Helping hands make it easier to be filial

Anything in excess is always detrimental to the common good ("Excessive social security may erode filial piety" by Mr Leslie Fong; Tuesday).

In Singapore, where governance of social affairs is tempered by caution, prudence and moderation, it is unlikely that aid and support for any particular sector of the population will be excessive.

That said, a lifelong commitment by the young to eldercare carries with it high financial and emotional costs, with punishing implications for caregivers and their families.

Having an empathetic and supportive co-partner in the Government assuages the natural angst of being the sole caregiver to one's elders immensely, especially when finances are tight and manpower is sorely lacking.

It is easier to be filial when there are helping hands.

The Government provides tax incentives for looking after one's elderly, financially dependent parents, and has in place schemes for the elderly sick, home-nursing assistance for the bedridden and moribund, emergency medical services via ambulances, subsidised MediShield Life for the elderly and other assistance services.

I would argue for more social security and financial aid, not less, for the filial to care for their elders at home.If our young are unable or unwilling to care for their elders at home, then I am for increased subsidies from the Government for assisted living in high-quality old folks' facilities.

Filial piety does not end the day one's parents are put in a home, just as increased social security does not diminish a progeny's filial quality, loyalty and sense of responsibility.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2016, with the headline 'Helping hands make it easier to be filial'. Print Edition | Subscribe