DROP 2 or 1 COMMENT and POST UP: Elaborating contexts and interpreting evidence [Youth]

still waiting for non-posters to complete their comments on others posts/ANY of my posts and post up their originals.

In a forum conducted last July by the Institute of Policy Studies on “What Youth Want” representatives from various political parties discussed some of the beliefs, desires, traits and concerns that Singaporean youth possessed.

Briefly, these observations were made: 

  • Political activism centered on quality of life issues – concerns resolve around civil rights of being treated fairly or justly, freedoms in society
  • Youth today place a premium on higher order needs
  • Sceptical about institutions and more trusting of their own social networks
  • They do not show automatic deference to hierarchy, nor feel the pressing need to. 
  • Independent and innovative
  • (but also) disillusioned and disenfranchised
  • Great push for personal satisfaction and happiness 

Read the full summary is here.

Other more specific surveys that have emerged post-GE2011 paint a more complex picture of the youth and their level of political engagement. According to the IPS’s survey on political traits and media usage in the wake of the  2011 elections, some surprising, and not-so-surprising trends emerged:

SLIGHTLY more liberal political attitudes than older people 

  • About 70% agree or strongly agree that Singapore should be run by a powerful leader who runs the country as he/she sees fit
  • About 70% agree that economic growth is more important than freedom of speech
  • Yet, about 62% believe that there are too many rules concerning participation in political activities 

Participate in politics more actively

  • Consume more political content than older people
  • Alternative news websites like The Online Citizen, Temasek Review, Yawning Bread or foreign news media were also utilised as a process of shaping opinion outside of the mainstream media. 
  • Trusting of the Internet news to provide a range of viable perspectives

More likely to see government control of media and bias in media

  • About 6 in 10 youth believe that there is too much control of the media 
  • Biased reporting occurs when political issues are presented

Less likely to say that they voted for the ruling party/more open about their views

  • Only 1 in 10 refused to answer the question compared to 4 in 10 for other age groups. 

Task 1: In your designated groups, or individually you are to –

Craft 3 paragraphs describing how socio-economic/cultural/political factors, trends, changes or themes in Singapore have created  specific characteristic or characteristics of youth

POINT: Which societal factor/change/theme/ has created this characteristic of youth?

ELABORATION:  HOW has it led to this characteristic? How and why is this SIMILAR or DIFFERENT to youth in other nations? [if applicable]

(EG) Point: The rapid rise in affluence and disposable income in the country has unsurprisingly resulted in youth becoming increasingly…. [characteristic]

This due to/is a result of… When…Also…Further… 

 It may seem surprising, yet… and this trend is also seen among youth in Indonesia where…  OR

TIME: 25 minutes – Drop a comment at the bottom of the post. Save your work somewhere on a word.doc on the desktop lest it gets swallowed by technology!

ROUND 2: Comment on each other’s postings – critique the elaboration or add a new POINT.

Task 2 Homework: In your notes on Singapore Youth (Set B, YOUTH PACKAGE), you need to do a more detailed scan of youth, looking for data, trends or pertinent examples related to:

  1. Youth activism and volunteerism?
  2. Outlook on life? Upbeat? Positive? Social issues -youth related crime?
  3. Political apathy or engagement? Political attitudes? Affinity to political parties?
  4. Attitude towards foreigners, migration? Sense of belonging or rootedness?
  5. Media usage or exposure to technology/new media

and fill in the column to collate the facts.

A good starting point is to google for survey results from Straits Times, Institute of Policy Studies, MCYS and youth.

Task 3 (NEXT LESSON): As a team, you will write a youth manifesto of approximately 500  words describing the hopes, beliefs, desires, propositions that fairly and rightly capture the spirit of the Singapore youth [or youth in your country] given all of the above findings/evidence

We the youth –

  • Are…
  • Declare that…
  • Believe that..
  • Desire for…
  • Propose that…
  • Have experienced…
  • Are aware that…
  • Are mindful of…
  • Insist upon…

You can also use the comments in this post as reference.

Make it meaningful,

/Ms Toh


76 thoughts on “DROP 2 or 1 COMMENT and POST UP: Elaborating contexts and interpreting evidence [Youth]

  1. Minh says:

    The youth today in Singapore has become more and more discerning and cognizant about the surrounding environment and the world. This is not surprising since with the advent of technology, all they have to do to acquire the knowledge of anything around the world is to go up to any searching websites such as Google and Wikipedia, type in the keywords and with just one click, a variety of articles with different perspectives are at their disposal. These articles broaden their views and widen their eyes about the issues around the world, and prevent them from being deceived by the media for the knowledge that there is always a wide range of views about anything and nothing is absolute is in their hands. Furthermore, with the birth of networking sites recently, such as Facebook and Twitter, the sharing of ideas, information, perspectives and believes is no longer limited like in the past, but it happens on a global scale and our posts can be received almost instantly. This allows Singaporean youth to learn from a wider range of views and beliefs and promotes discussion over matters as they can interact with each other anytime, anywhere they like. Thus, their thinking skill is boosted as they learn how to form their own ideas, to defend their views and to justify whether others’ perspectives are reliable through the debates on those networking websites. Therefore, the modern youth in Singapore is actually not susceptible to the media since they have their own thinking and they know how to judge others’ thoughts. To icing on the cake, the traditional media, especially the newspapers and magazines, is becoming increasingly objective as journalists try to delineate their views as neutral and from as many angles as they can. A few examples of this are Broader Perspectives, the Straight Times and the Newsweek. This will help Singaporean youth to keep their view less biased and thus, they become more open to others’ perspectives and beliefs as they know that everything can be looked at from different viewpoints.

  2. Michelle says:

    The youth today in Singapore are skeptical about institutions and more trusting about of their own social network. This is, I believe, due to how globalization has made us interconnected with other people in the other side of the world. This allowed us to gain more knowledge about what is happening worldwide from different perspective, which could be very different than what the government told us. It made us become skeptical about the institutions, as we realized that there are still the other parts of the story, and sometimes not all the truth about the situation is given to us. Moreover, in my opinion, freedom of speech in Singapore is not something that every Singaporeans has given the right to. For example, it is very hard for people in Singapore to have a peaceful demonstration to express their needs, concerns, and opinions directly to the institutions. There is less opportunity for Singaporean youth to interact with those institutions. All of this has forced the youth to rely more on their own social network, either to get the information that they want or to express their beliefs and opinions.

    • I happily notice that there are 2 major threads to your explanation
      1. Globalisation and the process of globalisation
      2. “freedom of speech” – the elaboration for this particular claim is not quite clear to me because it seems like a sudden introduction. Could you explain to me exactly what it is in Singapore (and similarly Indonesia) that compels youth to source for information from their peers, online sites or alternative sources of news? Why do Singaporeans find it hard to “have peaceful demonstrations to express their needs, concerns, and opinions directly to the institutions.” – what are some forces in place?

      • Michelle says:

        In Singapore, almost everything is controlled by the government. Articles from newspaper and magazines were edited and censored first before getting published to the society. These actions have limited the freedom of press that the journalists have. Moreover, even though I do not know much about Singapore’s politics, from what I have heard and seen before, there seem to be a ‘monopolised’ governance by 1 big party, and the rest are only counted as the opposition party. I find it weird when most, if not all, the people in one country have the same vision and mission, as I have lived in a country where there are more than one dominant party and there are various representation from different parties in the parliament. Perhaps, there are people who wish for change, but they cannot do anything due to this so called oppresion for freedom of speech. Also, for Singaporeans to be allowed to have a peaceful demonstration, they need to get permission first from the government, and they have to do it indoor. In my whole more than 2 years of experiencing living in Singapore, I have never seen a newspaper article covering about these peacefukl demonstration, if there were any. It is a stark contrast with my country, where peaceful demonstration is an almost everyday occurence and we can often read about it in the newspaper or watch it in the news. This lack of freedom of speech in Singapore, I believe, has pushed the youth to use their own social network and other resources to obtain information about currently ongoing issues, especially in Singapore.

