After a lifetime of toil, slaving to pay off the house, car and kids' education, so it's back to the grind, only to work for a younger, less qualified boss at reduced wages? That's the wise man's formula to boost productivity in Singapore.
"We've got to make old people productive and I don't think there should be a retirement age," Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew told the Singapore National Employers Federation members gathered to celebrate its 30th anniversary.
Retirement is supposed to be a golden period to do the things you never had the time for, like enjoying the 1,612 pages and 1.5 million words of Vincent Bugliosi's "Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy". Or sitting through the Lord of The Rings triology at one go. Or bouncing the grandchildren on your knees. Stopping to smell the flowers. Admire the clouds in the sky. In other words, enjoy life without the demanding constraints of an office routine.
More exotic options like visiting the Niagara Falls or the Sphinx will require cash from the nest egg you've been squirreling away for. Unless you've been conned into upgrading your HDB flat and suddenly discover that the CPF account has been depleted by Mah Bow Tan's affordable housing prices. Or inflation has chewed away your bank balance, thanks to spiralling transportation charges, utility bills and medical costs inflicted by a dose of bad government. Not everyone has the luxury of inventing job titles and setting your own salary scale as you age.
It's in the order of nature that mental and physical agilities decline with advancing years. That's why the young with the faster reflexes should ascend the stage and bear the responsibilities of building a new society. Introduce fresh ideas rather then digging up old grandfather stories about communist threats and justification for detention without trial.
Life is short. Poor lawyer S. Tarwari retired in 2007. Only to suffer a headache and die of brain haemorrhage barely 3 years later at 64 years old. Hardly time enough to reflect upon a life time of accomplishments and sterling service to the nation.
Here's advice from a really wise man who was asked, "What do you do now that you're retired?"
"Well . . . I'm fortunate to have a chemical engineering background, and one of the things I enjoy most is turning beer, wine, Scotch, and margaritas into urine."