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Hope from the battle of Grandpas

One of the key issues that was used against US President-Elect, Joe Biden is the fact that he’s old. As at the time of writing, Mr. Biden is 78-years old and when he’s inaugurated on 20 January 2020, Mr. Biden will be a good nine years older than the previous record holder for oldest man to take office, Ronald Regan, who was 69 at the time of his inauguration in 1981. Interestingly enough, Mr. Biden’s opponent, the Donald was not much younger at 73. The two key records from this particular US election was the fact that it involved the greatest number of votes cast and the first time that two septuagenarians went against each other.

This fact shouldn’t escape people, especially in a day and age where people in advanced economies face unprecedented ageism. Singapore is no exception. Despite being healthier and fitter than I was a decade ago, I’ve effectively accepted that at the age of 46, I will never have a “corporate career,” and the fact that people still consider me for some white-collar work (OK, admittedly I am allergic to files and offices) is something of a miracle. I am, as they say, a lucky one. For people who have had good careers and suddenly find themselves thrown out of work, the situation is even worse. It’s a terrible experience to be an established character one day and less than nobody with bills to pay the next.

We have to face an uncomfortable fact – we’re all getting old and while getting old is an inescapable fact, the idea of a comfortable old age of playing golf and sipping pina coladas by the beach is an increasingly unattainable fantasy. Let’s face it – aging folk need to keep going. From a social demographic perspective, Covid-19 is helping us cull old folks but not making it easier to grow old.

Ageism in Singapore is rife enough for government ministers to come out to state that age should not be a barrier to hiring people. Yet, age discrimination continues and the only saving grace for Singapore is the fact it isn’t the only place where ageism happens. Why does it happen? Some of the reasons for not hiring aging workers are as follows: [LINK]

1. May be too set in their way of working
2. Might have problems to take instructions
3. Not be able to use modern technology well
4. Used to do things manually
5. Expect respect from the manager
6. Will be nearer to the age of retirement
7. Will be serving lesser tenure in the company
8. May not be open to any kind of criticism
9. Might be tough to adapt themselves to new setting

It helps that we live in age of constant technological change that has “disrupted” just about every industry around. The argument goes – old people can’t keep up with the constant technological change – they simply don’t have the energy to keep up with the constant and rapid pace of change.

Being old is simply not cool. In business, we always read about “Young Start-up Founders” or kids with a bright idea who avoided the conventional path and made billions. That stuff is cool. Nobody wants to know about aged executives or old boys trying to start a noodle shop to make ends meet. Being aged is the opposite of hip.

Hopefully the battling grandpas will help settle some of the issues on age old discrimination. If you can consider letting two septuagenarians run for the most complex job on the planet, surely you can allow someone over the age of 50 the right to run a convenience shop? The very presence of the grandpas should help put some of the myths of hiring old people to rest.

Take the key issue of energy. The main argument against hiring old people is that they lack energy for today’s fast paced work place. To make matters worse, not only do old people not have the energy to get things done, they’re more likely to get sick and die. There is as they say, a good reason why your insurance premiums get higher as you get older. So, from a business perspective, why hire someone who will have less energy to do the things that you need to get done and will costs more.

Having said all that, people should look at Mr. Bidden as a positive example of why you should not make such examples about old people. At the age of 78, Mr. Bidden is physically active. The man runs without any assistance and goes cycling.

Then there was the example of George HW Bush who took up parachuting at the age of 90. As was said at his funeral, he was someone who knew how to die young as late as possible. While much is said about how the young people are shaking up things, the truth is that it’s the baby boomers who are the real driving force of things. Look at it this way, there was a generational change between the “silent generation” and the “baby boomers,” when Bill Clinton defeated the first George Bush in 1992. Clinton was succeeded by Bush II, who was another boomer. There was something of a generational change when Obama came in but this was quickly reversed with the advent of Donald Trump.

Then there is the issue of whether the old folks get technology. It’s here, where the Donald sets an example of a grandpa who does get new technologies. While Mr. Trump lacks the physical energy of Mr. Bidden (he struggles to walk down a plank – an obvious result of a diet of junk food), Mr. Trump more than makes up for it in his use of technologies like Twitter. While his predecessor was supposed to the “young” and “hip” President, the first “real social media” President is Donald Trump who ran the country from his infamous Twitter account.

