According to media reports, Speaker of Parliament and PAP politician, Tan Chuan-Jin (TCJ), addressed activists from the PAP Seniors Group (PSG). He reportedly urged them to help "reframe the narrative" on ageing, and in the process, making Singapore the "best place in the world to retire and grow old in".
TCJ is of the view that the negative framing of ageing must be replaced with one that is more positively oriented. This is not surprising coming from someone who views having to collect cardboards in their old age as a positive (to earn income or for exercise).
It is ambitious. What makes a country or city the best place to retire and grow old in?
There is no straightforward answer. Different people with different values and different socio-economic backgrounds will have different parameters.
However, one parameter common to a large group is the quality of life that they can look forward to.
This quality of life is not necessarily strictly defined by tangible mesaures like a country's GDP. This is where Singapore, is lacking.
A recent survey by Natixis Investment Managers ranked Singapore 28th out of 44 countries for retirement security. The survey noted that while Singapore came first in terms of retirement finances, it performed relatively poorly for the retirees' "quality of life and material well being".
This is the reality for retirees in Singapore. It is the reality that the PAP government needs to accept, understand, and help improve.
It is not a coordinated negative framing of ageing in Singapore. It is a reflection of the reality here.
Singaporeans work to prepare their finances for their various life stages, and also to ensure financial adequacy during retirement. This does not guarantee contentment and happiness in old age.
Whether one works through retirement and old age through their own volition, or otherwise, also makes a difference.
That is the challenge for the PAP, or for whatever party/parties that govern Singapore. This is an issue that needs to be managed with sound investments and policies to ensure a good quality of life for Singaporean retirees.
The problems will not disappear by a simple re-framing of the issue.