Tan Chuan Jin: Elderly who work do not want ‘assistance’ from government
Posted by temasektimes on July 8, 2012
Singapore elderly who are still working in their twilight years do not want assistance from the government and Singaporeans should show some respect to them, declared Minister for National Development Tan Chuan Jin on his Facebook.
Mr Tan had earlier shared his encounter with elderly workers – a cleaner and a vagrant picking cardboards for a living on his Facebook which sparked an intense debate among netizens.
In the face of mounting criticisms from some netizens that the government is not doing enough to care for the nation-builders, Mr Tan said that some of the elderly he met don’t want assistance while they are still able to work:
“I know that many feel very sorry for old folks who are working. And I do believe some of them do labour under trying conditions…no kids or kids not supporting them…not enough savings. I have met some when I chat with them and even amongst my residents. Funny enough, for these who do work because they have no choice, there is a fierce streak of pride and self respect in them. At least for a number I have met. They don’t want assistance while they can still work.”
Mr Tan added that many Singapore elderly are working because they prefer to stay ‘active’ and urged Singaporeans not to feel sorry for them:
“A number have actually shared that they work because they prefer to stay active. Question is should we feel sorry for them because it seems pitiful to us? Or should we respect them?”
When challenged by a netizen that the government should be doing more to help them, Mr Tan countered with the usual PAP rhetoric that Singaporeans should be doing their ‘part’ instead of whining and complaining:
“Truth is, all of us can reach out. Or we can just gripe. I know what I prefer to do. I can’t change the negativity that comes with each and any posting or action…..Imagine this, if everyone of us, each day, decide to reach out to just one person in need. Society changes. Just pay it forward. Pay and pay :)”
[Source: Tan Chuan Jin’s Facebook]
Unlike other First World countries, Singapore does not have a comprehensive social safety net for its elderly population, the majority of whom have to depend on their meagre CPF savings which have already been used to pay for their over-priced HDB flats for their golden years, resulting in many having to continue working to support themselves.