By TAY TIAN YAN
Translated by DOMINIC LOH
Sin Chew Daily
If the new retirement age act is eventually passed, Malaysians will have to work five additional years before they can retreat into the comfort zone of retirement.
Over the past 20 years, there are more and more young "old people" aged 55 and above in this country. These people are both physiologically and psychologically fit, but because they have no more jobs, incomes and places they can go to every morning, many have become young "old people."
Indeed, old people are a social problem, and young "old people" pose yet another problem for our society.
The current retirement age of 55 has been inherited since the colonial times, at a time when the average lifespan was only 57, so that when they retired, they only had an average of two years to frolic with their lives before they were called by the Lord.
Into the new millennium, medical reports tell us human lifespan has been extended by two full decades, and the health of a septuagenarian is comparable to a fifty-something just two generations ago. Similarly, a fifty-something today is just as robust as someone in his thirties back in those years
Getting someone in his 30s to lie idle is a sinful waste, like an impeccably maintained 5-year-old BMW that is forcibly hauled to the junkyard.
Moreover, not many people are having savings large enough to keep them afloat for another 30 years after retirement.
Counting on children? Don't even think about it! Today's social and economic texture has spawned a generation of young people with highly independent thinking. Count your own blessing if you manage to pull through on your own.
As such, being able to stay in the job market for another five years is definitely a boon to both the individuals' physical and mental health as well as their families.
That said, job attitude needs to be adjusted during the extended on-job years.
Malaysian workers tend to grow more and more passive as they approach the retirement age. A forty- or fifty-something is well aware of his own promotion prospects and will therefore not give his full shot to his job endeavours.
Such an attitude will not only drag himself down, but also his organisation.
Cambridge scholar Peter Laslett defined 50 to 70 as the third age. People in the third age, Laslett said, have largely accomplished their missions to raise their children, and are now moving into another track of embarrassment.
In order to live well, people in the third age need to have good health, wealth and sound education while being self-sufficient.