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Student-Athletes Spice Up Golden Saffron

Values in Action (Track and Field Academy)

By Chloe Tan and Louisa Helena Janssen
Track and Field Academy, Secondary 4

Together with Secondary 4 and 5 teammates from the Track and Field Academy, we spent a Saturday morning at Golden Saffron, a Sunlove senior activity centre at Woodlands Cirlce, celebrating Chinese New Year and early Valentine’s Day with the elderly residents. For this Values in Action initiative, we prepared games such as ball archery, Bingo, and Jenga for the seniors to enjoy and bond over, as well as keep them physically and mentally engaged.

Midway through the session, it was our turn to be surprised as an elderly resident made a lively entrance dressed as the “God of Fortune”. This cued the “Lo Hei” session which naturally became a boisterous affair.

As we sang songs such as L.O.V.E., 月亮代表我的心 (which translates to “The Moon Represents My Heart”, Chan Mali Chan and Munnaeru Vaalibaa together, the void deck echoed with the melodious chorus of voices of those present and connected the hearts of both young and elderly. This triggered a strong sense of togetherness and warmth in many of us as the simple sing-along session helped us appreciate the social and racial harmony that is so treasured by Singaporeans.

For many VIA activities that we do, our main objective is usually to contribute to the community and give back to society. However, many of us received much more from that morning session at Golden Saffron than we expected to; each of us took home special memories and different valuable lessons. Some of our teammates shared that as youths, it is easy for them to get caught up with their own lives that they take for granted our pioneers who had done so much in their heyday to build a strong nation which we can now enjoy. Instead, they can do more to show their appreciation and care for the pioneer generation. When we arrived, the welcoming and accepting nature of the elderly also touched many of us and is something we can learn from them.

Many of us were also challenged to step out of our comfort zones, and we were rewarded when we did. When we opened up and initiated conversation with the elderly residents, we were surprised by how easily the conversations and laughter flowed. We saw versions of several of our batchmates which we never knew existed. Some who were typically timid and shy opened up and eagerly communicated with the senior citizens in not only one, but several languages, while others who were usually loud and animated showed a gentler and more caring side towards them.