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Rock around the clock

8 months ago / ntuc / working girl / worklifesg

We bought my father-in-law a boat recently.

We bought my father-in-law a boat recently.

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If you're thinking this, erm, nope.

Far from it actually. Think of a MUCH smaller watercraft. Think dayung sampan, dayung dayung sampan.

But good enough for him to go out to sea every other day...

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To catch us crabssssssss and to scrub the barnacles off the boat.

He complains about it all day, standard Ah Pek style...

"You all ah! Buy this type of nonsense then everyday I have to be a SLAVE to it."

I cannot go on holiday lah. HOW TO GO? If I go away so long, my boat will sink!"

But the hubs and I know that he is secretly very happy about it lol. There was once I asked if the boat was indeed taking up too much of his time and if we should sell it (passive aggressive queen here lol) and he mumbled some mumbo jumbo along the lines of "No need lah. Buy already what."

Truth is, we bought the boat because we decided that he was having too much time on his hands after his retirement and was starting to get... cranky. Like insist the floors are not clean enough, there's something wrong with the ceiling, we need to move the plants in....only to move them out 2 hours later kinda cranky.

I mean, after working for a good 50 years, and you SUDDENLY have 12 hours a day, extra 60 hours a week... what are YOU going to do with all that time?!

Line dance? Take a train to Orchard Road and back? Cook chicken curry? Sure, that would take you half a day tops. What are you going to do with the other half of your day?

Especially since the retirement age in Singapore is 62 and statistics have shown that for those born from 2000 onwards, 50% can live beyond 100 years. So for the next 38 years of your life, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?

Sure you can say travel the world, see the Great Wall of China, check out the Taj Mahal, scale some glaciers, take a break... but all these are gonna cost you $$$$. Even Kit Kat isn't free.

Are you sure you have the means to support yourself for almost 4 decades?

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Recently it was announced that parliament passed the act to extend the re-employment age from 65 to 67. This will apply to all Singaporeans and permanent residents who turn 65 from July 2017 onwards.

But you just said retirement age is 62?! So you want us to work till we die lah!

Tbh, I got a little confused too. But after some clarification, I found out that there is a difference between retirement age and re-employment age.

Retirement Age

Basically, retirement age is 62. Which means that before you turn 62, your boss cannot ask you to retire.

Re-employment Age

It used to be 65 but wef 1 July 2017, it will be increased to 67. What does re-employment mean?

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To put it simply, companies have to offer eligible employees (see MOM screenshot above as to what constitutes as eligible) continued employment if they wish to continue working.

Which is to say, if you PREFER to spend your time earning moolah for your impending Taj Mahal expedition, your employer cannot tell you to go fly kite.

I don't know why but I think this photo is very apt for this part of the story lol

But of course, this doesn't mean that you HAVE to work till you're 67 - if you want to just stop working at 62, at 50, or even now at 32, all you have to do is tell your boss 我不干了! (literally, I quit...)

For me, my personal stand as of now is that I will work for as long as I can... simply because I cannot stand idling around doing nothing. Ya, I'm one of those irritating buggers who refuses to stay at home when I'm sick and end up spreading germs to the entire office (please DO NOT follow my example) and also, all these years of doing my own thing means endless worrying about having enough money to retire.

But even if I want to work forever, how can I be sure that I remain relevant and re-employable in this constantly changing environment?

While re-employment will help mature workers continue in today's job positions, NTUC deputy secretary-general Heng Chee How has said that it will be a challenge to help them stay relevant in a restructuring and disrupted economy.

National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) deputy secretary-general Heng Chee How (via ST)

He told Parliament that to tackle that volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) future, we need to "strike out boldly" in 3 areas:

  • Measures that help mature workers stay valuable and cost competitive

  • Measures that help match displaced workers quickly to new work

  • Structural reform of work, law

Our labour laws and arrangements have to keep up with the changes and challenges, so as to help more mature workers continue in the job positions of today.

That is to say, even as we strengthen our frameworks of today, we must mobilise Singapore and Singaporeans to tackle that VUCA future with focus, joint effort and a sense of urgency.

After all, you can't possibly spend 4 decades moving plants in and out of your house, right?