Crowdfunded card game meant for elderly receives over 200 orders in two months

Crowdfunded card game meant for elderly receives over 200 orders in two months
Hua Hee creator Christel Goh (right), 26, seen playing the card game with her 80-year-old maternal grandmother Lily Teo. Photo: Playhuahee/Facebook via Christel Goh
Published: 5:45 PM, August 12, 2017
Updated: 4:05 PM, August 13, 2017

SINGAPORE — Two months after Christel Goh, 26, an assistant marketing manager, started an Indiegogo campaign for Hua Hee (Hokkien for “happy”), a heritage card game originally intended for dementia patients, she has already received orders from large healthcare organisations, educational institutions as well as retailers.

Goh was inspired to design the game after her maternal grandmother showed early signs of dementia late last year. Her grandfather — also on her maternal side — was officially diagnosed with dementia more than five years ago.

Hand-drawn and featuring popular Singapore icons like kueh lapis and tingkat, Hua Hee comes in two packs: One set, to be played as a matching game, contains 44 cards with 22 designs, while the Hua Hee Snap edition has 52 cards with four different designs. Both sets are suitable for groups of two to four people to play.

On May 29, Goh launched a crowdfunding campaign and raised US$3,048 (S$4,155).

Although the sum raised was only 61 per cent of her goal, Goh has already received over 200 orders for the game so far. About one-fifth are from organisations like the National University Hospital, ITE College Central, Tsao Foundation, Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home and Alexandra Health.

An online retail platform Irisada, which sells products for individuals with special needs, will be offering the Hua Hee card game from next week. It will be among over 500 products available for sale from around the world on the online retailer.

Irisada co-founder Tara Teo, 34, said Hua Hee would be a good fit for the platform.

Like many of the products on their site, Teo found that Goh’s card games had potential to benefit various special needs groups.

“Because essentially it’s a card game, children with autism can also (benefit from) these types of educational products in their day-to-day therapy.

“The Hua Hee cards are quite big pieces so it’s quite good for them to hold... Teachers, therapists or parents can use it to play games and help children (with speech issues) to help develop their speech using local contextual icons,” said Teo, a mother of two who is currently based in Norway.

Besides Irisada, Hua Hee can also be bought directly from Goh through email or Facebook for S$16 for Hua Hee Match and S$18 for Hua Hee Snap.

Hua Hee will also be available across homegrown lifestyle retailer Naiise’s website and various outlets, priced at S$29 (Hua Hee Match) and S$31 (Hua Hee Snap).

The card games have also seen interest from others besides those catering to special needs individuals. Vivi Voon, 34, who teaches at ITE College Central, bought 10 sets from Goh.

Voon intends to use for team-bonding events with a group of about 60 student members — some as young as 17 years old — belonging to the school’s Care & Repair Club.

“It’s challenging for them to remember the cards. It’s testing their memory, it’s very good (for them),” said Voon who has been teaching at the school for over five years.

Goh is currently in talks with other volunteers and organisations who are interested to buy them in bulk. For instance, Youth Corps Singapore has expressed interest in getting about 100 sets for an upcoming inter-generational event called We Are Stronger Together, held in Chinatown on Nov 4, that will involve around 150 elderly and 250 youth volunteers.

Previously only available in English, the cards were recently translated to Mandarin by Goh, who is open to requests to add different languages for bulk orders. 

“I’m encouraged by the response but I also feel that Singapore is not an easy market because in general, people care more about investing in their children’s future than in their elderly parents,” said Goh.