Monday 1 December 2008

Generation condemnation

I don’t think I came from a rich family and enjoyed a lavish childhood, but my Mom always seemed to think otherwise. She used to talk about how my siblings and me are so spoilt for we have the luxury of television and RM5 pocket money for a week during my primary school days.

Of course, I always disagree. When I go to school, I see some schoolmates whom I considered rich because I never had what is now an extinct gadget called “game and watch”. Remember those colourless gaming device such as “Western Bar”, “Battleship”, “Donkey Kong” and the likes?

As I progressed to college life, my Mom continued to nag about how fortunate I am that I can take bus to college while she can't even afford to have a bicycle. But as I looked around during that time, so many of my peers were already driving cars! And some of them were already carrying handphones, something me and most of my friends never had until we graduated.

Now that I am all grown up and has been in the modern slaves rank for a while now, I see how the younger generation having the time of their life and somehow, I feel that they are spoilt and pampered.

And ya’ know what? Friends of mine who had the privilege of driving during college days while most of us took bus or KTM Komuter and have probably changed 3 handphones when most of us were about to get our first are also of the opinion that the current younger generation is spoilt to their skin.

What does that tell you…?

My previous entry drew a healthy level of debate. Blogger CiNDi even
dedicated an entry in reply to all who commented against the “younger generation”. But while she has her point, reading her rebuttals pointed out that she didn’t go through the hunky-dory childhood that most of people do. Something happened while she was young and I think it did her good.

No matter what, a generation will stand for their generation and somehow, the previous generation will condemn the next. Some may call it progression perhaps? Will people like CiNDi and EC grow up and comment the next generation? Perhaps… perhaps not… we shall see…

Having said that, I do believe that that working part time in whatever capacity while you are a student so that you have that additional pocket money to spend, whether to window shop, really shop or sipping what you think is a well deserved cup of Starbucks is still… no mater what… very different compared to people who work so that they can pay their mortgages, pay their bills and put food on the table for the family.

And that is something that most (please note the word MOST) of the younger generation will not understand until… they are no longer the younger generation…


day-dreamer said...

I get what you mean, you know, despite me (still) being a college student now.

Kids nowadays are getting more and more fortunate. I used to gape at kindergarten/lower primary school kids holding an iPod or PSP but I got used to it soon enough. Heck, a 6-year-old texting frantically on his handphone is something normal I see in a Kumon centre. And generally, kids that fulfill these "criteria" will normally be labelled as "spoilt brats" by us.

Say that we're sour grapes or what, some of my friends and I are rather glad to have grown up under such upbringing by our parents - no handphone/iPod/PS2/PSP etc until college. Still, I know we're still very fortunate to be holding handphones and laptops in university but I think these 2 items in particular have become a necessity than luxury.

And since my younger sisters have yet the chance to enjoy such luxuries, I foresee there will be a gradual change in their social circle; they are bound to be outcasts in school as they do not have the gadgets their peers own. I've talked to my mum before - is it that you (my parents) have to raise the younger two siblings like how other parents are spoiling their children? If not, your children might just be marginalized in school! But if you spoil them, what's the difference with the other kids we see outside?

To some it doesn't really matter because such friends are not true friends. But then, we (and especially kids) can't really live without friends in this realistic world, right? There's a saying in Chinese that goes something like "you depend on parents at home; you depend on friends outside".

Just as some of my friends and I have "debated", how are we going to raise our kids next time? LOL.

Anonymous said...

I think it's human nature for one generation to think the other generation is better off. After all, that's what we call progress right.

Of course, the only case this might be opposite would be when there are wars. I'm pretty sure Iraqi parents don't envy their children now.

Anonymous said...

old folks love telling us about hardship and everything

having a degree...and working...i still doubt..i can earn like him or be like him

i hate old folks because they are always right...just when i dream to make a million....they would say "been there done that"....i would shut my mouth and listen

father would always say....there is no shortcut...hard works pay off

that is how i get through with MLM/Part time job day i gave the idea of earning for my self while study....kene basuh..."your job is to study...focus on doing that....i gave u enough money for u to eat,study"

yeah i'm spoilt....i never have to eat megi,i drive an old car...with expensive tyres+no rust+shining engine....they dont like the idea of long as it moves...ok la kot...T_T

whoalse said...

