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Aug 12, 2009

Memory Aid for The Elderly


The topic title "Memory Aid for The Elderly" and the photo of The Straits Times of June 3, 1953 headlined "The Big Jam After The Parade" does not appear to be related at first glance.

So what exactly am I blogging (or rather, rambling) about?

Please read on to find out.

For people like me who couldn't read the fine print below the photo without a magnifying glass, here's the photo caption:

"THE TIME IS 8.30 a.m. Singapore's great Coronation Parade is over. And this is the scene as crowds swarm away from the Padang. From the belfry of the Victoria Memorial Hall, Straits Times chief cameraman, Leon Shiu Hung, took this graphic picture as the crowds mill past the City Hall and the Supreme Court, into High Street and towards the Anderson Bridge".

At the NDP Live @ Changi Simei event on National Day, I met a former neighbor, Steven Tan whom I had not seen for about 2 years.

He is about my age and had also retired.

We were as excited about the NDP 2009 “live” broadcast as the many young families watching the direct telecast from Marina Bay on the giant LED screens.

When the colorful firework appeared on the screen, I asked Steven: “Do you still remember the first time you watched a firework display as a child?”

He gave me a puzzled look and replied. “How to remember something which happened about 60 years ago? Most of those people who brought me to watch the firework display are no longer around and I do not have any old photos to help me to recollect these events“. He has a point there. I shared his sentiments....and suddenly I became pensive and quiet with introspection, not remorse.

Why are there no devices to help the elderly to recollect happy memories of the past?

There are eye-glasses and hearing aids to help the elderly see and hear better. But there is no memory aid devices to help them to remember the funtime they had during their childhood days (when few people own handy cameras and portable video movie-makers was unheard of)...happy moments like watching their first firework display.

This blog will continue after the commercial break...

The Times Of Your Life
Words & Music by Bill Lane & Roger Nichols
Recorded by Paul Anka, 1975

Good morning yesterday,
You wake up and time has slipped away.
And suddenly it's hard to find the memories you left behind.
Remember? Do you re - mem - ber?

The laughter and the tears,
The shadows of misty yester-years,
The good times and the bad you've seen and all the others in between --
Remember? Do you re - mem - ber the times of your life?

Reach back for the joy and the sorrow,
Put them away in your mind.
For memories are time that you borrow
To spend when you get to to - mor - row.

Here comes the setting sun.
The seasons…..are passing one by one.

So gather moments while you may, collect the dreams you dreamed today.
Remember, will you re - mem - ber
The times of your life, of your life, of your life.

This song provided the background music for a Kodak commercial in the late 1960s.

[ Normal blogging is now resumed ]

That night after showtime was over, I pondered over the question I had asked Steven.

I, too, had happy memories of the first time I watched a firework display as a child; a little hazy now though.

It was my late mother who brought me to the waterfront at Clifford Pier one night many, many years ago. I was swept by a wave of nostalgic memories of my childhood as I replayed scenes in my mind and visualise the colorful firework emerging from the horizon and splashing into the night sky....the wondrous sight and the explosive noise was awesome!

It was an experience beyond description....the joy of a lifetime! (sounds so "suaku", isn't it? But then I was a street urchin from the kampong. I grew up in Bukit Ho Swee ; ).

As a child of five, words are superfluous. I had still not learnt how to express myself in words and would not know how to describe the happy feelings.At that time there were no nursery classes and kindergartens to attend. My childhood buddies and I were still having fun and enjoying our childhood freedom in the kampong, catching spiders and flying kites. I guess what I did at the firework display was just to stare into the brightly lit sky in wonderment, with mouth agape ...exclaiming and shouting wah!!! wow!!! clapping my hands wildly throughout those magical moments. Children do not need to express their happiness in words or high-level languages. Its shown all over their faces which are lit up with joy!

I googled for clues of firework display in Singapore during Queen Elizabeth II's coronation celebration in Singapore and found
this


Bingo! I found the answer.

It was on the night of June 2, 1953 that I watched the first firework display.

I went to the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library at National Library Building to check The Straits Times of June 3, 1953 issue to link the missing dates and details to refresh my childhood memories and to share them on this blog.

The NLB reference library resources is indeed an invaluable memory aid for the elderlies.

That answers my poser about the connection between the blog topic title and the Straits Times photo.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Lam Chun See said...

We can't do much about the lost memories from our childhood, but we certainly can help our children to "gather moments while you may". How?

1) I blogged about one way here.

2) Find every opportunitity to do things with them. Don't have to be special "quality time" type of activities - there is no such thing. If we try to think back over the decades, we will recall bits and pieces of rather random, uneventful details. A walk in the park, a bus ride, a meal at the hawker centre etc. etc. Hence the secret, is to have lots and lots of these kinds of details and years from now your children will simply have more of these random memories to recall.

August 13, 2009 at 11:01 PM  

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