I welcome facilities for the elderly at my void deck!

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“100 facilities for the elderly to be built in estates” and sites within neighborhoods identified for first batch of centers – That is the headline on last Saturday’s local newspaper. Minister of Health Gan Kim Yong made the official announcement.

It’s going to cost the government about $500 million and will be ready by 2016 just in time for the next GE. It’s cleverly timed for the coming GE.

Up till now, not much is done for our aging population. So far, they only worried about our growing aging population and the “decline” in our economy. Lots of measures are done to boost up the vitality and vibrancy of our fast aging population by getting more new citizens and some half-hearted measures to boost up our low fertility rate.

When I read the announcement, I felt elated. Quietly, I thank this government for doing the right thing. When I read further, there is some apprehension on the part of the government that the well-intentioned plan might backfire due to the “not in my backyard syndrome!” mentality of some of our selfish citizens.

How sad! There are citizens amongst us who do not appreciate such priceless facilities for our own aged parents, relatives and friends living amongst us. There are citizens who want to fully utilize such facilities but refuse to live near them fearing that their property prices might be affected!

It is partly the government’s fault for fueling the greed of such selfish citizens with materialistic ideas like flat upgrading, estate enhancements, controlling the property market by building fewer flats and opening the floodgates for more immigrants etc… I always believe that HDB flat is meant for us to live and not to speculate on profits. It is a home filled with fond memories and we need to treasure them. We just don’t shift flat every few years just to make some profits and end up paying even more for a subsequent flat? Maybe, it’s the only way to dip into their CPF to enjoy early cash withdrawals rather than having it locked away forever. Sadly, this is the root cause of the greed and avarice pervading in every echelon of our society.

My parents are getting older and weaker. My father is 75 yrs and my mother is 70 yrs. I live with my parents. I’m not that well off. I need to work most of the time to earn a decent living. People like me, normal average wage earner really need the 100 facilities badly. Not now but very soon when my parents get older and infirm.

“For having the gall to say the things they said, I’m sure people like Seet Ker Lay, Bernard Lau, Cheong Weng Kit, Hay-Ku – who are not exactly spring chickens – and their ilk will live forever. I’m sure they’ll always have filial children to take care of them for the rest of their lives, that they will never grow old, or wear adult diapers because their devoted kids will be fighting with each other to wipe their sorry asses; I’m sure these guys will never stain their sheets when they are senile, bedridden and drooling away while attempting to speak, incoherently of course.”

“Don’t groan right into my home!”- By Lohcifer.

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The above is eloquently written by Lohcifer. It is part of life cycle – getting old, sick and passing on. No one can escape this perpetual life cycle.面对生老病死中的死亡。如何去正视? Whether you are rich or poor or whether you are the emperor or pauper, this is the ultimate life cycle; sooner or later you will have to go through it. Yes, some go thru’ that earlier than others. The rich with tons of money go thru’ it comfortably, whereas the poor will need government or charity for assistance.

My aged parents are now fit and healthy. Soon, the day will come when the inevitable happens. The clutch of the death grip will slowly but surely find it’s way to everyone of us. Can we run away from it?

I’m now coming to 50 yrs old. I’m filial to my parents. But will my son be filial to me? In another 20 yrs, it’s going to be my turn entering into this dreadful phase – just before the finishing line. Can I cope even if I’m filial to my parents? Remember, I need to earn a decent living working my ass out! That’s a constant worry at the back of my mind.

Transport costs especially taxi fare will get more and more expensive especially with our COEs hitting through the roof. To get the whole family to visit the elderly in a far away nursing home will surely cost us a bomb. The travel time taken is another factor. Rather than site those facilities in a hidden corner, why not build them within the neighborhood? It makes more sense right?

If only the nursing home for the aged is built right at my block’s void deck, I could visit my parents – in the event that they become senile and infirm – everyday before going back home! Save lots of time and transport cost. It will make my life more bearable when I’ve to struggle looking after them.

If those selfish citizens object to nursing homes for the elderly near to their place, I will appeal to the government to build them under my flat at the void deck. Pls build day care centre, nursing home or any other amenity for the elderly at my block’s void deck or within my HDB estate.

