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24 Dec 2019  (991 Views) 
Ministry of Social & Family Dev

Spawn more employment opportunities for our pioneer generation

Last Friday morning I chanced upon an elderly female on the sidewalk at Victoria Street. She asked me for directions to Coleman Street in order to attend a job interview.

I gestured to her the routes. However she did not appear to fully comprehend my explanations. To assuage her anxiety, I offered to walk her from Victoria Street to her place of interview. I learnt from this 65 years old lady that she was recently retrenched from her company. She was displaced by another new employee of Vietnamese nationality; a 26 years old female for the office cleaning job.

Deprived of a livelihood, she was very desperate to seek employment elsewhere. While our pioneer generation often indulge in recreational activities to while away their time, we believe that it would even be better that they continue working for as long as possible thus further contributing to our society.

As long as they are physically healthy, our elderly should be offered employment opportunities. This is premised on the condition that the jobs are part-time ones, not too stressful and specially designed to cater to this group of populace. In today’s context, jobs still hold special significance to elderly.

1) Elderly are able to derive some incomes for basic sustenance without having to completely rely on their children hence lessening their burden and the nation’s social welfare system.

2) The wages earned can be used to pay for their medical costs which can be rather exorbitant. Besides monetary remuneration, a job can help them to spend their time meaningfully. Loquacious elderly languishing at coffee shops in HDB neighbourhoods and other public spaces is a ubiquitous sight to behold.

Some however elect to stay cloistered at home, totally oblivious to their external environment which over time descending into dementia and other mental ailments.

3) Also the role of a job is of paramount importance since it plays a pivotal role in redeeming an individual’s dignity. People derive their self-esteem and meaning in life from their occupations. Nowadays there are plenty of elderly who are in fact highly educated. Our society can certainly tap onto their expertise instead of allowing them to waste away.

In a nutshell, it is imperative that our employers shoulder on the national responsibility of creating ample suitable employment for our pioneer generation.

We should explore having more social enterprises to achieve the above goal. A very good example is the social enterprise Eighteen Chef restaurant chain.

The entrepreneur cum Chef Benny Se Teo conceived the idea of employing ex-convicts, Similarly, Singapore can also spawn more social enterprises that exclusively provide employment for our Pioneer Generation. Our elderly must never be discriminated by employers.

Employment would certainly add value and be of tremendous benefit to them. By working part time and indulging in their other personal pursuits simultaneously, the quality of their twilight years would be greatly enhanced. This would enable them to stay mentally lucid and healthy.


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