Mmmm…Only Cuppa Coffee

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Mmmm…Only Cuppa Coffee

Buy me a cup of coffee. I love coffee. I drink coffee 24 x 7. More so, when I write articles. Donate $5.00 for a cup of coffee. You can buy me a cup of coffee once, or once a week, or everyday for that matter. This could inspire me to write more. Any money leftover from the cost of a cup of coffee per day and other expenses; will be donated to buying someone in need of a cup of coffee, a meal or food groceries. We care. We share.

$5.00

DID ANY GOOD COME OUT OF THE “BRITISH COMMONWEALTH”?

The recent passing of an icon of monarchies, if I may put it that way; has left a void in the “system”. Queen Elizabeth II was ruler over Great Britain, the British Empire / the British Commonwealth for 70 years. Most (all) of the countries that were a part of the British Empire are self-rule now and are members of the British Commonwealth. She was also “Head of State” for some of the countries in the Commonwealth like Australia and New Zealand, for example.

Why do I say “icon”? When you talk “king”, “queen”, “royalty”; more often than not, Queen Elizabeth and the British royal family come to mind. No way does this downplay the importance or stature of royalty of other kingdoms. It is just that the British royal family is more in the news in this part of the world.

Why do I say “system”? Maybe, establishment is a better word to describe monarchies / kingdoms, so on and so forth. King Charles III, has a huge role to play in order to come out of the shadows of Queen E II, his mother; and perhaps, surpassing it.

Coming back to the passing of Queen E II. Her funeral was on September 19th, with thousands of people paying their last respects to her.

There were also groups of anti-royals, monarchies, etc, that chose this time to vent their anti-ismness. They have their reasons to vent against colonialization. I am not going to debate their reasons or give my views here, in this article.

It made me think: Did any good come out of this “British Commonwealth?”

I think people moved about and travelled to countries more freely, maybe with a feeling of being “safer” or accustomed to “being within the same umbrella of nations called The British Commonwealth”. If not, neither I and my siblings will not be here.

My grandfather on my father’s side (my father’s father) came from then known Ceylon to Malaya somewhere in the late 1920s or early 1930s. I am not sure whether he was in the British army at that time. My father’s father married my father’s mother and they had my father and his 5 siblings. That’s only half of the equation.

Charles & Julia Atkinson – Their wedding.

The Atkinsons in the 1970s

The other half of the equation is my mother. My grandfather and grandmother on my mother’s side, i.e. my mother’s parents, were also “imports”. They were both from Goa, which is on the central eastern part of India.

My mother’s parents first came to then Malaya, in the early 1900s. My mother’s father first brought orchestral music to silent theaters at that time.

The Gomes family – 1970s

The result of my father’s father and my mother’s parents coming to Malaya: My siblings and me…My uncles, aunts and their children, too. We are just a couple of families that are here as living proof, amongst the millions of others who share the same journey path as mine.

The Atkinson and Gomes families

So, yes, I believe there was a lot of good that came about the collaboration of countries within the British Commonwealth.

If groups of people want to propagate and champion ill-will and division among men; there are plenty of excuses (reasons?) to churn up. That’s the easy part.

I am all for propelling goodness, equality to all men, peace and kindness. Now, that’s a challenge. Anyone game for it?

“We Are Family”: Sister Sledge and Chic

As for my weight-watching, what is that?

Working, working, working at reducing weight…to bring it down to the accepted weight range according to fitness or health “experts”. Not sure if they have a life but…just kidding. We have to anchor our belief system in all we do to get to that “order” or “common ground” which the majority agrees as common ground.

Then, this has to happen. Why? Delicious meehoon siam with sambal and potato cutlet.

Jeannie, my wife; went out with her mother (my mother-in-law, for the uninitiated😉) to this famous, super popular Makchik and Pakchik nasi lemak stall in SS18, Subang Jaya. Aunty Maryjane Atkinson, who introduced this place to us; speaks so highly about the nasi lemak from this food vendor.

I love rice, even until today though I have stopped eating rice for nearly 15 years. If nasi lemak was served to me, I will eat everything but the rice. Strong💪 will power.

This same stall also sells meehoon siam. Since Jeannie and her mother were buying packets of nasi lemak for themselves, they decided to buy meehoon siam for me.

Though this meehoon siam is not same as the legendary famous meehoon siam of the hawker who had his 3-wheeler bicycle parked in front of La Salle School, Klang; every school day in the late 1960s to the early 1970s; it is still unabashedly tasty. To top it, Jeannie asked to add in a side order – potato cutlet!

