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

OVER COFFEE

Last Tuesday morning (yesterday to be more precise); I had a very dear friend to me and my family, Patrick Archibald; drop by my house for coffee.

In the midst of our conversation, the subject of Laura came up. She was doing well in college, coping with all her assignments, internship and what-have-you.

We reminisced how time has flown by so fast…

Jeannie and I decided to just leave Laura’s bedroom as how Laura left it so that whenever Laura comes back for the holidays, she can use her own room. All her posters that she stuck on the wall and her wardrobe are as they are. Then, she has loads of notes from friends and motivational phrases on almost all the walls in her room. Books, all neatly arranged and segmented as to how best she liked it. All that you see in the pictures below are is it as she left them.

Patrick thought that was a novel idea to be in the presence of Laura – a reminder of all the things she likes and loves; that whenever we walked in the room, the presence of Laura is vibrant. Not that we have to spend all our time in the room. We know it is there. That itself, brings joy – happy memories.

I really never thought of looking at it that way. But it is true. Whenever, we walk into Laura’s room, it brings a sense of joy.

It is for that reason, most of us carry a picture of our loved ones in our wallet. Nowadays, we have loads of pictures and videos stored on our smartphones – the “don’t leave home without it” (phrase sounds familiar…).

Patrick went on to say that this is the same with our relationship with God. We may have a crucifix or an altar in our homes and or workplace. We know that it is there and are comfortable knowing that we are in the presence of God and He with us.

So true. Over a cup of coffee, I got all these additional “goodies”.

Madina Cappuchino

The coffee I served Patrick was “Madina Cappuchino”. I am not sure if it is out in the market, yet. This cappucino is rich and frothy. I think it is well balanced, given that ” its limitation is supposed to be because it is in powdered form” and does not go through the usual “ritual” of preparing a Cappucino. If it is priced right, meaning reasonable, not leaning towards “expensive”, it should do well.

Who will this appeal to? First to a person who likes to have coffee on the go, but does not have the time to go through the rigmarole of preparing it. Next to the group of people who like milky coffee, yet want to hold the sugar. To the general public and guests that come over to our homes. We can offer them a choice from a variety of quick-make coffees that we often have, to choose from; without breaking the bank on those very sophisticated, state-of-the-art, time-consuming-to-prepare, barista type machines. Though, if someone else offered me barista style coffee, I would surely accept.

Caffe (Barista Chillout Compilation) [Music For a Cup of Coffee]

Cik Ani Sayang’s 90th Birthday Celebration

The time: slightly after 4pm. It was a breezy, slightly warm Saturday afternoon in Cyberjaya. The sun was out but there were clouds that provided some nice shade.

We were greeted by this sign, “Happy 90th Birthday, Cik Ani Sayang; 15th October, 2022” at the front of world renowned celebrity Chef Wan’s residence.

There were many guests of all ages, which mainly made up his family members, friends, business partners and work colleagues.

The birthday girl – Cik Ani Sayang was given prayer blessings just before cutting her birthday “cake” – a traditional Malay pulut (yellow glutinous rice) dish, with fish floss, beef rendang and chicken floss – rich, savoury side dishes.

Jeannie, with Chef Wan. Many, many years of wonderful friendship.

Chef Wan was his usual self – entertainer extraordinaire. Datuk Redzuawan Bin Ismail, better known as Chef Wan, is a world-renowned chef.

Jeannie got to meet with many she knows in the food industry, many of whom she had worked with in tv production shows and commercials.

With Chef Florence Tan.

Jeannie, with the lady of the hour – Cik Ani Sayang.
Chef Wan, admiring the handicraft that Jeannie made for him.

Right to Left: Cik Ani Sayang, Sultanah Hajjah Kalsom D.K., Ushera
Jeannie, with the birthday “cake” – a traditional Malay pulut (yellow glutinous rice) dish, with fish floss, beef rendang and chicken floss – rich, savoury side dishes.

The widespread of pastries did not just look good. They tasted simply delicious!

Ushera was not just singing or entertained the crowd. She reached out to them. She was simply captivating! She has a beautiful voice.

Cik Ani Sayang, surrounded with her family.

