(The article below has been submitted by Donavan Cheah, undergraduate)
Singapore is a country built on hopes and dreams. Our forefathers had a dream of a brighter future and thus they came here. Today, Singapore enjoys the fruits of their labour: a country that has probably the fastest progress in the past fifty years….
“Big deal,” says the Generation Y.
Enter the Gen Y. Who’s a Gen Y person? Someone like me, perhaps. Maybe older by a few years.
Someone who’s born into a Singapore that’s commercialised, corporate and capitalist. Where the survival is of the fittest. A Singapore of hipster cafes, sexy tech startups and where its cool to have a cause. It is today, it is now – stop telling me about the has beens.
Gen Y has dreams. Big ones. Check out the list of desires our peers have:
1. I have to start my own business and be rich by 35!
2. I gonna fly abroad and work for a long time, discover the self and discover my calling!
3. I’m gonna find a husband/wife that is [insert specifications here].
4. I’m gonna get that PhD in [insert course here].
This is a modern Singapore where instant gratification is the order of the day and if one can’t get what he/she wants – surely someone must be to blame right?
What happens when these dreams cannot be achieved? Well, some people will end up lambasting the G instead. It is also very convenient. It is so easy to demand textbook-type freedoms. So easy to cry wrong without explaining a context. It is so easy to raise a question, but difficult to swallow the answer.
Loftier aspirations without a change of such an attitude lay the foundations for a crisis. When the blame game comes, these range from the G to the man on the street of a different nationality. Sometimes Gen Y even looks along partisan lines, preferring to classify people based on colour rather than what they actually stand for. Clearly, if left to fester, Gen Y would be unhappy, reflect it at the polls, flip-flopping the G (between white and blue, maybe?). One might consider paying attention to why Bersih happened. Essentially, a signal of what a new group of people want.
But is Singapore really in trouble? Perhaps not. The solutions are remarkably simple, in fact. The writer suggests three solutions:
1. Empathy: Be it towards other people or the G. Try to understand how others think. Even if there exists no acceptance, at least try to understand where they are coming from. It is good to question but not be cynical. Constructive critique is the way to go.
2. Counting one’s blessings: Treasure what you have first. Then to try to aim for something lofty. You might actually lose blessings you already had.
3. Look at failure positively: If you fall, get up and try again.
Dreams and aspirations should remain lofty. However, a closer look at our attitudes towards failure, how Gen Y looks at dreams and what it means to be “satisfied” might be in order.