COPE adds a touch of the “kampong spirit” to its National Day celebration for its elderly beneficiaries.
Contributed By Yeap Yixuan
Across the island, Singaporeans celebrated the nation’s 46th birthday in various ways, mostly donned in the national colors of red and white. At the House Of JOY, the elderly gathered to celebrate National Day in a rather unusual way—with durians and various local fruits such as mangosteens and rambutans, while watching the National Day Parade on a big screen.
Organized by City Harvest Community Services Association’s Community Outreach Programme for the Elderly, or COPE, the Durian and Fruits Fiesta was held on Aug. 9 in the evening at the House Of JOY, an elder care center operated by CHCSA.
The purpose of the event, which was to create social bonding and re-create the “kampong spirit’ of yesteryear, saw 148 senior citizens gather for a fruit feast consisting of 20 baskets of durians, mangosteens and rambutans. Many of the beneficiaries’ family members also attended the event, which was sponsored by Durian Culture.
The event was not merely a time of munching on fruits and watching the National Day Parade; COPE had also lined up performances and activities for the elderly. Volunteers Peter Hua and Yu Fong, performed a couple of song items, including a nostalgic Teochew number. The elderly were also engaged in a time of art and craft; they were given paper and sticks, as well as crescents and star stickers to make their own Singapore flags, which they waved joyously during screening of the National Day Parade.
Hee Hoi Thong, 57, a café operator who participated in the event said, “This gathering got everyone together on this National Day. It is wonderful to see the young and old sitting together to enjoy and celebrate our nation’s birthday.”
A CHCSA volunteer and national serviceman, Koh Hong Yun, 23, echoed Hee’s sentiments, “Some of the elderly are still working to support themselves and seldom have a chance to go out with their friends or to interact with their neighbors. The event provided a platform for them enjoy one another’s company and rekindle the ‘kampong spirit.’”
Wendy Fong, 23, an administrative executive at CHCSA, revealed that “more outings and events such as this are in the pipeline,” as COPE looks to come up with more creative ways to engage the elderly and increase their quality of life in their silver years.
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