“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!

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Cover Reads - BY CH­ERYL LEONG

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 certied 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 am­plier, 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

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