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

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY

Here’s wishing, Laura & James, Myers family, Janet & family, Richard Black, Duesterhaus family, mates from La Salle Klang: Shan Kulasingam, Ooi Beng Hoe, Eddy Low, Carol Gomez and all Americans – HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY (Fourth of July)!

Justin McCue, Fourth of July Fireworks shows on Long Island, NY! July 1st 2019

Reina Del Cid: My Country “Tis of Thee (Land of Inequity)

The FOLD 3 IN YOUR POCKET, FOLDED

Bits of plastic coming off my Fold…Actually it’s just bits of the plastic wrap around the Fold, that is often overlooked, coming off the Fold. These bits are peeling off the sides of the Fold.

Plastic peeling off the sides.

I still believe this is the way smartphones are heading towards. Folderables and the prototype roll-out screen gets bigger / roll-in scroll becomes smaller.

I’ve had the Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 for about 3 and a half months. now. (If you notice that in my past few articles I have been using “and a half” instead of “.5” or “0.5”. “And a half” sounds nicer, don’t you think?) Mine is the Phanthom Silver colour. Whether it offers the same high standards as the Rolls Royce because it shares the same spelling of its”Phanthom” model or not; that is up to the individual owner to judge.😉

A bit of a fumble to open and close it.

Though the fold phones / folderables or foldies (terms used mainly for folding bicycles) have had resistance to being accepted just like the phablets (Samsung Note) smartphones experienced initially, the tide has changed with Samsung’s 3rd iteration of its Samsung Fold and Flip phones. There will be the group of those “diehards” who won’t jump the sinking ship of the “standard” smartphone. I believe the plug has been pulled out and the ship is actually sinking…slowly but still sinking.

In this respect, I could be considered a “Benedict Arnold” as I was not and am still not loyal to any brand or type of smartphone. So, I, the captain of the ship; “abandons ship” by switching to the latest phone, more like the latest technology and specifications a smartphone has to offer.😂 (I’ve got to do something about getting better emojis instead of these worn out smiley faces).

The Fold 3, when folded shut, feels compact and comfortable to hold in my hand because it is much narrower in width than most other flagship smartphones. My phone has been in its original Samsung flip cover Fold case, with a nifty S-Pen Silo that holds the S-Pen on the fold of the case. The Silo sits in a groove on the spine of the case. The silo can be removed by sliding it off when you don’t need to have the S-Pen around. I leave it on all the time. The narrow width advantage is lost with the additional thickness coming from the S-Pen. I can leave with it.

The flip seems to have lost its stiffness when it is closed. It does not close fully over the screen now, as it did when I first had it.

When I removed the phone from the case; I noticed that it did not collect as much dirt as phones with other cases would.

The flip cover as it is now.
The flip cover: Almost perfect close

There are times when the phone becomes more than I care to handle. The cover seems to be in the way when a call comes in. Generally, we have to flip the cover open to use the phone. I should not be complaining about this as I should expect this of a cover. Yes. It can become more than I care to handle when I am trying to type answer a message in a car or a tight space. It is fiddly. Now, that I am on a roll….let’s see.

When I want to open the phone, I usually have the phone in both hands, using my left hand and mainly my thumb, to grab the side of the Fold 3 (next to the on / off button) and pry open. The huge pain here is that it can be quite slippery. My thumb has slipped on more than one occasion and hit the edge of the screen protector, forcing it to partially lift off from the screen. An improvement could be this thumb grip area, adding a sort of rough ridge. Definitely a grip improvement.

The solid spine or backbone of the Fold 3.

The camera housing bump.

The camera bump looks a bit rough around the edges.

The Sportify music coming from the Google Home Mini: Australian Crawl’s “Downhearted”. Love this group for their unusual, yet entertaining music. They made Australia unique. The Voice (Whitney Houston’s nickname) “I Want To Dance with Somebody” and “One Moment In Time”

Coming back to the camera. The “island bump” does not look all that great now. Looking at the picture on the left, it seems the camera slab is fused on to the phone back. This slab does not allow the phone to lay flat on when it is put down. There is a bit of a rocking motion. I guess we can live with that.

