Under the Sea

“More than 30 years ago” was the reply and it came as a huge surprise to the volunteer who asked the question. 

24 staff volunteers from Becton Dickinson (BD) took our seniors from the ComSA Whampoa Centre to Sentosa to visit the SEA Aquarium in April. For many of the old folks, it was a rare opportunity to go on an excursion. In fact, a handful of them actually remarked that it was more than 30 years since they last set foot on Sentosa.

It was an equally fantastic day for the staff volunteers. The day started off with an air of excitement as the staff volunteers awaited the arrival of the seniors. Some of them were nervous as they have little opportunity to interact with the elderly. However, all that went out of the window when the seniors arrived. The volunteers quickly got paired up with the seniors and hit off very quickly. Chatting like old friends, though it was their meeting for the first time, the volunteers and seniors started exploring the aquarium.

During the visit, many of the seniors were captivated by the large variety of marine creatures and were particularly impressed with the SEA Aquarium Ocean Gallery. It turned out to be a great photo opportunity location, and many of the seniors requested for photographs while marvelling at the schools of stingray that swam by. One of the seniors actually remarked that they (the stingray) are best barbequed with sambal belacan!

After the tour of the aquarium, the staff volunteers brought the seniors to the Malaysian Food Street for lunch, and it was such a treat! Many of the seniors' eyes lit up when they realised that they could have a choice of familiar hawker favourites like chicken rice, claypot rice, prawn noodles and bak kut teh for lunch. It must have been a long time since they last had the opportunity to savour these local delicacies.

Although it must have been quite tiring for the staff volunteers to manage the seniors on wheelchairs and to keep the engagement level high throughout the visit, they found the experience enriching and would love to have more of such opportunities in the future.

We are very grateful to BD for sponsoring the entire outing and to the staff volunteers for taking the time to spend it with the seniors under our care.


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