Getting rid of boredom was the factor which sparked off Yau Sing and Siew Choo’s route to volunteerism. When a volunteering unit, Calvary Community Care (C3), was set up in their church on March 2010, the pair were the first to sign up and have been active volunteers since. In fact, the couple has a full schedule of activities to occupy themselves with each week – “We have Meals-on-Wheels on Mondays and Tuesdays, and Hokkien Christian Fellowship on Wednesdays. On Thursdays and Fridays, we would visit the hospital to talk to the people there, or find our friends to talk to,” shared Yau Sing, 75. The couple reserves the weekends with their four children and nine grandchildren. Their reasons for volunteering are very simple – to pass time and to give back to the society.
Yau Sing and Siew Choo first met in secondary school, as 77-year-old Siew Choo shyly recalled, “I was in the morning class and he was from the afternoon session”. However, their conflicting timetables did not stop them from noticing each other. The couple, who had lived a street away from each other in Bukit Timah, got together when Yau Sing finally made the move during a school trip to Nanyang Technological University. Their dating places included the old Satay’s Club and Katong Park. Unfortunately, these places have since been torn down to accommodate Singapore’s commercial and residential plans.
The couple also gave us a sneak peek into their past. After marriage, Siew Choo kept herself busy bringing up her children, while Yau Sing became a businessman who had a hand in various industries (including Indian curry powder!) and later retired at an early age of 47 years old. He shared that he was the pioneer who brought in the automated sliding clothes hanger from Taiwan. However, he revealed that his lack of foresight led him to give up the business early, “I had the copyright, but I was young and I did not know how to think.” Despite the early retirement, Yau Sing did not stop working and joined his wife in a new adventure – babysitting. They would babysit six to seven children a day, helping working parents who are unable to return home till evenings. How did the pair manage so many children at once? “We would play nature’s music, like waves and water droplets to calm them down their tempers. For children who are two months and above, we would teach them new words to occupy their minds.” From the couple, who has vast experience in bringing up children, their advice to the younger generation is: “Be humble, not proud”.