“I’M RETIRED BUT MORE ACTIVE THAN EVER”
These seniors are such an inspiration to us – they do everything from learning the ukulele to competing in singing contests!
Seniors who see no reason to slow down in their golden years.
“When my friends and I were younger, we played badminton and basketball, and went to the gym after work at least three times a week. We’d also swim on weekends.
We’ve kept this up for the last 15 years. But as we got older and became more prone to injuries and joint pain, we reduced the intensity and pace of our workouts. We still meet once or twice a week to brisk-walk or swim. And four years ago, we started doing yoga to improve our flexibility and mobility.”
– Chia Xi Shan, 62
“I’ve been a member of my community centre’s singing class for 20 years. As I retired early – in my 40s – I joined the class to expand my social circle.
We meet once a week to learn a new song, and I practise on my own for an hour each day. Every few months, some of us enter a karaoke competition organised by a community centre or residents’ committee.
In 2009, we saw an audition call for a Mediacorp Channel 8 singing competition for seniors called Golden Age. We signed up and came in fourth. Now we’re practising for another shot on the programme – I hope we can win this time!”
– Seah Siew Lan, 54
“For over a decade, my friends and I have been taking dance lessons at the community centre. Our instructor Qian Ling sings at events, and we’re her backup dancers. She choreographs moves from cha-cha and rumba for Chinese pop songs, and we master the steps.
We call ourselves Qian Ling’s Dance Troupe and meet each week to practise. When there are performances, we plan extra weekend practices at each other’s homes.
I also give Chinese tuition thrice a week. And once a month, as a relaxing treat, I have tea or go shopping with my daughter’s mother-inlaw.”
– Grace Seah, 56
“I fell in love with line dancing 10 years ago, and became a certied instructor. Since retiring ve years ago, I’ve met with a group of line dancers on weekday mornings at parks or void decks. I bring along my radio and amplier, and we dance for two hours.
After that, we have breakfast together and discuss dance steps. Sometimes, we take day trips to Johor Bahru to shop. Once or twice a year, I organise excursions to Malaysia to meet with the line dance community there – we’ve been to Ipoh, Penang and Kuala Lumpur, and are planning to visit Terengganu next.”
– Susan Foo, 65
“My parents were passionate about volunteering – they’d visit old folks’ homes on weekends to distribute food packets. Sometimes, they’d take my brother and me along. That helped instil in me the same desire to help others.
I’ve been volunteering at old folks’ homes since I was in my 20s, helping with chores and chatting with the residents to keep their spirits up. I continued to do this after I retired five years ago.
When some of the elderly neighbours in my block need help to get to the polyclinic or hospital for their routine check-ups, I’ll take them too.”
– Ho Kim Fong, 73
“I became interested in museum guiding because I had always visited museums when travelling, and was impressed with how docents made culture and heritage so interesting for laymen. In 2005, I signed up for a fivemonth docent training programme organised by Friends of the Museums. The training included lectures, mentorship programmes, research and tour preparations.
Today, I volunteer at the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM), the National Museum of Singapore (NMS), Singapore Art Museum, the Peranakan Museum and 8Q SAM. I’ve also done guided tours at national monuments – old medical buildings and places of worship in Singapore – with the Preservation of Monuments Board. Five times a year, I serve as a volunteer guide with the National Parks Board.
On other days, I conduct workshops at ACM and NMS for students – I plan quizzes, slide shows, debates and hands-on craftwork relating to the exhibits.” – Betty Wee, 66
“As a child, I wanted to play a musical instrument, but my family couldn’t afford lessons. By the time I started working, I felt I was too old – and that my fingers were too stiff – to take up music.
But after I retired two years ago, I thought, ‘If not now, then when?’. Some of my friends were learning the ukulele and found it easy. So I bought myself one, to teach myself.
Every day, I practise the chords for at least an hour. It wasn’t easy at first because my fingers were not used to strumming and it took a while for me to remember the chords. But after a month, I could play simple nursery rhyme tunes – Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and
Old MacDonald Had a Farm – for
my grandchildren.” – Chia Min Juan, 70