I’ve been thinking about this topic for a week now. While I probably can’t articulate how I feel properly, I’ll give it a shot (:
Since I am still considered as a youth, I asked myself, “So, am I apathetic?” And the answer is, “No.” The statements that I am going to make may be a generalisation but well…at least I am speaking from ‘experience’.
To extrapolate, I don’t think youths today are apathetic. I just think
they we are very niche in what we are interested in. While youths are supposedly to have infinite energy, it’s going to be tiring if we react to everything, every piece of information we received.
Plus, I think with the amount of news that we are bombarded with everyday, we kind of switch off/grow numb to them. If the information/topic is not relate-able instantly, then the probability of us switching off is so much higher. Looking at the topics that I am interested in – low-income families, education, children, education for children from low-income families, K-Pop – these are all topics that are relevant to me. Areas that I feel like I have and can make a difference in.
Which brings me to the next point. Do youths today appear to be apathetic because of learned helplessness? A case of conditioning?
So, just because we are not interested in the topics that the older generation or are not as reactive to a wider range of topics, doesn’t mean that we are apathetic.
And if you want evidence that youths are NOT apathetic? Just head to any K-Pop concerts, the skate park behind Somerset MRT or even the place below Esplanade. Plenty of youths there doing what they have a passion for. And look at the amount of CIP projects going around.
I think the question shouldn’t be about whether youths are apathetic or not. It should be about how the society can help channel the passion, the energy of the youths to….national issues (for a lack of better of words to use and youths’ interest in national issues seems to be the criteria to judge if a person is apathetic or not).
I think EXPOSURE is key. Expose the youths today to certain issues. Not just surface exposure. But deep, meaningful exposure. For example, I was apathetic about union issues and working conditions. Couldn’t be bothered despite the amount of news I watch. But after my brief stint at NTUC, I got to learn more about the topic and now, I am abit more interested in the topic. The mindshare is there and the next time I hear news about the topic, I will pay more attention, spend sometime thinking about it and what not.
After exposure, another important to do is to ENABLE the youths to be able to express what their thoughts. If they want to make a difference, there need to be a channel for them to do that. If not, it will be a case of learned helplessness. Something along the line of, “Oh. What’s the use about caring? Not that it will make a difference.”
It’s also important to make issues relatable to them. After all. as David Ogilvy says –
I don’t know the rules of grammar…If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think.
(credits to facebook.com/Ogilvy)
Don’t use technical jargons. Plain simple English, please.
Of course, I think engaging the parents are important too. If not for dad’s insistence on us watching the news with him since young, I think I won’t be as concern about stuff like inflation or natural disasters. Parents shouldn’t just emphasize on studies, maybe they can help to “sensitise” (make sensitive) their children to certain community issues.
So yups. That’s it from me. Just some ranting. Sometimes, I feel 冤枉when people say my generation is apathetic and weak. But really, we just need a little push in the right direction.