‘Silver tsunami’ conjures up wrong image

February 21, 2013

AS AN active 66-year-old, I am distressed by the use of the metaphor “silver tsunami” to describe the projected impact of the ageing population on economic growth (“‘Suicide for PAP vs euthanasia for S’pore'”; Feb 8).

Language has the power to define reality and it is simply not fair to use such language to construct public perceptions of an ageing population. It implies that old age is nothing but a problem and it conjures up a frightening vision of imminent societal catastrophe.

Worse, it conceives of the elderly population as nothing more than a heavy human burden – an explosive cataclysm waiting to happen.

Such language frames the growing greying population in terms of the apocalyptic. It is a language of ageism and is disrespectful of people like us who have contributed and are still contributing to the building of our nation.

Dr William Wan
General Secretary
Singapore Kindness Movement

First published in The Straits Times – February 21, 2013

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