SINGAPORE - Music entertainment, a lucky draw and lo hei were part of an early Chinese New Year celebration for more than 60 senior citizens at Care Corner Senior Activity Centre in Woodlands on Monday (Jan 20).
Organised by the SPH Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility Division, with 18 members of the SPH Staff Volunteers Club, the event was part of yearly efforts by volunteers from Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) to spread festive cheer to the community.
Performances by two contestants of SPH's Got Talent 2019, a staff competition, had the seniors enthusiastically crooning along.
Mr Hu Tian Pei, 31, assistant music director for Mandarin radio station UFM100.3, performed two Mandopop songs. "I am happy that the elderly sang along," he said, adding that he could "feel their happiness" as he sang.
Another highlight was the visit by the "God of Fortune", who distributed mandarin oranges to the seniors. Mr Andrew Lum, SPH's assistant manager of corporate communications and corporate social responsibility, said he volunteered for the role as he was born in the Year of the Rat, in 1972.
"Knowing that someone who was born in the Year of the Rat is dressed as the God of Fortune to usher in the Year of the Rat with them puts a smile on their faces," said the 48-year-old.
While the costume was stuffy and he was unable to see anything for the most part, he said bringing laughter to the elderly and his colleagues made it a fun experience.
The seniors, in turn, treated the volunteers to a healthy yusheng, which had taken them three hours to prepare. Their version had extra vegetables and vegetarian abalone, and included fewer oily and fried components. They also tucked into a bento lunch and took part in memory games and a lucky draw.
As part of the annual SPH Cares with Bags of Love event, 120 "fortune bags" were also given out to the needy elderly at the centre and at their homes. Each bag contained daily essential items such as brown rice, medicated plasters and oil, a toothbrush and toothpaste, Milo and mandarin oranges.
The SPH staff volunteers had celebrated Chinese New Year with members of the centre last year.
Ms Chin Soo Fang, SPH's head of corporate communications and corporate social responsibility, said it was a meaningful move as the volunteers get to see familiar faces and deepen engagement with the elderly.
Agreeing, Mr Daniel Chien, 58, senior group director at Care Corner Singapore, said: "Chinese New Year can be one of the loneliest times for some elderly. This event allows them to feel they are not forgotten, but still cared for," he said.
Care Corner Singapore is a non-profit organisation with 33 service centres islandwide helping, among others, low-income families, youth at risk, lonely seniors and special needs children.