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[back] Message from the President Chee Liew Seong - 26th August 2006

EVERY Tuesday morning, my wife will drive me and Mr. & Mrs. Fong to the Parkinson's Club in Happy Garden. This has become a routine trip to the PC for the last 6 months or so, and we have every reason to continue doing so in the foreseeable future. 

The purpose of the visit is to participate in the Tuesday sessions led by Amy Chow. It is called "Facial and Vocal Exercises" for PWP (People with Parkinson's). The sessions start at 10 am and end at around 11.30 am.

In the beginning, there were about 4 to 6 participants. Some of them came once or twice and then disappeared; some came in one week and absent in some other weeks. But for every meeting, there were not less than 6 to 8 PWP present, as the absentees are replaced by newcomers.

Mr. Fong Thim Loon and I are among the regular attendees of these sessions. The other regulars are Puan Pharidah Sulaiman, Mrs. Susan Wah and Mr. Chong K.S. (the singer).

Through our own observation, the regular participants have, over the past few months, appeared to be more cheerful and confident in their movement and general outlook. They could pronounce words more loudly and clearly in their verbal expression, and could remember and sing aloud more songs and not shy to sing solo.

A good example is Puan Pharidah Sulaiman. When she came for the first few sessions, she remained seated and pushed along in her wheelchair.  Nowadays, she could walk in the PC and enter the Ismail Sulaiman Gym (named after her late husband) by herself, with the help of a walking frame. Her daughter-in-law, Haslinah, merely stood by to provide help when necessary.  You could see this 75-year-old "young" lady smile broadly, hear her speak and sing her favorite songs loudly and clearly. She seldom misses any session and according to Haslinah, she is looking forward to Tuesdays and getting up earlier to go to the PC for these sessions!  Similarly, the other regulars also express their interest and end each session by saying "see you next week" to each other.

During one of the monthly meetings, on July 15, 2006, guest speaker Ms. Joey Pang gave a talk on "Language and Speech Problems in Parkinson's". This speech therapist from Sunway Medical Centre explained clearly the causes of speech disorder in PD and suggested ways and means to prevent and overcome speaking and swallowing problems. She assured Amy Chow that the activities carried out on Tuesdays at PC should be beneficial. Amy has since adopted some activities recommended and carried them out in the Tuesday sessions. Dr. Chew is currently negotiating with Sunway Medical Centre for speech therapy service to MPDA members with speech and swallowing problems.

The PC is also well attended every Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The programs carried out are:-

Wednesday - Taiji and Qigong Exercises;
Thursday - Waidan Gong & Line Dancing
Saturday - Pysiotherapy & Occupational Therapy by professionals

Some members are attending more than one session. That is fine if you and your caregiver have the time and means! However, if you can attend any one session, that is good enough.  In fact, all such activities need constant practice at home. That is, one needs self-discipline to do it everyday! The weekly meetings provide the "Umph", through mutual encouragement, togetherness and exchanging of information, by "voicing" out things you like to say or express.

I wish to thank all volunteers and therapists who help to conduct the weekly sessions. Members are encouraged to drop in to the PC during the various sessions and to see for themselves how such activities are carried out, and what benefits they can get by participating actively in such activities.

Those interested can register with Patricia, our Office Administrator, to make reservations. All sessions except the physiotherapy sessions on Saturdays are free. The physiotherapy sessions are conducted by qualified professionals, whose charges to MPDA members are at special reduced rates.

With warm regards,

Chee Liew Seong
26 August 2006