SINGAPORE - Madam Choon Keng Chan, 99, got out of bed extra early at 6am on Thursday, excited about the reunion lunch she would be having with her "family" at the open space next to the Bukit Merah View Food Centre.
Her "family" is an extended one, comprising 155 of her elderly neighbours, most of whom live alone in one- and two-room rental flats in Bukit Merah View.
Tanglin-Cairnhill Citizens Consultative Committee had put together a reunion lunch for elderly people who live alone to gather and celebrate with one another.
Wearing a red floral blouse that she reserves for special occasions, Madam Choon sipped her favourite F&N orange soft drink as she caught up with her close friends.
"I am so happy to see everybody together," she said in Cantonese.
It has been nine years since she last had a reunion dinner with her family. Her husband and two sons have died, and she is estranged from her daughter. Since then, her annual reunion dinner has been coffee, bread and biscuits.
When grassroots leader Joseph Lee visited some of the elderly people in the area after a reunion dinner with his own family six years ago, he saw many cooped up in their flats with little festive fare. He rounded up some community volunteers the following year and raised $8,000 to provide a reunion lunch.