Senior citizens at Chong Pang get hongbaos totalling over $66,000

Mr K. Shanmugam (left) gives a hongbao to a senior citizen at a Chong Pang community event on Sunday, Jan 19, 2014, to usher in the Chinese New Year of the Horse. -- PHOTO: ZAO BAO
Mr K. Shanmugam (left) gives a hongbao to a senior citizen at a Chong Pang community event on Sunday, Jan 19, 2014, to usher in the Chinese New Year of the Horse. -- PHOTO: ZAO BAO

Some 1,500 senior citizens were given hongbaos totalling more than $66,000 at a Chong Pang community event on Sunday to usher in the Chinese New Year of the Horse.

Two of the oldest present were centenarians Madam Guan Yoke Cheng and Madam Ng Choon, who both turn 100 this year.

It was a day of "celebrating ageing" at the Chong Pang Community Centre as much as it was the festive season, said Mr K. Shanmugam, the constituency's grassroots advisor.

Those aged 65 and older made up about 10.5 per cent of Singapore's resident population in 2013, according to government statistics.

About a quarter of Chong Pang's population are seniors, making the constituency "what Singapore will be in 15 years' time", he said, and the annual hongbao-giving activity helped these elderly stay engaged within their community.

Said Madam Ng, who has been to four other editions of the annual Chong Pang hongbao-giving and lives alone with her domestic worker: "It's a meaningful way to get into the Chinese New Year spirit with neighbours. I will be using the money as part of my daily allowance for food."

Comments