As for the cameras themselves, they perform pretty well. Unfortunately, not the latest which means it is not the greatest. But they do take pretty good shots. Really,…how many people out there are gonna demand Leica “R” or “M” series or Hasselblad’s famed large format quality shots? How many are going to be able to frame, set aperture, shutter speed, light exposure for every picture they take with their smartphone. Admittedly, it would be nice to have, though.

AS for the UDC (Under Display Camera) on the main open screen, the pictures, the video…ok la. I mainly used this camera for my video calls on Whatsapp or Messenger. As long as people don’t say, “Looks like you, sounds like you, but is it you?”

When folded, this front / top screen looks sharp and crisp. I think the apps look kinda cute in its miniature size. Though it seems relatively easy using the apps on this screen; I found myself automatically opening the phone to the big screen, which means I hardly every use this front screen. Not that I don’t want or need it there, nice to know that it is there when you need it.

This is the inner screen, opened, though not fully. The fingerprints and other stuff – this I have to live with. I wipe the screen once in a while – a sense of achievement. Note that the original screen protector film by Samsung is still on.

I have not ventured into peeling off the original Samsung screen protector film on the main display. Samsung does warn that doing so would void the warranty. I think that peeling the screen protector film off or replacing it with something else or just leaving the screen without one, is not going to drastically reduce fingerprints, etc.. Just have the practice of wiping the screen once in a while.

The edges of the screen protector looks like it is beginning to peel.

Picture taken with a Samsung Galaxy S-21 Ultra 16gb ram 512gb
When opened, the flip case sticks out on the left. This entails a lot of fumbling to get a good grip of the phone. When The S-Pen silo is removed, the cash opens with the same width of the phone. Picture taken with an Apple iPhone 11 Pro

Now, we come to the reason for the Fold 3. We have gotten past the unfolding of the phone in public and they say, “What is that?” Yes…well, no. No one really has exclaimed in such excitement. But many people do like the screen, the bright pictures that come on and all the functions that you can’t even do with the Samsung S22.

Getting past all that, I simply love using this device. Wherever I am at, and have a few minutes between appointments. I whip out the Fold 3 and get down to work. Some people who know me as a writer, think that I am taking notes of them and become concious of what they say and do. Maybe.

I love the 3 screen split.

The ability to have 3 screens on at anytime is a real boon for me. As I write an article; I may have an idea for another article and maybe an additional idea or two for the article I am working on. My hot idea or train of thought may get lost when I swap from one screen to another if I was using a less versatile device. Did I just find an excuse for having this Fold 3?😁😂. It has happened many times before. I must get into the habit of writing down these ideas on my idea Sketchpad💡mini.

90º angle looks good but serves little purpose. When you pull up the keyboard, the article text does not show.

I don’t find much use when the screen is at an angle. When I pull up the keyboard, the text does not show. The angled screen is good for taking pictures. What you take immediately shows in the bottom of the screen. And probably when you are having video-conferencing. You can view and work on the split screen apps, too.

Is this Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 a great phone? Absolutely! It needs a rough surface patch at the “thumb pull open section” side. There also has to be a wider range of cases with an S-Pen slot than just the flip case.

Should you get one? If you have the use for multiple screens, absolutely! Or if you just have the money and still only use this device for making phone calls, sending text messages and taking good photos.

Samsung is expected to launch the Fold 4 somewhere next month – it’s usual annual August event. So, expect strides of improvement from already great device.

The pictures shown were taken without the usual fanfare of a studio-styled setup. The idea is for readers to relate as ordinary non-tech users or testers. The Samsung GalaxyS21 Ultra 16gb 512gb and Apple iPhone 11 Pro were used to take the pictures..

