Senior residents in Northwest CDC take to the water

Mr Robert Ong, (left), who has polio, and Dr Teo Ho Pin, mayor of Northwest CDC, at the Northwest SwimSafer Day. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Mr Robert Ong, (left), who has polio, and Dr Teo Ho Pin, mayor of Northwest CDC, at the Northwest SwimSafer Day. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - While it takes some manoeuvring to get around when on land, Mr Robert Ong, 57, feels quite at home in the water.

The polio victim, who is paralysed from waist down, has been swimming since he was in six. "I did not want to just sit on the wheelchair and do nothing...I can still lead a normal life and have an active lifestyle, said Mr Ong, who married to an administrative officer.

Besides auditing the town councils' Job Re-creation Programmes for all the 15 town councils islandwide, Mr Ong drives himself around and goes out with his wife for meals. Every week, he heads to the pool at the Yishun Swimming Complex to do a few laps at least once a week.

On Sunday, Mr Ong was one of the participants at Northwest CDC SwimSafer Day. The swimming event was aimed at getting the young and old keen on picking up swimming and life-saving skills. Among the 300-plus participants were those over 60, who got the chance to put their water confidence and water survival skills to the test after taking up the inaugural three month course that was tailored for seniors in June. Dr Teo Ho Pin, mayor of Northwest CDC, said he hoped that those like Mr Robert Ong can inspire more seniors to take up swimming.

Dr Teo, who also chairs the National Water Safety Council, said: "If a disabled person can do it, able-bodied seniors too can do the same which also helps them to overcome their phobia of water as well as keep fit."