Writer, Author, Storyteller


Let’s Go Shopping

We had lots of fun with our “MEET WITH ME SESSION” gatherings last month, where our renowned Batik Influencer, Jeannie Ong; and me (Alan), from; met with so many wonderful friends and made, many, many more new friends, too.

Jeannie shared her views on the beauty of batik, the colours, patterns and designs that create vibrance around it, batik for all occasions, be it formal or casual; batik every day. She has a growing following as a batik influencer.

I shared the reasons for starting – to make a dent in the world, to shift the mindset of people’s thinking during the Covid-19 pandemic, where everything seemed to have been spiraling out of control, downwards. I believed that as long as there was a tomorrow, there was hope and that we should all hang on to that belief.

Now, the pandemic has been put out and world order seems to be restored; I still wanna (in the word family of “gonna, gotta”) write. I am having an immense amount of fun on working on each new article and publishing them. Oh yeah…I still wanna make a dent in the world. The journey has changed a bit. However the general direction is still the same.

I met with many subscribers and readers of I learnt about many values that people hold close to them and treasure. They shared how articles they had read from resonate in their lives, too. While they shared stories about their lives, ideas for new essays started lighting up. I noted them down in the ideaSketchpad💡. Now, the ideaSketchpad 💡is overflowing with storylines, so much so that I am not sure which I should start with first, as all of them have merit.

At the same time, there were many people who were interested in the things we put on sale, too. The Hotwheels cars are a winner, that’s for sure. There are many who are enthusiasts and just collect these vehicles as a hobby for fun. Then, there are the serious collectors. There were a couple of them who showed me pictures of how they “Hotwheelsed” their living room walls in their homes with Hotwheels cars. These are more than just the serious collectors. They have spent a pretty penny on their hobby.

We are having a “MEET WITH ME SESSION” this weekend (May 27th and May 28th) at Amcorp Shopping Mall where Jeannie and I will be there to meet with you.

Jeannie will continue to focus on promoting the “localness” of her “La” Batik Cape Creations. She will be showcasing her latest in designs.

We have three Samsung Galaxy smartphones, one of which is a new A14 5G model, and a new Samsung Galaxy Watch5 (unopened box) up for sale, among the Hotwheels and many things that we are putting up for sale, too.

Laura, who has just returned after having studied abroad for nearly four years, will be with Jeannie and I at Amcorp Shopping Mall; too. She will share her experience of living away from home, adapting to a new life, culture and skills. She will also share what it was like being a student swim athlete, having represented Selangor for several years and then being on her college team. If you are a student or student athlete who is thinking of studying abroad, you may have a question or two…or more, for Laura.

Come meet us. Together, we can explore new ideas.

We will be at:

3rd Floor, Amcorp Shopping Mall,
Booth 3.08, Level 3
Amcorp Shopping Mall,
8, Jalan, Persiaran Barat, Seksyen 52 Petaling Jaya, 46050 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: May 27 and May 28, 2023
Time: 10.00am to 4.00pm (can be extended to 7.00pm)

See you all, there, this Saturday (May 27th) and Sunday (May 28th).


While penning this article; I was listening over our Google Home Mini to songs sung by the late, the great, the legend in her own right – Tina Turner. She coloured the world with her wonderful songs – her voice and the way she sung them – unmistakably Tina Turner. May she Rest In Peace.


New, yet not so new surroundings.

At Tedboy Bakery in Bangsar South for a tall, iced, Americano. Not bad. It is slightly better than “o.k.”

Got some work done on the Fold 3. Having used it for over a year, I would like to see huge improvements, more so in the area of its software, hopefully; in the upcoming Fold 5, which will be launched in about 2 months. And the camera. And the battery life. The battery life was not that great to begin with. But now, it seems to drain faster than it should.

However, to me; the Samsung Fold is still the best in the market for the work I do. When I have a bit of free time (what is that in today’s day and age?), I fiddle around with what this larger than a phablet, folding tablet, can do; especially with Android apps.

The nutty cookie was well packed…so well packed that it was quite difficult to open the plastic packing. The nutty cookie was quite nice.

When I got home, I realised that the cashier did not give me a bill. Probably they practice giving a bill only when it is requested for.

Over all, I like the setting and ambience of this cafe / bakery. It is worth checking out if you are in Bangsar South.

Bangsar South, a development on the former Kampung Kerinchi (Kerinchi Village) site, borders between Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya.
Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya are cities in Malaysia.

