37 Years Old For The Last 43 Years

She’s down. She’s back in Malaysia. The one who has been 37 years old for the last 43 years. Yes, it is her – Aunty Val.

Wow! 80 and onto her 81st! These are just numbers as I can’t remember her ever changing! She is the same as when she was 20, 40, 60, 80. Always been there for all of us. I betcha she will be the same in the next 20.

“She is the same as always” means just that. One can never tell when she is serious or pulling a fast one. Her coming to Malaysia this time around was anyone’s guess. Dad and mum believed her when she told them that she was not. They gathered from our sibling and family discussions that she was indeed, making a trip to this side of the globe.

Dad called her using the Messenger app, and asked her once again, if the news of her impending trip was true. Mum, spoke with her, too. She told them no way was she going to travel with all “this covid virus strains and what have you”, making its rounds.

Mum called me on the phone and asked, “who said Aunty Val will be coming down (more like up. They are down under) to Malaysia? Dad just called her and she told him that she definitely was not making a trip this time.” She, too; fell for Aunty Val’s fib – “hook, line and sinker” (as dad would always say).

Little did Dad and mum know that Aunty Val was talking to them from the comforts of Aunty Maureen’s (dad, Aunty Maureen and Aunty Val are siblings) house. Aunty Val, the youngest of six brothers and sisters; had arrived in Malaysia that morning. She wanted to surprise dad on his 91st birthday (May 10th) by showing up at his doorstep.

On dad’s birthday, she was at the door to surprise both dad and mum. It was a good get together, where Aunty Maureen was there, too. Neil and Francis (Aunty Maureen’s sons, my cousins), and I; had planned this evening. We were in the thick of things as we were in the know of Aunty Val’s trip.

I think to keep the sanity of this world or what we can make out of the little of it, intact; none of her (Aunty Val’s) sons; or us, her nephews and nieces; followed in this prankster’s footsteps.😂

My brother, Malcolm and his wife Uma; hosted a gathering at their home with uncles, aunties, siblings, nephews and nieces last Saturday (May 20th); to celebrate Aunty Val’s 80th birthday (May 7th).

As the evening began, family arrived.
Seated from left to right: Aunty Val, Aunty Maureen and Jeannie.
No, the guy standing is not Louis Litt from the Netflix series | Suits.
Uncle Ronnie, praying over the food just before he serves himself as almost all of it looked fiery hot, super pedas!

No, this is not a prayer session.😏 The power of togetherness: Ray, leading everyone in magic. “Concentrate everyone”, as he says the mantra: “ab-ra-ke-de-be-ra” : transforming the orchids into a birthday cake for Aunty Val.
Cousins’ private moment.
Here, Ray is at it again, trying out his magic skills. Aunty Val is saying, “Come on Ray; you can do it!”

The “roundtable” (literally) meeting.

Here, Aunty Maryjane is caught texting on her smartphone. It’s the latest design in smartphones, an all time favorite – a coffee cup.

Out of the orchid, came a birthday cake for Aunty Val. It is accomplished. She was pleased.

Let’s see now who’s in the picture. There is Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen

From left to right: Forefront: Darren Atkinson, Malcolm Atkinson, Shirley Atkinson nee Foo.
Second row: Mabel Atkinson (Terence’s wife), Terence Atkinson, Audra Yew nee Atkinson,
Aunty Maryjane Atkinson (Uncle Ronnie’s wife), Ben Harding and Elizabeth
Harding (Neil’s children).
Third row: Laura Atkinson (Jeannie’s & my daughter), Stephanie Harding (Francis’s wife),
Uma Atkinson (Malcolm’s wife), Ashley Atkinson (Terence’s & Mabel’s
Fourth row: Self, Neil Harding, Francis Harding, Emilia Harding (Francis’ & Stephanie’s
daughter), Aunty Val Surin nee Atkinson, Uncle Ronnie Atkinson, Aunty
Maureen Harding nee Atkinson, Jeannie Atkinson nee Ong, Raymond
Arnold (Jennifer Atkinson-Arnold’s [the late] husband), Uma Atkinson
(Malcolm’s wife).
Fifth row: Anthony Yew (Audra’s husband), Sarah Atkinson (Shirley’s & Nigel Atkinson’s
[the late] daughter), Alana (Terence’s & Mabel’s daughter).

