No hanky-panky at senior citizens' clubs, please : Peh Chin
The Straits Times
| Oct 18, 1993
By: M. Nirmala
FOLK dances and exercise sessions in senior citizens'
clubs are fine, but keep out the hanky-panky.
Mr Peh Chin Hua sounded this warning while speaking
at a folk dance event for some elderly at the Peoples' Association
Speaking in Mandarin, Mr Peh, an MP for Jalan
GRC, noted the rise of "a new social disease" among the
senior citizens' groups - elderly people having extra-marital affairs.
He said that while a love affair for a widow
or widower was fine if their feelings for each other were sincere
and their children agreed to the marriage, senior citizens who have
spouses should exercise restraint.
"The new disease could affect you and your
families. It will only bring about pain and suffering," he
And for old people, this would not be worth the
trouble, he added.
Besides the trouble that it could mean for the
elderly, Mr Peh said he was also concerned about how such activities
could taint the name of these senior citizens' clubs, which are
also grassroots organisations with government backing.
"Indirectly, the behaviour of these people
will affect the reputation of the senior citizens' clubs,"
The 291 senior citizens clubs have about 100,000
members aged 60 and above. Dancing, exercise lessons and tours are
just some of the activities that are organised for them regularly.
Mr Peh later told The Straits Times that although
those who misbehaved were aminority, he was bringing the matter
up as he had received feedback during his Meet-the-People's sessions
and other meetings with his senior citizens' club members.
"Most of the complaints came from women
who felt that some people had ulterior motives for joining the clubs'
activities," he said.
Mr Peh, 46, who has been married for 24 years,
said he was aware that he was broaching a sensitive subject.
"But it has to be done because senior citizens
contributed to nation-building and are role models to the young."
He was highlighting it to show that a Member
of Parliament was aware of what some were doing.
"If we keep quiet, the elderly may think
that we are not aware of what is going on."
The crowd of 2,000, mostly women, who gathered
at the People's Association grounds listened attentively to Mr Peh.
Some nodded their heads when he spoke of how some couples were misbehaving.
They took part in a folk dancing event, Golden
Swing '93, organised jointly by the People's Association and the
Health Ministry. The event was held in conjunction with the National
Healthy Lifestyle Campaign.
Eight participants interviewed agreed with what
Mr Peh said. Mr Goh Tee Ann, 63, chairman of the organising committee,
said: "Some do it openly and some do it on the quiet. But we
will have black sheep in any social group and I'm glad that those
who misbehave form only a small group."
Mdm Wee Chwee Kim, 73, a widow, was not
too concerned about those with dubious intentions.
She said: "I'm only here to exercise, make friends and have
fun. Since my husband passed away, I have had no interest in men."