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.


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.


Either we are moving too slowly and time has caught us off guard, or time is moving at a relentless, breathtaking pace.

We celebrated dad’s 70th birthday. That was not too long ago. Then, his 80th came along and we all celebrated with him. All his siblings were with him. Aunty Maureen and Uncle Ronnie (& Aunty Maryjane) in Malaysia. Uncle Pat, Uncle Al and Aunty Val, all residing in Perth, Western Australia; made the trip for that very special occasion. At the end of his celebration on that day; we said we will look forward to his 90th. Phew! That seemed like (like?. Oh no… my English is like getting infiltrated like by the looks of things) only yesterday.

Dad, at around a year old; with his parents (my grandparents), Charles (left) and Julia Atkinson. Uncle Arthur Atkinson (Right), went missing during World War II.

Childhood years were spent growing up in Ipoh (1). A lad of St Michael’s Institution, he was known for his skills at cricket.

1950s – In England.

In the picture above, he was already in the army and was doing a stint in Sandhurst.

Trip down memory lane: This was home in Ipoh, for Grandpa (Papa) Atkinson and family in 1955 and before.

Their Silibin home (the picture above) was their last home in Ipoh before they moved to Kuala Lumpur (2) in the mid-1950s.

Their move to Kuala Lumpur was not without fanfare from what I hear from his cousin, Percival (Percy) Reyes and my cousin, Dato’ Seri Jeffrey Raymond.

The Atkinsons moved in with the Reyes on Lorong Hicks, next door to the Gomes residence. Uncle Gerald Reyes (Percy’s father) was my grandmother’s (dad’s mother) youngest brother.

On several meet-ups with Percy and Dato’ Seri Jeffrey separately, they would fondly reminisce on the past when they stayed in Lorong Hicks. Percy would have been in his teens at that time. Jeffrey, much younger; is the son of mom’s elder sister, Aunty Flory. Now, Percy and Jeffrey most probably have not met up for decades, even till today. But they both talked fondly about this young army officer in his spruced up uniform that would stop the world in its tracks whenever he came home from his postings.

Hence (a very old English word), mum and dad got married in 1956. If that did not happen, then my siblings and I won’t be here. Naturally, the Gomes family approved of him immediately because he had a couple of aces up his sleeve – he could sing and read music. I think that was more important to them than knowing the ABC alphabet, as “music” and “Gomes” were more often than not, in the same sentence.

Mum & Dad
(Third from left): Dad. Mum (Standing. 2nd from the right). Dad’s father (my grandfather) stands on the far left. This is what I believe to be part of the Church of the Assumption Choir in the 1960s in one of their fun gatherings.
A programme page of a musical that dad acted in.

In mid-1981, celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary with mum; with us, their children: Jennifer seated next to mum. Standing left to right: Malcolm, Terence, Nigel and me.

Jennifer, Nigel, Terence, Malcolm and I; grew up with music almost 24 x 7. Classical, western, rock n roll, choirs, music bands. And music is very much with Laura (Jeannie’s and my daughter) and her cousins, too.

With his siblings. In front: Uncle Ronnie (#5) and Uncle Al (#3). Seated on the chair, left to right: Uncle Pat (#2), Aunty Val (#6), Aunty Maureen (#4) and dad (#1 – eldest).
Dad and Mum, with Laura, Jeannie and me; celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary and mum’s birthday which was 2 days earlier.

On the steps of St Michael’s Church; Ipoh, Perak. A gathering of most of the Atkinson clan on a trip down memory lane.

Fast forward…. May 10, 2022. Dad’s 90th birthday. Dad turned 90 today, marking the beginning of his 91st year. Papa (my grandfather), dad’s father; always looked at birthdays that way.

The fourth generation Atkinsons (the grandkids); organised a birthday celebration last Saturday (May 8th) at dad’s & mum’s home in Klang. Aunty Maureen, Uncle Ronnie and Aunty Maryjane joined in the celebration, too. Terence was not well, so he and Mabel could not make it. Latest update today: he has almost fully recovered.

Dad wanted to have a picture of me with him in this shirt I was wearing. He has always commented that he liked this shirt. He said on that day, “I want a picture of you with that shirt before it fades or you stop wearing it”. So, here’s the photo, dad.

Dad, Aunty Maureen, Uncle Ronnie and me.

The grand Prince at 90. You know this is the work of the grandkids.

Dad gave an articulated, off the cuff speech. His mind is sharp. He thanked all of us, especially the organisers for that evening, for being there on that day.

Now, into his 91st. He still phones his siblings here and in Australia; us – his children, our spouses and his grandchildren; regularly, to find out how we are faring. He may not be able to waltz the whole ballroom away with mum, now; but I won’t put it past him, that he may do the famous “Eustace Atkinson twist” if prompted to.

We, his family; are looking forward to his 100th. Cheers, dad!


  1. Ipoh is a city in the state of Perak, Malaysia
  2. Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia