International Day of Older Persons, 1 October 2015 (2)

by Patrick Liew on December 28, 2015

I am grateful to the elderly living in our midst. They did their part to build the world around us and we are enjoying the fruits of their labour.

Without them, including our parents or grandparents, we will not be alive. They looked after us and made it possible for us to live our life.

When we were young, dependent and vulnerable, many of these elderly lent their hands to look after us. They helped to provide the food we need, clothe us, protect us, and look after our every need.

They have contributed to developing a conducive environment around us. They have also built up our community, economy, and country.

They passed on sound philosophy and values to us. They are an important conduit of wisdom, the application of which can help us to live and to live well.

Unfortunately, many of us have closed our minds. We have not been the most diligent in soliciting nuggets of wisdom from them.

Someday, many of will fully understand what this meant when we try to pass on some of our nuggets of wisdom to the next generation.

When our eyes are open, we can see true beauty in every elderly – not the kind of beauty that has oftentimes been distorted by the commercial world.

With open ears, we will realise their stories are melodies of a different genre. They can nonetheless just as captivating, just as enriching.

No matter how educated, smart or accomplished we are, there are more lessons that they can teach us. They can highlight virtues and warn us of dangers to put us on track to a meaningful and fulfilling life.

They have a wise teacher that has spent more time with them than us. This teacher is Professor Experience.

Experience can impart many valuable lessons in life and these lessons may not be taught in a classroom. Fortunately, they can be transferred to us through our elders.

How can we repay our parents and the elderly who have helped us directly or indirectly in our life? How can we return a debt of gratitude to the people of their generation?

When we meet an elderly person, remember they are somebody’s parents and loved ones. What if they are our parents, how will we treat them?

What can we do for them that we hope others will to do for our parents?


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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