Former presidential candidate Mr Ng Kok Song’s “formula” for longevity has taken to the global stage in a massively viral TikTok video.
A video posted by Ng on his TikTok account on Aug 13 titled The Secret To Staying Healthy At 75 details his approach to staying mentally and physically fit in the later stages of life.
“I have a formula, and the formula has got this acronym called Shield,” Ng begins in the clip uploaded about four weeks after he announced his presidential bid.
“S: Sleep. Seven hours,” explains the 75-year-old former chief investment officer of sovereign wealth fund GIC.
“H: How to handle stress?” he continues, citing meditation as an example.
Ng explains that “I” stands for “interaction”, and promotes engaging in conversations and building relationships.
“What’s the E? Exercise,” Ng says, “Every day I either play a bit of tennis, a bit of golf. Nine holes of golf, I walk the course. I try to swim, and I do gardening.”
“Just do a bit of each, every day,” he adds.
Ng then reveals that he had been picking up video editing skills as an example of “L” for ‘learn”.
As for “D”, Ng highlights the importance of regulating one’s “diet”, such as through the moderation of carbohydrate intake.
“Low sugar, and plenty of fruits and vegetables,” he concludes.
The video has attained international virality, attracting more than 3.6 million views, 162,000 likes, and 1,428 comments as of Thursday (Nov 2) afternoon, and was featured on overseas media outlets recently, such as Daily Mail in the United Kingdom and other lifestyle content sites.
Many comments on the video, mostly from users who appear to be outside of Singapore, thanked Ng for his succinct, yet valuable advice.
Interestingly, most of the commentors did not seem to be aware of his presidential bid or background, which were also not mentioned at all in the Daily Mail report.
One TikTok user wrote: “Better than a doctor’s visit!”
“Awesome lifestyle from a prominent senior citizen. Follow his advice for healthy, wealthy retirement days. Thank you, sir,” wrote another.
Addressing several comments poking fun at Ng’s age, a top comment wrote: “He has a lot of good wisdom to share. I don’t know why people comment about his age like it’s a bad thing.”
After his presidential election run earlier this year, Ng appears to have kept up to these principles, as seen from his recent TikTok videos where he regularly shares life advice and documents meet-ups with friends.
In another TikTok video posted on Oct 23, Ng even teases the upcoming launch of a “meditation series”, which appears to focus on meditation as a way to improve mental health.
Ng had also taught Christian meditation to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
In an interview with New York Times in 2010, Mr Lee said that he started meditating about two to three years before after noticing that Ng looked “completely serene” despite his wife’s death. Both Ng and his late wife meditated every day.
This was later highlighted during Ng’s run for the presidency, where he further encouraged youths to practise meditation to address mental health issues.
Describing mental health as an issue he is “very passionate” about, Ng added that tackling youth’s mental health challenges would be crucial to Singapore’s future success.
In his most recent TikTok video, Ng shares a snippet of a video call with a neurology and Alzheimer’s specialist, Dr Rudolph Tanzi from Massachusetts General Hospital in the United States, who first coined the Shield acronym in his research to improve cognitive function and protect against age-related decline.
Ng said he had read Tanzi’s books and adapted the acronym into his lifestyle, before sharing it in his now-viral video.
In the 53-second clip, Tanzi thanks Mr Ng for helping grow Shield’s popularity and discusses the origins of the formula.
“Shield your brain with that acronym,” Tanzi concludes.
“It is heartening that so many of you guys have picked up on my version of it and helped spread this life-saving message,” Ng writes in the video captions.
This story was originally published in TODAY.