To the one who to me is perfect everyday, from our first date on January 19th, 1994.


To the one that came into our lives on June 27th, 2001.


The Day When People Get Mushy

I was walking by the florist in Taipan USJ with Jeannie, to the now known as restaurant (in those days [I am beginning to sound like a relic] they were known as “coffee shops”) around the corner, when we noticed a big crowd of people there. Waiting to buy flowers? Not hibiscus, daffodils or dandelions. Roses!

It is only Monday, February 13th today. Malaysians for years have tried and maybe to some extent, beat the system. They are buying roses today when prices are reasonable. Buy before Valentine’s Day (February 14th, for those uninformed), when the price of roses could go up by 1000% or more.

But florists have become smarter. They raise the prices by 200%, 300% or more, stating that this is due to the shortage of roses available. Those buying the roses won’t really mind the “slight” price increase. It will still be much cheaper than buying them on February 14th itself.

“What cheapskates!” you may say. Your true love will buy these roses on Valentine’s Day. Money is no object, even if it means “makan bubur” (1) for the next month or so.

Getting a dozen roses, the buds at the right stage of opening, not too closed up or not too open; surrounded by some that are fully opened and some leaves (forget what they are called) for decoration and presentation. The specially one-of-a-kind prepared bouquet (probably ten thousand others will have the same type of bouquet) is not enough these days. It has to be accompanied by exquisite chocolate.

Danielle Bernock

Those with credit cards will get the best credit card deals to finest dining at michellin, dunlop, goodyear or pirelli rated restaurants. They may come out with slogans for the cardholders like:
“It is not as though you are paying”. Well, yes, it is; when you get that credit card statement for payment!
“Show your love to the one you care”.
“Take up this package of a 5-day all expenses paid for two – wining, dining, a romantic cruise. The best part is it is 35% off the list price. We’ll thrown in a red heart-shape cushion with the names of you and your loved one on it for frrreeee! (Come on guys, by now; you should know the cost, over-inflated by x number of times; is included in the overall price that you are paying). “”What’s more?”” you may ask. You can pay over a 12 month installment plan with a 0% interest rate on the first month”.

Not to forget stiff competition amongst the kiasu (2) and the kiasi (3).

You hire a stretched limousine with driver to impress your wife, if you are married or your “she’s the one” if you are not married yet. Then, to go over the top; you present your mother-in-law with a gift voucher to use at a very expensive day-long spa. For your father-in-law: a bottle of single-malt 24 year (has to coincide with the lunar year of the Rabbit) whiskey. If he doesn’t drink; he will start now; he won’t want to miss out from this helluva expensive whiskey. By the way, these gifts also apply to the “she’s the one” ‘s parents; too.

At the end of it, they guy (yes, the displayer of love) may not even be able to afford to “makan bubur” as well. He may just have to settle for scraps of food for a very long time.

All this just for one day: Valentine’s Day. All this to impress the lady, and not forgetting; others who are looking: the kiasu and kiasi. The lady is happy, her parents are happy. Most of all; the establishments that receive payments for what seems as an extravagant day; are happy.

Woe to the guy if his lady demands this expensive show of affection everyday.

Is this really an expression of love (first time this word is appearing in this article)? Is love only for one day of the year? Going financially broke may not really display this thing called “LOVE” from either the recipient, nor the giver.

How Valentine’s Day may all have started:

The name Valentine comes from a Latin word meaning “strength.” There are many legends about it, but it’s ultimately unclear how Valentine’s Day became associated with the tradition of exchanging the affectionate gifts and love notes that we call valentines. (4)

When Claudius found out, Valentine was thrown in jail and sentenced to death. Legend has it that he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and when he was taken to be killed on 14 February he sent her a love letter signed “from your Valentine”. (5)

Love and affection for the lady, spouse, children, parents…should be everyday, 24×7. With it comes joys, happiness, excitement, fun, bumpy patches, potholes and rough roads along this lifelong journey. Enjoy the ride.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

P.S.: For those people who have received chocolate but aren’t really into it; I can help you. You can give it to me. I love chocolate.
I had fun writing this essay with lots of chuckles and smiles as I went along, thinking it up.

1. “Makan bubur” is Malay for eat porridge. This phrase is used to mean that you don’t have money for a good meal, that eating porridge is all you can afford.
2. Kiasu is a Hokkien (Chinese dialect) word that comes from ‘kia’, which means afraid, and ‘su’, which means to lose: fear of losing
3. Kiasi is commonly compared to Kiasu (literally: “fear of losing”); both are commonly used to describe attitudes where Kiasi or Kiasi-ism means to take extreme measures to avoid risk and Kiasu or Kiasu-ism means to take extreme means to achieve success. wikipedia


Christmas this year: no visits to the most beautifully Christmas – decorated shopping malls and public places in Malaysia. Something that we would do every year to capture the latest, biggest, most dazzling decorations and all the festivities that come with it.

