Elderly poor in Singapore

After the mainstream media finally decided to publish a damning piece on elderly poverty in Singapore on 7 May, there has yet been any response from the government on how to help our elderly Singaporeans facing poverty.

The Channelnewsasia article “Ploughing on: The faces and insecurities of Singapore’s elderly working poor,” showed that the poverty rate among the working elderly increased from 13% in 1995 to 28% in 2005 to 41% in 2011. This article shows the ignorant and out-of-touch view of Minister Tan Chuan Jin who said “the normal perception that all cardboard collectors are people who are unable to take care of themselves financially is not really true” since about 41% of elderly working are in poverty.

It is already a shame that the elderly in Singapore have to work in such menial jobs in their golden years. The jobs that they are engaged in: cardboard collection, cleaning in coffeeshops, are all labour-intensive, bad for the back and are dangerous to the elderly who are prone to injury. To add insult to them, the working elderly are paid little and live in poverty.

The Singapore government should step up and do more for the elderly. It is a disgrace that a modern city like ours, which is experimenting with new technologies such as driverless cars, is treating its elderly citizens so badly. As former U.S. Vice President Hubert Humphrey puts it, “the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”

 

Shawn Lee

 

 

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31 Responses to “Elderly poor in Singapore”

  • PAP has the mandate:

    So simple the solution, i can tell you now, increase the GST from 7% to 10 % to pretend the increment will go to help the poor like the last increment but no statistics to show. The last increment went back into the million dollars PAP clowns pockets…hhahahahha… gong gong, daft and goodu stinkies are hopeless losers….if you want rights, fight for it yourselves. If you are gutless, then wait for your own extinction….hhahhaahah

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  • Regime change the only way:

    PAP has always been a self-serving party. It will not change. The only way for Singapore to have a more equitable and caring society is to throw the arrogant, greedy, self-serving and pro-alien PAP out of Parliament.

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  • Lye Khuen Way:

    In denial as usual. Very sad. It’s Mother’s Day but most elderly grandmothers will not be too happy with current cost of living and cost of dying.

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  • Heart of glass:

    Just return our CPF. Everyone will be happy to take care of ourselves better.
    Daylight robbers treating sgs like walking ATMs, syphoning out our hard $$to fund this n that in the name of medishield premiums etc etc .
    Even before we receive the payouts we receive cpf update letters each year n the payouts are getting less n less as what was calculated when we turned 55.
    Why must this cpf funds be pegged to inflation n market rates.
    There is so much going on that we dont know.
    Standard of living going up so fast but what do the citizens gain from it?
    Cant see any benefits.
    Sorry for this rant…im just a lowly peasant working hard and who never wants to go on any gov assistance.
    Many old folk feel the same if they can help it…

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  • rukidding:

    Seldom see PAP Grassrooters organising regular trips and visits to old folks home ,….I wonder why they are so active only in organising trips to durian farms in JB ?

    If Leeders are “crooked” and “cannot see what is good and what is bad” for future and present generations…..then I guess what these “crooked Leeers” would know and encourage are probably things like ….cutting ribbons, carrying babies, singing and eating on stage and excursions to farms and beaches ….with an occasionally one or picture of them “helping” the elderly carry their trolleys or baskets near wet markets or town center ?

    Isn’t these what PAP MPs are really good at ?

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  • Hor fun:

    Whatever it is welfare on a large scale is a very bad idea.

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  • opposition dude:

    Now that’s a surprise. A damning piece in the paper on the elderly poor. But it should come as no surprise that nothing is being done because all this nonsense has been around for years.

    All that will happen is yet another help scheme for the older generation which won’t be reaching out to them at all, just makes for a nice report and the perception that the government is doing something to address the problem.

    If the government really did care this problem would have been extinct a long time ago. Look at how fast and how much publicity the PGP got.

    You can always tell how enthusiastic the government is when it comes to policies and helping people. Something which needs to be done fast will be implemented really quickly. Things like raising the cost of water, transport fares, S&CC charges are all done extremely quickly and we all know that.