What made it difficult for me was I on most days, do not have breakfast or lunch. I have been on this regime for the last couple of months. So, yeah.. I am putting in the effort to keep my weight down.

No way was this meehoon siam going to make it through dinner. Jeannie had her fill from the nasi lemak she had before coming home. That is why I cannot provide pictures here of this awesome nasi lemak. Though I have not seen this nasi lemak myself, just the thought itself, makes me drool over it.

The meehoon siam, with its sweetish, not too spicy sambal and the potato cutlet. Yum!

The generous serving of meehoon siam came wrapped in a sort of waxed paper. Open the packet, the food is on a banana leaf. It is said that the banana leaf has healthy nutrients that enhance the food that is on it. I am not going to get into those details or question the validity of the healthy nutrients that are said to come with it. To me, the banana leaf sort of added on to the presentation of this meal.

This meehoon siam was delicious. Your first forkful enters your mouth and it sets the mood. The meehoon by itself was a little plain or bland. The generous serving of sambal complemented the noodles well. The sambal was not too spicy It was on the sweet side. Malay cuisine generally tend to be on the sweet side. This whole meal was wolfed down in no time at all. My compliments to the chef.

Guys n gals, if you are in Subang Jaya, head over to SS18 to get yourselves packets of nasi lemak and meehoon siam from this Makchik and Pakchik stall. No need for addresses or maps – the wonderful smells (aroma) from this food fills the whole area and will be able to attract you to their stall.

As for my weight-watching, what is that? Damage control – Actually, I took to the street for my 10 kilometer walk shortly after lunch. No, not due to guilt that I ate lunch. It is just that I had to compensate for eating lunch. Also, it was my routine daily walk.

Words from a 96-year old, two times Prime Minister, the second Premiership stint was at his age of 95; “If you love the food, eat a little bit, not too much”. This was in response to a question as to how he managed to stay slim. Wise words from him, who is also a medical doctor by profession.

NOTES:
1. Subang Jaya is a city in the state of Selangor, Malaysia.
2. “Makchik” is a Malay word which means “aunty”.
3. “Pakchik” is a Malay word which means “uncle”.
4. Nasi lemak and meehoon siam are favourite Malaysian local meals.

When To Let Go

Signs, messages, writings on the wall…all leading to the same…

It is important to know when to let go. Sometimes things, situations or people don’t serve any meaningful purpose anymore. What does not lift you up, pulls you down.

It is time for a new beginning, the next phase. Read the signs and move on.

~ ALAN IAN ATKINSON
Writer, Author, Storyteller

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AM I MELLOWING?

It feels great after the nice warm shower I just had. I don’t usually take a warm shower unless I get caught in the rain.

Caught in the rain, I was. It looked its usual as it has been doing so in the last few days. In fact “it”, the rain, that is; tapered to a few drops here and there – is sort of saying, “ok, you can come out of your house now. Don’t worry, these tiny drops that I am sprinkling in the air, these drops that are lighter than the flakes of powder that come out of a talcum powder container, they ain’t gonna hurt you (guess which English this is). So, come out, come out, wherever you are.

Out I went, to do my 10 kilometer walk. Though it was shortly after noon; the sun was blazing hot. Technically speaking, the sun is not directly overhead in Subang Jaya, at least in USJ 4 until 1.00pm Malaysia time (+8hrs GMT). This has been proven as a fact.

I walk a 1.56km distance each lap (loop), around my neighbourhood. Part of each lap involves walking between the side lanes between houses. The houses have been built in the direction that while the sun is rising in the east, it casts a shadow of that end (intermediate) house in the opposite direction in the west. When the sun begins to set in the west; it will cast a shadow of the opposite end (intermediate) house, in the opposite direction.

What we learnt in school is that when the sun is directly overhead us, we won’t have a shadow. But that does not seem to apply here. The shadow only disappears when the sun is at 1.00pm. This goes to prove the fact that the sun is directly overhead us at 12.00pm if we are on the equator. Which Malaysia is not. Malaysia, being near the equator does not count. I found it interesting because from school days, I always thought the sun was directly overhead us at noon. Now, I know it isn’t. Can we say the sun begins to set after 1.00pm?

We are so caught up in the big picture or looking for the big picture in life that we seem to miss out on nature which paints a new picture on it’s “canvass of the day” or a “photo snapshot of the day”, everyday.

