Centenarian showered with love at birthday party

Bok Mee (centre) flanked by (from left) his two friends, wife Teh (in checked shirt), daughter Mei Lin (in blue) and his two granddaughters during the birthday celebration at St Mary’s Aged Home in Petaling Jaya.

IT IS not every day that one gets to celebrate their 100th birthday.

But a special resident at St Mary’s Aged Home in Petaling Jaya spent the day surrounded by loved ones and close friends.

Liew Bok Mee, who turned 100 on March 9 and has been a resident of the home since 2017, was showered with love and attention during the celebration.

Attending the birthday party were Liew’s wife, Teh Liaw Chin, 90, his daughter Liew Mei Lin, 60, and her daughters.

Mei Lin said her two brothers – Beng Keong, 62, and Beng Keat, 55 – live in Singapore and were not able to make it, but exchanged wishes online with their father.

Two of Bok Mee’s best friends were also present.

Asked what was his secret to a long life, Bok Mee said: “My love for my wife keeps me going.’’

Mei Lin credited her father’s long life to living a healthy lifestyle and making healthy choices.

“My dad is a sportsman. He loves all things sports, from bodybuilding to race cars, badminton and table tennis.

“He was introduced to tennis at the age of 62 and immediately fell in love with the sport.

“Most people his age would have been looking forward to a more relaxed and sedentary lifestyle, but not my father, ” she said, adding that her father even took part in a tennis competition when he was in his 80s.

According to Mei Lin, Bok Mee was born with only one kidney and the family only discovered this by accident in an X-ray.

“He never knew about it until he was in his senior years, and that one kidney served him very well, ” she said.

Mei Lin said she was living in Vietnam and her two siblings were in Singapore when the family’s maid ran away.

“We had a hard time finding someone whom we could trust to take care of our father.

“So as a family, we decided that putting him in a home with 24-hour care was what’s best for him.

“It was a difficult decision but we sought his permission first and he agreed.

“We placed him in a home where he had his own private room, TV and care, ” she said, adding that since returning from Vietnam, she had been visiting her father regularly, while her brothers would travel from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur once a month to see their father.

“He is very happy there, ’’ she added.

Bok Mee was born in Nibong Tebal, Penang, on March 9,1921.

He went to Bukit Mertajam High School in 1929.

He worked with the Land and Mines Department for many years.

When he retired, he went to work for a friend until he was in his 80s.

St Mary’s Aged Home founder Sonia Jagit Kaur said the celebration was jointly organised with the family and in the presence of 12 residents living there.

“We cooked mee hoon and snacks while the family brought fast food and a cake.

“It was fun for everyone, especially Bok Mee.

“He is happiest when he is with family and friends, and we are glad to be a part of the memorable celebration, ’’ she said.

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