Age Is Just A Number

In 2020, when the Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented in Malaysia, some had experienced depression and anxiety when they lost their jobs or when their businesses failed.

However, not everything was doom and gloom as it was in June 2020 that Goh Siew Mei launched her Auntie Boleh Facebook page.

Goh Siew Mei aka Auntie Boleh

To date, Auntie Boleh has conducted 137 Facebook Live interviews with people from all walks of life ranging from politicians to food hawkers, fishermen, artists and musicians, among others, in Johor. The interviews are in Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mandarin.

The vibrant 63-year-old, who always dons a hat during her interviews — she currently has more than 50 hats — decided to start the Facebook page because she loved sharing stories, having started out as a citizen journalist when she was younger.  Another reason for starting the page was because she wanted to build her legacy.

“My dear friend, Fung Lee Jean had helped me a lot, especially in setting the direction for me. We also came up with the name Auntie Boleh together as we wanted a local character whom most Malaysians could relate to.”

“True enough people do invite me to their restaurants for food reviews or to their events because they wanted an Auntie’s perspective, instead of having only the presence of pretty young influencers,” said Goh.

Goh said that her interviews or meet-ups with politicians like Tony Pua, Yeo Bee Yin, Hannah Yeoh, Teo Nie Ching and Liaw Cai Tung, among others had garnered to as many as 30,000 views.

“I was surprised but I don’t really care about the number of views.  I’m doing this for fun and it’s not for monetary gains.  Sometimes people asked me whether I have a crew to film and edit my videos.  I said how could I possibly afford to hire a crew when I don’t charge for my work.  I do everything myself — from shooting the video to editing and designing the video cover using Canva,” she said.

Asked if she ever felt fearful or anxious before each interview, Goh said that at the beginning she was.

“I left school after sitting for the Malaysian Certificate of Education (MCE) and I have worked as an admin executive until my retirement. After my retirement, I became bored and depressed.  So I joined the Johor Baru Happy and Joyous Club where I took part in activities like clowning and laughter yoga, and all these have helped me build my self-esteem and self-confidence.

“I easily overcame my fears, especially when I meet up with politicians and celebrities. Of course I need to prepare the questions in advance.

“My Auntie Boleh moniker has also helped me widen my network. I started learning the “guzheng” (a Chinese plucked instrument) after my meet-up with Lam Zipeng,” she said.

Lam Zipeng has a Bachelor’s degree in Arts (Guzheng, Ruan) from the China Conservatory of Music. Here is a video of her meet-up with Lam

Goh added that she has always liked music and could play the electronic organ as well as the 24-festive drum. 

Here is another video of her meet-up with a fisherman in Kg Pendas, Gelang Patah.

“I believe consistency is the recipe for success.  Since 2020, I have yet to miss a single meet-up which I usually set on a Saturday.  There was one occasion where the person had to re-schedule the interview to a Friday.

“I believe age is just a number.  One does not have to be bogged down by grey hair  — it can always be dyed or you can wear a hat!  As long as you have good health and a growth mindset, one can explore and experience all that life has to offer,” she said.

Auntie Boleh can be reached at her Facebook page here. She is also on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram.

Laughing Together To Achieve World Peace

and enhance physical, mental and emotional health

 

 

Covid-19 has opened up a window of opportunities for virtual laughter clubs to open worldwide, as people want to laugh amid the gloom.

 

Dr Madan Kataria’s keynote address before launching the first ever Mega Laughter Malaysia event held on the 6th of Feb on Zoom and attended by laughter enthusiasts from across the globe.

 

Depression is the No. 1 sickness in the world.  There is no treatment for depression.  Those suffering from depression need support, love and care and this is what the Laughter Yoga Movement stands for.

 

Laughter benefits one’s physical, mental and emotional health.

 

Everybody can laugh when everything is ok.  Virtual Laughter Yoga clubs have sprouted since the pandemic.  From what had started as a recreation activity in a neighbourhood park in Mumbai, India in 1995, Laughter Yoga is now practiced in 115 countries.

 

Dr Madan’s vision to achieve World Peace through Laughter is also manifesting this year as the non-profit organisation has been given the green light to build two headquarters  — one in India (Nashik) and one in the United States (California).

 

The good doctor also praised the Malaysian team, namely the Johor Bahru Happy and Joyous Club, and Laughter Yoga Malaysia for the success of the Mega Laughter Malaysia event and for bringing Laughter Yoga to hospitals, dialysis centres, cancer patients, among others, over the last decade.

