Caption: Years of hardship have taught Mdm Tang to be resilient and self-reliant
“I always look forward to meeting volunteers and friends at the centre. Although I can’t really hear, I just smile and wave at them. During the pandemic, I am thankful to everyone who remember seniors like me. They are all very kind."
Mdm Tang Siew Hong, who is hard of hearing, suffers from heart issues and osteoporosis, but that has not stopped her from cooking her own meals and cleaning her home. Mdm Tang also has weak legs and walks slowly, sometimes with the help of an umbrella.
The nonagenarian, who was widowed at 29 years old, believes in being self-reliant and frugal. Mdm Tang led a hard life, working as a factory worker and cleaner to provide for her only daughter. To save money, she would shun meat and eat mainly preserved vegetables, toufu and rice.
Caption: Mdm Tang lives alone and is well supported by her daughter and the community at TSAC GB
When staff from TOUCH Senior Activity Centre (Geylang Bahru) came knocking on her door to invite her to join the centre’s activities some nine years ago, she was touched. By then, she was getting frail and had stopped volunteering as a helper at a temple. Her hearing issues had also worsened.
“At that time, I was wondering what I was going to do at home. I will be bored. I am glad I have found friends at TSAC. Being at the centre helps me spend my time meaningfully. It gives me something to look forward to each day,” said Mdm Tang.
Caption: A joyful Mdm Tang (middle) enjoying the company of student volunteers and seniors before the pandemic
Caption: Mdm Tang (right) with TSAC staff Mr Richard Lim (left)
Feeling loved and cared for
Since then, Mdm Tang has been surrounded by staff and seniors who befriended her as she participated in the centre’s activities. From playing Bingo to joining in the daily exercise sessions, Mdm Tang believes in keeping her body and mind active. She particularly enjoys going for outings with corporate volunteers. Her favourite places visited included Gardens By The Bay and Sentosa.
“There are many places I want to see. But my legs are weak and it will be hard for me to go on my own. I am also reluctant to spend so much money. I am contented to be in the company of caring volunteers and friends,” said Mdm Tang.
During the pandemic, TOUCH staff would check on Mdm Tang frequently. TSAC’s seniors also keep watch over her. Her daughter, who visits her daily, also started helping her mother with meals and housework as Mdm Tang was getting frailer.
Caption: Mdm Tang (left) receiving Power Packs from SP Group volunteers (right)
Recently, Madam Tang was delighted to see staff volunteers from SP Group, known as SP Heart Workers, at her doorstep, delivering Power Packs and essential items to keep seniors safe.
“I always look forward to meeting volunteers and friends at the centre. Although I can’t really hear, I just smile and wave at them. During the pandemic, I am thankful to everyone who remember seniors like me. They are all very kind,” added Mdm Tang.