YOU DON’T KNOW YOLO TILL YOU’VE MET THESE SENIORS!

We first met Lily, Jimmy, Monica, Magdalene, Martin and Mary (or the Super Six as we like to call them) when we were making our rounds at the Esplanade piano and lo & behold! We were greeted by this bunch of loud, enthusiastic “silverhair” seniors! (more explanations on where that term came from later)

For those of you who are not familiar, this is the group featured in the SURE CAN DANCE UNCLE video we posted on our facebook feed sometime ago (see video below).

They seem to be the perfect poster people for an NTUC Income campaign, not just that they all don’t look a day their age. We wanted to talk with them not because they are famous or popular or that they’ve all done something extraordinary, but because they are simple everyday people like you and me, and who we want to be when we “grow up”.

They were bursting forth with such joy and energy at the piano that we had to find out what made them tick, how six strangers get together to create such a joyful ruckus and what exactly does an Accountant, a Florist, Two teachers, a Civil Servant and a ukulele have in common!

On first coming together through Lily and how she first started playing the piano.

Lily, at 77 years old, doesn’t look her age. Actually, none of the Super Six do.  This is how she started on the piano:

“Actually I have my father to thank for, he was the one who saw the potential in me. When I was 4 he bought me a second hand piano – that was during the Japanese occupation. The first song I ever tinkled on the piano was a Japanese song and I can still remember the tune!”

We wondered if pianos were expensive back then, more so during the Japanese occupation and how on earth her father found a piano!

“I don’t know how he got the piano! The Japanese had a camp beside my house and they had a piano, I used to go over there to tinkle on the piano, I really don’t know how! but I just played on. After that my dad got me the professional piano lessons but I wasn’t into it – I don’t like scales and all that!”

Ever since then she’s always played by ear, anticipating and watching when people sing, following along with the songs and chords that she says comes naturally to her, she just watches… and listens.

It was amazing to see how this bunch of seniors just came together, to sing songs, dance and just have a good time!

“We all met through the Silver Hair Chat Group, a once month coffee meet up to make friends.” Monica chips in.

“Lily invited me to go to the Esplanade, I was so shocked to see a piano there! I LOVE TO SING and am very proud of it. And we all sing the same type of songs! I also joined the ukulele group at Bishan CC to play and sing, I love music of course,” muses Jimmy who is 2 years younger than Lily.

Magdalene picked up the ukulele too, after she retired two years ago, and has already been playing for about a year! She’s in the church choir and does a monthly outreach to places like St Luke’s eldercare home to provide some song and music to the residents there.

“I never sing until Lily called me, and she plays all my favourite numbers, the old numbers and that inspired me to sing!” Martin – the live wire of the group, and the Sure-Can-Dance Uncle is as active as he was back in his days as a Civil Servant – taking care of the vehicle workshops, premises, as a divisional officer.

“I met Lily in very unusual circumstances.” Mary says, of their chance encounter and how they forged a friendship.

“It was at Yamaha School where I bring my grand daughter for lessons, we saw this lady playing so well! So we both went over to listen, and stood there for so long! We had to leave and I didn’t think I would see her again, but she suddenly appeared at the Silverhair Chat Group!”

So what exactly does an Accountant, a Florist, Two teachers, a Civil Servant and a ukulele have in common?

It’s music that brings us all together! We didn’t know each other nor are we related you know!

The Super Six – Left to Right: Lily, 77 – teacher, Jimmy, 75 – florist , Monica Chan nearly 60 – Accountant, Magdalene – 66 last week, Martin – 77 retired more than 10 years – part time job is dancing, Mary, 68.

With such wealth of experience and age, we ask them for some nuggets of wisdom and advice:

On growing old

Age is only a digit, wherever you are in life, enjoy yourselves until it’s too late! Life is too unpredictable. Don’t think about your age and let that limit you, just enjoy. – Lily

I’m 77, retired more than 10 years, my part-time now is dancing and music! – Martin

We feel that we are younger! No inhibitions – Magdalene

Make the best of each day! Do anything that makes us happy and meet with the right people to be around with. – Jimmy

On not giving a damn what people think

We don’t care about the people around us, we just want to enjoy ourselves! Not shy!
– Martin

We’re not so uptight, not so concerned, more open! Just sing la! Doesn’t matter what kind of voice. – Mary

JUST BE SPONTANEOUS! – Lily

On having a good balance in life

When you’re young, got to think of education, house, installment, car installment, have to go to work,  you scared of your boss. That’s life la, I see some people work and work and work, then when they retire, their retirement is coma! Like that no life, no meaning in life. – Martin

Work and play together! – Lily

Learn to enjoy a little bit. You think you can enjoy later. When is later? When you are 50 /60? Like my Dad, but then he died at 60! Didn’t enjoy anything at all. Enjoy a little bit, take time off, SMELL THE ROSES! – Mary

On the last lap of life

The time is getting shorter and shorter This is our last lap, live to the fullest, you live only once. Retire means retire, no part time, (except for dancing). Make full use of it! – Martin

We have to live to the fullest and do whatever we want! – Lily

When you are young you can’t wait to get older but when you are old you can’t wait for it to slow down! You want to cram as much as you can now. – Mary

On having alot of energy

COFFEE!

I never slowed down! I’ve been dancing for more than 20 years! I also exercise, Tai chi, dancing, cycling. – Martin

On enjoying yourself

OUR THEME SONG IS ENJOY YOURSELF! – All

They proceeded then to sing the song right in the food court! Click below to hear the audio.