Singapore’s senior citizens

DSCN7603DSCN7603I saw him quietly mopping the floor at a shopping mall. It was 9 pm. Every now and then he would stop to take a breather.

Curious, I asked him, “How many hours do you work?”

“From 8 am to 11 pm,” he replied.

Before I could mentally work out how many hours that would be, he spat out, “15 hours!” He didn’t seem to be in the mood for a chat.

Later at a coffee shop I asked another elderly cleaner whether cleaners really worked 15 hours a day.

“Why not? I know of people who work 15 hours a day. Perhaps it has something to do with his family members,” she said.

It’s distressing that affluent Singapore can’t look after its elderly poor.


7 Responses to “Singapore’s senior citizens”

  1. Truly distressing! And in today’s Straits Times (June 24/09), a common occurence nowadays, a grandson kicked his grandmother because she refused to lend him a few hundred dollars to pay a gambling debt.

  2. Flip-flop: ‘occurrence’

  3. So it’s not surprising a letter-writer to the Straits Times has urged the govt to pass legislation to force children to support their parents! This is a cry of desperation. Seen in this context is it surprising so many of our elderly are still toiling away in their twilight years?

  4. Roger Poh: why not organise for some youngsters to step in for one round of cleaning and give the elderly cleaners a break… use the power of influence u have with yr frens?

    Btw, the 15 hour stint: is it normal or OT? Delve more into the info u were given n see how these oldies cld be given a deal that suits them yet not make them lose their jobs?

  5. I don’t think any of our nannied youngsters would subject themselves to what they see as a demeaning task. As my circle of friends belongs more to the senior citizen category, I don’t wield any influence with youngsters.

    I’m aghast as you with the 15-hour workday as I think it’s exploitive. Yes, I aim to find out how widespread the practice is.

  6. I’m not aghast. Just wanted to verify the circumstances for the 15 hrs total. Mum’s maid gets up at 6am n goes to bed at 10pm, which adds up to 16 hrs. But what’s unsaid is that in any day she swans around for a total of 5/6 hrs (not at a full stretch of cos), painting, making arts n crafts, sewing, on the fone n socialising with other maids at the condo, reading mags n newspapers etc… so, u shld ask yr old cleaners if they do nothing but clean, clean, clean for 15 hrs…

  7. Maids are better off than many of our own Singapore Seniors and I am told about this problem all the time.

    How many of our seniors will take the trouble to complain to the authorities that their bosses are exploiting them at the hawker centres.

    On the other hand, how many maids would rush to MOM to complain about maid abuse?

    Maids are in a much better position than our seniors. Streets of London? No, look homeward, angel!

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