Tan Kin Lian: calling on stingy government to give pension to elderly

To the observant, there’s one aspect of life in Singapore that will not escape their attention. And that is the army of older Singaporeans in their 60s to their 70s, some even in their 80s I’ve personally seen, toiling away in physically demanding jobs as cleaners and road-sweepers.

Having travelled in much of Asia, where respect and care of the elderly is a prevalent cultural trait, I’ve yet to see a similar situation elsewhere. In such places, it’s the young or middle-aged who work as cleaners and road sweepers not your elderly parents or grandparents.

It appears to me that in our blind pursuit of material wealth in Singapore, we have ignored filial piety towards the elderly. The government also has to shoulder part of the blame for not doing enough to take care of our elderly.

It has belatedly acknowledged the toil, sweat and tears of the elderly Singaporeans who helped to build Singapore. But its stinginess towards this group of people is well-known in sharp contrast to its generosity in awarding themselves the highest ministerial salaries in the whole world, and a generous pension to boot when they retire from office.

Traveling in China, I noticed how the elderly spend their golden years in excursions, outings and travel with their families, enjoying leisure activities in public parks, even in ball-room dancing! Looking at them, I couldn’t help comparing them with the sad plight of our seniors.

So I support Tan Kin Lian’s proposal to give our elderly a monthly pension to enable them to live out their golden years in dignity and ease. That’s what golden years is all about, isn’t it?

PM Lee has acknowledged the contributions of our seniors in building up Singapore but so far it’s just been words. When a Prime Minister does not mean what he says, over time his credibility will be affected.

Action not words, please.

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