Have a worthy cause? Share your story through ST

With the help of Ms Tiziana Tan, co-founder of Our Loving Population, Dayna Shanaia Maha and retiree Ang Peng Hong read the story that they co-wrote together as part of Air Amber's inter-generational book-writing project. Seniors write the first half of a story, and the books get passed to children who finish the story.ST VIDEO: MARK CHEONG
Primary 2 pupil Dayna Shanaia Maha and retiree Ang Peng Hong co-wrote a book about the importance of being happy.
Primary 2 pupil Dayna Shanaia Maha and retiree Ang Peng Hong co-wrote a book about the importance of being happy.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

A language barrier and an almost 80-year age gap did not stop Primary 2 pupil Dayna Shanaia Maha and retiree Ang Peng Hong from co-writing a book about the importance of being happy.

As part of an inter-generational book project called Live A Legacy, Mandarin-speaking Mr Ang, 86, filled the first five pages of a blank book with colourful drawings and a personal story.

The story was translated into English, and then passed to Dayna, eight, who wrote and illustrated the last five pages of the story.

They met for the first time last week. With the help of a translator, Mr Ang read Dayna's story about her sleepover and trip to Legoland in Johor.

Later, he told her about his own childhood. "When I was 13, I sold firewood during the Japanese Occupation to help my family."

Live A Legacy is led by Air Amber, an organisation that involves children and youth in community projects. The project, which was featured in The Straits Times Causes Week last December, is funded by St Luke's ElderCare and will involve about 400 of its beneficiaries.

The project aims to bring together about 500 pairs of seniors and young people aged 25 and under in Singapore.

Since its inception at the end of last year, about 200 books have been completed.

Co-authors range from six year olds to those in their 90s.

The books will be compiled and made available in public libraries.

Air Amber co-founder and chief executive Suraj Upadhiah, 28, said: "We put forth a space where they are on an equal footing. They both have equal opportunities to give to the other: I give five pages, you give five pages."

Live A Legacy is part of a larger initiative called Our Loving Population. Under this initiative, Air Amber has rolled out Amber Bus, an experiential bus tour highlighting the many levels of poverty in Singapore, as well as two inter-generational spaces, Live Labs and Live Cafe, which opened recently at the St Luke's ElderCare centre in Ayer Rajah.

Causes Week returns this year for the sixth time, from Dec 4 to 10.

Anyone with a story or cause to share can write in to be featured in The Straits Times.

•To find out how to take part in Air Amber's projects, go to www.facebook.com/ourlovingpopulation

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2017, with the headline 'Have a worthy cause? Share your story through ST'. Print Edition | Subscribe