Sunday, August 26, 2012

Neil Armstrong - First Man On The Moon

Neil Armstrong passed away on August 25, 2012 at the age of 82.

He will always be honoured as the first man on the moon.

Read all about him from Wikipedia.

Neil Alden Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012) was an American astronaut, test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor and United States Naval Aviator.

He was the first person to walk on the Moon.

Before becoming an astronaut, Armstrong was a United States Navy officer and had served in the Korean War.

After the war, he served as a test pilot at the National Advisory Committee For Aeronautics High-Speed Flight Station, now known as the Dryden Flight Research Centre, where he logged over 900 flights.

He graduated from Purdue University and the University Of Southern California.

A participant in the US Air Force's Man In Space Soonest and X-20 Dyna-Soar human spaceflight programmes, Armstrong joined the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1962.

His first spaceflight was the NASA Gemini 8 mission in 1966, for which he was the command pilot, becoming one of the first US civilians in space.

On this mission, he performed the first manned docking of two spacecraft with pilot David Scott.

Armstrong's second and last spaceflight was as mission commander of the Apollo 11 moon landing in July 1969.

On this mission, Armstrong and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin descended to the lunar surface and spent 2½ hours exploring, while Michael Collins remained in orbit in the Command Module.

Armstrong was awarded the Presidential Medal Of Freedom by President Richard Nixon along with Collins and Aldrin, the Congressional Space Medal Of Honour by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, and the Congressional Gold Medal by President Barack Obama in 2009.

Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, to Stephen Koenig Armstrong and Viola Louise Engel.

He was of British and German descent, and had two younger siblings, June and Dean.

Stephen Armstrong worked as an auditor for the Ohio state government.

His love for flying began when his father took him at 2 to the Cleveland Air Races.

On July 20, 1936, when he was 6, he experienced his first airplane flight in Warren, Ohio, when he and his father took a ride in a Ford Trimotor, also known as the "Tin Goose".

Armstrong began taking flying lessons and at 15 he earned his flight certificate.

Armstrong was active in the Boy Scouts and he eventually earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

As an adult, he was recognised by the Boy Scouts Of America with its Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and Silver Buffalo Award.

On July 18, 1969, while flying towards the Moon inside the Columbia, he greeted the Scouts: "I'd like to say hello to all my fellow Scouts and Scouters at Farragut State Park in Idaho having a National Jamboree there this week, and Apollo 11 would like to send them best wishes".

After Armstrong retired from NASA in 1971, he avoided offers from businesses to act as a spokesman.

The first company to successfully approach him was Chrysler, for whom he appeared in advertising starting in January 1979.

Armstrong thought they had a strong engineering division, plus they were in financial difficulty.

He acted as a spokesman for other companies, including General Time Corporation and the Bankers Association Of America. He acted as a spokesman for US businesses only.

Along with spokesman duties, he also served on the board of directors of several companies, including Marathon Oil, Learjet, Cinergy (Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company), Taft Broadcasting, United Airlines, Eaton Corporation, AIL Systems, and Thiokol.

Armstrong was twice married.

He visited Malaysia in 2005 as part of the then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's government's Global Leadership Forum.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tony Scott - Acclaimed British Filmmaker

It is a tragedy that Tony Scott, the younger brother of another acclaimed British filmmaker Ridley Scott has passed on.

Read all about Tony Scott from Wikipedia.

Anthony Scott (June 21, 1944 - August 19, 2012) was a British film director best known for the films Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop 2, Crimson Tide, Enemy Of The State, Spy Game, Man On Fire, The Taking Of Pelham 123 and Unstoppable.

He was the younger brother of fellow film director Ridley Scott.

Scott was born in North Shields, the son of Colonel Francis Scott.

His first foray into filmmaking was not from behind the camera, but in front of it.

At 16, Tony appeared in Boy And Bicycle, a short film marking the directorial debut of his then 23-year-old brother Ridley.

He followed in his brother's footsteps, studying at Grangefield School, West Hartlepool College Of Art and Sunderland Art School, the last for a fine arts degree.

He subsequently graduated from the Royal College Of Art.

It was only the success of his elder brother's fledging television commercial production outfit, Ridley Scott Associates (RSA), that turned his attentions towards film.

In the course of the next two decades, Scott directed thousands of television commercials for RSA, while also overseeing the company's operation during periods in which his brother was developing his feature film career.

Tony also took time out in 1975 to direct an adaptation of the Henry James story The Author Of Beltraffio for French television, a project he landed by virtue of winning a coin-flip against his brother.

After the considerable feature film successes of fellow British commercial directors Hugh Hudson, Alan Parker, Adrian Lyne and his elder brother in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Scott began to receive overtures from Hollywood himself in 1980.

