A FRiendship That Stands The Test Of Time

An arts & craft programme at LB Active Ageing Centre (AAC) @ Clementi 420A is about to commence. Uncle Chua, 67, sits quietly and calmly at the table, unfazed by the flurry of activity taking place around him as fellow participants stream into the centre. Nearby, Mdm Rubiah, 68, is a picture of zest, moving from table to table chatting and laughing animatedly with other LB seniors. The contrast between the pair could not be starker. Yet now regular members of the same AAC, it is the latest chapter to their friendship that has lasted for almost half a century!

Uncle Chua and Mdm Rubiah first came to know each other during their tertiary schooling days dating back to 1978, where they studied engineering. They soon became good friends and have remained so from then on. When asked what kept their friendship going all these years while so many would have drifted apart, Mdm Rubiah explains that making an effort to keep in touch was key. “We would talk on the phone often. Even when he was overseas, we used the pager to communicate. Remember those things?” she says in jest.

Uncle Chua and Mdm Rubiah engage in an arts & crafts session at the AAC together with other LB seniors.

It also helped that they were in the same field of work, with Uncle Chua being a tertiary college technician, and Mdm Rubiah plying her trade as a machinist. They would regularly seek each other’s advice on their respective expertise, and on their careers in general. And even after their retirement about 10 years ago, the two of them, both lifelong residents of Clementi, would meet up for weekend jogs around the area.

In 2021, Mdm Rubiah came to LB AAC @ Clementi 420A with her mother after the centre opened its membership to all seniors regardless of income or dwelling types. She had previously expressed her interest in becoming an LB senior, and once she became eligible under the new AAC model, she was invited by the centre’s staff to join, and she has been an active member since.

Bingo games, his favourite arts & craft, as well as outings to places of interest, proving that the AAC has a place even for “shy” seniors. “Staying at home is very boring,” Uncle Chua responds, when asked what he would tell other male seniors to persuade them to join him at the AAC.

Uncle Chua and Mdm Rubiah’s participation in LB AAC has added another layer of dimension to their decades-long friendship. Now with an expanded network of fellow LB seniors, every morning they would send out greetings to their chat group on their phones without fail. They are also there for each other through life’s ups and downs, with Uncle Chua accompanying Mdm Rubiah for her medical appointments, and Mdm Rubiah checking in on him every now and then.

A few months ago, Uncle Chua, who lived alone, had a hard fall and was confined to his bed injured. Not wanting to trouble others, he kept this to himself, until a worried Mdm Rubiah felt something amiss when he failed to turn up for an activity. Visiting his home, she found Uncle Chua in a bad state and quickly rendered assistance. “She’s a very kind and helpful person. She always looks out for me,” he says.

Theirs is indeed an admirable friendship that has stood the test of time, and we wish them only the best as they continue to find joy in our programmes at LB AAC @ Clementi 420A together with fellow seniors!

We hope that these stories would inspire you to reach out and touch the lives of others.

If you would like to share your thoughts on these stories, please feel free to email us at cp@lb.org.sg

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