Right to Left: Jeannie, Cik Ani Sayang, HRH Sultanah Hajjah Kalsom D.K., Ushera

Cik Ani is 90 years old. Yes. But it sure didn’t stop her from getting on the dance floor and dance with all the other ladies to many of the songs sung by Ushera.

These three “ladies” behind Chef Wan and Cik Ani Sayang, thrilled the crowd with their performances.

This is a typical Malay twist song, with those electric guitars. Reminisce of the the 1960s P. Ramli and Saloma days.

Che Wan up to his funny antics. HaHa😂

Cik Ani, Sultanah Hajjah Kalsom D.K., Jeannie, Sally, Florence and other ladies dancing to beautiful, lively songs sung by Ushera.

The very regal Sultanah Hajjah Kalsom D.K., the Sultanah of Pahang; helped lead the way on the dance floor, too. She showed the ladies some smooth moves.

Ushera

I had to taste these pastries.

Chef Wan was the perfect host. He went around making sure that the food, was displayed attractively, was made to his highest standards and there were no empty serving plates, that the food was replenished even before the plates were empty. Chef was was assisted by his son, Chef Nazri.

I did not over-eat. Without a doubt, the food was excellent!

Everyone had immense enjoyment – the evidence was the smiles on people’s faces, laughter that could be heard everywhere in the house, the enormous spread of good food…I can go on and on. We can all agree this event was “Signature Chef Wan”. Fantastico!

Happy 90th Birthday, Cik Ani Sayang.

A TAD BIT CONFUSING

As I start the morning, I ponder on what to write about. I open my computer to a fresh, blank page. Yes, I have several articles / essays / projects in various stages of writing on my ideaSketchpad 💡 that I can work on… But then again, it is a blank page that faces me… With the “Add title” in big bold letters on the top left hand corner, I wonder.

Maybe, I should get back on track with the idea of writing my book.

Interestingly, I just researched that what I and other like me, do is “blag”. Oops! I have to mention that this is an Irish word, I repeat: an “Irish” word. My family line on my father’s side is suppose to be Irish 3 generations ago. So, I thought I’d tembak a word or two in Irish here and there. “Tembak”(i) is a Malay word meaning “shoot” (ii). In this context, it means “to let fly” (iii) a word or two.

The meaning of “blag” in English is a word we commonly hear – “blog”.

noun

  1. a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style. “A blog, or web log to give the term its full name, is basically a journal available for other people to read on the web.”

verb

  1. add new material to or regularly update a blog. “It’s about a week since I last blogged”

“Blag” in informal British means

verb

  1. manage to obtain (something) by using persuasion or guile. “they blagged two free tickets to France”
  2. steal (something) in a violent robbery or raid. “I could lie in wait and blag her fur coat”

noun

  1. an act of using persuasion or guile to obtain something. “Raising the £6.5 million had been either a heroic achievement by selfless, dedicated humanitarians or the blag of the century”
  2. A violent robbery or raid. “He plays an ageing thief whose plans to retire are postponed by a young whipper-snapper who blackmails him into one last blag.” (1)

So, I have to be careful where I use “blag”.

Then, it seems to become more complicating when I attempt to explain further. The word “tembak” literally means to shoot (bang! bang! Not the other shoot that grows). My sentence “I thought I’d tembak a word or two” would mean “to say” or Malaysian English explanation “simply say”.

“Does “simply say” have the same meaning as “to let fly”? Generally, it is meant to have the same meaning… maybe… to say without thinking. “You simply say” or “don’t simply say” is commonly used here in Malaysia.

Then again, when I said, “I thought I’d tembak a word or two in Irish”; it was meant to mean, “I thought I’d show off my knowledge of the Irish language with a word or two in Irish”.

Ok okay, so why did I research what I and others do is called blog (more commonly used) or “blag” (to add more colour than the bland statements)? Until just a few minutes ago before I found out the actual meaning of “blog”; I used to think of it as logging in to your diary or updating your social media. Here I have a website and I’d say, I just updated my website with a new article. Now, I know what it means.

English can be a tad bit confusing, don’t you think?

I’d like to leave you with a video song clip I watched early this morning as I love to listen to the music. The Free Radicals Band is awesome. Here, they perform some hits from the iconic group, “The Doobie Brothers”.

NOTES:
1. Victionary

The Free Radicals Band with a string of The Doobie Brothers hits.

OLIVIA – LIV ON

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

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.

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.