SOME 600 senior citizens had a joyful gathering at Straits Quay Retail Marina in Penang in celebration of International Year of the Elders.
They were treated to breakfast and lunch, and entertained by performances during the event organised by Rose Charities Malaysia.
The Nyonya Belles swayed to an umbrella dance and then sang Rasa Sayang while the Free Taichi Group put on fan and sword routines.
Later, an exercise group also showed the seniors, all aged above 60, some moves to achieve better circulation and health.
Those present included the deaf, blind and disabled, drawn from 20 charitable bodies and welfare homes on the island and mainland.
(From L to R) Datin Lily Cheah, Pertubuhan Wanita Mutiara Pulau Pinang president Tan Lean Kee, Penang Yang di-Pertua NegriTun Abdul Rahman Abbas, Rose Charities Malaysia president Datuk Lawrence Cheah and advisor Tan Sri Mohd Yussof Latiff, performing a cake cutting ceremony during the gathering. Star pic by ASRI ABDUL GHANI / The Star
It included the Penang Home for the Infirm, Jubilee Home for the Aged, Rumah Charis, Penang Deaf Association and St Nicholas Home for the Blind.
Also represented were Than Hsiang Welfare Home, Penang Community Care, Permatang Pauh Welfare Home, Kerchana Kitchen and Society of the Disabled.
Rose Charities president Datuk Lawrence Cheah said they had been organising such gatherings in various locations for the past six years.
“We want to give these seniors opportunities to come out, mingle and enjoy the company of their peers,” Cheah pointed out.
Earlier this year, the organisation took the senior citizens on a trip up Penang Hill. For next year, the aim is to host a boat cruise. Cheah said such events were made possible thanks to generosity of sponsors.
The recent gathering was organised in partnership with Pertubuhan Wanita Mutiara Pulau Pinang, Justices of the Peace Association, Penang Island City Council, Penang Turf Club, Straits Quay and the state government.
Pertubuhan Wanita Mutiara president Tan Lean Kee, who is also the Chief Minister’s wife, said the occasion brought smiles to all.
“As we celebrate our seniors, may we be reminded of their contributions to the nation, and always treat them with respect and dignity.
“Cherish yourselves, choose to be happy and live your life to the fullest.
‘Let not age be a barrier for anything,” Tan stressed in her speech.
Gracing the occasion was Penang Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas. Also present were Rose Charities’ advisor Tan Sri Yussof Latiff and Cheah’s wife Datin Lily Cheah.
Following the cake-cutting ceremony, the seniors were also presented with red packets and goodie bags.
On a related matter, Cheah also welcomed the state government’s plan to set up day care centres for senior citizens.
“It is laudable and timely, as it will provide an avenue for seniors to interact or partake in activities.
“Ideally, such centres should include a library, basic exercise equipment or even small workshops where seniors can do things they enjoy,” he added.