Meet the dragons

People born in the year of the auspicious Chinese zodiac sign are said to be blessed and popular. Here are some of them.

Born in 1928

Madam Chua Kim Swee, 84, great-grandmother of four

She turns 84 this year but Madam Chua Kim Swee leads an independent and active life matched by few of her peers.

She climbs the stairs of her threestorey house without needing to catch her breath and travels independently on the MRT.

Her 67-year marriage to a man match-made by her family bore eight children, who in turn have produced six grandchildren.

Madam Chua and her retiree husband live with their eldest son in a four-generation household.

Last year, she welcomed her fourth great-grandchild.

She says: "our house has become livelier after my eldest grandson became a father. It's so nice to have a baby to fuss over again.

"I'm thankful that our offspring are filial and I don't have major health problems. I have travelled all over the world and used to bring my own sambal chilli overseas."

The octogenarian likes gardening and credits a simple diet for her good health and longevity.

She says: "My husband prefers to stay at home but I go out with my childhood friend, who's now in her 70s, at least three times a week.

"My Chinese New Year wish is to prosper so that I can share my good fortune with my loved ones."

Born in 1964

Dr Kong Hwai Loong, 48, Cancer Specialist

Cancer specialist Dr Kong Hwai Loong epitomises a key attribute of the dragon - intelligence.

He was the first Singaporean to win the American Society of Clinical oncology Merit Award in 1997 for his research on novel cancer therapies.

He was also a recipient of the Public Administration Medal in 2005.

"Most of my friends suspect that I was born in the year of the dragon because 'dragon' appears in my name. occasionally there is a little awe or reverence, real or otherwise, when they know that I am a dragon," he says.

Loong means "dragon" in Chinese and his name is supposed to mean "intelligent dragon", he adds.

He explains: "My Chinese name is Jiang Hui Long. In Chinese, it also sounds like 'will become deaf'. For your information, I am hearing very well.

"My middle name 'Hwai' is commonly misinterpreted by Americans to be 'Hawaii'.

They think naming myself after one of their states is 'cool'."

Dr Kong is in private practice at the Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre.

He has two daughters and is the only "dragon" in his three-generation family.

He says: "I prefer to name my children according to nice or good attributes - which are more durable - rather than favourite items, which may change with the passage of time."

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