Joe Van Langenberg

NOAH’S INDOMITABLE SPIRIT: By Joe Van Langenberg

NOAH'S INDOMITABLE SPIRIT

Photo Source:NewsWeek

Joe Van Langenberg

Napoleon Bonaparte was one of the, if not the greatest French emperor who ever lived. He was also the one who so famously said thus: ”The word impossible can be found only in the dictionary of fools”.

Napoleon’s inspirational quote has proved to be spot-on; as evidenced in the case of 07-year-old Noah Wall; a boy who made his initial foray into the world, with only two percent of his brain intact.

The rest of his grey matter was obliterated, as a consequence of his head filling up with excessive fluid, leaving his head swollen & his life hanging precariously in the balance. Noah’s grief-stricken mother Shelley was repeatedly cautioned to terminate her son’s pregnancy in 2012, given the disconcerting fact, that Noah’s head had been expanding to dangerous proportions. Nonetheless, she hoped for a favourable upshot, while simultaneously bracing herself for the worst case scenario.

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT: BY Joe Van Langenberg

Joe Van Langenberg

Given that COVID-19 has snuffed out thousands of lives in many countries, while continuing to exert its lethal toll on many more; we need to turn the searchlight inwards in a bid to reconcile differences with others; from whom we have been estranged. It matters not, with whom the buck stops.

And it serves no useful purpose, by engaging in acrimonious recriminations, or provocative, condescending verbal mud-slinging, for cheap, sadistic point-scoring, aimed at delivering the sucker punch, or in some instances the king-hit. In the immortal words of the philosophical Cat Stevens (a.k.a. Yusuf Islam) “we are living on this planet for just awhile, so let’s stop fighting, frothing, cussing & be good to one another, before the oxygen runs out”.

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STORM IN A TEACUP? – By Joe Van Langenberg

Joe Van Langenberg

The “F” word though defined as ‘taboo’ in the English dictionary, was found acceptable by a judge many moons ago, when highly-acclaimed author D.H. Lawrence, who used the word frequently in his controversial novel “Lady Chatterley’s lover; was found guilty of corrupting public morals. Mr Lawrence’s defence counsel, successfully made the pertinent point, in drawing attention to the fact, that using the “F” word was of no consequence, given that the natural act of copulation is acceptable.

In this permissive day & age, the “F” word has become part & parcel of the vernacular; with mostly everyone, regardless of their social standing, dropping the bomb willy-nilly.

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REMEMBERING JACK JERSEY: By Joe Van Langenberg

Joe Van Langenberg

Sri Lanka owes a debt of gratitude to balladier Jack Jersey, for having placed our tear-drop island nation on the world’s music map.

The ruggedly-handsome singer, who won the hearts & minds of all Sri Lankans; not to mention their ungrudging admiration, when he waxed lyrical about the country’s natural scenic beauty, the camaraderie & bonhomie of our people; in addition to the historical splendour of Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa & salubrious settings of Adams Peak, in his song “Sri Lanka you are my Shangri-La”, lost his battle with terminal cancer on May 16th, 1997.

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KENNY’S FINAL EXIT: By Joe Van Langenberg

Joe Van Langenberg

With the passing of country colossus Kenny Rogers at the age of 81, the Galaxy has once again, as many times before, lost one of its most dazzling stars, while the industry has lost one of its most gifted & versatile entertainers.

The bearded silver-haired singer, who held sway for decades on end, dominated the music charts worldwide, with hits vis-a-vis “The Gambler”, “Coward of the County” & “Lucille” among many others. His smooth-as-silk cover version of Bob Segar’s original “We’ve got tonight”, which he collaborated with Sheena Easton, became one of his signature songs.

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OLIVIA’S INSPIRATIONAL COURAGE – BY Joe Van Langenberg

Joe Van LangenbergAustralia’s sweetheart Olivia Newton John, despite being aware that she is fighting the greatest battle of her life, remains steadfastly philosophical in the midst of mounting adversity. Her courage has been inspirational in its true essence. Diagnosed with cancer initially in 1992, the accomplished singer famous for such chart-topping hits vis-a-vis “Let me be there”, ” Hopelessly devoted to you”, “Xanadu”, “Let’s get physical”, & “I honestly love you”, to name just five, among a host of others; has in an exclusive televised interview with Australia’s “Sunday night” said that she has been coping with the insidious disease since 2017, which has been the third time the cancer had returned & not the second time as previously disclosed.
Notwithstanding the fact that Olivia who is living on borrowed time, given that the cancer which has now made inroads into her spine from her shoulder, has escalated to stage four; refuses to get bogged down by her unfavourable prognosis. She is reluctant to listen to gloomy predictions, in terms of how long she has to live, maintaining that she will cross that bridge when she eventually reaches it. Olivia Newton-John is not only a performer of no mean repute, but she has also carved out a niche for herself in the acting industry, showcasing her prowess as Sandy, in the blockbuster ‘Grease’, as Danny’s boyfriend, a role portrayed by John Travolta.

Additionally, Olivia happens to be a co-founder (along with former Victorian Premier Ted Bellieu) of the Olivia Newton-John Health & Wellbeing Centre, which is an integral part of the Austin Hospital, located in the Victorian suburb of Heidelberg & the face of the said centre. Olivia’ s husband of ten years John Esterfield & her daughter Chloe, who incessantly grapples with demons of her own, are her biggest fans & primary constants in her life. Living at her Santa Barbara Ranch in the United States along with husband John & daughter Chloe & her horses to keep her busy, Olivia takes one day at a time, hoping & praying that there would be a miraculous turnaround. One knows not, how, when & in which direction the pendulum will swing. As one of my closest friends told me before she succumbed to the ravages of cancer “Be realistic & plan for a miracle”.

Hope as they say, at times can be a very dangerous thing, but it can also be the only available option. Needless to say, Olivia is wished the very best. Perhaps, the Healing Hands of the One Above will act in mysterious ways & work His celestial magic! Life is so fragile.Try forgiving those who wrong you. No one is perfect, no one is infallible. That’s all part of been human!





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THE SHEER MAGIC OF KAFRINJA MUSIC: – By Joe Van Langenberg

Joe Van Langenberg

Listening to the recent video clip of the vivacious Mariezelle Gunatilleke (posted on facebook) extolling the virtues of “Kandy Lamisse”, brought back nostalgic memories of the distant & not-too-distant past. This was a song (bearing the same title) she released, while navigating unchartered waters during the late 60’s, 70’s, or thereabouts. And by Golly, hasn’t she cut the mustard over the decades, with impeccable finesse? “Kandy Lamisse” has become her piece de resistance; her magnum opus, if you like. The said song is a delicious mishmash of Kafrinja & Baila; which brings me to the subject under reference. According to reliable sources, dyed-in-the-wool music lovers & students of music, Kafrinja which was said to have had its roots initially entrenched in Afro rock; but over time traversed a different trajectory, was given a renewed lease on life, by the charismatic Wally Bastiansz; a trail-blazer & the brainchild of one of the most unique brands of music, which stamped it’s personal identity on the hallowed turf of the music industry. Wally, under whose tutelage, many wannabes cut their musical teeth, fused both Kafrinja & Baila; a brilliant combination which took the industry by storm. The so-called Batticaloa Burghers, who were frowned upon by their more hoity-toity class-conscious counterparts & marginised, even pigeonholed; on account of their “bizarre” dress sense & inability to speak the “Queen’s English”; which doesn’t happen to be the cream of the crop, by any stretch of imagination, found comfort in this stimulating brand of music; which had an infectious tempo & pulsating rhythm, that made even the most conservative lose their inhibitions. Over the years, the combination of Kafrinja & Baila has become a force to be reckoned with. Nonetheless, with the passing of time, introduction of modern technology mixed marriages & mixed ethnicities, there has been a noticeable decline in terms of its Portugese influence; although it hasn’t lost it’s clout. Love it or loathe it, Kafrinja music is here to stay. And that’s heartening; given that the same has been meted out with step-motherly treatment by some music critics, who by penning unfavourable reviews, have almost succeeded in relegating it to the limbo of forgotten things. But like the proverbial phoenix, it has risen from the ashes; continuing its forward march, while keeping its identity & dignity intact.

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GIFT TO HUMANITY: – By Joe Van Langenberg

Joe Van Langenberg

By virtue of the fact that International Day for Women falls today, it is only fitting to extol the virtues of one of God’s greatest gifts, if not the greatest gift to man in particular & to humanity in general. In medieval times, women were more often than not, regarded as second-class citizens, who were expected to serve their husbands hand & foot.Those times have since been buried in the limbo of forgotten things, with the skeletons not only biting the dust, but literally turning to dust in their entirety. We now live in different times, when past injustices towards the fairer sex, have since been chalked up to experiments gone horribly wrong. And we also live in an era, when women can exercise their rights; including the freedom of expression & movement, without let or hindrance. To get down to essentials: Regrettably, even at this point in time, when intolerance & discrimination towards women should be non-existent; vestiges of bigotry & male chauvinism emerge to the surface in dribs & drabs, reducing women to virtual irrelevance. And that is a crying shame, which needs to stop pronto. Hearteningly though, with the emergence of womens’ emancipation movements & females securing positions of power in high, enviable places, the pendulum has swung full circle, giving women a place in the sun, a place which they so richly deserve. A woman’s work is never complete. She is the glue which keeps the family together, when situations threaten to go pear-shaped. In the workplace, a woman at times faces sexual harassment from those finding it hard to control their biological urges; while turning a deaf ear to inappropriate, unsavoury remarks, with suggestive connotations. And this she does with dignity, tact & finesse, while suffering fools gladly, just to keep the peace. Women don’t deserve to be publicly ridiculed Nor should they be taken for granted, under-valued, or used as door-mats.They are people with feelings, no different from their male counterparts.They are an integral part & parcel of creation, who need to be respected.




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