Singapore — A video of an elderly cleaner in a hawker centre has sparked pointed comments about him doing it for the “exercise”.
The comments online come in reference to an incident in 2015, during which the Minister for Social and Family Development at that time, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, was branded insensitive for saying that some elderly people collect cardboards, not to earn a living, but to get extra income or as “a form of exercise and activity, rather than being cooped up at home”. Mr Tan is now the Speaker of Parliament.
The recent short clip of the elderly man hunched over a cart was taken by activist Gilbert Goh and shared on Facebook on Friday (Jan 15).
In his post, Mr Goh wrote: “Sad to see this elderly arching his feeble frail body to work at a hawker centre collecting plates and utensils.”
Making reference to Mr Tan’s 2015 comment, Mr Goh added: “You can say he don’t need the money and that he feels bored staying at home but it’s still a difficult spectacle to comprehend and witness.”
“We probably have the unenviable record of the world’s highest proportion of elderly workers in the world,” he said.
According to 2019 statistics, one in four seniors are still working. The employment rate for residents aged 65 and over continued its sustained improvement, rising by 0.9%-point from 27.6% in June 2019 to 28.5% in June 2020.
Netizens who commented on the post were in agreement with Mr Goh, with a couple referring to Mr Tan’s earlier comment as well.
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