Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Remember those days when people had more time on their hands and they would gather in small groups at the kopitiam (coffee shop) to talk about the economy and complain about the government?

Well, these days you don't need a kopitiam. Any place will do as I discovered last Saturday in a downtown Singapore mall. Early that morning before the doors opened for business, a small group of 13 buddies, all senior citizens, got together to enjoy a light breakfast (with kopi of course) and some fellowship. It was my first time at the session. It turned out to be the most enriching two hours I've ever spent in a hair salon.
Group coordinator and facilitator, Joo Hock, leads the self-introductions.

Called the Bucky group after Buckminster Fuller, key philosopher and innovator of the 20th century, the friends would meet every Saturday to discuss topics and issues of current interest, and share their personal views. 
All ears and all eyes on the screen as the group learns about measuring what makes life worthwhile.

Lest anyone thinks these sessions sound like dry intellectual discourses, let me say they are NOT. That particular morning we had a karaoke session, singing favourites like "Starry, Starry Night", and "One World". Then we listened to a TED talk on YouTube, specially selected to make us rethink how success should be measured. The screening was followed by a round table discussion on pertinent points raised in the video. The session ended with an activity and a debriefing.
There is a lesson to be learned about getting out of knotty situations.

Sessions like the Bucky group sessions are a meaningful yet fun way to meet up with like-minded friends on a regular basis. Venue and snacks can be provided on a rotation or volunteer basis to save costs.

It was recently reported that retirees and senior citizens in Kuala Lumpur have no place to go that doesn't cost money or require membership registration.

Well, the Bucky group has shown that it is easy enough to start a small group with your friends and meet up weekly for some organized activities. If you register the group, you will have to set up a committee, charge membership fees and impose rules. Why go through all the hassle and stress?

If you have started a special interest group and would like others to know about it, do drop us a line at seniorsaloud@gmail.com.

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