The recent headline of an NS man who got knifed by a group of teenagers raises the question of youth creating trouble out of boredom. In Singapore, youth unemployment is quite low and youth crime is also relatively low, but that doesn’t mean we should let either get out of hand!
At the same place last year, a youth was harassed and attacked by a group of other boys, resulting in fractures to his skull after his head was slammed into the ground. Recent cases include a 16-year-old who assaulted and robbed a female victim, and a 20-year-old who cheated with his older friend to buy Fairprice vouchers with a dishonoured cheque.
While the severity of youth crimes vary, it’s the motivation behind these actions which are a cause for concern. The NS guy was attacked because the group did not like his “arrogant” walking style; in Pasir Ris, a group of youth were rioting over a staring incident; in the US, a youth even shot a guest at a party after being told to leave or pay up for the food he was eating – where did such deep anger come from?
Granted, Cineleisure is a hangout place for the youth to mingle and be seen (read “to flirt and hang out with attractive members of the opposite sex”), so testosterone levels are flying high as these youth are either trying to impress girls or establish their virility.
The presence of a crowd can also aggravate such behaviours, as it’s not easy for someone to back down after confronting another or instigating a fight, thus leading to a greater use of harmful weapons to cause injuries.
Teenage years are a moment of self-discovery. While some turn to part-time work to remain productive during school holidays, many have yet to develop self-awareness of how they can channel or express their energy to positive activities.
But Singapore’s not short of youth engagement programmes despite being a small nation. This July’s SHINE Youth Festival month carries the theme of #FreeYourYou, encouraging youths to break free and act on their passion to create positive impact in the community
This year’s National Family Celebrations, which is coming to an end soon, also sought for greater input from the youth to bridge the gaps between generations.
With last week’s Yfest and this week’s Baybeats taking place, nothing speaks more to the youths than to be able to express themselves through music.