It's a good idea to honour those who hit a century– because it shows the resilience these citizens who have gone through difficult times such as during the Japanese occupation – and witnessed the transformation of Singapore from the days of simple buildings to the skyscrapers we see today. To see a simple bus service transformed to the sophisticated transport system we have today. They do need to be recognised. See my press letter that is out today in The Straits Times
I have sent it to the Singapore Government.
I urge the government to support this suggestion. If need be, sponsors/philanthropists can be approached to stand alongside these centenarians. It is a win-win situation for these donors as they get good publicity which will further enhance their image and it provides an incentive for these centenarians to always stay positive in life.
Raymond Anthony Fernando
Let’s honour Singapore's centenarians: Raymond Anthony Fernando’s letter to the press
My letter to The Straits Times on the above matter is published today, Tuesday 26th September 2017.
I have nothing but admiration for former principal Mr Nagansthan Vaithinathan who not only devoted 13 years of his life to education, but also kept himself busy reading and doing translation work (Tanjong Katong Secondary’s founding principal dies at 102; Sept 22).
Mr Vaithinathan valued life-long learning. He obtained a barrister-at-law certificate at the age of 57 and managed his own law firm for 18 years and learnt five languages.
Longevity can come about when seniors keep themselves actively engaged in work, have social interaction, are cheerful, optimistic and embrace positive energy.
The general life expectancy in Singapore is around 80 years or so. Not all of us can live to the ripe old age of 100 and beyond, like Mr Vaithinathan.
But if anyone does hit a century, their lives should be celebrated.
Honouring our centenarians is acknowledging the strength and resilience of these citizens and all they have gone through.
In the Philippines, the government gives a cash gift of 100,000 pesos ($2,648) to any of their citizens who reaches 100 years.
Besides the cash gift, they get an increase in the senior citizens discount from 20 per cent to 50 per cent on the sale of goods and services and value-added tax exemptions.
In the same vein, the Singapore government can consider adopting the Philippines government’s centenarian policy to honour our very own 1,100 or so centenarians with a cash gift.
Raymond Anthony Fernando