Jan 15, 2011

Singapore's Official Retirement Age To Be Extended

The Straits Times makes me cringe. The subtlety of their propagandising is so lacking that it makes the hairs on my arms stand. I mean, really. The hairs literally stood up, as I read the article below.
ST Jan 15, 2011
Singaporeans welcome new retirement age of 65

EVERYONE looks forward to retirement, but many Singaporeans still feel capable of working beyond the age of 62, so many rejoiced at the government's recent announcement of lifting the retirement age to 65.
Singaporeans "welcome" the new retirement age? They "rejoiced" at this?

Where are the parties? Where are the celebrations? Where are the big balloons and waving flags and smiling happy faces? Where, at least, are the survey results to show that Singaporeans are happy with their retirement age being stretched to 65?

They don't exist. All the Straits Times did was scurry around for to find a few people to interview. The journalist managed to find a grand total of two Singaporeans, who would say something moderately nice about working in your old age.

Based on that, the Straits Times boldly declares that "Singaporeans Welcome New Retirement Age at 65"! And that we are "rejoicing". Owwww. Down, my hairs, down.
Ramesh Prakash Sharma, 66, is so good at his job that when he turned 62, he was given a promotion instead of being asked to retire. His company Qioptiq, an optics manufacturing company, made him a Technical Mentor to show younger employees the ropes. He says: 'I love my job. Optic is in my blood.'

Under the new Retirement and Re-employment Act passed in Parliament on Tuesday, employees who turn 62 will now be given the option to work for another three years. The new re-employment law will be in place from January 2012 and will affect some 20,000 workers.

Another gainfully employed sexagenarian is Elizabeth Hendriks, a 63-year-old steward with Fairmont Singapore who has never missed a day of work in her 13 years with the organisation.

She says she is happy with her job as it keeps her active, and she has only taken 2 days of medical leave in the last 5 years.
Come to think of it, neither Ramesh nor Elizabeth (as quoted above) actually said that they welcomed the government's new policy. Instead both just said that they love their own jobs.

I guess the Straits Times could not actually find any Singaporean who would say, 'Yes, I welcome the official extension of the retirement age to 65, and I rejoice in this!".

Most Singaporeans probably do understand the real significance of the retirement age extension. Later it will just become a political excuse to further delay the full withdrawal of your own CPF savings.


Kaffein said...

Hit the nail on the head. In fact I told my wife the same thing - the journalism level has gone down to a new low and full of 'sh*tty' propaganda.

Yesterday I read with disdain in the ST titled somewhere along 'Singapore gaining fast to be freest economy'. What gutter journalism! If Singapore had been ranked 10th but has risen in ranks to be #2, why yes, Singapore is indeed gaining momentum.

But Hong Kong has been in the #1 spot for 17 straight years! Please don't over-sell ourselves with gaining fast to be freest economy! Why the propaganda? All ST needs to report is 'Hong Kong world's freest economy. Singapore comes in second.'

No need to be so arrogant but give credit to those who performed well.


Anonymous said...

Why the mainstream media function and act the way they did is understandable and to be expected.

So I think it is a non issue.

Why? For the same reasons as to what is in a person's resume in applying for a job. Do you expect anything negative at all?

So why expect the mainstream media to be different?

And so what? But anyway and after all, PAP is assured again of winning at least 2/3 majority at the next elections.

How I know? Just look at the opposition and signs of prosperity everywhere. Just like looking at the tail will roughly tell you what kind of animal already.

Amused said...


MSM is fundamental to democracy. Generations of Singaporeans have been molded to think and behave in a rather unique way. By saying that it is a "non issue," you are one typical Singaporean! You will be surprised that you are in the (extremely rare) minority among the citizens of developed countries throughout the world.

I won't go into the TOC saga but the powers-that-be understand the importance of MSM, unlike the typical "daft" Singaporeans! (Sorry guys.)

Anonymous said...

I always give Straits Times a miss everyday unless I have come to know about of an important new article that I think I cannot miss.

The reason is that most of the Straits Times' articles are largely bias to a side. From what I notice this since many years ago, most of the time, Straits Times would not publish article to show what’s happening in real life if it hurt the reputation of its political master.

Housing price is one good example. If not have been the new media that tells me what happening on the ground, I would not know that HDB is affordable base on the 30 years loan period which is known to be unaffordable under international standard.

Anonymous said...

"The reason is that most of the 'Straits Times' articles are baised to a side"

Hahaha, I think you are being diplomatic. To me it is a one sided propaganda rag, through and through.That's the reason why I got rid of it long ago, because reading it makes my blood pressure rise. Bad for health!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Mr Wang,
the same can be of the Chinese "Night Paper" in 13jan where they are highlight all five commoners who against minimum wages. There is no totally no critical examination about the minimum wages, and they selectively highlight those who support the govt's policy. Very disgusting and shameful indeed.

In addition, yesterday, chinese night paper also highlight LKY's latest book. What a shame to waste tax-money on that .

Anonymous said...

"There is totally no critical examination about minimum wage, and they selectively highlight those who support the govt's policy. Very disgusting and shameful indeed."

Anonymous said...

Its pure marketing. One of two poster boys make the crowd.

The issue is not about the retirement age - as we already see old people cleaning tables in eateries. It is about job availability.

