what is age? or what is old?
Today we are still grappling with the outdated concept of a retirement age. It was 55 for many years until a few years ago. Then it was raised to 60 and then 62. But acceptance of this higher retirement age is still very reluctant among the industries and the young turks in their 40s. These are people in top management postions who think that they will forever be in their 40s, forever young. Last week we were host to an eminent scientist, a Nobel Laureate, in the name of Professor Yang Chen Ning, and all bubbly at the age of 83, that is about 2 dozen years past the 55 or 62 retirement age. Is biological age a good criteria to determine the end of a life time of economic activities? Shall one arbitrally retire and try to live the rest of one's life just keeping oneself alive, away from the economic enterprises of society? It has been proven over and over again that the biological age is no barrier, or a rigid criteria as to the usefulness of a person and how much he can contribute his worth. With our limited human resources, it is so wasteful to write off entire generations of people with a wealth of experience and knowledge just because we cannot change our old ways of thinking that 55 is old. Prof Yang can put many people half his age to shame as he is still fully employed at Tsing Hua University in Beijing as an honorary director of the Centre for Advanced Study. At 50 it is actually middle age and still have 30 useful years to go. With the length of time one is required to pursue an education to be highly skilled or specialised in a profession, to fade away at 55 is just not justifiable. We are still seeing many moribund organisations, ministries, stats boards with their policies tied to this magic number of 55. The CPF board is one of them.