Do leave your comments or questions in the comments section below.

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NOTES:
1. https://leatherpotato.com/2019/10/17/the-butterfly-samsungs-galaxy-fold/
2. https://leatherpotato.com/2021/09/09/folding-n-flippin-slipping-n-sliding/

Australian Crawl: “Downhearted”. They made Australia unique.

BUTTERCAKE BAKER

It has been quite an eventful last 4 weeks in the Klang → Subang Jaya, Klang → Shah Alam and Klang → Petaling Jaya routes and back. Klang is where Dad and mum live; Subang Jaya is where Malcolm & Uma and Jeannie & I live; Shah Alam is where Malcolm & Uma live and Petaling Jaya is Klang to UMMC hospital.

The best baker of buttercakes, my mum – Philomena Atkinson; was at her usual at age 84 just about to turn 85.

Famous birthday cake with the famous icing. I remember in our younger days, we’d hang around for mum to finish icing the cake and then make a grab for the balance icing. One of those that remember this well is Guy Rozario.

It was one evening, somewhere in the first week of June, I get a call from mum. Oh, by the way, “best baker of buttercakes” has been bestowed upon her by the many. many, many people who have tasted her buttercakes and want more. Everyone keeps pestering her for her secret ingredient. Her “secret” ingredient is an open secret. Why? Because even if you know it, it would be impossible to duplicate. You may come close, but exacting it is not possible. This “secret” ingredient is called “love“.

You will agree with me that it is impossible to duplicate, just like a fingerprint. It belongs to that person. It is also just like colours.

Here, just when you thought the spectrum of colours had 8 – 12 (these were the standard colours in the box of colour pencils we used to take to school)…. The range started growing until smartphones were touting 16 million colours. Then, the “in-thing” phrase “A.I.” or artificial intelligence (don’t know what the big fuss is all about when politicians have been around for the longest time) has become a new buzzword which in turn has created a palette of 1 ber ber billion, yes billion; colours. So, the standard set of 8 -12 colours are now recognized in the different shades, most of which we think we don’t see; they are there. It is just that we don’t recognize them or take it for granted.

Back to mum’s secret ingredient in her buttercakes. It was that one evening…I get a call from her saying that she had a fall. I had just picked Jeannie up from work and was about to head home. She said that she was carrying a freshly baked cake out of the oven when she lost her balance and fell. I think at that time, dad was out on one of his errands. At 90, that man sure has a swagger.

Just in case if you are wondering. No, it is not my birthday…yet. But coming real soon. This was last year’s birthday. The dark chocolate, nyonya kuih, Burger King’s whopper and KFC breakfast was Jeannie’s idea.

Jeannie and I went straight up (or down?) to Klang from P.J.. We reached mum within 45 minutes. Dad was already at home by then. Mum complained about a bad pain in her leg. She was advised by a couple of friends to go for an x-ray at a nearby clinic.. She was hesitant and not quite up to going right there and then.

I called a buddy – childhood friend and classmate, Dr Michael Lee Pillai, up for advice on getting x-rays done. He advised that it was better for mum to get an MRI done at the hospital nearby so that a specialist could assess the issue mum had.

We took mum the next morning to have this done. Results showed no fractures or broken bones.

We celebrated her birthday over the weekend and on June 14th, mum’s actual birthday; Jeannie and I visited them. A few minutes after we left them; dad calls to say mum had another fall. We turned back and headed back to their house. We were less than 10 minutes away at that time.

She was climbing the stairs, with the aide of the prong walking stick; to go to her bedroom. Just after the first step, she fell backwards. We believed what could have happened was that the prong walking stick was not placed firmly on the step, which may have caused her to lose her balance. With a slight bump on the back of her head, she seemed ok. But, she did complain of a pain in her hip joint.

We, again took her for another MRI which showed no fractures or broken bones. She decided to take a break from her cake making and focus on her physical recovery.

