Friday, August 27, 2010

Active Ageing Index and the plight of the elderly (Letter to Forum Page Editor)

Hi Friends,
The following was sent to the Forum Page Editor.
Awaiting publication ( if approved)

The Editor,
XXX Forum page

I refer to the article “Not-so-golden years for the elderly in Singapore”.

The report by Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) academics confirmed what most of us had long suspected. Amongst the elderly surveyed those who scored high for active ageing ranged from a low 5 percent for those aged 65 to 69 and decreasing further to a dismal 1 percent for those aged 75 and above. One in five felt that they had insufficient income for living.

As pointed out by Mr. Gerard Ee, chairman for the Council for Third Age, the plight of our elderly is worse than our neighbors’ as Singapore does not have a country-side for our elderly to escape to and they have to contend with the rising cost of living like the rest of us.

How many times have we said to ourselves when we see an elderly sweeping the condominium grounds or wiping the table at the food court that it is just not right that in “First world” Singapore, the elderly are not benefiting from nor sharing the fruits of Singapore’s prosperity.

How can our welfare safety nets be so porous that so many of these elderly- who had helped build up the economy, are falling through them in droves and are now left to fend for themselves?

I feel that not enough is being done for our elderly poor. I would not be unhappy if funds presently allocated to big-ticket items like the YOG had been channeled to alleviate the plights of this increasing underclass. Real help is needed – not tokenisms.

Only when our elderly have an opportunity to experience truly “golden years” can we say that we have arrived as a nation.

Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan


Anonymous said...

I think a lot of Singaporeans will feel that it is the old people's own damn fault that they are poor and have no savings and therefore need to collect scraps or clean tables to scrape by, and it is unfair for other people to have to subsidise them. Many Singaporeans subscribe to meritocracy and 'survival of the fittest' - I am doing well because I am capable while you are starving because you deserve it for being lazy/lousy. Welfare has always sounded like a dirty concept of giving free money to lazy good-for-nothing people. Many Singaporeans will not be easily convinced of any need for safety net.

nofearSingapore said...

You have mentioned Sgporeans do not care what happens to these elderly old as "they deserve it" and that this is how a meritocracy works.
Is this also your view?

Anonymous said...

lee kuan yew say we must work as long as we are healthy. till 100 years old ???????????????????????????


Anonymous said...

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett think fellow US billionaires should donate most of their vast fortunes to charity -- and they revealed Wednesday that 40 are set to do just that.

i am not sure if this is yet another show?? but i guess they are sincere.

the point is can our ministers like lee kuan yew and lee sian long also do the same as them????

even if it let say it is a show...will thay dare to show??????

if they dare to do this i agree to let them take millions in salary, even i object minister taking pay in million. but at least in the end they will donate back most omney again.

and i will agree as well to work till we die. since minister are setting good example by donating most of their money.

and further more bill gates and buffet work in private company they no need even to donate a cent also can it is their money.

our minister salary is tax money take so high and not sure how much of their fortune they will donate eventually. and some more ask people to work till very very old still cannot retire.

not fair.

Anonymous said...

Me listens to FM 95.8 everyday, now i am very sicken by the incessant portrayals of Singaporeans in difficulties, students short of pocket money, old folks unable to care for themselves and charities wishing to hit targets of multi-millions. Listeners are asked to donate generously with heart rending stories and pleas. The station DJs did their best to pull at the heart strings. Similarly, the Tv Stations are doing likewise.

Every weekend and even on weekdays, there are always volunteers and charity workers hounding at mrt stations, market/hawker centres and shopping complexes for donations as well.

As a Singaporeans, me feels terribly ashame at all these donation drives. First it shows that there are a huge proportion of the population living subsistently, secondly, it also reflects that the Government is leaving the poor to the other citizens. The greatest shame however, is that the parliamentarians and the very successful businessmen are paying themselves and making lots of sinful money. If only they pay themselves 50% less and businessmen pay their low pay employees a little more and make less profits from essential goods and services, they will be more than able to make the people less poor and if their extravagant pays and profits are channel to help the poor, there should be more than sufficient funds.

Unfortunately, Singaporeans and visitors to Sin do know that there needs an awakening of consciences from the leaders as well as corporate social duties from the bosses of the commercial houses.

I like to say that me does not see any hope of changes soon and like many other fellow countrymen who are hoping for events to jolt the country and its' leadership, the Words from SM Goh Chok Tong and his Colleagues in the Cabinet need a big jolt for as it is now, they are like stones and woods if not numb in their. THEY HAVE YET TO FULFILL THEIR POLITICAL DUTIES IN MANAGING THE PEOPLE.


nofearSingapore said...

Hi patriot old friend,
Last weekend- I saw 2 incidences that made my heart bleed!
1. At Yishun Northpoint- an elderly lady - who looked at least 80 years old ( actually older) was sweeping the floor! She should not need to work at that age! If her family cannot ( or will not) look after her, the state should! Come on!
2. At Holland Close- an elderly lady ( at least 70years) was rummaging through the rubbish to get whatever she could to ( maybe) sell for a few bucks!
I wanted to speak to her but hesitated initially, but when I saw her again when I drove my car out of the multi-story carpark, I stopped the car, ( picked up my courage) and called her, " Auntie- I have something for you". She looked at me ( a total stranger) and asked ( in Hokkien), " No lah- Why?". I insisted and gave her the $20 in my wallet and left quickly before she could return it ( or before I started crying).

The ST rejected ( or ignored my letter) but I will write another stinker soon and send to other papers till Singaporeans know that amongst our midst, are the poor, the forgotten, the neglected.

People who are strangers in their own land!

Patriot- I know you understand how I feel!

Dr Huang

Anonymous said...

Dear Kind Doctor Huang;

we certainly shared much in common in our observations and sentiments.

Me has always wish that some of our political leaders could have behave like You, Dr Lily Neo and some of the other notable bloggers like Lucky Tan(Diary of a Singaporean Mind) and Redbean aka Chua Chin Leng of My Singapore News and others.

Dr Huang, You are one Singaporean that is doing your best to contribute to our society. Me has no doubt that your efforts must have done good for many a fellow countrymen. Me am sure You will play your positive role for as long as the needs are within your knowledge and you will contribute your utmost.

Me feels good just by getting to know You All in Cyberspace and do hope that other Singaporeans will be inspired.

Wish You good health and happiness.


The Pariah said...

CPF Board mission statement: to ensure that "Singaporeans have a secure retirement".

CPF savings = PERSONAL retirement nest-egg savings

CPF LIFE Annuity = POOLED risk sharing.

How is it "pooled"?

Members with bigger CPF savings who die sooner boost the monthly pay-out to members with minimal CPF savings who die later.

As CPF web-site proclaimed: Monthly pay-outs from CPF LIFE Annuity depend on (A) Mortality Rate and (B) Interest Rate.

NOTE: MAS only use Exchange Rate as monetary tool, NOT Interest Rate.

Nearly 40% of us are Singles/Divorced/Widowed - so I reckon the percentage who would opt for the Income Plan of CPF Annuity would not be insignificant. If this group dies between ages 55-65 or not long after age 65, all their CPF savings go into the melting pot!

"Tolong" (Help), fellow Singaporeans, pls don't live too long - for each other's sake.

The Pariah