  3. nam132 says:

    Modern Singaporean youth are sceptical about institutions and more trusting their own social network. This may be due to the fact that youth today has been brought up in a high-tech environment. Nowadays, one can easily obtain information through internet with just a click. However, since the knowledge obtained from the internet often contain different perspectives about the same matter; it may lead to scepticism of mainstream channel of information such as TV or newspaper.
    Moreover, Singaporean youth today have witnessed the rise of alternatives parties in politics beside the largest party PAP. Their alternative perspective and idea which is often different from what is reflected upon mainstream channel such as TV and newspapers also contribute to the scepticism of institutions and their switch to social network as a more trusting source of information. Social network offers a lot of alternative viewpoint about matters which may get censored in the mainstream media with the safeguard of the so-called “anonymity”, thus is considered a broader source of information.

    • Nam, I like the use of connectors in your line of argument. Words like ‘moreover’ help to move the reasoning along. I also like your careful use of “it MAY lead to” instead of ‘will’.

      I would like you to look at your last sentence and see how it does not quite connect with what you wrote as your first? Notice that an argument has to ‘come back’ to the main claim it is making.

      Also, you could consider another ‘layer’ of reasoning WHY youth are sceptical about social institutions outside of the increasing use of social media and the rise of alternative political parties (in fact the 2 are connected). What else has led youth to be sceptical and more trusting of their own relationships?

    • Anonymous says:

      Another reason maybe that youth today are more wary of others. In this inter-connected world with increasing source of information, the chance of getting fed by false information is actually high. Eventually, youth forms a general sense of skepticism towards outside source of information including mainstream media to protect themselves from possibly false information, and rely on their own social network as a more trusting source of information as they have a sense that they are in control of that flow of information and put more trust in that source.

  4. Hubert says:

    The general rise of skepticism about institutions such as ”the system”, governments etc among youths is not uncalled for. With the rise in education levels across the new generation of youths, the ability to interpret facts and filter information on their own is greatly heightened. They are also able to understand their role in the economy/system and is generally skeptically of higher institutions as they also understand the role of the higher institutions is to control and manipulate the youths such they become productive or enable the higher institution to keep in power( by showing that they have successfully helped the society/useful to progress etc). The level of technology also is a cause of the rise in skepticism due to the increased awareness of the global network, being able to view other societies and other types of higher institutions and also the different opinions of such institutions. For example, Singapore youths are not unaware of what the world says about SIngapore being controlling and uncaring of human rights. Thus with such opinions and facts available to them, coupled with the increased ability to interpret facts, they are able to observe many viewpoints and thus is surely skeptical of institutions.

    • Hubert, nice piece of writing – just some reminders..check your plural/singular tenses and the use of ‘is’ versus ‘are’, and avoid using ‘etc’. Elaborate what this ‘etc’ means. Avoid parenthesis (brackets) and elaborate the point in full rather than an aside.

      2 questions –
      1. I really like your point about the lack of awareness about civil rights. How are such opinions available to them? The phrase ‘level of technology’ is too vague to allow me to connect between technology and increasing awareness

      2. I like your phrasing of ‘is not uncalled for’ in the first part. However, there are some missing gaps between the rise of education levels (meaning more entering tertiary institutions) and the rise in skepticism about institutions. Suggest how the nature of learning has shifted such that the rise of skepticism is perhaps, an inevitable outcome?

  5. Si Peng says:

    The increasing levels of education among Singapore’s youths combined with the emergence of 21st century terrorism has spurred modern youths to actively involve themselves in the political arena. Firstly, compared to the older generation, youths today receive a higher level of education because of the rapid development of Singapore’s education system and substantial resources allocated to providing youths with better quality education. With a high level of education, youths are becoming more and more aware and concerned about their rights and civil liberties. Particularly in a country like Singapore, often referred to as a “fine” city, harsh penalties are meted out for small misdemeanor crimes and the government has always operated on the policy of limited free speech and press, youths feel a restriction on their freedom to express themselves. Therefore, empowered by education and a desire to speak out, youths are taking a more active role in local politics to strive for more civil liberties and to have a greater say in how their lives and their country is run. Furthermore, the emergence of 21st century terrorism has also been a major factor in influencing youths to take part in political activism. Events motivated by religion and race, such as the 9/11 attacks, Bali Bombings and London Train Bombings have had a significant impact on the youths of today, especially Singaporean youths, as Singapore is a multi-racial and multi-religious society. Growing up in this highly diversified society, Singaporean youths have taken after the previous generation in practising a high level of tolerance and acceptance towards individuals of other races and religious affiliations. Hence, when they witness violence and persecution towards other races or religious groups in the form of terrorism, Singaporean youths feel a deep sense of need to speak out and act against these unjustified actions because of the morals and principles ingrained in them from growing up in a relatively cohesive multi-ethnic society. Also, because of Singapore’s highly diversified society, it is at a greater risk of religious or ethnic conflict, and youths feel the responsibility to maintain the harmony in Singapore. Therefore, domestic, as well as international political activism among youths have spiked as it is a platform for them to express their opinions on these issues that are so close to hearts.

    • Some perceptive points.I like the patient way in which you build the context at the beginning such that I understand where your point about an awareness of civil liberties and rights emerge from.

      However, I think the point on education has been too rapidly glossed over, and there doesn’t seem to be a clear explanation HOW education empowers youth to speak out and take a more active role in local politics, or how their life is run. This ‘inner logic’ or explanation needs to be explicitly, and yes, patiently, drawn out so that it becomes convincing how the education system has surprisingly, even created youth who have an interest in political activism, or AT THE VERY LEAST, believe that more active participation in politics is desirable.

      Also, there are a few interrelated points which could be better sign posted – an era of global uncertainty, the perception of living in a Nanny State as well as education simultaneously create this outcome about youth. See if you can restructure.

      • Sipeng says:

        Ignorance breeds aversion to socio-political issues because without knowledge in those complex systems, people will not be opiniated pertaining to these issues which leads to an attitude of indifference. Hence, education effectively eliminates ignorance

        With a higher level of education, youths will become increasingly aware of the implications and impacts that governmental policies have on on their lives. Through social and national education, youths gain more knowledge and understanding about the actions and the consequences of governmental actions, which sparks off a desire within themselves to have a say in how their lives are run. It is no wonder then that the youth of today are taking a pro-active stance towards politics and their education has encouraged youths by providing them with the necessary skills to do so. They are empowered by education because it enables them to better articulate mature perspectives and express personal opinions in an educated manner, which allows them to get their views across more effectively

  6. sherylgoh says:

    Youths in Singapore are all born into a competitive society, one that engages so thoroughly in the paper chase or the climbing of the socio-economic ladder, so we are attuned to constantly striving for the best results, be it academically or happiness. This is just an example of the unique-to-Singapore “kiasu” (scared to lose) mentality. Increasingly, due to the meritocratic beliefs of Singapore, youths are molded by the education system to think that academic success equates to happiness, thus we increasingly see that youths of Singapore today constantly aim to get that 90% for the common test, or scoring better than your peers to feel a sense of satisfaction. This could be due to the fact that our parents didn’t have the “good life” during their childhood, where they had to work after school for pocket money, or juggle studying and working part-time, so they cultivate a sense of striving to self-satisfaction and happiness in us because they see the importance in that. Furthermore, we live a relatively comfortable life where our needs are usually pandered to, so we are even more accustomed to seeking out the best for ourselves, to achieve happiness and self-satisfaction.

