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Group 2 Worksheet

Instructions 1. Read the article below and discuss the questions below. 2. Organize your group’s answers clearly in a PowerPoint slide. 3. Elect a representative from your group to present this slide to the rest of the class. Discussion Questions: 1. Based on this article, what are the differences between Singapore’s older and younger generation? 2. What are the concerns of Singaporean youth, according to this article? 3. What are the concerns of “older” Singaporeans, according to this article? 4. The last line of the article reads, “Generation Y is steadily losing its Asian characteristics and even national bond.” a. What do you think is meant by “Asian characteristics”? b. What are some reasons why the younger generation in Singapore might be “losing its Asian characteristics”?

Gen-Y needs to grow up fast
Star, Malaysia September 12, 2004 Insight: Down South By SEAH CHIANG NEE

E

VERY society worries about how its next

generation will turn out, but few have done more – in good times or bad – to prepare it for the future than Singapore. If a nanny government had flourished in the republic, nowhere was it more active than among its youths. For a small country with no natural resources, they are its top assets, so a lot of work has been put into them. Walk through the miles of underground shopping arcades of Orchard Road on a Saturday afternoon and you’ll see its result. Y-generation Singapore can be seen: confident, Internet-savvy and wearing branded shirts and shoes, with the latest mobile phones around their

necks. […] In the city centre, teens in school uniforms can be seen eating in expensive US, Thai or Japanese outlets, seemingly unbothered by the pricey menus. It’s not unusual to encounter college students enjoying an occasional glass of wine. Generation Y lives in relative style in a cabled city and attends a school that resembles a small university, sharing a computer with one or two other classmates. These youths are beginning to exert a strong influence on politics and economics. They will decide what Singapore will become in 10 to15 years’ time. They are studying under a new education system that has changed dramatically in the past three years. There is less cramming for exam. […] In his first, three-hour address to the nation, new Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spent much of it appealing to the youths to join him in shaping the country’s future. He promised them a more open society. After so many decades of strong control, however, most of his listeners have reacted to it with healthy cynicism, preferring to judge Lee’s action. Their biggest complaint is that the authorities have an outdated untrusting view of their maturity. An important barometer: Singapore’s legal age to define an adult is 21. The majority of youths find it unacceptable that they have to serve national service at 18 and to fight for the nation when they are not allowed to, among other things, vote or stand as a candidate in an election, drive a car, watch an R (A) movie, drink or buy alcohol or be legally employed. In a straw poll by the New Paper, some 35 out of 50 youths (aged 21 or below) say Singapore’s legal adult age should be lowered to between 18 and 20. About three-quarters say it should be 18 years old. (There are also protections such as lighter

punishment for wrongdoings for juveniles.) In the same study, the newspaper said that among older Singaporeans, however, the majority (27 out of 50) prefer to keep the legal age at 21. “Teenagers nowadays mature and develop faster than their parents,” argued one teenager. If you treat someone like a child, you can’t expect him to behave like an adult, said another. Redefining the legal age of adulthood is important with the invitation for youths to contribute to shape the nation’s future. Lowering it – as many observers expect will happen – may contribute to a nation’s competitiveness. In Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, it stands at 20. By and large, Singapore youths are not wild, drunks, drug addicts or criminals, although such problems exist in scattered numbers. The problem of Singapore’s Y-generation, like in other developed countries, is its small number. The birth rate here is one of lowest in the world. Another is a rising trend of migration. Surveys show more of them favour moving to the West. Weaknesses there are. Spoilt by affluence and lack of hardship, many youths may be ill prepared to meet the competition from their peers from leaner, hungrier countries. For the older generation, there’s another worry. Living at the crossroads of East and West and exposed to the pull of outside influence, Generation Y is steadily losing its Asian characteristics and even national bond. Seah Chiang Nee is a veteran journalist and editor of the information website littlespeck.com (e-mail: cnseah2000@ littlespeck.com ) Home

Extracted from the article available online at http://www.singaporewindow.org/sw04/040912st.htm