Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Meet senior citizen extraordinaire, Mdm Surjeet Kaur, more affectionately known as Mrs J, Malaysia’s coach to the World Schools Debating Championships. Her youthful looks, vibrant personality and boundless energy belie her age. At 67, Mrs J is proof that when we keep ourselves busy, eat right, stay fit and live each day with passion, we can certainly welcome the golden years with joy, not dread. To her, there are no “golden” years, nonetheless!

A well-known life coach, counsellor and master trainer, Mrs J’s resume also includes author of 14 books, former columnist for a national paper, and popular guest speaker on radio as well as TV on issues relating to education in general, and English Language, in particular.

Her hobbies are as varied as her career achievements – event-organizing, choreographing, mountain-climbing, trekking – Mrs J is game for anything that spells FUN and ADVENTURE. Not surprising, considering the years she spent in the Girl Guide movement where she rose through the ranks to the top as Girl Guide District Commissioner of Ulu Langat. It is little wonder that her energetic and bubbly ways didn’t go unnoticed when she was swept off her feet by a certain boy scout, Jagjeet Singh, who today is a partner in running her consultancy. Happily married for the past 45 years, both have maintained their love for the outdoors. They have travelled as backpackers to the far corners of the world, and have scaled the Himalayas SIX times by different routes. Not many young folk – let alone seniors - can lay claim to that feat.

When not traversing the globe, Mrs J keeps a tight schedule conducting workshops for children, teenagers and the corporate world. She teaches children the importance of etiquette, proper nutrition, teamwork and values. For teenagers, she helps them raise their self-esteem and develop self-confidence through public speaking which is her forte.

Mrs J is a firm believer in supplements, especially glucosamine chondroitin besides Omega, Vitamins C and E, and anti-oxidants. Her fitness regime includes brisk walking five times a week from 7 to 10 km per session. Although she has a live-in maid, she is hands-on when it comes to domestic work. “It keeps me physically active and alive,” she says. “I’m careful about my diet too. At my age, it’s not the amount, but the food quality and the nutritional value that matters most. Besides, I try to stop before I get too full – I eat less and in smaller quantities. My snacks are a variety of fruit and nuts. I drink a lot of water; No alcohol for me!”

A doting grandmother of five, Mrs J advises seniors to be responsible for their health. “We owe it to our children not to be a burden to them in our old age. Healthy and fit grandparents can help in nurturing their grandchildren. It allows their parents to focus on career demands. We both consider grand-parenting positively and are committed to their day-to-day nurturing. Daily activities like commuting grandchildren around give opportunities for interacting and bonding.” Mrs J and her spouse are domesticated and cook most meals at home. “We enjoy home-cooked food and often have the entire family dining together,” she adds.

Picture perfect - Mr J, 74, and Mrs J, 67

On staying happily married, Mrs. J holds the view that “Couples that do things together stay together. They should also have complete trust in each other, and be deserving of that trust. With the children grown and independent, this is the best time for retired couples to rediscover each other, travel together, enjoy each other's company and rekindle that romantic spark in their marriage.”


joesfortune said...

I will be 68 a couple of days from now and, like Ms. J, I am physically active. I eat sparingly, but not on a diet. I am physically active 7/7 but am not on food supplements other than my Kirkland multi-vitamins for seniors.

I love her outdoor life, however. I, too, love to get lost in some remote island every now and then. It is great to get away from city life and to know oneself - http://www.agewithcharm.com/

Unknown said...

Hi Michael Manago I dont take supplements any more. That article was published about 10 years ago. I realised that glucosamine chondroitin is not helpful at all. Some orthopedic specialists agree there's no evidence to prove it's effective. I go for natural products and no supplements.