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PM Lee to open more gyms for elderly but must pay $1.50 per entry

At a community event on Saturday (8 Sep), PM Lee told his residents that more gyms will be open to cater to the elderly and disabled in Singapore.

They will be built in mature Housing Board estates. The first such gym is expected to open in his GRC at the Ang Mo Kio Community Centre next year. The number of community centres with senior-friendly gyms is expected to increase to five by the end of next year.

PM Lee said that the Ang Mo Kio estate has more senior citizens than most other towns in Singapore. In the last GE, out of 176,713 residents in Ang Mo Kio GRC who voted, 135,115 or 78.6% voted overwhelmingly for PM Lee and his party, the PAP. This was an upswing of 9.3% from the 2011 GE.

Other than having gym facilities, the community centres which come under the People's Association (PA), also encourage senior citizens to take part in activities such as aerobics, taiji and dance.

The gym equipment will also have mechanism to track users' exercise data. Senior citizens will receive membership cards that they will scan on the exercise equipment before using it. This will let the machines capture the users' exercise data. In other words, from the data, an individual's health situation can be monitored. It is not conceivable that demographic predictions can be obtained from such data.

However, the use of community gyms is not free. Those under 55 will be charged $2.50 per entry while elderly above 55 will pay $1.50. They will get free entry on Wednesdays.

ST reported that Ang Mo Kio residents were very enthusiastic about the gym facility coming to their community centre. Alicia Tan, 44, a resident of Ang Mo Kio said she will encourage her mother-in-law, 70, to visit the new senior-friendly gym when it opens next year.

"Hopefully, there will be fitness instructors to get the elderly folk started on the exercises," said the accounts assistant.

Elders see PA as part of PAP

The late Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew once talked about the "close" relationship between PA and the People's Action Party (PAP).

In 2009, then Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew at a public dialogue proudly told the audience that the Chinese had been sending teams of PRC officials to study Singapore for many years. To illustrate a lesson the Chinese learnt about Singapore’s political system, he said:

"They (delegates from China) discover that the People’s Action Party (PAP) has only a small office in Bedok. But everywhere they go, they see the PAP – in the RCs (residents’ committees), CCCs (citizens’ consultative committees), and the CCs (community clubs)." – Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, The Straits Times 30 December 2009.

And of course, RCs, CCCs and CCs are grassroots organizations (GROs) which come under PA.

When TOC went for a survey at Mountbatten SMC after the General Election 2015 to find out what did voters think about their candidates, elders (above 50s) told TOC that they had a strong impression of the PAP MP, Lim Biow Chuan and thought nothing of the opposition candidate, Jeannette Chong Auldross because they did not recall seeing her at all.

Some shared that they saw Lim at the PA events and some shared that they were introduced to the MP by the PA Chairman at their doorstep, which is why they had a strong impression of Lim being active at the constituency.

It is likely what transpired in Mountbatten SMC is similar to the other constituency in Singapore.