SINGAPORE — After Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said on Monday (Jan 16) that most Singaporeans want to work longer provided they stay in good health, there were many reactions online, mostly disagreeing with his statement.

“A lot of people recognise that the minute they stop working, that’s when their health deteriorate very quickly,” he said, adding that work gives people “dignity and purpose.”

At a dialogue at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) Singapore Perspectives Conference, infectious disease expert Professor Paul Tambyah asked whether the Silver Support Package, which provides financial support to the elderly with low income, could be improved.

Prof Tambyah, also the chairman of the Singapore Democratic Party, asked, “Would anyone actually want to be operated on by a 70-year-old neurosurgeon? Or ride in a bus driven by a 70-year-old bus driver?”

The DPM said that the government will see what else it can do to take care of those in the pioneer generation, as well as those who are now in their 50s and 60s. “We are thinking about strengthening our retirement system and giving everyone peace of mind all the time,” he added.

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There were many netizens who commented on Mr Wong’s remarks about working longer instead of retiring, many of whom appeared to disagree with him. “Actually I’ll stop work tomorrow if I can afford to retire,” wrote one.

Screenshot from Facebook comments /CNA

“There are other things in life besides chasing the all mighty dollar. Family, friends, travelling the world, hobbies etc. You can’t enjoy any of these things if you’re broke. So you work. Until you die,” wrote another.

Screenshot from Facebook comments /CNA

One wrote, “Not by choice, but reality is we can’t afford to retire.”

Screenshot from Facebook comments /CNA

People would “happily do more things they want to do if they could afford to,” chimed in a commenter.

One said that the “DPM is making a sweeping statement. It depends on how one wants to live out their retirement life.”

Screenshot from Facebook comments /CNA

“Many common citizen (don’t) have a choice. Do they?” asked one.

Screenshot from Facebook comments /CNA

A commenter opined, “Working beyond retirement age should be one’s choice…be it for health or mental reasons…not becos of ridiculous cost of living!”

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Screenshot from Facebook comments /CNA

Mr Wong’s comments were discussed on Reddit as well.


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