Preoccupation of current generation

My parents’ generation had been through Japanese Occupation and the independence of Singapore in 1965. My generation is the baby boomers’ and is gradually retiring from the workforce. My daughter’s generation is starting to work. PM Lee Hsien Loon sees an exciting 50 years for young Singaporeans. He wished he was born 50 years later.

Each generation had different challenges and world order. My parents had to worry about putting meals on our table and had to survive the war. If my father were still alive, he would be 104 years old now. He lived to 89 fortunately without serious financial consequences.

I am the product of independence of Singapore. Our fortune is tied to the rise of Singapore from Third World to First World in living standards. We saw the starting of National Service, building of HDB flats and foreign direct investments. It wasn’t as heavily built-up then and we could afford to buy property and financed it with CPF and bank loan over a shorter loan period.

Then came the smartphones and the many apps on the web. This current generation was exposed to iPhones/Samsungs when they were toddlers. The social media and video sharing sites capture eyeballs 24/7 and is the only source of news for some. The good, the bad and the ugly are there for all to see if they tune in to the web.

During MRT rides, bus rides, meals with friends, use of smartphones is ubiquitous. There is this urge to check emails, short messages, Facebook postings, personal blogs, etc constantly. I fell into this once in a while and it takes a lot to restrain me from whipping up my smartphones.

Because, we are in the habit of multi-tasking, attention span gets shorter and shorter. Impatience and lack of focus become the end result. For those who cannot cope with this fast-paced world and when the disparity between the rich and the poor widens, psychological health of people suffers.

Are students equipped with coping strategy to stay healthy in this kind of world? Smartphones are brought into class and some students even video-taped happenings in the classroom. Can students harnessed the Internet for their learning in class instead of checking things that are personal? What can the teacher do to help them? For that matter, how can parents help?

It can be an exciting world in the next 50 years. If the people cannot cope, what is the point? I hope that the current generation can prove me wrong and they can face up to these challenges much like all the other earlier generations survived their own challenges.

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