14th Feb 2011, I spent this Valentines' Day meaningfully despite not having my husband with me.
I was asked to attend a CNY dinner together with other WP members. Thinking that this one is not going to be different from the rest of the temple dinner that I've attended, I was expecting to hear loud music blasting from a distance.
I was wrong.
Upon reaching the venue, lion dance performance and a 财神爷 greeted us :) I don't see the usual round table arrangement. Instead I spotted several long tables formed by a few square ones. Seated around those tables were old folks.
There were 2 stretch of buffet lined up, ready for consumption.
A small stage with a red banner that reads, ' This dinner was specially organised by Block 702 Hougang Ave 2 Senior Citizens Corner. It is an annual event whereby they will invite MP of Hougang, Mr Low Thia Khiang, to grace it.
The objective of this dinner is to distribute ang pows to the elderly folks from various Home.
Source of money? Residents of Hougang Ave 2. Some of them who had already moved out from the area continue to contribute year after year.
I was impressed, very impressed when I learnt about it. There were approximately 40-50 old folks who came from 4 different old folks' home. Free shuttle bus services fetch them from their Homes to Hougang.
Apart from ang pow distribution, the residents prepared performances too. Singing and dancing were all part of it. The performers were none other than the residents! I remembered this belly dance segment that was brought to the audience by 3 gorgeous auntie. They did an awesome job and they were age 57, 60 and 62! While others were performing on stage, the rest would start to dance along with the music off stage. All these were efforts put together by the residents. It was such a joy to see these residents enjoying themselves. They had created for themselves another homely place apart from home itself.
This picture below shows the donors name and their contributions.
I have to say that its even more fabulous to see the old folks clapping their hands and mumbling along with familiar songs such as '爱拼才会赢', '万水千山总是情', '帝女花', etc. They were enjoying themselves, no doubts about it.
Towards the end of the dinner, Mr Low and Ms Sylvia Lim went around the tables to distribute the angpows. Its just an angpow to the majority of us, to them, its enough to make their day.
When it was finally time to call it a day, I started to see a number of residents moving towards the old folks. I was wondering, for what??? These residents were there to ensure that everyone of them don't trip, fall, got on the wrong bus or was left behind. Its time for these old folks to head Home and I meant Old folks Home.
A few of us moved along to render our assistance. There is no way one can witnessed what had just happened and still sit rooted to your seat. The urge to lend a helping hand to these old folks swelled!
When we managed to get everyone safely onto their buses, its time to say goodbye. As the bus passed by us, old folks on the buses waved at us. They were grinning from ear to ear :)
Tears swell up....Mixed feelings was what I've experienced at that moment. A sense of pride that I was able to extend that little help, appreciation towards the organizer and the residents who made this possible and empathy for the old folks.
I told one of the organizer this before I left, 'Please invite me back again next year, this is the best CNY dinner I've ever had.'
It was at this time, my stomach sent a message to my brain that it needs to release some stuff from it... Ahhhhh! I quickly went in search for a toilet!