Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Retirement Age

Somebody suggested in a recent article in the Star that the retirement age in Malaysia be raised from the current 58 to 60. I was asked by a couple of people whether I would extend my services if the government were to raise the retirement age to 60. Each time without hesitation my answer would be the same. Yes. Usually the response to my answer is not what I was thinking. Many people think that we should continue working after 58..otherwise we wouldn't know what to do with our free time. There are many reasons why I want to continue working but not knowing what to do with the free time is definitely not a main reason. The main reason is of course the income. I suppose it is attractive enough for me to stay on. The second is because I feel I have still a lot to offer. Although no one is indispensable, I still feel that I'm still an asset to the school. After all, there are not many of us who can teach Pre-U science courses fluently in English. The younger teachers would probably take quite a few years to reach our level of experience. Speaking of experience, our opinions and suggestions are still needed in the school management.
However, I think the Malaysian government will not propose an extension to the current retirement age. By comparison, our retirement age is among the lowest. It is 62 in Singapore and Thailand, 65 in Japan and 67 in Australia. With the average lifespan increasing most countries are extending the retirement age. In Malaysia, however, the government has also got to consider the unemployment rate. With so many public and private universities, more and more graduates join the work force each year. If the retirement age is extended, the unemployment rate may rise further unless the economy expands. At present there are no indications of a possible extension, so I guess I should start my countdown again and plan what to do when August 2011 comes.
The most obvious thing to do is to do what we do best...teach. I'll continue my tuition classes and maybe start a few more classes. At least until I'm 60, if health permits. After that, my wife would have also retired and I may just wrap up my classes and do what most retirees do. Travelling, visiting the children, TV and of course internet. I hope I won't get bored with facebook by then. maybe I'll blog more. And who knows, maybe I'll write some short stories!

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