Can't agree more with you, zewt.

Having the "high tech" gadgets in our younger days doesn't necessary means they have a lot of fun. Some of us certainly had fun playing marbles, burning "things" using grandpa's magnifying glass, etc.

Anonymous said...

The way I look at it is, that the older generation should perhaps feel good that the younger generation are not "suffering" like they were?

Sure, parents DO have to teach them responsibility with money. The ironic thing is that, you have parents who complain that their children are much better off than them when they were younger, but they still spoil them. They will buy them (expensive) cars, cellphones, houses etc.

You will also find the older generation condemn the "angmohs" for leaving their children to "fend for themselves once they turn 18" and I find that so not true after living abroad all these yrs.

What they encourage their children to do is to "earn what you want". You want a cellphone? Go work during the summer. In fact most teenagers would gladly do so just to get out of the house.

But when it comes to big ticket items like house, car, deposits, the parents still help out with the deposit, but the children will have to pay them back slowly, most without interest. :P

So I think there has to be an accountability there with the younger generation, but I think it's not healthy for a society to "condemn" the younger ones for having better off lives. This is how it should be, if not we won't progress as a society.

Anonymous said...

The younger generation (when they were babies) definitely drank more nutritious milk (*non-melamine infected*) than I did. :p

Little Jennifer said...

actually not only generation will complaint about my eldest sister, she always complaints me >.<

Angie Tan said...

My best friend states that each generation will be better off than the last one.

I've known some freshies who change handphones every month without so much a bat of the eyelids, while some of us have been contemplating changing our mobiles for 2yrs now. (^^)

I've also known some college students who will spend their semester breaks working hard to get some $$ to supplement their living expenses. Some of these folks work really hard and are very smart. It is sad that the government didn't give them a scholarship because they really deserved it.

However, I believe that it is every parents or elders duty to teach each younger generation about money - the proper use, how to save it for your future.

These days, some kids don't know the value of $$$ because the parents just give it to them without teaching them the proper basics. So, they spend without thinking and by the time they are in their 30's, they realized that they have no savings for their old age.

zewt said...

day-dreamer - yes, the worst thing that can happen is to be stereotype as you dont seem to be belong to the more glamour gang. but one should hold one's value within and it should not be define by material possession. hard to make a child understand when his/her friends are on the other side but some things have to be done for the betterment of the child.

Klaw - yeah, in the name of progress, but there are times when i saw children being extremely ridiculously overly pampered. shall blog about it later.

erm - everything from the old folks are wisdom except the "hard works pay off". that notion is what i believe to be a curse on the asian generation. no doubt, it does pay off, but it has been capitalise by those ppl up there and make us work like dog for peanuts... trying to convince us that it will pay off. they will just be glad to extend the pay off period.

whoalse - hahahaha... u just reminded me about how i used to catch ants and burn them with my dad's magnifying glass... it gave up a funny smell.

pavlova - true... too many parents out there complain about children having better life when they are the main culprits. yeah, i guess it's all the in the name of progress... but it should not be done excessively.

jemima - hahaha... i guess we are all melamine-proof now... :)

Little Jennifer - hahaha... are you saying your sister is very old?

Angie Tan - not just that, some parents shower them with tonnes. well, i am sure we will all reap whatever we sow so....

taxy said...

As always, you dog-gone hit a nerve with someone who in the end, actually agrees with your point. Ah... that's one thing the younger generation lacks - careful reading of the words.

myop101 said...

most of us enjoy basic amenities which are far better than what the emperors of china enjoyed during their lifetime.

that's call progress...:)

there are things people can do without and if one can indulge in it, then yes, that person is spoiled with luxury...

but if it becomes a norm to have it lest doing without would render one be classified as part of the urban poor, then it is no longer a luxury. for instance, piped clean water and flushing toilet...

missironic said...

i totally agree wif u 101%~! hahaha....

Anonymous said...

