Self-learning through YouTube videos to teach other seniors (Stewardship Report 2022 – 2023: Crossing Frontiers)

From simply looking at Mr Kenny Goh, 75, who volunteers at PCS Evergreen Circle Active Ageing Centre (AAC), you would never guess at his adventurous disposition. Now he is a well-liked instructor at the AAC.

Kenny’s boldness to venture into the unknown is his defining trait, even when he was working in telecommunications. His job took him from China — where he is originally from — to different countries around the world.

“My boss nicknamed me ‘Mr I Don’t Know’,” he laughs. “But I made it a point to learn and learn well.” This attitude stood him in good stead when he was assigned to the United States, and then Japan for work. Both times, Kenny did not understand a single drop of the local language.

Today, aside from his native Chinese dialects, he speaks English, Japanese and a smattering of Malay; a skill that comes in handy as a volunteer.

His skill at communicating, a natural curiosity to learn new things, and an inclination to be active led him to start teaching Ba Duan Jin, a form of qigong, to seniors every Friday at Evergreen Circle AAC.

“What I teach is a modified sitting version of Ba Duan Jin,” Kenny says. While Ba Duan Jin is usually done standing, his version has been tailored to his students. “They are still the same movements, but I changed some of the moves because some of the seniors have back pains or high blood pressure, among other health concerns.”

Kenny believes that the activity has a lot of benefits. “During the first class, they’ll tell me that they have chest pain or chronic shoulder pain and they’re not sure if they can do the exercises. I tell them to be careful when they try, and I observe them closely. After several classes, they’ll tell me that their health has improved — that the chest pain or shoulder pain is gone.

The positive feedback has attracted more students to attend his class — he started out with six  students in 2017, and now has about 30 seniors aged 60 to 90 years old attending his classes.

Aside from the obvious physical effects of Ba Duan Jin, Kenny believes that the benefits go much further. “I think, being able to move and exercise has a great benefit in preventing dementia.” On 10 August 2023, Kenny achieved his goal to launch a new class for seniors who can do Ba Duan Jin in the original standing up position. On 10 August 2023, Kenny achieved his goal to launch a new class for seniors who can do Ba Duan Jin in the original standing up position.

This article was adapted from AIC Stories. You can read the full story here:

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