From left to right: Forefront: Darren Atkinson, Malcolm Atkinson, Shirley Atkinson nee Foo.
Second row: Mabel Atkinson (Terence’s wife), Terence Atkinson, Elaine Laksa (Darren’s
partner), Audra Yew nee Atkinson, Aunty Maryjane Atkinson (Uncle Ronnie’s
wife), Ben Harding and Elizabeth Harding (Neil’s children).
Third row: Laura Atkinson (Jeannie’s & my daughter), Stephanie Harding (Francis’
wife), Uma Atkinson (Malcolm’s wife), Ashley Atkinson (Terence’s & Mabel’s
Fourth row: Self, Neil Harding, Francis Harding, Emilia Harding (Francis’ & Stephanie’s
daughter), Aunty Val Surin nee Atkinson, Uncle Ronnie Atkinson, Aunty
Maureen Harding nee Atkinson, Jeannie Atkinson nee Ong, Raymond
Arnold (Jennifer Atkinson-Arnold’s [the late] husband), Uma Atkinson
(Malcolm’s wife).
Fifth row: Sarah Atkinson (Shirley’s & Nigel Atkinson’s [the late] daughter), Alana
(Terence’s & Mabel’s daughter).

Siblings – Atkinson seniors: Aunty Val, Uncle Ronnie, Aunty Maureen

The Atkinson Four cousins
Elizabeth and Emilia

Daughter in conference with her parents.
Malcolm, Neil and Francis
The eldest and the youngest of the sibling children, Alana and Laura. Looks like they are planning something exciting.
“Awww, go on, Aunty Val!”, says Steph; as Aunty Val pulls another fast one. Aunty Maureen, “Really?”

The evening drew to a close with everyone having had a great time. The food was excellent. There was a wide variety available. I decided not to talk about the food as it, in itself, could be a whole article.

To get all of us to come together was pretty special. Aunty Val, here’s wishing you the very best in your next 20. Another 20 years of being 37.


That’s a toughie! Almost a day does not go by when we are involved in a conversation or chance to overhear people talking about “woo-ing-men”. This conversation is either by men, women, or both.

So, we began to wonder why these people try to woo men. Sounds like getting them to fall into a trap. Many times they do.

Then, when you hear a conversation with “we men”, you may be forgiven to think that that’s all us men have to talk about besides, sports, drinks, business, gambling, investment and of course, women.

It all boils down to that – WOMEN.

The English language can be so confusking at times…well, actually most of the time.

Take the word, “Woman“. It is singular for a woman – a lady be she your wife, mother, sister, aunt, girlfriend. Woman is pronounces as “woo-man”, not “whoa-man” (sounding like this).

What is the plural for woman? Hang on to your seats…It is “Women” pronounced as “we-men”. Yes, take note of its spelling. It is not pronounced as “woman”.

So, ladies, gentlemen and those who rather not say, there you have it. A confusing word or words in the English language made simple to understand.

As this is International Women’s Day, I give recognition to the women who inspire me daily:

My wife, Jeannie; who has been by my side for over 27 years, supporting me in all my aspirations.

Laura, my daughter, who inspires me to think up new ideas and challenges.

My mother – who, by still making her world famous cakes, makes a statement that age is only a number.

Mother Mary, who has always been by my side.

The list goes on…

While this “celebration” or “recognition” is one day only, I don’t think it should be so. I think women should be recognized by merit in all that they do; every day. They are just as good or even better if given the opportunity to do so.

Celebrating International Women’s Day with Jeannie, we had dinner at Kar Heong Restaurant – Jeannie’s choice. The food was excellent. I had plain 1 ton noodles. It is Wanton noodles. Jeannie had plain Hor Fun (yes fun) noodles. The dishes we ordered were char siew / siew yoke; steamed chicken breast and tougey (bean sprouts). The condiments were the plain soup that came with my wanton noodles, the chili and ginger. The chili and ginger is a must have regardless of how crazy spicy they are. Perspiration for sure and tears streaming down faces for the uninitiated. The servings seem to be shrinking each time we patronize this restaurant. The prices remain the same.

