Learning to stay healthy

Understanding Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)… Mr Teoh Cheng Ann holding the textbook from the TCM course he recently attended. 

SINCE he was a child, Teoh Cheng Ann had a passion for the Chinese culture, thanks to his family and education in Chinese-language schools.

It is no surprise then that the 63-year-old retiree, who used to work as a project manager in the manufacturing sector, jumped at a chance to learn about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and recently completed an introductory course offered under the National Silver Academy (NSA).

His enthusiasm, much like his love for Chinese novels, was palpable when he spoke to I Feel Young SG about his course.  

Cheng Ann said in Mandarin: “The course was very enriching and practical. We were taught how different types of herbs can be used to improve various health conditions, including common health problems in the elderly such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

“We also learnt about the different types of TCM treatments like Tui Na (a therapeutic massage to soothe aches and pains in muscles and joints), cupping and acupuncture.”

The sprightly senior, who also loves singing, could not hide his excitement as he explained how he stumbled upon this course.

“Last year, at the encouragement of a friend from my Residents’ Committee singing class, my wife and I signed up for a singing technique course – ‘Singing Made Simple: The McClosky Voice Method’ – under the NSA. It was heavily subsidised and I could use my SkillsFuture Credit, so there was no out-of-pocket cost for me.

“It was held at Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) Confucius Institute. Since then, I’ve been added to the school’s mailing list where I receive email updates on the latest NSA courses offered by NTU. That was how I learnt about this introductory course to TCM,” he added.

Eager to delve into the world of TCM, Cheng Ann immediately signed up; however, his learning journey took an unexpected hit due to the pandemic.

Barely three weeks after the course began on 21 March, Singapore implemented the ‘circuit breaker’ due to COVID-19, bringing face-to-face classes to a halt. After a month-long suspension and as the restrictions eased, classes finally resumed on 9 May, all conducted virtually over Zoom, an online video conferencing platform. 

Despite the disruptions, Cheng Ann adapted quickly to the ‘new normal’, using his son’s laptop to attend the virtual classes.

While he admitted the lack of face-to-face interactions impeded his ability to interact with his fellow classmates, the father-of-four said he realised the merits of online learning.

“I can raise questions to the instructor using the chat function and ‘take notes’ by simply taking a screenshot of the slides. I can also save time as I don’t need to commute to school!” he added with a laugh.

Following his TCM course, Cheng Ann was so motivated to keep learning that he decided to sign up for another four-week course on ‘Discovering Acupuncture’ this month. He is encouraging other seniors to try out the NSA courses for themselves.

He said: “When we were younger, we were busy with work and struggled to find time to attend classes. Now that we have retired, this is the best time to learn something new and expand our knowledge. Just go for it!”

About National Silver Academy (NSA)

  • NSA is a network of post-secondary education institutions and community-based organisations, offering a wide range of learning opportunities to seniors aged 50 and above. It is administered by the Council for Third Age (C3A), an agency that promotes active ageing in Singapore.
  • Eligible seniors can enjoy subsidies when taking short courses under the NSA.
  • Singaporean seniors who wish to participate in exam-free modules at the post-secondary education institutions only need to pay a token fee.
  • Seniors can also use their SkillsFuture Credit to defray the out-of-pocket cost for most NSA courses.
  • For more information on NSA courses, visit www.nsa.org.sg or call the NSA hotline at 6478 5029 (Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm, excluding public holidays).


Article published on: 12/10/2020