A few days ago, dad called to say that mum was back at baking, but taking it at an easy pace. Many people who love her buttercakes expressed a great relief to hear that they can get her buttercakes again. Most common statement from them, “There is no others like your mother’s buttercakes”. Pictures of some of the buttercakes she has made are shown here.

Mum is also well known for her suggee cakes and fruit cakes. She would start preparing for the fruitcakes between 3 to 6 months. This story is for another time.😘

So, yeah! The best of buttercake baker is back!

NOTES: Klang, Subang Jaya, Shah Alam and Petaling Jaya are cities in the state of Selangor, Malaysia.

A MOMENT’S BREAK

It’s exactly mid-year – Report Card time.

I have been pushing the “envelope” to it’s limit, meaning I have tried to squeeze the maximum of my abilities with the time I’ve got.

I believe that time is the most important asset anyone has. It is one of the biggest motivating factors to keep me forging on.

I know that the novel I am supposed to write – well…the needle has not moved since three months ago.

On the hand, I have picked up momentum again in these articles that I am posting. The many personal messages I have received on how my articles in some way or another has helped readers re-live wonderful memories of their past, is immensely encouraging. Readership is spanning over 30 countries. I am having epic fun in writing.

I am working on something currently. But I thought I will take a short break and go for a walk now. Get inspired, hopefully. It is the afternoon nearing 1.30pm and the sun is near blazing hot, with a slight cloud overcast.

Enjoy the short break with me. Will be back in a bit. Here’s something to enjoy doing that: the beautiful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful Shania Twain with her incredible: “You’re Still The One”.

Shania Twain: You’re Still The One; ShaniaTwainVevo

JUST SO YOU KNOW…

My 6-in-1 pack, yes, I do have 6 packs but I have stored them into a single pack for easy transportation of self.

Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking about having some sausage rolls. I mean some really good sausage rolls.

I was first introduced to “sausage rolls” at my cousins’ birthday parties. Richard’s, Neil’s, Judy-Ann’s and Francis’ birthday parties many years ago; in their childhood birthday parties, always had sausage rolls as one of the food dishes, amongst the cakes, ice-cream and drinks. Their mother, my Aunty Maureen, who is my dad’s sister; used to make the best sausage rolls on this side of the planet. I wonder if they still remember. Lovely lady, bless her heart. I have the same birthday as her, July 10…Ahem!😂

She used to make mini sausage rolls. She used canned mini sausages. And her secret was in the pastry. It formed firmly around each sausage, not hard, not flaky. The pastry used to have a slight shine when it was just out of the oven, freshly baked. OK. Maybe, it is a combination of the sausage and the pastry, both at its optimum level of taste.

Somehow, I may be right to say she made her wonderful sausage rolls because she knew I would be at the parties.😉😅

The so-called sausage rolls these days when you ask for them, are actually sausage buns. Obviously, bakeries or most of them, do not seem to have a clue when you ask for sausage rolls. It’s because their mammas don’t dance and their daddies don’t rock n roll. Just so you know that’s a special ingredient for making ’em delicious sausage rolls.

And the sausage is boiled (looks that way) instead of frying them.

I think the perfect mini sausage roll will have a firm pastry. The pastry should not be hard, but breaks in your mouth when bitten. It generally will have a slightly shiny surface, and baked to a slightly brown shade.

Picture this: Sitting down, unwinding from the stresses of life (for some. Those with purple Lambo Hurracans and wear $1,500 batik shirts – no stress). With a nice triple shot expresso (I know – should just get a big glass: “bro kopi-o kaw kaw, gelas besar”), accompanied with a small plate of half dozen or more perfect sausage rolls.

I came across this recipe for mini sausage rolls by Beth Sachs. Not exactly what I am talking about. The pastry looks the crumble type. The sausage looks home made. All the same, they sure look good.

Her recipe is in the notes below. Do head on to her website for many, many more recipes.

