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Live a Legacy in Singapore

30 Sep 2021 6 min read

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To commemorate the International Day of Older Persons on 1st October, the People’s Action Party Seniors Group (PAPSG) and the PAP Community Foundation are launching Live a Legacy, a co-authoring storytelling project that pairs a senior with a youth to share their lived experiences in Singapore and evolving aspirations through time.

As part of the collaborative intergenerational effort, PAPSG aims to bring together approximately 500 pairs of seniors and youths to co-create stories in a 10-page Live a Legacy book. They include well-known personalities such as Singapore track icon and former national sprinter C. Kunalan, home-grown jazz stalwart and Cultural Medallion recipient Jeremy Monteiro, jazz musician Sean Hong Wei, retired Members of Parliament Dr Lily Neo, Mrs Yu-Foo Yee Shoon and Hawazi Daipi.

Henry Kwek, Vice-Chairman of PAPSG and MP for Kebun Baru SMC, said, “Live a Legacy is a fun way for our seniors and our youth to get to know one another, and to deepen their intergenerational bonds. It also honours the lived experiences of our seniors, and their aspirations for the next generation of Singaporeans. That is why the PAP Seniors Group is launching this intergenerational effort as we celebrate the International Day of Older Persons.”

Sharing how his team came up with the initiative, Edward Chia, Organising Chairman and MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, said, “We always talk about our seniors leaving behind a meaningful legacy for the next generation. With Live a Legacy, our seniors will have an important role to play by co-writing a better future for Singapore with – and not just for – the younger generation. Through this collective effort of sharing different lived experiences across generations, we hope to rally more Singaporeans to honour the past, celebrate the present, and build a shared future that includes our seniors.”

PAPSG welcomes interested senior and young Singaporeans to come on board to support the Live a Legacy initiative between 1 October and 29 October 2021. They can sign up at www.livealegacy.sg website to receive the writing pack which includes the Live a Legacy Do-It-Yourself book, postcards to write to their co-author, a box of colour pencils and pencils to create their stories.

Jeremy Monteiro and Sean Hong Wei titled their Live a Legacy book “Living the Jazz Life”.

C. Kunalan and Keegan Tan

I am glad PAPSG has embarked on this initiative in which successful men and woman from all walks of life can share their stories with young children and teenagers.
I shared stories of my childhood – plucking coconut trees, being sent to Tanjong Pagar Police station because my friend and I were in a Restricted Area, and other incidents. I wanted Keegan to know some of the things I did when I was his age.
I had wanted to share my love story but decided to leave them out because Keegan might not understand for his age. Despite parental objections, my Chinese wife married me even though we had to leave our respective homes. Thankfully, love and sincerity prevailed. Two of our daughters are married to Scottish and English and they now have mixed families of their own.

C. Kunalan, Singapore track icon and former national sprinter

 I love to draw, and I want to become an artist. I believe in having courage and being kind.

Keegan Tan, 7-year-old student

Hawazi Daipi and Ryan Ritzalee

Telling stories and listening to stories from young people are a good way to bond with them. I hope our collection of stories will foster appreciation of our different experiences in life, foster inter-generational bonding. I enjoyed working with my 14-year-old grand-nephew Ryan Ritzalee on this project. In the book, I shared the games I used to play and make when I was young, bonding with kampung friends through making toys and playing with them. I recall the memories of my younger days with great fondness.

Hawazi Daipi, Retired MP

This project is interesting in that story-telling is two-way learning. I learnt about the games that my granduncle, Mr Hawazi Daipi whom I call Atuk Ci, played when he was young, living in an urban kampung near Jalan Sultan. I appreciate that Atuk Ci’s generation made some of the toys and game instruments themselves. It is equally interesting to be able to share with my granduncle the modern games that my generation plays and how my friends and I bond through games.

