Friday, August 24, 2007

Chia Par Tan Si

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.


Anonymous said...

Is it not funny that everybody from government to companies think old equates >40 yrs? And if they were to create jobs, the kind of jobs suitable for foggies are cleaners, working in the foodcourts and looking after grand children There is stereo-type belief that foggies are all illiterate and cant handle IT.

Do you mean there are no foggies who are professionals?

I guess we have to wait for those who are still young (20 or 30something) to join the club when they are in their 40s.

Victor said...

Tabitha Wang's articles in the Today newspaper are meant to be humorous and hence you should not take her too seriously.

Hmm... I wonder why my eyelid twitched when you mentioned dirty old men who splurge their CPF savings on young ladies of the night?

Anonymous said...

I could recall during a lunch gathering, a lady (housewife) neighbour related her agony: "Since my husband (a CS) retirement, I do not have a day of peace, going to be insane from his perpetual nagging". I thought to myself, normaly it should be the other way round. When both spouses are fully retired, would there be fireworks in the house? Could two tigers exist harmoniously in one mountain? From day one, whether husband or wife, they should have their own breathing space, pursuing their own life interests, BUT at the same time able to live together as a family harmoniously under one roof. Of course, along the way there would be much differences and quarrels - hopefully they can be resolved through the 'give and take' way. This is my personal life philosophy. Others may have theirs.

JollyGreenP said...

The problem with streotypes is that there is often an element of truth in the stereotype and that is why they have become a stereotype. I know that as I have grown older I have become more grumpy and intolerant. However, I have maintained my IT skills, I don't mind whether someone offers me a seat or not on public transport. My interests are as broad, if not broader as when I was younger. I still have most of my own teeth and a full head of hair so on balance I don't mind being a wrinkly!

Anonymous said...

There are two kinds of oldies: one time the cheekokpek and grumpy type. The other time more suave. The trouble when u look at girls (natural instinct) young people say u cheeko.

U dress a bit hype, they say you out of this world.

Anonymous said...

Aiya, at the risk of sounding a bit chauvanistic, don't you think women are a hard-to-please crowd? (They probably accuse men of being the same, but that ain't the point here.) They see Sean Connery on screen or in pictures, they say wah, so cool, so sexy, age no nicely, what perfect wrinkles. They see men of similar age here in real life, the feeling is completely different--past prime, retiree, ah pek, or at the mildest, uncle.