 

 

 

Laughter: A Universal Language

 

Laughter is a universal language that needs no translation.  It banishes negativity, increases endorphins and sends joy throughout the muscles, nerves, organs and tissues.

 

That’s why the demand for Laughter Yoga clubs and activities has sprouted during the pandemic.

 

With so many of us facing challenges of isolation, insecurity, financial and job uncertainties, among others, the stress and pent-up emotions have impacted our mental health to some degree.  Some have forgotten how to laugh.

 

Dr Madan Kataria

 

Dr Madan Kataria, a medical doctor and the founder of the laughter yoga club movement that started in 1995 in Mumbai, said Covid-19 has provided opportunities to laugh more frequently as hundreds of free virtural laughter clubs are sprouting in the midst of the pandemic.

 

Currently there are more than 10,000 Laughter clubs found in India, and between 8,000 to 9,000 found worldwide.  This is just a rough estimate as the organisation does not have a structured data on all the clubs.

 

“Laughter Yoga is not a comedy.  It is an exercise programme for Health and Wellbeing.  Dialysis and cancer patients have turned to this exercise, which is part laughter and part yoga as it incorporates the Pranayama breathing techniques, to enhance their overall health,” Dr Madan said in a Zoom meeting today.

 

“If you laugh for 10 to 15 minutes a day, one can enjoy many benefits. Laughter strengthens the immune system and keeps the mind positive.  It is the quickest way to drive away depression and anxiety,” he said, adding that laughter is also a universal language.

 

Dr Madan thanked the Johor Bahru Happy and Joyous Club for bringing Laughter Yoga to places and people who would benefit from the exercise over the last 10 years, namely, in dialysis centres, drug rehabilitation centres, cancer patients, the physically and mentally challenged and senior citizens.

 

Since the Movement Control Order was implemented, the Johor Bahru Happy and Joyous Club has been conducting Laughter Yoga on their Facebook Page daily from 9am to 9.30am.   The pandemic has deterred physical meet ups but in the virtual world, members can meet and laugh beyond borders.

 

If you’re feeling bored or frustrated but you don’t want to curse and swear because that’s just adding to the negativity, you can try speaking Gibberish for a few seconds.  That is just to melt the frustration, and clear the way for joy to flow in.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, maybe Sarjit Kaur can explain it better.

 

Sarjit will be one of the presenters who will share her thoughts on this at the Malaysian Laughter Yoga Zoom, the first of its kind on February 6, 2021 from 2pm to 5pm (Malaysia time).  It is organised by Mega Malaysia Laughter, a non-governmental organisation.

 

The aim of the 3-hour event, which will be launched by Dr Madan, is to increase public awareness on  Laughter Yoga, foster ties among Laughter Yoga practitioners and enthusiasts as well as share updates on Laughter Yoga.

 

Six dynamic laughter Yoga Teachers/Masters will be sharing their expertise as follows:

1. Merv Neal (Australia) on ‘Laughter Yoga & Business and the Pandemic’
2. Bill Lewis (UK/Malaysia) on ‘Rhythm & Laff’
3. Shifra Arwas (Israel) on ‘The Wisdom of the Older Child’
4. Dusty Susan (Australia) on ‘Cradle to Death’
5. YM Dr. Raja Kamariah Raja Mohd (Malaysia) on ‘Laughter in the Malaysian Public Sector’
6. Sarjit Kaur (Malaysia) on ‘Embracing our Authenticity’

 

Meanwhile 7 Laughter Yogis will also be present to lead and share their Laughter Exercises.  They are Kara Sherman (USA), Keyem Thomez (Bahrain), Sara Mei Woo (Singapore), Bachan Singh (Malaysia), Lina Lim Lee Mui (Malaysia), Raja Perumal Raja (Malaysia) and Siem Lee (Malaysia).

 

The organisers are expecting a turnout of 500 participants from all over the world.  All are welcome to join the event on Feb 6.  There’s also a new laughter song titled “Kung Fu Ha Ha” which they’re keeping under wraps until the day of the event, so do turn up on Feb 6 🙂

 

To know more about Laughter Yoga, you may check out

 

Mega Laughter Malaysia

 

 

Johor Bahru Happy and Joyous Club

 

 

Laughter Yoga International 

 

 

YouTube – Dr Madan Kataria

 

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