Paddling good time for senior citizens

Mr Choy Soo Tang, 87, paddling a dragonboat with other seniors and Rockwell Automation staff at Kallang Basin yesterday. Mr Choy was latest such overseas tie-up the oldest among the 30 beneficiaries from Touch Seniors Activity Centre who went on the outing.

An outing for a group of senior citizens yesterday was anything but a walk in the park.

Instead, the 30 beneficiaries from Touch Seniors Activity Centre (SAC), along with 50 staff volunteers from Rockwell Automation, went up against each other in a dragonboat race on the Kallang River.

The oldest was Mr Choy Soo Tang, 87, who has a great-grandchild, more than 20 grandchildren and 10 children.

"I am happy to take part because this helps keep my mind alert and active," he said. "I encourage other seniors to go outdoors and do more sports activities as long as they are healthy and can walk."

The race was organised by Rockwell Automation as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts.

Mr Choy's team came in third out of four.

Touch SAC is an organisation caring for vulnerable seniors living in Geylang Bahru, especially those who live alone in rental flats.

Said its director, Ms Julia Lee: "Our seniors 'come to life' whenever they are asked to do something fun and different. They can be more adventurous than many of us, as long as these activities are safe and customised for them."

The race was the first organised by Rockwell Automation for beneficiaries of Touch SAC. Ms Alicia Ng, CSR lead at the US-based company's office here, said: "We wanted to do something different, something that is held outdoors but beyond the usual outings to places like the zoo."

Ms Lee hopes more companies will engage the elderly through innovative activities, as it will "open doors to many more refreshing experiences for both the seniors and volunteers".

This article was published on April 26 in The Straits Times.Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.