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Someday it will matter to us too!!!!

That someday would be the day just before our retirement comes....!
And that day seemed to have come too quickly for Gyeltshen Sir who now superannuated from service. Thirty nine years of service only brought him memories of struggle. As he sat on one of the guest chairs at pension office and handing his superannuation orders and running through figures of provident fund accumulation, million thoughts rummaged through his mind. Thirty nine years of service was not enough for Gyeltshen Sir like James Bond Movie “World Is Not Enough”. It was not enough because he was not prepared to face his post retirement years. He said he was now resting his old bones after years of hard work and struggle but deep inside, there was this restlessness of having to adjust with changed lifestyle and sudden drop in income.
Many Bhutanese today superannuate from service with a sense of loss and apprehension. They are neither prepared for new lifestyle nor are they willing to let go off their old ones. Having worked with many pensioners, both civilians and members of the Armed Forces, it makes me sad to see that Bhutanese pensioners keep facing difficulties which could have been avoided by forethought and planning. It is ever more painful for me when I see pensioners trying to sustain himself in present by way of reputation and memories.
Although civil servants retire at minimum age of fifty six, it is important however, to learn and develop required expertise to cope with retirement as early as forty years and start accumulating the necessities required to make post retirement life comfortable.
My interview with many pensioners has made me believe that  post retirement period means waiting for death. While we wait for death, we have got to live and for that very reason, it is important to view retirement years as beginning of new life or change in status. We go through numerous change in status in our lives...when we come of age to go to school, then go to high school, complete education, graduate, find job, marry, divorce!!!! and get married again...there are string of events and also of life. So retirement is a whole new life experience.
It can be enriched and successful if people start planning early in life.  Sometimes I feel that Bhutanese are wasting away not only resources, time and energy if they are only sitting and counting “Mani” beads but also depriving themselves of much enjoyment and satisfaction.
When a person retires, there is a danger of unproductive leisure filling his life. Satisfying work does not necessarily be associated with salary. One can cultivate special tastes. In fact many people have developed artistic, literary or scholarly interests which makes retirement era a valuable period.
Every pensioner should develop skills which could add benefit to community. He can enrich our society. Such person leaves heritage. Sometimes the time they provide may be of greater value than the monetary contribution. This should be an acceptable challenge for all the pensioners.
Actually every pensioner have abilities that can be used. It may be worthwhile to explore skills and resources in pensioners.Retirement is about doing things you never had enough time for while working.
Any pension scheme is not designed to provide a life of luxury but to  provide a sense of security. When you retire, your expenses are reduced too because  you pay less for daily transportation to office or work, parking fees, petrol, canteen bill.
Retirement is a time to take up new and useful occupations depending upon one’s capabilities. A lazy existence  is exactly the opposite of being alive and it doesn’t contribute to person’s dignity.
 As for Gyeltshen Sir, he has been asked by his daughter to look after her son for now.


Diksha Chhetri said…
Retirement is about doing things you never had enough time for while working.
Excellent point and a very informative article.
Alu Bongku said…
Well researched article. I hope people will take note of it. By the ways, I don't see your article " Legacy of Narcissist" .Have you removed it?

Alu Bongku
PaSsuDiary said…
This is an 'early warning system' to all the people who seem to think they will never grow old- we have to, like you said we will be Gyeltshen sir some day. Question is have we planned for it? None. Thank you for alarm clock in my life. I dont want to wait for death, that will be very painful, I just want to engage in social works and write stories. All I have to do is build my security system now and here so that I can rightfully do what I want!
Sir, you must share this with every Bhutanese, because we are all the same easy-going people who need this reminder!
Dechen Lhaden said…
Tshering, how have you been? Have you been doing some Opa Gangnam Style again lately?

I remember you talking about demographic shift in Bhutan and its effect on social security in near future. I thought that was interesting for many Bhutanese readers to know and understand.

Maybe you can explain for general public in simple language.

Ana Dechen
Hi Ana, thank you so much for remembering me. I am really good. With single pack, even my normal walking almost feels like Opa Gangnam Style now.

As for demographic change in Bhutan, this is what I feel and it does not qualify to be an expert opinion though.

Bhutan has population of just over 7,00,000. Every year, the population is aging. Currently, the average Bhutanese people are in between 35-45 years and over time the average is going to shift up. Population structure will change because of following reasons:

1. Medical Science Advancement: Due to medical science advancement, people will live for longer years. This means that old people will have more years to live after retirement than it was perviously thought.
2. Effect of Education: With universal and free primary education, all children, whether in rural areas or in urban areas are now getting education at much higher rate than it used to be decade ago. Educated people tend to reduce family sizes. For example, it was normal for my father and mother to have eight or nine siblings. During my time, it is normal to have 4-5 siblings. Today, many people tend to have maximum of three children. Our children may opt to have one child or not at all. So there is a danger of gap being created in the middle forcing social adjustments. In fact, population size may shrink as is happening with many European countries,Japan and Singapore. We are yet to know what kind of adjustments that may be required of the people then.

This is just my personal opinion and it does not necessarily be right.

As for social security was natural for children to look after parents and grandparents during their old age. However, things are changing now. With mobility of job, increasing cost of living, inflation, dependency on salary and change in living style, traditional arrangement where children looked after their parents are under pressure. When a time comes where there is one child or no children, who do we turn to for old age security?
Deko Ammo said…
You do sound expert on demography. My question is, why do you have only one child then?
Hi Deko...I would actually like to be an expert and not just sound like one. I miss your company, your jokes and above all your fry rice.
Deko Ammo said…
You fly off here to Hong Kong if you want my fry rice (fly lice). I can take you to Macau for casino too. Hope your boy is doing good. Muah to him and Muah to you too. Miss you loads.

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