PM Lee’s promise to help the pioneer generation: another of his beloved lip service promises?

The Singapore Tourist Promotion Board’s tag line is “Uniquely Singapore”. Perhaps, “Ironically Singapore” is closer to reality. In one of the wealthiest countries in the world, the sight of elderly Singaporeans toiling away in menial and backbreaking jobs is common.

PM Lee in his National Day Rally Speech 2013, in a rare display of sympathy, dubbed this older generation of Singaporeans the “pioneer generation”. With his penchant for lip service and airy-fairy declarations, many doubt if he will do anything concrete to help this generation.

After all he expressed similar sentiments at his Swearing-in Ceremony two years ago. Your word must be your bond or you will suffer deep distrust from people is my firm belief.

Unlike PM Lee who luxuriates in his ivory tower and goes everywhere chauffeured and escorted by a huge retinue of security people and therefore rarely meets the common people, being the ordinary Singaporean I come across the pioneer generation daily. When a person is born with a silver spoon, he can never empathise with those living in poverty.

Most of the pioneer generation still toil as cleaners, and often I seize the chance to chat with them to
learn more about their daily struggles to stay afloat financially.

My el cheapo bicycle, bought from NTUC (special offer, SGD$99), pales beside NParks’ Brompton bicycles generously purchased with taxpayers money ($2200 each) but it has taken me into the nooks and corners of the HDB heartland.

The other day on a trip to Ang Mo Kio, I came across this very elderly member of the pioneer generation (see picture below). After pushing her 10 kg cart around the neighbourhood collecting cardboard and trash, she was resting in the void deck.

I stopped and chatted with her. At 92, she’s still working to earn a few dollars to survive.

I asked her about family. She said her son had been ill for three years, and unable to work. Twice a day, she makes her rounds.

AMK is PM Lee’s constituency by the way. His heartless regime pays themselves the highest salaries in the world, a feat worthy of an entry in Guinness Book of World Records.

His regime has ignored the plight of the elderly poor, seeing them as an unnecessary burden on the state. Indeed, PM Lee once derided them
as the “silver tsunami”.

As if to make amends and in response to public disquiet over government inaction, PM Lee now charitably describes them the “pioneer generation”. Let’s see if he does anything concrete and substantial to help this generation.

Or is this yet another of his promises to be filed under “My lip service promises”?

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The pioneer generation: at 92, she is toiling away to make ends meet, thanks to a heartless and self-serving government.

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