Our home will have a small Christmas tree with lights and ornaments on them. The presents will be ready for the family. Every year, Christmas is with the family.

This year, Christmas will be the same. But, this time it will be with Laura.

Yes, Jeannie and I get to spend Christmas with Laura. Jeannie and I have spent the last 3 weeks with Laura in her everyday life, here in the U.S.. It has been nothing short than amazing – that wonderful sense of love in the air even without it being spoken.

This Christmas, it will be the most joyful, so far.

We are blessed in abundance.

We would like to share this special picture, now a treasured picture of the Atkinsons – it was amongst the first of our family reunion after nearly 3 and a half years.

We, the Atkinsons, wish all our family and friends the world over, “Merry Christmas. May God’s peace be with you in abundance, always.”

We leave you with Mariah Carey’s, “All I want for Christmas is You”; specially chosen and dedicated by Laura for all to enjoy.

Our treasure

Christmas is Where Your Heart is

As Christmas is fast approaching us (5 days to go), it is kind of different how we, Jeannie and I; are approaching it this year. Wait a minute. Is this another Hallmark movie similarity?

Videos and pictures posted on the many social media platforms of the most beautiful Christmas decorations, lights, themes, live musicals and other performances and shows at shopping malls, and other public places – this has to be the best ever…until the next year.

These malls will be crowded with people. Everyone there, or mostly everyone; comes to these shopping centers to be in the “spirit of Christmas”. People shoot billions of pictures from their camera smartphones. Some may even venture to use real, full fledge cameras, you know the chunky over-sized, blob-shaped bodies (the cameras, not the owners…maybe the owners, too). Strapped, cross-strapped and tied to their torsos are camera lenses the size of bazookas and other accessories. The question is whether they will be able to get that rare million dollar shot? In the end, it does not really matter, they have the equipment, they might as well use it.

The food – yes, you can be forgiven if you go dizzy with choice. There are cakes, cookies (‘biscuits” aren’t as common these days), chocolates, sweets, savory and non-savory food; local, western, east-Asian; Malaysians love to eat.

Yes, I am talking about Christmas in Malaysia. Many Christians would be in church for days before and after Christmas, involved in mass and organized programs. There are also the little pre-Christmas and post-Christmas gatherings of friends and family members at each other’s homes.

So, it is not quite a Hallmark movie small town Christmas. So far, snow flurries only, no full-blown snowfall.

We are having a very cosy, meaningful Christmas with Laura and a few of her friends. It is our first Christmas with Laura since 2018. We are enjoying a non-commercialized Christmas.

Our Lady, Mother Mary; has always blessed, interceded and prayed for us, that all the we ask for, we will be blessed. This Christmas, we lift up all our greatest needs in health, and all that we ask for. We lift “K” in prayer, as would have underwent the procedure in hospital. She will be recovering in hospital over the next few days, until after Christmas.

Mother Mary has always been a guiding path in my life. Though there have been many instances where I veered off track for a bit… more than a bit, maybe. Mother Mary has always been with us and has never left us alone.

Why is Mother Mary so important in the lives of Catholics? She is the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Mother Mary has a great sense of humor. Where do you think her son got His great sense of humor from?

As we move towards the day of Christmas; we wish you and your loved ones, full of joy, peace, hope, enjoyment and laughter with family and friends.

I leave you all with “Hail, Holy Queen”, a Sister Act version. Enjoy.

Hey, its GOD Calling

God’s got my number on his phone speed dial.

Just send in your prayer requests / petitions, and I will pass them on to HIM when HE calls next.

We’ve got Lensia who asks that her aging father be comforted in his time of illness.
We’ve got K, the 13 year old girl who will be going for spinal surgery to remove fluid so that she can stand and walk properly again without any hindrances…

I am just the messenger, that answers HIS call and sends your prayer petitions to HIM. I do not perform miracles. Only GOD, HIMSELF answers your prayers, in HIS time.

It is Christmas. You too, can join in and pray for all those who lift their prayers and petitions here.


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:

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.


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”

1. Issuu
2. Clocksandcloudmusic


Olivia Newton-John (26 September 1948 – 8 August 2022)

We grew up with Olivia Newton-John’s songs from her album “Let Me Be There” playing on my late sister, Jennifer’s potable Philips record player that worked with batteries, on the radio and at parties.

“Let Me Be There” was one of Jennifer’s favourites and ours (my brothers and mine), too.

Olivia succumbed to cancer, just as Jennifer did on 17 Mar 2019. You’ve run a good race and fought the battle. Rest In Peace, Olivia.

Olivia’s music and her warm smile will always, always live on.

Live On by Olivia Newton-John


“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


  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.