    A plausible reason for the fact that youths these days do not show automatic deference to hierarchy, nor feel the pressing need to is that this generation of youths are strongly influenced by western culture. The Asian culture our parents and previous generations that followed had great respect for anyone above them in the hierarchy, paying utmost respect and being very meek and humble before their elders. However, because of globalization and the global media that our youths are exposed to, we gradually see less need to show deference. Although our culture does not have drastic or complete changes, the Western media and spread of culture does still pose an influence to the attitude of our youths now, as we experience paradigm shifts.
    Now, even parents are disrespecting teachers and blaming them for their child’s poor performance in school, giving children an example to follow, when in the past, teachers had the most authority over the education of children—mostly because the parents were not as educated as well. There’s also a different approach as to how student-teacher relationships are formed these days that could explain the lack of deference to hierarchy. Teachers are seen more as a friend than a superior sometimes, and this leads to a break in how the student would show deference in the past.

    • Sipeng says:

      1)I agree that many Singaporean youths associate happiness with academic qualifications and achievements. However, is it really true that all Singaporean youths live a relatively comfortable life?

      Does western culture really advocate deference to hierarchy? If so, what evidence do you have to substantiate that claim? Do Singaporean Youths really predominantly subscribe to western culture, or is it more of a far-east meets west society?

      Great Writing, just some Food for thought 🙂

      • Si Peng, do you mean ‘Asian culture’ in your second question? I seem to have a different understanding that western culture advocates less of an AUTOMATIC response to hierachy. I may be understanding you wrong, can clarify?

        Sheryl, in response though, you could better substantiate the influence of the west – which typically adopts more ‘democratic’ processes even in negotiating family decisions! How has this attitude in turn affected the outlook of SINGAPORE youth?

        Also, what other changes in Singapore have resulted in a shift in the way youth relate (less) with authority figures?

        I think we also want to make a distinction between sweeping ‘Asian values’ and Confucian values that are often more spoken off in Singapore- especially with regard to a deference to authority or those more senior in age/rank.

        • sherylgoh says:

          The Western extent of the practice of democracy is significantly greater than that of Asian countries, even to the point of practicing democracy when making family decisions. These practices are appealing to the increasingly more independent youths of Singapore who like to strike out on their own more now than ever, also because we would like to have a say and thus start to push for these “rights” we believe we should have — since the western culture allows for it, why not ours as well? Youths thus start to rise up against convention. However, some parents are still firmly rooted in values and beliefs held though generations and are less open to the idea of letting children take part in family discussions, and enforcing their beliefs and rules onto the new generation.

      • sherylgoh says:

        Hi Sipeng~

        I believe that Singaporean youths generally live a comfortable life, at least in the sense of having most of our wants pandered to, (increasing number of technological devices finding ownership in the hands of youth) while our needs are already satisfied. But perhaps in the academic sense, we are put through so much rigor we can hardly say that our lives are comfortable :l

        Western culture does not explicitly (and for lack of a better word:) demote deference to hierarchy, if that’s what you meant to ask? 😮 But the culture in the Western societies are much more liberal than the Eastern countries, as globalization takes place we find ourselves gradually loosening up on the importance we place on deference to hierarchy.

        Besides, it is not all of the Western influence. I forgot to add that experience of superiors making the wrong decision that affects every one drastically would also result in less respect and confidence in that person, thus, leading to the youths failing to show automatic deference to their superiors. Take for example, if the government fails to control it’s expenditure and falls into debt, causing the nation to get stuck in an economic rut, and it’s repeated efforts to get the nation back on it’s feet have come to naught, how would the people react? Furthermore, youths of today being more outspoken, independent and daring to make a stand, would lose confidence in the government and be skeptical of their next move. Thus, there will not be an automatic deference to the government’s decision — youths will not blindly follow the decisions made but will question it instead.

        hahah i hope i make sense.

  7. Raphael Theseira says:

    Youth might have their physical well-being taken care of, but when they see that there is a threat posed to it, they find themselves in a situation where they no longer take it for granted. What happens is the actualization of loss in their minds, that the physical is not enough, that it will one day fade away. They realize that what they NEED is more than that, and in truth the foundations of friendship, community and the like are actually more real and concrete than material things like an iPhone or a hot dog.

    • I REALLY like the phrase “actualisation of loss”. Perhaps you want to explain to me why, despite never experiencing much loss, damage, acts of terror or catastrophe firsthand that Singapore youth undergo such an “actualisation” in their minds. What factors have resulted in local youth having a front row seat to such uncertainty in our world?

  8. Adrian Ngadi says:

    Youth today are observed to be innovative and independent. This is most likely seen because of our generation’s exposure to the various zero to heroes story since their youth, ranging from Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and of course,Mark Zuckerberg for the more recent times. The story of the rise of these economic giants have been told and retold since our childhood, leading to us unconsciously desiring to put our name in the world, just like these modern age heroes. This eventually leads to the youth in this generation being more independent, seen from various innovative student led projects, such as community involvement trips and events, fund raisers, and other events regularly seen throughout Singapore.
    Another reason for this may be competitiveness. Asian society, especially seen in Singapore, has been very competitive, with even the government encouraging competition seen by their PSLE, O&A level system, especially the introduction of the bell curve system, where you performance is not merely rated by the score you obtain, but also your score compared to the other students. The reason is because humans are the only resource Singapore has in abundance (although it is actually decreasing recently), thus they wants to build up a competitive and innovative society in order to attract various companies to make investments in Singapore. The message is clear, only the cream of the crops would be able to enter top institutions. This leads to a lot of youth nowadays being more independent, devoting much of their time to their academics, obvious from Singaporean student’s favorite pastime, mugging. Furthermore, with recent emphasis on CCA aside from grades alone, many student has taken up the task of involving in various projects in order to distinguish themselves from their peers, thus being one of the reasons why innovation amongst the teenagers has drastically rocketed in the past few years.

    • “zero-to-hero” stories (used in this manner with inverted commas, is a nice phrase!).

      I really like your take on the modern-day heroes of our time. You would want to contrast this with the traditional heroes of Generation X or the Baby Boomer generation (war heroes, revolutionaries, Prime Ministers) in Singapore. How do such stories compare against the self-made individuals and entrepreneurs of your time?

      What factors in society contribute to this AWARENESS of such success stories?

      Could you also tidy up your education system paragraph and have a clear focus on why the education system or the corporate world eventually propels youth to be display innovative/creative traits?

      Do a grammar check thoroughly again in your edit as well. “Mugging” is hardly an acceptable phrase in a persuasive academic essay.

    • Adrian N says:

      Youth today are observed to be innovative and independent. This is most likely seen because of the advent of the IT age, contributing significantly to spread of information through Medias such as internet, televisions, and newspapers. Our generation’s exposure to the entrepreneurs’ story since their youth, ranging from Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and of course, Mark Zuckerberg for the more recent times has led us to idolize themes our own personal hero whom we should emulate. The idea of being a “zero-to-hero” or rising up from just a nobody is now seen as the pinnacle of success in our generation as compared to being a soldier of prime minister, as the generation before us envisioned, most likely because in recent times where multinational corporations giants seems to take over the world, such as Bill Gate’s Microsoft of Job’s Apple. In fact, governments are mostly seen to be the bearers of criticism nowadays, instead of a leader to guide their citizens away from ruin. The story of the rise of these economic giants have been told and retold since our childhood, leading to us unconsciously desiring to put our name in the world, just like these modern age heroes. The desire to follow the footsteps of these heroes eventually lead to the youth in this generation to be more independent, seen from various innovative student led projects, such as community involvement trips and events, fund raisers, and other events regularly seen throughout Singapore.
      Another reason for this may be competitiveness. Asian society, especially seen in Singapore, has been very competitive, especially because humans are the only resource Singapore has in abundance (although it is actually decreasing recently), thus they wants to build up a competitive and innovative society in order to attract various companies to make investments in Singapore. The message from the government is clear; only the cream of the crops would be able to enter top institutions, which then increases their chances of getting into top ranking jobs. This leads to a lot of youth nowadays being much more independent, devoting much of their time to their academics, obvious from Singaporean student’s favourite pastime, ‘mugging’ (which is basically hard core studying, but have been given a special term by Singaporeans). Furthermore, with amount of students acing their exams, many students has taken up the task of involving in various projects in order to distinguish themselves from their peers in order to get admittance to various top courses. Not to mention that companies nowadays not only looks at your grades, but also the activities you undertake as stated in your portfolio, innovation amongst the teenagers drastically rocketed in the past few years as they struggle to undertake projects that would make them stand out amongst the rest.

