Features, Highlights

Age is just a number – Meeting a 93-year-old Zoomer

Age is just a number - Meeting a 93-year-old Zoomer
Mdm Lim attending a worship service on Zoom

“Zoomer” is a term that was coined in the past year or so to describe young digital natives, who live and breathe social media and are adept at using communication technologies.

It was thus especially heartwarming to meet a 93-year-old who is at ease with using Zoom for church services and activities since on-site gatherings have been curtailed in efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Watching Mdm Lim Nam Yeo navigate her way on Zoom for her cell group meeting, with her children setting up the session for her in advance, I felt she could give some of the whippersnappers amongst us a run for the money when it came to technology adoption.

Mdm Lim is a member of Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church–City West. A practising Buddhist for much of her life, Mdm Lim was baptised in December 1991. Her encounter with Christ was sparked by an invitation to a Christian fellowship meeting by a neighbour’s elderly mother, herself a staunch ex-Buddhist.

To help her, Mdm Lim’s son bought her a set of tapes of the New Testament in Hokkien, to which she would listen intently even while ironing clothes. She read along with her Bible in Hokkien as she followed the audio tapes as well as listened to Hokkien tapes from her church’s Women’s Fellowship.

Three decades since her baptism, Mdm Lim, who has been illiterate most of her life, has now learnt to recognise certain Chinese characters in her Bible! This newfound literacy has enabled Mdm Lim to follow better the Zoom sessions or online hymns she comes across.

Mdm Lim has also attended her church Bible classes. Before every Bible quiz, she diligently revised each chapter in the Bible with her tapes several times. Much to her delight, Mdm Lim got mostly perfect scores!

Mdm Lim is grateful to her church pastors and ministry leaders who have been visiting her since her colon cancer surgery last October. As Mdm Lim gets on in years, hearing loss has affected her being able to listen to her cherished tapes, even with when she wears hearing aids.

Mdm Lim is one of the many seniors whose participation in church life has been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic but have nevertheless taken things in stride. However, she badly misses her chats and meetups with friends in church and asks her children every Sunday during breakfast if they are going to church; they have to patiently remind her about the limits on gathering sizes imposed because of COVID-19. We pray for God to keep Mdm Lim in good health and that she will be able to see her friends again in church soon.

Jason Woo is Communications Executive at MCS Comms. / Photos courtesy of Clare Ong