Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A day with the old folks

I woke up last Saturday morning in darkness. I can't remember when was the last time I woke up without seeing sunlight. I normally feel lethargic in the morning but I was instead feeling so fresh that day because it was my first time doing volunteer work for old folks. My previous experiences are with Children. I'd joined a group of Volunteers from the church and a few of my colleagues.

We gathered at Blk 42A in Circuit Road at 8:15am. That place brought back some memories of my first experience trying to woo a girl who stayed at Blk 37. I remembered travelling diligently from Pasir Ris to Circuit road almost every few days that time but eventually I still failed in my mission.

We were given a briefing by the leader and was assigned to our respective old folks. There was around 40 old folks and 20 volunteers. Most of the old folks are in their 70s and 80s where many of them live alone in those 1 room flats around Circuit Road. I was assigned to an elderly couple in their 70s. The Husband, Mr Lai was down with stroke a few years ago and seems to have some degree of dementia. His wife, Mdm Loh was a cheerful lady and her smile looks real beautiful.

We mingled at the void deck for a while before the bus picked us up to Qian Hu Fish Farm at Sungei Tengah. We spent about 45 minutes walking through the farm before going to the fish spa where we allowed the fish to nibble our feets over the next 20 minutes. We rested for a while before we proceed for lunch at Pagi Sore Indonesia Resturant at Yuan Ching Road.

The old folks were so happy to see such good spread of food around them and they really enjoyed themselves. Many of them, including Mr Lai started to sing after the meal. WOW... Mr Lai got so excited and he stood up to sing with all this strength. Frankly, I was quite worried because he was actually very frail and seems to run out of breath at one stage. Thank God, nothing happened and everyone just had fun. We left the resturant around 1:30pm and reached Circuit Road at 2pm. The old folks was all so happy and thanked us endlessly when they alighted from the coaches.


It was really a great experience for me but I had some mixed feeling after the event. These old folks are actually very cheerful people, they are not those grumpy old man or woman that we probably imagined. I also heard many stories from them related to their past and children. I really admire them for their perservance in their younger days and how they brought up 6-7 children at a time.
One of them looked at me and said,"My children never treated me that this". Another told me,"God will bless you because you bother to bring old people like us out".

I think it will be a matter of time we will be just like them. Old, weak and feeling lonely. Our children may forget us especially when we cannot take good care of ourselves. We are in a society where we have less children and our population aging. I just wonder if anyone will bring me out for fresh air when I'm old and frail.

My job is to help people around me to plan for them by saving or investing for the old man or old lady they will be in future. What a meaningful job I'm in... Thank God again...


Anonymous said...

I see the compassion side of you today as I read your article. It reminds me of those days where I visited them too in old folks' home.
It is very rare that young people like you and others would take time off to bring joy and laughter to these forgotten old people. Your warmth and sincerity must have lifted up their spirit on that day!
Sometimes, a little giving and a little sacrifice on our part; be it just a 'little bit' can make a great difference in other people's life to move on no matter how rough the path that is ahead of them.
May the name of Jesus Christ be praised!

Anonymous said...

Hi Adrian,

You look like a nice guy to me - care for old folks, sell term (must prepare to eat grass), care to put in the time & effort to educate people on financial planning...

If that's you, then I think you should feel disgust and unhappy now for the company & group you joined, notorious for UT churning and vista.. :-)

Anonymous said...

Surprisingly,my mother-in-law is captured in one of your pictures.A small world,it sure is.

One good deed deserves another.To have spent a day bringing joy to these older folks,is,indeed,a blessing -- your blessing.

Allow me to share with you these words:

"Life is mostly froth and bubbles,
Two things stand like stone.
Kindness in another's troubles,
Courage in your own." (Adam Lindsay Gordon)


Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Your mother in law captured in it? Really? What a small world.

Just like another lady who told me she saw the same road accident I seen in Bedok Reservoir. I thought she was joking with me but it turned out to be true.

Actually, I'm just a adhoc type of volunteer. I really admired those who really volunteered their time on a regular basis. Its really a lot of sacrifices.