[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Monday, January 29, 2007

[i am @ Youth.SG]
I am obsessed with the word youth. But perhaps, it's because this post in conjunction with the Youth.SG blogging festival. I am in the running but still, I decided to give another shot.

And yeah, since it's a youth thing, why not talk about youths?

Our youths are creative these days. But detractors argue that society has to loosen up more to breed more creative minds - at least that's what some say for Singapore.

Pop quiz:

Can you guess what this is? (Answer will be revealed later in the post)

The Business, Government and Society module that I am taking this semester has lots on ethics.

And one topic we had touched on was rude young Singaporeans. Who is to blame for the little tykes' unruly behaviour?

Is it the duty of the parents? Or do we blame it on our teachers? Or is it the maid?

One thing for sure, kids are climbing on top of their parents' head. Just like how in Primary Six, I was asked to climb the Bukit Timah Hill. I didn't go in the end since my doctor asked me to rest after my asthma relapse.

Back to the maid. Did you ever hear kids speaking to their maid? It's just like talking to the robot: "Do this. Do that. I want this. Give me that." No please, no thank you, no manners.

Then do you ever hear adults (not all of them do that by the way) speak to their maids? It's like ordering food at the hawker centre: "Mariaaaaaa! Pick up the phone. Mariaaaaaa! Ah boy finished his homework? Mariaaaaaaaa! Come here. Why you do this?"

Manners aside, let's talk about civic-mindedness.

Littering - one of the biggest problems we are facing so far.
"Anyway got cleaner to clean up what. Don't litter how the cleaners get jobs? Must spare a thought for them."
"Don't care lah. Just throw it. Someone else will pick it."
"Government got money mah. See they spend so many millions on cleaning litter. Just a few peanuts only lah. Can afford."

On the other side of the coin, we have the angels.

For NDP 2006, the committee was struck by "cash for trash". They made school students pick up litter. Imagine you are an adult and some kid catches you littering and frowns. "Sorry uncle, cannot litter hor. Littering fine $500." The student then picks up the piece of litter making the adult embarrassed. I mean, if he really is not embarrassed, he is inhumane.

In Qatar, you cannot lose things. Perhaps the punishment for stealing is too high. Some cannot afford it. When I was in Doha, one of the volunteers left his bag behind at a shop. After touring the whole market, he realised it and went back. It was still there.

The recent report on the Youth Challenge fiasco asked if youths' spirits would be dampened towards doing community work. A post on tomorrow.sg lamented on the compulsory CIP hours. Perhaps, if one does it from the heart, that would not matter. But of course, if I can choose where to volunteer and not be forced to do what I do not like, it would be better.

SMU has this compulsory 80 hours of community service that undergrads need to complete. The efforts to engage students to do community service is commendable. But the only drawback is that do the students do it just for the sake of doing it to fulfill their 80 hours? How many continue to stay engaged after doing their 80 hours.

What is the objective of SMU getting its students to do community service? Is it because we want to be different? Or is it just part of SMU’s corporate social responsibility?

I am not sure what other students do or think with this community service program. To me, it is the passion to serve that is important.

I enjoyed my time doing arts volunteerism. I learn to appreciate art, photography and film more. In fact, I even exceeded the 80 hours that we were supposed to hit. Come 2008, I will be involved in the next Singapore Biennale. It's a passion. Maybe I'll enjoy the biennale more than the Beijing Olympics (I'm still contemplating whether to fly there to volunteer).

So I guess it all boils down to the heart.

And here's the answer to my earlier question:

Creative dustbins - putting your litter in the right place just got funkier. And yes, these are done by secondary school students.

This post is in conjuction with the Youth.SG blogging festival.

Read more about the blogging festival on Youth.SG


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