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Ping Pong tournament, Senior Citizens?

Updated: Jun 24



Please scroll down to UPDATES



THIS MUST be a wonderful idea that God has inspired me to share. An inter-church ping pong tournament everyone?


I must admit I am not a sports person, but I have lot of ideas which I have whipped up in the course of my work. A lot of these ideas attract a lot of press publicity. For example, a wheelchair marathon of 27 km from Cheras to TV3 to create awareness for the World Disability Day.


A Marriage Renewal Vow on hotair ballon involving a disabled couple which attracted seven press and two TV stations.


A robotic arm at Monash University Malaysia that was adorned with a lion's head and performing lion dance. It attracted two TV stations, and even Singapore Press Holdings carried the story.


Me, also a senior citizen now!


I felt excited in February this year, when I crossed 60. Thank God, I am also a senior citizen now! As I was having lunch at Dreamcentre, I noticed some senior citizens playing pingpong.


When I got to know one of them, an 84-year-old Uncle Oh, I was amazed! He is still actively playing pingpong with his friends.



Senior Citizens Need Company


So many senior citizens that I see have no one to talk to. They are left abandoned at home, when their children are out there trying to earn a living. Some end up suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's disease because they do not keep their minds active.


As I started speaking to people in different churches, there appears to be a lot of enthusiasm in the air when I suggested an inter-church ping pong tournament. Why not? They need some new challenges to get them going in life.


Besides DUMC, I understand that the Golden Eagles at SIBKL are also very active. There is even a former state player James Liew, representing the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur in pingpong.


First Baptist Church at Subang Jaya also has a very active senior citizens group, and I came to know that one of the elders is already running two nights of ping pong sessions at the church -- every Tuesday and Thursday night! Wow!


God seems to be bringing me the people. And one lady I met today, Swiss Tan was having in mind to organise a captain ball tournament for young people. Perhaps, she can consider having the pingpong tournament on the same day.


Don't Say Impossible!


Perhaps, we should start planning one tournament this year, and at a later stage, extend it to other ethnic groups to break down the walls that some politicians put up to divide us. After all, we are all Malaysians, regardless of race or religion.


Sports and gastronomical delights are two ways we can unite Malaysians and build good friendships even in our old age.


There is nothing to stop us if everyone is keen. As the saying goes, "If there is a will, there is a way. Anything is possible if there is enthusiasm."


From my past experience, we were able to whip up events within just two weeks.


"From Legend to Legend, Conquering New Frontiers" was when we took four disabled people on wheelchair to Legend Cherating Resort and put them on jetskis. It only took two weeks to organise when everyone liked the idea and contributed their part to make it happen.


This was because Legend Hotel's public relations director, Elizabeth Soo and I were enthusiastic about it. Soo's counterpart at the resort was also keen. My boss, Professor Bob Bignall was agreeable to the idea. He flagged us off from the Monash campus at Bandar Sunway.


Four disabled people -- three from Beautiful Gate and one paralympics athlete Law Keng Kiew from Sunway College -- were equally excited that they could go to the beach!


In fact, even the sky smiled to us. It was raining on the evening of our arrival at the resort untll the next morning. By about 10am, the sun was up.


There was enough time to give all four disabled people the opportunity to ride on the jetski for the first time in their lives. Law told me that this was the first time that she had gone to the beach in entire life!


So never say it is impossible to whip up a tournament in a matter of three to four months.


UPDATES: 1. From Elder Lee Yee Dian, First Baptist (29 Feb, 2024):


"Hi Stephen, TQ for ur message. At First Baptist Church, we do have a twice weekly pingpong session, with averagely 25 players. They comprise various age groups, but there are many senior citizens. We are unable to help in the organizing, but if such a pingpong tournament for senior citizens is held, we can always send a team to take part. All the best to u or someone to make this event happen. It’s a good initiative!"

2. From YB Hannah Yeoh, Minister of Youth and Sports Malaysia: "For pingpong we are promoting it this year for senior citizens."


Note: I am waiting for her ministry staff to contact me to discuss further. Unless the churches see the need for an inter-church pingpong tournament, my suggestion is to ride on the ministry's event. I can work alongside to assist the ministry official to make it a success for our senior citizens.


