IT IS a thoughtful gesture on the part of the Government to give a one-off attractive bonus to all public sector officers ("Civil servants to get $500 in special SG50 payment"; last Thursday).
This special bonus to celebrate 50 years of nation building will undoubtedly recognise the efforts of our hard-working civil servants, who often work long hours. These workers are fortunate to be able to hold on to a job with a steady income and support themselves and their loves ones.
But SG50 must also recognise the many other Singaporeans, including former civil servants, who have also contributed to our vibrant economy and helped in nation building through the years. They must never become a forgotten lot, given that many have made significant contributions to public service.
Many of our former public sector officers do not have a job with a steady income, as securing jobs beyond age 50 is not easy, due to ageism. They have to cope with the rising cost of living and expensive medical care - especially for those who missed out on the Pioneer Generation package. Some have the unenviable task of taking on caregiving duties.
I appeal to the Government to offer a 50 per cent one-off SG50 bonus to our former public service officers who have served for 10 years or more in the public sector. Those with disabilities should also be given something.
In offering recognition to Singaporeans - be it through cash rewards or medical benefits - let there be a fair distribution of support, for it would not be right to please one group and displease others. When this happens, whether we like it or not, we become a divided society.
Raymond Anthony Fernando