Tan Chuan Jin on his encounter with elderly cleaners and vagrants
Posted by temasektimes on July 7, 2012
Singapore elderly working as cleaners, collecting cardboards in the streets and begging on the roads is a common sight in Singapore nowadays as an increasing number of them fell into hard times due to lack of a comprehensive social safety net.
Though Singaporeans have the highest saving rates in the world, the bulk of them are locked in their CPF accounts which cannot be drawn out, leading to many elderly to continue working in their twilight years.
Minister of National Development Tan Chuan Jin had an encounter with a beggar and a cleaner lately which he shared as a note on his Facebook.
“Saw an uncle begging from table to table, gesticulating that he needed money for food. He was neatly and cleanly dressed. I spoke to him, asking him where he stayed, if he needed help. Initially he acted as if he could not speak or understand. I started asking him where he stayed, if he needed assistance…seemed to understand and started to walk away and waved me good-bye!” Mr Tan wrote.
He added that he knew a few vagrants and “a number do not want to be put in homes as they prefer to eke out their own living and be flexible on where they go and stayed.”
Mr Tan also spoke to a 72 year old cleaner who ‘chose’ to work:
“I asked him if his children were supporting him and why he was working. He said that he would be bored if he stayed home and if he could still work, he would rather still continue to do so.”
PAP leaders have been urging Singaporeans to work as long as they can so that they can continue to support themselves financially and not become a burden to the state.