WHY LIMIT YOURSELF TO THE SKY?

They (who are “they”?) say the sky is the limit. I ask why limit yourself? Why limit yourself even to the sky?

Instead, set benchmarks…milestones as resting points… as a yardstick of measurement of the successes you achieved.

Explore and go beyond your full potential. Break all limitations and continue moving up in the world.

~ ALAN IAN ATKINSON
Writer, Author, Storyteller

A. I. OR MANKIND

Self- repairing, self-reproducing robots with Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) are set to conquer the world and control mankind in the not so distant future; if we do not get out out of pre-conditioned, set minds, that we are to retire upon reaching the age of 60, 62, 65, 67 years, or whatever age that we have been subjected to retire at.

We have to re-take our minds from the follies that have been set upon us.

~ ALAN IAN ATKINSON
Writer, Author, Storyteller

Videohive

MID-WEEK ESSAY POSSIBILITIES

Whew! That was a bit of a roller coaster ride…in my mind, over the past few days. I have a palette of articles on my ideaSketchpad 💡in their various stages of being thought about, researched or completed. Yet none were reaching out to me, or screaming at me to be completed. My ideaSketchpad 💡is quite full with a wide array of different subjects to write about but it still has a huge space and enormous appetite for more. I feel I have to immerse myself in my writing where my fingers will type on the Logitec MX Keys keyboard the words my brain sends them, at the same time having visual contact to see what comes out on the computer screen.

What I think I will write about is amongst the goals or new year’s resolutions I set about at the end of last year / beginning of this year. One was to bring my weight down to within a healthy range for my age prescribed by the health experts. “For my age” – I just don’t like to use that term but for a coming article, I may just use it one time. o.k. 2 times, this being the first. Why I don’t like the phrase “For my age” is because I think it preconditions us to think that we can or cannot do or say something due to the age bracket we are in. Most times, this age bracket refers to senior citizens and the elderly.

Another thing that has got the 💡lightbulb of my “ideaSketchpad 💡” lighting up super brightly is a possible collaboration with my daughter on a couple of ideas or more. You will have to stay tuned closely to leatherpotato.com for the launch of these ideas.

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An area of interest that has got me thinking and playing on my mind is the fact that people are living longer, which is great and they should continue to move towards that direction. Where it lacks in is “Ok, I am living longer, what do I do with myself?” We have been preconditioned to retire at age 55 years with a token additional 1 or 2 years working extension on contract. In some companies; you are considered in a “consultant’s position.

A few years ago, Singapore’s first prime minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, said that people should not retire. “Retirement means death”, he continued (1). People, even those in Malaysia; scoffed at the idea. “This man is money-faced and has the idea that people should fend for themselves, right up to their graves”, they remarked. Years later, what Mr. Lee said does not seem to be such a bad idea. Naturally, people will scoff at this idea because we have been pre-conditioned by the governments, society and people around us that we have to retire. That is our right or given right.

Sadly, groups of people who are healthy, able-bodied and can work after their stipulated retirement ages, are peer-pressured that they have to retire.

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These are some of the ideas that will be touched upon in coming articles in days or weeks…maybe.

NOTES:
1. Clarissa Onn, The Straits Times, January 14th, 2008.

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

THE ART OF SELF-CONTROL

DO NOT TRY TO FIX WHATEVER COMES IN YOUR LIFE.

Instead, fix yourself in such a way that you are able to bend backwards or bend forwards, or bend in front of it or at the back of it, moving faster or slower than it; learning to control your movement in life by becoming nimble and agile.

~ ALAN IAN ATKINSON
Writer, Author, Storyteller

FLAVORS OF SPOKEN ENGLISH

“Please borrow me $500.” This statement is made with a straight face. I am not sure what to make of this.

Quite common with Chinese speaking the English language.  Is this person asking you to borrow him or her for $500? What do you think?

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“Give I books”, the boy said to his elder brother.

Their father heard the boys’ conversation. He immediately interjected and said that was not proper English. He asked the younger son to correct his earlier sentence.

The younger boy rephrased the sentence to his elder brother, “Give I the books”; while his father listened on.

The father got a bit flustered and told his younger son that his sentence was still wrong. He said the correct grammar and construction of the sentence should be, “Please, give I the books”!

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The English language amuses me. The way it is spoken has an art to it. Though I am no master of the language, nor any other language for that matter; who is to say what is right and what is wrong.

It is true that we have to follow or it is necessary to follow a system that has been agreed upon by organizations, societies, etc. Who appointed these organizations to be the vanguards (a word that seems quite out of place in today’s English language world?

