“Change the light bulb, change the light bulb. Mop the floor, mop the floor.” If you are thinking this is in the context of a household, think again. For Helen, these are the instructions of how to do an Indian dance. The 84-year-old is known amongst her friends as the “dancing queen”.
Whenever the music plays, Helen will be the first to hit the dance floor. She dances to all genres of music, leading people to ask, “how come Auntie Helen can dance so well?” Her secret? “I always do my own dance. Just sway your body to the rhythm and it will flow out of you naturally”. The mother of three is also fond of partying. Once, her friends brought her to an Indian restaurant, opposite Mustafa Centre, where the ladies belly dance. Under her friends’ encouragement, she tried to mimic the belly-dance moves but admits it was a challenge for her, “I couldn’t dance as well as them, because my body was very stiff and I was wearing pants. So I did my own dance!” She enjoyed herself so much that she convinced her friends to let her stay until 3am! Due to the pricey charges, she visits the restaurant every 4 to 5 months.
Apart from dancing and partying, Helen enjoys cooking. In fact, she has taken in orders to cook a famous Eurasian dish, Curry Debal, also known as Devil’s Curry, for some long-time friends to welcome in this year’s Lunar New Year. The grandmother of seven also teaches her grandchildren to cook. She shares how her children would scare her grandchildren into learning cooking from her. “My son would tell his children, you better learn how to cook from nanna. If nanna passes away, you won’t be able to enjoy all these food anymore.”
Living a life pursuing interests she enjoys, Helen describes herself as a “happy-go-lucky” person. When asked if there is anything she would like to change from her past, she said, “I’ll do the same. Everything is in you.”