Being Open-Minded to Try New Things
Despite his calm disposition at first glance, 66-year-old Mr Kumar is actually a passionate individual who has been actively pursuing his interests and giving back to the community after retiring in 2017.
“Being from the field of mechanical engineering and having worked all the while with metals and machines, I wanted to know and understand about other fields such as psychology and those with more human-to-human interactions,” said Mr Kumar.
He started to pursue some of his favourite interests like reading and gardening, taking the initiative to join a gardening interest group under NTUC U Live at Pasir Ris. He said that it was a good decision made as he met a group of like-minded peers at the interest group and now they would meet regularly to care for the garden and exchange their views on various current issues.
Life fuelled by a passion for volunteering
Mr Kumar views volunteer work as an integral part of his life because of the fulfilment it gives him and the fact that he can give back to the community.
He does not shy away from unfamiliar experiences and has taken up several volunteer roles, which include teaching yoga to children at yoga centres, doing simple maintenance works for NParks at Pasir Ris Park as well as being a library volunteer at the National Library once a month.
Additionally, Mr Kumar is an active volunteer with RSVP Singapore and has participated in various volunteering activities such as packing and distributing food rations, spring cleaning at old folk’s homes and preparing soup for beneficiaries at a charity called Willing Hearts.
“If we are willing to be open-minded to try new experiences and hone new skills, we will discover so much more potential about ourselves than we ever knew,” Mr Kumar expressed.
In the future, he wants to start a community garden or rooftop garden for residents in his neighbourhood, and teach volunteers how to recycle kitchen waste into bio-degradable fertiliser.
Keeping the brain active
Being a passionate volunteer, Mr Kumar went ahead to take up the National Silver Academy (NSA) course “Basic Psychology” by Family Central to help him in his volunteer work, as he wanted to understand individuals more effectively as well as prepare himself to handle various situations.
Besides signing up for the NSA course “Keyboard Appreciation 1” to gain musical knowledge and understanding of the music field, Mr Kumar had previously participated in several Intergenerational Learning Programmes (ILP) and a NSA bite-sized course “Fun with Printing” by NAFA. Overall, he felt that the ILP was a good opportunity to engage with the younger generation and experienced a meaningful exchange of knowledge between seniors and the students.
Overall, Mr Kumar finds that NSA courses are a good way to explore various interests and promotes the courses to his friends.
“Learning is an endless process. There is plenty that we don’t know. Discovering something new gives great joy and satisfaction. It also a good way to keep one’s brain active and prevent against dementia,” Mr Kumar concluded.
**Special thanks to Mr Kumar who accepted our interview, we wish him all the very best in his lifelong learning journey.
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