With all the eating, even if it is moderately, I will still go for my walks. I have reduced the daily distance by about 25% to 15,000 steps, which work out to about 11 kilometers.

It’s mid-week. Prepare for the days to come and the week heading towards the weekend. So have fun, let loose and rock n roll.🎵🎶

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NOTES:

Check out http://www.effortlessfoodie.com for Beth’s Puff Pastry Sausage Rolls recipe. There are many, many more wonderful recipes on that website.

Kenny Loggins and Messina: Your Mama Don’t Dance

LAURA

RCIA does have its perks, so it looks. In late 1993, this young lady, attending one of the two RCIA groups; caught my eye. I was one of the facilitators for the group.

Visited Jeannie in her hometown in Kampar, Perak during Chinese New Year in February, 1994. Spent the whole day with her. She took me sightseeing to all the local spots, including the railway station.

The Kampar railway station must have done the trick.

The Mandarin ducks.
One of the countries Jeannie and I visited on our first trip to Europe, was The Netherlands. This was part of a European tour we caught from London, England. So, on this trip in The Netherlands, we toured Amsterdam and stayed for the night. Our hotel was by one of the many canals Amsterdam is famous for. Our room was on the ground floor, with a large sliding door leading out to a sort of garden and beyond that was the canal.

We saw many Mandarin ducks in the garden. So, we crushed some cracker biscuits and started feeding these ducks with the crumbs. We soon ran out of crumbs and walked back to our room. The Mandarin ducks followed us back, too. We had to close the sliding door quickly to prevent the ducks from coming in. The ducks were pecking at the glass door and only went away after a long while.

This was a bedtime story that Laura loved to listen. Almost every night for many years, she would ask for this same story. She always had the same enthusiasm about it and never got tired of it.

Laura, this is the first time, ever; you are seeing the pictures below of these Mandarin ducks. Searched high and low for them until I found them.

The story of the mandarin ducks.
The mandarin ducks coming up the porch of our room in Amsterdam, Holland.

9.15am, Wednesday, June 27th, 2001; a child was born. We named her Laura Kristen Atkinson

What joy! What blessings! Laura Kristen Atkinson

Laura’s baptism, August 2001. With us are her godparents; Dato’ Seri Jeffrey and Datin Seri Joyce Raymond.

Laura: I thought he was supposed to see that I sleep.

Anne Reburn: I want To Hold Your Hand

Smiles

Camera shy. Not really.
Yes, I am cute.

With Grandma and Grandpa Atkinson

Love

About to show her “Zhang Ziyi” martial arts stunts. She’s dressed for it. Location: A park in Perth, Western Australia.
Christmas 2007: Christmas caroling with her cousin, Sarah.

She’s up to something! ❤️
On one of our river cruises in Perth, Western Australia
Check out my shades

Freemantle, Western Australia

Arriving at Clark International Airport, The Phillipines in 2005

Beaconhouse Kindergarten. Laura was one of the 7 pioneer students for the Beaconhouse brand in Malaysia.
All of the June birthday celebrants. Laura, Kenneth de Souza and Joel D’Cruz are all on June 27th.

Graduation from Beaconhouse pre-school in 2007.

With her cousin Justin Ow.

One for the camera

…and another😏😉❤️

The competitor in her.
Ye-e-e-ees..sss…

At the Ferrari store, opposite Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II , Duomo; in Milan, Italy.

In Venice, Italy; during the Carnevale di Venezia (Italian for The Carnival of Venice) An annual festival that ends on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.

Laura drew this with an app on my Samsung Note 2, when she was 10 years old.

Club Med beach in Terengganu, Malaysia

Cousins from the Ong side.
Cousins from the Ong side.

Music graduation.

Laura with her grandparents.
Having ice-cream at Patisfrance in Taipan, USJ Subang Jaya.

Sweet 16, with cousins and friends from the teens group at Sunday School, church and swimmers from her swim team.

