Friday, August 6, 2010

A Difference Of Opinion

Ang Moh/Foreign Talent/Permanent Resident Larry Haversack Have-a-shag Haverkamp tried to slime Singaporean Tan Kok Tim for pointing out Lee Kuan Yew is wrong to say people should keep on working until they kick the bucket.

First he drags out this Julie Curtis, an actuary at Boeing, to question the findings of academic Dr Ephrem Cheng Siao Chung (B.Sc., M. Sc., Ph.D., University Of Alberta). Isn't it kinda obvious that Curtis, being a Boeing employee, has a vested interest in saying that "The idea of working longer will shorten a Boeing employee's life expectancy simply isn't true"? You expect her to say "Working for Boeing is bad for your health" ?

For the record, her empirical data have been challenged. What does “number alive” in her chart actually mean? If you retired at 50 and it was 30 years ago, then you could expect that you don’t have long to go. If you have only just retired, you would certainly expect to “be alive”. It says “a random sample” – but is it the same number for each age cohort? And how long ago did each person retire? Is it also evenly distributed?

Haverkamp also quoted a British Medical Journal study which claims that employees who retired at 55 had a significantly increased mortality compared to those who retired at 65. Then he shoots his own foot by noting that some workers may have retired early because of health reasons. Brilliant, sick people die earlier. So what else is flawed with that study?

Finally he quotes a Ms Sally Green-gross (nope, you read that correctly) who said "Work .. provides mental and physical activity, self esteem, social interaction and income for us.  Sudden retirement may not be the honeymoon we expect it to be".

Whether she's green or not, that has to be a gross distortion of the work situation in Singapore. Here it means heading for the overcrowded MRT station before the sun has risen, and crawling back home for dinner after the sun has set. To pay for the housing loan, utility bills, property tax, tv licence, town council charges, and avoid a warrant of arrest for being late with the check. Amidst the constant threat of being replaced by a foreigner willing to slave for lower wages. Meanwhile, being labelled as daft, ignorant, requiring spurs stuck in the hide, must do wonders for self esteem. Social interaction? They don't even have time with the kids, who are overloaded with extra homework because of ECA activities like "volunteering" for the bloody YOG. No, retirement is not a honeymoon, it is just a long due and deserved rest. You can't compare this to Lee Kuan Yew's "work", his son even told Charlie Rose in the interview of 14 April 2010: "He calls himself a mascot".  Some more suka-suka set his own salary.

What to do, white man speaks with forked tongue. Always have, and always will. Better to believe Mr Tan.


  1. The word (retirement) maybe the same, but holds totally opposite meaning in the West and Spore. In Spore retirement means one is on his/her own with whatever left in CPF not sucked dry by HDB or withheld by the gahment. There is no pension, no retirement benefits, no help nothing zero from the PAP gahment.

  2. It's not a "white man" thingy.

    All SPH script-writers (calling them journalists is an insult to the noble profession) write whatever their boss dictate.

    Guess who is their ultimate boss ?

    Yes the one who will not retire even with one foot in the grave.

  3. What's there to retire in SIN?

    Look around You! The old folks are usually left to their owns by their children, most have few friends. Many do not even relate to siblings and clans, worse, relationships with neighbours are usually luke-warm if not antagonistic.

    Some of my older colleagues work to 'to keep themselves occupied and stay lucid and healthy or so they claimed. When asked if they spend times with children and grandchildren, most do not. Asked them why and they have little or no answer.

    Then, there are those that will have to go hungry if they stop work for a day and those who died in their homes until the stenches of their rotting aroused anyone. Of course there are also many who have to forgo medical treatments due to lack of funds.

    Whatever the GDPs, an artificial measurement that never bother Singaporeans before the Seventies, so long as the people are happy and taken care of, it will be fine.

    What's the damn use of glorious GDPs, if the average man in the street is miserable in their livings?


  4. ST has done a great service to publish the article from Tan Kok Tim. Too bad the strong censorship will silence any further dissent in ST. Now since we all know the government’s implicit purposes to work us till our death, let us reflect what we want to do with our vote….

  5. i like your blog alot! keep writing =)

  6. Would anyone in his right mind retire if he has already mapped out a whole army of highly paid assistants to see to it that everything will be taken care of and not forgetting that a commercial plane can be converted into a hospital at your whim and fancy ?

    I remembered someone tried to explain their way out that they needed to buy a lower floor unit at Ardmore Park (if I remember correctly) to retire because they will be getting old with age. By any chance, may I ask are they staying in the unit ?

    Retirement can be a very dirty word especially if one has very personal reasons to make it out to be.

  7. Another solid piece. Thank you.