Jeannie’s very green drink was umbra. Though one could feel the fibres going down as it was drunk, it was delicious. I went for the iced-coffee. Pretty good if I don’t say so myself. There wasn’t any after taste that many brands of milk have. So, I could actually get the taste of coffee.


With my two most favourite women, Jeannie and Laura. Perfect. This was Jeannie’s and my last day in Decatur, Illinois; just before heading to Chicago (December 31, 2022).
This picture was taken with a Samsung S21 Ultra. I wonder how much better it would be if it was taken by a Samsung S23 Ultra.

Dinner at Kar Heong.
I had plain 1 ton noodles. It is Wanton noodles. Jeannie had plain Hor Fun (yes fun) noodles. The dishes we ordered were char siew / siew yoke; steamed chicken breast and tougey (bean sprouts). The condiments were the plain soup that came with my wanton noodles, the chili and ginger. The chili and ginger is a must have regardless of how crazy spicy they are. Perspiration for sure and tears streaming down faces for the uninitiated.
Jeannie’s very green drink was umbra. Though one could feel the fibres going down as it was drunk, it was delicious. I went for the iced-coffee. Pretty good if I don’t say so myself. There wasn’t any after taste that many brands of milk have. So, I could actually get the taste of coffee.

The 15th Day

Chap Goh Mei which is today, is the last day of the Chinese Lunar Year celebrations or Chinese New Year. The day is celebrated similarly to the day before Chinese New Year, it is celebrated with much joy and festivity. This is the year of the Rabbit. The rabbit (兔) is the fourth in the twelve-year periodic sequence (cycle) of animals that appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. (1) The sign of Rabbit is a symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity in Chinese culture. (2)

On the night of Chap Goh Meh, unmarried girls will throw tangerines (oranges) in the sea or river in the belief that they will be able to marry good husbands. I don’t know how the guys could identify which tangerine belonged to which girl “in those days”. Today, maybe the girls will write their name, telephone number and Instagram or TikTok ID (Facebook is for senior citizens, so they’ll skip adding their Facebook ID) on each and every tangerine with permanent ink pen markers.

Jeannie and I decided to celebrate this last day of festivities in a small way. We went to Sunway Pyramid Shopping Centre in Subang Jaya. (3)

Since Laura is away in the U.S.; we decided to stop by at one of her favorite stores in this shopping Centre – Popular Book Store. Laura loved to shop for stationery especially in this store – pens, pencils, color pencils, magic ink, glitter ink, various types of writing and note books, and drawing pads. She had hundreds of these writing instruments in various shades, sizes and color. She is quite the artist, too; follows after her mother. Me? I can’t draw two straight lines with a ruler. We had quite a good time. Jeannie and I purchased a few items.

We had coffee at the Oriental Kopitiam (4) (naturally. It wouldn’t have been so traditional if we had coffee at Starbucks, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf or at the mamak (5)). We had to have Oriental Kopitiam’s signature coffee. It was pretty good. We had butter with kaya on toast bread – one of the usual eats when one drinks kopitiam coffee. I had to also have Black Glutinous Rice or in aspirated local terms, “Pulut hitam”. Simply one of my favorites. It had two sort of glutinous balls with black sesame paste inside. People: it’s worth the try.

Jeannie spent a bit of time at her favorite stores; too. I…yes; at the gadget stores. Nothing really much going on in this area. You can find loads of interesting and cool new gadgets on the web, but they hardly seem to make their way to this part of the world.

5 hours later, we were on our way home. It was a great way to spend our Sunday afternoon, relaxed and had fun.

Jeannie and I with three gold boat-shaped ingots (part of the deco).

Year of the Rabbit.

