Moving as one: Jeorge (front row, centre) conducting the aerobics session with participants at the Penang Municipal Park.
GEORGE TOWN: He is not a politician, he is not a rich man but he draws hundreds to see him five days a week in Penang.
He is Jeorge Subramaniam and he is known as the one person who can get many to sweat it out. He conducts regular aerobics sessions at the Penang Municipal Park.
“He is doing good for the people and indirectly for the good of this country,” wrote Carolina Tan to The Star.
Tan wrote in 2008 that Jeorge’s twice weekly sessions at the park, formerly known as the Youth Park, brought together hundreds of people from different races and hoped that he would carry on his good work in promoting goodwill among the various races while also improving their health.
Jeorge, 66, has done more than that. He expanded his aerobics classes to the New World Park the same year besides maintaining the one at Medan Mayang Pasir in Bayan Baru, which he started in the late 1990s.
His classes continue to attract people of different races, many of whom have found new friendships with other participants.
Housewife Norlaila Ismail, 51, said she had followed Jeorge’s aerobics sessions for the past 20 years and found him to be someone who is generous in his commitment.
“He never expects anything in return and welcomes everyone to join him, regardless of age and race, to lead a healthy life,” she said, adding that her husband and three grown-up children also joined in whenever they are free.
She said she had also made many good friends from various races who are also regulars at the classes.
“Why do we need to spend so much on gyms when we can follow this easy and fun yet effective activity,” she added.
Janet Teoh, 57, recalls that it was a friend who recommended that she join the session at the Penang Municipal Park 16 years ago. She has been a regular participant since then.
“I am so much more active now since joining the sessions,” she said.
“Jeorge is a good trainer and helpful, too,” Teoh said.
R. Valiammah, 63, who has been following the sessions for almost 20 years, roped in her daughter M.Gunasundari in 2012.
Gunasundari, 35, said she was reluctant to follow her mother to the classes initially but has since grown to like them .
“After following several classes, I noticed the changes,” she said.
The assistant engineer said the session also allowed her to relieve tension which was something she needed as she worked in a very stressful environment.
Jeorge, a retired pharmacy assistant, said he began his aerobics classes at the Penang Municipal Park in 1992 when he was tasked to lead the Sunday session as part of the Youth and Sports Ministry’s nationwide Mutiara Ahad programme.
He said the programme was discontinued a year or two later but he decided to maintain his classes and later added the Wednesday session there due to good response.
He said participants need not pay to join his classes but could give voluntary contributions of RM1 per session if they wished to.
Jeorge, who is also the Penang Fitness Association’s president and chief instructor, said they could also contribute to community programmes that he organises such as gotong-royong and annual dinners during different festivals for regular participants and their family members.
“These kind of community events will make them better understand each others’ cultures and appreciate the diverse community,” said the father of three.
Jeorge’s aerobics sessions at the Penang Municipal Park are at 8am on Sundays and 6pm on Wednesdays while those at the New World Park are at 7pm on Thursdays and 8am on Saturdays. The class at Medan Mayang Pasir is at 6pm on Mondays.