Tuesday, June 12, 2012


This article first appeared in The Sunday Times June 8, 2012. In case you missed it, here are excerpts that might interest you. 

‘Club Med’ for oldies 

By Aneeta Sundararaj | features@nst.com.my 

THE four-bedroom apartment in the Green Leaf Retirement Resort Community is stunning. Located in the rapidly growing “Sepang Gold Coast”, the master bedroom looks out into the Straits of Malacca. Use the complementary iPad to surf the Internet or prepare your meals in a state-of-the-art kitchen.

Wait a minute. Something’s amiss. This resort doesn’t exist. Yet, it won the Best Retirement Development — Malaysia and Best Retirement Development — Asia Pacific Region awards at the recent 2012 International Property Awards. Furthermore, Raphael Yap, 68, managing director of Gracious Homes Sdn Bhd, says that in December, it will compete for the title of overall Best International Retirement Development in London.

"There are people my age. They’ve worked all their lives and never developed a hobby. So, when they retire, they don’t know what to do with their time. Also, they think that retirement consists of two stages: you’re either living independently or having nursing care (where they’re immobile). They don’t see the stage in between — where a person is not as mobile as he is but he is not bed-ridden either. This could last between 20 and 30 years. It’s these people I’m looking at. I want them to come and interact with people who have similar interests.”

With a twinkle in his eyes, he says, “I’ve always liked Club-Med. So I’m going to build a Club-Med for Oldies.” It is not a wonder then that the Green Leaf Retirement Resort Community is the sum total of experiences, knowledge and resources that Yap has gathered over a lifetime.

Although altruism plays a big role in what Yap is doing, this is a project that he will benefit from as well: “There isn’t a place in this part of the world for me to go to. I need it myself. My friends need it. Society needs it.” It’s certainly tempting.

From idea to award

Bearing these in mind, the concept for his development combines real-estate, hospitality and health care. The first component is a Destination Resort. “I wanted to move away from the taboo that comes with using the word ‘old folk’s home’. There’s stigma attached to that and people think of it as a place where old people get exiled to and are abandoned. A resort is always a place where people love to go,” Yap elaborates .

Component number two is Ageing-in-Place, which ties in with Yap’s vision that the development should be a place “where you are empowered to age with grace and dignity within a supportive community”.

“My friends say that when they were working, they told people what to do. Now, everyone tells them what to do. Even the maid will tell them what to eat. They had control and now they’ve lost it. We’re also not the kind of place that will allow you to stay then call your family to take you when you need nursing care. I want those who come to us to stay until the end,” explains Yap.

Finally, “to cater to the Asian mentality that we must leave something to our heirs, buying into this development,” Yap says, “is a safe investment in real estate”.

The kind of retirement lifestyle that we all dream of ... But obviously only for those with the means to turn their dream into reality.

The core components aside, there are other little facets of this development that make it unique. For instance, it is also visitor-friendly.

“You know how we Asians will invite family for dinner, then say, ‘Why don’t you stay here the night?’ It’s rare for children to just come for dinner then leave.” This is why even the smallest unit has two bedrooms.

Moving on to the next award -  the Best International Retirement Development award?

The submission for the International Property Awards was made at the last minute. With such care and attention to details, coupled with maintaining the purity of the concept throughout the 10-year-planning process, it’s easy to understand why Green Leaf Retirement Resort Community won the Best Retirement Development for Malaysia and the Asia Pacific Region.

Whatever the outcome of the overall competition in December, Yap is looking forward to ‘realising’ his idea in three years as the Green Leaf Retirement Resort Community is on the verge of being built. And Yap insists, “We’re different. I don’t say, ‘Here. We have an apartment to sell to you.’ I’m asking you to ‘Come join us’.”


Pak Idrus said...

Lily are you moving there?

seniorsaloud said...

Idrus, I wish! But no harm in visualizing. Dreams can come true, ya?

cin2tan said...

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ lah !!??

Unknown said...

Wow lovely concept!!!!!Felt nice reading this blog.Keep it up!!!

elderly care

Anonymous said...

Yay .....senior citizens ......interconnected and explicable!

Lau said...

12 yrs hv gone by. Is it ready yet?