Just hope that it is not a prelude (convenient excuse) to further extend CPF withdrawal age.

Alan Wong said...

People say action speaks louder than words. If LKY can still be employed at this senile age of approaching 90, I really don't understand why the Singapore's Official Retirement Age cannot be the same as for him ?

What is really so indisposable about him that others equally as fit or senile as him can't be employed ? Remember there is the remarkable doorman still employed by one of our pioneer hotels even though he is also approaching 90.

Then there is the case of how a teacher's contract was not renewed when she has not even reached official retiring age and the authorities say they don't have to give any reason for not renewing her contract despite her love for teaching.

Speaking of double standards, our PAP govt seems to have it in everything they practise or don't do, isn't it ?

Anonymous said...

The CPF savings will be slowly tinkered with to keep everybody's money in 'life imprisonment' for sure.

The medisave/CPF life amounts will continuously be raised. They do not even want to talk about a ceiling now. In any case, talking about a ceiling is useless, because once it is reached, a new ceiling is set.

Bearing that in mind, there is really little to talk about CPF withdrawal at 55 or even 75. With most or the bulk of CPF savings taken out for housing, not many will have enough savings even to meet the minimum sum, much less talk about withdrawal.

That will automatically make the retirement age beyond the reach of lower income workers, who have to continue working to stay alive.

Anonymous said...

A commenter posted that the Chinese Evening Papers publicising Lee Kuan Yew's latest book.

As far as Singaporeans are concerned; be it truth or tale, Lee Kuan Yew is as good as kaput. This latest book will not sell much copy.

CBD said...

The national newspaper will not be doing their societal role if they tell the half-truths to the people. So sad. I hope we don't end up like North Korea one day !

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Wang

Even as the election draws ever closer, I see the opposition parties making no progress at all.

Even as the PAP regime opens its door to all and sundry in detriment to local born Singaporeans, I do not see the local elites doing anything at all. Normal Singaporeans I can understand. But it looks like even (corporate) lawyers cannot be roused to defend their rice bowls?!! Is there any hope?

Is it something they out in our water?

Amused said...

"Even as the election draws ever closer, I see the opposition parties making no progress at all."

Again, this illustrates the importance of MSM. The fact that there were newly formed opposition parties, and that there was a recent TOC political forum, Singaporeans still believe that oppositions are not credible, weak, and making no progress. MSM controls the agenda - your collective consciousness. There is only so much Internet media can do due to its low penetration. Without TOC, TR and other excellent individual efforts (blogs), issues such as homelessness, healthcare, homosexuality, minimum wage, death penalty, and civil liberty will never be discussed publicly/openly. Unfortunately, Internet is miniscule compared to MSM. A typical article on TOC has 1000-2000 views compared to millions on ST. The fact that they are clamping down on TOC shows the importance of the media role. Alternate views never have a chance to get into the collective consciousness in the current environment. The situation is bleak when alternatives are heavily suppressed. The smarts understand the constraints and are leaving Singapore in droves.

Amused said...

As a contrast, below is an associated press report on France raiseing the retirement age (and benefits) in October 2010:

"PARIS — Masked youths clad in black torched cars, smashed storefronts and threw up roadblocks Tuesday, clashing with riot police across France as protests over raising the retirement age to 62 took a radical turn.


Some 1.1 million people joined 260 protest marches across France on Tuesday, according to the Interior Ministry, though trade unions put the figure at three times that."


Anonymous said...

To Amused January 16, 2011 7:21 AM

Please don't compare or contrast Singapore with other countries.

Does the French government have 98% majority seats in Parliament?

Does their cabinet have a Minister mentor, senior minister, no portfolio ministers, and millions of dollars salary ministers?

Are their opposition like our opposition?

Is France only 700 sq km?

Do they welcome all kinds of foreign talent?

So how to compare?

Therefore, Singapore being unique, what happens in other countries will not happen here, even if there are similar issues. And no matter what the critics and bloggers may say to the contrary. And for a long time to come, or least for the duration of most of us lifetime.

And that's the reality, now and in the future.

Don't believe, just wait and see.

Anonymous said...

I have stopped reading the States Times for the last one year and eight months and believe you me, I became more intelligent. And mentally free. It's good that you notice that the key is to read the headlines again and again to see if it matches the actual article. Good job!

haiyo said...

"There is totally no critical examination about minimum wage, and they selectively highlight those who support the govt's policy. Very disgusting and shameful indeed."

I was very disturbed by the way which the minimum sum was disucssed in Parliament. Or how the MSM reported it.

Notice that everyone, yes, everyone, opposition, PAP, NMP, Prime Minister included, are arguing based on perceptions.

Nobody asked for, or provided any definitions or data on even what is a "low income job" that will be lost, how much of our population belong to that Category, and if anything can be done to help them? Geez, whatever happened to STEP to upgrade Singaporeans? Failed? Partial failure?

Minimum wage is not a "no go" at all costs. At least not without proper data.

Of course the data could prove to be a watershed or disgrace for our dear leaders. Either it shows that their "work" and "upgrade" policies don't work, can't attract high level employment as promised, or they are wrong about "losing a lot of jobs" due to minimum wage.

It is sad to see "top CEOs" issuing a blanket "no" with doomsday predictions without proper look at real life, or even attempted to look at the not-so-real statistics "life".