Contributing with purpose

FROM volunteering to mentoring and being gainfully employed, these four seniors are turning silver into gold by uncovering new opportunities to continue contributing meaningfully to society.  

Cheah Kok Lim, 73

For Cheah Kok Lim, retirement is not just about sitting back and enjoying a game of golf. Instead, the active ager continues to tap on his wealth of experience in human resources (HR) to provide consultancy services to corporations, helping them to develop and nurture young talents.

Kok Lim enjoys going for regular walks with his wife
Capping off a memorable career… Kok Lim enjoys spending time with his wife when he is not providing consultancy services.

Prior to his retirement, Kok Lim was the head of HR at Motorola where he oversaw 3,000 software engineers across the Asia-Pacific and Japan. He was also the Country Director for HR for Malaysia and India. Having spent 32 years with the company, Kok Lim was also involved in designing leadership training courses for Motorola’s corporate university.

The grandfather of three believes that older people have diverse knowledge, experience and insights that can serve as a useful resource to help young people navigate the changing environment.

Read more about Kok Lim in this Lianhe Zaobao article:
传承经验和技能 无论年龄 持续回馈社会


V Khanisen, 65

S-League fans may remember V Khanisen as Singapore’s midfield maestro in the 1970s who helped the nation win the 1977 Malaysia Cup. After hanging up his boots in 1984, Khanisen became a pilot with Singapore Airlines. Until his recent retirement from aviation in October 2021, Khanisen was a captain with Singapore Airlines and piloted the Airbus A380.

Every weekday evening after work, Khanisen goes for a 5 to 6km brisk walk.
Keeping fit… Khanisen may no longer play football professionally but he still goes for a five to six-kilometre brisk walk every weekday evening.

Despite having retired as a pilot, the father of three continues to mentor younger pilots who approach him for advice. Last November, Khanisen also accepted an invitation to do data entry work for his friend at an office in Tuas on weekdays. Besides keeping his mind active, the work provides Khanisen an opportunity to learn new skills.

“I go to work, spend time with my family on weekends and take care of my general health… this way, I can continue to give back to society,” Khanisen told I Feel Young SG.

Read more about Khanisen in this Tamil Murasu article:
65 வயதிலும் துடிப்புடன் சேவையாற்றும் கணேசன்


Mohamed Ismail Bin Abu Bakar, 62

Mohamed Ismail Bin Abu Bakar is a mental health advocate with a passion for helping others. His work with Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) involves helping and preparing youth, as well as adults, to secure jobs.

In his free time, the grandfather of two actively volunteers with several mental health charity organisations, including Resilience Collective and Project Green Ribbon. He also plans to organise an event with his friends titled “Walk With Me Against Stigma” this October, to raise public awareness on mental health issues and offer support to former convicts.

Besides helping others, Mohamed Ismail enjoys dressing fashionably as it makes him feel young.
Overturning stereotypes… Ismail enjoys dressing fashionably as it makes him feel young.

Besides his efforts to destigmatise mental illnesses, the stylish senior also hopes to change people’s perceptions of ageing. He said: “Many seniors think that they should behave and dress like old people. For me, that’s completely wrong! We should live to the fullest and dress the way we like to keep our spirits up.”

Read more about Ismail in this Berita Harian article:
Datuk 'muda di hati' giat bersenam, tabur bakti


Margaret Tang, 53

From jewellery making to singing, writing short stories to recording voiceovers for television commercials and narration, former systems engineer-turned-sole proprietor Margaret Tang is doing a myriad of things to stay active.

She even co-founded an informal writers’ group, The Rainforest Writers. Once a month, the group, which comprises members aged 17 to 60-something, would meet online to share feedback on one another’s work.

Margaret is tapping on her writing and public speaking skills to help others.
Woman of many talents... Margaret, who has taught jewellery making, is now tapping on her writing and oratory skills to help others.

More recently, the articulate mother of one completed an 11-month social media marketing course so she can further her career and market her website better.

But her talents and newly-acquired skills are not only for her own benefit. Margaret wants to help others get ahead in their careers by training them in public speaking, writing and delivering presentations. Besides this, she hopes to teach foreigners English so that they are better equipped to work in Singapore.

Read more about Margaret in this Straits Times article:
Successful ageing: How learning new skills and hobbies keeps this avid learner active and connected

Action Plan for Successful Ageing

  • It was launched in 2015 by the Ministerial Committee on Ageing (MCA) to chart the way forward for Singaporeans to age confidently and gracefully.
  • In 2017, the MCA also launched the I Feel Young SG campaign to promote the Action Plan and encourage active ageing.
  • To respond to a greater diversity of the needs of seniors today and tomorrow, and considering the new operating environment and learnings from COVID-19, MCA is refreshing the Action Plan with the following emphases:

  • Care:
    To empower seniors to take charge of their physical and mental well-being through preventive health, active ageing programmes and care services to stay healthy and pursue their aspirations.

    To enable seniors to continue to contribute their knowledge and expertise and remain resilient, through an enhanced learning, volunteerism and employment landscape.

    To support seniors to age-in-place within an inclusive built environment, while staying connected to their loved ones and society through digital platforms and support networks that embody the “kampung spirit”.

Article published on 17/3/2022