Featured News CPF Board advertisement draws criticism for portraying the elderly as rude and...

CPF Board advertisement draws criticism for portraying the elderly as rude and obnoxious

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Netizens found the advertisement to be distasteful and having no relevance to retirement planning although the CPF board's response was that many Singaporeans found they could relate to it based on tests they conducted

The Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board has drawn criticism for portraying senior citizens as rude in a new advertisement on retirement planning. The advertisement, entitled ‘Tsk’, was published on the CPF Board’s Facebook page last month and aimed to encourage viewers to take steps in planning for their retirement.

The commercial shows a young man on board a bus being unnecessarily loud and inconsiderate and several senior citizens tut-tutting at him.

The seniors reaction, however, appears to be perceived as rude by a younger lady on the bus who appears to sympathise with the young man – until the young man gets in her way as she tried to alight the bus. The woman tuts at the young man but catches herself and seems to be embarrassed that she responds in the same manner as the elderly passengers did.

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Appearing to confirm that it intends to portray tut-tutting as rude behaviour, the advertisement states: “1 in 2 Singaporeans live beyond 85. You may be one and ‘tsk’ others too. We are living longer. Learn how you can be ready for your retirement with CPF…”


Old age has a way of pulling up out of nowhere. Maybe it’s time to start planning for your retirement. Find out more: www.cpf.gov.sg/BeReady#BeReadyWithCPF #CPFBoard

Posted by CPF Board on Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Netizens blasted the advertisement and said that the commercial makes seniors in Singapore appear rude and obnoxious. While some felt that they don’t understand what tut-tutting has to do with retirement planning, others found the advertisement distasteful and asked the authority to take the video down:

Schyler Harokitty: “This ad is so bad in all fronts, it protrays our youth as self centred and have (sic) no care for others. It also protrays the seniors is a really bad light. Please remove. Thanks.”
Mohamad Syahid Bin Arif: “CPF, better take down tis ad…. It doesnt (sic)reflect well on the seniors and future seniors…”
Vickie Lee: “this ad doesn’t relate that well about (sic) retirement planning. does retirement requires (sic) one to be grumpy and intolerant? honestly, I don’t really understand the meaning of this ad at all. It is pretty distasteful.”
Loh Lee Nah: “seriously this ad will bring down the image of Singapore , how other countries people (sic) may think about our old generation peoples (sic) here…”
Wendy Sim: “This is not the way to promote retirement planning. I find it distastefully done. The tsk thing portrays seniors in a bad light.”
Agnes Lim: “No idea what the ad is. Do the seniors practice this in real life. So uneducated”
Danny Pang: “Look n sound stupid, make us look like uneducated. Stop playing this video”
Ong Chong-Yeow: “another stereotype ad that doesn’t do well to inclusiveness n cohesiveness”

A Chinese daily reader added: “Should people be made fun of just because they’ve grown older? This ad bullies the elderly and doesn’t respect them.”

In response to the feedback it has received, the CPF Board told the Straits Times that the commercial was released after it was tested with a range of Singaporeans, many of whom found the advertisement to be relatable. It said:

“A good number of our focus group respondents found that the messages of people living longer, and therefore needing to plan early for retirement, resonated with them. The light-hearted treatment of the television commercial was also easy to relate to.”

The authority, however, acknowledged that the commercial has garnered divisive responses. It said: “Since the launch, while some viewers may not have received the commercial positively, others felt that the commercial was memorable and made them realise the importance of planning for their retirement.”

Promising that it will “strive to improve how we convey our messages in future,” the CPF Board added that it believes the elderly “should be respected and appreciated for their contributions to society.” -/TISG

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