  9. Sanjay says:

    As Incredible as India may seem on the adverts, looking at the nation through a foreign eye brings light to the simplicity of the class order in society, rural and urban alike. Rapid and uneven urban expansion (often factored for by political instability) leaves 3 distinct gaps – from the well heeled who live in the concrete jungle, to the traditional nuclear families, living their mellow suburban lives to the masses of the sickly and the poor who live in squatters and slums on the outskirts of town. But you would already know that. This is the general picture that is painted time and time again from various perspectives. What is more interesting to note is the type of attitudes and mindsets the various youth adopt.

    The plethora of recent initiatives engendered by the government, NGOs and private companies help provide free, compulsory education to poor children. The importance of education and the possibility of achieving great heights is a dream that is realised by the neglected and thus they have developed an optimistic view of the future and have great faith in the system that promises to break their vicious cycle. Such youth are also more readily accepting of change and understand the long term effect this brings about on their lives. This coupled with cheaper technology (like the recent $40 Aakash tablet PC) has helped the cause by leaps and bounds.

    For a class that is influenced greatly by Bollywood, the children from average-income households lead lives with a significant lack of drama. They are very cultured, traditional (dare i say narrow minded?) in their thinking- they are generally seen as hardworking and satisfied by simpler pleasures in life. They tend to be very accepting and are passive members of the population. This is brought about by a society that rewards perseverance and puts them on a pedestal, a society that does not approve of people who rock the boat…a culture where it is deemed appropriate for your parents to make major life decisons for you. Star power is a big deal here, with youth aping the styles of famous actors and trying to follow similar career paths. Thus, they can be easily swayed and are usually played by political parties. They are increasingly becoming the meat of Indian society due to a booming in their numbers due to increasing affluence.

    Lastly, we have the upper-class Indians who live in a hedonistic society, and are seen as the creme-de-la-creme. Such youth mature at a very early age and take more things in life for granted than most. Coming from a reputable home, being seen as an influential member of society is key to most of them. With access to private education and the right set of contacts through their parents, this is a vision that can easily come true. They are truly the underplayed rebels in society, they don’t succumb to social constraints and adopt a devil-may-care attitude towards questioning policies and rules in effect, which is the first step to change.

    • So what key characteristics emerge among the youth in India? In a society deeply divided along class lines, are there some commonalities, or are there specific traits that mark each class of youth as different? Why are there disparate beliefs or value systems?

      I think your entire chunk here could use with MORE structuring and signalling of exactly what societal or cultural contexts have resulted in some observable trends emerging among youth.

      Check some phrasing/grammar as well throughout the paragraph please.
      Line 1: May seem IN the TOURIST ADVERTISEMENTS… bring to light the PERVASIVENESS of the caste system (meaning it permeates or is evident in every strata of society). Often ‘factored for’? Watch tone “but you would already know that” … Check, check, check, you write well, CHECK. thankyou.

  10. Cher says:

    -Skeptical about institutions and more trusting of their own social networks

    The youths now are brought up in a digital age where we are exposed to the world. For example we are able to obtain information easily just by typing in key words into Google and we will be able to get what we want in seconds. In the internet we are able to get more than one perspective on a certain issue and this builds up on our horizon. We are able to see things in many other different points of views and this makes us think why we were only able to see from one perspective. This leads us back to our education, how we were taught to think, act and talk. Were we taught that way because of certain reasons? Since Singapore’s education is controlled by the government, this means that the government wants the youth to think in a certain manner. With the internet, we were able to recognize or interpret by ourselves where the problem lies, hence the youth now are skeptical about institutions because we believe that the government has too much control over the education in Singapore.

    We are more trusting of our own social networks rather than the old fashion newspaper, television or radio as we are able to offer and/or accept more than one opinion. The media in Singapore is also controlled by the government where we are shown views that the government allows such as pro-government articles. The number opinions we can get in the newspaper or television are limited hence youth tend to prefer our own social networks. In addition we are able to voice out our thoughts to people without feeling restrained or fear being personally targeted by people as we can voice our thoughts anonymously. Hence the wide range of knowledge we can get from our own social media plus the security we get by being an ‘anonymous’ makes us prefer our own social media.

    • Dear Cher –

      You need to think through the idea of the government having seemingly excessive control in education and some assumptions, leaps in logic and a mix of ideas in the first paragraph (technology, digital media access etc). Why do you think that we prefer to trust our personal networks in obtaining information or in shaping our perspectives?

      Why are these traditional media forms seen as “old-fashioned”? Could you elaborate more of this in the process of expressing why the youth are more trusting of their own social networks or relationships compared to traditional media?

      The media is controlled by the government and we are shown views that the government allows is FAR too extreme here and needs some qualification. You need to moderate the degree of such a broad “accusation” 🙂

      Why are we less trusting of political institutions or the traditional forms of media, preferring to rely on alternative news sources such as online publications, facebook posts or twitter feeds in our understanding of an event such as GE2011?

      Just some expression errors: “builds up our horizons” – rephrase? “broadens our perspectives and enlarges our world view?”

      • Anonymous says:

        We trust our our personal networks more than refering to the usual newspaper or television, which people refer to to get news, because there may be a certain degree of censorship in the information given to us. The government may not be outright lying to us in any way but they may withhold certain information or may be seen as having a great say in political issues when they are reported in the mainstream news. The news reported are supposed to tell us the truth in a certain event however because of censorship not all truths are reported while by using their own media networks, the youths are able to find information that may not be available in the news by using the internet. Hence this makes youth prefer their own personal media networks.

        Traditional media may be viewed as ‘old-fashion’ because youths think that they are not as efficient as the new media that they use nowadays for example, Google. Traditional media such as the newspaper or television news may not have all the information that we need as they have a limit to how much they can report. In addition, it is much more tedious to flip through the newspaper page by page than to key in words into the search engines youths use now where they are able to obtain information within seconds. Since using their media networks seems more efficient (in terms of time saved), hence youths think that the traditional media is ‘old-fashion’.

        Youths prefer alternative news sources as they are able to moniter the event that is still ongoing. For example during GE2011, there were live telecasts available on the web where netizens were able to hear the speeches given by the candidates directly. In addition, media websites such as Twitter was faster in announcing that a certain politicial party had won a place in a certain area. Compared to traditional media, the alternative news sources are faster and the ability to show a live telecast is a plus to use the alternative new sources. Hence this may have affected the youths to prefer their own media networks than the traditional media.

  11. Yao Fanglin says:

    There is a great gap between life of the youth in urban area and rural area in China.Two basic reasons have created this big difference.Firstly the pace of economic growth between these two regions are not the same.Urban area are industrialized and highly technology-equipped while rural area is almost the same as 1990s.This results in the great difference in life quality between urban youth and rural youth.Basic needs like housing,food and education are no more issues for most of young people who live in big city,and they tend to have other needs to fulfill.By contrast,life in rural area are much more tough .A large portion of the youth cannot afford to pay for their education and become work-class at a very young age although some of them are talented and hard-working.Secondly,different policy between urban and rural area also larger the gap.Because of the one-child policy,lots of couples who have stable financial support are only allowed to have one child.However,people in rural area are allowed to give birth to more child if the fist one is a girl.A situation caused by this is that lots of rich families only support one child so parents can afford to invest a lot and they also try their best to satisfy their children’s needs.The youth hence become main consumers of all kinds of new gadgets and even luxury goods.On the other side,people living in rural area can only receive a relatively low salary while they have to support more children.
    Most teens in China do not have deep understanding of political issues since the speech freedom is limited and there is a strict control on mass media.Hence most of the youth are deference or members of Communist Party and almost do not have any knowledge of voting or election.
    Because of some historical reasons ,lots of older generations have a biased attitude towards people from certain countries.However,the youth are tend to be more open-minded and can make their own judgement on history events .