With the teens from church.
Swim teammates

She’s ready to par- teh…

In Malacca, on one of the swimming championship competition weekends. Shopping for yummy stuff.

Home was more at the pool and all the swim races and championships.

Overall champion
The Selangor team

Joy

With Coach Mark Chua and Selangor teammates at the Bukit Jalil National Aquatic Centre, Malaysia.

With cousins, and Rachel Arnold (3rd From left). Tim is Alana’s husband.
Winning the Japanese International School cross-country race.

Laura’s Confirmation at St. Thomas More Church, Subang Jaya, Selangor.

With Archbishop Julian Low. “Teresa” is Laura’s chosen confirmation name.

Just a small part of her medal tally.

Fun with us, her parents. 😁

Penang, part of her holiday visit of some of the states in Malaysia before moving to the U.S. to further her tertiary studies.

In Penang.

In Brinchang, Cameron Highlands, for coffee.

Now, this is how to play billiards! About to take the perfect shot. At Arcadia, Cameron Highlands.
Leaving on a jetplane. Won’t know when I’ll be back again. Leaving for the U.S.

Swimming for Millikin University Swimming.

Hauling medals and setting records for Millikin University Swimming
Us family, celebrating with Laura (Live – streaming. Laura is on the phone in Illinois) her 19th birthday.

Laura, with Janet Jin nee Danker in New York.
Just moved in about a month ago.

With her boyfriend, James.

As you can see from all these pictures; you have touched the lives of everyone; especially us; mummy and I.

Happy 21st birthday, Laura. What a super fantastic milestone. Mummy and I are so proud of you, for who you are. We wish you an awe-inspiring life, filled with all your dreams come true. We love you.❤️❤️❤️

Himesh Patel, Lily James: I Want To Hold Your Hand; YesterdayMovieVEVO

JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF IT

Phew! Tiring. 24 events. Many, many heats. Jeannie and I got back from the Sports Excel Milo Junior Swimming Championship. It was a two day event held over the weekend (June 25 & 26, 2022) at the Selangor Aquatic Centre, Shah Alam. (1)

Laura, in her early days of competitive swimming. This was when she was In Girls, Group 4 (10 years and under) age group.
Laura, Girls, Group 4 (10 years and under) age group.

At the Registration room just before a race. Each swimmer has to present his or herself for registration before every race. If a swimmer fails to register during the “Calling time” before each race; that swimmer will be classified as “DNS” (Did Not Swim) and not allowed to swim for that race. The referee of the day can rule / bar that swimmer from swimming the rest of the events for that day.

Training, usually is between 5 to 8 times a week; depending on which level of competitive swimming a swimmer is at.

Laura, at her school track and field competition.
Laura, receiving a medal for one of the races she won at her school’s sports.
A common sight on most swimmers’ hands – “Tattooed hand” for the day with event numbers, what heats and which lane for each heat: Laura on one of the competitive swimming competition days.

In one of her early competitions when she was about 10 or 11 years old. Here, she warms up before the competition starts.

On one of those typical competition days. While waiting for her next event, Laura keeps herself occupied. Looking on is Mr. Foong, Elaine’s father. Elaine was in the same girls’ age group as Laura. A typical competition day can be from 6.00am in the morning until 10.30pm. The venue this competitive swimming competition was held in is the Malacca Aquatic Stadium at its sports complex.

A “must do” at any of the swimming competitions. Rush to first of all find the notice board where the official race results will be posted after the competition.

Laura, last swam in Malaysia in August, 2019. So, why are Jeannie and I still at it? Still at the swimming pool at competitions? The answer is simple. For one, the picture below says it all. Look at the smile on her face💖

Future World Champion. This was taken when Laura was around 10 years old.