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.


On a food hunt?

A Saturday morning. The batik influencer had some new pieces she wanted to put together. She sent her Singer sewing machine to a sewing machine service / repair and sales of new seeing machine shop. At that point, her sewing machine was working fine. She thought she’d send it in for a yearly service.

This service place was of great disappointment. After many, many phone calls and whatsapp messages, Jeannie got her machine back; which was 2.5 weeks later.

Jeannie wanted to get starting on her batik pieces yesterday. She tried working with the sewing machine. it didn’t work. This was the same Singer sewing machine that we got back from the service people that same day.

We sent the machine to another sewing machine service place, this time; somewhere in Puchong. Why “somewhere in Puchong”, is because we relied on Google maps for directions.

We told this service repairer (the second one, the Puchong guy) the ordeal we had to go through to service the machine, that we needed the machine working right away. He did a quick diagnosis and told us that it would take less than an hour to get it fixed.

So, the “Malaysian” in us and keen sense for food, soon found out a restaurant that looked pretty ok. I was attracted to try their conlo / wantan mee. Jeannie went for their Sarawak conlo noodles.

Jeannie ordered Sarawak conlo mee. The Sarawak conlo mee came with sweet bar-b-que pork, and a small bowl of fish ball soup. Her drink was “loh hon cai”, which is usually a dried dessert.
My meal came with dried, crispy wanton, sweet bar-b-que pork and a plain soup. I also had red bean (soup?) dessert; iced (you can see the big pieces of ice in this dessert.

With the heat wave that we have been experiencing over the past few weeks, we welcomed the air-conditioning. This restaurant had air-conditioning. Yay!

The meal was so so. It looked fairly ok. At least I liked the crispy, fried wanton😁. I had red bean soup (cold) in place of a drink. It was so so, too, kind of watery. However, this is how it is normally prepared. I prefer to have it thick.

We went to the cashier to pay for our meal. Just opposite the cashier, was a long table laid out with various cakes and food sweets. These were already in slices in their packing for convenience of eating them right away. They looked good. Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures. However, (you may have noticed that I use “however” more often in my articles than the word “but”), I picked up a pack of what I thought looked like marble cake, a pack of moist chocolate cake and a pack of 5 curry puffs – all for Laura (it seemed). The price for the meal (lunch), cakes and curry puffs came up to RM58. Reasonable, we think.

Went back to the sewing machine shop to check on Jeannie’s sewing machine. By the way, the restaurant is just next door, so we did not have to go far for food. The sewing machine was repaired. Jeannie tested it out and it was working like a gem. The problem / fault was that dust had built up around the foot air controller outlet, something which was overlooked by the other service people.

The time is nearly 6.00pm. We need to get ready in a short while for…yes…dinner. We are all (siblings, uncles and aunts, etc.) meeting at my brother’s and sister-in-law’s place – the reason: Aunty Val is here from Aussie land, so…gathering…of course. And food…more of course😋😂.

As for the people that first took the sewing machine in for service; I have asked that they refund me the payment less their transport charge and RM2 for 2 bobbins that they supplied. That is the least they can do as the owner is a friend. We will donate the refund to a charity. Waiting…


At the time of keyboard letter-tapping / penning this essay; I had wolfed down a peace of the marble cake and moist chocolate cake. Not bad (means “pretty good” or “can do”).

Monday Morning in K. L.

It is Monday morning in Kuala Lumpur (K.L.). Hard to believe that it actually is…Monday morning. In Kuala Lumpur. We are here, near Sogo. The traffic is smooth flowing and the streets are pretty empty of motor vehicles. Sogo shopping mall or the area surrounding it, is quite famous. It seems to be a gathering point where many street protests. both large and small; were / are held. Perhaps something like “Speaker’s Corner” in the north-east corner of Hyde Park in London, England?

Jeannie was on leave as we had a couple of document errands to deal with in K.L.. We would have preferred to have caught a ride to K.L. on the LRT near our house. However, the places that we had to get these errands seen to, were off the LRT track. We did not want to dice the weather, too; as it had been sort of temperamental over the past few weeks. We did like what many Malaysians would do – we drove in our motorcar. (♪Baby, you can drive my car, and baby I love you. Beep beep, beep beep yeah♪). Anyway, we had those errands sorted out pretty quickly.

