She Said, “I’m all alone”

My God-daughter, K (her name I will not disclose for her privacy); is a bright young 13-year old. Born from an extra-marital affair, where her father, a doctor and married to someone else; had an affair with an intern, who was not married. Her father did not want to have anything to do with her. Her mother migrated to another country with the promise of returning back soon. It has been nearly 5 years.

She is being looked after and cared for by a gem of a person, who is not of the same race nor religion as her.

She is a typical teenager who has the general same likes and dislikes as any other teenager around her age. Shy, she is a very sheltered “away from crowds” girl.

Young K, recently started having a health issue where her legs just collapse under her when she walks or stands. She was very reluctant to turn up for her appointment with the specialist for fear of bad news. A hospital diagnosed her to have fluid in her her spine, somewhere at the base.

This news itself, had literally frightened this little girl.

What more, now, she has to go for a 4 hour surgical procedure to remove the fluid. Her procedure is scheduled for December 21st. She will still be in hospital on Christmas day. She hopes to be out of hospital by her birthday on December 31st.

Her schoolmates, have been labelling her all sorts of names such as handicapped and “not one of us”. This has affected her badly.

She cried out, “I’m all alone!”.

I am making an appeal to all the 8 billion people of this world to like, send encouraging messages – to let her know that we, the people of this big blue planet, CARE, THAT SHE IS NOT ALONE.

You can send your care messages in the comments section of this article, share this article with everyone else on social media. You can even send messages through my email: alan@leatherpotato.com

K needs all the love and support she can get. On behalf of K, I thank you in advance.

A lovely song to show that WE, the 8 billion people; ARE THE WORLD.

HAPPINESS IS INFECTIOUS

Happiness has its own set of problems.

It is contagious. Happiness is a “bug”. It is infectious. Spreads beyond our control. Spreads by sight. Spreads by sound. Spreads by feelings.

Happiness absorbs all spoken languages. It is understood in all languages. Happiness says a lot even without having to utter a word.

Not having plenty in worldly possessions does not hinder you from having plenty in happiness.

Happiness is over-flowing in abundance. It is not far away, it is everywhere.

Just reach out and “touch” it without having to physically touch it.

The greatest thing about happiness is the ability for it to be shared by you, to others.

Press the “ACCEPT” button in your life to activate happiness.

~ ALAN IAN ATKINSON
Writer, Author, Storyteller

P.S.: Remember to take your daily dose of Vitamin “h” for happiness and spread it to others.

HAPPINESS – A DECISION AWAY

Here’s a secret: HAPPINESS IS A DECISION. You choose to be happy.

Happiness is also a “feeling”. Feelings come. Feelings go.

When you make a conscious decision to be happy, you are in control of your feelings, too.

It takes guts…It takes grit…It is sheer mental control.

Happiness is available in endless abundance. It is there for the taking.

Happiness is just a decision away.

~ ALAN IAN ATKINSON
Writer, Author, Storyteller

gritandgraceboutique

MUSIC! MUZIK!

Music is the language of the soul. Music is food for the soul. You can feel music yet you cannot physically touch it, it flows in your veins, it is in the thoughts, hearts and minds.

Music is thought to encourage people either one person, few people or large groups of people to act or react in a way. The general election is days away. At the last election, the then Prime Minister who wanted to share his love of music; brought in the one and only, uncopyable (if there is such a word), Psy; who performed his outrageously world famous, “Gangnam Style” to wow, entertain and woo voters. This time round, now as ex-Prime Minister, he may give his own rendition of “Jailhouse Rock”.

What is music? According to Wikipedia, music is a form of art that uses sound organized in time.

It is the art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color. The tones or sound employed, occurring in single line (melody) or multiple lines (harmony), and instruments, or both. (1)

“It is the expression of deep emotions and feelings.” “Music calms me down, lifts me up and always makes me feel a certain way.” “Explains things when words fail; Music speaks.” “Music means something that’s inspiring and can match your moods” “Music helps me connect to life.” (2)

To me, music fills the void by pushing out silence. Is it an art? It may just well be. It colors life. Is music a “Control panel” of life? It may well be, too, but just only; as the war drums sets the adrenaline to do battle in coming out tops; yet harps and violins can set you to a peaceful calm; a rockstar band sets the tone for high excitement in a rock concert, and an orchestra playing can tell a story without a single word having to be uttered.

Just recently, at the 90th birthday celebration organized by world renown Chef Wan for his mother; my wife, Jeannie, and I; were making our way around the many junctions of the large variety of food that was on the offering. Then, there was this beautiful music number sung by a lady, that came over the large music speaker nearby. I thought nothing of it except that it set the mood of the afternoon party. What a way to enjoy this beautiful array of food, even further.

