Marine Parade centenarians to get a hongbao and hamper

SINGAPORE - To recognise "senior pioneers", 21 centenarians in Marine Parade will be honoured with a hongbao of at least $100 and a hamper. There are also plans to do something similar for about 300 people aged 90 to 99.

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who is also adviser to Marine Parade grassroots organisations, revealed this on Saturday. Speaking at the launch of the month-long celebrations of the International Day of Older Persons, Mr Goh said: "This year is SG50, so I'd like to end the year by celebrating 'older and older' people in the neighbourhood."

Mr Goh said the Pioneer Generation Office helped to identify the Marine Parade residents aged 90 and above. "This gives us the chance to check if these people are still around, and if they are, we must honour them for their past services and try to find out their secrets for living so long," he said.

The project was started about two weeks ago, and a few centenarians have received their gifts.

The International Day of Older Persons is observed on Oct 1 to recognise the contributions of the elderly to society. At the launch event, Mr Goh encouraged seniors to have a goal in life, to stay healthy and to build good relationships.

He said: "I became an MP for Marine Parade at the young age of 35... One of my goals is to continue serving Marine Parade, that's why I stood for the last elections, at the age of 74."

On Saturday, the National Council of Social Service also launched a handbook to dispel common myths about seniors. It also offers tips on how to better communicate with the elderly. About 15,000 copies will be distributed to the community. It is also featured online at www.ncss.org.sg

goyshiyi@sph.com.sg