SHE may not be a mainstream pop superstar but whenever Atilia Haron belts out songs, whether on stage or even in musical theatre productions such as Lat The Kampung Boy and P. Ramlee The Musical, she has the kind of voice that makes you go ‘wow!’
She is also very active in helping out those in need.
Recalling how she became a part of Celepets (Celebrities with Pet Projects) ten years ago, Atilia said she and the six other celebrities in the group used to bump into each other at events.
During one of these events, one of the ladies was going through some personal problems.
Atilia said: “I roped a few girls together, we booked a hotel room. I remember this vividly because it was the day Michael Jackson died, we were dancing to Beat It and Billie Jean the whole night. We stayed in the room the whole night talking, and we really clicked.
“What amazed me was the positivity that each girl had then, and still has until now. We have never failed to talk in our chat group which started on Blackberry.”
Since forming their friendship, the ladies have channeled their energies into working together to help out various charities, and their biggest effort took place last Ramadan, when they worked together with Mompreneur Malaysia to collect funds for single mothers.
“Now, we have built a new online platform called Celepets Cares. What we try to do is help women out there, especially mothers, kids, anybody who reaches out to us. It started out [being] about single mothers, but now it is a much more general platform.”
Right now Celepets Cares is doing a lot of online events in which all the members take turns moderating.
While members of the group still come together for certain causes, they also have their own causes which they champion individually.
“Mine was the Cancer Foundation. But now we do everything together.”
“I am very close to Makna (National Cancer Council Malaysia) and I also work a lot with Mercy Malaysia,” Atilia said.
Atilia, who is also a certified yoga instructor, actually met the people from Makna and Mercy at events where she was invited to give yoga instructions and motivational talks.
Though she runs her own studio, named Yoga One That I Want, the money she makes goes to paying the rent and the staff, but she takes none for herself. Her ‘salary’ instead goes towards caring for cancer patients.
“Personally, I have been going to Hospital Kuala Lumpur and donating my yoga fees to the women and children’s cancer department. What made me want to do this is that my ex-husband passed away from cancer. He was my best friend.
“So I made a pledge that if I ever became a yoga teacher, everything I make will go towards caring for cancer patients.”
Other than donating money towards cancer treatment, Atilia has also given yoga lessons to cancer survivors, and for the Malaysian AIDS Council.
These days she also gives yoga lessons online. “I am really starting to enjoy teaching online because I feel when the student is in a more comfortable place, like their home, they are more into their practice. They are not concerned about the [other] people in the studio, or if somebody is wearing a new outfit, or whatever.
“They are in their comfortable clothes. This is something new I am venturing into.
“Initially I did not like it because I could not ‘adjust’ my students. I find that if I am very clear with my instructions, the students will definitely know what to do, and where to go. The student is there to learn, it is you as the teacher who has to be good at instructing.”
When asked how she constantly gives a part of herself in helping others, Atilia said: “I just like to go out there and meet new people. As long as I am able to share my knowledge and gain some satisfaction from the experience, I am happy. That is how it has been for me since day one.
“It is not about making money. Money will come along eventually. It is more about sharing your knowledge with people. Singing is not about making money. “
“I just like making music I love, and maybe that is why I am not popular. I am just okay, where I am doing what I love. I always believe in doing the things you love and loving the things you do.”