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  • Money always from tax payers:

    But the problem is the elderly are the most afraid of garment.

    Their face mostly turn pale when politics uttered by someone in coffee shop.

    One uncle felt so afraid he looked so uncomfortable, he started to sweat profusely when I complained about the Garmin.

    At first he talked loud and brave. Then I asked him his opinion about the CPF. His face frozen. Turned pale and he looked like he seen a ghost.

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  • Ah Peng Kia:

    Hor fun:
    Whatever it is welfare on a large scale is a very bad idea.

    We are not asking for welfare on a large scale. What reasonable Singaporeans want is help for the vulnerable so they can meet basic needs of life, and dignity in old age. When someone breaks a leg, they need a crutch to help them stay stable until the leg heals.

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  • LIONS:

    Besides his dictum of WHAT’S WRONG WITH COLLECTING MORE MONEY, LKY ‘s other infamous dictum is THE POOR ARE TOO GREEDY TO BR GIVEN HELP?

    Well,that lies the ANSWER to WHY IN FIRST WORLD SG where MINISTERS ARE PAID THE HIGHEST SALARIES in the world,COUNTLESS OF SGS INCLUDING AGED SICK are ignored NEGLECTED.

    Lky also said sgs must work till they drop dead.

    Can he be erected as “CARING” Father of Nation.
    If there is a referendum, i say NOPE!

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  • The poor must stay:

    Money always from tax payers: But the problem is the elderly are the most afraid of garment

    Quite correct – they are so worried they might lose the pathetic $250 handout, they will forever vote for incumbents. The PAP knows this, that’s why keeping 41% below the poverty line is to their advantage. That way the select elites perpetuate their Swiss Standard of living, within the gated compounds of their bungalows and soon, the only ones who can afford a car.

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  • Pioneers:

    We enjoy exercising in the food court.

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  • reminder to the 70%:

    Give the jobs back to the people and not the foreigner.
    Mr PM where are your priorities?
    If this goes on the suicide rate or the mentally ill cases will rise.
    No job , no self worth , no dignity, gives rise to depression etc.
    Do something before its too late.

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  • oxygen:

    WHEN THIS GENERATION with massive amount of (trapped) CPF savings cannot find subsistence survival in SINKIELAND, the next generation HAS GOT NO HOPE.

    So why the foack keep up the false optical illusion of wealth scam in that deceptive asset enhancement politics and also TRAPPED our CPF after 55?

    BOTH SERVES NO PRODUCTIVE USEFUL PURPOSE except entrapment of political oppression to servitude and mass enslavement of peasantry?

    OR PAPpy got another disingenuous or fabrication of misleading detour of rationalisation again of 1% truth, 99% lies, fantasy and propaganda?

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  • oxygen:

    @ Hor Fun

    VERY SIMPLISTIC THINKING there. Welfare is NOT perverse to economic development and growth – EVEN PAST TENSE acknowledged that it is worth exploring further. Read his farewell “biblical” writing – one man’s view of the world – said so. It is almost like death bed confession – his last chance of leaving his pearl wisdom to Sinkies who are still surviving him or survive beyond his own mortality.

    Hor fun: Whatever it is welfare on a large scale is a very bad idea.

    Face these hard facts – poverty is a barrier to employment recovery. Think along this line – without money, how to you go for courses for re-skilling or update your skills to re-enter employment?

    Secondly, without welfare pressure on budgets, PAPpys just coast along comfortably enriching their own pockets of ownself-cheque-ownself politics and FORGOT you (now unemployed) exists. There is no performance pressure on the government to deliver economic outcome to pay for this welfare “burden”. And it is precisely because of this negligent indifference to welfare and its pressure on performance, the PAPpy just find the easy route of eat-and-shit economy of pumping up the population size (via foreign influx to fortify their own vote bank in cover) to generate demand/consumption but no real long-term durable positive contribution to sustainable economic base in the future. The result of this fake economic pillar resting on housing/infrastructural spending boost is that it will soon run out of steam – the economy maxed out, restructuring failed and the Committee for Future Economy too embarrassed to own up the incumbent failed and also clueless of the direction forward.

