A desperate 56 year-old elderly man will be charged in court tomorrow (Jan 6) for hitting a 34 year-old female welfare officer from the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) who is believed to be taking charge of his case.
The incident happened on 17 Nov 2015 and the two were having an interview at the Social Service office. Somehow as a result of the welfare officer’s questionings, the elderly man turned aggressive and hit her.
This is not the first time welfare recipients have expressed anger or even violence against their welfare officers taking charge of their case. In Dec last year, a welfare recipient took a video of a welfare officer making a sarcastic remark against him saying “Number one it’s not a pay. We don’t owe you any money.”
Newly-appointed MSF Minister Tan Chuan Jin, a former army general, was ready to flex his muscles and threatened that he have “no tolerance for any behaviour by anyone that causes harm to my officers”.
Singapore have an acute poverty problem where the government is persistently denying and refusing to acknowledge. When elderly poor are spotted collecting cardboards, MSF Minister Tan Chuan Jin claimed that they were just exercising. The Singapore government also refuses to set a poverty line and a Minimum Wage because they claim doing so will only be counter-productive to the poor.
Just recently, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean posted a photo of himself and an elderly 72 year-old lady working at a petrol station. The DPM made a half-mockery of the elderly poor saying:
“Auntie, 72, pumps petrol at Holland Rd – cheers everyone up with her helpfulness and optimism. A widow. she worked to raise her young family – her gkids are now in Uni, one at SMU doing PG law. She believes in supporting h’self as long as she can. And contributing to the family & educn of her gkids. Good health and happiness always Auntie.”
Many elderly Singaporeans are in dire straits as they earn cheap wages and are unable to support themselves as their weakening bodies do not allow them to work long hours. According to the latest official statistics, elderly suicides in Singapore reached a historical high of 126 and a previous health survey done by Tan Tock Seng Hospital in 2010 found that 30% of the elderly Singaporeans are malnourished.