Our main stream newspapers certainly waste no time to drive home the message so clearly broadcast by our Prime Minister in his National Day Rally speech. Since you ‘old fogeys’ refuse to kick the bucket by your expiry date, then you better get off your butts and do some useful work instead of sitting around counting fingers. The Hokkien folks put it more pointedly, Chia Par Tan Si or gorge yourself full and wait to die. Get yourself a job dude! Any job.
Both the Straits Times and Today carried articles painting a dim scenario of a “future ‘old’ Singapore” where many old folks have outlived their usefulness and could not find anything to do. I find the Today article particularly demeaning. Although couched in nice polite language and bearing a politically correct title, Tabitha Wang's article Respect our old fogey warriors... is mostly a reinforcement of the ugly stereotypes of old people.
She began her article by narrating an incident in the MRT train where an old chap felt insulted when she offered him her seat. Then she went home and promptly wrote an article, outwardly praising the old people, but actually insults them, especially the old men, by drafting a list of all the popular stereotypes of old people. They have lousy memories and are complete idiots when it comes to IT. Apparently the only jobs they are capable of doing are cleaning at hawker centres. And at home they drive their wives crazy and are even responsible for the rising divorce rates among older folks. However, she mercifully spared the dirty old men who liked to splurge their CPF savings on young ladies of the night both at home and abroad.
I learned one thing from the article though. Old folks are not the only people who like to do ‘wu liao’ (无聊) things like scrutinizing newspapers for spelling mistakes. Young people it appears, like to scrutinize their heads and panic at the discovery of a couple of grey hairs.
Come on. Let’s look at the bright side. At least, we can look forward to achieving another world number 1 soon. With so many ah peks re-joining the workforce as you know what, we certainly are going to have the cleanest food centres on this planet.
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