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Monday, December 07, 2015

05 12 2015 visit to Mr T

On Saturday, Yuan Qin and I visited Mr T.

That was her first time visiting him and to me, it will usually be a good time for me to talk about some current affairs or history-related stuff.

The visit was most probably a good time for us to learn some stuff from the past and also to make good discussions with Mr T.

Just one thing new I learnt from Mr T during the visit was that he used to work for a saw mill in Malaya. From his sharing, I realised that Malaya had a rather robust lumber industry back in the 50s. In fact, there's quite a lot of things to learn about the technical know-how for the trade and it was indeed a rather important industry for the economic growth of the region during those days.

Visits to Mr T are always a good session for volunteers to learn new things from the past experiences and knowledge of Mr T.

Joel Chew

Saturday, October 03, 2015

03 10 2015 visit to Mr T

This post is the 3rd post of me writing about Mr T. To think about it, I have indeed visited Mr T for several times over the past 1 year.

Today, it was Vigilia and I visiting him and Gary joined us towards the end of the visit. Just like usual, we ran some errands for him and brought him down to the nearby coffee shop for his usual cup of buttered coffee.

However, he didn't seem to be feeling well today and was in a rather negative mood. He complained of something like a ear block that caused him to not hear well for the past 2 weeks and he wasn't feel well in his stomach too.

He was feeling rather sad and was indeed moody. We tried to persuade him to go visit the doctor, but he claimed that he did not want to trouble us too much and insisted that he does not want to seek medical attention.

However, when it comes to health-related affairs regarding others, he seemed to be rather concerned.  He will instead persuade others to go seek medical attention and recuperate appropriately. An example was he was talking about an elderly lady in her 60s who visits him every Monday was not feeling well and had to go for an eye check. When he was talking about that elderly lady, I can tell that he seemed rather concerned about the well-being of she. In-fact he even encouraged that elderly lady to go visit the doctor to get her eyes checked instead of visiting him on Monday.

From that, it proved that Mr T was indeed a person who put others ahead of himself and that is a rather positive attitude we can learn from him.

-Chew Jun Kai Joel

A visit to Mdm W on 3 Oct 15

Today's my second time visiting Mdm W. Unlike my first time visiting her, this time it's a smaller group (Just Wei Feng and I). It also meant that we would have to do the speaking instead of just being the listeners.

Mdm W is a cantonese-only speaking elderly and it is a bit of a challenge to me and Wei Feng. I am able to understand canto but not as good when it comes to speaking. I need that 0.5 second to process my thoughts before I speak. However, it got better after I spoke for a while; although some pronunciation is not so zhun. On a side note to Wei Feng, you may visit Mdm W more to pick up Canto. haha.

Mdm W is 88 years old this year and going strong. She is an independent person who takes care of herself and the up keeping of her house. Speaking to her was casual and easy. She is a person who expresses positivity and quickly builds rapport with students who visit her. To the rest of us who can't speak Canto, fret not, do visit her and try to speak to her in simple mandarin and you can slowly learn some Canto too.

Recently due to the haze, it has cut down the time Mdm W goes out to the street. She limits her travelling to buying groceries and collecting her packed lunch at the void deck. Hopefully the haze situation turns for the better for her and other elderlies to spend more time at the neighbourhood parks.

Good to see that Mdm W is doing well. Many thanks to her, our PG!

Jonathan Chew

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A day with Mdm H on 28 Mar '15

Hello all, this is Jonathan Chew making the first post in T.H.E.seniors blog. On 28 Mar '15, I visited mdm H together with Kai Him. I have just come on board T.H.E.seniors since last Dec and it was my first visit to mdm H.

Upon entering her house, mdm H was greeted by a familiar friend, Kai Him, and a new friend, Jonathan. Mdm H then replied in her usual Canto conversation with Kai Him. However, interestingly, when she greeted me, she spoke in Teo Chew and I was rather surprised that she knew I’m Teo Chew. Probably, it’s just coincidence, haha.

We sat down and started chatting. Mdm H shared that she is able to converse in a number of languages, i.e. Mandarin, Hokkien, Teo Chew, Cantonese, Malay, and some English. She began switching from one language to another and I thought she’s rather impressive. Mdm H then continued speaking of her family, her husband, daughter, and grandchildren. She had special mention of her doctor grandson whom she is proud of. However, from her sharing, I could hear a grandma longing for her grandson, who is in his 40’s, to settle down. Perhaps, it is the wish of all parents and grandparents to see their child succeed with a family of their own.

Mdm H, at a senior age of about 90, has some difficulty on moving around and appreciates volunteers helping her on simple cleaning of her house. We could see smiles on her face while she watched us swept and mopped the floor. She even offered us to drinks and lunch to show her appreciation. I believe these small gestures of ours do cheer them up and let them know that there’s a group of students who cares and loves them.

I have enjoyed all my visits thus far and am looking forward to meeting and chitchatting with more elderlies!

- Jonathan Chew

Sunday, February 01, 2015

31st January: Mdm W, Mdm L, Mdm C.y.l !!

