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.

EX-TRAORDINARY

Do more than your best, always! The difference between doing your best and more than your best is that little extra.

That little “extra” is what makes the “ordinary”, extraordinary.

It is pronounced as “ex-traordinary”; not extra-ordinary.

~ALAN IAN ATKINSON
Writer, Author, Storyteller

Inc

SCARES, YET EXCITES

It is a little more than a month away to the new year. This is the time to set goals for the new year.

How many times have you set a goal that is so big that it scares you? The fear of not being able to achieve it.

At the same time the goal is so exhilarating that it excites you.

~ ALAN IAN ATKINSON
Writer, Author, Storyteller

JUST IMAGINE

Imagination knows no boundaries.
~ ALAN IAN ATKINSON
Writer, Author, Storyteller

epic!

Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge has limitations… parameters… boundaries.

Just imagine
(I don’t want to put the punctuation “.” period as it creates a limitation to this word)

LIKE A FLY ON THE WALL

As I sit here, in the banking hall of a local bank, like a fly on the wall; watching everyone come and go, the behinds of people as they lean against the tellers’ counter; trying my best to stay cool as I wait my turn for the specific counter, waiting…waiting…waiting for the very, very old (by her movements) elderly lady; I try to get things done.

Now, you may ask, “What is the difference between an old lady (or man) and an elderly lady (or man)?” Well, let me tell you. A person can be one who is 25 years old but behaves and moves like one who is a 100, that has a saline bag attached, and uses a walk cage to move around. An elderly person may be 85 years old but behaves and moves around like a person of 50 years.

Though I am filling up my time with things to do, working on my Fold 3 (1) flipped open, checking messages, going through my agenda and tasks for today, and working on this article and on any other “bright sparks” that may be an opportunity for new article start-ups; I just can’t help think that I have been waiting for more than an hour.

Though ordinarily, I would be fidgeting and all flustered up by now; I am trying to understand this lady and her transaction. I am sure she does not want to spend that long a time at the counter; and standing to boot. She is, after all; getting her things done. The teller is assisting her the best she can.

As I said, being “the fly on the wall”, quoting the late HRH Queen Elizabeth II, has its advantages; I think. I get to see the comings and goings of people.

I have just completed the draft of an article, no not this one; another. This is still work in progress as I write. Hope to publish this later on today as I have other appointments on after this.

Waiting and watch the world go by….that could be a past time. As I watch men, women and children of all ages and their mannerisms; sometimes I am fascinated by their behavior even for the littlest of things. This can only happen when you are seated and waiting.

I guess for me, I am gathering light bulbs of ideas, but most times they are only scraps. My ideaSketchpad 💡is quite full of jagged thoughts, spilling out of make-belief pages, but then again, it can never be too full. It seems to have an enormous appetite for more ideas and thoughts. Like a jigsaw with a billion pieces.

Yes, heaps full to put in the book that I am to write – the same “book” I embarked to do at the beginning of this year. It does not seem to be enough, yet, I don’t seem to know how to “connect the dots”.

While I can say I have not got the book together, because it seems like it is a whole lot of work, I have been gathering material. The latest is some information from my aunt in Australia about the time when she and the family (she being the youngest in the family) moved from Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur. And the reason they moved to Kay El? Read about it in the book that is to come.

More to come…

So, have I used “like a fly on the wall” correctly?

NOTES:
1. Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 smartphone (Tablet?)

Queen Elizabeth II said, “I’d love to be a fly on the wall…”

JUST SO YOU KNOW…

My 6-in-1 pack, yes, I do have 6 packs but I have stored them into a single pack for easy transportation of self.

Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking about having some sausage rolls. I mean some really good sausage rolls.

I was first introduced to “sausage rolls” at my cousins’ birthday parties. Richard’s, Neil’s, Judy-Ann’s and Francis’ birthday parties many years ago; in their childhood birthday parties, always had sausage rolls as one of the food dishes, amongst the cakes, ice-cream and drinks. Their mother, my Aunty Maureen, who is my dad’s sister; used to make the best sausage rolls on this side of the planet. I wonder if they still remember. Lovely lady, bless her heart. I have the same birthday as her, July 10…Ahem!😂

She used to make mini sausage rolls. She used canned mini sausages. And her secret was in the pastry. It formed firmly around each sausage, not hard, not flaky. The pastry used to have a slight shine when it was just out of the oven, freshly baked. OK. Maybe, it is a combination of the sausage and the pastry, both at its optimum level of taste.

