Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Lifelong Learning Awards 2004

While speaking to a mediacorp executive recently, for a collaborative programme between Mediacorp Newsradio and NLB, I was encouraged to nominate someone for the Lifelong Learning Award 2004. I replied that I could only think of a retired person who might fit the bill, but not sure if that person was qualified. She said to submit the nomination, which I did. This was what I wrote:
My father retired maybe 8 years ago. He has had heart surgery before but he's still quite active for his age. For past 3 years or so, he's been volunteering at the Ang Mo Kio Community Centre, taking care of the CC garden daily, arranging the layout, repotting etc. He also interacts with the residents, who donate plants or ask for cuttings. Apart from the CC garden, he also helped the neighbours on the floor of his HDB unit set up plant stands.

To me, it was a total surprise that he did all that, since he's never been trained in horticulture and before his retirement and he’d never shown any interest in plants before. But now, he's learnt how to create his own fertilizer mix, transplant new plants, repotting etc.

He does it by experimentation, by asking people, and a few weeks back, he asked if there were relevant books from the library. Hearing him talk about the garden, you’d think he’s been doing it for a living.

My father would he’d be surprised if someone says he’s a Lifelong Learner. He took up gardening perhaps as a way to pass time, and didn’t consciously set out to be a ‘Lifelong Learner’.

But that’s what I think lifelong learning is about – he didn't do it because he had to, but because he wants to – and not even ‘consciously’ in that sense. It's quite mundane and just a way of life.
The nomination exercise started on 30 August 2004. Closing date is 24 September 2004, 6pm Singapore time. Nominations can be made online.


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