I may have my own selfish reasons in supporting building amenities for the elderly at my block’s void deck due to my aged parents’ needs. But then, I’m also getting older each day. Soon, it’s going to my turn. Maybe, I could collect rent from my flat above to pay for a bed in a nursing home at the void deck. It’s such an ideal arrangement. I’ll have professionals looking after me and many elderly friends around me to keep me company instead of getting a maid to look after me. My son need not worry about me. He could just drop by once in a while to keep in touch. I would be independent and not a burden to him. He could lead his own life and pursue his own interests.

Imagine if the nursing home is built far away somewhere in Timbuktu, how could I monitor my own flat and keep track of rent collection? Let’s not forget that those living nearby could also seek employment as care givers, cleaners or ambulance drivers etc in the nursing home within the same neighbourhood. There are so many benefits from such an arrangement. We should welcome such elderly facilities rather than object them.

Yes, I wish the government will build more facilities for the elderly, childcare centres, nursery centres, library, schools in my neighbourhood or whatever that is planned by them. Citizens in other countries petition their governments to build more such facilities but here we are objecting for our own selfish reasons. If anyone organises a petition against it, I will counter it by getting like-minded residents to rally around me.

As humans, we will grow old and die one day. Let us help each other along the way – the young and the old should live together appreciating the value of our precious life. Look beyond the materialistic aspect to lead a purposeful and fulfilling life filled with care and love. We should start by lending our full support to the government’s efforts. For without our support, the government’s efforts will be an exercise in futility. There will be no warmth, compassion or humanity in the hardware facilities for our elderly within our midst. It will surely fail without us putting in reciprocal efforts to whatever ambitious plan the government is rolling out.

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About Gintai_昇泰

I'm a Singaporean Chinese living in the Eastern part of Singapore. I tweet on current affairs & inspirational quotes. I blog on issues or events if they interest me. I also share interesting jokes, stories or anecdotes and observations on my blog. Thanks for visiting.
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16 Responses to I welcome facilities for the elderly at my void deck!

  1. Pingback: Daily SG: 1 Oct 2012 | The Singapore Daily

  2. Expensive price but unavoidable says:

    Death embraces all – a shocking lesson and wake up to share. Avg Joe and Jane In Spore can expected to live to 80 and 85. Our future will eventually come in one of 4 ways – accident, cancer, stroke, heart – 5 if swimming at Bedok or superman from high rise is included. Some will be sudden, others will be progressive over a period.

    Powerful, rich, poor, VVIP or peasant will end the same way. Consider what your options will be – is it better with aged care centers and hospices or pretend we can banish aging and death in paradise island. Like hospitals, sewage, reservoirs, power staions, fire stations, we have need for them – me thinks they sud be sited anywhere where needed. We can be as innovative and as smart as our 700 sq km area permits us to be unless u think somebody grand parent/ parent wud live being banished to Neighbour Ng countries to spend their remaining infirm years or maybe euthanesia sud be legalized as a medical and economic choice??

    Beyond these options we have no choice all you currently healthy egotist, time is shorter than u think!

    Be selfish, think carefully as we need a decision we are willing to die for.

  3. Expensive price but unavoidable says:

    PS – forgot there is also a 6th escape hatch – if u lose your marbles thru dementia or Alzheimer’s then you will be forever happy or grouchy – nothing matters because u will have no short term memory left.

    Still against aged care facilities – we all share the same future – 5 approaches longer or shorter. Be selfish, make a decision you r happy to die in.

  4. john says:

    Gintai, I don’t think people object to nursing homes built near their place, but more because the new buildings are built too close to each other. It is more of objecting to their bad urban planning. They should allocate proper land to designated nursing homes, not by turning a football court into one. Also, where would the kids play their football? If the government wants to bring morality into the debate, one should also ask why are nursing homes not built near to bishan MRT? Wouldnt that be more convenient to visitors and the elderly?

    • Agreed. Instead of blaming themselves i.e. their poor urban planning, they chose to push the blame on the residents whose objection may be valid. Maybe you are quite right on that point.

    • ape@kinjioleaf says:

      Agree. When I first read about the case in Toh Tuck, I got the impression that the residents were an ungrateful bunch. Later I came to find out they were against the location, a site that has recently been upgraded with more community facilities. They even offered an alternate location within their estate. The urban planners have really got to get their acts together and think long term holistically. Even firemen are doing fire prevention campaigns instead of merely fire fighting. Think about it.

