Friday, January 20, 2017

UNCLES WITH A MISSION


Don't play-play with these uncles. Those bulging biceps are for real, so are the six-packs. These seniors defy age. They certainly do not fit the stereotype image of frail and decrepit old folks.

'Use it, or lose it'. That applies not just to our brains, but to our muscles as well. As we enter the retirement years, it is so very easy to let ourselves go downhill mentally and physically due to inactivity. We move into the slow lane, and before we know it, we have slipped into that 'old already' mindset. Once entrenched there, it becomes our comfort zone. We adopt a sedentary lifestyle and in later years wind up having to deal with a host of health issues.

(L to R: Bee Kia, Hin Kwok and Siu Chi)
Photo: Team Strong Silvers
One excellent example of seniors who refuse to let age take a toll on them is Team Strong Silvers (TSS). They are on a mission to encourage Singaporeans both young and not-so-young to opt for an active lifestyle for fitness and good health. I had the opportunity to spend one morning chatting with them and watching them doing calisthenics at Yio Chu Kang stadium. I came away very impressed with what I saw and learned.

Formed in 2013, TSS comprises three core members Ng Bee Kia, 71, Ngai Hin Kwok, 68 and Ng Siu Chi, 58, who was away at the time of the interview. If there was a Seniors edition of Men's Health magazine, TSS would be a shoo-in for the cover. These images below bear testimony that their hard work has paid off. Their well-toned sculpted bodies are the envy of men decades younger than them, and I bet also secretly admired by the ladies.




Their daily exercise regime consists of at least an hour of calisthenics, and often some weightlifting as well. Bee Kia is a former weightlifter who once represented Singapore in the SEA Games. He still has the muscles to show for it. Hin Kwok is retired. Siu Chi is the only member still working. All three are committed to clean and healthy living. Absolutely no supplements, but plenty of workouts indoors and outdoors.

Photo: Team Strong Silvers
To Ng Bee Kia, doing housework is also exercising. As his wife is still working, Bee Kia does the mopping and cleaning at home. He has no complaints as he sees it as another way to work the muscles. Either we move our muscles, or watch them turn into flab.

So ladies, take note. Make your household chores a part of your daily exercise routine. You have a domestic helper to take care of that? Well, take up gardening then. Or be a hands-on grandparent. Running after the little children, or taking them out for a stroll is exercise. Anything so long as it keeps your limbs moving. Avoid a sedentary lifestyle at all cost, and you will reap the benefits in your old age.


Ng and Ngai were also featured in Straits Times Fit For Life supplement in December 2016. According to the article, Ngai, a doting grandfather of three, brisk-walks 11km every weekend around MacRitchie Reservoir, participates in 10km runs, and occasionally cycles long-distance, covering anywhere between 10km and 100km each time. If that isn't impressive enough, his home exercise regime includes doing 80 to 200 push-ups and squats. WOW!


Says TSS member, Robert Ho, who helps to promote TSS on social media, the biggest challenge TSS face is to change how older people think about health and fitness as they age. Taking supplements is not the answer. Neither is diet alone, although it is good to eat less and go for simple food as close to natural as possible. Equally important is to remain actve throughout the retirement years. Who better to carry this message to all uncles and aunties in Singapore than Ng and Ngai?


If you would like to know more about Team Strong Silvers, check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TeamStrongSilvers/. Plenty of info, photos and videos, hopefully enough to motivate some of us to adopt a more active and healthy lifetsyle as we enter a new year.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

SENIORSALOUD 2016 YEAR IN REVIEW


2016 - what a year it was! A great year for some, an 'annus horribilis' for others. But everyone would agree that it ended with more deaths than we cared to read about. A timely reminder that we should pay more attention to our health in the coming new year and beyond. We would rather read about birthdays and wedding anniversaries than obituaries.

For SeniorsAloud, 2016 was another eventful year, with further growth in membership, more events organized and wider reach on social media.

Here's a look back at the year that was for SeniorsAloud.

We started the year with a get-together for members at Penchala Hills. It was a pleasant evening spent chatting and playing Math Magic, an engrossing board game created by Jimmy Yeoh.

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In April, our members attended a free workshop organised by IEEE, TEMS, Gerontechnology Lab of Monash University and SeniorsAloud to learn more about the features and uses of smartphones. It was followed by a very interesting and informative tour of the lab, the first in Malaysia. Thank you, Associate Prof Dr Teh Pei Lee and your team of very knowledgeable facilitators.

