Sunday, December 27, 2009
Text by Lee Puay Ling & Huang Bao Xian
Two weeks just flew by and it has indeed been a very fruitful and meaningful experience for all thirteen of us student volunteers from Nanyang Girls’ High School. As part of our education, we are required to fulfil service learning and we chose Concern and Care Society (CCS).
Initially when we came to CCS, we had no idea what to expect. The knowing that CCS is an elderly activity centre made us wary of the generation and communication gap. We were worried we could not be able to relate to the elderly or even communicate well with them. However, just five minutes mingling with them proved us wrong. The elderly were very friendly and cheerful group of people. They welcome us with open arms and make us feel at home. Their warmth melt our wariness and we just open up to them.
The enthusiasm and alertness of these elderly are an eye-opener. We played RUMI-O game with them and joined them in other activities. We enjoyed every single activity from morning exercise, reading the news, to helping out in the Body and Mind Renewal Exercises. We also organised games such as “Bowling”, “Guess What Is In The Bag?” and “Pin The Man’s Facial Features” for the elderly which they thoroughly enjoyed. Every single minute spent with the elderly and seeing the smile and hearing their laughter brought much joy to us.
During the Body & Mind Renewal Exercises, we were extremely touched to see some of the elderly who suffers from some form of disability preserve throughout the whole exercise programme. Imagine trying to lift up a very weak hand to throw hula-hoop is not an easy task especially for the elderly. Yet they preserved on without giving up. That in itself alone shows us the value of perseverance and to have a strong determination and will-power to move on regardless of the challenges we are facing.
At the end of our two weeks, we felt it has been a very meaningful learning experience for us, something we may not have gained if we had not come to CCS. We also learn to treasure our grandparents and understand that just because they are not voicing out to us does not mean they are happy being alone and cope up at home. We first step into CCS with a set mind that elderly people are grouchy, uncooperative and difficult to be with. However, today we step out of CCS with an open-mind. An open-mind that elderly are wonderful and fun people to be with and also the wealth of experience they have to share with us.
In conclusion, we learn to be optimistic, always thinking on the bright side of life and knowing life can be meaningful.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
傳神居家照顾协会于12月19日（星期六）动员30位乐龄义工参与「武吉巴督圣诞节联欢会」表演工作。当晚我们不但换装打扮成亲切的“圣诞老人”，还表演手语（拥抱每一天）以及在节目结束前带动全场观众唱圣诞歌。（We wish you a Merry Christmas，伴唱形式），和乐气氛浓。
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
高 龄82岁的老先生振兴和77岁的老太太凤过三年前加入傳神居家照顾协会当义工，经过了六个月的 [ 乐龄音乐教室 ] 训练后，如今每个星期五都会走出家门，到武吉巴督来协助访视弱势长者。阿公说“我们平时很少走出家门，虽然如此，在家里我们心里总会惦记着星期五这一天， 因为这一天我们有一个责任，有一件有意义的事要做，那就是和老人谈天。”
说起三年来的访视经历，两人更是兴致勃勃。 “我们见过超过一百岁仍然健康的老人，也访视过比我们年轻的朋友。我们也是老年人，对于老人所面对的问题和心态非常熟悉，比如我们有时会比较啰嗦、担心 等，但我们心里明白老人的处境，所以不介意付出更多耐心来与老人沟通。”阿公继续说。
有些人对于阿公阿嫲年龄这么大了还当义工，实在百思 不得其解。对此阿嫲说道：“朋友有时候夸奖我们厉害，不过有些人却觉得当义工很委屈，怕别人看不起或怕接触老人家。事实上能出来走走、多活动不但能磨炼头 脑，延迟衰老，还可以从其他老人的身上学习，和他们交朋友，那是一件美事。”
Three years has passed since 82 years old Ching Hing and his 77 years old wife, Hong Ker fully completed the six-month training of CCS “Music Academy for the Elderly”. They are walking proof of age not being an issue or hindrance to voluntary work. Being senior citizens themselves, this loving couple continues to do their bit to spend time with the less fortunate older folks.
“We always look forward to Fridays because every time it is a different experience for us. We are eager and excited to talk to the folks we visit and keep them company.” said Grandpa Ching Hing as he is commonly known.
With enthusiasm, Grandpa Ching Hing who has been volunteering with his wife known lovingly as Grandma Hong Ker shared, "We’ve met a woman who is more than 100 years of age and a bunch of young friends during home visit. That is inspiring to us. Since we are senior citizens ourselves, we have a greater understanding for the old folks and we know how to communicate with them better.”