    THE FINALITY IS SINKIELAND IS STUCK IN QUAGMIRE AND QUICKSAND OF SLIPPING INTO DECLINE NOW even as global economy seems perking up elsewhere. We are waiting for next disaster to strike and find ourself in sudden death collapse BECAUSE OF NO WELFARE FOR THE LAST 50 YEARS.

    The strident ANTI-WELFARE POLITIC ADVOCACY OF PAPpy has got hideous political agenda of their own self-preservation and political longevity. They take no responsibility for failed economic mismanagement whilst paying themselves salaries out of this world to justify that they are the best of public delusion – the population of peasants can be easily brainwashed of its legitimacy by PRAVDA SINKIELAND.

    IF SINKIELAND HAD WELFARE, I AM CERTAIN WE WON’T HAVE ENDED UP THIS TORRID MESS OF FEARFUL FUTURE AND FEAR OF TOTAL COLLAPSE AS OF NOW.

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  • LIONS:

    Since the govt cannot “afford” a bigger more decent budget for assisting our needy elderly sgs,may i humbly suggest to thr MSF minister,TAN CHUAN JIN,to propose to PARLIAMENT to DEBATE if we shud consider to CUT DOWN ON FT-SCHOLARSHIPS N USE THOSE $400 MILLION PLUS TAXPAYER MONEY to reallocate to helping our elderly poor instead?

    Maybe WP could second the MSF MINISTER in this matter?

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  • oxygen:

    @ Pioneers

    YOU KIDDING, MAT !!!E…..unless you can convince this forum that your “enjoyment” of “exercise in the food court” is better than SEX.

    Pioneers: We enjoy exercising in the food court.

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  • Anon:

    @Hor fun:
    ‘Whatever it is welfare on a large scale is a very bad idea’

    Taking care of the elderly in their twilight years is not about ‘charity’. It is about expressing GRATITUDE for the sacrifices the pioneer generation, every single one of them, made to enable Singapore to bootstrap itself to what it is today. You would not have a comfortable existence, enjoy proper schooling (which perhaps you did not quite fully take advantage of), enjoy the relative safety and security you take so much for granted, and the economic opportunities available if it were not for your elders deferring their self-gratification and forgoing any sense of entitlement to work ridiculous hours under the most dangerous conditions (have you ever tried standing on a single plank hung from the side of a ship for up to 12 hours grinding the welding and painting the sides in the hot sun for pittance? This is what many of your elders including myself did, in the shipyards in the 1960s. This is not just about our own bread and butter, but we understood that we could not fail because there would be adverse consequences for the country. However ridiculous it seemed, contracts had to be fulfilled even if it meant working 72 hours (yes you heard it right, 72 hours) continuously to meet our obligations. This is all for pride and for the sake of making Singapore industry attractive to the outside world.

    How easy it is for the younger generation to forget that they could have been working as construction workers in a foreign land just like the Chinese and Indians were it not for how, not just the leaders, but the ordinary people buckled down to make things happen. This Singapore was forged with the blood sweat and tears of the pioneer generation. You can have brilliant schemes, but without the willingness of the citizens all your wonderful ideas will come to naught.

    Living in UK now one is always struck by how much the Brits make of Remembrance Day; remembering the sacrifices of those men who gave their lives to secure the future of the nation. We may not have sacrificed our lives in the same way, but we did our share during the Indonesian Confrontation and the riots for instance.

    What do you younger generation know about those anxious times? All you may know come from books, archives that do not tell the full tale.

    And again, where do you think the Sovereign wealth funds came from if not initially extracted from the elderly on the pretext that it would come in handy on a rainy day?
    At $600 each per month, a state pension will not make a dent in the reserves. Indeed a rough estimate will show that the salary of a minister is roughly equivalent to providing for 200 pensioners.

