.  They only had one of them there when we were.  Their names are An An and Jia Jia.  Here we have An An sleeping…comfortable? He was born in 1986 (The same year as me!).

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In the same exhibit, the other treasures are these two beautiful female monkeys called Hu Hu and Le Le.

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The other exhibit which is I love was featured before and its the other exhibit called Amazing Asian Animals.

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These ones here are the start at the Gator Marsh and its Chinese Alligators.

The next stop is Pandas. This exhibit features two pandas called Ying Ying and Le Le, who were gifts from China in 2007 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Handover.

That day only one was present that day also.

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So now the next one is the ancient one which is critically endangered and its the Chinese Giant Salamander.

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So here you have the main area of Ocean Park. I’ll be back later on with the part on the summit after we took the Ocean Express Summit Tram.

A Word A Week Challenge: Celebration

After long thought, I decided to use this celebration at Clearwater Bay as the focus for A Word In Your Ear’s A Word In A Week Challenge. Join this challenge HERE!

If you have followed my Hong Kong month, after that wonderful lunch at C-Jade Kitchen, we hurried off to Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club. You usually had to members to get in but we managed because my mom’s best friend’s brother is a the manager and they  had a stall to sell stuff that day.  So, we had a chance to visit.  It was at the Marina.  This event was to celebrate their 30th ANNIVERSARY. The theme was Magic Wonderland.  It was full of Alice in Wonderland themes and backdrops.

It was pretty nice event with lots of fun little things to do.

So here you go, an idea of what there was at this beautiful event.  They had boards and even ones where you could stand behind backdrops and take pictures along with backdrop decors along paths. Down near the water, we saw all the yachts parked there.  As the day drew to a close, there were people on their actual yachts.  There were two boats opened for visit: one was the police surveillance boat and the other was one that all brown…I don’t know the purpose of this one as they asked us to take off our shoes and the line was immense to go up, so I didn’t.

Back at the main grounds, we had little mascot animals everywhere: cow, duck, monkey and actual human disguise with a swan, peacock and the guy up there is probably some wild animal, leopard perhaps.  I’m not quite sure.  What do you think?

As any events, they had guests, first up was Bubbles Lady up there who made the biggest bubble.  I feature that up there along with bubble tiaras and all sorts of interesting tricks.  The second guest was the feature of this event, a magician called Ryan Joyce.  He’s up there in my gallery with this twist of hula hoops.  He also showed us a few tricks.

The event came to a close at 5pm just as the skies started getting dark and the winds hit us extremely hard.  I’d say that we were lucky, wouldn’t you? The skies graced us with decent weather all day for this celebration.