Many people are impressed by these loving couple who share a part of their daily life contributing to community through voluntary work.
"Not everyone is willing to be a volunteer, especially at our age. It can be challenging so I guess we inspire the younger people, which is great. Volunteering keeps us occupied and away from negative feelings such as loneliness because we actually feel grateful every time we volunteer. It also makes us socially active and happy as we are always surrounded with people with positive energy,” said Grandpa Ching Hing.
At the same time, volunteering has also helped the couple to grow closer to each other. They now feel a sense of renewed love and appreciation.
Grandpa advised, "Patience and understanding is a virtue in life, especially in a marriage. A couple should spend time participating in meaningful activities like volunteering to appreciate each other better.”
文 / 傅金环
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Saturday 28 November 2009, CCS welcome residents from all walks of life to an evening filled with laughter and performance at the “Kampung Night : Deepa-Raya Celebration”. Everyone present was happy and delighted catching up with old friends and at the same time making new friends.
Weeks of practice by CCS volunteers and residents brought forth many wonderful ethnic performances. Loud applause and cheers were heard from families and friends obviously enjoying the performances.
Highlight of the evening was witnessing the Chinese volunteers presenting a Malay dance item; and the Malay residents presenting Chinese sign languages.
We also see a fashion parade where colourful traditional costumes were being showcased.
With 250 residents and volunteers coming together as one, "Kampung Night” was truly an evening to remember.
After the successful recruitment of families for “Cycling Club Superstar”, the more experienced members participated in the CCS Inaugural Ride, a 35-km long distance cycling tour.
Early Sunday morning 29 November 2009, the cyclists were all geared up ready to cycle off. With huge smiles on their faces and bursting with energy and enthusiasm, the cyclists supported one another and enjoyed the beautiful scenery in the morning sun as they cycled at a steady pace.
Four hours later, the cycling team arrived at the finish line with a sense of sheer accomplishment and joy.
Choose a healthy lifestyle today. Join “Cycling Club Superstar” for a fun-filled adventure. Please contact Concern & Care Society at 6560-5455 for further details.
On Saturday - 28 November 2009, Concern & Care Society (CCS) witnessed the launch of its first ever team of elderly cyclists who call themselves “Cycling Club Superstar”.
This is an initiative to promote bonding and active lifestyle between the older generation and their family members.
A fun-filled day was organised to encourage more residents, young and old to join the cycling club. Residents were invited to test ride 2010 bikes. There were bike trial demo and displays of different types of bikes.
The open house gave residents the opportunity to ask questions about the cycling club and educate them about their health and lifestyle. But the club is not just for the older folks.
President of CCS, Madam Margaret Wee Bee Hoon, BBM said, “The young should also not miss the opportunity to participate in a fun activity such as this (cycling). We believe the athletic child is less likely to get involved with crime and by participating in cycling, the young learn to achieve goal and the pursuit of excellence.”
Residents and visitors to the Open House were also treated to a visual art gallery and workshop, thanks to the students of Nanyang Girls’ High School who contributed their creative art pieces.
20 years ago, Lee Khoon met with a great misfortune. For no reason, her beautiful face was scarred by knife cuts and scalded by boiling water. She survived the ordeal and went through 24 plastic surgeries for a complete face-lift. While struggling for life, she nearly wanted to give up, but when she thought of how her only child might soon lose her mother, and with the support of religion, she soon picked herself up, refusing to let the pain of her disfigured face get her down.
Lee Khoon has come to terms with life now. She bravely shares her heartbreaking story by delivering “Life Can Be Good” talks. Having walked through the valley of the shadow of death, she can hardly understand why others attempt suicide. She would normally advice, “Even people without a complete face like me would want to live, why would you think of dying?”
In the interview, Lee Khoon always responded with laughs and calmness. Having survived those dark periods, she now steps out and shares her story, and has since given more than 200 talks worldwide; at the same time, she also actively engages in elderly care services.
This September, Lee Khoon will complete the “True Heart Hair Dresser” course, organised by Concern and Care Society (CCS). She is happy because she is able to provide free haircut service for the elderly. “I take fulfilling the needs of others as my responsibility. I hope I can help improve their lives. This is now my mission!"
Lee Khoon smiled composedly.
Some people may not find it easy to pick themselves up from setbacks. Can you give them some advice?
