|04 February 2011||
At 1:45pm the helpers began wheeling the elderly folk into the common area in preparation for our dim sum outing. One by one we loaded them onto the lift, as the lift could only accommodate a single wheelchair. Those who were independent walked ahead to the restaurant. We had reserved two tables at 2:00pm for our twelve residents and staff. Although the restaurant was nearby, we once again had to wait patiently for the lift. We organised the seating arrangements and once they settled in they were happily chatting away. We were the centre of attention as we had a group of people in wheelchairs sitting around a table.
After all the necessary arrangements we began to order our dim sum. Before eating it is a tradition to rinse the cutlery with the piping hot tea and it was heartening to see some of the elderly folk washing the utensils for others. They rarely get a chance to step out of the elderly home as most of their families neglect them. They must miss the cacophony of clanging plates and noisy chatter, both characteristics of a dim sum restaurant.
The waiters began piling up throngs of bamboo trays on our tables. I saw the excitement in their eyes as the food arrived. Unfortunately we are unable to serve dim sum in our elderly home so this was indeed a rare treat. We ordered a myriad of dim sum, from steamed buns to fried taro cakes. Our matron was busy taking photographs of the elderly folk enjoying themselves while I was busy serving them with dim sum and tea. They were very well mannered and always said ‘thank you’ by tapping their fingers three times on the table.
There was a slight error in our order because our order had been keyed in twice. We managed to sort out the misunderstanding, but, as we had eaten a few of the extra dishes, the bill was pricier than we had expected. We only charged a reasonable twenty dollars for this event. We subsidised the difference, and treated it as a gift.
After the elderly folk had their fill of dim sum we had to go through a similar process of taking them back home. I think both the staff and the elderly folk thoroughly enjoyed themselves that afternoon. We endeavour to host monthly events for them because we believe that it will enrich their experience and make Loc Ling a home away from home.