She is a Real Life “Transformer”
Ms Tan Guek Kew, 61, overcame depression and is now happy to live life to the fullest. She took up the Transformation course at the age of 60. Today she has become a cheerful lady who thinks positively, presents confidently to fellow senior volunteers in the community, wears make up every time she goes out and develops close relationship with her family. This real life transformer believes that negative emotions can affect health and holistic well-being. It is important to maintain emotional wellness to lead a happy and healthy life.
C3A: What motivated you to join the course?
Guek Kew: In 2013, I chanced upon an advertisement in a local Chinese newspaper on an eleven-week Transformation course. I spent a long time to think before overcoming my anxiety and took the first step to join. I told myself that I am already 60 and I should change in this remarkable year as a life turning point.
C3A: How would you describe yourself before you attended the course?
Guek Kew: I was a pessimist who used to think negatively, feel low, and have low self-esteem due to my family background. Staying with my mother, step-family while I was young, I used to have thoughts of not belonging to the family and felt hopeless. This kind of feeling followed me through my adulthood and I became an introvert person who did not like to express my own feelings to others as I feel that they did not really care about me.
C3A: What are some of the things that the course taught you?
Guek Kew: Throughout the course, it has empowered me with knowledge to cope with challenges in life. I understand that happiness play important role in our life. The lecture topics are closely related to seniors’ lives. Each topic is accompanied by simple assignments to encourage us to express our ideas and emotions. It creates a warm, open and supportive environment that promotes one another’s learning, hence resulting in group cohesion. The stronger the bonds in the group, the more it can bring about change to every learner. Topics such as Debunking the myths of Ageing, Life Review, Improving communication skills and relationship building empowered me with knowledge to cope with challenges in life. At the end of the course, I realise that there are many opportunities out there and we have to be open-minded to try things. I made friends and learned to express myself confidently along the way.
C3A: Does the course make you a happier person? How do you make positivity to become a habit?
Guek Kew: Yes, I am a happier person now. I enjoy gathering with friends too. When we feel happy, good things will eventually come to us. For example, I have a part-time job that I wanted. The job has flexible working hours which allow me to acquire financial stability and do voluntary work. In my free time, I help to organise community activities and attend different kind of folk dances such as Fan dance and modern folk dance.
Expressing my thoughts and feelings can be relaxing and even bring my family closer. I am happy that I have a better relationship with my eldest son who is now 31. Suppression of my inner feeling actually alienates myself from other people and leads to distancing. I am truly happy to become who I am now.
Information on Transformation Course
Transformation Course organised by YAH! is supported by C3A. Since its inception in 2005, the course has benefited over 1700 seniors. The course aims to motivate seniors and to empower them to not only achieve self-actualisation but also realise that they can be contributors to the society by sharing their happiness with others. In celebration with Singapore’s fiftieth birthday and YAH!’s tenth anniversary, the Transformation Course is termed as “Happy 50!” for 2015.
** Our special thanks to YAH! and Guek Kew for accepting the interview. We wish her all the best!
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For a list of ad hoc learning opportunities, click here.