As we continued towards inside the house on our food extravaganza search; I soon found out that the music that was coming through the speakers was not recorded, but a lady singing the songs in person. Wow! I was blown away by her rendition of this music piece, “Getaran Jiwa” by the late Tan Sri P. Ramlee. Her delivery of this song was effortlessly her natural self.

Ushera singing “Getaran Jiwa”

Generally, I am not familiar with most local music due to Malaysia’s rich diversity of languages and talent. I believe that music is an international language that anyone can fit in anytime.

From Right to Left: Jeannie Atkinson, Cik Ani Sayang (Chef Wan’s mother), HRH Sultanah Hajjah Kalsom and Ushera. Picture taken at Chef Wan’s home.

I had the opportunity to meet with this wonderful singer, Ushera. She is her natural self on stage as well as off stage – one and the same. She sang many more songs which captivated the audience and got them to dance, too.

Ushera is versatile, effortlessly sings jazz, latino, romantic. I think a performing star like Michael Buble could team up with her to come up with some great song hits.

I would like to leave you with her version of “Buka Pintu”; a song that my siblings and I grew up with in our much younger days. Also included here are more of her hits.

Ushera singing “Jikalau Abang Merindu”

NOTES:
1. Issuu
2. Clocksandcloudmusic

Just When You Thought There Isn’t Enough To Give…

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old-boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. “How much is an ice cream sundae?”

“Fifty cents,” replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studies a number of coins in it. “How much is a dish of plain ice cream?” he inquired.

Some people were now waiting for a table and the waitress was a bit impatient. “Thirty-five cents,” she said brusquely.

The little boy once again counted the coins. “I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table, and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier, and departed. When the waitress came back, she picked up the empty plate and then swallowed hard at what she saw. There, placed neatly besides the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies – her tip.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Just when we think we there isn’t enough to give…

Famous quotes

BEETHOVEN AND THE 200 STUDENTS

“Life is not fair. Get used to it”.

This quote is often attributed to Bill Gates but it was actually written by Charles J. Sykes as quoted in Quora. It remains a mystery how it became accredited to … I don’t think it is such a big deal. A quick surf on the internet showed quite a few claims as to who was the first. I am definitely not going to write a thesis on it.

A couple of days or so ago, it was reported in a couple of non-mainstream news publications that 200 straight-A students failed to get into the govt matriculation programme due to what can be described as a “birth defect”.

Getting this far at being straight-A students at high school level, is itself, a feather in their cap. Whatever adversity they may have faced; they overcame with flying colours.

Now, they face a new challenge – they have been denied a place in the matriculation system as 90% of those places have been reserved for students based on race. This system has been in place for a while. The danger for the students in this 90% group who winged a place in the matriculation system without having to compete based on meritocracy, is that they may believe that this will be the system throughout their lives. In all reality, it won’t, especially if they were to go abroad. So, it can be viewed as a “disadvantage” if they are ill-prepared to face the world beyond their shores.

Back to these 200 students. In every adversity, there are great possibilities. They just have to look for these possibilities.

One of the greatest music composers of all time was Ludwig Van Beethoven (December 11, 1770 – March 26, 1826). Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany. A famous music composer while he was alive, legendary even today. What distinguished Beethoven from other famous music composers such as Johann Strauss II and Frederic Chopin was that Beethoven became totally deaf by the time he was 46 years old. (1)

Did Beethoven complain how life was so unfair? Well, we won’t really know for sure. But he continued his work.

So if Beethoven was completely deaf, how did he compose?

Beethoven had heard and played music for the first three decades of his life, so he knew how instruments and voices sounded and how they worked together. His deafness was a slow deterioration, rather than a sudden loss of hearing, so he could always imagine in his mind what his compositions would sound like.

Beethoven’s housekeepers remembered that, as his hearing got worse, he would sit at the piano, put a pencil in his mouth, touching the other end of it to the soundboard of the instrument, to feel the vibration of the note. (2)

But Beethoven was notorious for corrections, so the process didn’t necessarily come easily to him. Still, like all composers, he had an “inner ear” for music. By the time he wrote his Ninth Symphony — the one over an hour-long with full orchestra, chorus, and soloists — he had been profoundly deaf for nearly a decade (CPR Classical, Sept 28, 2020).

