In a recent issue of “The Economist” (dated 5th June) - a global business magazine, its front cover title was "Leaderless Japan".
The graphics, on the cover, that accompanied the title was a Japanese flag with its red sun dropped out - leaving a circular hole in the centre of the remaining white flag. This depiction reflects the country undergoing an unexpected change of 4 Prime Ministers of the Japanese government in the past 4 years - implying the loss of a stable leader, and the unsettled changes taking place in Japan.
In the midst of significant political and economic changes occurring in Japan, another change is also apparent- the use of iPad is evolving in its IT sector. Launched at the end of June, the IT industry in Japan touted that iPads could replace the use of PCs. An article from Nikkei Online Business written by a business consultant cited his subjective view that the iPad would not only attract the conventional PC consumer, but it would also be well received by the elderly population. iPad’s more intuitive operation makes it easy to learn. In addition, its handy zooming functions that increase screen text/image sizes makes iPad an attractive choice for the elderly. The iPad’s launch in Singapore, scheduled in July, is already highly anticipated by the locals.
On the subject of the elderly, we highlighted in our SDS newsletter (vol. 11) of Singapore government's intent to raise the maximum employment age to 62. An article from the Straits Times dated 5th June pointed that a survey conducted by Ministry of Manpower, late last year, covering 3200 companies (800,000 workers) revealed that most companies in Singapore are heeding to the call. The survey, meant to assess retirement and re-employment practices in Singapore, showed that almost half the surveyed are willing to continue to employ workers beyond their retirement age, and to do so without changing the terms of employment. However, 85% of companies surveyed (mostly larger companies) preferred to offer re-employment contracts to their staff, but not necessarily for the same job.
Mr Mauricio Soliano, an employee at Robinsons for 50 years, has no intention to retire at his age - 71. He claimed that he is still at the pink of health, and that his doctor even said he has a mind of a 25 year old. It seems the senior community has re-surfaced and has re-established themselves, not only as a promising consumer in the commercial market for IT products such as iPad, but also as a resilient contributor to the economy.
From the changes taking place in the political arena in Japan, the evolution of the iPad contending the PCs, and the re-significance of elderly workers to the Singapore economy - Such are the diversified changes that are happening. The only thing consistent, it seems, is change.