Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Regular visitors to Seniorsaloud blog would have noticed that I have been griping about public apathy to the International Day of Older Persons in my last few blog posts. Well, I have no reason to continue with my laments now, thanks to two events that took place over the past four days.

First was the U3A Carnival on 19 Oct. It was jointly organized by the Institute of Gerontology, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and University of the Third Age (U3A) of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor with the theme "Celebrating Our Golden Years". Held for the first time at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UPM, it was an event highly anticipated by U3A members.

Open to the public, more than 90% of the 350 tickets were sold before the event. At only RM5 each, it was incredibly affordable, especially when it included complimentary breakfast and lunch, as well as a chance to win attractive prizes in the lucky draw. The grand prize was a 3D2N free stay at a 4-star hotel in Cameron Highlands for four persons.

The carnival programme featured talks, activities and stalls selling a variety of items including clothes, handmade soap, books and handicrafts made by U3A members. There was also an exhibition of art pieces and photos by members.

Carnival highlights in pictures:

U3A gamelan group entertaining the audience before the start of the opening ceremony.
Prof Dr Tengku Aizan Hamid, Director of the Institute of Gerontology at UPM, delivering the keynote address. She spoke on "Mobilizing the Potential of Older Persons". 
Mr Ted Adnan, U3A instructor for digital photography dispensing photography tips at the carnival. On the display panels are photos taken by U3A members, and also their art work.
Posters highlighting U3A activities from 2007 to 2012. Many people were impressed by the large number of short courses offered by U3A, and by the low course fees. Only RM80 per semester for any three courses.
Food, drinks and clothes on sale at the stalls. U3A members could book these stalls for free to sell their products. 
This stall sells handicrafts made by U3A members.
Mrs Jagjeet Singh demonstrating Nordic Walking. Many in the audience had never heard of Nordic Walking till they attended the carnival. (Photo: Mrs Jagjeet)
Line dance instructor Mrs Jan Ghani and her team of ladies from the Happy Senior Citizens Club demonstrating the Electric Slide at the carnival.
Free health screening at the carnival. The gentleman here is taking the balance-gait test.

Based on feedback, everyone had a good time. Who knows, we might have the carnival on a biennial basis. But for now, as the organizing chair of the carnival, all I want is a good long rest!

Official launch of the celebration of the National Day of Older Persons.

The second event came out of the blue with an invitation to U3A to participate in an exhibition held in conjunction with the celebration of the National Day of Older Persons in Kuantan on 22 Oct. It was to be a double celebration as 24 Oct is the 83rd birthday of the Sultan of Pahang, Sultan Ahmad Shah.

With just one day to rest after the carnival, I was off to Kuantan on 21 Oct with a small group of U3A committee members. Our van was packed to the brim with the exhibits from the carnival.

IG-U3A booth at the exhibition showcasing members' art and craft and also posters depicting U3A activities and courses.
Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim (in purple), dropping by at the U3A booth. Dato Ghani, our U3A president, is on the right.
U3A members from Kuala Lumpur who attended the function in Kuantan.
According to news reports, 2,500 'golden citizens' were invited to celebrate the National Day of Older Persons. They had the honour of having high tea with the Sultan of Pahang in the Grand Ballroom. The Sultan will be celebrating his 83rd birthday on 24 Oct.

Sultan Ahmad Shah presents a gift to
Helen who shares the same birthday
as the Sultan. (Photo: Berita Harian)
On 22 Oct, a busload of U3A members made the 4-hour trip from Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan. It was a fun outing for them. They visited the exhibition and joined hundreds of other warga emas (golden citizens) for high tea with the Sultan in the grand ballroom. Sultan Ahmad Shah presented awards to six deserving senior citizens for their outstanding achievements in education, culture and entertainment.

Today 23 Oct is the day after, and I am back in KL. My feet are still aching from the hours of standing. But I am not complaining. Two special events for senior citizens within the same week. Can't ask for more. Will October 2014 see similar celebrations? Let's wait and see...

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