Howdy Angels,
It’s me again, Xiao Quan Quan, being arrowed by the VL at the very last minute (Wednesday, 25th June 2008, 2137hrs, on our way home from Kreta Ayer) to do the weekly flash. Sigh…always ‘kena’ arrowed suddenly.. How I wish it is a ‘cupid’ arrow? Haha.. I am only just kidding.. still prefer single but yet unavailable kind of lifestyle… :)

Sharon, Shu Hua, Rico and I went to visit Kreta Ayer this Wednesday, 25th June 2008 at around 1930hrs. Even though it was not my first time visit to Kreta Ayer, it still left me with deep impression, thoughts and feelings after my visit and thought it would be good to share in this platform. Kreta Ayer is a program based and not home based kind of setup. Basically, the ah gong and ah ma at Kreta Ayer live on their own at rental flat. Most of them received public assistance from the government. They are more independent, responsive and able to take care of themselves. These ah gong and ah ma comes from all sorts of background, from samsui women, coolie, and tailor to even trishaw or rickshaw pullers. Some of them are even 90 over years old and can still run around like little children. :)

The elderly at Kreta Ayer started off with stamp cutting. Despite their age, they were able to cut the stamps fast and neat, like ordinary young people. Some of the elderly were also there to play board games. After the stamp cutting, the volunteers at Kreta Ayer conduct some simple hand and palm exercise with the elderly. I thought it is effective and perhaps we can try it at Moral Home.

The most interesting and challenging part is the home visitation. Together with the four of us, the volunteers of Kreta Ayer were divided into 2 groups to do a random visitation to the home of the elderly. The basics of the home visitation is to check the well being of the elderly, update their profile, letters or medical appointments that needed to be read or reminded by volunteers. Through the visitation, we had seen how the volunteers engaged conversation with the elderly, how to identify whether the elderly are at home by looking at the power meter and the lights etc.

Together with the volunteers, Rico and I went to visit this particular Popo. She is a rag and bone woman who likes to collect things and see those items more precious than her life. Her house was full of junks that she barely had space for her to sleep. Her condition is better now than when I first visited her. Her corridor was initially full of stuffs that it might pose fire hazards. Sometimes you could see cockroaches crawling around. However, she was very generous and even offered us drinks but we had to check the expiry date just in case the things she offered to us expired… haha…

Next, we visit this new elderly, 79 years old, male, who just moved in to Kreta Ayer. He used to be a tailor. Through the conversation, he seemed to be very pessimistic about life. However, the volunteers are pretty professionals, trying to engage him for future events. Next, we went to visit these 94 years old ah gong, but he was not around. According to his roommate, he usually went out during that time. Imagine a 94 years old ah gong, walking around Chinatown area… impressive.

Then finally, we came across this partially blind Indian ah gong, staying all along in the flat. During my last visit, he had this so called “nephew” staying with him. But now according to Stephanie, in fact that “nephew” was not actually his nephew but an illegal immigrant who had been arrested. I was totally shocked when I heard about it. However, this “nephew” really took good care of this Indian ah gong during his stay with him.

Every elderly, every household at Kreta Ayer has their own stories and experiences. All these stories can be seen written in their wrinkle and sullen faces. Their eyes seem tired and as if they have witnessed many up and downs throughout their life. Some of them have no family or relatives. Some of them are distant away from their family. Some of them do not even know whether their families are still alive. Most of them came all the way from China, coming here to earn a living so that they can send all their hard earned money aboard to their loved ones so that they can have a better life. Some elderly longed to go back to their homeland and spend the rest of their remaining life but some choose to come back. Perhaps, they had met disappointment at their homeland which we never know. They may seem happy on the surface, but deep in their hearts, who knows how many disappointments, regrets and setbacks they have suffered. These are the things which we volunteers can’t apprehend. The only things that we volunteers can do is to provide accompany, care and happiness to these ah gong and ah ma. The lesson that we volunteers can learn from here is… to cherish your loved ones, family and friends.

Exercise 2 Copy
Ah Gong and Ah Ma doing hand exercise with Yakult Bottles

Clapping Exercise
Hand Clapping and Palm Exercise

Home Visiting
Home Visitation… Ah Po… Nei Di Chu Bo? (Are you at home?)

On 22nd June 2008, some of the angles (Uncle Song, SK, Shu Hua, Jin Xiong, Mei Kuen, Doris, Stuart, Uncle James, Wendy, her friend Shen Yu and me) went to assist an outing conducted by ESN for All Saints Home Hougang. Due to the bad weather, we went to Changi Airport Terminal 3 instead of the usual itinerary at Hort Park. Despite the bad weather, the spirit of volunteerism never ceased. The volunteers and elderly had a wonderful time at T3. They had a tour around T3, followed by songs, games and prizes conducted by volunteers. We even met David and Kathy (ex Moral Angels) at T3 and they even got their lovable children to perform 2 songs for the elderly. So sweet!!!.. :)

On 21st June 2008, SK, Sharon, Rico, Uncle Meng Huat and I were at Christalite Methodist Home to help out in the breakfast. Well, due to the increase in the number of residents at CMH, the breakfast was not enough for the residents at CMH. We might organize a similar ‘Ge Tai’ and ‘Auction’ at CMH during their National Day Parade.

Back at the Moral Home, SK and Jojo had started out the salt bottles with the elderly. Sharon, Uncle Song, Rico and Christina as usual went around the home doing befriending and running errands. Mei Kuen and Uncle Meng Huat were playing mahjong with the elderly. Uncle Poh Yan and Shu Hua were conducting the games activities with the elderly. Uncle Song conducted the card game which was subsequently taken over by Christina. Uncle James and Auntie Jane were there as well befriending with the elderly.

Nothing special going on at the home except that engines started to warm up for the 10th Year Anniversary. Exhibition Committee, I think we have to meet up next Saturday morning to get materials from Bras Basah. Auntie Mona, when will you be free? Ping Sing, Uncle Sam, Shu Hua, Ah Xian and Jojo – we might need your help in doing write-ups. Will brief you guys more next Saturday.

All in all, I had visited 4 different agencies (Christalite Methodist Home, Moral Home, All Saints Home Hougang and Kreta Ayer) within 5 days, without me even realizing it. To me, it had been a hectic but yet rewarding, fulfilling and meaningful 5 days. Each individual agency has given me different kinds of experiences, thoughts and feelings and these are priceless. These feelings are genuine and indescribeable. It feels good and warmth in the heart and at the same time, feeling a sense of calmness and peace. (I also don’t know why??) These experiences have provided me with valuable lessons which allow me to look at life in a different manner and perspective. Therefore, I strongly encourage volunteers to go and venture other types of volunteerism. (at your own discretion… :))

For those who have being to Kreta Ayer, Christalite Methodist Home, All Saints Home Hougang or any other beneficiaries, we encourage you to share your thoughts and feelings with fellow volunteers and peers and impact them with your volunteering experience.

Cheers
Quan

P.S. Remember must come back moral home otherwise VL will kill me.
Once a moral angel, always a moral angel. :)