Whatever one’s political inclinations, we should be grateful that this most recent US election was fought by two grandpas, who managed to show the world that age is a number. Contrary to conventional wisdom – grandpas do get it and we should never discount someone just because they’re past a certain age that the text books disqualify them from.

 

Tang Li

*Although I’ve been based mainly in Singapore for nearly two decades, I’ve had the privilege of being able meet people who have crossed borders and cultures. I’ve befriended ministers and ambassadors and worked on projects involving a former head of state. Yet, at the same time, I’ve had the privilege of befriending migrant labourers and former convicts. All of them have a story to tell. All of them add to the fabric of life. I hope to express the stories that inspire us to create life as it should be.

 

 

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7 Responses to “Hope from the battle of Grandpas”

  • An Alibaba joke hehehe:

    Hunter asked his 78-year-old father, “Dad, what were your good old days?” His thoughtful reply was: “When I wasn’t good, and I wasn’t old.”

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  • PAP CLOSE DOWN:

    Read about those uncles who fought over newspapers in the library. Uncle Vs Uncle. Nothing else to read?

    @National library. I put a few copies of newspapers and sat down to read. Suddenly an uncle appeared and accused me of hoarding. I told him :”Nothing else to read? No other papers?” Fellow left in a huff. If he asked nicely, I would have shared. Typical of this ill mannered, foul tempered nation. You think you are elder or more senior rank can anyhow lose temper and people will kneel down and obey.

    Courtesy campaign failed.

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  • xoxo:

    Hahaha! * MAKE OLDIE american cowboys GREAT again*???

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  • oxygen:

    IN LAW AND MEDICINE, skills sharpening comes with the age of experience.

    In investing, ageing brings with it STUPIDITY for some because geo-politics/economic turbulence (not even Central Bankers can handle) roll in faster than the old mind can comprehend or fathom of consequential reality even if aware.

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  • ITE Only:

    @ PAP CLOSE DOWN:

    Experience similar situation.

    I just sat down not even 5 mins reading the newspaper then i turn to my phone to reply a whatsapp massage ( less than a minute ). The auntie waiting next inline behind immediately complain to a librarian passing by i was hoarding the seat to surf internet.

    Nah Bay all these old timers really problem.

    I once waited patiently for an elderly to slowly finished the newspaper. From page 1 until last page. OK standing by, coming my turn, ready to takeover. Suddenly he continued to read again from the last page to the 1st page taking his own sweet time.

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  • Singaporeans R Free Riders:

    The White House better to also get ready
    for a state funeral after his innaugaration in Jan 2020.

    My hunch is that the sleepy old white joe who could no longer toil in the cotton fields will probably kick the bucket in office.

    Being a US politician for over 4 decades he has done absolutely nothing.

    He is now pandering and patronising to the colored people to make himself look good.
    Black Lives matter has its affects.

    Suddenly after Obama, we see so many blacks in high office.

    Next, will be the “beauty” peagent Miss Universe winners coming from the African, Carribean or South Asian continents.

    JOE – President of USA (United States of Afro-America)

    GE2024.

    WP.Guarantee.Win.Again.More GRCs.

    WP.Honoured Parliament Opposition Leader

    $WP$ Toa Kee; Huat Arhh!!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Mati-lah $PAP$;

    $PAP$ Slut$ Slut$ Slut$

    Professional, Motivated, Innovative Singaporeans must be Rewarded, Treasured, Admired.

    Singaporean workers must accept well comensurated salary to weed out kachang puteh and cheapskate businesses going which can only afford to pay beggar wages.

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  • PAP CLOSE DOWN:

    True. Was at Farrer Road.Suddenly an old man demanded of me if I knew where the MRT was. His tone was irritable and face nasty. Like speaking to an enemy. Maybe this was how the old school got things done but it doesn’t work for me.

    Even though I know, I said I didn’t. Don’t owe him anything.

    ITE Only:
    @ PAP CLOSE DOWN:

    Experience similar situation.

    I just sat down not even 5 mins reading the newspaper then i turn to my phone to reply a whatsapp massage ( less than a minute ). The auntie waiting next inline behind immediately complain to a librarian passing by i was hoarding the seat to surf internet.

    Nah Bay all these old timers really problem.

    I once waited patiently for an elderly to slowly finished the newspaper. From page 1 until last page. OK standing by, coming my turn, ready to takeover. Suddenly he continued to read again from the last page to the 1st page taking his own sweet time.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
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