    • Yao Fanglin says:

      Youth today place a premium on higher order needs both materially and emotionally.
      For the material part,with the development of Singapore’s economy,basic needs for life like housing,food and education are no longer issues for the youth.They begin to peruse a higher quality life rather than just meet the basic needs.Youth culture is largely about happiness and fun ,and this reflects that young people are willing to spend money to improve life quality.Also,more resources are provided in the market today,and different gadgets keeps updating.The youth are tend to follow the fashion trend because of the interest towards new technology and peer pressure.Additionally,couples tend to have less children than before so they have the ability to invest more on each child.More money to spend give the youth more options and hence they have higher order needs.
      The young people in Singapore nowadays are under great pressure both in school and work.In school,the workload is much heavier than before and the society has a higher expectation on us in both academic field and co-curricular activities.More people want to receive university education which makes the university selection process much more stricter,Also employers tend to hire those who are experienced and hence give young people great pressure to find their dream job since they have to try their best to compete with the seniors.To deal with these pressures,people need support from their families and friends,especially from their parents.Unlike many years ago young people only wanted basic supports from their parents,we need their understanding and encourage nowadays which is a higher order need.

    • State or national policies are an extremely important factor in determining societal attitudes and I am glad that you have expressed how the one-child policy has had an effect on parenting, and youth attitudes.

      Could you spend more time elaborating and explaining the idea of parents “investing” in their child and what sort of attitudes have emerged as a result of such parenting?

      I would like you to check through your expression (on the other “hand”, not “side”), grammar and plural/singular terms in your edit as well 🙂 You want to cut out your last portion on historical reasons, or actually express the detail in a new paragraph. Why are youth increasingly more liberal or open to different interpretations or perspectives of historical events, or even current realities in China? What has created this shift in mindset.

      • Yao Fanglin says:

        Parents tend to invest more on their chidren both financially and emotionally. Lots of young people get the opportunity to recieve high quality education or study overseas.Also,they have more pocket money to spend on new gadgets and clothing.Besides financial support,more parents have realise the importance of maintain a good relationship with their children.They are willing to sacrifice more leisure time to company their children and even attend lecture on parenting to learn how to understand their children and be friends with them.

  12. Jason says:

    It seems that youths today place premium on higher order needs such as relationship and freedom. In this era of technology and globalization, where things are hectic and moving in a rapid pace, more are demanded on youths of today. The education system, in Singapore especially, put a heavier workload to students and expects more from them, for example, they need to score an L1R5 of at least 10 to enter CJC where as it used to be an L1R5 or 15. This forces youths today to work extra hard, putting a tons of mental strain on them. This is where relationship, with parents, friends and other family members, comes in as a mental and emotional support for them. Even a little bit of freedom would also enlighten their mood and relieve them from the haunting stress of homework even just for a while. A small example would be when JC students are looking forward to be released early or a day or two of “no school”. Thus, youths today cherish and place great importance on higher order needs.

    Additionally, in Singapore, an increasing number of people is becoming more affluent than before, enabling them to fulfill their basic necessities – which are their lower order needs – with little difficulties. Since many parents nowadays are as such, their children take it for granted and feel no worries over their basic necessities. As a result, many youths today place more importance on their higher order needs such as affection from their parents and friends, as well as their basic rights such as freedom, since they cannot acquire these with sheer wealth.

    • Hi Jason/all — you want to look beyond the JC system or the college and the day-to-day happenings. This is because it results in insufficient evidence to justify a broad statement that you make initially at the start.

      Could you or anyone suggest BROAD societal factors that have led to an increasing focus on relationships, a higher quality of life, status, a sense of independence or belonging etc, not merely satisfying of basic needs, meaning, a job rather than a career marked with progression. Why do you think in much of South East Asia, youth continually seek to fulfill higher order needs?

      Consider how the government or national policies, education etc have helped to shift the value system of the youth?

    • Jason says:

      On a broader perspective, youths today not only live in a competitive environment, but they also live in a world full of social challenges. These youths might be subject to certain social issue, such as bullying or social exclusion in their school or working place, because they are a bit different from the rest of the society (e.g. socially handicapped or social stigma). Such issues are apparent in a vast swath of youths today, not only those in JC, but also in poly, NS, or university, employed or unemployed. These people – having to bear the weight of social segregation – thirst for some of the higher order needs such as relationship and a sense of belonging, to seek support and comfort.

      Aside from the external factor aforementioned, youths seeking for higher order needs are also driven by their innate desire to have more of them. One would want more freedom and more leisure time for games or one’s hobbies. One would also want to spend more quality time with one’s family and friends to cast away loneliness and share stories, just for the sake of socialising. It is unavoidable. We do desire these things. It is just innate. However, this desire is stronger in youths, since youth is the period where emotions tend to be unstable, causing this desire to be easily influenced and driven by emotions and moods. This might be the reason why youths today seem to place premium on higher order needs.

      Additionally, government policies play a role as well in why youths today place great importance on higher order needs. One minute example is that youths are encouraged (by government and school) to serve the community through CIP, SLP, and other social services. As a result, many youths become more aware of the need of good relations with others since people need to support each other, because there will be time where we’ll need them. Through CIP and SLP, youths can also learn to respect one another and realize that humans should not be deprived of their rights. Thus, they place great importance on higher order needs such as relationship and basic human rights.

  13. Joel Huang says:

    Singaporean youths today push for personal satisfaction and happiness and place a premium on higher order needs like freedom and civil rights. As globalisation spreads, the world becomes increasingly interconnected. Ideas and ideals can be transmitted easily over the internet through social media, or through newspapers, television or verbal communication, whether pervasive or not, and they are becoming more aware of current happenings both in their own country and around the world. They might notice that perhaps, in other countries, their peers are given freedom of speech, choice and opinion, and they might also notice that in Singapore, these luxuries are hard to come by. Equipped with the tools to advocate change and having peers who share similar perspectives, Singaporean youths now have the confidence to speak out against policies and rules that threaten their quality of life.

    • Raphael Theseira says:

      “They might notice that perhaps, in other countries, their peers are given freedom of speech, choice and opinion, and they might also notice that in Singapore, these luxuries are hard to come by.”

      Singapore, though conservative, can be said to be much more liberal than countries such as China or even our neighbours Malaysia. Not sure what kind of freedom youths want as well. Freedom from responsibility? Sexual freedom?

    • I like your take on globalisation. 2 points — Consider explaining what the global norm is today with regard to values, rights etc and how are these promoted ‘easily’. What also are the tools to advocate change and how have they done so? What have they provided for the local youth?

      Why are youth growing in confidence, in fact boldness, to point out social injustice?

      As an aside: to me, sometimes I wonder if Web 2.0 (interactive social media) is a cave of sound and fury, signifying… nothing. I could be wrong.

  14. The rise of technology and the internet has led to many characteristics being formed. The internet has provided the youth with a “safe haven” for them to express their views and opinions openly, without fear of personal criticism or acknowledgement. Youth are now more daring in a sense that they openly post their opinions on certain issues even if it goes against the norm or against society. For example in Singapore’s political context, more and more people are less likely to say they voted for the ruling party. In the past, people were scared of oppression of their own opinion as many anti-PAP politicians were arrested or sued for certain issues. However now with the anonymity of the internet youths are less scared as the anonymity allows them to avoid personal consequences of voicing out their opinions, especially those that may not be the general opinion.