We decided to grab some coffee at KFC…no, not at Starbucks, or CBTL (Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, though more commonly known as “Coffee Bean”) or a kopitiam (though we didn’t really notice any nearby). We wanted to sit in an a.c. (air-conditioned) environment. The weather was not hot. The sky was fairly carpeted with light grey clouds providing some shade. However, it was humid. Hence, our reason for having coffee as the term generally used in Malaysia “in air-con place”.

The KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) restaurant was located inside Pertama Complex, at the side, on the Ground Floor. We got our coffee and sat by the large glass windows, looking out at Sogo and all the going-ons in the street. This kind of reminded us of the time we had coffee at Starbucks early one morning in London, years ago. However, in London; it was cold with gloomy skies. Chilling out and relaxing, we sipped at our coffee and watched the world go by in the streets of K.L. This area with Campbell Shopping Complex across the road, Pertama Complex and the shopping haven of Jalan (road) Tuanku Abdul Rahman; was the modern shopping of K. L. in the 1970s and ’80s. Nearby here, was the iconic Coliseum bar & grill (no longer there). I think the reason it was famous was because of its rude waiters. They were probably as old as the restaurant. Perhaps, that is why they were often grouchy. And this was the charm of the Coliseum. Haha.

We were in the present, enjoying it.

After about 45 minutes; we decided to head home. When we stepped out of the restaurant; we saw this mat salleh tending to his bicycle. There were many things strapped to his bicycle that it looked like he was running (riding / cycling) away from home. We decided to have a chat with him.

David McCourt, Jeannie and me; with the famous Asian pose: the ✌️sign pose.

David McCourt is an engineer by profession. He hails from Melbourne, Australia. He decided that he wanted to visit his place of birth, which is Dublin, Ireland. He also wanted to travel to different countries, too. What better way to do it – by cycling all the way from Melbourne to Dublin.

The cyclist in me, with David.

What caught my eye was David’s bike (“bicycle ” for the uninitiated😏). I took up cycling on a daily basis and clocked 75,000km between 2007 to 2015. Laura’s (our daughter) training and participation in competitive swimming on a state and national level became more intense at that time. As parents, this required our dedicated time and support towards her aspirations.

This meant me retiring from the cycling scene. No more 70km to 181km cycling distances in Malaysia’s hot, humid or rainy weather (sometimes all three rolled in one). No more grime and dust blowing into my face and sticking on until it caked in. No more pouring sweat…er, I mean perspiration that sprung out from every pore on my body; no more stinging my eyes when it found its way of getting into my eyes. No more motor vehicles cutting right into my pathway even though I could be seen a mile away. 3 mishaps was one too many. Yes…missed it all. Haha. Nostalgia.

Back to David’s ride to Ireland. He entered Malaysia at Malacca from Indonesia. A short sight-seeing of KL and then onwards through mainland Asia. We wish David safe travels and lots of fun.

It was also time for Jeannie and I to make our way back to the comforts of Subang Jaya as the cloudy over hung skies which provided some shade from the sun, was now without clouds. The sun was bright and hot. Drops of perspiration, stinging my eyes…


There are no express lanes in life.

Remember the past. Live in the present. Aim for the future.

Live your best life now.



Writer, Author, Storyteller

We May Have Something Just For You

It was another fun weekend at Amcorp Shopping Mall recently. This mall is renowned and famous for its “Flea Market” weekends since the late 1990s. This is a haven for collectors where one possibly can find almost anything from the past and present. Anyone who is on a hunt for a precious collectible, may be able to come across someone selling it at this flea market.

Jeannie and I decided to put up a booth, here, again. However, this time we were on the second floor, a one floor lower from where we operated a booth on 4 previous occasions (2 Saturday & Sunday weekends).

Our booth, 2.04; with a wide variety of our collectibles on sale. On the left is Jeannie’s (the batik influencer) “LA” Batik Creations, a unique batik cape. Each design has only 1 batik cape in the whole world. One can be assured that there are no 2 pieces of the same design.

A wide variety of collectibles including Hotwheels vehicles of over 20 years, sets of vehicles from movies of James Bond, Barbie’s Hotwheels, CARS and Transformers. There were also vehicles from Corgi Junior, Leyland and others – many of these brands no longer exist today. For Instance, there is a 1979 Leyland truck which has “Read Marvel Comics” stickers on both sides of the truck.

Jeannie, the batik influencer; with some of her many “LA” Batik cape creations.

