September 26, 2011

Croquet for the Retirees in Yunnan

90 years old and you think you cannot do anything at all?

Think again. You can still join a team and play croquet for your town and even enter an annual competition in Beijing !! Even if you are from rural China.

And perhaps that is why many old people are taking up croquet all over the country. In Mengzi a very keen group of retirees are practicing their game in the morning with some turning up as early as six in the morning. The fresh autumn air is not too cold for the still healthy sports men and women. Most of them are already in their 70's. I watched them play several days as my friends and went for walks  around the huge Nan Hu (West Lake) . We would end up with a nice bowl of Huen Tuen or Wan Tan in soup. (They don't serve Dry Wan Tan in Mengzi)

Croquet is a lawn game, played both as a recreational pastime and as a competitive sport. It involves hitting plastic or wooden balls with a mallet through hoops (often called "wickets" in the US) embedded into the grass playing court.

Ladies waiting for their turn.
This elegant gentleman is happy in his thoughts.
This gentleman is patient and is extremely perfect in his swing.

My short stay in Yunnan opened my eyes to many things. I realise how much the older people there care about their health. They spend their time in the parks with their friends and many of them get into teams to play organised games. Some even dance in the park every evening!! They are really enjoying their sunset years with viguour.
In a sports report in 2008 :  In April 2008 at"  Beijing's Ditan Park, right next to the Yonghegong Lama Temple eighty teams of nine were competing in a three-day croquet tournament at the park's six sand courts. That's 720 retirees in one little Beijing park." The article concluded with this quotation - "Croquet is the poor man's golf," says one old Beijinger, a teammate of tournament organizer Zhao Shuyun. "We just have to buy this one club and then go to the park and play." 

Zhao was 90 years old then.

Personally I believe that croquet not only has a bright future in the Grey World of the Future in Asia..but it may be a good game to introduce to Malaysian schools....but again....I am calling for school playing grounds to come back to schools...the concrete pavements would just not do at all looking at the pathetic conditions of many of our crowded schools.

Obesity can only be the result if our kids and adults cannot play and run around in an open school field. 

Last note: Anxiety ridden Thoughts about joining these retirees - Do I qualify to join them? Would they be exclusive in their membership? Do you think I can get along with them? What if I get thrown out after only three days? What if they are pursuing protectionist policies - no outsiders please!!....questions...questions old people ask because they have tendencies for anxieties....


Fran Johns said...

I love this piece. Posted it onto my Facebook page! Thanks, and good cheer over there.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear dear Fran...Thanks . It is my pleasure!!

We are experiencing haze over here - October has been considered the hazy month in Malaysia since 1997 (visibility of only 30 m in that year) and many flights were cancelled.

I bought a Crabtree and Evelyn Lavender Linen Mist help with my laundry - staying fresh and sweet is top priority now.

God bless. Cheers.

Ann said...

I played Croquet when I was in Christchurch. Makes me sentimental because my Dad played it in London.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ann...that's interesting!! One often gets extremely sentimental when thinking of Dad and Mum.

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