Some ministers said that it is a good idea for elderly people to continue to work, rather than to idle at home or at the void decks of their HDB flats. By working, they can stay healthier and live longer.
This statement ignores the experience in other countries where the retirees had more options to live their life. For example,
a) In Hong Kong and China, many retirees spend their mornings in yumcha restaurants or exercising in the parks or in other social activities.
b) In the western countries, many retirees are able to do volunteer work or be actively engaged in some hobbies or social activities.
In these countries, the retirees receive a modest pension that is sufficient for them to live on. Some have personal savings that can give them a fairly good lifestyle.
It is quite sad that many of the elderly in Singapore do not have personal savings (as they receive inadequate wages when they were young) and they do not receive a state pension when they are old. They have to continue to work to earn a small income to live on. Many of them have to do heavy physical work, such as cleaning and in security work.
Many other elderly people, especially those who are not well educated, do not have any alternative lifestyle or hobby to live on. After retirement, they do not know how to spend their time, apart from idling or watching television.
Although these are some associations that cater to the needs of retirees, they do not seem to reach out to many people. We need to develop more options for the retirees.