Tuesday, February 22, 2011

CAN OUR BILLIONAIRES SPARE A THOUGHT FOR OUR NEGLECTED ELDERLY?

Malaysia's superrich. Source: NST
There were few surprises in the recently-released list of Malaysia's top 20 billionaires. The same faces are there in the annual list. It used to be millionaires topping the list. Obviously these former millionaires have raised not only their net worth, but a few have also made the leap to Forbes' Top 100 billionaires list. They are Robert Kuok, 86, ranked 33 with a personal fortune of USD14.5 and Ananda Krishnan, 71, ranked 89 with a net worth of USD7.6.

What do billionaires do with all that wealth? Through the foundations they have set up, they have helped to provide scholarships to the needy, and donated funds to aid the poor. The main focus is always education, and the target group are the young.

What about the old?

Do companies view the old and elderly as not worth investing in as they are past their prime? Are they poor investment risks? Does it always have to be about ROI?

Source: NST
Old folks are usually remembered at festive seasons, when companies will try and outdo each other to fulfil their CSR agenda. They organize visits to old folk homes and inform the media so they can be assured of publicity for their good works.

What about the rest of the year?

The overwhelming majority of the super-rich on the list are in their 70s or 80s. One would expect them to channel some of their spare change into providing financial aid and healthcare for the less fortunate who are in the same age group as they.

If the old won't help their own, it's even less likely that the young would do so.

One organization that would welcome some seed money to kickstart their programs is the Foundation for Sustainable Retirement. It hasn't been able to achieve much since its launch in August 2010 because of financial constraints. Another is AUTORR. Its launch has been delayed indefinitely due to insufficient funds to continue with their building plans.

The centrepiece of AUTORR in Ampang.
A generous cheque from any of our billionaires would enable these organizations to turn their vision into reality for the benefit of the elderly in our society.

The Malaysian chapter of the international Make a Wish charity for children was launched recently. Now if someone would donate just 0.00001% of his billions to Seniorsaloud, we could set up a Make a Wish Foundation for the elderly.

I know of some people in their 80s who would love to visit the village in China or India where they were born. They just don't have the funds to make the trip. There are others who want nothing more than a wheelchair to move around in. Some only want to enjoy an all-expense paid day out with their peers.

Their wishes are not out of the ordinary. Just simple wishes that, if granted, would bring much joy to these seniors living out their final years.

Related article: "Making Wishes Come True For The Aged".


1 comment:

Antares said...

How very sad, and stupid, that the very old and the very young seem to be left out of every financial plan! These are the bookend ages of humanity - they keep everything else in between coherent and mark the beginnings and endings of all our stories.