Another reason is to give back to the sport in a way we can, when we can; for all that it has done for Laura in terms of being a part of her life-moulding process. The many people that have been a part of this process:
Coach Mark Chua, Coach Marilyn Chua, Coach Ong Jin Kooi, Coach Dr Molly Duesterhaus (Millikin University), Coach Mokhtar,
Parents: Richard Kok, Alan Teh, & Siew Toe, Peter & Ivy Chan, Connie & Ravi, Hannifah Yoong Yin Fah
Swimmers: Maryann Kok, Shaun Yap and all her teammates and swimmers from competitive teams, too; over the years in sport.
Squash G.O.A.T. : Datuk Nicol David, who took time to give Laura a pep talk on being champion when Laura was about 11 years old.

The list is non-exhaustive as there are many, many more people who have always been incredibly supportive over the years. We encourage this to carry on in the generations to come.

So, yeah. I guess it can be said that we can’t get enough.

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NOTES:
1. Shah Alam is in the state of Selangor, Malaysia.


Michael Jackson: Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough

LIZ

As I sit here and ponder about life (no…not in the sitting position of “The Thinker”), definitely not on hard stone; I keep thinking how mystical…how magical life is. What it has to offer…what we can contribute or give to this “life”. Living…what is that? It is one of life’s mysteries.

We set the alarm clock (well, at least some of us do) each night, expecting it to ring and wake us up the next morning for us to start our day. We take it as a given.

We complain about the weather, either it is too hot (humid in Malaysia) or it rains as if there is no tomorrow (It’s about to storm [12.16pm now]). We coffeeshop-talk about the guy who wears his sagging udders on his shirt, or the seemingly uncontrollable rising costs of living. And the list goes on. There is this incessant need to complain. This is probably because we take each day as a sure thing. It is natural. We don’t have to learn to live? Or do we?

The Thinker by Auguste Rodin

One day, a few months ago; I was on my usual daily 15 kilometer walk. My usual route which is around our neighbourhood; is a 1.5kilometer loop x 10 laps.

As I came to the middle of a lap; I was about to turn left into a side alley between two rows of houses. I saw Liz standing in front of her house, just outside her gate. I think she was admiring all her small plants growing neatly in front at what the English will call the “curb” and the Americans, “sidewalk”.

I have known Liz for about three years, by sight, whenever she drives past me either when she is going out or returning home. She never fails to give a big smile either when she waves to me or returns my wave whenever she drives past.

A few months ago, I chanced upon meeting Liz for the first time when I saw her outside her house with her two young children looking for her children’s pet tortoise which went missing. I told her that her home is one of the houses I love passing by. It is because of the aroma I get as I pass her kitchen – its always inviting. She’s an awesome cook.

Months went by since then, until very recently; when I did my walk one late evening. Liz was there, outside her house; admiring her plants. She looked different, with her hair cut real short, not her usual hairstyle. I remarked to her that it was a long time since we last met.

Liz, then told me that she was very sick, that she had cancer. That it was a relapse. It is in its 4th stage.

The cancer she has is Neuroendocrine tumor (NET). (2)

She has a year or less to live.

My heart sank. I was nervous.

She was very calm. I looked into her eyes. I saw peace. She was not afraid of dying. She has come to terms with it.

Liz treats each second of living with great reverence. She exuberates radiance.

We talked about her husband and their two young children. I told Liz that I will be available for her anytime, just a call away. Jeannie and I have Liz in our prayers daily.

I asked her if I could pen a few words about her, “LIZ“. She immediately agreed. She said she wants to share her story with others that there is always hope. Keep hoping, regardless of how tough a situation may be. Life is beautiful.

Liz and I have been in touch though messaging. 3 days ago, she told me that her condition seems to have worsened and that she would have to go for another round of chemotherapy. The following is a text I just received from her: “Dr showed me the result.. hmm .. not so good la… Next week seeing onco Dr. Need another round of chemo😂”

Liz continues to inspire me and others that life is a gift. We have no control; of when it comes and when it goes. What we make of it in between that…we are the author of that story.

