Menial work post-retirement need not be a bad thing

PHOTO: The Straits Times

I agree with Mr Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan that "it is heartbreaking to see elderly people, some bent double, cleaning tables at hawker centres" ("A well-planned retirement can be meaningful and enjoyable"; yesterday).

But people who do menial work past their retirement may not be doing so because they had bad retirement planning and found themselves not financially ready for retirement.

It could be that these elderly people want to continue being productive and independent, even if it means doing some menial work.

Retirement is a word that embraces not only feelings and actions, but also a kind of understanding of the world from the perspective of a retired worker.

Continuing to work after retirement can enrich people in incredible ways that give them a kind of appetite for life.

I have a cousin who retired from a senior supervisory position in a statutory board and has been employed at a fast-food establishment for almost a year now. He is on his feet eight hours a day and still enjoys his work.

I also have a brother who works as a waiter on weekends at hotel buffets. He has brought home interesting stories about his interactions with the younger generation.

No menial work that needs to be done is below anyone's dignity.

The Government is right in extending the re-employment age, because it gives those who need or want to work for financial or other reasons the legitimacy to do so.

Richard Thong Kok Mun


This article was first published on April 19, 2016.
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