    Finally, where is your Asian sense of respect and obligation to take care of the…

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  • Get What You Voted, Stupid:

    Regime change the only way:
    PAP has always been a self-serving party. It will not change. The only way for Singapore to have a more equitable and caring society is to throw the arrogant, greedy, self-serving and pro-alien PAP out of Parliament.

    All the prominent arse lickers got promoted to ministars recently.
    Pinky loves bootlickers and it’s now a fact.
    This country is down the drain, while evil Pappies get themselves filthy rich and performing lip service on educated dafts.

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  • Khaw dung:

    only one elderLEE was treated like king.

    he worked till he dropped dead by not working at all while collecting more money for himself.His mentoring was so poor that his disciples are now clowns especially the Clown Prince.

    he was MP but did not walk about and others from GRC covered his duties.
    perhaps that is why they insist on having GRC.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Anon

    MATE, THANKS FOR THAT GOOD EDUCATION you gave to @ Hor fun. Either @Hor fun is EITHER engaged in naive shallow pandering to PAPpynomics’ fake news economics of anti-welfare politics with its own concealed self-interest agenda or he is simply blindsighted of realities of a sheltered life or BOTH.

    Those retrenched PMETs and hardy pioneers paid a LOT OF TAXES in good times – both directly to IRAS and via backdoor tax through CPF scam of deception – but now useless of further contribution, they are thrown into the bins of discarded non-recyclables. Even the last shreds of survival bread is stolen from their reach – past 55, the CPF is stolen (yes you read is correctly, it is stolen by vile illegal practices of trusteeship laws contrary to statutory and common law applications) from their reach. Without welfare, they are reduced to abject poverty struggle of subsistence, dependency on unreliable children or “enjoy doing exercise under the hot sun” collecting cardboards and recyclables to pay for a meal. Meanwhile the HOUSE OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE DECORATIONS talks cawked, party on fake news and disingenuous regards for facts and realities of a failing country and economy and help themselves with the biggest welfare system EXCLUSIVE of ownself-cheque-ownself politics of self-rewarding of themselves and their cronies.

    Without the pioneers and discarded PMETs paid all those front door and backdoor taxes, THERE WON’T BE A WORLD CLASS CHANGI AIRPORT to pamper the natural and unnatural (corrupt cronies of PAPpys) aristocrats flying out from there for their annual vacations and a lifestyle funded from (indirectly) stolen CPF support in backing of their own exclusive welfare scam for the incompetent performance.

    THIS IS A LEGALLY CORRUPT POLITICAL ECONOMY.

    And the daft 70%? Oh, they are mostly too stupid to realize they are stupid to impossibility.

    Anon: Taking care of the elderly in their twilight years is not about ‘charity’. It is about expressing GRATITUDE for the sacrifices the pioneer generation, every single one of them, made to enable Singapore to bootstrap itself to what it is today. You would not have a comfortable existence, enjoy proper schooling (which perhaps you did not quite fully take advantage of), enjoy the relative safety and security you take so much for granted, and the economic opportunities available if it were not for your elders deferring their self-gratification and forgoing any sense of entitlement to work ridiculous hours under the most dangerous conditions

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  • jjj2:

    PAP is ruthless and scheming.

    MOM has been calling up retired under guise of survey but actually wanting to push them to go do work and top up CPF.

    Called my dad to conduct a dubious survey but subtly hinting why he not working! My dad is 70!!!!

    Then follow up call to ask if my dad has found work!!!

    F U PAPPY. Rid of compassion, the whole mind is just $$$.

    Few things:
    1. Give all jobs to FTs
    2. Many old folks not much CPF, so means many are liable to be jailed as CPF Life is mandatory
    3. Keep raising all sort of fees to fleece our CPF and bank account

    If you receive call from MOM for your dad, you know they are asking him to go wipe table and get money to top CPF! It’s not a survey, it’s a guise!