I used to feel this way, esp. when I found out all my school-going nephew and nieces had their own handphones at a tender age... but I realise that as we prosper as a people, our expectations have to change. What matters is not that they have more possessions than we did at their age, but what they do with it. Do we educate them well enough not to abuse their toys and gadgets and allowance?

More importantly, do we as parents and guardians and role models offer them the love to go with these THINGS rather than use them as crutches? Money and iPods cannot replace real TLC and interest in their growth and well-being.

I guess the question is not why are they getting more, but are they also getting less in the process?

pei ling said...

Hmm... I dunno, my parents got to enjoy cleaner air, water, greener environment... Even though they din have any canggih gadgets then, they get to climb trees, steal watermelons, rambutans, durians, pisang, catch fish in da river, fighting spiders in da bushes... Everyone's friendly with everyone where they lived... Hmm, who's really richer and had a better quality of life here?

I agree that most of the younger generation in our country are materially more well-off than their parents, but are they really happier, more blessed? Maybe I'm greedy, I actually envy my parents' childhood...

Anonymous said...

zewt, your last 2 para just silenced all the students.

Terra Shield said...

Great post... I can relate to it so well as I have some very much younger cousins... still in school, and changing mobile phones every year because their dad allows them to, are chauffeur driven everywhere, don't even know how to take a bus, etc... I bet when they turn 18, they'll most probably get their own cars courtesy of their dad. But does that make them spoilt? I don't know... I grew up with a slightly tougher life compared to some of my friends, but slightly better than what my parents went through, and I don't consider myself spoilt at all... Seriously it's a tough call to make.

Anonymous said...

My mother used to say the same thing. Those stories about life during the Japanese occupation of Malaya still etched in memories. They are good stories to tell the younger generations but would they want to listen?

When young, my best friend who was very wealthy often bragged about those Hong Kong serials he got to watch courtesy of VHS technology, those fancy multi-layered and colourful pencilbox with Japanese cartoons on them, and video games that plug into the tv. It was like yesterday, haha.

Anyway, generation condemnation aside, the previous generation who is much better now, economically that is, would always compensate for their lack of material comfort by providing more material comfort to the next. This is by no means a wrong thing to do but most have mistakenly thought that worldly comforts means happiness in life.

Too much material comforts is the cause of an unthinking population whereby the sole aim in life is to acquire more material things. Most of these people rarely think on their own and tends to follow the status quo, if you care to observe.

As a wise Malaysian economist said, "It's a question of perspective-where we are in our life cycle. Youth is filled with energy of life and youth breeds ignorance. Wisdom resides among the old folks."

Huei said...

hahah very well said again

i did skip meals to save up for a new phone..i never had those toys like barbie or polly in the pocket when i was younger..playing games like western bar was limited to once or less a week

but until i decided to live on my own after my dad passed away..AND stepping into reality of having to pay bills and mortgage..the choice of skipping meals n such to buy a new phone is no longer i have to skip meals to make ends meet..the necessity..not the wants!

i think i'm still spoilt though..bloody eyes wants every gadgets they see!

and sigh..price of vege and chili going/gone up? hm..i think the next fuel price drop..more people will complain cos food price will more likely be hiking upwards..n we might get more comments from SOME non-income earners (income as in supporting their living..not their wants)

Anonymous said...

the old folks trying to project "if u want hard for it"

hahaha ya i it like trauma or something to you...because when someone say work hard...u always think about slavery?

cDi said...

Aww, shucks. Putting me in the (bad )limelight pulak.

I don't have to grow up and comment on the next generation. I'm already doing that to my sister, and she's only 2 years younger.

Same like my boyfriend who likes to pick on my generation and he's only two years older -___-.

I think in the end it is how we see it. But trust me, I really don't know which bunch of students you are looking at. Perhaps it could be the "special needs" bunch, aka credit card holders even before they could earn the money.

But here's an article I'd like to share with everybody. Sometimes, just be thankful that you realised the value of money than the others, because parents could really kill you with all that pampering.

I'm sure a lot of adults do not realised the value of saving, so they contribute to the shopping culture too. That is why atrocities such as a toddler phone exist.

Read it HERE

Last words: You reap what you sow. So becareful when you teach your own kids.


-=SiN=- said...

