3.0 Seniors Sharing Life Stories

This topic presents another way that stories can bring people together across generations. In our fast-changing world, seniors have much to share with younger generations. This subsection of the HealthPartners.sg website explains why and how seniors can share their Life Stories and how younger people can help them share. Workshops and other advice are available by contacting info@healthpartners.sg

There are 4 parts to this subsection :
(click each link below to go there)

3.1  Introduction to Sharing Life Stories

3.2  Mdm Joyce Lye Geok Choo‘s Mother Life Story

3.3  Article on Students Helping Seniors Share Their Life Stories

3.4  Life stories by George M Jacobs
     3.4.1  Introduction.docx
     3.4.2  Lucky

     3.4.3  Eating Plants
     3.4.4 Teaching
     3.4.5 Beijing
     3.4.6 Crazy Uncle George
     3.4.7 Flaws
     3.4.8 Odd Jobs
     3.4.Appx1 Jokes
     3.4.Appx2 Quotes I Remember
     3.4.Appx3 Lessons Learned

[ps2id id=’3.1′ target=”/] 3.1 Introduction to Sharing Life Stories

[ps2id id=’3.2′ target=”/] 3.2 Mdm Joyce Lye Geok Choo’s Mother Life Story

An example of a Life Story by Mdm Joyce Lye Geok Choo, co-founder of Kampung Senang Charity and Education Foundatio

The Lady Who Loved and Adopted Me at First Sight

Mothers’ Day 2020 happened during the Covid-19 circuit breaker period when most of us had to work from home. Even though my mum passed away in 2010, being home, seeing her photo throughout the day, made me think of my mum even more, as though every day was Mother’s Day.. She protected me like a big tree since she adopted me while I was 4 months old .

Wong Ping Joo was her name. She was born in Singapore in 1918 to an average Cantonese family. In 1926, when my mother was only 8 years old, her own mum passed away after giving birth to her third child, a boy. Now motherless, young Ping Joo was never able to attend school, as she had to stay home to look after the home and her two younger brothers. Thus, she never learned to read and write.

Tragedy struck again with the beginning of World War Two. In 1939, my mum’s father fell ill. Worried about what would happen to his family during the ensuing Japanese invasions, my grandfather asked his best friend, a physician from China, 26 years older than her to marry her as well as to look after the two younger brothers.

During the Japanese Occupation, life was very difficult for the new couple. In addition to my mum’s two younger brothers, they also adopted a two-year-old child. The situation was very insecure as they often needed to run for their lives from Japanese soldiers.

After the war, my mother and the three children followed her husband back to his China hometown to meet his parents and his first wife and two children in their Hakka village in Kwan Tong. It was there that my mum learned to make delicious Hakka dishes.

Soon, the family returned to Singapore in 1946 and added a baby boy to the family, but they also wanted a girl. Finally, one morning in 1952, their wish came true when a trishaw rider taking my mum to Chinatown to buy herbs for the family’s TCM clinic told her about people who were planning to sell a baby girl for $400 that very afternoon. My mum immediately asked him to fetch her to see the child.

Guess who the baby girl was. You’re right; it was me. And, my mum was in love with me at first sight. She had $500 with her to buy the herbs, and without a second thought, she gave all that money to my natural parents and took me home. From that day onward, I enjoyed a safe home and caring parents.

My mother loved repeating the story of how we first met. Even when she was in her 90s, she would regale visitors with our love-at-first-sight story. Fortunately, she spent her last eight years with my family and passed on peacefully with me holding her hand at my house at 92 years young.

Every time I see her photo, it reminds me of how really grateful I am to have had her with me in this life and how our work at Kampung Senang is so important, working so that everyone can enjoy the safety and care that my mother and father gave me!