    • So exactly what characteristics have resulted from the ‘freedom’ offered to youth on the Internet? How could the Internet actually result in people having LOWER levels of political affiliation compared to a time without the Internet? 🙂 Ms Toh

    • Characteristics such as impulsiveness and openly SHAREing opinions and views. Impulsiveness could be a result of the internet, as there are less personal consequence, Millenials are more likely to bark before they bite. Meaning they would speak their opinions out before considering if there is a flaw in their argument or if their opinions may be too harsh, for example. This characteristic may be inculcated from the internet, but it may translate into the persons character in a sense that they may shoot their mouth off before thinking. The same goes for people being more open about SHAREing opinions. People feel a sense of security from the anonymity of the internet and that transfers to real life where people tend to be more direct when voicing out opinions. This may seem harmless or even beneficial as we understand each other better. However this develops a society where opinions are voiced out without though or consideration. Similar to being impulsive, this characteristic is more on merely speaking ones mind more openly. People may not consider the consequences on others emotions or others views on the person

      • Also, as people are more willing and open to post their honest and personal opinions on the internet, wider and different perspectives are available for people to SEE and understand. This can change their views on several political parties and allow people to understand to a greater depth what the different political parties in Singapore are about. As such Singaporeans may feel that the different parties may not have policies that they support or their views on certain political parties may be changed as their perspectives are broadened. This may lead to less people having political affiliation.

  15. Byarn Lim says:

    Despite being more optimistic and placing greater importance on higher order needs such as morality and environmental issues, Singaporean youth are also becoming more disillusioned and disenfranchised. I believe that this is due to the very fact that we are more optimistic and more focused on higher order needs.

    When we constantly view the future through rose-tinted optimism, we will end up being very disappointed, that is, disillusioned and disenfranchised, if the future is not as bright as we thought it would be. Why the optimism? Singaporean youths of today have been brought up in a sterilised environment and treated well. Having experienced the best, we also expect the best. This is in contrast to the previous generation, who had experienced the aftereffects of war more directly and had come to understand from young that suffering and disappointment is a given.

    Our placing of importance on higher order needs has also led to the rising disillusionment and disenfranchisement of society. Having been brought up in a society where a high emphasis is placed on environmental issues, prejudices and other social problems, and how we can play our part in changing them, we tend to believe that it’s up to us individually to change the world by solving its problems. When we grow up and realise that we cannot possibly solve all these problems on our own, we become disappointed of themselves, that is, disillusioned and disenfranchised.

    • Raphael Theseira says:

      I believe a reason for this sense of being disenfranchised is because youth are becoming increasingly entitled in their attitudes. They have been brought up to believe that society accepts them for who they are, and there is no need to change themselves in any way. This results in them growing up to think that they can do anything they want, while being the way that they are even though they aren’t suitable at all. They soon realise this and grow to become disillusioned and disenfranchised because they have been misled from young. This phenomena affects especially middle and upper-class youths.

      Not sure if I’m coherent, but this sorta adds to your last paragraph

      • Bruan Lim says:

        Agreed. It’s part of growing up just as the previous generations, except we experience it far harder given our increased optimism. When we (and not only we, but our parents, friends and I don’t know, teachers) raise the expectation bar so high up, most of us are bound to failure.

        • Interesting discussion here.

          How else has society or even national policies created disenfranchised, disconnected, detached youth in Singapore? Apathy is one of the more frequent labels being casually attributed to our local youth.

          While I do agree that failure is an inevitable consequence of a bar raised beyond reasonable means, I would like Raphael and Braun/Byarn/Bryan to explain the above, as well as how a pressure-cooker society and a deeply meritocratic work ethic which permeates throughout society can create a disenfranchised youth. Am sure you can work out the line of logic

    • While I definitely agree with your first point, and certainly it is right, and fair to say that optimism leads to inevitable disappointment, this is fairly interpretive and general to all youth, in fact most humans, not focused on explaining the specific contexts and background of youth in Singapore.

      It would be better supported if you could also discuss societal factors within Singapore that have led to SOME groups of youth being disillusioned and disenfranchised. Consider the nature of a meritocratic society, and the ideals of a meritocracy that could inadvertently result in disillusionment, the nature of the education system, or perhaps the way in which policy making takes place in Singapore?

      • Raphael Theseira says:

        High expectations are placed on each person to follow the route placed before them. The basic idea behind this is that hard work is the engine driving the person to success, that effort inevitably translates into reward proportionately. However, some realise that even though they have put in that effort, the returns of it is insufficient. Yet others see this phenomenon and instead do not try at all, leading to the creation of two groups of disillusioned youth in our society ; those who try so hard and yet fall short of expectations placed upon them, and those who realise the problem that effort may not be enough, and there is mutual rejection between them and society, resulting in a caste who, because they can’t even work for themselves, have no hope of contributing to society. A primary example of this is gangster culture in Singapore, which consists of youths forming secret societies which engage in illegal activities such as loan-sharking, vandalism and brawling. Most come from underprivileged backgrounds, and perform poorly in comparison to their peers. They attain a nihilistic attitude towards the government and towards beneficiaries of the meritocratic system.

      • Bryan Lim says:


        The very fact that Singaporean youths are more optimistic of their futures today is the main reason why there is rise in disillusioned and disenchanted Singaporean youths. The link between optimism and disillusionment is that, having high expecations of themselves, Singaporean youths will end up being greatly disillusioned.

        Why is this especially relevant to a Singaporean context? There are many factors within Singaporean society, culture, tradition and governance that have led to this.

        For one, the Singaporean education system is one that inadvertently causes high levels of disillusionment among Singaporean youths. Singapore follows meritocracy, which allows only the top students, the creme de la creme, to be accepted into better schools. As the top schools in Singapore have not only a prestigious name to them but also allow more opportunities for their students to excel in whatever talents they have, there is a strong impetus for Singaporean youths to study hard and be enrolled into those institutes of high status. The high performance rate of every Singaporean student, however, leads to an extreme bell curve in academic examinations. This bell curve causes those who have scored an infinitesimally better mark than those who did not to enter the top Singapore schools, despite the equally infinitesimal difference in amount of effort put into studies by either student.

        The students that fall into the category of scoring infinitesimally worse will then be disillusioned, for they will feel that their hard work, a characteristic which their parents, teachers and even government have been ensuring them is the key to success, is of little to no value at all.

  16. Zhang Sipeng says:

    The premium that modern Singaporean youths place on higher order needs can is largely due to socio-economic factors, increasing levels of education and shifts in youth cultural mindsets. In Singapore, youths living increasingly affluent lifestyles as their parents (workforce) have been able to attain a financial security to a large extent, due to the growing economy and rapid development of the country. Hence, their basic needs such as food, water and housing are easily met and cease to be a cause for concern, and the youths turn their focus to intangible higher order needs. This is especially true in the case of freedom of expression and justice as the Singaporean government only allows for limited free speech and imposes harsh penalties on misdemeanor offences (i.e high fines for littering and drinking while taking public transport). Furthermore, because of the rising level of the quantity and quality of education in Singapore, many youths are becoming increasingly aware of their rights and civil liberties. This, combined with Singapore’s political

    • Hi Si Peng — as a general rule, avoid words in parenthesis and simply elaborate this in your main line of argument – focus on persuasion, not an academic discourse. Will let you complete your elaboration first.

  17. William says:

    Youth today place a premium on higher order needs. The root of this particular action is definitely because the youths nowadays are living in the era of economic stability, whereby their parents have stable jobs and the economy of the nation that they are living in, is thriving prosperously. This leads to most parents in Singapore enjoying a stable, more than average, income compared to past times. Because of the stability these youths enjoy, they tend to have more pocket money than the youths in past generations, allowing them to secure a so-called “financial income” every week or month. Because of this, they have already secured their lower order needs, the basic necessity that is money. With the factor of finance already secured, this leads them to yearn for higher order needs in terms of finance, such as branded goods. For example in Singapore, youths are able to easily afford expensive clothes such as Zara or Nike, all spurred on because of the money that they have as a result of economic stability in Singapore. Therefore, youths today place a premium on higher order needs.

    • Hi William, you want to qualify some of your statements – do MAJORITY of the parents hold down stable jobs? ALL?

      1. Try to see if you can cut some repetition in your reasoning with regard to having a greater disposable income. Are there other reasons why the youth today have a greater thirst for luxury products?

      2. How do you define ‘higher order needs’? Are these necessarily desires for luxury products? Do a quick search on this and see if you can re-edit to express why the need for belonging, independence, freedom etc become even more pertinent in Singapore, in this day and age.

    • William says:

      Parents of youths, more often that not, in modern day Singapore are generally well off in terms of financial stability. Most of these parents provide a home, food, all basic necessities and of course most importantly, basic family love. Therefore, with all these factors already fulfilled in the lives of youths these day, they tend to yearn for more things in their lives, these things classified under the higher order needs.

      Higher order needs include freedom, independence, social recognition be it from friends or the wider community and of course, luxury goods. Youths nowadays yearn for freedom and independence from the boundaries they have in their lives. Such boundaries may include, having to comply to their parents telling them off everytime, scolding them, curfew and strict rules given by their parents, the want to do whatever thingws they want, whenever they want to. They are hungry for that freedom and the level of trust their parents have in them and of course lastly, to be independant in whatever they do.

      All these wants may be the result of socio-economic factors such as their pocket money, their pride as an individual and is probably also because they have been under the care of their parents for far too long, they are dying to taste the outside world on their own, free from the nagging and scolding from their parents. Firstly, they want to break curfews because they feel that their parents are nagging at them too much. This is a common reason why they are thirsty for higher order needs such as freedom. Secondly, They want to do whatever they want as and when they want, because youths feel like they are at the peak of their lives, where the world revolves around them and they have that ability to do whatever they wish. This may be the result of social media today emphasising individual importance and how being the best is important, and along with the financial background they have(pocket money), they feel powerful. Thirdly, they want to taste the outside world on their own because all their lives they were living with their parents and thus they are curious and excited to experience the world by themselves, individually and independantly. Lastly, youths nowadays want to get their hands on social fame on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Friendster and so on. They want to make a name for themsleves because they want personal pride and satisfaction. Because with recognition come fame, with fame comes fans, and ta-dah, the youth individual becomes famous, objective complete, satisfaction achieved. Therfore this is an important reason why youths are placing a premium in higher order needs.

      Therfore to conclude, the reason for youths placing a premium on higher order needs is simply because they want to do things that they have never done before in their lives, in that constricted bubble created by the strictness of their parents. Youths want people to notice them, they want to be famous , and they want to be better than everyone else, social recognition is their ultimate desire. All these demands are the reasons why youths nowadays needing freedom, social recognition and independence.

  18. octavian says:

    Youth in Singapore today are often disillusioned and disenfranchised as they have seen in their lives the fall of great giants which were previously thought to be indestructible and the fact that the government and its departments is no longer the powerful, all-knowing and successful entity it is. They also believe that they themselves can do a better job and are not afraid to show their points and offer opinions. Firstly, youth in Singapore, a highly globalized city, see and understand that our country’s survival is tied to global trends and happenings. For example, the fall of many financial giants like the Lehman brothers, bear sterns and Merrill lynch had an adverse impact on youth, causing them to no longer trust the giant investment companies as they saw Singaporeans of older generations lose large sums of money, in some cases their entire life savings with often no way of getting it back. Thus they grow disillusioned and disenfranchised as they see such investments to be no longer “safe”. Also, the failed investments by our own government (GIC) in the American property bubble and the untimely UBS investment have reduced the youth’s trust in the government, causing them to be disillusioned and disenfranchised to differing extents on the government’s choices and reliability. Various local scams such as the NKF T.T. Durai case and the Ren Ming charity embezzlement incident have disillusioned youths and the public as donations were used inappropriately and simply caused people to lose faith and trust in them. Youths no longer believe in the absolute reliability of such large firms and this has caused disillusionment and disenfranchisement.

    • What other perceived ‘failures’ by the government have also resulted in a lowered political affinity?
      How have OTHER societal factors resulted in youth being disillusioned or disenfranchised? – Ms Toh

      • octavian says:

        “failures” by the government such as the public transport system (MRT). such an important component of society seen to never or very rarely fail did breakdown during prime time and rush hours. as seen on a global perspective, public transport systems do break down more often than ours (such as the UK’s Metro) but never on a scale as seen in singapore. the fact that these break downs occur more and more often and on large degrees causes youth to lose trust in the government that they can run these systems efficiently.
        furthermore, youth are disillusioned about our education system; despite getting good grades and being successful throughout school, one is not guaranteed of a good, stable job. the long and arduous rat-race to the top is often not translated into a successful job, thus disillusioning youths, especially when they see those people going to “not-so-good” schools performing better than them later on in life.

        • As we talked about in class – aim for giving a breadth of understanding why there is diminishing trust in the ruling party or the government by young people. Why do the youth feel detached from major shifts in society? Are there consultative processes put in place or are these merely cosmetic? How has social media also played a role in amplifying an increasing sense of distrust?

          Oct, you also want to be more meticulous and clean up the phrasing of “not-so-good” schools? “disillusioning youth”? “disenfremchisement”?

          As suggested, if economics is about common sense matters made complicated. GP is about complicated matters phrased in a more common-sense, accessible and therefore sensible manner 🙂

          • octavian says:

            bleak and unsafe atmosphere? family is the only support/ “safe zone” of the youths through time and space.
            no or not much consultative processes – our government often does not consult youths and the public on policies and instead just implements them without feedback or opinions from the public. Take the case of the Graduate Mothers Scheme, which was met with strong opposition and eventually withdrawn. Youths feel disconnected as they are not given a say in important decisions.
            social media’s power – amplify disillusionment as one may not realise it at first, but realises it as they see it in their own lives too, thus they agree and share such things, spreading the sense of disillusionment. (“sian” feeling)
            meritocratic society – if u still can’t succeed in such a society, u are seen to be useless. thus the drive to perform to the best is there, at the same time creating a high stress environment. and for the people who really don’t succeed, they are seen as failures – society does not want to be like them. Clear divide between the elite and other (use of terms like NSKS, ITE (it’s the end) etc etc). thus some youths in non-elite schools feel disillusioned as they think its hopeless for them and they cannot succeed and no one bothers to help them (segregation of “classes”).

  19. Tan Shi Ying says:

    The financial stability of present day has resulted in youths placing a premium on higher order needs. Since they live in a time of economic prosperity, where basic needs like housing, education and food are not an issue for them, they tend to take these things for granted and hence have other needs to fulfill. They are constantly searching for affirmation of their abilities, acceptance by others in society and relationships that give them moral support. This could be due to the pressure they face from society to excel in whatever they do and constantly being judged on their actions. They want affirmation to know that what they do is right, so that they will be accepted by others. Because of the pressure that society puts on them, they need moral support and hence the importance placed on relationships.

    • Cher says:

      The youths today are also the generation that went through major crisis that struck the world for example, 9/11, SARS, earthquakes and many more. All these had an effect on every one directly or indirectly and one of the devastating impact was the number of lives lost. After 9/11, the death roll had increased day by day and people all over the world witnessed it. Countless of innocent lives were lost and this makes the people that are still living cherish their loved ones more. The youths were able to witness this firsthand hence they place a premium on their higher order needs, which is valuing the relationships they have.

      • Hi Cher, thanks, can we try to avoid ‘and many more’ and describe a group heading or category for this series of events – and many more what?

        Also, how would you link 9-11 to Singapore youth? Were they able to witness this ‘firsthand’? There are some gaps in the logical line of explanation and reasoning in order to show that a world of crises has shaped the Singapore youth [how? and in what ways?]

        Could you both look at it?

