Recently, on a flight to Japan for work, I watched Andy Lau and Deanie Ip’s A Simple Life. The heartwarming film is based on a true story of a producer and his servant. It is about a relationship between a young master called Roger (Lau) and the servant of the family who raised him, Sister Peach (Ip). I had a lot of mixed feelings after watching the film and decided to blog down my thoughts.
Just like Hong Kong, Singapore is also facing the ageing population issue. To tackle the “silver tsunami”, the government is currently building up the infrastructure, such as nursing homes, community hospitals, training more nurses, doctors and therapists. But I suppose there is so much our government can do, in terms of hardware.
In Singapore, we are still lacking in software to manage the ageing issue. For example, every now and then, we read in the news of elderly who passed away unknown in their homes. Their decomposed were only discovered after their neighbours reported foul stench to the police. I believe as more and more Singaporeans choose to be single, the issue of providing community support to lone seniors will be a problem in the next few decades. Singaporeans also need to adjust our mindsets and accept that nursing homes and community hospitals are needed to support the needs of the elderly. Our social attitude of “NIMBY” (Not in my backyard) need to change.
In the film, Sister Peach did not marry and was fortunate that Roger took care of her after she was down with stroke. As Roger had a busy career and needed to shuttle between China and Hong Kong for work, he had no choice but to send Sister Peach to a nursing home. Initially, Sister Peach was concerned about the cost of enrolling in the nursing home, but Roger was kind enough to pay for her monthly fees.
In Singapore, the cost of enrolling in a nursing home is also very expensive and not many elders can afford it without the support from their children. So unless you have substantial savings or financial support from children, you might not afford a nursing home in your old age. Of course most people, including me, would prefer not to stay in a nursing home when we are old. But what if our partner had passed on, our children moved out and we have permanent disabilities.
After watching the film, I feel that there is a need for me to make retirement plan even though I am still quite young. I am making retirement plans so that my investments, passive incomes, assets, insurance and savings will be able to allow my partner and myself to end our life journey in a retirement village. We want to be independent and not burden our kids financially. Most importantly, I want to be a responsible father and not leave behind shit for my children to clear. I want to retire and age with dignity with my partner.
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