The Day Stars Landed At St John’s Home
A surprise visit from celebrities Jack Neo and Aileen Tan, arranged by volunteer group LP148, brightened up last Sunday for these elderly folks.
The elderly folks at St John’s Home For Elderly Persons (SJHEP) were in for a treat last Sunday, Apr 23 when film director, Jack Neo and local artist Aileen Tan paid them a surprise visit.
It was to be a day of fun for the residents. It began with a screening of Neo’s 2016 movie, Long Long Time Ago. Seventeen volunteers from an informal volunteer group that calls itself LP148 kept the seniors company.
After the movie screening came the games. The volunteers engaged the seniors in a fishing game—fishing out of containers!—while a balloon sculptor went around making balloon animals to the amusement of the elderly folks.
But it was the celebrity moments that lit up the event. Actress Aileen Tan created a small commotion among the elderly persons when she arrived unannounced. A familiar face to most of the residents, Tan has won multiple awards throughout her career which began with coming in runner-up at Star Search 1988. Tan, the star of Long Long Time Ago serenaded the seniors with a song and went from table to table, taking photos with the residents.
In the afternoon, a second surprise as sprung: director Jack Neo made his appearance. Not surprisingly, he was even more popular than Tan, seeing that most of the seniors remembered him for his signature TV persona Liang Po Po. Neo gave a greeting message so cool that the residents could not wait to have their photo taken with him.
Neo, a master of humor, lifted the atmosphere of the hall with his anecdotes. The hall was filled with laughter. When it was time for him to leave, many elderly residents moved as fast as they could to the front to shake his hand. It was evident that the session with Neo was the highlight of the day.
This special day was the brainchild of an organising committee that included City Harvest Church member, Lilian Ong.
“Seventeen of us came together with the vision to serve the community. Within 10 days, we were able to come up with our vision statement, print our T-shirts, plan the program and enlisted help from close to 100 volunteers and sponsors to give their time, money or donation in kind. And all of us have full-time jobs!” she said.
Ong had some help from the divine: “During our brainstorming session, it was the Holy Spirit who prompted me to call Elim Chew (serial entrepreneur and fellow CHC member). I knew it was a divine appointment when Elim told me she was going to have dinner with Jack Neo later that evening and would ask for his help.”
Chew subsequently invited both Neo and Tan to the event. “People don’t care how much we know until people know how much we care,” said Chew, quoting an oft-repeated saying in her church. “That is why I wanted to care for the elderly. While I was thinking of how to show care, I also think that such joy of caring needs to be shared with my friends. Hence, it was a wonderful thing to have Jack Neo and Aileen Tan help to spread joy to the elderly.”
One of SJHEP residents Mei Ling, 95, told City News that she enjoyed the activities and the companionship of the day. It reminded her of how her own family members would gather at her place in the past.
It was such a resounding success that LP148 followed up the event with another outing for the SJHEP residents, and have plans to do more.
by David Choong