Yeoh Lam Keong, former chief economist of GIC, and current adjunct professor at National University of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew School of Policy, weighed in on a rather heavy issue plaguing Singaporeans – the number of elderly homeless or having to sell tissue packets or collect cardboard boxes for a living.
In a Facebook post on Friday, November 9, Yeoh shared the story of an elderly tissue seller. He titled his post, “Singapore’s Elderly Shame : Tissue and Cardboard Sellers at Midnight”.
In his post, he shared the story of Lim, who “would leave her home at 5.30pm each day to sell her tissue papers. It is a cooler time of day. She would only go home close to midnight. She makes about $10 or slightly more daily, just enough for her personal expenses”.
He also added that “The Silver Support Scheme currently pays the elderly poor the miserly sum of around $200 a month. Raising it another $600 would cost an additional $1bn annually or about of 0.2% GDP rising to around 0.6% of GDP by 2050 as our population ages”.
“The modest fiscal cost that we, unlike the cardboard collector in the real story below, refuse to pay so that seniors like them can have a more dignified retirement”, he continued.
Netizens who commented on his post agreed that the state was unwilling to fork out the extra money in order to help the poor and elderly.