Chun See's mention of this phrase 回头已是百年, literally meaning "when you look back, you are already 100", in this blog entry is indeed timely.
You see, I just came back from the 100th birthday celebration of my paternal aunt. The celebration was held at a posh Chinese restaurant on the 33rd floor of OCBC Centre. Below is the beautiful night scenery of the city as viewed from the restaurant. It is certainly no mean feat that Singapore managed to achieve this level of development in just over 40 years.
This bit of information is especially dedicated to my friend Walter - yes, there was sharksfin on the menu and there was no MC Hammer(head) to give my bowl of sharksfin to. So I not only touched the sharksfin but I ate it. Shucks, now I am wrecked with guilt.
I remember more than 40 years ago, my aunt was a peddlar selling cloth in a Chinatown backlane. My mum brought me to her stall one morning. Her colourful wares, wrapped tidily around paper rolls (for 5-foot-wide cloth) and flat wooden frames (for 3-foot-wide cloth), were placed neatly on a groundsheet on the floor. She had no dearth of customers. Aunties would drop by her stall to buy a few yards of cloth to make their own clothes like many families do in those days. When the day is over, she would load all her cloth on a rickety cart and then push it to a nearby place where she would store them for the night.
She was married to my 7th uncle who passed away a few years ago at the age of more than 90. In comparison, my father who ranked 8th in the family died in 1993 at 82 while my mum joined him 10 years later at 83. Even then, I consider my parents to have lived fairly long lives. Yet, if the government's proposed annuity payout from age 85 onwards should go through, even my parents would not have lived long enough to benefit from it.
Let's face it. How many of us can expect to live till the grand old age of 100?
Centenarians like the "110-year young" Teresa Hsu and my aunt are more the exception rather than the norm. Singaporeans born between 1995-2000 can expect to live till only 77 years' old. Okay, it might have gone up to 80 by now but that is still a long way off 100.
MM Lee, who is turning 85 this year, recently revealed his secret for a long life - stay mentally and physically active as one ages. I would like to add some rather obvious points which MM Lee himself has made at one time or another, i.e. have a healthy lifestyle - eat carefully, exercise regularly and sleep properly.
I don't mind living to 100. But besides having a long life, the importance of having a good quality of life cannot be overstated. It is no use being alive but spending your days bedridden or immobile.
Do you think you could live to 100? And how would you like to live it?