Sunday, November 23, 2014

Singapore's Pioneer Generation Don't Want To Stop Working

Recently, Singapore citizens who were born before before 31 Dec 1949 were accorded the status of Pioneer Generation by the Singapore government. This group of over-65 baby boomers received several perks and privileges such as on healthcare and transportation costs.
According to the government, Singapore owes its success to their stoic, conservative and hardworking nature, their endurance of hardship, their determination to ensure that their children receive a good education and are inculcated with the right values. But now that they are old, we would think that they would be contented to retire and have a good rest. However:

Yesterday, in the elevator, I met the lady who sells fresh chicken meat in the market. I asked her why every time I pass by, her stall is closed. She said she spent three weeks in the UK, with her son who has a Masters in Engineering from Imperial College on a government scholarship and is now working for a multinational corporation in London .She still wishes to sell chicken every day although she says her son does send money each month. My barber has a son who is now working for Singapore's Infocomm Development Authority, after graduating from Georgia Institute of Technology on a government scholarship and his son gives him 600 dollars a month as pocket money. He still wants to stand from 0800 hr to 1900 hr attending to customers. He says apart from the fact that 600 dollars is just enough to pay the house utilities, and food and transport, the boredom of not working would kill him.
Yes, we all want to keep on working. To retire with an adequate standard of living in Singapore we would need a million dollars! LOL. But more importantly, working keeps you active mentally and mental health and physical health have very high correlation. It also makes you feel useful, though I don't know why I would want to feel useful at this age. This must be some innate human trait conditioned by years of humans living as communities evolving inter-dependencies vital for survival as a species.
Unfortunately, not all who want to work and are prepared to accept lower remuneration are given the opportunity. It is a pity because there is a big difference between the Pioneer Generation and the generation before it. My father's generation was content to retire at age 55 and to spend most of the time resting, but we are still working and exercising and playing music.

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