Singapore elderly toil and slog it out in retirement

My Chinese educated retiree friends on their return from holidaying in China often enthused about the benefits the retirees there enjoy.

For example, they learned that retirees either pay a subsidized rate or free travel on public buses throughout the day. “In Singapore, our retirees above 60 pay subsidized rates only outside peak hours,” they fumed.

And they also pointed out that many Chinese retirees get a pension of 1500 yuan which is quite substantial.

So on a recent visit to Shanghai, a resident asked me about our CPF scheme.In turn I asked him how much Shanghai retirees got from their government.

He said that it ranged from US 500 to US 5000. I was incredulous and asked him to repeat the figures.

Making a sweep of his hand, he said, “See all those elderly people here in the park? They are enjoying their golden years, playing mahjong, dancing, singing, flying kites, fishing, in the park. Do your elderly enjoy life like this?”

I sighed and said, “Most of them still have to toil in their retirement.”

It depended on a person’s last job but the least was US 500. The higher a person’s salary before retirement, the higher his pension the Shanghainese explained.

Who qualified for the US 5000 pension I asked. He replied” “War veterans”.

I asked him, “Do employees need to make any contributions during their working life.”

He replied, “No, the pension money comes from the employer and the government.”

China has the world’s largest ageing population. More than 185 million Chinese were 60 or older by the end of 2011, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Although verification is needed on this subject, the inescapable impression is that, say what you will about the Chinese government, in China the elderly are taken better care of than in Singapore.

A PAP Minister even suggested sending our elderly to nursing home in JB where costs are lower!

In contrast, the Chinese government has decided that most of its elderly population should grow old at home and have sufficient care services.

There are thousands of elderly poor in Singapore struggling with the high cost of utilities, medical treatment, transport and daily necessities. But the government balk at giving generous help out of fear it will foster a crutch mentality or, worse, usher in an era of welfarism.

In Beijing, all residents above 80 get coupons worth 100 yuan a month to subsidise daily necessities or services including haircuts and hiring domestic help.

It’s the toil and sweat and sacrifices of your parents, now mostly in their 60s to 80s, who largely laid the foundations of modern Singapore, it must always be remembered.

But the PAP government would rather vote themselves million-dollar salaries than spend on the elderly.

Shame on them! Great, great shame!

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Chinese retirees painting in public parks

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Chinese retirees love to dance in public parks

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3 Responses to “Singapore elderly toil and slog it out in retirement”

  1. Our island is land-scarce. Non productive people should make themselves scarce to free up the space for more productive migrants to enhance our GDP.
    Our ministers benefit tremendously from our meritocracy where rare talents have to be paid stratospherically or they will leave to benefit American investment banks. Having gotten these talents into government, it will be a waste of their potential to get them to work on a scheme benefiting the elderly instead of increasing the GDP, on which their bonuses depend on.

  2. Right in Singapore’s own backyard we have LKY, a prime example of what it means to work with dignity even at the age of 88+. with a nice MP allowance plus life time pension. In fact he is given the option to delegate MPS duties to those in his GRC and he attends parliament at his own discretion. The retirees in Singapore should look to him as inspiration to continue working and not compare with those in PRC. Eventually Singapore will get there whereby every retiree can be more or less like LKY, they just have to show some patience and place their trust in PM Lee…..

  3. I don’t know what scares and disgusts me more: the idea that people might not see the two earlier comments as sarcasm, or the idea that they weren’t meant that way. When a (officially) Communist dictatorship known for its corruption takes better care of its people than a self-proclaimed Westminster-style parliamentary republic, one must have a high degree of contempt for the rulers of that ‘republic’, to match the contempt in which they obviously hold the people and national legacy in their care. Absolute power, corruption, and all that.


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