Age Is Not Just A Number

Reality bites – and hurts.

By Alywin Chew        1 November 2021

This month, I would like to urge all you guys out there to feel your testicles.

I’m not being lewd.

You see, testicular cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in men. In fact, this disease is most prevalent in those aged between 18 and 39. 

So, please, this month of Movember, feel those family jewels up and check for irregularities. 

Also, if you’ve always fancied looking like Freddie Mercury, this month also presents you with the perfect excuse to grow a moustache. 

I don’t really understand this trend of growing a moustache, because I look like a chee ko pek with hair above my lips.

But I certainly understand the poignance of this movement.

Yes, health is very important. We need to take good care of ourselves. This is especially so when you get older. I say this because, as someone who is quickly nearing 40, I have come to realise that age does affect our bodies – no matter how young we think we are.

I used to play football with the fervour of an 18-year-old. I loved going on adventurous runs down the flank, attempting fancy dribbles that would “break the ankles” of my opponents. 

But it has become very apparent that, these days, the only ankles getting wrecked are, well, my own. 

My body is, unfortunately, just like Hawker Chan – it is no longer like what it used to be. 

During my heyday, I might’ve been garang (or delusional) enough to attempt running 2.4 kilometres in under 7 minutes. Today, I would happily pass on such a challenge. The last I checked, there’s no insurance policy that covers deliberate self-harm.

I would however be keeping my eyes peeled to see if any commandos win the slate of prizes on offer at this month’s Pocari Sweat Singapore 2.4km challenge. I’m sure the event will be an exciting affair, though I must admit that I’m disappointed that Soh isn’t catering any prizes for grandmothers. 

I know my platoon sergeant would be disappointed as well.

I used to be a firm believer in the saying “age is just a number”. I truly believed that we should not be restricting ourselves to certain activities just because we are of a certain age. 

But the turning point in my life came earlier this year when I suffered my first gout attack. Yes, you are more susceptible to gout the older you are.

I previously thought that my girlfriend cheating on me when I was in BMT was the most painful experience in my life. 

Trust me, gout is a lot worse. I’m not just referring to the debilitating pain. I’m also talking about the dietary restrictions I’m now facing. 

No beer. No red meat. No seafood. No kway chap. 

For a foodie like me, this is an absolute nightmare.

I recently visited the doctor again because of a condition related to gout.

“Oh dear, did you get another gout attack?” he said.

“No,” I replied.

“That’s good to hear! Is your foot still swollen?”


“Hmm. Have you finished all the meds I prescribed you?”


“Erm, so why are you back here?”

“Doc, I haven’t had a drop of beer in four months.”

“But that’s good to hear!”

“No, it isn’t. I think I’m now suffering from depression!”

To read more about important men’s health issues, visit the following:
Testicular Cancer
Gout: Causes and Treatment

SAFRA members receive discounts on selected health screening packages with our healthcare partners. For more information, visit www.safra.sg/promotions/healthcare-products-and-services

LOL Mondays is an ongoing series of slice-of-life stories from freelance writer and NSman Alywin Chew. Look out for the humorous tales which will be posted every first Monday of the month, to help you drive away your Monday blues!

Share your NS memories with us at magnsman@sph.com.sg!