Wednesday, June 15, 2011


It's been three weeks since the first semester started at the University of Third Age (U3A), Malaysia - a non-academic 'university' for older adults aged 50 and above. My friends and I are enjoying all the classes we have signed up for. Not only are we learning new skills, but also making new friends.

Here's a pictorial account of the classes I've attended so far.

(Above): At the beginners' swimming class. Instructor Syaizalah Kamarudin taught us the correct breathing techniques, as well as how to float and move forward in the water. It must have been quite a challenge for him to teach a group of seniors many of whom had never stepped into a pool before. By the end of the second class, he had built up our confidence, and we are now well on our way to becoming water babies!

(Above): Instructor George Wong showing us how to take good photos. There's so much more to photography than just point and shoot. He took us through all the features in our digital camera and shared useful tips on what to look for when buying a camera. Next week we shall be going on a field trip to apply what we have learned in our photography classes. It should be loads of fun.

(Above): Nutritionist Dr Rosita Jamaluddin's class on healthy cooking is another much-in-demand course. It is easy to see why. Not only did we learn better methods of food preparation, we got to taste all the dishes at the end of the class. There was also much camaraderie during the two and a half hours of hands-on cooking session.

(Above): Sabariah, Catherine and SP giving the thumbs up for their dish of Nasi Hijau Iran or Iranian Green Rice - an exotic alternative to plain white rice, and definitely much more nutritious and tasty.

(Above): A healthier version of the much-loved nasi lemak using a mix of brown and white rice. The sambal is cooked with less oil and sugar. The side dishes of kangkong, cucumber, eggs, nuts and fried anchovies make this a balanced meal that's easy and fast to prepare.

According to Dr Rosita, healthy cooking is all about reducing the fat, sugar, salt and oil in your cooking and opting for healthier alternatives like brown rice for white rice, yoghurt for coconut milk and lime juice for mayonnaise. You can still enjoy your favourite dishes without worrying too much about your cholesterol or blood sugar levels. Think of the long-term health benefits for your family when you switch to healthy cooking.

(Above): Dr Rosita demonstrates how to toss salad without leaving half of it outside the bowl! Commercial salad dressing is packed with calories. So if you don't want to pile on the pounds, try making your own dressing.

(Above): The groups take turns to share healthy cooking tips about their dish. After the presentations, it's chow time with everyone tucking into the healthy spread. A virtual feast for the eyes and tummy!

I can't wait for my Traditional Chinese Medicine class to start in July. My friends are absolutely delighted with their Mandarin class and ICT class. I've also heard positive feedback from those taking home gardening, oil painting and seal engraving. There are 39 courses offered for the first and second semester which begins in September. The instructors are either highly qualified academicians, or industry experts with years of experience.
There are two classes for Basic Computing and the Internet to cater to the large number of seniors eager to learn how to use the computer, and how to access the internet.

At this stage of our lives, we have the freedom to select courses that appeal to us. There are no academic qualifications required for registration. There are no exams or assignments, so there's no stress or pressure. As life-long students, we are highly motivated. We have to be to drive all that distance to UPM Serdang just to attend a 2-hour class. But what does that matter when we are having fun rediscovering the joy of meaningful learning, of acquiring new skills and knowledge that we can put to good use.

If you are interested to register for any of these classes or just want to find out more, visit the U3A website at or email

Related article:

A University For Senior Students

No comments: