Meet Elizabeth Tan

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Serving with Joy

“For sensory learning, we would have the students knead flour and water into glutinous rice balls,” recalls Elizabeth Tan.

“And, we could pick Pandan leaves from the garden,” she adds. That was the perfect ingredient to infuse fragrance into the syrup of this humble dessert.

Elizabeth was a Teacher’s Aide at COH from 1995 to 1996 when they were still at Owen Road. Although she subsequently left to take up the Executive Director position at another VWO, the Christalite Methodist Home for the aged destitute, her heart remained firmly committed to both staff and clients at COH.

Elizabeth at the 2014 COH Staff Appreciation Night.

In 2005, she jumped at the opportunity to re-join COH as a member of their Executive Committee, and has been serving the handicapped in that capacity ever since. She is currently the Board’s Honorary Secretary.

Elizabeth recalls the simple joys of her early COH days as though it was yesterday. She was 48 then, fresh from her early retirement as a manpower officer in the Army. It was the first time in her life learning to care for the handicapped.

“It took me six months to get used to helping out with their toileting,” says Elizabeth. This included physical cleaning as well, which was no easy task.

Yet, whilst caring for her students, Elizabeth discovered what she describes as the “joy of serving.” And, it is this joy that sustains and fuels her on.

Helping out at a sensory learning session at COH’s Owen Road premises in 1995/96

Sensory learning fun was painting a flag to celebrate National Day. COH 1996.

Sensory learning fun was painting a flag to celebrate National Day. COH 1996.

Love that Empowers
“Love overcomes,” says Elizabeth confidently. She points not to a person’s own ability to love, but rather to God whose love empowers love in turn. Interestingly, Elizabeth recalls that her joy of serving and love for the clients, eventually made helping them with their toileting needs, an odourless experience altogether.

“I met one of my former COH students recently. He was with his mother at Potong Pasir. It’s been so long, but he could still recognise me. They are both doing well,” she says. “COH not only helps the people with special needs at our centres, we reach out to support their families as well.”

Together with Seok Cheng (left) on a sunny day at the beach.

A group photograph of a day well spent. COH 1995.


About the Author: The COH Resource Team comprises volunteers, content writers and experts, including psychologists, counsellors, educators and social service professionals.

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