Me vs Time (you too?)

Jenni Ho-Huan
7 min readJan 3, 2022
Many antique standing clocks
Lucian Alexe, Unsplash

How does half a century feel to you?

I am not sure how to feel. I just turned fifty-five and Time began to loom everywhere I turned.

“You don’t look fifty-five!”

I am not sure that fifty-five has a definite look, but Time definitely seemed frozen in the looks department, thanks to all the advertising hurled at us.

Here in Singapore, turning fifty-five is a time-marker that many joke about for it is the d-day of being free to finally, fully own our hard-earned monies.

Due to our highly efficient government, ideologically anchored to what I would describe as an ‘as-humane-as-possible’ market vision of life, all citizens are committed to a savings program once they start work. The money saved can at first be used for housing, and later for certain investments and education of the next generation.

What happens at age 55 is that one is entitled to withdraw monies from this savings scheme — provided, for the safety net it is meant to provide — one has a minimum sum.

I made no withdrawals because the minimum sum now stands at a whopping 96k (and that is the basic sum, we also have the Full Retirement Sum and the Enhanced Retirement Sum).

Time is tied to so many things, and for some of us, it may never seem to work in our favour.

In a society where the vision of life is to be happily married with kids and hold down successful jobs, singles, especially women, can feel like Time is an enemy.

In a society where human worth is measured in production, defined as typical work roles, Special Needs persons, the Disbaled and the Elderly often struggle to find and hold their place with dignity. Time is a threat.

In a society where the overarching narrative is to keep striving for fear of becoming irrelevant to the world, Time is a tough task master.

As the popular adage go, ‘Time and tide wait for no man’ — our thoughts of time and our relationship with it is always fraught and mostly unhappy. We may have pinpricks in the long trajectory of accolades and sublime ecstasies, but mostly, we dread the march of time.

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