We’ve talked about the Silver Support Scheme and the qualifying criteria for payouts. You might wonder, so who are these bottom 20% of Singaporean retirees?
Living with his wife, Ms Kasiah, in their one-bedroom flat in Beach Road, Mr Rahman is a lively presence in the surrounding estate. The 81-year-old pakcik is known for his wooden handicrafts, having crafted a few at the welfare centre he visits daily.
What’s amazing about Mr Rahman is how good he is at creating handicrafts, even after losing three fingers from his left hand to a workplace accident back in 1958. He struggled with daily activities in the beginning, but he and his wife eventually found work as sweepers at Sims Drive.
Mr Rahman swept the corridors of HDB flats on Sims Drive for over a quarter of a century. With little savings, Mr Rahman seized any opportunity to earn a living, which included road sweeping jobs at Marine Parade, and then Haig Road, on the recommendation of his friends.
These jobs also did little to contribute to his CPF savings. However, Mr Rahman kept his chin up and continued helping to keep Singapore’s neighbourhoods and streets clean. Mr Rahman also remains involved in his community by delivering magazines to the doorsteps of the surrounding block of flats. This activity helps him keep active and earns him some extra cash.
Though 79 years old this year, Ms Lee continues to lead an active lifestyle. Living alone in her rental flat, Ms Lee prefers to be out and about during the day. She makes daily visits to the nearby welfare centre, where she meets with her friends.
Like Mr Rahman, Ms Lee was not able to hold steady jobs throughout her working life. Her last steady employment was as a chambermaid at Hotel Summit in the ‘70s. Her unstable jobs contributed little to her CPF account, which hindered her ability to save for her retirement.
A regular participant in the events at the welfare centre, Ms Lee is usually most vibrant when belting out her favourite Hokkien tunes to her eager audience at regular karaoke sessions.
A widower for 15 years, Mr Rahim has been sharing a one-bedroom rental flat with a friend of his ever since his wife’s passing.
A reserved and private man, Mr Rahim was a drinks seller at hawker centres for 19 years. Receiving only a minimal daily wage and limited CPF contributions, he had little means to save up for his later years.
Mr Rahim spends a good part of his time at his local seniors’ activity centre. There, the elderly like Mr Rahim form a community of fellow seniors and volunteers, and a place to socialise and remain active through their retirement years. When he isn’t at the activity centre, Mr Rahim spends his time at the Thopputhurai Muslim Association, an organisation for Indian Muslims.
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