PAP launches project where Singapore seniors and youth co-author stories

Singaporean sprint legend C. Kunalan (right) and seven-year-old Keegan Tan looking at a book they collaborated on under the PAP senior wing's Live a Legacy initiative. PHOTO: PEOPLE'S ACTION PARTY

SINGAPORE - The senior wing of the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) on Thursday (Sept 30) launched a project aiming to gather about 500 pairs of senior citizens and young people to co-author stories on their lived experiences and aspirations.

Known Singaporean personalities such as sprint legend and Olympian C. Kunalan, jazz maestro Jeremy Monteiro, and former MPs Yu-Foo Yee Shoon, Hawazi Daipi and Lily Neo are among the names that have signed up for the Live a Legacy initiative so far.

The project was jointly unveiled by the PAP's Seniors Group and charitable Community Foundation arm ahead of the United Nations' International Day of Older Persons observed on Oct 1 each year.

"With seniors, we often talk about them leaving a legacy because of their love for their children and grandchildren," said the project's organising chairman and MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, Mr Edward Chia.

"But we actually believe that our seniors are still active members of our society, and still have much to contribute. So instead of leaving a legacy, they are actually living a legacy.

"Through this collective effort of sharing different lived experiences across generations, we hope to rally more Singaporeans to honour the past, celebrate the present, and build a shared future that includes our seniors."

Mr Henry Kwek, vice-chairman of the Seniors Group and MP for Kebun Baru, said: "We also hope to strengthen intergenerational bonds between our seniors and our youth and to foster this deeper understanding of our diverse perspectives."

Mr Kunalan, 78, was paired with seven-year-old Keegan Tan. The boy wrote a tale - with illustrations he drew - featuring himself as a speedy protagonist who seeks guidance from Mr Kunalan, defeats a villainous monster and saves the day.

In Mr Kunalan's half of their 10-page Live a Legacy book, the track icon shares stories from his childhood such as plucking coconuts and being sent to the police station for wandering into a restricted area.

"I wanted Keegan to know some of the things I did when I was his age," said Mr Kunalan.

"I had wanted to share my love story but decided to leave it out because Keegan might not understand (it) for his age. Despite parental objections, my Chinese wife married me even though we had to leave our respective homes.

"Thankfully, love and sincerity prevailed. Two of our daughters are married to Scottish and English men and they now have mixed families of their own."

The writing pack received by participants in the PAP senior wing's Live a Legacy project. PHOTO: PEOPLE'S ACTION PARTY

In a press release, the PAP Seniors Group invited Singaporean seniors and youth to join the project at the website between Oct 1 and Oct 29.

Participants will be paired preferably with people unknown to each other and at least 40 years apart in age. Sign-ups familiar to each other will also be accepted.

Participants will receive a writing pack that included the Live a Legacy book, postcards to send each other and a box of pencils. They are encouraged to draw and add photographs and pictures to their stories, and customise the book covers if they like.

Each participant will have about two weeks to write his part. The submission deadline for each co-created book is Nov 30.

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