Friday, January 9, 2009

The youthful socio-economic dilemma: A malay perspective

It has been quite a while that this particular issue has been stirring in my head, and I guess that there is never a better time for me to lay out this issue, in as clear a manner as I possibly can, other than now...a particularly trying time for perhaps a significant portion of my community, given their rather seemingly perpetual vulnerability to the torrents of economic ups and downs.

It is indeed a seemingly scary phenomena that there is this underlying need for parents, and even educators like myself, to be very culturally aware of this state of needing to maintain a basic level of upkeep amongst our youths, especially the youths of my community. It is of no surprise that a significant portion of our youths are engaging themselves very actively in their own economic endeavours, and doing it not so much for the sole purpose of just earning to better themselves, but more so in needing to be permanently engaged in this enterprise more so so that they are able to maintain a standard of living, whether imagined or otherwise, that they are accustomed to. I do realise that at times it can't be helped that with the ever constant pressures from both their social circles, and the society at large, for these youths to be caught in the wave of consumerism and the likes, but seriously if our teenagers are seemingly pressured to be engaged in manning MacDonalds' counters just so that they can maintain their lifestyle of having the latest handphone gadgets, mp3 players, the latest fashionable streetwear...paid with a premium here due to this niggling need to be different, and lastly, being engaged in becoming delivery boys for KFC and Pizza Hut due to the need to, ironically, be able to pay off the loans on their motorbikes and the seems at times we do need to come out with a mental revolution of sorts for these youths before they are swept away with this phenomena. I feel sad at times that as the youths of the community is getting to be more intellectually intelligent in their IQ's it seems quite sad though that they do not seem to have this mental toughness to perhaps move away from being engaged in more permanent economic engagements that are perhaps more in tune with the virtues of being employed so that they can be exposed to social virtues like thrift and the likes, of being able to make it on their own, and being proud of what they are doing, and choosing to do these things because they want to perhaps be more engaged in character building, rather than using these as a pretext and in actuality only using it as a front to better themselves in an economic capacity, in a less than ethical way, just to maintain a minimum level for subsistence.

But seriously, is there a way out of this though? Is it all that bad? I refuse to think that this is the all and be all kind of situation, because being an optimist myself, and having worked before while I was still in school, there can be a silver lining out of all these! Can there be one? Will there be one? I do think so! How? I don't really know, but I guess I can find the answers if I do some deeper understanding of the whole situation. Or perhaps my previous posts on how the 'Flatness' is moving on to the younger demographics could provide me with one answer! Perhaps it might just be the answer that could help us along to provide us with the impetus for that paradigm shift! Hmmmm.

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