Hi everyone, I'm here to blog again :)

Yesterday, my group which consisted of Meina, Janice and I, was supposed to visit Mdm W and Mdm C.

However, we realised that there were actually secondary school Girls Brigade students in Mdm W house doing some spring cleaning for her so we decided that we shall just drop by to tell her that we will not visit her for this week and let her spend more time with the students. When we reached her house, we saw her sitting there like a queen and "kiao ka" some more and supervising the young and energetic girls while they do their chores LOL. As Janice was the only one who could speak abit of Canto, she was the one talking to Mdm W. So she informed Mdm W that we will not be visiting her. So Mdm W just kept waving bye to us while smiling happily (like she very 沉醉 in being a queen like that hahaha) Then Janice wanted to tell that we saw her photo at the MRT station there but she like not interested at all HAHAHA WHILE CONTINUING TO WAVE GOODBYE TO US (LIKE TELLING US TO FASTER GO LIKE THAT) HAHAHAHA Damn funny and I don't think anyone of us could forget that scene LOL.

Since we were not visiting Mdm W, we were then assigned to visit Mdm L to celebrate her belated birthday for her, along with the group that was assigned to visit her! So we went to buy a cake and quickly went up to Mdm L's house! When we reached her house, she happily showed us 3 photos that her daughter sent her from overseas as it was her birthday! She seem to be really happy and just nice since she mentioned her birthday, we told her that we had actually bought a cake to celebrate her birthday with her and she was really touched and grateful that we actually remembered her birthday and even bought her a cake to celebrate with her :')

Happiness :') May all your wishes come true!!


In the end we had to leave for Mdm C's house already so Meina and I walked across the street while happily discussing about Mdm L's enthusiastic behaviour and also kept looking at the photos and selfies we took and laughing at all the unglams hahaha (Janice left early coz she had something on so we went on to visit Mdm C!)

When we reached Mdm C's house, I happily called out to her before entering her house! Oh my, I miss her so muchhhhh~ When she saw us, she politely asked us if we could help her to change her bedsheet so we gladly did. 

Achievement unlocked sia! She remembers my name! Haha initially she remembered me as the girl who help her tie rubber band on her wheel chair/ the girl who speaks hokkien to her BUT NOW SHE REMEMBERS MY NAME!! Haha 
Coz the other time Janice Weechong and I visited her and helped her to put nail polish and we told her our names~ Janice is Huihui, I am Minmin and Weechong is Dongdong HAHAHA actually coz Weechong's chinese name is Weizong so I said that he is called "Zongzong" but Mdm C cannot pronounce so in the end become "Dongdong" HAHAHA so Mdm Cheng was telling me that she still remember our names so I was quite touched haha 
Then she asked me to help her with the tying of the rubber band thing again... Deja vu sia! Feels like the first time I visited her again coz that was the first thing that I helped her with on my very first time visiting her house!!!
After that Meina took out her photo albums and looked at them and we talked until it was the post the time to leave already :(

I used to get VERY sad as I leave the elderly's house. I enjoy talking to them during the 1 hour/ 2 hours and I believe that they feel the same way too. Every time as I leave the elderly's house, I start to think about what will happen to them during the other days of the week. Do they feel sad? Do they feel lonely? Will they miss us? I remember the very first time that I visited Mdm C, I could feel tears swelling up in my eyes when it was time to leave maybe coz of the stories and things that she told me and I really hoped that I could stay with her longer to keep her company. But then someone told me before that I shouldn't think so much and I shouldn't treat every Saturday's visit as visiting beneficiaries. Instead, I should treat treat it like visiting my friends instead! Nowadays as I leave the elderly's house, I still feel a teeny weeny bit of sadness as I leave their house. But then one thing I've learnt is to not think so much coz I think I'm now able to see them as a friend instead of a beneficiary. and I'll just look forward to the next visit and treat it like a meet-up with a good friend~ 

Shall end of the post with some photos of/with Mdm C!

27/12/14 's visit
Weechong helping Mdm C~

Am I cool?? :D


Yesterday's visit!

Selfie w/ the rainbow loom that I gave her :))


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hi guys!! Being a new volunteer, I’m here to share my experience with the THES seniors! Last week, I went to visit Mdm T.A.K and Mdm C.Y.L together with the other newer volunteers Pei Yi and Jun Yang. It is a little disappointing that we are only able to spend one hour with each beneficiary because I was already kind of used to dedicating 2 hours with each of them.

Mdm T was as cheerful as always, she always seem to love our company. We help her with the mopping of the floor and the cleaning of the windows. This is my second time visiting her and I realized that these are the weekly household chores that us volunteers do for her. Mdm T has poor eyesight and she can barely make out what is in front of her so I’m amazed that she can still keep her house clean by herself, with the exception of us having to mop the floor for her. As we were cleaning we tried our best to strike a conversation with her. She can only speak Hokkien so the 3 of us, who are not fluent in Hokkien, struggle to hold a proper conversation with her. But as usual, she laughs it off and finds it pretty amusing that we are making an effort to converse with her. I really hope that there will be a workshop held for us to improve on our dialects!

The last time I visited her 2 weeks ago, one of the volunteers from another organization has given her a bottle of honey barbequed sauce. While explaining to her what it is used for, we noticed that the expiry date of the sauce is in a month’s time so we have adviced her to throw it away one it expires just in case it turns bad. While cleaning up the place, I chanced upon the opened bottle of sauce and asked her if she had tried it. She told us that she used it on chicken meat but she finds it abit too sweet for her liking. Apparently she finds it a waste to dump the sauce once it expires so she’s trying to use as much as she can before throwing it away.

We also helped her to look through her letters, which mostly consist of flyers. She seems keen about the advertisements and asks us what promotions are available. This time, she also showed us the Pioneer Generation package she received from the government. She requested us to help her check which of the clinics around her area has subsidies so she was pleased to know that the one she frequents is included inside.

Mdm T told us that she does not go out very often due to her disability to see clearly, hence it is inconvenient for her to travel far or to new places. She would be unfamiliar with her surroundings, which made her fearful actually. But she will be quite bored to be at home all day since she does not even have a television to watch, as she is unable to see, nor is she able to understand Chinese either.  I have offered to take her down for walks once again, but she declined my offer, saying that she do not wish to trouble others and become a burden. But I have never once thought that bringing the elderly around would be troublesome so I hope Mdm T can be a little more selfish and allow us to bring her down more often. She does seem to know that we have another beneficiary to tend to so she kept telling us to go and help out the other elderly instead.

After we left Mdm T’s home we went ahead to visit Mdm C. This is the first visit for all three of us so I thought that it will be awkward for all of us. But we manage to warm up with her quickly. Mdm C is very friendly and she noticed that we are all newcomers to her home. She only wanted us to do some simple cleaning of the windows. I wanted to offer more help seeing that she is wheelchair bound so she would probably have problems cleaning her house but she insisted that she is fine.
Later we sat down to chat and we soon started talking about language barriers between youths and the elderly, which brings us to the topic of asking her to be our Cantonese teacher! She taught us some phrases that we are keen to learn, and I made an effort to jolt down what we learn into my phone’s notes so that I can show off a little to my grandma. Mdm C seems quite keen to teach us but it’s hard to learn so much in a short span of time so we had to make do with the few standard phrases for now.

I found out that Mdm C is a smoker when I asked her about the ash tray on the coffee table. And initially I thought that it belongs to the tenant that is staying with her! Apparently Mdm C used to be an avid smoker who cannot survive without 2 packets of cigarettes a day, but now she does not smoke as much, which is quite a relief. She told us about how she bought tobacco leaves from the market now and rolls them in a piece of paper to make her own cigar because it is cheaper than buying a packet.

As we are leaving, Mdm C told us to drop by again when we are free. Even though we are all newcomers, Mdm C likes having us around. This leaves a deep impression on me as I realized that these beneficiaries really enjoy our company and look forward to our visits every week. And they actually remember us well! I remember Mdm T commenting that she can recognize my voice because I have visited her before. It makes me want to visit them regularly because despite their age, they will remember each and every one of us thus I feel that they will surely be sad if we stopped visiting them one day. And it certainly makes my heart ache because I’m only able to visit the elderly once every 2 weeks

But what’s for sure is that I will definitely treasure every visit that I go for and keep every moment spent with the elderly locked in my heart J   

Lynn ^-^

Monday, May 26, 2014


24th May was my first visit with T.H.E.S. During the visit, we visited Mdm C. My group comprised of Lily and 3 newcomers including myself.  It seemed like Mdm C was expecting us as she had already planned what she wanted us to help her with. She even prepared rags that she wanted us to use. It was my first time having such close interaction with elderly, other than my own grandparents of course and honestly, I wasn’t very comfortable at first. I mentally crafted some topics or questions to break the ice and to start some conversations with Mdm C. It took me quite a while to even think of a question. However, in the midst of trying hard to consolidate my thoughts and plan what to say, I saw that Lily, a much more experienced volunteer had already engaged her in a conversation and within minutes, all of us were laughing along with Mdm C’s responses. I could see that Mdm C was very happy to converse with Lily and share her stories. It was then that I realized, at times, it is not about how perfectly constructed your sentences or questions are that will determine how a conversation would turn out.

I am sure that the elderly would never care or judge if you spoke in broken strings of Dialect or Mandarin but rather, what they want to feel is the sincerity you have and whether or not you are genuinely interested in what they can share with you.  Simple topics like asking Mdm C how to cook certain dishes or complementing how she looked in the photos of her in her younger days was more than sufficient to keep her smiling throughout the entire session.

I am truly inspired by many of the volunteers and the great lengths they would go to make sure that the elderly are happy. I was also blessed by one of the elderly who had prepared a birthday cake to celebrate the birthday of one of the volunteers. He has so much to give with the little he had and I really have so much to learn from all of them.