The CHC Choir Ministry brought Chinese New Year cheer to the Geylang East Home for the Aged.
Contributed By Rubez Wong
On Jan. 30, 33 members from City Harvest Church’s Choir Ministry set out on a mission to bring festive cheer to 37 elderly residents of the Geylang East Home for the Aged.
Braving torrential rains, the group made their way early to prepare for the afternoon’s program. Events kicked off after a brief introduction with the first game: Bingo!
The residents had to get five numbers in a row to win. Much laughter and fake shouts of “Bingo!” ensued as the players tried their best to cross out each number read out by the emcees. Finally, one resident finally shouted “Bingo!” for real, and was greeted with excited shouts and waving hands.
The crowd was all warmed up by then and ready for the next two games: Pass The Parcel, and a unique Guessing Game with emcees giving hints about items related to the Chinese New Year season.
Choir member Gaby Sim, 21, a property customer service coordinator, said, “Seeing the joy on the old folks’ faces brightened up my day—this was definitely the highlight of my week. We came with the intention to bring joy to them, but instead they cheered us up with their enthusiasm.”
After the games came a time of special performances. With an “open mic” concept, the elderly could come up and sing along with the performers. One particular resident proved to be the “karaoke king” of the day, going up to sing along to almost every song.
Making good use of their talents, the choir members sang their hearts out for their special audience. The old folk clapped along enthusiastically, their faces crinkled up in smiles to the line-up of popular oldies like “Tian Mi Mi,” “The Moon Represents My Heart,” as well as familiar Chinese New Year tunes.
For choir member Esther Cheng, 20, a student, this was her second time performing before an elderly crowd. In December, she acted in CHC’s Dialect Church service’s Christmas drama. She explained, “Both of my own grandfathers passed away when I was very young, so I did not have the chance to know them well. The smiles and encouragement from the elderly uncles at the home made me feel their ‘grandfatherly’ love.”
The performances concluded and the grand highlight of the evening arrived: the traditional lo hei session. The members helped to usher the elderly to the tables where several plates of yu sheng laid ready for the occasion. On the count of three, the elderly tossed the ingredients high in the air and gave loud shouts of “Huat ah!” and uttered other auspicious sayings.
All too soon, the visit came to an end. The choir handed out red packets and oranges to the elderly (which came out of the proceeds from the choir’s caroling performances during Christmas 2010), and reluctantly bade goodbye to their new-found old friends.
Mavis Sin, a 23-year-old educator, who was a game emcee at the party, said, “I’m truly humbled and touched as I hear the elderly share their life stories. It makes me smile when I see how they light up as they begin to talk. They have taught me how to cherish what I already have, rather than look at what I have not.”
Many in the group intended to hold this party to be a blessing to the elderly, and in turn they were blessed by the experience.
Student Neo Yi Wei, 20, summed it up: “I feel that there should be more of such events as they give us opportunities to be a blessing to others and to touch lives directly. I’m very thankful to be able to participate.”