I know, I know… I am not suppose to be on the bridge, but under it, waiting to collect oranges…er.. I mean find “that special orange thrown over by a lenglui” (6). I figure that since I am already spoken for; I might as well collect as many oranges from the lenglui(s). The guys aren’t waiting under the bridge. They are at home on their phones or PS5 games.😁

1. Wikipedia
2. Chinahighlights.com
3. Subang Jaya is a city in the state of Selangor, Malaysia.
4. “Kopitiam”: a coffee house serving traditional Malay and Chinese fare.
5. “Mamak”: Mamak stalls are indoor and open-air food establishments particularly found in Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia.
6. “Lenglui”: Pretty girl.

The Third Day. The Festivities Continue…

Its the third day of the new year, Chinese New Year, that is. Malaysia being Malaysia; the choice for food is endless, regardless of festivities. Having said that, at festivals, as it is now, Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year; cookies and certain types of food are specially prepared only during this festivity. Love it.

However, today; Jeannie and I joined her parents, her sister Judy who is here in Malaysia for the holidays; and Jeannie’s and Judy’s cousin, Cecilia; her husband Siow and their son, for lunch at Kayu Nasi Kandar in Taipan, USJ Subang Jaya; today. The food was good. I abstained from rice…of course. Stopped eating rice since 2007.

Before long, it was dinner. I said to Jeannie, “It’s been a long time since we have had satay”. So, off we went to the Taj Curry House in SS12, Subang Jaya. The diva took our order of roti canai and Nescafe kurang manis (less sweet which means less sugar). We placed our order for 5 sticks each, of chicken and beef satay with the satay chef, or the griller…better known as “boss”.

The meal was very nice. The satay was well marinated, the beef more on the sweet side. We were kind of full by the end of the meal. Delicious! Total cost of the meal US$6.30.

The 5 sticks each, of chicken and beef satay (skewed on the sticks), in the middle. It came with cucumber, onions and kutupat (rice cake); all of which is dipped in the somewhat sweet peanut sauce, which in some restaurants may serve a more spicy version.

As soon as I got back, which was about 8.15pm; I went for a short 7km walk to work off some of this meal. I joined Sim, my neighbor from a couple of streets away for the walk. It started to rain about 10 minutes after I started walking and then became intermittent. Our walk was cool and pleasant, though a bit wet.

Enjoy and have a great day ahead.


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


The recent passing of an icon of monarchies, if I may put it that way; has left a void in the “system”. Queen Elizabeth II was ruler over Great Britain, the British Empire / the British Commonwealth for 70 years. Most (all) of the countries that were a part of the British Empire are self-rule now and are members of the British Commonwealth. She was also “Head of State” for some of the countries in the Commonwealth like Australia and New Zealand, for example.

Why do I say “icon”? When you talk “king”, “queen”, “royalty”; more often than not, Queen Elizabeth and the British royal family come to mind. No way does this downplay the importance or stature of royalty of other kingdoms. It is just that the British royal family is more in the news in this part of the world.

Why do I say “system”? Maybe, establishment is a better word to describe monarchies / kingdoms, so on and so forth. King Charles III, has a huge role to play in order to come out of the shadow of Queen E II, his mother; and perhaps, surpass it.

Coming back to the passing of Queen E II. Her funeral was on September 19th, with thousands of people paying their last respects to her.

There were also groups of anti-royals, anti-monarchies, etc, that chose this time to vent their anti-ismness. They have their reasons to vent against colonialization. I am not going to debate their reasons or give my views here, in this article.

It made me think: Did any good come out of this “British Commonwealth?”

I think people moved about and travelled to countries more freely, maybe with a feeling of being “safer” or accustomed to “being within the same umbrella of nations called The British Commonwealth”. If not, my siblings and I will not be here.

My grandfather on my father’s side (my father’s father) came from then known Ceylon to Malaya somewhere in the late 1920s or early 1930s. I am not sure whether he was in the British army at that time. My father’s father married my father’s mother and they had my father and his 5 siblings. That’s only half of the equation.

Charles & Julia Atkinson – Their wedding.