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The highlight of the year has to be our 3D-2N Belum trip in June. We had such a great time in the outdoors. The trip was certainly a welcomed getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city, and an excellent opportunity for members to get to know one another better amidst the pristine backdrop of the Belum Valley. A video of the trip, courtesy of Alex Chin, is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTj16ShUufY

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SeniorsAloud and AUTORR Foundation co-organized a workshop in July to raise awareness of the prevalence of scams targeting seniors. Speaker Andrew Chia shared his list of the top 10 scams that we should be on the alert for.

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Our third visit to Kg Hakka was to join Victor Chin and Rakan Mantin group in celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival in September. We paid Grandma Kong a visit and watched as she offered prayers outside her house. It was a throwback to the old days when we held feasts, ate mooncakes and carried lanterns in the parade around the kampung.

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SeniorsAloud held its 3rd annual fund-raising 'Reunion Party' dinner and dance on 1 October which was also United Nations International Day of Older Persons. As in previous years, we had an excellent turnout. All tables were taken. Thanks to generous sponsors and donors, we were able to invite 19 guests from several NGOs, and give away more than 60 attractive prizes to lucky draw winners.

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While SeniorsAloud continues to remain non-political and non-religious, we do support human rights and calls for justice and transparency. For these reasons we participated in Bersih5 on 19 Nov as well as 'Walk 4 Maria' on 23 Nov. We are glad to have added our voice for these causes.

Community Service
Thanks to funds raised from our annual dinners, SeniorsAloud is able to help senior citizens and the elderly in need under our 'Grant a Wish for the Elderly' project. In January we covered the cost of cataract surgery for Mr Liow Cheng Loon, 69. As a red IC holder, he was not eligible for govt welfare aid. His plight was brought to us by Justin Cheah of Kechara Soup Kitchen. The surgery was carried out in January. We are glad that Mr Liew is now enjoying clear vision.

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We were happy to oblige when Keats Makandu, founder of Mums Sew With Love (MSWL) approached us for help to purchase an electric sewing machine so that the single mothers could sew more and earn more to support their children. On 12 May, SeniorsAloud team members Choke Ling, Kim and Lily were present at MSWL to hand over the machine. We hope it will make a difference and enable the moms to cope with the increase in orders for their high quality home-sewn products.


It was our pleasure to invite five of the single mothers out to celebrate Mothers Day with a concert and a buffet at VSQ @ PJ City Centre. It was a real treat for them and for us too to see their smiling faces.

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We ended the year with distribution of rubber gloves and face masks to two NGOs and a nursing home. The items were donated by Cranberry. Do contact us if you know of any NGOs or old folks homes that will welcome these items. 
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11 March marked the launch of our Friday Room for Improvement Day. Smartphones have made it so easy for us to snap photos of anything we see around us that should be improved. We can all be vigilant and help make our city clean and safe for all, regardless of age. Send the photos to SeniorsAloud for posting on our FB page. Please provide info of the date and place where the photos were taken. We have seen corrective action taken by the relevant authorities in response to some of the hazards that we have highlighted. 
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SeniorsAloud Newsletter
As not all members check their email regularly, we have made it a point to announce on our FB page when our monthly newsletter is out. To date we have not missed a single issue since June 2014 when we started sending out monthly newsletters. It is a challenge to organize events and activities that will appeal to seniors as they have such diverse interests. But we hope we have succeeded to some extent. To receive our free newsletters, just click on the link and submit: 
http://www.seniorsaloud.com/p/members-registration.html


Apart from the above list of events and activities, SeniorsAloud has also helped to promote (and participate) in many events organized by NGOs, and other organizations such as:
  1. Alzheimer's Foundation of Malaysia (ADFM)
  2. AUTORR Foundation
  3. University of the Third Age (U3A), KL and Selangor
  4. Kechara Soup Kitchen
  5. Malaysian Healthy Ageing Society (MHAS)
  6. Science for Healthy Living (S4H)
We look forward to doing more in 2017 to promote active ageing, lifelong learning and reach out to more seniors through our blog and FB page. Do help us to spread the word. 

Finally we would like to thank all our members, FB friends and sponsors who have supported us through another successful year. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! And deepest appreciation to SeniorsAloud team members who have been most generous with their time and energy in helping to organize the many events and activities held throughout 2016. Here's to a happy, healthy NEW YOU (and NEW US) in 2017!