Founder of Transitioning.org and activist Gilbert Goh took to his Facebook on Saturday (20 June), expressing his concern over the plight of senior citizens who struggle with retirement in Singapore.
Mr Goh shared on his Facebook a video of him talking to a 85-year-old elderly man during his mask distribution.
According to Mr Goh, the 85-year-old man suffers from chronic backache.
“We saw him struggling to wake up gingerly as we stopped by his unit to pass him some masks,” he said.
In addition to this, the 85-year-old man is said to be struggling with his retirement due to the lack of financial resources.
“Many seniors struggle with retirement here and though they have enough food to eat and a roof over their head, there is simply nothing left for other worthwhile expenses such as a short overseas trip or a self-pampering purchase.
“We also know of seniors selling off their stuff at home to raise cash when the time is hard especially during this Covid-19 pandemic explaining why some units are almost stripped of basic essentials such as fan, mattress and TV,” Mr Goh wrote on his post.
Mr Goh noted that the elderly man is on Public Assistance (PA), which is “a prominent government welfare aid given to the very poor here till they pass on”.
PA consists of a stable monthly allowance, free medical care and various other government schemes, with the rates range from $450 for a single person household to $1,180 for a household of four persons.
“Families with children will also receive additional monthly assistance of $150 per child to cater for a school-going child’s expenses or a toddler/infant’s additional nutritional and hygiene needs,” Mr Goh added.
He also cited the information from Ministry of Social and Family Development, stating that currently more than 3,000 Singaporeans are recipients of the PA welfare scheme.
He then expressed that he hoped the issue on the seniors can be emphasised in the candidate’s election campaigning speeches, which can alleviate the predicament of seniors in Singapore.
“Hopefully, opposition camp can highlight this issue in their campaigning speeches online so that their plight can be more streamlined – our seniors certainly deserve better!”
On the positive side of the story, Mr Goh noted that the senior had earlier wanted to replace his spoilt television and that someone has already contributed to the replacement which would come very soon.
Based on the findings of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Worldwide Cost of Living 2020 report that was released on 18 March, Singapore once more maintained the top spot for the seventh consecutive year as the world’s most expensive city for expatriates, alongside Osaka and Hong Kong.
While some may say cost for expats is different for locals who enjoy benefits such as subsides and handouts from the government, but what about those who fall through the cracks and do not qualify for such relieves?
Mr Goh on his Facebook post on Thursday (18 June), said that he and his team had distributed 1,500 masks to the elderly people at Boon Keng.
“The number of elderly folks here outstripped the young people by more than 5 to 1 and frankly speaking if we bring down 5000 masks, everything will be gone too!” he wrote.
In his post, he also thanked to the donors, suppliers and volunteers for supporting the charity distribution with the donations and efforts.