My wife, Jeannie; will always comment on the beauty of the sunset. She is always thrilled, always in awe about it’s presentation each day. She says the sunset is different at the beach, up in Cameron Highlands when we sit on a garden bench at the Arcadia residence, different in Vasenello, Italy… My reply usually is, “it’s the same sun, any part of the world we are in” and will hardly glance at the sunset, taking it for granted. It is not.

The Sun is the same, yes. When you come to think of it, every sunset presents a different piece of art. The patterns, the hues and shades of the different colours in the skies at a sunset can be breathtaking.

One more step towards appreciating life – something that is often taken for granted.

I am beginning to understand that finding little things in life can make life interesting. Am I mellowing? I don’t know. What I do know is I am looking forward to how this evening will be displaying its sunset. Anyone game for sunset gazing?

USJ 4/4, Sunset Strip.

Decisions, Decisions

You are going through a major life challenge. The situation seems bleak. You have two choices: stay in that situation or overcome it.

Nothing is permanent. You’re not stuck.

You can rise up from anything. Believe.

You can think new thoughts. You can learn something new. Create new habits.

What matters most is that you decide today and never look back.

~ ALAN IAN ATKINSON
Writer, Author, Storyteller

Canciello

Uncle Gerald – Member of The Gomes Kids of Lorong Hicks Road.

How can you give when you’ve given all you’ve got?

You’re giving is not a bottomless pit, or an overflowing endless waterfall, though it may seem like that it is one.

During that time of giving, you did not spend much time in replenishing your giving, all that was out.

Uncle Geraldo – 87 years old.

It was Uncle Gerald’s (mum’s brother) birthday yesterday, September 19th. Jeannie and I paid him a visit. As we got near the home, we actually overshot it by a few doors. I think it was because the familiar sign “No visitors allowed” was not up any longer.

We were told by one of the caregiver’s to go in straight to his room. This is a fairly new term to me – “caregiver”. I was first introduced to this term when dad came out of hospital after the accident he had over a year and a half ago, where he slipped, fell and injured his leg. The hospital had a metal plate bolted on him with screws, I think.

Sorry, I took a short ice-cream break – I had a Magnum “Belgian Chocolate Luxe” – Magnum’s best ice-cream with rich, dark chocolate ice-cream inside. The outside is Magnum’s signature chocolate body. This one is dotted with crisp rice pops. I love it! The dark chocolate ice-cream is supposed to be the consoling part – dark chocolate…healthier than normal chocolate. Whatever…! It was madnessly sweet.

It just so happened that I passed by a mirror after finishing the Magnum “Belgian Chocolate Luxe”. Deng! Deng! Deng! For a few what seemed like very long milliseconds, I could only see my stomach. Like an after thought, the rest of me followed. I am trying not to feel too guilty here. Like most days. I skipped breakfast and lunch, went for my brisk 10km walk (clocked a favourable time), weighed in at 72kg (1.5kg overweight), picked Jeannie up from work and had two roti canai with some fried chicken at The Taj Curry House. So, it should be good, right?

Uncle Gerald was so happy to see us. He told us that my brother Malcolm, our cousin’s son, William; and a few others had visited him. He also had many calls come in, even while we were there.

At 87, he had resigned himself to a small room with his bed, a 2-door wardrobe for his clothes, and a small sort of cupboard for his valuable and other belongings. He had a small Samsung Tablet and his smartphone to keep him in touch with the world; just like his father, Oli Papa, my grandfather on my mother’s side.

Oli Papa had been blind for about 50 years. Everyday, he would sit by his PIE radio and tune in to the radio stations around the world to keep him abreast with the latest that was going on in the world.

I remember seeing a radio that was Oli Papa’s everyday companion; quite similar to this PYE radio. Oli Papa also smoked a cigar a day and had a glass of neat brandy. He knew how to live life.

Uncle Gerald donated his big house to the church, sold whatever he could sell and donated that money away. Now, confined to his room, he spends time on his tablet. I wonder if he stays in his room because there are quite a few eligible ladies staying in that house with him. I am sure they may want to share more than a few bible verses with him. Uncle Gerald never married. So, here’s his chance to go dating.

A teacher before, he still applies that method of explanation for most things. He throws in a few metaphors here and there. His diction of the English language, the Queen’s English, i.e.; is at its best, as usual.

Uncle Gerald longs for all his nephews, nieces, other family members and friends to visit him. He welcomes all visitors and will scratch off all his scheduled plans for the day, just to spend time with those who visit him. His mind and memory are still sharp so he will know you are when you visit him.

Should he have gone to stay in a home? I don’t think he should have thrown in the towel just yet. He probably did not explore all avenues before he did so. This is only my view. I may not have delved deeply into the underlying factors as to why the old folks home. There may be a fair maiden there, we never know. He may just pull a rabbit out of the hat.

NOTES:
Founding Member of “The Gomes Kids Of Lorong Hicks Road” – 1930s, Japanese Occupation of Malaya: WW2, 1950s

SINGING IN THE RAIN, THE NEAR PERFECT WEATHER. AND LANGSAT

1.19pm in the autumn afternoon. As I turn my head to my left and look outside past the semi-opaque curtains, through the glass sliding door, then, past the grill-gate, the autumn weather has thrown a gloomy shadow over the area.

I thought I’d go out for my 10 kilometer walk. The “gloomy shadow over the area” is a bit of a frown, bringing the rain with it. If I go for my walk now, people will mistake me with my umbrella for Gene Kelly. That guy can almost sing and dance like me. Ask my wife, Jeannie. She knows. “Jeannie? Jeannie? Where are you?” Ok ok. My head must be up in the clouds – indication of the rain clouds being quite low? Just foolin’ (speaking and spellin’ the “American” way, after watching a “Dry Bar Comedy clip) around.

On a quiet (very quiet) Sunday afternoon, I thought I’d give my computer keyboard and fingers a short rest, and go for that “thought-about”, talked-about walk. As I started my brisk walk, the raindrops had shrunk to tiny, fine drops. The rain stopped after half a kilometer into my walk.

By this time, the weather was beautiful. The sun was tucked away somewhere, it could not be see though the sky was clear from any clouds. The air was so clean and refreshing. There was a cool, gentle breeze blowing, throughout the walk, so much so, my walk was very pleasant.

As I walked around our neighbourhood, I could not help but notice that most of my neighbours were indoors, not outside; to enjoy the near perfect weather we were having.

While on my brisk walk to keep up with a certain basic health routine I set for myself; I thought about the current trending topic: as inflation has hit a high of 4.4% (the last time I checked) in Malaysia; Bank Negara, the Central Bank of Malaysia has raised the overnight policy rate (OPR) 3 times in quick succession. In layman’s terms, it just means your cost of borrowing loans has gone up three times.

This move is supposed to bring inflation down. Really? I mean really?

Sure it is supposed to make sense. Too much of cash chasing too few items. Then again, who is spending what money?

So, one would think we should be worried about this, right? Wrong. At least it sure seems the people aren’t worried. At the crowded shopping mall that I was at yesterday, I saw sales was brisk. People were buying like there was no tomorrow.

Recently, a news report stated that motor vehicles sales had surpassed the record of pre-pandemic times.

All this shopping economics seem good for the economy. 15 years ago, a very intelligent young 5-year old girl once told me, “Daddy, now that man is rich”, when I paid him cash for the new phone I bought from the store. I asked her what she meant. She said, “You gave him your money”. I said, “Yes, but I bought this new phone from him”. She replied, “Yes, but he’s got your money”.

As I seemed to be thinking deeper into this inflation, interest rates, spending money; suddenly dukong langsat crossed my mind.

It is past mid-September. I have yet to have had any langsat for this year. Known as langsat, duku langsat, dukong or dokong langsat; this local fruit is a “must-have”.

This fruit is soft, looks like jelly, but firmer; slightly juicy, sweet and slightly sour, but mostly sweet. Put one in your mouth, and you will be reaching out for the next one and the next and the next. To get the best out of it, it has to be put in the fridge for a couple of hours before eating it. Cold is nice. At least that is the way I like it.

Sinaharian.

Sells at an average price of US$2.20 (RM10) for 3kg; it is usually available in plentiful at the fruit-shops or sold by road-side vendors, langsat won’t disappoint. I am sure like everything else, the price would have surely gone up.

Oh yeah…For those people who are easily prone to flu; I don’t recommend walking in the rain, let alone singing and dancing in it.

NOTES:
Lansium parasiticum, commonly known as langsat, lanzones or longkong in English; duku in Indonesian or dokong in Terengganu Malay, is a species of tree in the Mahogany family with commercially cultivated edible fruits. The species is native to Southeast Asia. Wikipedia