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INSPIRING: Older men marrying younger women and Chelsea's old guard show there's energy with advancing age
DATUK S., my ex-classmate, just got married again. After several months of being lonely, the silver-haired chartered accountant pulled the stunt by taking a bride almost a quarter of a century younger. The couple held a reception in Kuala Lumpur last Saturday, probably timing it when the whole world was looking the other way, or busy watching mayhem and other events unfolding in the city's streets.
That was so clever of him, I thought, fixing the ceremony for an eventful day such as April 28, since I, too, had to give the wedding a miss due to unavoidable circumstances.
It, however, must have been a very special occasion, not only for him and his adult children, but also to the whole gang of old classmates to whom, I reckon, a whole new benchmark has just been set.
Not that we would like to live up to the same standard -- not when we are constantly reminded every now and then through the dagger stares and the don't-even-think-about-it look -- but the fact that Datuk S. could still go through it when we're all "well into the second half" simply amazes us.
He must have been inspired by Neil Diamond, who had described his latest marriage to someone 30 years younger as "magical". The 71-year-old American singer-songwriter married his manager, Katie McNeil, in Los Angeles last week, after an earlier divorce.
Like Diamond, Datuk S. must have discovered his Sweet Caroline or, better still, Cracklin' Rosie, with this new-found love and companion. But that's just stretching it a little bit too far because this KL wedding had been planned before anyone here even knew that the veteran American singer was headed for the altar again.
Even so, the chuckles were unavoidable. All this while we have been kept quite busy attending the wedding of this son or that daughter of one classmate or another. But now, it's papa himself on the pelamin (wedding dias). He must have got his second wind and it seems to be driving him on. In fact, this was his response to a text message I sent him: "Feeling apprehensive at the start of my second half, but with support from people like you God willing, my second half will be even better than my first half."
That sounded very philosophical even if it was all in football lingo, partly because Datuk S. likes to score goals, I suppose (no joke, he used to be a school striker those days), and partly because football still evokes the same kind of passion to some. Lucky, he didn't wish for stoppage time, I thought. Or a return leg, or worse, a substitution.
And probably the football-speak is a timely reminder about the power of age and experience. Just look at Uefa Champions League finalists Chelsea.
After a series of dismal performances tinkering with a younger set of players, the English Premier League club is falling back on the old guard now to produce the results.
It just goes to show the charm that comes with advancing age and the inspiration it usually draws. The story of centenarian Pok Man from Jertih, Terengganu, as published in this newspaper two days ago, is another case in point.
Pok Man, or Abdul Rahman Abu Bakar, is said to be a super-fit 100 year old who could put many younger men to shame.
According to the story, he lived with his eighth wife, Saadiah Hamat, 71, in Kampung Dengir and spent his days working in his farm. Although he could take life a lot easier as his five children, 25 grandchildren, 20 great-great grandchildren and nine great-great-great grandchildren could afford to take care of him, Pok Man refused to stop working, saying it was part of his lifestyle.
On Saturday, Pok Man's diligence in taking care of his health was highlighted at the 1Malaysia Health Carnival at Besut Hospital. He received the Healthy Senior Citizen award from the state Health, Unity and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Dr Abdul Rahman Mokhtar.
The spirit of Neil Diamond, Chelsea and Pok Man is there for all to emulate. Selamat pengantin baru, Datuk S. and Ema. Datuk M., another classmate, is just two steps behind, I'm sure.