Sunday, November 1, 2009

Crossing 50, Worries of a working heartlander

The Straits Times, Saturday, October 24, 2009
http://www.asiaone.com/Business/Office/Ask/Story/A1Story20091021-174936.html
by Kumar Pillay Thangavalu


Photo: http://www.asiaone.com/Business/Office/Ask/Story/A1Story20091021-174936.html


I REACHED 50 years of age recently. Crossing the half-century hurdle creates fresh hurdles.


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At this age, heartlanders like me are neither in the younger worker age group nor in the senior worker group - neither here nor there.


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I worry about holding on to my job, raising and educating my children and keeping my home secure until all mortgages are paid off. Unremitting price hikes for virtually all basic necessities like food, transport and utilities, as well as the goods and services tax hike, also worry me.


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I appreciate the Government's effort in working with various organisations, like the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Workforce Development Agency (WDA), to keep older workers like me employed. It comforts me that there are avenues to get help and enable older workers to stay employed.


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One frustrating concern is the cut in employers' Central Provident Fund (CPF) contribution rate that is triggered once one turns 50.


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The cut is steep - from 14.5 per cent to 10.5 per cent - and affects older Singaporeans like me drastically.


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Not only must I still pay off my debt to the Housing Board for my mortgaged flat on diminished income, but the price hikes are also eating into the rest of my salary.


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The Government should reconsider the cut in employers' CPF contribution rates for workers over 50. This, together with the labour movement's call to end the practice of pay cuts once a worker reaches 60 years of age, will help older workers like me and encourage the culture of working longer.

Kumar Pillay Thangavalu
This article was first published in The Straits Times.


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After thoughts:
We have no future, so lets live one day at a time. There is no other choice. There is no opportunity to lighten the heavy load in the heart.

We have to accept to journey along the endless dark tunnel alone. No matter how difficult, we will be forgotten, just like our existence. This could be a relief to many.


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We may have a future but one with full of pains and sufferings. Unable to eat, sleep or move normally. Whatever little we have is taken by others.


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Problems belonging to others will also be counted as ours. We experience others adding more and more pressure. We see others having more and more pleasures.


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Others becomes very successful while we
deteriorate. We still have to listen to endless lectures and nagging on how to be competent. Everybody else is expert in getting the best out of life, except us. Many offers lip-services which they also know are not realistic but will say it, anyway. We are surrounded by so many sophisticated consultants who offer no other assistance other than loud consultation voices.


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People sympathies with us, but their problems are always more urgent. Hence we need to attend to them first, and ensure their success. This is then considered correct co-operation and sharing.


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The God which we know is punishing us mercilessly. The leaders are preoccupied with their own power maintenance and expansion, using the bleak future as the reason. The people whom we are acquaintance with are continuously bombarding us with their own problems.

Who will not be exhausted?

At some stages, it may be better to drop dead for some real peace and quietness. Only then there is complete freedom from noise and trouble.


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