Some may not have a disfigured face like me, but they may be nursing broken hearts. Such people are rarely cured because their pains are not easily seen. Other than religion, friends also play a crucial role in our lives. Friends’ encouragement is a great consolation.
Even when someone is willing to open their arms, the patient might be resisting the help offered. During the surgery period, I was shunned by the society, friends and some of my family members. Even children shouted “Ghost! Ghost!” at me, making me feel sad. Thank God, I was gradually accepted by others and I am so grateful.
Why do you set your priority on caring for the elderly?
Having been raised by my grandmother since young, I have felt a deep sense of guilt and regret about not being there for my grandma to take care of her, especially at the later part of her life. I miss her whenever I see lonely elderly. I hope I could pay back in another way to ease my guilt. Sometimes I imagine if my grandma is living in this era, she can meet more friends in CCS and slowly step out of her loneliness. It would be wonderful for her.
I recalled some fond memories of my grandma while serving other elderly. This is also a very meaningful work. In fact, old people behave the same way as kids do. They need understanding and acceptance.
Being a senior citizen, we face the inevitable process of losing loved ones. Having to go through this difficult experience alone is by no means an easy process. Slowly loneliness takes over follow by negative thoughts, and depressions. We need to get out of this cycle. Let’s learn a new skill and become an active learner instead of being lonely and coped up in the house. After all, LIFE begins at 60!
No boundaries in learning
Picking up new skills at old age can enrich and give new meaning to the lives of senior citizens. In order to develop a more positive attitude towards life, Concern & Care Society is organising an “Elderly Focus Group” (see below for details) to get senior citizens involve in many leisure activities such as dancing, arts & craft as well as memory training. Group discussions will also be held so senior citizens remain opinionated, active and aware of new things.
At the same time, there will be opportunities to make new friends and expand their social circle. As Concern & Care society aims to advocate the spirit of lifelong learning, the organisation is also conducting a “News Listening Session” (see below for details) to gather senior citizens together to discuss about the news. The session, which is will be conducted by a group of volunteers, will cover local and international news as well as other current topics of interest. The main objective of this news sharing session is to encourage senior citizens to be more knowledgeable so they can communicate better with loved ones.
Bonding with the young
Senior citizens may have a wealth of life experiences but they should also take the effort to know the latest happenings around the world. They can then use it to their advantage when communicating with their younger loved ones. Instead of talking about the same topics over and over again, impress the new generation with the array of knowledge from the News Listening Session and start bonding!
新加坡的老年人口逐渐增加，老年人因为活动量减少，身体机能快速退化，因此健康容易走下坡。傳神因此设计了音乐氧生操（Music Therapy Exercise），专门针对高龄退化问题设计的一套音乐治疗运动。
音乐氧生操（Music Therapy Exercise）结合了脉穴调息与怀旧曲调，以及西方舞蹈精华与敲击张力，让早晨刚苏醒的老人透过此运动唤醒全身经脉，使身体血液更加循环。
Singapore is experiencing an increase in elderly population. Lack of exercise is found to be the major cause that leads to bodily weakness and rapid degradation of bodily functions among the elderly. To solve this problem, Concern & Care Society has designed a music therapy which provides an enjoyable atmosphere during exercise.
Music Therapy Exercise is a type of meridian exercise. Together with some selected old songs and classical music, this exercise helps to increase brainpower in the morning.
Yue Hua is one of the trained leaders who run this exercise for over four years. She strongly feels that this exercise benefits her health and often introduces other residents to exercises that are fun. She explained, “Exercise is essential for healthy elderly. Elderly who exercise every morning looks so much different if we compare them with elderly who only stay at home and do nothing.”
Music Therapy Exercise effectively enhances concentration and brain functions of elderly through finger exercise, shoulder gyration, knee rotation and coordination of other parts of the body. “At the same time, the music can easily be incorporated into every stretching movement. We enjoy listening to the music because it lightens our mood while doing simple movements. I like to tell jokes to our elderly. Together with other exercise leaders, we always start the morning with a good laugh.” Yue Hua added.
This is a safe and simple exercise. “Leading residents to exercise will benefit them and myself. Why should I be unhappy?” Yue Hua said with a smile.
Concern & Care Society started hair cutting classes in May 2009. About eight volunteers responded positively to participate in a 10-week hair cutting course. In order to do his part to improve the elderly’s appearance, image consultant, hairstylist, photographer and trainer Rovin takes great effort to turn these eight volunteers into “True Heart Hair Dresser”!