      • Yes. Sometimes what we read as reported by MSM may not appear to be what it is. There is more to it that meets the eye. We need to be careful when we read articles, news or reports whether they are from MSM or NSM. They have their slanted views and they are trying to sway public perception and opinion. Let’s read beyond the lines before we express our outrage or indignation.

    • Joey Foo says:

      But what if I told you almost no one is using the football field? I mean, those news articles, TV news, look at photos of the field. The last time I checked, it’s completely empty.

  5. Yeah! says:

    You think the 100+ new facilities to be built for the elderly are actually constructed because “we will be a society that embraces ageing and our seniors with a big and loving heart”, as Health Minister Gan Kim Yong hopefully expressed at the Man Fu Tong Nursing Home mid-Autumn Festival celebration? Think again. A bed in those nursing homes will set you back $1,600 to $2,000 each month. If you looking for a government subsidy, grandma will have to be in category 4 or worse – can’t walk, feed or wash herself. Like those grandiose education hub, medical hub, IT hub schemes, the whole senior care master plan is just another money making, GDP growth boosting, profit driven venture. Nothing is sacred, the silver haired generation is just another piggy bank to help themselves to. – http://singaporedesk.blogspot.sg/2012/10/your-entitlement.html#comment-form

    • I hope it’s not true. I don’t know yet cuz I’ve not tried any. If it’s true, surely they are digging their own grave. Logically, why shld they alienate themselves from the citizens? I don’t understand at all.
      I’ve read thru Tatler’s blog. I’m quite disturbed by one of the comments on his blog. It’s about maid levy. Getting a maid to look after invalid and infirm family members yet need to pay levy? That’s not right. Maybe I shld blog abt this injustice.

    • patriot says:

      The best comment that I get to read at this thread. Nothing to add except that as a senior citizen myself I just fail to understand why Sinkies are clamoring for childcare and eldercare centres.

      They are perverted arrangement of a sick society. And worse when they are commercialized for making money.

      Me physically fine, but sick in the heart to see and hear educated folks talk with big mouth without much thought to the political play(wayang) around them.

      patriot

  6. agongkia says:

    The announcement of building so many elderly homes is good in a sense that there will be less complaints from citizen when these nursing homes are built in their backyards as they will think sooner or later,there will be such homes everywhere.

    Whether the homes are built near public transport vicinity or not ,it is not important because many of these residents do not have much visitors or children visiting them as majority of those who stay in such premises are not well to do,or dun have much property to give to their children.

    I would prefer more homes for the destitute or beggars to be built instead because when times to come,I will be sleeping along the Gor Kah Kee because I cannot afford to stay in such homes as Garmen won’t give me free lodging.
    Putting me in beggars home will have to be free because it is disgraceful for others to say that we have beggars on our street .

    • Agongkia,
      Do you think the govt going to spend so much money building homes for beggars? Pls don’t dream. Why there is a parents maintenance bill? To screen you upside down and inside out so that the govt can refer u back to your children.
      In those cold countries with winter, the poor wretched destitute did is to smash the shop window and purposely get caught stealing by the police. Since a crime is committed, they are sent to prison. At least, there is food and lodging. They won’t die along the five foot way freezed to death. They could survive the whole winter. It’s always repeated every winter giving the police and govt big headache.
      Soon, we will also have this social phenomenon if the social divide between haves and have nots getting bigger. It’s beginning to happen soon.

      • agongkia says:

        You reply here reminded me of someone who told me that he wanted to voice his frustration in the net ,revealing his thought and offended the you know who and get himself free stay in Changi . To him,it mean patriotism and better than getting a charge for attempted theft.

  7. The says:

    I think the latest move by the government is a step in the right direction. By announcing the intention to build more than 100 such facilities across various parts of Singapore, this will lessen the “not in my back yard” syndrome as now it will be in everyone’s back yards.

    The government can go even further in its acceptance. Since HDB uses “market” mechanism is pricing HDB flats (better location, better views, higher floor etc being priced higher), then it should also use this approach to price those flats that are near such “unwanted” facilities like old folks homes and hospices by pricing them lower. Say, giving a $50,000 discount for flats near such facilities. If this is done, I am sure there will not be so much objection. I will definitely go for such flats if they are priced at a substantial discount.

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