The Atkinsons in the 1970s

The other half of the equation is my mother. My grandfather and grandmother on my mother’s side, i.e. my mother’s parents, were also “imports”. They were both from Goa, which is on the central eastern part of India.

My mother’s parents first came to then Malaya, in the early 1900s. My mother’s father first brought orchestral music to silent theaters at that time.

The Gomes family – 1970s

The result of my father’s father and my mother’s parents coming to Malaya: My siblings and me…My uncles, aunts and their children, too. We are just a couple of families that are here as living proof, amongst the millions of others who share the same journey path as mine.

The Atkinson and Gomes families

So, yes, I believe there was a lot of good that came about the collaboration of countries within the British Commonwealth.

If groups of people want to propagate and champion ill-will and division among men; there are plenty of excuses (reasons?) to churn up. That’s the easy part.

I am all for propelling goodness, equality to all men, peace and kindness. Now, that’s a challenge. Anyone game for it?

“We Are Family”: Sister Sledge and Chic


Date: 18th June 2016

Place: Dad’s & Mum’s home.

Occasion: There’s never a need for one when it comes to music with the Atkinson and Gomes families. On this date, it was in celebration of dad’s & mum’s 60th Wedding Anniversary.

16th June, 1956

Music has always been in our home from way before I was born I guess. Dad still has his open reel tape recordings of all of us, even at our ages of 1 year +. Listening to it has a charm that has always bonded my siblings, my late sister, Jennifer; my late brother, Nigel, Terence, Malcolm and I together, with dad and mum.

Dad and mum formed a singing group in the 1960s, with the famous band, “The Yellow Jackets” from Klang. Practices were most times in our house in Section 12, Petaling Jaya. They were also in various choirs, including the one in church. Dad was choir master in the Church of the Assumption, Petaling Jaya. I remember watching dad (I was 6 or 7 years old at that time) painstakingly write music and stencils for scores of hymns. He handwrote possibly a hundred sets of hymns for each of the choir members in his choir. He had artistic (still does) skills in him that made his work looked liked they were photocopied (They didn’t use photocopiers at that time).

My siblings and I were blessed with music rich families and music rich homes. Admittedly, some of that music were not to the likings of us, youngsters (at that time). But then, most music is evergreen and we’ve grown to enjoy them.

A few days ago, I was going through the videos on my phone and stumbled on this recording of my kid brother, Malcolm, singing this beautiful piece. Needless to say, you can feel the love and warmth he exudes with his natural born talent. On this occasion on June 18th (16th being dad’s and mum’s actual wedding anniversary date), there were several performers.

In this video, we had our whole family, together with some of dad’s and mum’s siblings to share this beautiful occasion with dad and mum. I will introduce everyone in this video, moving anti-clockwise starting with Shirley.

Malcolm singing a beautiful song at Dad’s & Mum’s 60th Wedding Anniversary. Cinematographer: Alan Atkinson

Shirley is Nigel’s wife and the mother of Sarah. You can see her pop in the picture once in a while. The Kid among the siblings because he’s the youngest; Malcolm shines when he sings, as he does here. He’s the one with the guitar, singing; in the video.

My late brother, Nigel; is next. Nigel loved family gatherings, as we all do. He would be in the thick of things with old family stories and jokes. Next to him is Uma, Malcolm’s wife. She always cooks up a delicious and often spicy spread for us, whenever we go to their place.

Sitting on the top of the stairs before the first landing is Tim. Alana’s then boyfriend, now husband. Yes, you can tell he’s a lawyer. If you can’t, you will have to find out for yourself.😉 Alana, Terence’s and Mabel’s eldest daughter; sits next to him. She is also the oldest of the grandchildren generation of the Atkinson family. Next to her, (sort of hidden) is Sarah, who is now head chef in one of the foreign High Commissions in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She is popular with foreign dignitaries for the fantastic meals she serves up. Sarah is Nigel’s and Shirley’s daughter.

Sitting a couple of steps below them is Laura; our (Jeannie’s and my) daughter. A state swimmer representing Selangor, Malaysia; she has music in her veins, too. Now, in the U.S. for her tertiary studies majoring in Entrepreneurship; she represents her university in swimming, too. She had a very exciting weekend at the University of Chicago meet last weekend. (1) She is the youngest of the Atkinson grandchildren.