Among the projects interesting him was an adaptation of the Anne Rice novel Interview With The Vampire then in development.

In 1982, Scott began production on The Hunger.

The Hunger starred David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve as chic Manhattan socialite vampires, desperately searching for a medical cure to arrest Bowie's rapid aging.

Willem Dafoe was introduced on film via a small, walk-on part in the film.

The Hunger had elaborate photography and sumptuous production design, unlike many pictures at the time of its release in 1983.

The picture failed to find an audience, received harsh reviews by critics and was ignored at the box office (though it later became a cult favourite).

Finding himself largely unemployable in Hollywood for the next two and a half years, Scott returned to commercials and music videos.

In 1985, producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer signed Scott to direct Top Gun.

Both of them were among the few admirers of The Hunger during its initial release.

Simpson and Bruckheimer had settled upon choosing Scott largely on the basis of a commercial he had done for Swedish automaker Saab in the early 1980s - in the spot, a Saab 900 turbo is shown racing a Saab 37 Viggen fighter jet.

Scott, though reluctant at first, agreed on directing Top Gun, one of the highest-grossing films of 1986, taking in more than US$176 million, and making a star of its young lead, Tom Cruise.

Following Top Gun's success, Scott found himself on Hollywood's A list of action directors.

He reteamed with Simpson and Bruckheimer in 1987 to direct Eddie Murphy and Brigitte Nielsen in the highly anticipated sequel Beverly Hills Cop 2.

Once again directing Tom Cruise, Scott returned to the Simpson-Bruckheimer fold to helm the big-budget film Days of Thunder in 1990.

Scott teamed up with Denzel Washington on The Taking Of Pelham 123, which also starred John Travolta in 2009.

The film was a remake of the 1974 film of the same title starring Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw.

In 2010, the Scott brothers produced the feature film adaptation of the television series The A-Team.

He also directed Unstoppable with Washington and Chris Pine.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Datuk Punch Gunalan - Badminton Master

Datuk Punch Gunalan, who passed away after a long illness on Aug 15, 2012 at 68 will always be honoured by Malaysians as the country's foremost Badminton Master.

From Salak Tinggi (Sepang) in Selangor, he is regarded as one of Malaysia's finest doubles and singles badminton players.

He first represented the country in the Thomas Cup in 1970 and became the country's top doubles team with Datuk Ng Boon Bee in the 1970s.

They were the world's leading men's doubles team throughout the decade, winning All England and the US, Canadian and Danish Opens.

Since his retirement in the late 1970s, he had coached and managed the national badminton team. He also became an official of the International Badminton Federation.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Lin Dan - King Of World Badminton

From Wikipedia.

Lin Dan (born October 14, 1983 in Longyan, Fujian) is a professional badminton player from China.

He is a two-time Olympic champion, four-time world champion and five-time All England champion.

Widely considered to be the greatest badminton player of all time, Lin had completed the Super Grand Slam by 28, having won all nine major titles in world badminton: Olympic Games, World Championships, World Cup, Thomas Cup, Sudirman Cup, Super Series Masters Finals, All England Open, Asian Games and Asia Championships, the only player to achieve this feat.

Lin Dan also became the first men's singles player to retain the Olympic gold medal by winning in 2008 and defending his title in 2012.

He has been nicknamed Super Dan by his fans.

Lin has played badminton since he was five.

He joined his national badminton squad at 13.

He is married to former world champion Xie Xingfang.

Datuk Lee Chong Wei - Malaysia's Badminton King

From Wikipedia.

Datuk Lee Chong Wei (born October 21, 1982 in Bagan Serai, Perak) is a professional badminton player from Malaysia who hails from Bukit Mertajam, Penang.

As a singles player, Lee was ranked first worldwide for 199 consecutive weeks from August 21, 2008 to June 14, 2012.

He is the third Malaysian men's singles shuttler after Rashid Sidek and Roslin Hashim to achieve such a ranking and the only Malaysian shuttler to hold the ranking for more than two weeks.

Lee is a silver medalist in both the 2012 Olympic Games and 2008 Olympic Games, the first Malaysian to reach the final of the men's singles and ended Malaysia's Olympic medal drought since the 1996 Games.

His 2008 achievement earned him the title Datuk from the 13th King of Malaysia Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, the Sultan of Terengganu.

Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is an ardent fan of Lee.

He is the most successful Malaysian Olympian in history.

In his early years, Lee favoured basketball.

Lee took interest in badminton at 11.

He joined the national squad at 17.

Lee's autobiography Dare To Be A Champion was published on January 18, 2012.