Concern & Care Society provides free haircut services as a way to show their concern for the community. In the process of acquiring hair cutting knowledge, the volunteers attending the “True Heart Hair Dresser” course has shown patience and effort.
Rovin personally coached the class. His enthusiasm and passion were displayed through the quality he maintained while providing haircut services. Through his well-designed training course, he had successfully trained volunteers to become qualified hair dressers within short period of time.
Concern & Care Society believes that a high standard of personal cleanliness must be maintained. All elderly are expected to present neat and clean appearance because that would give people a better impression.
Conversation with Image Consultant Rovin about Charity Hair Cutting
The reason for promoting charity hair cutting
We participated in several major hair cutting events for the elderly. However, due to busy schedule, we are not able to provide hair cut services every month.
Every year I am invited to participate in Concern & Care Society’s events, such as the graduation ceremony and concerts. I was touched every time the elderly shared their stories on the stage and I started to think what I should do to help them.
Singapore faces the problem of ageing population and I believe the elderly are facing difficulties with hair cutting. With that in mind, I started “True Heart Hair Dresser” courses to serve old people in the community. Due to psychological problems (those who feel depressed to go out), physical problems (lack of mobility) or financial problems (those who want to save money), many elderly do not go out for haircut. This could affect their appearance and image.
With the help of “True Heart Hair Dresser”, the elderly can ask for haircut services at their homes or join hair cutting session every Thursday. Elderly who have neat hair should feel more confident and comfortable; they are also welcomed by their grandchildren.
How to maintain clean and tidy appearance among elderly?
The elderly should keep their hair short and tidy because they usually have sparse and unhealthy hair. Therefore, I would suggest them to keep their hair as short as possible.
The 10-week course will not only train “True Heart Hair Dresser” to master basic hair cutting techniques, they will also be equipped with skills to create a presentable hairstyle. I am confident that they can do it.
“True Heart Hair Dresser” is ready to serve you. Elderly who are aged 60 and above are entitled to free haircut services on every Thursday from 2pm to 4pm. If you are interested in becoming a “True Heart Hair Dresser”, please call 6560 5455 for further details.
文 / 谢翠珊
Learning Chinese calligraphy cultivates interest, patience and moral qualities. Calligraphy is an abstract art and is suitable for everyone. Even one who does not know Chinese can appreciate its beauty. If you are interested in learning Chinese culture and calligraphy, you are welcome to join Concern & Care Society’s calligraphy class.
A retired teacher, Mr James Ming uses his leisure time to offer his services, guiding the elderly into the world of calligraphy. He said, “Elderly are encouraged to spend an hour a week in calligraphy; it helps to train brainpower and concentration. It is also a very good leisure activity.”
He emphasized, “In calligraphy, cultivation of the mind is more important than perfection of form. I do not have high demands. I guide the elderly to write aesthetic calligraphy.” Here, students have the opportunity to learn different styles of Chinese scripts, including the regular script (kaishu), the clerical script (lishu) and many more. In the class, they sit upright and practice calligraphy according to the model character. They benefited much from the learning process.
The calligraphy class started two years ago and attracted elderly who loves Chinese calligraphy. Concern & Care Society provides brushes and Chinese ink free of charge to all residents in Singapore.
Subtitle: More Than 500 People Writing Calligraphy Together
Organised by Bukit Timah Club, the calligraphy event attracted more than 500 people. Together with 30 calligraphy lovers from Concern & Care Society, they wrote
the Chinese characters for “good fortune” at the same time. This is an enjoyable programme and shows that writing calligraphy can also be done outdoor. It widens one’s perspective and social circle.
The benefits of learning calligraphy for the elderly are as follows:
1. Encourage social interaction.
2. Cultivate physical and mental discipline.
3. Develop literary skills.
4. Enhance concentration.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
The Starry Hope, a two-day event comprised “Flags of Peace Painting Exhibition” and “The Starry Hope Concert” organised by Concern & Care Society to promote racial harmony and world peace ended with much enthusiasm from the public.
The “Flags of Peace” event exhibiting more than a thousand flags painted by children from all over the world was held on 23 August 2009 at VivoCity Amphitheatre. More than a hundred children from 56 ethnic groups in China came to participate in this two-day event and also to celebrate the joy of racial harmony. The paintings which portrayed the children’s optimism, hope and dream captured the hearts of the public who came to view the exhibition.