3. From Ling Siew Woei:


"Kajang has a ping pong place. If you see anyone need, can message me."

TOR Building People Tel: 017-304 4168


4. From Jason Chong, Melbourne, Australia: "Should introduce pickleball on a badminton court. Seniors can give a go. The fastest craze now, started in America and now played in many nations. Soon an Olympic event.



5. From James Liew (former State table tennis player) when I met him in the toilet last Sunday: "Carmen (who is close to Hannah) asked me to coach the senior citizens to play table tennis." I urged him to take him up since he was a former state player. It is time to get the senior citizens active again and give them something to look forward to instead of rotting away with dementia and Alzheimer's disease.


6. From Kenneth Silek, Sarawak:

"Great idea bro. Steven.

I enjoyed sports and all kind of games."


I hope he will set up a ping pong team to send to Kuala Lumpur for the tournament. Sadly, at the moment, it remains a proposal.


7. From Uncle Oh, 84-year-old from DUMC:


(a) Yes, DUMC Senior Citizens' Club is interested in the pingpong friendly match


(b) However, they suggested that it should not be a tournament as it can be too competitive for senior citizens. Some may over-exert themselves because they want to try to win the competition. Let it be a Muhibbah friendly match.


(c) Their venue Dreamcentre is available to be used if there is a need for a place. However, the place must be pre-booked. If given a budget non-pork food can also be prepared by the canteen people.

8. From Stephen Ng:

(a) I am only an initiator for this pingpong "tournament" or friendly match. The idea started as an inter-church match but can be extended to a muhibbah match to be more inclusive especially if the Ministry of Youth and Sports can organise the event.


(b) On my own, I can but would not have the time and resources to organise the event as I am not a sports person myself. I have other ideas that I am working with local councils on planting more fruit trees in public places. However, I may take on pingpong considering that Uncle Oh is still actively playing pingpong although he is 24 years older than me.


(c) The credit should go to the Minister Hannah Yeoh herself who said that she too is trying to encourage senior citizens to play pingpong. I think for senior citizens pingpong is still okay, but definitely not squash or badminton!


(d) Let's hope that we can have at least one friendly match in 2024.


9. From Stephen Lim of New Horizon, Grace Assembly PJ: "We do have a senior pingpong group too. Would be nice to bring all the seniors to have a pingpong game together."


10. From Joserv Yeap 叶文睦 (CTI) from Penang:


11. YB Hannah Yeoh


YB Hannah has been informed that there is sufficient interest from various groups of senior citizens. Suggested her to arrange for her ministry staff to take over the coordination by setting up a meeting to discuss with a few representatives.


UPDATES:

1. Someone by the name of Vijeya from the ministry contacted me regarding the pingpong friendly match. Yes, this is already in the works, and they hope to whip up the friendly match pingpong for senior citizens. I told her that senior citizens have requested it to be only a friendly match instead of a tournament. She has taken note of this. Thank God that my role ends there after the ministry takes over. Good of YB Hannah to promote sports amongst even the senior citizens. - May 6, 2024


2. Ms Vijeya from the Ministry of Youth and Sports has informed us:

"The tournament for senior citizens will be on in October as we discussed. Jabatan Belia dan Sukan negara is organising as part of hari Sukan Negara. I will share the flyers and posters for participation to you once registration is open."

It would be good if you can provide me a contact person / number for your church / organisation by this Sunday (17 June 2024) so that I can forward them to Vijeya for someone from the ministry to get in touch with you. Best is to have two numbers in case one is unavailable to respond.


Thank God that the Ministry of Youth and Sports is not abandoning the senior citizens like us! :-D


3. Updates from Ms Vijeya on transport and accommodation (17/06/2024): Unfortunately, accommodation and transport will not be provided. We note there are contacts in other states. I will share these with our JBSN in those states to reach out to them, if there are sport events for seniors.



4. From Grace Assembly "New Horizon" group. Update provided by Stephen Lim (24/06/2024)


Getting ready for the great fun ahead. Please come and support us, members of Grace Assembly PJ. Although it is only a friendly match, no competition or tournament, it will be a fun time, everyone!






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My name is StephenLim from Grace Assembly. We do have a senior pingpong group too. Would be nice to bring all the seniors to have a pingpong game together.

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