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    Here is a video segment of our interview with Mrs Zareena Bana, Director of Laughter Clubs Singapore.




    The following is a transcript of our interview with Mrs Zareena Bana, Director of Laughter Clubs Singapore.




    Interviewer: Sean
    Interviewee: Mrs Bana, Director of Laughter Clubs Singapore


    Sean: Good evening Mrs Bana, we're here to conduct an interview with you on the topic of laughter.

    Sean: How did the laughter clubs start?

    Mrs Bana: Laughter club started in Singapore 3 years ago. And I started it. I'm the founder. And I now the person in charged of Joo Chiat East Coast Laughter Club. It started with 5 people in the beginning and it goes on now.

    Sean: So you came to Singapore and decided to start this laughter club?

    Mrs Bana: Not I came. I'm Singaporean, by birth. And I went for a course in India. In India, this laughter club also started in 1995. And I learned from him for about two or three years. And I thought, why not I start it in Singapore. It started with five people and now it goes on and on.

    Sean: What inspired you to start this laughter club?

    Mrs Bana: Well, in India I saw nearly 200 to 300 people getting up really early in the morning. They get up early. They walk in the open. And I thought it was a good idea because people here are so stressed, like students, teachers, businessmen, boyfriend or girlfriend. So I said let us start it. And I felt ready to start.

    Sean: Roughly could your please tell us how the laughter exercises where conducted?

    Mrs Bana: Well there are altogether 30 plus exercises now. What we do is you know we start with deep breathing, and we do "Ho Ho Ha Ha Ha". These are acupressure points. It'll be good when you clap loudly. There are lots of benefits. When you come regularly, you'll really enjoy it.

    Sean: Seems like you really enjoy what you are doing.

    Mrs Bana: Oh yah. If I don't go my assistant will carry on but people want me to be there. I enjoy (myself) with them. I'm a semi-retired person, not really fully retired, so I'm just doing this voluntary work.

    Sean: What is the philosophy behind this laughter club?

    Mrs Bana: Philosophy you can say is the benefits laughter brings. Firstly it feels very good to look young. Everybody wants to look young. So I mean it acts as an anti stress depressant, aerobic exercises, there are so many advantages. And all these exercises are on laughter. The philosophy behind is that you don't lose anything, but you gain, you'll gain a lot. You'll make more friends. And you'll really enjoy it. You start your morning with a laughter exercise and you'll smile more.

    Sean: How often are these class conducted?

    Mrs Bana: I'm conducting twice a week. Once on a Wednesday morning and Saturday morning.

    Sean: How long has it been since the laughter classes started?

    Mrs Bana: 3 years ago. Actually the laughter club started in 1995. But I had to take time to learn. During my learning, I completed a course in India from laughter club's founder, Doctor Kataria from Bombay. I went to look for him and he came to Singapore. People's Association called him to come. All these while we were under People's Association. There were about 20 to 30 people who attended the course he gave and those who attended, were certified. So I'm a certified laughter leader.

    Sean: Did you experience any difficulties when you were setting up this laughter club.

    Mrs Bana: In the beginning yes. But now people are coming on their own. But actually sometimes I do encounter difficulties. But in the beginning I started with only 5 people. They were also all Indians. Because it started from India and few people know about it. That's why only a few Indian families practises this laughter session in Singapore then.

    Sean: Roughly what are the age group for those for attend such sessions?

    Mrs Bana: All age groups. Well, there are children as young as 7 and a half. Senior citizens are there, doctors are there, lawyers are there, business men and women are there, religious people, housewives are there. There are so many people from different walks of life.

    Sean: How do you think laughter can be spread in Singapore?

    Mrs Bana: How? That's the question. Well, become a teacher. Becoming a teacher you teach and spread laughter in Singapore. I teach in Tampanies and also at Hougang. At Hougang they have "chi gong", brisk walking, they have laughter and other sorts all combined together. But Tampanies is off and on, it is not regular.

    Sean: How popular do you think laughter therapy is to Singaporeans?

    Mrs Bana: It is more popular now, producing results. But still, more time is needed. Still Singaporeans refuse to laugh. They say why we should laugh. They usually just cover their mouth and laugh. That is a difficulty. For older citizens, it is not so easy to make them laugh. For youngsters, it is easier. We're trying our best (to promote laughter). And some of them don't understand English. We must make them understand that laughter is like deep breathing. They should do it every now and then.

    Sean: We have now come to the end of the interview. Thank you very much for your time.

     


     
     


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