How many languages can you speak? Letchimi, 58, counts Malay, Chinese, and Hokkien among the languages she can speak and understand. As a volunteer at MacPherson Thye Hua Kwan Seniors Activities Centre, Letchimi facilitates daily activities and acts as a translator for her neighbours. Letchimi isn’t above the more humble tasks, too, of cleaning the toilet and mopping the floor. She admits that she can be a bit impatient with her neighbours and centre-goers, however: “When the centre staff are trying their best to cater to everyone, some of them really don’t appreciate it. They can get so demanding, you know! All of us are trying our best.” Huge respect to Letchimi for taking on such a difficult job!
In fact, Letchimi believes that showing gratitude and appreciation for others is an important value. She expects the same of her grandchildren, who can be noisy and spoilt at times; through religion, the grandmother of seven hopes to teach them to be “more appreciative, and helpful for those who are suffering” – just as she did for her two sons.
Despite commitments at home and at the centre, Letchimi always finds time to join her friends for a karaoke session or dancing. Think her multilingualism is impressive? She’s also tried Chinese, Malay and Indian dancing: “I find Indian dance the hardest, because it’s more vigorous and tiring.” Aspiring dancers, take note!