Somehow, I may be right to say she made her wonderful sausage rolls because she knew I would be at the parties.😉😅

The so-called sausage rolls these days when you ask for them, are actually sausage buns. Obviously, bakeries or most of them, do not seem to have a clue when you ask for sausage rolls. It’s because their mammas don’t dance and their daddies don’t rock n roll. Just so you know that’s a special ingredient for making ’em delicious sausage rolls.

And the sausage is boiled (looks that way) instead of frying them.

I think the perfect mini sausage roll will have a firm pastry. The pastry should not be hard, but breaks in your mouth when bitten. It generally will have a slightly shiny surface, and baked to a slightly brown shade.

Picture this: Sitting down, unwinding from the stresses of life (for some. Those with purple Lambo Hurracans and wear $1,500 batik shirts – no stress). With a nice triple shot expresso (I know – should just get a big glass: “bro kopi-o kaw kaw, gelas besar”), accompanied with a small plate of half dozen or more perfect sausage rolls.

I came across this recipe for mini sausage rolls by Beth Sachs. Not exactly what I am talking about. The pastry looks the crumble type. The sausage looks home made. All the same, they sure look good.

Her recipe is in the notes below. Do head on to her website for many, many more recipes.

With all the eating, even if it is moderately, I will still go for my walks. I have reduced the daily distance by about 25% to 15,000 steps, which work out to about 11 kilometers.

It’s mid-week. Prepare for the days to come and the week heading towards the weekend. So have fun, let loose and rock n roll.🎵🎶

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NOTES:

Check out http://www.effortlessfoodie.com for Beth’s Puff Pastry Sausage Rolls recipe. There are many, many more wonderful recipes on that website.

Kenny Loggins and Messina: Your Mama Don’t Dance

JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF IT

Phew! Tiring. 24 events. Many, many heats. Jeannie and I got back from the Sports Excel Milo Junior Swimming Championship. It was a two day event held over the weekend (June 25 & 26, 2022) at the Selangor Aquatic Centre, Shah Alam. (1)

Laura, in her early days of competitive swimming. This was when she was In Girls, Group 4 (10 years and under) age group.
Laura, Girls, Group 4 (10 years and under) age group.

At the Registration room just before a race. Each swimmer has to present his or herself for registration before every race. If a swimmer fails to register during the “Calling time” before each race; that swimmer will be classified as “DNS” (Did Not Swim) and not allowed to swim for that race. The referee of the day can rule / bar that swimmer from swimming the rest of the events for that day.

Training, usually is between 5 to 8 times a week; depending on which level of competitive swimming a swimmer is at.

Laura, at her school track and field competition.
Laura, receiving a medal for one of the races she won at her school’s sports.
A common sight on most swimmers’ hands – “Tattooed hand” for the day with event numbers, what heats and which lane for each heat: Laura on one of the competitive swimming competition days.

In one of her early competitions when she was about 10 or 11 years old. Here, she warms up before the competition starts.

On one of those typical competition days. While waiting for her next event, Laura keeps herself occupied. Looking on is Mr. Foong, Elaine’s father. Elaine was in the same girls’ age group as Laura. A typical competition day can be from 6.00am in the morning until 10.30pm. The venue this competitive swimming competition was held in is the Malacca Aquatic Stadium at its sports complex.

A “must do” at any of the swimming competitions. Rush to first of all find the notice board where the official race results will be posted after the competition.

Laura, last swam in Malaysia in August, 2019. So, why are Jeannie and I still at it? Still at the swimming pool at competitions? The answer is simple. For one, the picture below says it all. Look at the smile on her face💖

Future World Champion. This was taken when Laura was around 10 years old.

Another reason is to give back to the sport in a way we can, when we can; for all that it has done for Laura in terms of being a part of her life-moulding process. The many people that have been a part of this process:
Coach Mark Chua, Coach Marilyn Chua, Coach Ong Jin Kooi, Coach Dr Molly Duesterhaus (Millikin University), Coach Mokhtar,
Parents: Richard Kok, Alan Teh, & Siew Toe, Peter & Ivy Chan, Connie & Ravi, Hannifah Yoong Yin Fah
Swimmers: Maryann Kok, Shaun Yap and all her teammates and swimmers from competitive teams, too; over the years in sport.
Squash G.O.A.T. : Datuk Nicol David, who took time to give Laura a pep talk on being champion when Laura was about 11 years old.