Elvis Presley “Loving You”

NOTES:

  1. “The Thinker by Rodin -7 Facts About The Iconic Statue”, Aleksandar Mishov; http://www.documentary tube.com
  2. Neuroendocrine tumors are cancers that begin in specialized cells called neuroendocrine cells. Neuroendocrine cells have traits similar to those of nerve cells and hormone-producing cells. Neuroendocrine tumors are rare and can occur anywhere in the body.

THE WRITER INNOVATOR

When I first started my writing career recently, I mean really putting keyboard key thumping to computer screen (an equivalent to putting pen / pencil / quill (?) to paper); I never gave it much thought of where it would take me, that is; the writing. I will “boldly go where no man has gone before.”

Pic. 1

I am a dreamer. Ah yes, I can remember far back to 1967, when I was in Standard 3B (Today’s Year 3). We were in afternoon school. Our class was the one above the “Tuck” Shop (canteen). This was in La Salle Primary School, PJ (Petaling Jaya, Selangor). There were 3 classes above the tuck shop – ours was the middle class. As you enter the front door of the class, my desk was in the front row, next to the window on the other side of class. Anyone of you went to La Salle School PJ? If you were in that school during the 1960s and 1970s, you will know these classrooms above the tuck shop. The word “tuck” in English means to tuck into your meal and shop means where you buy your food from in school. Nowadays, “canteen” in school or “school canteen” is the term everyone knows as a place to buy their food from. Is the word “canteen” related to the word, “cantor” (Figaro, Figaro, Fiiigaarrro!). No, just kidding.

I would spend most of the time, looking outside the classroom window, oblivious to most of what was going on in class. I watched the construction workers build the new block of the school. Today that new block is 55 years old.

I would daydream about so many things like what it would be like to fly an aeroplane so high in the sky. Often, I may just stare out into the emptiness.

It was for this reason that when I was in Std One of the same said school mentioned above in 1965, our classroom was one of those “shed” classrooms with zinc roofing, I think. There was a row of these classrooms. These classrooms are no longer there. Back to the reason… when I was in Std One B, the old bat, my class teacher Mrs Lee, bless her heart; came to our house one day to complain to my mother that I was slow. I mean how would she know if I was slow. She could barely see past her nose. She was 109 years old… well at least to a 7 year old kid like me. Guys who were in school at that time… you know her. She always wore nyonya outfits. But I’m sure she meant well. I think. Bless her heart.

One of my greatest dreams was, still is, I guess; is to change the world, to leave a lasting good impression. But I didn’t know how, until I started using what came naturally to me – that is to write.

At this juncture, I would like to say that this article is not what it is panning out to be. I started it with a complete different idea 😏. It’s a spinoff from the original. And the original is not written yet. Haha 😂.

Even then, I struggled and wrestled with this “gift”. This gift of writing. I most times did not pay attention to it. My whole school career had me scoring top marks in it. But I did not recognise its potential. So, when I left school; it was buried or stowed away with all my old schoolbooks.

After completing my schooling education, I somehow always landed up being a writer or editor for the many, many groups and organisations which I was involved in over the years. I still did not think anything of it because I felt that anybody can be a writer. Being a “Topgun” fighter pilot, maybe not. But writing, yes. I work best in stress / time constraint conditions and between 2.00am to 5.00am. Haha. Like Maverick of TopGun who enjoys what he does; I am “Innovator” and I enjoy what I do, too.

This is a couple of pages from my ideaSketchpad. Notice the red postbox on the top right of the picture?
The red postbox – a coinbox Laura gave me years ago, as a birthday gift💖

Thank God for keyboard key thumping to computer screen technology. My handwriting is one of my trademarks. It’s so bad that I have great difficulty reading it, too. The very first thing my class teacher of Std 4 B La Salle School, Klang; Mrs Mun, Bless her heart; asked me after meeting me for the first time in over 40 years was, “Alan, has your handwriting improved?”

Do you recognise the talent you have?

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NOTES:
1. Pic. 1; Fiorenzza Chiuminatto