I share similarity with your 1st and 2nd paragraph.. but I worked myself hard daily after school just to earn enough money, but instead of wasting it on the hand held game or trying hard to keep up with the rich peer at school… before I knew it.. I’ve out grown and out paid my own age’s group.

I rarely take public transport also…not action ar :x I cycle to work, then pay cash my own m’bike as soon legal age permit.. car also same style. Fund my own sec school fees and books. It’s been a lot of free coffee, free clubbing, free boozing all because I worked and go around. Get money, somore get fun.. My 1st money lesson.... want something, earn it and don’t compare with people, there’s no end to it.

Anonymous said...

Uncle,why you keep condemning our generation?! Cannot compare at all lar. There are SO MANY things to take into can't just make sweeping statements about us!!

Little Jennifer said...

nah, my sister is almost 10 yrs older than me ..HA HA HA

Anonymous said...

If you take a look at the Japanese kids, they are growing up with robots ~ robotic toys, robotic companions, robotic maids! *gape*

LOL @ gillian's way of addressing you!

Anonymous said...

I was made to keep accounts starting when I was about 11 by my father. I learnt about my spending and savings and cost of living. It made me learnt to bargain hunt and so be wise about my spending.

Many kids, youth, young adults and even some adults nowadays are of the consumer generation. They'll only save to buy an item they cant afford at present and not for a rainy day. Its sad to see coz these are the ppl who want continuous handouts and bailouts.

It is ignorant to spend ur earnings dry and not save a cent. In the end, the world owns u not u owning anything.

Many ppl tend to pick back on us when a comment is made about spending and how they spend. Do they reflect back neutrally on their spending patterns? I guess not. I always learnt one thing and adhered to 2 things 'Don't spend what you don't have' and 'spend on the necessary needs not luxurious wants'

The Malaysian Life said...

I suppose that the standard of living has gone up in Malaysia. Standard of living is always relative from one generation to the next.

It is similar with the UK, the older generation are always talking about "the war" and how lucky the new generation are. They say during the war years etc they had not much to eat and were playing soccer with a rubber ball etc (which were a luxury in for some youngsters in the uk at that time).

zewt said...

taxy - words are always deceiving.

myop101 - i can't see the necessity of iPods and PSP still. guess that's why i still have yet to open mine hahaha...

missironic - thanks for that additional 1% hehe...

Life for beginners - well said... too well said... the TLC... that's the point brother.

Rin - i think you're the first to say that, though i am sure there are more of you. yeah, when i look back, i do envy the clean and cool environment that our parents lived in. they certainly have got more to life.

zewt said...

blackjack - not really... not really...

Terra Shield - we will always grow up in a tougher life compared to the coming generations. as the line between luxury and necessities continue to blur, things are just going to be more and more messed up.

LightsInTheDistance - hehe... nintendo, i used to sit outside the fence of my neighbour just to see them play :) well said, too much material comforts will result in an unthinking society, i can think of wall-e. well, though i would like to believe i am wiser, i hope i wont be see as old yet :P

huei - that one... you're spoiling yourself hahaha... yeah, price of everything is going up. but no worries, when recession comes, there will be things which will come down.

erm - yeah... think it's a curse... hehehe...

CiNDi - 2 years younger and the generation condemnation has begun? wow... at least i dont condemn my sister. she spends like crazy but it's all her money so that's perfectly fine with me. the article you sent... damn funny and yes, we reap what we sow.

zewt said...

-=Sin=- - free coffee free clubbing... wow... sounds like a really cool job. does it come with free sex? hahaha... kidding kidding... i think your childhood is slightly worse than me and i am sure it did you good...

gillian - oh young and wise gillian, please enlighten this uncle of the SO MANY things that i need to take into consideration.

Little Jennifer - ok, that's a generation already hahaha!

kyh - well, all given by robotic parents... i am an uncle... i admit :P

pinknpurplelizard - this world is no longer materialistic, it's consumeristic, and we are all consumed by it, something the pastor said not too long ago. yes, all these handouts and bailouts, results of pampering... sigh.

The Malaysian Life - and if we compare ourselves to the british, we seemed to be living in a dump eh?