Teenagers in Singapore starting to drink earlier, according to an article by The Straits Times. From starting in their mid-teens at around 15-years old, Singaporean teens are are starting as young as 12-years old, according to the article.
Drinking has been more socially accepted in recent years, compared to when it was largely considered a vice in the past. It only stands to reason that as a result, people are more open and acceptable about drinking.
I had my first real drink when I was 15-years old, and it wasn’t hard to get my hands on alcohol, despite the drinking law (where a person has to be 18-years old to legally buy alcoholic drinks). Besides that, I would take sips of beers or other alcoholic drinks during events such as Chinese New Year.
Youths under 18 in Singapore are technically allowed to drink, with parental permission. What the law restricts is the sale of alcohol, and drinking in public places below the age of 18.
Singapore is one of the many countries that have set the legal drinking age at 18-years old. Across the board, most other countries have similar ages. The United States, however, only allows drinking at age 21, whereas several European countries such as Germany and Denmark allows teens as young as 14 and 16-years old to buy certain alcohols.
There’s nothing inherently wrong in drinking earlier, if done in moderation and under supervision. As a girl, some relatives and friends have even argued that I should drink under supervision, so that I will be able exercise my alcohol tolerance in the future.
I would much rather see these teens knowing where their limits are if they start young (of course, there are always exceptions to this, and teens are hardly the best at decision-making, even when sober) rather than to see them overindulge and and over imbibe once they turn 18.
On the other end of the spectrum, teenage drinking could possibly lead to a plethora of other issues, such as binge drinking or alcoholism, grades being affected and many more. The main issue here isn’t to teach these teens that drinking is bad – everything can be bad if done in excess – but that they should drink responsibly. Teens and youths are a notoriously stubborn bunch, and they’ll probably still end up drinking at younger age even if told not to.
While that’s been said, the law still has its uses. While not completely effective in preventing under-18s from purchasing alcohol, it does restrict their avenue for getting their hands on alcohol to a certain degree.