We are PWP, People with Parkinson's.
One of these days, we are likely to lose our voice.
We could feel, as our caregiver has already felt;
Our voice is getting soft, slur and sometimes inaudible.
"What did you say?" "Louder, please!"
"What??" "I beg your pardon!"
Or say it by putting one hand by the side of their ear!
You repeated as loudly as possible.
It is thunderous to you, but still too soft to the listener!
Our doctor says we must see a specialist.
We consulted a speech therapist who gives explanation and advice.
She also encourages us to sing aloud some alphabet songs such as:
"Ant on an apple Ah-Ah-Ah ......... Ah is the sound of A"
And we are told to practise everyday at home.
And the bill: For each 30 minutes session, the charge is 100 Ringgit!
Why pay so much for learning the kindergarten stuff, we thought!
And so we started our own Facial and Vocal Training/Singing group in 2006.
For the past three years, the group met every Tuesday morning.
We begin with 30 minutes of facial exercises and talking aloud,
Followed by 30-45 minutes of singing in group and solo.
Not surprising, everyone could sing.
The emphasis is on voice volume and pronunciation of the words.
We try to memorize the songs and sing without referring to the sound sheets;
We did this to train our mind so that we will not lose our memory!
We sing action songs such as "10 little Indians"
"If you are happy and you know it…" "Row Row Row your boat…"
We sing nursery rhyme "Twinkle- twinkle little star", "London Bridge…"
Of course we like oldies and love songs
That brings back fond memory of yesteryears!
We sing in Malay, Chinese and other languages,
The Chinese Song Sheets provide Hanyu Pinying,
With these even the Indonesian maid could sing in Mandarin.
After all music has no national or language boundary.
And for all these, the sessions are completely Free of Charge!
We are lucky to have volunteers to conduct the choir,
To help out those on wheelchairs
And to help arrange the chairs before and after the sessions.
And the attendance had been very good,
Each week there are more than 10 couples;
This is enough to fill up the mini gym at the PD Centre.
Very often, the caregivers had to make way for the PWP under their care.
The success of the group is due to the persistence of Amy Chow,
Mr. and Mrs. Chee Liew Seong, Puan Pharidah Ismail,
Mr. and Mrs.Fong Thim Loon, Chooi Yoke, Mr. Sivaraman Kannan, Mr. Foong, Mr. Ng,
And Mr. and Mrs. Lee Kim Hiang.
They came almost every Tuesday
To have great fun with everyone who are present.
Not to forget the few champion singers like Mr. Lai, the tenor
Who provides extra entertainment by popular request.
And so Tuesday is a day to look forward to by many PWP!
Chee Liew Seong
(28 August 2008)