Following the discussion on “What is age? And what does ageing means?” I have some thoughts to share.

Frail, slow and incompetent are typical stereotypes that people have of the aged. I myself do not recall seeing my 88 years old grandma needing her children or grandchildren to help her around. She is strong enough just to climb the mountain behind her house every morning back at her hometown in Malaysia. I am sure some of you could recall memories of how your grandparents are more than able to help you carry your school bag and chase you around when you were little.

Looking back to our daily life, how many older workers do we observe serving in the front line of those Food and beverage outlets. Go to the park this weekend and you will see many grandpas and grandmas jogging even faster and for longer duration than most of the young people we see out there.

BUT what does ageing really means?
According to Laura Carstensen in her Ted talk title “Older people are happier”, the upsides of ageing are the following:
#1 More Appreciative

This means that older people could be easily satisfied and motivated with the little effort that the organization is making for them. Hence, they tend to be loyal.

#2More open to reconciliation

This is good news for employers as older employees are open to negotiations in terms of salary, working hours, etc. Moreover, this also means that they are more prone to work harmoniously with their colleagues and bosses.

#3 Increase in Emotional Intelligence(EQ)

It is proven by research that EQ increases as we aged. Thus, older workers are more able to handle their emotions well and are happier at work.

Money as a motivator for older workers?

Think again. Yes maybe to a certain extend money could motivate older workers  because with the increase in  life expectancy, people are now more in need of money to support themselves through retirement.

However, companies could think in other area such as the ergonomics initiative Alexandra hospital has introduced. I will like to applaud the hospital for their efforts as they are actually killing two birds with one stone. Not only do the older employees enjoy a safer working environment, patients enjoy the benefits as well because they are served more efficiently. Furthermore, having retained the older workers whom are mostly fluent in dialect, the hospital could communicate better with their elderly patients.

Upon mentioning that older worker is more open to reconciliation, organizations do have to beware that they are also less tolerant of injustice as mentioned by Laura in her Ted talk. Hence, organisation should make sure they have procedural and distributional justice in their human resource policies and practices. Compensation should be fair after adjustment of workload and work hours of the senior workers.

There are many initiatives adopted by the government which promotes active ageing. Even the elderly themselves are taking the initiatives to upgrade themselves whether is it learning English or using the Internet. But what organisations have done over the years is laying these workers first-hand right when the organisation is facing trouble. Like it or not, many countries in the world including Taiwan, Japan and Singapore are facing an ageing population. Hence, it is up to the organization to decide whether spending resources into upgrading and retaining their experienced senior workers is a necessary or a cost to the company.

In conclusion…

Just to end off a little off topic. A few weeks back while we were on the topic on Nudges, Prof Audrey mentioned in class on how we could encourage a healthier lifestyle in NUS. As an advocate for healthy living, I do have an interesting point to suggest.

Since we were saying that it is very unhealthy for students to sit in the seminar class for 3 hours, why don’t we consider bringing exercise to class? The chairs could be replaced with exercise bikes where students could pedal while listening in class. Alternatively, with more budgets, the school could purchase tables with higher table top so that treadmill could be equipped as well. Bringing up the level of excitement, the school could implement a system where students could earn participation point just by accumulating points for the calories they have burned. Another bizarre idea would be encouraging students to exercise so as to earn the chance to participate in class. For example, instead of raising their hands, students would have to pedal, walk or run as fast as they can to hit the first 100m mark before they could earn the chance to share their input. I am sure it would be fun to implement this in class!


TED. (2011, December). Laura Carstensen: Older people are happier[Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/laura_carstensen_older_people_are_happier?language=en

Is money really everything? When did money become everything?

Following the discussion is class regarding the meaning of money, it triggers a lot of thoughts in my mind. Is money really everything? Do we really work only for money? When did money become everything?

My point of view is that money is not really everything and we do not work only for money. Well, maybe sometimes we do, but not all the time. Let me bring in some examples to justify my thinking.

Firstly, let us look at the comparison between US president Obama and our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. According to Ong (2013),  Mr. Lee receives $2.2M per year as compared to Obama who earns only $500,000 annually. Both took on the position as the leader of their respective countries but look at the disparity in their pay. The main focus probably should be why then is the underlying motivation that pushes Obama to take on his job despite the fact that he is very much underpaid as compared to the rest of the world leaders? Could it be that he has a high need for power? Or just like what he have said when he first ran for the election, that he wanted to solve the problem of income inequality?

Now how about we shift our attention to another occupation, the social workers. Have you ever wonder why are they willing to work in such a stressful environment even when they are compensated miserably?

In response to the question, I went to read stories of others who have become a social worker and the reasons they have given is that the job itself makes them feel proud and rewarding as they make a difference in people’s life. Some even enjoy the challenges that the job brings to them.

From these 2 examples, I want to draw everyone’s attention to see that people do not work just for money; they find meaning for their work. This is just like what Dan Ariely have mentioned in his Ted Talk “What makes us feel good about our work” that people want to make progress and feel a sense of purpose. YES, people work for money but because they need money for survival and pay for daily expenses.  However, it is not the only thing that motivates them to go to their office every day.

In today’s society where competition is strong, people are forgetting who they really are and what is it that they really want in their heart. Just like the story that Professor Audrey has shared with us in class regarding the issue “what amount of money is enough?” The story she mentioned about how people just keep upgrading their houses and cars as they compare themselves with others. There is a Chinese saying that goes “人比人气死人, 何必去羡慕别人”, meaning comparison are odious, why bother envying others. How are we ever going to be content with what we have and be happy of who we are if we do not stop comparing ourselves with others!

So let us all be brave and pursue what we want and not live a life based on other people’s expectations or the societal norms. Life is too short to have regrets and it is definitely OK to make mistakes and it is alright to be different as we are MEANT to be unique individuals.

I would like to end off by sharing an article entitled Top 5 Regrets of the dying by Martino (2013), to trigger some self-reflection.  It was stated in the article that the number 1 regret of the dying is that “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me”. If this is not enough to convince you, I would strongly recommend all to watch the Tedx talk titled “How to find and do the work you love” given by Scott Dinsmore. Personally I have taken away two main learning points from him and that is:

#1 Understand myself

No one will do it for you but yourself. Take actions today to find out about your strengths.

#2 Do the impossible

Believe in ourselves. People say they cannot do it because they do not believe in themselves or others say they cannot do it.  Surround yourself with people who believe in you.


Martino, J. (2013). The Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying. Huffingtonpost. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/03/top-5-regrets-of-the-dying_n_3640593.html

Ong, R. (2013). The 7 Highest Paid Political Leaders in the World (2013). Retrieved February, 27, 2015, from Yahoo News Web Site: https://sg.news.yahoo.com/7-highest-paid-political-leaders-160000024.html