Thursday, January 30, 2020


I have posted the above image not to promote Dr Tom Wu's book as it needs no promotion, but rather, to revisit it and find out why my blog article about him written in June 2009 has consistently remained the most read and with the most comments. It has garnered close to 121,400 page views to date (and counting) with 66 comments, mostly seeking to know more.

I first came across Dr Wu while researching on cancer. Here was a doctor who was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer at age 30. Instead of resigning himself to his fate, he embarked on a strict diet of fruit and vegetable juices. When his recipes proved effective in fighting the cancer, he shared them in his first books published in Mandarin and Thai. The books became bestsellers. When the English translation by Dr Constance Vincent was finally available, of course I had to get a copy.

Youtube videos of Dr Wu on a speaking tour in Bangkok in 2016 show him looking a picture of youthful health. He recently celebrated his 80th birthday in November 2019 - a testament that his recipes do work, not just for him but for many cancer patients who have followed his natural healing recipes, including Dr Constance Vincent's husband who was cured of his lung cancer with Dr Wu's cancer treatment. (See video below).

Regular readers and followers of my FB and blog posts would have noticed a paucity of articles on cures or treatment for various diseases. It is deliberate. I intentionally shy away from posting about 'miracle cures'. I do not want to be held guilty of sharing cures that later turn out to be fake or to have caused serious side effects. To me, there has to be reliable research-based data to support any cure. It is not enough for it to be widely circulated on social media or via word-of-mouth.

True, there are success stories of individuals who have experienced miraculous recovery from end-stage cancers, but these stories are few and far between, and therefore, cannot be considered as definitive cures per se. A popular one that has been circulating for years now is the efficacy of coconut oil to cure patients with Alzheimer's. I don't doubt that it has worked for some people but I would hesitate to recommend it till I see more evidence of its efficacy.

Coconut oil worked for this man, but will it work for others? Can AD be reversed?

I have always believed that what works for one patient may not work for another. Treatment should be personalised as the body's immune system differs from one person to another. If one's immune system is strong, he has a higher chance of healing and recovery. There is also the question of underlying health issues. Finally, how the patient feels is also a determinant in his chances of recovery. A positive mindset and a strong belief in the power of prayer can work miracles too.

Another more recent supposed 'cure' making its rounds on social media is the cure for people afflicted with the Wuhan virus. Apparently, all they need to do is boil 8 pieces of garlic in 7 cups of water for 3-5 mins. Then drink all the water while it is hot/warm and eat all the garlic. Continue doing this every day until full recovery. If only it were that simple....I am sure there are health benefits of drinking boiled garlic water, especially if you add a slice of lemon. But as a cure for the Wuhan coronavirus? Tell that to the China health authorities.

Dr Wu believes firmly in the body's power to heal itself, but this natural immune system has to be built over the years and strengthened with a diet of simple whole foods, regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle. "People get sick because they eat the wrong foods. Fried food, for example, causes blockage in the arteries, bad circulation, cholesterol, and heart disease. Instead of taking a cholesterol lowering drug, I would urge them to stop eating greasy food. My suggestion is to eat clean food, which is high in phytochemicals," he says.

"Phytochemicals are natural cleansing agents that will help rid plaque from your arteries. They come from natural foods such as vegetables, fruits with their seeds, and common garden herbs. Phytochemicals will nourish the body's cells so they can fight against any foreign substances that invade your body."

Last month I attended Dr Christine Gonzales' excellent talk on Eating Natural Foods to Starve & Defeat Cancer. Her message was an echo of Dr Wu's - eat more natural foods for good health and to ward off diseases. If you want to know what foods she recommends, click HERE

Of late I have been hearing about friends being diagnosed with cancer. Two have lost the fight, three are undergoing chemotherapy while one has been blessed with full recovery. As we age, we can't help but feel the closeness of our mortality. Longer life expectancy is only a blessing if it comes with good health and it is our responsibility to take care of our health. Writing this article serves a reminder to myself that knowing what to eat is not enough, it is actually doing it that counts. 

If you would like to learn more about cancer, here are two free events you may want to check out:

1. Sat 15 Feb, 9am to 1pm talk on cancer to mark World Cancer Day at Prince Court Medical Centre, Jalan Kia Peng, KL

2. Sat 22 Feb, 8.00am to 5.30pm forum organised by Cansurvive at Manchester Hall Level 3 , Block 2 VSQ @ PJ City Centre Jalan Utara, PJ. More info HERE

Thursday, December 26, 2019


The UN refers to people aged 60 and above as Older Persons. World Health Organisation uses the term 'older people'. Are these terms of reference preferable to 'senior citizens' or 'the elderly'? What is your opinion?

