When Teresa Chin had a heart bypass surgery in 2004, she struggled in her recovery.
One of the side effects of her heart medication caused her hands to tremble so much, she had trouble gripping a pen. For the avid reader and enthusiastic writer who pens down recipes and her cooking experiences, this could have been depressing.
But the 73-year-old chose to remain optimistic and searched for an alternative way to write.
“I thought hard on how to overcome this problem. I couldn’t let it defeat me, and then I realised that I could type on computers instead,” she said.
In 2008, Ms Chin signed up for a computer course at RSVP Singapore, a non-profit organisation that promotes senior volunteerism in Singapore, and it was love at first byte.
“After attending the computer classes, I fell in love with computers!” she added with a laugh.
Armed with her newly minted IT skills, Ms Chin decided to get a computer trainer certificate from Microsoft Singapore in 2010.
She also successfully completed an Advanced Certificate in Training and Assessment (ACTA) programme offered by the Institute for Adult Learning Singapore in the same year.
In 2012, she joined RSVP’s computer maintenance team. There, she helped ensure that the 33 computers at RSVP’s classrooms were in good condition.
The cheerful senior said: “I have to constantly upgrade myself. I really love to learn.”
Now a qualified computer trainer, Ms Chin teaches basic IT skills such as surfing the internet and navigating Facebook at RSVP Singapore.
Ms Chin’s love for learning did not stop there. She recently signed up for a Computer Maintenance – Basic Diagnostic and Repair class at ITE central under the National Silver Academy which started in July 2016.
“I’ve considered joining a computer repair class for a long time because I believe that all computer trainers should know how to maintain computers. If your computer spoils, you won’t feel so helpless,” she said.
The retiree also enjoys a variety of other activities like baking, cooking, playing the piano, planting, fashion design and Chinese ink painting. Her curiosity about the world drives her love for learning.
She said: “I am a very curious person, always wanting to find out ‘why’. For example, when I look at a piece of cake, I will think to myself: why do eggs, flour and sugar combine to form a cake? Likewise, for computers, I will wonder why a computer functions the way it does. It makes me want to open it and take a look for myself.”
And she added she has been that way most of her life. As a teenager she taught herself to sew and bake (remember no YouTube in those days!).
“Nobody taught me how to do all these. I just put an outfit on top of a piece of cloth, cut along the outfit and sewed. I even used the cloth from a curtain to design our clothes!” she said with a laugh.
Ms Chin added: “Never think you are too old to learn. Age is just a number. Life is unpredictable, so make the best of it and learn all you can. Learn, and then give back to society by sharing what you’ve learnt. ”
“I will continue learning until I leave this world.”
For a full list of short courses, click here.
For a full list of exam-free modules, click here.
For a list of ad hoc learning opportunities, click here.