Standing by the passage way is Ashley, Terence’s and Mabel’s youngest daughter. She is an educator for young children and is gifted with many talents, among them… why yes, of course… singing. The guy standing next to her is a talented singer, musician and writes his own music. He is Jay. He was then Ashley’s boyfriend, now husband. He speaks fluent French, too. Just saying.

Sitting in front of him is Mabel, Terence’s wife and the mother of Alana and Ashley. She’s the systematic-er. Everything has to be organised and in its place. Nest to her is Aunty Maryjane; wife to Uncle Ronnie. One of our family’s greatest supporters in all we do.

On Aunty Maryjane’s right is Laura’s mother, Jeannie. Yes, she’s my wife as well. Almost forgot.🤣 Jeannie has always been the greatest supporter in all that Laura and I do. A great supporter in all our family gatherings, too.

Next… hang on, I have to watch the video again to see whose next.

Ah… yes, my late eldest only sister, Jennifer (known by many as “Jen”). Jennifer was the eldest of us 5 siblings. She had an incredible talent for art, painting, troll beads, etc. Recognised by many in the arts arena from around the world. One to always organise family meet ups and gallivanting. On her right, is the lady of the house…

Mum, more famously known as Mrs Atkinson for her special icing- butter cakes and suggee cakes and yes, she makes a saintly fruitcake (an exceptionally rare commodity these days). Mum has always been the “glue” that bonded the family together. Not too long ago, in her younger days, she used to sing descant in choirs. She is always praying for all of us, our extended families and for everyone who asks her to pray for them. Not to mention for those she believes need urgent prayers, too. The strength and calm she displayed when Jennifer passed and more recently Nigel, too; is simply amazing. She knows that they are in a better place now.

Mum continues to make her famous butter cakes. She does them so lovingly.

Watch more video now… The late Aunty Clara, mum’s youngest sister and youngest from a family of 17 siblings. It was so nice to have her with us on this occasion. She would always make it a point to be with all family gatherings whenever she could.

Sitting on the sofa next to Aunty Clara, is the family prankster, dad’s youngest sister, Aunty Val. She is always up to some trick or another. The livewire of the family, Aunty Val has made it a point to attend all family special celebrations whenever, she possibly can. Our cousins and us know Aunty Val as “Aunty Val”. There can only be one “Aunty Val”. Next to Aunty Val, is a friend of hers; who came on holiday with her from Perth, Australia.

Aunty Maureen, dad’s other sister; has always been the victim of Aunty Val’s pranks. This goes way back, when they were kids. A teacher by profession; Aunty Maureen is the calm of Aunty Val. She’s the head of our Harding cousins’ families. On the chair next to her, is Uncle Ronnie; dad’s, Aunty Maureen’s youngest brother and Aunty Val’s too; but elder than her.

When we were young-er, Uncle Ronnie was known for “Bee-bup the ruler, she’s my bay-bee”; a song dad recorded of him singing while playing his guitar. The familiar voice on radio, til today.

Dad’s next on the list. The head of the Atkinson clan, the military officer, the grandfather, the father, husband, brother, brother-in-law. He wears so many hats and has played so many roles. Still calls everyone up from around the world just to find out how they are doing. He’s a believer in buying food and groceries in large quantities. Mum and he will always call to find out how we all are doing, including Laura in the U.S.

Synonymous with Squash (or racquet-ball in the U.S.) is Ray. As a public figure, Raymond Arnold and his three children have played, are playing for Malaysia and coaching in Malaysia and Singapore in this game. Played and amongst the best in the world arena. If you hear someone laughing the loudest, that must be Ray. Always in for a good laugh and time.

Uncle Gerald, mum’s brother is the next one and the last in this video. A teacher by profession, a violinist and popular for his rendition of “Ave Maria”, he has always made it a point to attend family gatherings whenever possible. We are sure to get a phone call from him wishing us on our birthday or an anniversary. He finds it ticklish when people say, “We’ll catch up with you” – an oft misused phrase. He says they mean to say, “We’ll ketchup with you”.