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In Malaysia, you will hear “lah”, “meh”, “lor” “hi meh”, “aa – cha”, “got meh?”, that may be accompanied by a smile, frown, surprise (both eyelids raised), confusion (one eyelid raised in a questioning way); – all this part of the English language in Malaysia – unique to Malaysia.

“Aa-cha” (Spelt according to how it sound like. Not sure if I’ve got the spelling correct) usually comes with a unique head wobble or movement. From the video below, “The Indian Head Wobble Explained”; can you figure out which head wobble comes with it?

It needs a bit of practise to head wobble naturally.

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In England, it is “Whoa-ar?”, more like “whor-or-or?” One would think that the English language came from England. Then you hear “Cor blimey!” and actually began to wonder. Eh?

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“Yea”, the English, don’t really know how, to speak English. “Yea”, “Yea” I agree this is common with, we Aussies. That is Australian just in case, you weren’t sure. “Yea”.

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In the U.S., it is common to hear “gotta”, “gonna”, Hummer, tuna, like, like, like. Oops! I am getting carried away with the tune from the song “Mambo No. 5”.

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Then, there is English from Alan Ian Atkinson. “Oh really!”, Watch out for the “!” exclamation mark with my left eyebrow raised higher than my right. Funny, I can’t raise my right eyebrow higher than my left. Oh really!(?)

And yes, I can head wobble quite naturally, too. “Oh really?”

The punctuations determine the meaning of the “oh really” that comes immediately after a sentence.

Pinterest

There is so much more this common, almost universal language, English, has to offer. I have barely scratched the surface. Whor-or-or? (what?)!

Should I do more of spoken English in a future article? Perhaps. Head wobbling, with my left eyebrow raised, at the same time lowering my right eyebrow a bit, and smiling, as the thought crossed my mind. Capital idea!

VIBRANTS COLORS OF DEEPAVALI

Malaysia is a country of festivals.

When I was in school, all I knew was festivals usually meant holidays (yay!), a never ending variety of great food, meeting and spending time with family and friends. Festivals usually meant vibrant colors. And, I love the color of life.

onmanorama

Today, we celebrate the “Festival of Lights”, where good triumphs over bad. Here, when I say, “we”; it means that Malaysians love to celebrate festivals, not so much just to celebrate a festival, regardless; but to celebrate with our friends and family. My good friend and Tudor neighbour, Teoh; in his excitement to wish everyone celebrating Deepavali, sent me a greeting, too.

Teoh’s message to me last night.

This is how it is here, where we look forward in celebrating the many faceted cultures with the people around us.

Coming back to school days, you would think we guys would be fed up of seeing each other almost everyday in school. Then, on a holiday; we are together again. But it never seemed that way.

Parents and other family members always greeted us warmly.

Deepavali, The Festival Of Lights, was a celebration no different in terms of joy and festivities. Admittedly, at that time, we never paid too much attention to the meaning where “good triumphed over darkness”. For that matter, we never paid too much attention to the meaning of many festivals. We looked forward to the food. Where there is food, there you will find the La Salle boys. I used the “present tense” in the last sentence because that statement still holds true, even today.

A variety of delicious sweets and snacks

We were in each other’s homes so often that parents knew us by our names. We guys really had a great time as schoolmates. Our teachers knew us by name, usually for a couple of reasons. One was we were saintly students, the other was because there were some of us who were rascals. I highly doubt the first reason.

A rare picture – Chef Daphne at work. The question is when is she off work? 😉

Malaysians love to eat. Every opportunity they can get will almost center around food.

Jeannie and I as parents, have been involved with our daughter, Laura’s; competitive swim racing activities and fraternity for over 12 years. This I can say: There is an awesome, and I mean awesome friendship that we have with other parents and officials and organizers of swim championship competitions.

In Selangor’s, for that matter Malaysia’s swim competitions and officials fraternity; when the name “Daphne” or “Jeyamani” is mentioned; everyone knows of the fiercest, strictest chief referee. She is the referee that seems to be at any part of the pool deck at all times, to ensure a perfectly run meet. Off duty, she is one of the friendliest and funniest people around.

She also fantastic cook. Come Deepavali; we get to try the many, many dishes that she somehow manages to whip up.

This is a picture showing just some of the dishes that Daphne cooked at a previous Deepavali gathering. Yes, I know. It is evident there is the touch of a chief referee – everything is labelled and neatly organized.

Jeannie, dressed for the occasion.

Jeannie and I, wish all friends and relatives celebrating Deepavali; a very happy and joyous Deepavali.