Pioneer Generation: We need a change of mindsets

 

Whilst all the world is awash with talk about red, pink and white dots – you guys clearly missed out a slew of announcements about the Pioneer Generation.

“Yeah, yeah…government hogwash” you can say, but think about it. Which country on this planet has the ability and wherewithal to devote resources to getting the nation to stop, think about what the preceding generation has done and concentrate their powers into creating real policies for them. And what government cannot do, the public at large is called upon to change their attitudes.

I launched a few conversations online and discovered a few stereotypes that the Singaporean public still holds about the elderly:

 

  • That they have little to contribute at work,
  • That they are slow,
  • That they should be playing chess and watching tv,
  • That those who work are those who in dire need of money

 

This is further from the truth. In my course of work, I frequently interact with mature workers. Contrary to the typical stereotype, here’s what they actually feel:

 

  • That they have rich experience to share,
  • They can be as fast, or faster than their younger counterparts,
  • All of them want to stay engaged, most prefer practical financially rewarding work,
  • Yes, there certainly are some that need money… but one should not tar all with the same brush

 

Many believe that even by 40 years, your employability is finished. That is utter hogwash and is only as real as society wants it to be. In my travels, I learnt a great deal of companies recognise that it is only by 50 does a man show his true value and the decades that follow after that are when he can contribute most rewardingly. I find it amusing that companies in Singapore think otherwise.

It is going to take many advertisements, editorials, opinions and events to be able to shift Singaporean mindsets.

Secretary General of the NTUC, Mr. Lim Swee Say announced over the weekend of Pink Dot, how Pioneer Generation union members would be “recognised” by the Labour Movement family (ie. Fairprice, Income etc)

 

From September onwards, these members can expect:

  • “Pioneer Mondays” where Pioneers will receive special offers from selected social enterprises
  • Experiential honour: FairPrice outlets will have priority lanes for Pioneers, NTUC Foodfare will set aside priority seats at their food courts…and so on.
  • My First Skool will develop a series of learning activities to teach children about the sacrifice and work of the Pioneers.
  • NTUC Eldercare will be organising special events for Pioneers
  • Similar co-operation with companies affiliated with the NTUC

 

Now, this is only a move by the Labour Movement. What about the rest of society?

Wouldn’t it be fabulous if the collective heart of the nation realises that we can make this country a little more caring for the elderly?

 

 

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About the author

Benjamin Chiang

Benjamin Chiang is an enthusiast of good advertising, deep thinking, labour issues and chocolate. He writes also at www.rangosteen.com and occasionally on Yahoo!

The views expressed are his own.

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