Arms swing, legs kick, hands meet toes; laughter and chatter rises from the group. Every morning, the women meet in an alcove by the waterfall in Minoru Park, Richmond, to be immersed in beautiful surroundings, to exercise and to be with friends. They range in age from 67 to 82 and each one has her own secret to health. The activities focus on walking, on Liu Tong Quian (a faster version of Tai Chi), or on a personally created regimen. But, one thing is clear—whatever it is they are doing, it is working.
None of the women were born in Canada, although some have lived here for decades. Nai Ching Tai, Wong Yuk Ling, Sum Sui Juing, and Wong Mei Zhai are from Hong Kong; Pang Chai Ying is from Shanghai; and Fu Ling Co is from Vietnam. They met each other in the park; now they also enjoy many other things together; going for dim sum, taking trips to Vancouver, and even going camping.
Fu Ling Co is athletic. Her movements are as fast and fluid as those of a 25-year-old. She comes to the park, rain or shine, six days per week. Nai Ching Tai has been coming to the park for 15 years. She is always eager to share her health secrets.
In our later years, our physical state reflects a lifetime of habits. There must be something to Nai Ching Tai’s advice; her movements are robust and her face is unlined. She would be happier if more people joined the group in the alcove, by the waterfall in Minoru Park.
Special thanks to Eileen Jin for translation.