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  • 'blindly' throwing stimulus mo:

    //Whatever it is welfare on a large scale is a very bad idea.//

    aiyoh. similarly ‘blindly’ throwing stimulus money (tax and spend on your behalf) is also bad idea lar.

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  • l'ingenieur:

    They should just straight up ask the cardboard collectors who they voted in the last 5 GEs.

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  • conscience:

    For your information many countries give an allowances of some few hundred each mth to those above 60 .
    Hong Kong ,Taiwan,even the opposition state of Selangor in Malaysia to name a few.The allowances irrespective of the status of the person whether he/she is rich or poor.
    The allowances are to cover the basic needs and to reward them for the sacrifices over the yrs for the country.This allowances will generate the economy in return.
    Here the old,aged have to work till deaths……there is totally no shame in this PAP gagment and its controlled press/media who have not done its proper works instead praising the gagment sky high for ever things,and refuse to publish the plights of the poor, and marginalised.,low income groups.
    They have NO conscience despite massing one of the biggest fund GIC,TEMASEK in the world.
    They claim world class in many things ,but the treatment of the poor,and the low class citizens here ,are worse than the third world countries many times.
    Almost absolute power , PAP do what they like, and justify increases in many things and refuse to be transparent, and accountability.
    Even deaths of people due to cholera in gagmt hospital,NO transparency and accountability needed.
    NO sackings of those responsible,is just beyond belief.It show the deep state of decadent in running the country after many yrs in powers.
    IF NO accountability and transparency,then no need to give them powers to govern, vote as many of them out in next GE.

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  • Hor fun:

    @ Anon

    We might end up like the UK with rising social healthcare cost.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/society/2017/jan/31/take-care-of-your-elderly-mothers-and-fathers-says-tory-minister

    People should take care of their own parents instead of expecting the government to do it.

    “One of the things that has struck me is no one ever questions that we look after our children – that is obvious. No one says that is a caring responsibility, it is what we do,” David Mowat, junior Health Minister said.

    The comments come as the Local Government Association, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, claimed that the social care system was on the brink of collapse.

    Where is their Asian sense of respect and obligation of caring for their elderly parents?

    http://www2.tnp.sg/content/elderly-sporean-82-dumped-jb-he-among-other-older-singaporeans-abandoned-overseas

    Poor upbringing and not PAP is to be blamed for this.

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  • Do more:

    Do more for the elderly poor.
    Only right thing to do.

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  • James Lee:

    While it was a good move in the right direction to increase the food vouchers to S$100 from S$50 last season ,in honor of the contributions made by NS men both present and past,something more can however be offered to retired veteran NS men age 65 years and above who are living “hand to mouth” on a minute monthly payout from their CPF retirement account.Let’s not allowed the plight of these veterans who undoubtedly help protect our homeland during the crucial years of nation building after British withdrawal in 1968,sink deeper into oblivion.It is time for the government of modern and prosperous Singapore to do her part to honor and care for these veterans by:-
    -giving a monthly payment of S$500 to all retired NS veterans age 65 years and above to help raise and shore up their pathetic standard of living.
    -providing subsidized medicare with PG benefits.
    -transforming an army camp into a pleasant state of the art holiday destination for a 6days/5nights stay reserved for physically mobile veterans.

    As the saying goes… Actions speak louder than Words.What do you think?

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  • James Lee:

    The plight of the retired elderly is real.The government of modern and prosperous Singapore should not act as if she is in complete oblivion.The pledge which all true blue citizens of Singapore repeatedly recited for decades ended with the following phrase ” To build a democratic society based on justice and equality so as to achieve HAPPINESS,PROSPERITY and PROGRESS FOR OUR NATION.”

    For those who are sitting comfortably in the corridoor of power:-The plight of your elderly country men is on you hands,please do the needful to ensure that its does not get out of your hands.

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  • Public Transport Voucher:

    After GE2015: NO More!
    Afterall.. only $50.00 for 365days

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  • Public Bus & MRT Fare:

    60 year-old and all those on wheelchair: Fix at 60 cents per ride
    70 and older: FREE

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