Lifelong learning, volunteering options at 50plus event

Private investigating officer Suresh Kumaran strolled yesterday among the booths at 50plus 2017, all of which were advertising courses for baby boomers and seniors.

Mr Kumaran, 52, had not yet signed up for any, but told The Sunday Times he was interested in cyber security or management. Such skills, he said, could help him in his job and potentially any later career.

Asked what future job he might want, he laughed and said: "That's why I've come to this, to find out where I can go."

The annual 50plus event was officially opened yesterday at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre, after a one-year hiatus.

Shedding the vendors, shows and travel agencies that were featured previously, this year's event focuses on lifelong learning, volunteerism and positive ageing, said organiser Council for Third Age (C3A), an agency that promotes active ageing through outreach, public education and partnerships.

With 72 forum talks, more than 250 classes and nearly 30 partners that provide learning and volunteering opportunities, there is plenty on offer. Almost 14,000 people have registered for the forum talks over the three days the event is running.

Some talks, like last Friday's 300-person session titled "Getting A Good Night's Sleep", were full.

Retiree Darlynn Fung-Leng, 61, was standing in line yesterday outside one of the forum rooms, where "Achieving Healthy Hearing Every Day" was about to begin.

She preferred this year's event to its iteration in 2015, as it was "too messy" then. "It is more systematic... There's no need to mix (the forum) with products," she said.

But some visitors missed elements of previous years. Mrs Pauline Xavier and her husband, Philip, both semi-retired freelancers, said this was about their fifth time at a 50plus event. They seemed slightly wistful at the fact that some activities were no longer there.

"Last time there was lots of food... There were on-the-spot physical exercises you could join," said Mrs Xavier, 66. But she liked the focus on education this year, saying that it would keep more seniors active.

Mr Xavier, 71, said they had both signed up with RSVP Singapore, which promotes volunteerism.

The free event ends today. Registration is required for the talks.

Visit for more details.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 26, 2017, with the headline 'Lifelong learning, volunteering options at 50plus event'. Print Edition | Subscribe