21 Jun 2012, 1.11PM
Today, I logged onto my favorite site during examinations and read this not-so-well-written piece that got its point across clearly regardless:
Basically, author is a middle-aged Singaporean who sees everything bad with the soft Gen-Y who have had the audacity to have material comforts like computers and handphones showered upon them by their parents, and basically, “Singaporean youngsters are arrogant, lazy, complacent and cannot take any kind of hardship. You guys have lost the hunger to succeed. All you care about is fun fun fun. You come to work late and leave early. In between, you get on Facebook, tweeter, instant messaging, hold chit chat orgies, take multiple coffee breaks, post racist blogs, or play computer games.”
It obviously offended and struck a raw nerve, but like every good, obedient Singaporean would do, I reflected on myself and this is what I came up with. I will keep my retorts parsimonious and limited to three key points:
Stereotyping and generalization:
From what I know, older Singaporeans are arrogant, think they know best in everything, expect the world to kowtow to them and refuse to listen to new ideas, think that only their ideas are the best, and then blame the same people for not coming up with any good ideas like people in western countries do. According to a Malaysian friend I met on holiday, this is one of the reasons why our neighbors hate us so much.
What I’m trying to say is that, if you are going to be a bigot yourself and generalize, this is how we generalize you as well. We can go on, people who speak English in Singapore are arrogant, students who go to local universities are only book-smart and snobs, the list goes on and we don’t even need to be racist or offensive here!
Like a dear uncle of mine once said, if you don’t open your mouth, no one will say you are dumb…
Author’s own arrogance and bigotry
Maybe I should question the authenticity of this article – but whoever it is written by, these ideas definitely ran through someone’s head and thought processes. Did it ever come across the author’s mind that he should be aware of his own arrogance, condescension and bigotry? I don’t think I need to say much, because everything this author says is pretty much a reflection of himself; when you point a finger at someone, you point four fingers back at yourself.
It’s not our choice! I didn’t choose to be born into a family living in a 2 room, 3 room, 5 room HDB flat or a mansion or whatever your circumstances were. I just made the most out of what I had and what my parents gave me and that’s what everyone is trying to do. If you want us to stop whining about our stressful exams, our failed relationships, taking the MRT etc, you stop whining about how you didn’t have a handphone or computers back then in 1970 and how we are all a bunch of softies – I doubt the richest man in the world had a Mac-book back then either (and I don’t have one, just FYI). Academic achievement at the expense of physical pursuits was drilled into us from young.
I can spend all day giving retorts and arguing my case, but I thought this was a good chance to speak up for the much maligned “strawberry generation” and wanted to make a much more different point to a much bigger problem.
Why do we generalize, and hate each other so much?
I don’t have the answer to this question, and neither am I a million dollar minister who can tell you “what do you think?” (sorry, couldn’t resist), but why can’t we just focus on the problems at hand and keep our frustrations focused on the problems and not keep blaming each other?
For years, we have been shouting out our problems, sometimes putting in precious time and energy giving constructive feedback, writing emails, writing letters to the press – maybe one of the reasons for all this frustration is that we are being ignored, but still, there is a better way to constructively use our frustrations to move forward. This brings us back to the same issue; why does the Singaporean government not listen to all these frustrated people banging their desks, shouting out loud, but invites 17 year olds to seminars, only to turn back the hard questions when the questions they don’t want to hear pop up? In management theory, we call this resistance to communication. But in management theory, employees can quit; quitting the country is altogether another thing.
I will end this before it becomes another rant. Young people have energy, but we only have so much. And we are getting tired and not any younger…. Please, listen to us.