When I started this blog in May 2008, I had dozens of names in mind for the blog. Unfortunately all of them were already taken. In frustration I gave it one final attempt with 'SeniorsAloud'. The name had popped into my mind at that last minute. To my surprise, it was available and accepted.

I call this my 'passion card', rather than my business card or name card.
Both my daughters didn't like the name at all. They probably felt that with a name like SeniorsAloud, the blog would appeal only to old people. Of course, I went on the defensive. What did they mean by 'old'? I was about to turn 60 at the time, and didn't feel at all a day over 40! Neither was I frail, and definitely nowhere close to being senile. I am 71 now, still far from decrepit although admittedly my knees are starting to creak.

Let me ask my readers, do the words 'senior citizen' conjure up an image of a frail, wrinkly person bent over a walking stick or stuck in a wheelchair, suffering from hearing loss, poor vision and a host of chronic diseases like Alzheimer's? I have good friends who would cringe with horror at being referred to as a senior citizen, even though they are 60+ and retired. To them, that's as good as sounding the death knell!

Do you agree with these categories by age?
The problem with labels is they are generic. 'Old' people are painted with the same brush, and in the same grey colour. But there are so many different shades and hues of grey. If the 60+ are not quite ready to be called old, how then would you address them? In academic research old age can be divided into three stages: young old (55–65 years of age), middle old (66–85), and old old (85 and older). But that's chronological age, not biological age. I know of people who at 75 can outrun a 35 year old!

What other terms of reference do we have? The pre-war and post-war generations? Equally cumbersome and inadequate. Baby boomers? Well, we are long past our baby-producing age. How about 'perennials'? That is more fitting for trees and vegetation. And 'evergreens'? That sounds desperate, like trying too hard to remain young.
Some of our SeniorsAloud members at a photo shoot for The Star.
Quite often the media is guilty of mislabeling. "Elderly man victim of snatch thief", says one headline. You read the news report and find that the victim was only 63 years of age. Obviously the reporter had not heard that 60 is the new 40, and that people aged between 60 and 69 are called sexagenarians because they are still sexy and far from being over the hill and ready to be put out to pasture! But young reporters are incapable of making that age distinction. To those in their 20s, 63 is practically ancient, ready to be mummified and put on display in the museum.

So until we come up with more appropriate labels, I suppose we will have to forgive the young for addressing us as 'old' or 'elderly'. It could be worse, like describing us as cranky and smelling of mothballs and dead fish!

Which goes to show that it is an uphill battle to change the negative perception most people have of senior citizens. But change we must, and change must begin with us. We need to think positively of our age and of ourselves, because if we don't, we cannot expect others to view senior citizens as still active, healthy, productive, capable, wise, experienced, fun-loving, adventurous and bold. All the positives. In other words, we need to change the narrative of ageing and make 60+ truly the 'golden years' to look forward to.

For our Facebook followers, you will have noticed our postings of some really amazing and inspiring seniors who have defied the old image of ageing. From our own SeniorsAloud community, we have scores of members who look great, and are both physically and mentally in top form. Some of them are featured in our 2020 calendar and in the Star Lifestyle supplement dated 13 Dec 2019.

SeniorsAloud team - our ages range from 60 to 75. We aim to change public perception of ageing.
Postscript:The original article (above with minor revision) was written in 2011. Almost nine years have passed and I am glad to report that SeniorsAloud has grown in numbers and in outreach. We have gained a solid reputation for our noteworthy community initiatives.

What is my wish for the new year 2020? Well, I have always wanted to have a column in the newspaper to write about topics and issues of interest and relevance to senior citizens. If that ever happened, it would be a dream come true for me. Maybe I would call it 'Silver Threads'. It would also be a channel to share information and personal insights on matters that involve this demographic. There is growing interest in the field of ageing.

Other than writing letters to the newspapers, we make use of social media platforms e.g. facebook, to make our voices heard on a host of issues that affect us, including healthcare, cost of living, public transport, affordable housing, re-employment, age-friendly public facilities, retirement planning and end-of-life issues. At the same time, SeniorsAloud continues to promote active living as we believe that is the most effective way to enjoy longevity in good health.