The sun has yet to rise but housewife Loo Li Lian strikes a cheerful note as her music pierces through the sound of birds chirping.
Residents who wake up early know the score as Madam Loo, 66, has been teaching line dancing to her friends at a basketball court in Lorong 8 Toa Payoh for 13 years.
They meet daily except for Sundays. But even with 14 students in tow, she sometimes cannot tell her left from her right, adding: "I'm not lying!"
Madam Loo, who has been married for 45 years and has four grandchildren, gets songs from the Internet for the soundtrack. She plays the songs through speakers and records them onto a cassette tape.
Her dancing lessons are at least two hours long, and most of the participants get a friendly tongue-lashing if they start to falter.
"I hope they didn't disclose that I scold them every day," says Madam Loo, who the women say has everyone's best interests at heart.
As she points out, the elderly need more exercise to be healthy.
"No one here has high blood pressure or high cholesterol," she says.
Her friend, Madam Ng Peak Hong, 64, adds: "Our teacher is very patient with us and is concerned for our health. She encourages us to dance every day."
When asked why there are no men in the group, the usually chatty Madam Loo is at a loss for words, but her friends pipe up: "They are shy to dance with us."
She recalls how six months after she started leading the group, they were asked to perform for the elderly in a nursing home.
Her husband had asked: "You started dancing only recently. You are not shy? You won't be embarrassed? You are so daring."
She felt the pressure to perform flawlessly - and they did.
Even when she is sick, Madam Loo, who also teaches qigong, still gets out and dances.
Her husband has offered her $10 for each day of rest at home, but she reckons money is of no use if she has dementia. She says: "If I don't come, there will be no show!"
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
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