There you have it – all of them in the video. I am not in the video – I was shooting it, the cinematographer / cameraman. Hope you enjoyed it. Terence was not in the video as I believe he was abroad at that time.

Speaking of anniversaries, some not so many years ago, this guy below on the left asked, “Would chu?”

She said, “Would chu what?” And I replied with my head flicking (headshake) on the right and flick raising my left eyebrow, “You know, the ring thing and stuff like that”.

“Oh, marry you. Let me think about it”, she said.

Then, it happened. On this day, 26 years ago. Many, many more great years ahead. 💖💕

60th Wedding Anniversary. Aunty Val, Aunty Clara, Aunty Maureen, Uncle Gerald, Uncle Ronnie and Aunty Maryjane were with us on this joyous day.

Music is in the families of the Atkinsons and Gomes.
Millikin Athletics, Millikin Swimming
Terence, was overseas, I think at that time. 4th amongst the siblings, his gift of the gap is a natural. Husband to Mabel and father to Alana & Ashley.


Siblings’ photo: Standing Left to Right; Shirley, Nigel, Malcolm, Uma, myself, Jeannie, Mabel, Terence, Ashley
Seated Left to Right: Ray, Jen, Laura, Sarah

They (not sure who “they” are) say a picture paints a thousand words.

This has to be amongst the best pictures of me, my family, my siblings and their families. It would have been perfect if Alana was in it. I think she was abroad at that time. I love this picture for its clarity and detail. I can’t remember exactly when this picture was taken. It could have been 2015, 2016 or 2017 Christmas.

Seated Left to Right: Raymond Arnold. Former national squash coach, national squash player, now squash coach extraordinaire. Always ready for a good laugh. He is game for anything and loves food. Who doesn’t? Was married to my late sister, Jennifer.

Next seated is Jennifer (Jen). I always used to say that no camera could escape Jen. Jen always insisted on many photographs be taken, especially with family. Hence, the photo above. She was also the family instigator / organiser of many of family gatherings. This picture was taken at Christmas time at The Curve shopping centre in Petaling Jaya. We were there because Jen thought it a great idea that we siblings and our families meet at a mall like this for light shopping and dinner at least once every Christmas. We always had fun at these once a year at the mall Christmas affairs with the family.

Jen was richly talented with her art. She brightened the world with her paintings and murals on many different objects and surfaces.

One of Jen’s paintings / creations. The picture is so vibrant, the colours and detail are exquisite.

Jen also worked extensively on troll beads, fusing beautiful colours on them. She spent long hours working up ideas as art.

Seated next to Jennifer (back to “Jennifer” instead of “Jen” for me. I grew up with “Jennifer” in my life, so I am more comfortable with her full name, though she went into “Jen” mode.) is our (Jeannie’s and my) daughter, Laura. She is the youngest in the Atkinson clan.

Laura, Jeannie and me

Laura is currently abroad, furthering her tertiary education. While in Malaysia; if she was not at studies, she was training and swimming in championships throughout the country.

Laura was a state swimmer, representing Selangor. She was amongst the top 3 swimmers in Malaysia for the 100m and 50m Breaststroke events in the girls’ age group. Now, she represents her university and its swim team in these events and others, too. Just won the 100yd (yard) Breaststroke at Caroll University (Millikin University meet with Caroll University – 7th November, 2021).

Now, sitting on Laura’s left in the picture is (Chef) Sarah Atkinson. Besides being an artist in food presentation; the meals that she prepares leaves her guests wanting for more; seconds, third helpings. Literally! She is a chef at a foreign high commission. Sarah is the daughter of Nigel and Shirley.

Standing, at the back, from left: Shirley, was married to my late brother, Nigel. Shirley is operations chief at a freight forwarding logistics company. She is the most sought after person by her shipping line agencies and clients; pretty much on call 24×7.