Ryan Ritzalee, Mr Hawazi’s grand nephew and 14-year-old student

Jeremy Monteiro and Sean Hong Wei

I am very happy to be able to articulate some of the things that I have done in my life. I am also happy to work with a young and talented musician Sean Hong Wei to create a dovetail of both our stories. At the end of the day, I am excited that this initiative will help to inspire more elderly persons, people in mid-career, and young musicians to continue to keep working at their life mission, and continue to enhance the lives of Singaporeans going forward.

Jeremy Monteiro, Jazz stalwart and Cultural Medallion recipient

In the book, I shared that my most memorable gig was back in 2018 when Jeremy brought me, Uncle Louis (Louis Soliano), Ben Poh, Alemay Fernandez, and Ting Wei to tour in Penang and Macau. It was my first ever small group tour. Lots of great food and music alongside great company – what more can I ask for? It is my dream to travel the world while playing music and meet people of different cultures.

Music has graciously shown me the beauty of life and has been a very big part of my growth. Through my music, I hope to share this beauty with many others. As the saying goes, ‘good things must share!

Sean Hong Wei, Jazz musician

Dr Lily Neo and Aiyana Chua

I am happy and feel privileged to join Live a Legacy initiative. Live a Legacy is a unique, interesting and one-of-a-kind project. It is a very good idea to bring the seniors and juniors together. In so doing, they share their experiences and connect in more ways than one. By sharing experiences of my tumultuous past, I have learnt that I can impart useful values that are relevant in the past, present and in the future.

Dr Lily Neo, Retired MP

My experiences are testament that Singaporean kids can enjoy a happy, balanced childhood. Writing this book has helped me to reflect and appreciate my happy childhood and the fact that I have grown up with positivity and encouragement. I have also realised that I must in turn leave a legacy for the next generation of Singaporeans

Aiyana Chua, 15-year-old student

Mrs Yu-Foo Yee Shoon and Kavaan Upadhiah

71-year-old Mrs Yu-Foo Yee Shoon is passionate about what she does as it provides her with purpose and joy. She is thankful for a good and meaningful life – having wonderful and supportive family and friends as well as the many opportunities and experiences given to her professionally.

The Live a Legacy book is particularly significant as it is the first time, I have written about myself. It is wonderful to share my story with the young people, particularly when they come to a moment in their lives where it is relevant to them. My story is relatable to the infamous Aesop fable “Tortoise and the Hare” which everyone knows.  If one has a persistent attitude towards life and its challenges, you can overcome hurdles and achieve your goal.

Mrs Yu-Foo Yee Shoon, Retired MP

About the Live a Legacy initiative

Live a Legacy is co-authoring storytelling project between a senior and a younger person who preferably have not met each other to share their lived experiences in Singapore.

Who can join the initiative?
Interested senior and young Singaporeans can sign up at www.livealegacy.sg website. If a participant does not have a co-author in mind, PAPSG will match the participant with another participant who has signed up. PAPSG will also accept books co-authored by a pair of authors who know each other for example, grandparent and grandchild or a teacher and his or her student.

Registration period
1 October 2021 to 29 October 2021 (both dates inclusive).

How does it work?
A senior will receive a Live a Legacy writing pack which includes a 10-page Live a Legacy Do-It-Yourself book, postcards to write to their co-author, a box of colour pencils and pencils to create their stories.

A senior will share his or her personal story in the first five pages of the book, after which the book will be passed to a younger participant at least 40 years apart to continue the story in the remaining pages. Participants are encouraged to make their stories more interactive and interesting by drawing, using pictures and their own photographs. They can also customise the covers of the books accordingly.

Authors can write their stories in other languages, like Chinese, Malay, or Tamil, but should provide an English translated copy of their stories if possible.

When is the submission deadline for the story?
The submission deadline for the completed book is 30 November 2021.

A Live a Legacy writing pack includes a 10-page Live a Legacy Do-It-Yourself book, postcards to write to your co-author, a box of colour pencils and pencils.