The list is non-exhaustive as there are many, many more people who have always been incredibly supportive over the years. We encourage this to carry on in the generations to come.

So, yeah. I guess it can be said that we can’t get enough.

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NOTES:
1. Shah Alam is in the state of Selangor, Malaysia.


Michael Jackson: Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough

THE WRITER INNOVATOR

When I first started my writing career recently, I mean really putting keyboard key thumping to computer screen (an equivalent to putting pen / pencil / quill (?) to paper); I never gave it much thought of where it would take me, that is; the writing. I will “boldly go where no man has gone before.”

Pic. 1

I am a dreamer. Ah yes, I can remember far back to 1967, when I was in Standard 3B (Today’s Year 3). We were in afternoon school. Our class was the one above the “Tuck” Shop (canteen). This was in La Salle Primary School, PJ (Petaling Jaya, Selangor). There were 3 classes above the tuck shop – ours was the middle class. As you enter the front door of the class, my desk was in the front row, next to the window on the other side of class. Anyone of you went to La Salle School PJ? If you were in that school during the 1960s and 1970s, you will know these classrooms above the tuck shop. The word “tuck” in English means to tuck into your meal and shop means where you buy your food from in school. Nowadays, “canteen” in school or “school canteen” is the term everyone knows as a place to buy their food from. Is the word “canteen” related to the word, “cantor” (Figaro, Figaro, Fiiigaarrro!). No, just kidding.

I would spend most of the time, looking outside the classroom window, oblivious to most of what was going on in class. I watched the construction workers build the new block of the school. Today that new block is 55 years old.

I would daydream about so many things like what it would be like to fly an aeroplane so high in the sky. Often, I may just stare out into the emptiness.

It was for this reason that when I was in Std One of the same said school mentioned above in 1965, our classroom was one of those “shed” classrooms with zinc roofing, I think. There was a row of these classrooms. These classrooms are no longer there. Back to the reason… when I was in Std One B, the old bat, my class teacher Mrs Lee, bless her heart; came to our house one day to complain to my mother that I was slow. I mean how would she know if I was slow. She could barely see past her nose. She was 109 years old… well at least to a 7 year old kid like me. Guys who were in school at that time… you know her. She always wore nyonya outfits. But I’m sure she meant well. I think. Bless her heart.

One of my greatest dreams was, still is, I guess; is to change the world, to leave a lasting good impression. But I didn’t know how, until I started using what came naturally to me – that is to write.

At this juncture, I would like to say that this article is not what it is panning out to be. I started it with a complete different idea 😏. It’s a spinoff from the original. And the original is not written yet. Haha 😂.

Even then, I struggled and wrestled with this “gift”. This gift of writing. I most times did not pay attention to it. My whole school career had me scoring top marks in it. But I did not recognise its potential. So, when I left school; it was buried or stowed away with all my old schoolbooks.

After completing my schooling education, I somehow always landed up being a writer or editor for the many, many groups and organisations which I was involved in over the years. I still did not think anything of it because I felt that anybody can be a writer. Being a “Topgun” fighter pilot, maybe not. But writing, yes. I work best in stress / time constraint conditions and between 2.00am to 5.00am. Haha. Like Maverick of TopGun who enjoys what he does; I am “Innovator” and I enjoy what I do, too.

This is a couple of pages from my ideaSketchpad. Notice the red postbox on the top right of the picture?
The red postbox – a coinbox Laura gave me years ago, as a birthday gift💖

Thank God for keyboard key thumping to computer screen technology. My handwriting is one of my trademarks. It’s so bad that I have great difficulty reading it, too. The very first thing my class teacher of Std 4 B La Salle School, Klang; Mrs Mun, Bless her heart; asked me after meeting me for the first time in over 40 years was, “Alan, has your handwriting improved?”

Do you recognise the talent you have?

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NOTES:
1. Pic. 1; Fiorenzza Chiuminatto

NEW YEAR’S SPECIAL: 2022 HOPE – LET’S MAKE IT HAPPEN

Dec 29th 2021. I just moved my Logitech K-380 key board 1 inch to the right→, again. A few minutes ago, I moved it a couple of inches to the left, slightly away from me↸. A few minutes before that, I moved it to the right→. Trying to fit it spot on 🏆 with the framework of my screen and the angle I am sitting in.

At the corner of my eye (literally) my left eye, that is; the yellow Christmas tree lights on the Christmas tree are blinking in varied intervals, creating patterns. Beyond that, pass the glass sliding door, the diamond shaped light-blue grill-gate, stretching further, pass the garden and drive-way, the front gate, across the road, pass the front gate of Aunty Vimala’s house and her drive-way; the yellow lights hanging from her porch ceiling are also blinking.

Dec 30th 2021. Just after lunch. Thought I would go out for my 15.6km walk now. But my Samsung Watch 4 Classic is, of all times; low on juice and needs to be charged. Hope to start my walk by 3.00pm. The sky is grey with rainclouds hanging around. Nice time for a walk. While looking out the glass sliding door; I had flashback memories of when I was 11 or 12 years old. It was like me looking at this scene and at the same time, though my eyes when I was at that age – another day-dreamer episode? It was a scene of me lying on the floor near the collapsible gate (this acted or was the grill for the front door), looking out at the bright, sunny sky; with the formation of various cloud shapes.

I was also playing with several diecast car models – they could have been Dinky, Corgi or Matchbox brands – I am not too clear, as they were Malcolm’s car collection, not mine. I followed after dad’s interest in building Revell and Airfix aeroplane model kits. I remember someone gave dad a container ship model which had a motor that came with it. Dad was working in the port in Port Klang, so this was a replica model given by a shipping company of one of its ships. I think the company was OOCL, I could be mistaken. After all, it was a long time ago. Anyway, I built (assembled) the ship.

3.09pm. My Samsung Watch 4 Classic is at 91% charge – more than enough to see me through the 15.6km distance. The weather seems to be holding up.

10.57pm. Did my 15.6km walk, showered, had dinner and rested for a bit. Jeannie is out for dinner with some of her close friends. So, that leaves me here with you, the reader.

🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

After I hit my target of 100 articles; I just sort of took a step back from writing for a few days. A break. OKaaayyy… my Christmas holidays. Though I was not writing, I was not really doing nothing. I was kind of restless – as you can imagine from the paragraphs above where my mind wonders off.

I started off with the first few lines of my book. Seems sort of jibberish. Not too sure how to go about this book. I have thought of the title, though I don’t think it’s gonna stick. I know it has to be 130,000 words, so that accounts to something, I guess. I was thinking fiction, reality-to-fiction; or fiction-to-reality. Decisions, decisions.

I’ve been asked by many readers of my works, and people who have yet to read my essays but hold me to the 2021 new year’s resolutions I made at the end of 2020; whether I will continue to write articles since I will be focusing on my book. The answer is “Yes”, I will continue to write articles. People from over 30 countries are reading these articles. These articles are available for the rest of the world to access them.

I have received personal messages from people telling me how my stories have impacted their lives and brought them fond memories in one way or another in their own lives, too.

Many of my articles published; have pushed me to research and gather information. Chen Cuifen, and The Brick, to name a couple; are amongst those with some research done.

2022 is about to grace itself on us in less than seven hours. It is “that time“…. New Year’s Resolutions. Happy for many, there will be those with good intentions by making resolutions, others will jump on the bandwagon in making resolutions to be with the “with it” crowd; then there will be those who will do nothing.

I… I look forward to making resolutions as I find it difficult to live in a haphazard life, not knowing whether I am coming or going. I have many more things that I want to do and achieve before I retire at 105 (that now seems to be the earliest age set). OK, I will start first:

My 2022 New Year’s resolutions are:

  1. To write and publish a book of at least 130,000 words. My secondary goal is that it will become a bestseller for a movie.
  2. To continue with the goal I set out in 2020, i.e. to be completely debt free. The last two years has brought remarkable results.
  3. To bring down my weight to 70.5kg and be disciplined at maintaining it at that level, from the current 71.8kg – 75.3kg.

While the temptation by many will be to start working at these New Year’s resolutions on January 3rd since January 1st and 2nd is the weekend; I have already started by mapping out my plans. I cannot let 2 days slip by me. I find the challenge exhilarating!

I will also be introducing an idea and promoting it to a group of people. It looks like the idea is an uphill task but this project will promote safety and help prevent possible catastrophes.

I would like to wish everyone the world over, Happy New Year : “HOPE”. With it comes Peace and Joy!