Elaine Ng, with Jeannie and I

We had visitors, interested collectors of Hotwheels and other brands of diecast metal vehicles; and customers that started coming to our booth almost from the very moment we started our business.

Amongst the earliest was a pleasant lady, Elaine Ng. The moment she saw my surname, “Atkinson” on my QR code, she said, “Oh, you are Eurasian”. And that started a nice chat about her coming up from Johor Bahru to Petaling Jaya for the reunion of a very famous Malaysian music group of the 1970s and ’80s – The Strollers.

Buying a birthday gift for his wife.

I told her I knew Michael Magness when he was in staying in Klang at that time, which then led to you know this person, and that person is related to so and so… Elaine’s mother is Eurasian. We found that we had many common friend connections. She bought one of Jeannie’s “LA” Batik Cape creations as a birthday gift for a relative that was going back to Melbourne, Australia.

Jeannie’s “LA” Batik Cape caught the attention of a young couple. Jeannie demonstrated how to wear the cape. The lady really liked the cape. She chose a particular design that she liked. However, she said she would think about it.

A short while later, her friend that was with her when she first visited us, came by and purchased the batik cape. He said that his lady friend’s birthday was in two weeks and decided to buy the cape as a birthday gift for her.

Jeannie and I enjoyed engaging with all the people who stopped by at our booth. We talked about family and things we liked. I explained that most of the things that we put up for sale were from my years of collection. From the things that were on sale; one could tell that I collected many things. Most of my collectibles were in mint condition. We made many new friends. We were having fun.

Jeannie demonstrating how her “LA” Batik Cape can be worn for different occasions.
She watched Jeannie’s demonstration with great interest.

Choosing from the various designs.
She modelled. And a stunningly, beautiful model she was.

With the “LA” batik cape she purchased. Professor Dr. Joanne B. Y. Lim

We had a lovely lady with her two teenage children, stop by our booth to look at Jeannie’s “La” Batik capes. Jeannie demonstrated the four ways that this cape could be worn, for formal as well as casual wear. This lady, Professor Dr. Joanne B. Y. Lim; tried on a cape of her choice, modelled in it, this way and that way; and purchased it.

We got to talking and found out that Dr. Joanne has many, many accomplishments, including writing on a wide range of subjects. One of her many projects she is working on is an mHealth app to recommend plant based diets to cancer patients. Wow! It is amazing. We will help in any way possible to spread the good works of this mHealth app.

A Hotwheels happy customer.

Some of the Hotwheels and other brands of diecast vehicles on display. Many of these vehicles were collected over 10 to 20 years ago.

More from Hotwheels including Barbie doll Hotwheels. In this picture, it shows a display of James Bond vehicles, Transformers and Cars from the Movie, “Cars”. Near the teddy bear, there are miniature BMW cars with a pull-and-let-go powered mechanism, a collection of some BMW key-rings, classic rare pens, a nearly 20 year Swatch ladies dress watch and a BMW sports kit bag. This BMW bag is sold. The KFC Colonel Sanders collection on the left, is sold; too.
Miniature BMW cars with a pull-and-let-go powered mechanism,

Jeannie demonstrated how her “LA” batik cape could be worn to many people. Her whole range of batik capes were sold out. There were some ladies who even made bookings for these capes. Jeannie was having a ball of a time, talking about batik and demonstrating how her batik capes could be worn.

One very happy customer with the BMW bag he has just purchased from us. Azman, who drives Mercedes, liked this bag so much that he had to get it. Azman goes deep sea fishing for relaxation.

The BMW bag that Azman bought. He got this brand new, unused BMW bag for an attractively, low price.

Time flew by when we were having fun. For Jeannie and I, meeting new people and learning so much from them about their cultures, hobbies and expertise in the various fields of work they are involved in was so gratifying.

We would also like to thank all those who came in support of by meeting and chatting with me. Thank you, too; for your interesting suggestions of topics to write in up-coming essays. We will collaborate with you on pointers for these essays.

By the way, the big green dinosaur seen in the pictures here; is sold.

We take this opportunity to wish our mothers (Jeannie’s and mine), Jeannie, who is Laura’s mother😁; and mothers all over the world, “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY”.


Should this secret be revealed? It is kind of cliché. You do read about secrets to be told or have a carrot dangled by speakers who want you to sign up for their talks or seminars, “the two, three or more …secrets” that they are willing to share with their audience to help their audience improve and / or succeed in life.

The biggest secret of them all : Pay first. 😉😁😂