Elderly Kopitiam Cleaner Keeps Working Despite Desire To Retire
Quite recently, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong claimed that older workers want to keep working, as long as they’re healthy. However, Progress Singapore Party (PSP) member Jeffrey Khoo attempted to thwart that notion, via an account from an alleged elderly cleaner at a kopitiam.
He shared his exchange with the elderly lady in a Facebook post on 27 Jan.
Mr Khoo shared his two cents on the reality of working after retirement, which he says isn’t as rosy as some may paint it to be.
His post sparked a debate on the viability of retiring comfortably in Singapore, with many netizens sharing it and chiming in on the issue.
Elderly cleaner shares her woes of being unable to retire
On 27 Jan, Mr Khoo recounted his short exchange with an elderly lady cleaner in a Facebook post.
The woman, who Mr Khoo observed to have an obvious limp, was initially occupied with clearing dishes but had sat across him to take a short break. The politician struck up a conversation with her, complimenting her for being healthy enough to work at her age.
The lady first replied rather positively, responding that “she had nothing much to do at home and this was a good way to exercise and at the same time earn some income to relieve the financial stress on her son”.
Upon further probing by Mr Khoo, the conversation took a heartbreaking turn, as the elderly cleaner admitted that she would “rather walk around shopping with (her) grandchildren” if she had “enough money for her needs at home”.
An elderly gentleman later gestured for her to resume working, at which point she quipped:
I want to retire but cannot.
Myriad of reasons that elderly continue to work past retirement age
Mr Khoo’s post has sparked discussions among netizens, who contributed differing opinions on why the elderly may continue to work past retirement.
Some pointed their fingers at the cost of living in Singapore, claiming that seniors are unable to retire as they struggle to cope with the high cost of living here.
In light of that factor, they rubbished claims that older folks still want to work. Rather, seniors “need/must work” to support their daily life in Singapore.
Others supposed that the elderly still work as they don’t want to burden their children.
However, there were also some comments from other elderly individuals who opined that they would rather work to spend their time meaningfully.
Among these comments offering differing reasons as to why the elderly choose to keep working, however, were some who lamented that most seniors end up working in menial, ‘bottom-rung jobs’ as more lucrative and comfortable jobs often end up getting taken by fresh graduates or foreign talents.
Ultimately, like Mr Khoo said in his post, the reality differs for different individuals.
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Featured image adapted from Facebook and Danie Franco on Unsplash.