    • Tan Shi Ying says:

      In Singapore, the main source of pressure on youth from society comes from the education system. They are classified according to their abilities, as with the situation in secondary schools, where there is an Express Stream which most students enter and there is also the Normal Stream for those who underperform. They are judged by these groupings and are sometimes faced with stereotypes that they are lazy or less hardworking than the rest. Groupings aside, all students face the pressure of having to do well, to be outstanding from the rest so that they get better opportunities for the future to keep up with the competition in Singapore.

  20. jia chin says:

    •Political activism centered on quality of life issues – concerns resolve around civil rights of being treated fairly or justly, freedoms in society
    They believe they are deprived in Singapore and their quality of life could be better. The high cost of living in Singapore naturally means that they must hold a decent job to live frugally; a high paying job to live comfortably. Furthermore, their career depends on their education. With the education system being competitive, Straight As are required to get into good institutions like Hwa Chong and Raffles. As and Bs are required to get into universities, with the popular courses requiring straight As. Youths who were unable to compete at this level feel that they are deprived of a chance to have a good job. Is it really right to have such a high emphasise on results in deciding your life? And hence quality of life? For example, having straight A2s for O-level is considered bad. Students who obtained this result are not able to go into the better institutions. So, is this fair/just for them? Do they have the freedom to choose the JC/poly course that they want?

    • Hi JC, could you specify who ‘they’ is and connect the first sentence to the second?

      You may have misinterpreted the characteristic above so I’ll clarify below.

      Why is political activism increasingly centered on QOL issues (meaning that the youth are more concerned with civil rights such as the extent of free speech, the social justice on a societal level) and not bread and butter issues like medical or healthcare costs or the rising prices of basic necessities for themselves?

      Why do the youth FEEL like they have been deprived of such freedoms or feel more strongly against social inequality?

      Everyone is free to respond and chip in.

      • Jia Chin says:

        “Civil rights such as free speech”, “deprived of such freedoms….against social inequality”
        Increasingly, social & economic status is centered around academic results in Singapore. In this meritocratic, competitive society, nobody is equal. There might be groups of people of equal calibre but there are distinct gap between these groups. Social inequality exists in Singapore as students are separated based on their academic performance. Better students go to better schools and split into better classes. This social segregation creates social inequality as the students are treated differently. Every school are at a different level in terms of social position.
        There are “elite” students and there are “mediocre” students.
        Our freedom in the education system is limited by how well we can do in school. In other countries, it is possible to go to university with our O-level grades. In Singapore, studying university means having to obtain As and Bs.
        Medical or healthcare costs are not a problem for us as they are paid for by our CPF, which is basically our forced savings. However, the CPF/our savings can only partially pay for such costs. Even when we retire, we do not get all of them at once.
        We have limited freedom over our finances. CPF is our savings. We have the right to spend it any way we want. Instead, we can only spend a bit at a time and the only way to obtain all of it is by giving up our citizenship. By the time we die it is very likely that there is money in our CPF. Then there is the inheritance tax.

  21. Alicia Tan says:

    The system of relying on the elites to promote progress has made Singaporean youths more politically activist centered on quality of life issues. Such an example of this would be the education system, in which only the best would be able to move to a higher level of education, based solely on grades. This leaves out a good portion of youths by the Junior College and ultimately, the University level, which many aim to strive for to get their dream job.

    • Hi Alicia, I don’t quite understand how an elitist system creates youth-driven activism based on quality of life issues. Could someone help to see if they could draw the link?

      Could you elaborate how we have come to rely on the elites to promote progress? It is a little too brief and the use of only the education system to justify such a view narrows the scope available for discussion. Would you be able to increase the levels of reasoning here?

      “Has made Singaporean youth(no plural) more politically active and their activism centers on quality of life issues” – note the edits.

    • Elitists in the education system segregate the youth into different groups, mainly those who are in better education institutes such as Raffles Institution or Hwa Chong Institution, and those in Neighbourhood schools or ITEs. One way where this leads to a push for civil rights is that as the education qualification gap increases or as Singapore’s education system continues to be biased or centered towards the elites, there may be a certain amount of resentment about the government as they continue to leave out, segregate and leave them out of a knowledge based economy.They feel that because they did not score very well in exams, they are directed to an education institute that promotes more hands on learning. This may lead to resentment towards the government because of what they feel to be unfair treatment and therefore a demand in change of several policies regarding the quality of life, particularly education in this case.

    • Alicia Tan says:

      These youth who are unable to get into local Universities may not necessarily have the funds to study abroad. They are then neglected and left to rely on their parents to support them while they struggle to find a job. Even in the group of youth who are able to get into Universities, many are tired of competing against their peers in order to succeed and are unhappy with the injustice caused by a system that runs based on merit. Added to the rising cost of living and the increase in the price of housing, youth become increasingly dissatisfied with the way the country is being run. Their feelings of discontent translates to a political mindset focused on the quality of life. They are tired of being oppressed and want more say in their freedom of speech regarding these issues. Being at the forefront to support an ageing population, they are concerned about the impact that will affect them directly, should these issues be left unresolved.

  22. Clarissa Cheang says:

    Youths today are independent and innovative because of the education system in Singapore. In this society, there is a strong level of education placed on students, whereby every student has to have compulsory education till secondary school. With this, the youths in Singapore already have a basic background of knowledge which makes them capable of relying themselves and becoming less dependent of others for knowledge. Furthermore, in Singapore, the government encourages lessons to be taught ‘out of the box’, and teachers teach students information which are not only found in the textbook, but elsewhere like the internet. Hence, students will be nurtured to develop their thinking with creativity. Plus, this cutting-edge society all the more presses youths to take their ideas to another level leading them to be innovators.

    It can also be said that young people in Singapore now feel the need to push for their happiness and satisfaction. This is caused by the influence of Americanized culture. Singapore is a global hub where the exchange of ideas is constantly taking place. Local youths are watching American TV shows such as Gossip Girl etc, and this acts as a platform for social media’s effects to be passed on to the youths. America presses the idea for youths to steadfastly live their vision and to dream the ‘American Dream’. Hence, the effect of their culture has rubbed off to our youths and their thinking is channeled to dream big and persistently continue the vision. Thus, they now make the effort to push for their happiness and satisfaction.

    -Clarissa Cheang

    • Hi Clar, what do you mean by a ‘strong level of education placed on students’? Could you clarify? Could you / anyone else also suggest OTHER ways in which the education system has promoted a surprising creative streak or the need to be innovative?

      I do like the bit about the ‘American dream’ – what other ideals have been promoted through the media and how does watching something automatically ‘rub off’ on them and their ideals? Some assumptions, missing links in your logic/causality to explain

  23. Raphael Theseira says:

    The rise in affluence in our country has resulted in our youth today placing a premium on higher order needs. This is due to the majority of our basic needs being met-food, clothing, and housing- because an affluent society such as Singapore has developed the means to provide for these needs for its people.
    Also, as Singapore is an economically stable country, financial and job security worries are put to rest.
    Furthermore, Singapore’s healthcare system has been very effective in allowing citizens to be responsible for their own health, eliminating problems with regards to the well-being of the people.
    Because their basic needs have been taken care of, youth feel a pressing need to want something more-they are generally more concerned with the abstract, the immaterial-and they find these needs to be more difficult to fulfil tha

    • Raphael Theseira says:

      than physical ones*

    • octavian says:

      there is also the sentiment that family and emotional attachments withstand the test of time and challenges in today’s rapidly fluctuating society. Today’s society is fast-paced and ever changing, with major global events and responses taking place within a matter of days, even hours. Challenges such as the financial downturns, major disasters like the Asian tsunamis and Japan tsunami, are rife and often very damaging, and the fact that family and emotional bonds do remain and may even get stronger through such events pushes youth to hold higher order needs above material needs. To put it simply, one can lose anything, but your family will always be there for you.

      • What do major disasters, financial downturns and the unseen threat of terrorism do to one’s world view? I think there is a missing link between explaining what these collective events CREATE and how that propels youth to place a premium on higher order needs such as a sense of security and belonging above material concerns. Could you explain it?
        Ms Toh

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