Then, after Shirley in the picture; comes Nigel. Nigel is the in the middle of the five of us siblings : Jennifer, Alan, Nigel, Terence and Malcolm.

Nigel ran a temp-maid cleaning agency, providing the services of maids to clean your home, or small office or building. He had a good rapport with his clients, which were from Subang Jaya, Petaling Jaya and Shah Alam. (3) He obliged some people who were staying out of these areas.

From young, Nigel had this fastidious trait about him: everything had to be clean and in place at all times. There was never a time that anything out of place, even by one millimetre; would get past him. Always having a joke or two, or three at hand to share, he would be the livewire of a party. he loved to sing, too. He was generous, even with the little he had.

Malcolm is next in the picture. He is the youngest in the family but that never stopped him from doing and achieving what he wanted. Known by many as “the singing pastor”; his music and his personality has drawn many, many people to the good news.

Malcolm is up to date on news of his favourite marvel action heroes. He has a pretty good collection of marvel comics, a collection which he started from the time he was in school.

Much of his time now is spent recording and producing music that he sings solo, and with others, too. He wants the end result of production to be the way he has envisaged the songs to be.

Uma, Malcolm’s wife; has a penchant for cooking. She loves cooking. she has all sorts of cooking utensils and gadgets that bring out the already deliciousness in the food she serves. Dinners at their home usually has a wide spread of Indian or western cuisine or a combination of both.

While at hers and Malcolm’s home yesterday she taught us a lesson which I heard for the first time and think it as interesting. If you are eating an Indian meal and use your hands instead of the usual cutlery; you pick up the food with your fingers, making sure the food does not touch the palm of your hand.

Continuing with the siblings photo. I am next after Uma and don’t need any introduction. 😄😉

Jeannie is standing next to me, more like in front of me. She hardly needs any introduction. She is in business development in the food services industry. Always on the lookout for new food items and brands.

Jeannie is also a batik influencer. Batik designs and materials have evolved since it became popular many years ago. Jeannie has an interest in the different types of batik and has produced several ladies’ jackets and tops that have gone to several parts of the world. If you see a lady in the U.S., Australia or Japan in a beautiful batik jacket; it may most likely be one of Jeannie’s creations.

Mabel is next. Terence’s wife; she makes fancy design cakes. She is artistic and thus produces these beautifully designed cakes. When there’s a party in her house; cups will be plastic with your names written on them so that there won’t be an unnecessary waste of cups. She is organised.

Terence, Mabel’s husband; happens to be my brother, not my “second brother” or my cousin’s cousin. Wait a minute – my cousin’s cousin? We’re onto something here. 😁

Terence, who is also the “Uncle Al” (4) of our generation; has been with international schools for many years now. He spends a lot of time with his hobby – hydroponic (5) vegetables. He is about to turn 60 in a few days time. Happy Birthday, Terence (in advance). Welcome to the “60s is the new thirties” club.

Ashley is the last but not least in this picture. Younger daughter of Terence and Mabel; she is a teacher by profession. She started a new handicraft business fairly recently, promoting all the handicraft she makes. She is a very talented singer.

This photo of my siblings and myself and our families, has that warm and Christmas-y atmosphere about it. Will be treasured. Christmas is just around the corner.

Every time I re-visit a picture, it tells me the same story, but from a different point of view. As I get on in years, the same picture becomes more vibrant. – Good memories. Many smiles. Everlasting.

They say a picture paints a thousand words. Well, I think it does more than that. Definitely more than a thousand words – this essay is over 1,300 words.


  1. Jennifer passed away in March 2019.
  2. Nigel passed away in August 2021.
  3. Subang Jaya, Shah Alam and Petaling Jaya are cities in Selangor, Malaysia.
  4. “Uncle Al” – his mannerisms, way of talking and expressing himself is like dad’s brother, Uncle Al.
  5. Hydroponics is a type of horticulture and a subset of hydroculture which involves in growing plants (usually crops) without soil, by using mineral nutrient solutions in an aqueous solvent… Hydroponics offers many advantages notably a decrease in water usage in agriculture. https://en.m.wikipedia.org