February 2018 | Issue 34

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The wedding singer

​​Atiqah byline (Custom).jpgAtiqah Sarkawai, Executive, Procurement

Art is defined as the utilisation of one's in​novativeness to articulate ideas, feelings and more often to elicit a response, typically in visual form. But have you wondered what is the art of the arts? If one man's meat is another man's poison, then what and who decides the criteria to praise or critique art? In the realm of creative innovation, onlookers are empowered to make the judgment and the arts serve a plethora of purposes. Nevertheless, art is in every nook and cranny of our lives – from cave paintings and architectural landmarks to that wallpaper on your desktop. Man has had a knack for artistry and craftsmanship since the beginning of time.

I grew up a timid child/teen who seldom spoke my mind and was reliant on music as a coping mechanism during hard times. But music was also a source of inspiration and recreation for me. The mouth would be silent, but the mind was always running in deep thought or the wildest of imaginations.

While I was acquiring my diploma in Accountancy at a local polytechnic, I enrolled myself in a student club which focuses on three aspects of the arts, namely, singing, acting and public speaking. After years of 'vocal fasting', I gradually developed into a social butterfly and overcame my stage fright through countless, confidence-boosting stage performances, interactions and collaborations with other budding artists. Over time, I discovered song-writing and began producing my own lyrical content. I sure was glad I paid attention during my English lessons in school!

At the same time, I picked up the guitar – acoustic and electric – to help my song-writing. As soon as my hand cradled the neck of my first guitar and my fingers caressed the strings, I knew I had found my muse. I had the privilege of being tutored by my uncle, who roped me into his band as a vocalist, and we'd spend our weekends performing at weddings, festivals and other events. The experience had taught me the discipline and dedication required when one is learning to sing and play a musical instrument professionally. To this day, my fingers itch to type to the rhythm of the guitar solo from Iron Maiden's '2 Minutes to Midnight' while working on purchase orders.

Most importantly, aside from serving as a productivity boost, music has broadened my mind and made me appreciate diversity. It had always been hard for me to pick a favourite genre, though I often bounce back and forth between alternative rock and heavy metal (much to my parents' dismay). Fans of music will never be in unanimous agreement on the 'best music genre'. In the end, it doesn't even matter.  Despite the grievances and differences, most would have come to terms that different strokes are for different folks.

It is safe to say that art – specifically music – has changed me for the better. I am elated to learn that LKCMedicine embraces the arts and is taking cues from the arts to achieve its vision. This is prevalent through its many projects, such as LKCMedicine's Official Opening Ceremony performances, Peanut Butter and Jam sessions, upcycling trees into works of art and benches, and let's not​ forget Apollo's Dream, the 25m-long mural wall and installation by protégés of master potter Iskandar Jalil and LKCMedicine students. Having undergone similar experiences myself, I strongly feel that such opportunities are effective in the development of self, especially in overcoming social awkwardness, building rapport, promoting collaboration, enhancing public speaking, creative thinking and critical thinking skills and so many more. I appreciate and look forward to all efforts and talent from the staff, students and stakeholders to make LKCMedicine an art-centric hub. Art is valuable in our cause to thrive. As Pablo Picasso said, 'Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life'.