Beethoven’s love for music put it above and beyond the hearing impairment he had. It allowed him “to hear the way he wanted his music to be performed by a whole new orchestra”. His “inner ear” for music allowed him to explore music with no boundaries.

Life’s journey is only but just beginning for you two hundred students. Life never promised to be fair. Get used to it. Just like Beethoven’s “inner ear”, you must have the “inner belief” that you will accomplish all that you set out to do. Your altitude of sight depends on your attitude in life.

Beethoven’s deafness and his three styles

NOTES:

  1. Popular Beethoven
  2. Classic fm

“The Blue Danube” is the common English title of “An der schönen, blauen Donau”, Op. 314, a waltz by the Austrian composer Johann Strauss II, composed in 1866.

PICASSO AND HIS PAINTINGS, ARBUS AND HER PHOTOGRAPHY, ATKINSON AND HIS ESSAYS

In the crowded business of his life, the writer tells his story through the carvings, drawings, painting formation of words… of sentences… on a canvas of a blank page in his notebook, his ideaSketchpad💡, his blog or a Microsoft word file.

Pictures form words….words form pictures. It is his expression of what he sees. Most times, if he has to relate a story… an event… an incident, his eyes or ears or even his nose, will dictate the story to his brain which transforms into signals flowing to his hands that are typing on the keyboard or his hand that holds a writing instrument. Oft times, if a story has to be told as it is; no feelings are put into it, as they are not required.

When no feelings are included in his work, then, he is like any ordinary painter or a person with a camera, just taking pictures.

Visions by Picasso (Singulart)

When he immerses himself in his work; he becomes involved. His additional sense which cannot be seen nor touched yet is so powerful, takes him over and beyond himself.

His feelings transform him from just being a painter to being an artist where every stroke of the brush, the way it is used on the canvas, the pressure applied in each stroke – a person admiring the artist work can sense the artist’s mood, excitement, sadness. It is quite remarkable.

The Use of Black & White by Diane Arbus (ArtDependence)

Framing a picture with just the right amount of light, bouncing off the subject to express an impression of people in the shot or impress an expression that the photographer wants to get his audience to experience…that makes him different from being someone just taking pictures.

As the writer awakes from his short nap, a well deserved and needed rest, he ponders on the silence within. The right amount of pressure on the “stroke of his expression”, the “light that filters to the word” that causes it to resonate with his readers, his audience…brings to life all that he wants to share… the exact angle… the point of view… as he sees it!

No matter how very hard he tries to captivate his whole audience, that are all his readers; there will be some who have no depth of field in life. These are the “some”, those who don’t leave a wonder in the lives of people; yet, wonder what has happened to life.

NOTES:
1. Some of the many artists that have influenced me in the way I see things, the way I write:
Frida Kahlo y Calderón was a Mexican painter known for her many portraits, self-portraits, and works inspired by the nature and artifacts of Mexico.
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, known simply as Michelangelo, was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet of the High Renaissance.
Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and theatre designer.
René François Ghislain Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist, who became well known for creating a number of witty and thought-provoking images. Often depicting ordinary objects in an unusual context, his work is known for challenging observers’ preconditioned perceptions of reality.
Wikipedia

2. Some of the many photographers that have inspired me to capture moments like no other:
Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French humanist photographer considered a master of candid photography, and an early user of 35 mm film. He pioneered the genre of street photography, and viewed photography as capturing a decisive moment.
Diane Arbus (March 14, 1923 – July 26, 1971) was an American photographer. … Arbus’s imagery helped to normalize marginalized groups and highlight the importance of proper representation of all people.
Cynthia Morris Sherman is an American artist whose work consists primarily of photographic self-portraits, depicting herself in many different contexts and as various imagined characters.
Ellen von Unwerth is a German photographer. She worked as a fashion model for ten years before becoming a photographer, and now makes fashion, editorial, and advertising photographs.
Dominique Issermann is a French photographer. She works primarily with black and white photography, and is noted for her works in portraits, fashion and advertising. 
Wikipedia

3. Some of the many essays I’ve written that capture moments like no other:
At 33,000ft, July 20, 2014.
Jeff and Alfredo – The two uncles, Sept 26, 2015.
My Sister – The Fighter, Jul 26, 2018
10 YEARS AS A RACE SWIMMER’S PARENTS. WAS IT WORTH IT? April 26, 2021
NOSILY SILENCED, Jul 19, 2021
NIGEL EDWARD ATKINSON, Aug 12. 2021
TAIPING – TOWN OF HEAVENLY PEACE, Oct 18, 2021
THE WRITER INNOVATOR, Jun 21, 2022
LAURA, Jun 27, 2022