“The numerous paintings displayed here today (painting exhibition) reflect the collective dream of children across the globe wishing for a world of peace. I am encouraged to see the young showing enthusiasm for this cause,” said Mrs Yu-Foo Yee Shoon, Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports who graced the event as the guest-of-honour.
She also emphasised, “We can never take for granted the peace and harmony we have been enjoying. A single flashpoint such as a terrorist attack can easily fracture our society. We need to continuously remind ourselves – and our young – of the importance of racial and religious harmony as a foundation for social stability.”
Students from Chongfu Primary School, Eunos Chinese Dance Group, Greenridge Secondary School, Nanyang Girls’ High School, National Junior College and the China Dandelion Art Troupe of Youth entertained the guests with their unique performances of art and culture.
Flags That Fluttered Hearts
More than a hundred children from China came to experience and witness racial harmony in Singapore. Through “The Starry Hope” two-day event, they were able to interact with fellow Singaporeans. A 50-square meter flag symbolising one united heart to maintain peace and harmony and togetherness was laid out on the ground at VivoCity Amphitheatre. Together with the multi-racial participants from Singapore, the children painted the flag. Members of the public were also invited to paint the flag as a gesture of celebrating racial harmony.
Liu Zhong Zhao, a student from Dalian, China said, “Singapore is a very beautiful country. I can see flowers and trees all around and it is heartfelt to see all the major races – Indian, Malay, Chinese and Eurasian – all live harmoniously together.”
Mdm Fan Chong Yan, President of China Association for Promoting Children’s Culture and Art expressed, “The Chinese students who are the minority of China come from the south and the north. We are here to learn and share about the idea of peace and the hope that we will always live in a world full of love and peace.”
Chan Si Ming, a student from Nanyang Girls’ High School who performed for “The Starry Hope Concert” said with glee, “The most important theme that we really learn is world peace. It is very touching to see the work of children from all over the world who share the same vision and the same common hope.”
The Starry Hope Concert Mesmerised the Audience
Guests were entertained with cultural performance by the children from China at The Starry Hope Concert held in the Siew May Auditorium at Nanyang Girls’ High School on 24 August 2009. The winning team from Dalian, Zhejiang, Inner Mongolia, Beijing and Sichuan is the Pipa Ensemble, a four-stringed Chinese instrument. They played the famous song “Golden Snake Dance” which got the crowd clapping along with the rhythmic melody.
Students from Nanyang Girls’ High School dance group performed two dance items – a Chinese ethnic dance and a modern dance. The Chinese dance reflected a full demonstration of soft romantic sentiments whereas the modern dance delivered a strong choreography and youthful spirit.
Overall, the audience walked away mesmerised by the various beautiful performance. It was indeed an evening of colourful cultural dances and music.
文 / 图：谢翠珊
Home Help Service
Client: Wam Ah Yong
Mdm Wam Ah Yong was excited after she knew we would pay her a personal visit in this bright afternoon. She could not walk well and yet welcomed us with her open arms. “Everyone from CCS (Concern & Care Society) is very friendly. I am now used to take Friday as “A Day of CCS”, it is because this is the day volunteers will knock my door and share their good time with me.” said aunty Ah Yong.
Aunty Ah Yong is at her aged at 64. She has been gone through several complicated operation, which caused limping on both legs and she usually needs a shoe lift to support a normal life. Always put a smile on her face. Ah Yong slowly told us her story. She cried when she is depressed, she quickly turned into a happy mood whatever she thought of pleasant memories in the past. Even though life is tough, she still lives with her fullest spirit.
“I was a simple person at my younger age, but I see disease as an important issue. I went to the doctors myself every time I faced health problems.” She told the doctor “If you found any problematic parts from my body, please take them away.” From her sharing, we see aunty Ah Yong’s courage always let the human admire.
Within the recovery period at home after a major operation, she heard a knock on the door and it was CCS’s volunteers. It was the first time I heard their voices; she continued, “I opened the door and happily interacted with them. Very soon, I felt comfortable talking with them in the following weeks, until now.”
“I like CCS and joined most of the activities from the year of 2005. It greatly inspired my life and I hope I could buy a motorized wheelchair soon, so that I can walk myself to the NL everyday without depending on others.”
Other than showing sincere appreciation, aunty Ah Yong hopes she can join us as volunteers, helping less privileges elderly to step out from their difficult situation and start a new life!