A platform for senior citizens

Daniel Lim

Brunei Vision 2035 includes senior citizen care as an agenda of the country.

Activities are conducted to encourage participation of senior citizens in the Sultanate. One initiative is to provide a platform for senior citizens through the Senior Citizens Activity Centres (PKWE).

One such centre that recently opened its doors was the PKWE in the Belait District (PKWE Belait).

Minister of Culture, Youth, and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin officiated its opening earlier this month.

The opening was made possible with aid from Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP) who provided the building and renovated it.

Minister of Culture, Youth, and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin observes one of the activities at the newly opened Senior Citizen Activity Centre in the Belait District. PHOTOS: DANIEL LIM
The minister in a group photo with some of the senior citizens

The centre was launched as part of a project initiative by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) through the Community Development Department (JAPEM) to establish PKWE across the nation.

PKWE Belait Centre Manager K Salim said, “The centre provides an avenue for senior citizens to engage in social interaction and network while promoting a healthy lifestyle. It also encourages the youth of the district to take care of senior citizens.”

He said the centre provides an opportunity to help lessen the emptiness syndrome of senior citizens, which is caused by multiple factors including having preoccupied children.

“The centre provides a platform for the youth also to appreciate senior citizens and thus benefit from their knowledge and experience,” he said.

“The PKWE involves senior citizens and the community in activities promoting religion, harmony, nationalism, sports, health, volunteerism and culture in line with the concept of Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB),” he added.

Activities include cooking on Mondays, sewing on Tuesdays, weaving on Wednesdays, Tahlil recitation and other events on Thursdays, as well as yoga, aerobics and more for Saturdays, with Fridays and Sundays being the centre’s off days.

The manager said there are plans to expand the events at the centre “Senior citizens can also participate in several activities outside the centre by visiting other PKWE, local agencies and groups,” he said.

These visits extend outside of the Belait District and also across the border, such as Kuching, Malaysia. “The change in scenery is an opportunity for the senior citizens to gain new skills, as well as to establish close ties with others to extend their networks of friends,” he said.

He hopes the centre will help to galvanise and encourage senior citizens not just in the Belait District but also across the nation to be more proactive, despite their age and set an example for the youth of the nation to follow.