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I am a Practitioner of 'The 7e Way of Leaders' where a Leader will Envision, Enable (ASK for TOP D), Empower, Execute, Energize, and Evolve grounded on ETHICS!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Daily Lessons from Life 19 March 2017 - Will Our Oldies be like the South Koreans' ones?

1st of all congratulations to Doctor Mok Ying Ren for establishing a personal best time of 2:26:07 in Seoul, some 11 minutes below the qualifying mark of 2:37:10.

"Poor and on their own, South Korea’s elderly who will ‘work until they die’

SEOUL: As the snow falls heavy on the city streets, Madam Kim trudges on through the sub-zero weather that has most others huddled indoors, going through her daily routine of gleaning alleyways for waste paper and other recyclable trash.

Severely hunched over, the 81-year-old does this for a living. On a typical day, she circles the city a few times on foot, gathering more than 100 kilogrammes of trash which she takes to a junk depot that buys it for 100 won per kilogramme.

That’s barely 10,000 won, or roughly S$12, for a day’s heavy haul.

In South Korea, almost half of its elderly population over the age of 65 live in poverty, according to a 2016 OECD economic survey. About a quarter live alone. Many grapple with living in isolation and depression.

While elderly people make up 13 per cent of the population today, this figure is expected to hit 40 per cent by 2060 - and critics say that if the problem of elderly poverty continues to be neglected, it could have catastrophic effects on the country’s economy and the welfare of its citizens.

How did a generation, responsible for turning South Korea into one of the region’s strongest economies, end up so poor?

And these seniors have not stopped working - it’s common to see grey-haired men as security guards, elderly female cleaners, and fragile-looking trash collectors working around the buildings of metropolitan Seoul.

What it comes down to is this: The family-centric model of care is losing its relevance in today’s South Korea, and state social welfare systems are far from being able to take up all the slack.

Representative Yang Seung-Jo, who chairs the National Assembly Health and Welfare Committee, said: “In the past, we could ask families to solve their elderly issues within the family. But now, those in their 30s and 40s can’t even support themselves with their income.”"

I 1st watched fleeting moments here and there on GetRea! the documentary program on CNA sometimes back and did wondered what could be the reasons for these South Korean elderlies. Then I was distracted by other things and spend no more time on this topic.

Now reading it on the CNA webpage right under the top 2 news, I am suddenly struck HOW SIMILAR the situation is IN Sgp! The elderly working still they drop dead! The impossible expectations of the kids, if the elderlies have any, to be the main support for their aged parents and parents-in-law!

Sure Singapore has its CPF scheme where workers for sure are compelled to contribute to this fund. It also restrict the withdrawal of the money even at the initial retirement age of 55, extending the retirement age to 63 or 65 or 67 now so that the CPF money will not be unduly used up before the elderlies expired! Well, there are a great proportion of them put their CPF into a HDB flat which has appreciated in value. That is UNSUSTAINABLE as after the elderlies sold their HDB flat at HUGE profit, that money MAY get split and given to their kids, if any; or squandered by the old men getting involved with sweet young things (SYTs) who were after their CPF windfall or property sales proceed!

It become critical that the CPF money, if any, and the profit from sale of HDB be CONTROLLED for the elderlies' own good. YET, can the government extends its care to such a deep personal level. It is a tough question: should one let the elderlies, who are aged adults to make such a personal financial decision? or should the state takes control assuming they are UNQUALIFIED to handle such matter?

Anyway, the government has recognised the need to INCREASE social supports for the elderlies in Sgp and also ease off on insisting the kids, if any, MUST bear the social supports for their aged parents and parents-in-law 1st before the state would lift a finger to help. This is especially so for kids who are THEMSELVES struggling to raise THEIR OWN families!

Sgp is lucky to have built up a huge national reserves through prudent, and lucky, investments through Temasek Holdings, GIC and MAS. At the same time, the financial year 2016 has Temasek Holding and GIC reporting big losses (confirmed?) as no investment houses, no matter how powerful and how good, can guarantee winning all the time. When the timing is wrong, and huge losses are made, it can rock the boat quite a bit.

With the medical insurance taken care of, at least the people can pool their resources to help them who fall sick. The rest of us who are still productive economically just have to continue making money while keeping ourselves HEALHY as far as possible.  Supporting more elderlies with less productively looks like the NEW MINDSET we have to adopt. That's the main way to make things work IF the economy fortune takes a hit for a prolonged period.

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