Thursday, August 21, 2008

Random Musings on Chicago Hawaii Trip (6)

Stop fooling around and act your age!

It is fascinating to discover the differing attitude towards aging in Asian and the United States. The life expectancy in the United States is higher with many living to their 90s while Asian tend to be lower in the 70s and 80s. The retirement age in Malaysia is 56 years while in the States is about 65 years. However, there are many in the United States who are still working in their 70s and 80s while Asian tend to slow down in their 60s.

I met a gentleman in Hawaii who is 87 years old and has been in retirement for 40 years. He plays golf three times a week with a group of golfers in which he is regarded as a 'youngster' ! The group have people who are 93 and 95 years old. I do not think I know of any Malaysia who plays golf when they are 80 or 90 years old.

The elderly in the States tend to be more active and more independent than in Asia. I wondered why. Is it genetic or cultural? Seeing that the gentleman just mentioned is Korean, I believe that it is cultural.

In Asia, especially in Malaysia, you are over the hill at 50 years old. You plan for retirement which means staying at home. Very few think of a second career or becoming more involved in voluntary work. I find a different attitude in the States, which I believe is true in Europe too. Those who in 50s are regarded as still young and still have much to offer to their society.

I believe we need to change our attitude about aging in Asia.


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Blogger anthony said...

my godfather from teluk intan is 82 and still plays golf a few times a week. used to play also tennis but he has stopped. was a perak davis cup player in the 50s and still packs a hard forehand.

also just retired him from hunting wild boars. took away his scrambler bike which he uses for his hunts in bidor area (now i get to ride his scrambler! no, i'm not mean - he actually gave his bike to me as his godson).

4:57 PM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi anthony,

wow, a rabbi on a scrambler hunting will boar.

Next time when you come down to JB, don't forget to bring some wild boar char siew.

11:29 PM  
Blogger said...

Doc, if if it is not genetic, could it be mental attitude, better medical care, and working beyond "retirement"?

9:44 PM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

Hi Blogpastor,

I believe it is a mental and cultural attitude. The early retirement age at 55 is a legacy of the British colonial and the 'early retirement' is a legacy of our Chinese culture- retirement and enjoy the fruits of your labours i.e. your children's turn to feed and care for you.

Medical care does help but I believe the mental attitude is the most important.

I do not believe the Bible actually teaches about retirement. More about taking on a different role.

10:55 PM  

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