Thursday, August 14, 2008


(It's that time of the year again when Toastmasters here in Malaysia and elsewhere in the world are gearing up for the annual humorous speech contest. I wrote the speech below two years ago when I participated in (and won) the contest. Try and visualize the gestures and facial expressions that went with the speech. Hope it brings you a smile or two.)

It all started a few weeks ago. I went to the bank to apply for another credit card. For the first time in my life, I encountered age discrimination Did you know that banks are reluctant to issue you a credit card if you are a senior citizen? Unless, of course, you can prove to them you are rolling in money.

That was when it hit me – Gee; age IS catching up with me! I went home and had a good, honest look in the mirror. I used to have very long hair, now I’m just longing for more hair. As for the rest, well, let’s say, everything’s starting to wear out, fall out, or spread out. Gravity has become my worst enemy. I still have everything I had 30 years ago, but they are all a bit lower and slower. Not so long ago, I was crazy about the Rolling Stones. Now I am more concerned about kidney stones.

My knees are not what they used to be. My personal trainer tells me to do knee lifts with weights. I tell him, just sitting down and standing up is weight-lifting already. Maybe I should hang out more with people much older and heavier than me. That way I would feel young and slim. But on second thoughts, I would be bored to tears. They would be talking more about pension rather than passion.

The wild oats I sowed in my younger days have turned to instant oats for breakfast. A night out used to mean hitting the pubs or discos in Damansara Jaya till the wee hours of the morning. Now a night out means sitting out on the balcony, looking at the stars, and sipping tea till maybe 10 pm.

These days, it takes me twice as long to look half as good. But thank goodness for photo enhancing software, I can now look younger and younger as I age. This was taken a few years ago, and this, early this year. At this rate, when I reach 80, I’d probably look as young as this.

Improving with age, thanks to photoshop: ( l-r) at ages 48, 58 and 80

I read somewhere that government research studies show that senior citizens are the biggest carriers of AIDS. Shocking, isn’t it? They carry hearing aids, walking aids, band aids, and all types of medical aids.

Well, since I can’t fight time, I might as well look on the bright side of ageing. Every extra candle on my birthday cake means I can still count my blessings for another year. Or looking at it another way – I’m increasing in value! See – titanium in my teeth, silver in my hair, and gas in my stomach! That’s reason enough to celebrate, don’t you think?

As a senior citizen, I enjoy special benefits. My grandson and I love going to the cinema. We get to watch movies for only RM7 each. Only thing is it can be quite embarrassing sometimes. My friends tell me the last movie they saw was The Da Vinci Code, and I tell them mine was Chicken Little!

Since my grandson can’t always be my escort, I have been thinking quite seriously about putting a personal ad in the papers: Spunky grandma, 58, looking for male companion 60 and above. Must have real hair, own teeth and a strong heart. Able to walk without aid or Tongkat Ali. And still able to turn off the lights for romantic reasons, rather than to save electricity. Do you think I am asking for too much?

I often wonder what is it about ageing that makes most of us panic, whether we are 30, 40, 50 or 60. Some say that age is strictly a case of mind over matter – if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. Whether we are born in Malaysia, Alaska or Timbuktu, we all have expiry dates. We can’t run away from it. Personally, I follow the 5 Ls – Live, Love, Laugh, Learn, and Leave a legacy. That’s my recipe for ageing happily and gracefully.

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