By Yasmeen Banu
From seeing elderly’s clean tables at food courts to collecting recyclables to make a living, it is indeed a sight that many aren’t comfortable with. Many of these elderly’s earn very little, but do it anyway- some, because they want to fill time, others, to earn some extra cash.
A team of five individuals decided to look into the issue of a certain number of senior citizens being left behind while Singapore progresses forward.
The team comprises of five people:
Petrus Ng, the Director
Jamie Lim, the Host
Isabelle, the Fixer
Sean, the Producer
Bryan, the Assistant Producer
Jamie Lim travels to Singapore’s Chinatown to interview the elderly that has been affected by this and study how the recycling industry works.
The Online Citizen speaks to Petrus Ng, the director.
When was this film produced?
We started working on the documentary 17th March 2014 and finished our editing on 10th April 2014.
Can you give a brief introduction about your film?
“Singapore’s Old Recycled” is a documentary about the elderly in Singapore, how the rapid growth of Singapore has led to some being left behind and the consequences of it.
What drove you and the producers to do a film on some of the pioneers in Singapore, and the situation they’re facing?
We feel that many elderly in singapore face these problems, and perhaps due to the widespread nature of it; ie. Seeing elderly selling tissues at hawker centres, collecting aluminium cans and cardboards, we’ve become desensitized about their situation.
While there are people that try to help these elderly as much as they can, there is not enough that is being done, else the situation would not persist. Hence our motivation to do a documentary in the hope that this would raise awareness on these topics.
Despite reports being published on honouring pioneers and Singapore being a wealthy country, why do you think such a problem still persist here?
I believe that the root of the problem lies within our citizens and their attitudes towards the elderly, If more felt strongly about these issues and talked to our grassroots leaders about it, action on both sides would be taken to stem the problem.
Currently our government has taken a lot of efforts to help the situation, help such as ComCare has been made available to aid these needy people. During our research we spoke to an MSF officer which also told us about the difficulties they face helping the needy, such as getting the information out or the mindset of many of the elderly (some don’t want help, even if they need it). Most of the elderly that really needed help were very isolated. No family or friends, and because of this they don’t know any better.
We can help by being a part of the movement and speaking to more of these elderly. We are a part of the solution as much as the government is.
Did you encounter any challenging obstacles during the production of the film?
I guess the most challenging obstacle was getting the interviews from the elderly, They had a lot of distrust towards strangers and it took us a few days of coaxing before they let us interview them.
Do you think changes are possible, when it concerns elderly’s going through this problem?
I believe that avenues of help are already there (ComCare), in my opinion the only things lacking are volunteers or people that care. Many elderly don’t even know ComCare exists.
What are some things you would suggest, if you were given a chance to help?
I would urge people to reach out to elderly when you see them, just give them 5 minutes of your time to tell them about ComCare and if you can, bring them to a nearby Social Service Office.
What would like to say to our readers about this documentary?
Hi! And thanks for reading our views, lets work together to make a better Singapore!
Watch the documentary here: