Alan Soh

I am my own columnist, sharing my own thoughts and experiences!

Generation Y

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Falling into the lowest end of the age-range of 15 and 31, I think I can still be definited as a Gen Y person (if based on a 2008 Singapore Human Resources Institute Survey). Haha.

Last week, I’ve read The Sunday Times Lifestyle cover story headlined “What ails the Gen Y?”. Read accounts of the following individuals – a  financial adviser decided to give up her $7k-a-month job to become a jewellery designer, setting up her shop in Haji Lane to sell her handmade pieces; an army regular giving up his job to go travel (such as to Bangkok to train himself to become a Muay Thai boxer and in New Zealand being a Kiwi fruit picker to earn some money); and a scholarship teacher also giving up his job to go back to textbooks, to study law.

Going by examples of these youths, I personally think there is nothing wrong in giving up a well-paying job which you do not enjoy in the first place to go pursue your own passions, or say go global-trotting to see the world out there before you settle down on what you are supposed to do, or even going back to school even if you are in 30s. (I intend to go back to textbooks too. Is there a s0-called strict rule, saying being 30s, I cannot go ahead further my studies? No right?)

The SHRI survey has come to a conclusion – saying that Gen Y people are confident, tech-savvy but also unconventional and restless.

I can understand why being viewed as restless is a negative, however may I ask, what is being wrong with being unconventional? Today’s youths are more creative and daring in their outlooks, thanks to societal changes such as affluence, information technology and a knowledge-based economy. We are highly mobile, knowledgable, adaptable, not afraid to challenge viewpoints and thus willing to make risks to try out new ideas. Under certain circumstances, we somehow view rules and regulations as “blockage to innovation”.

Wheras in the eyes of previous generations such as the Baby-bloomers and Generation X like our grandparents, uncles and aunties, parents, our older cousins/brothers and sisters, some of them perceive Gen Y people as “impractical, day-dreaming, restless, and disrespectful”. Particularly employers with “traditional mindsets”.

Compared to previous generations, We Gen Y have more options in our lives. Hence, if we think we can afford doing it,  I think it should then not be a harm for us to decide for ourselves what we really want to do in our lives. I agree that taking a small gap year before moving on to university studies or going back to school after few years in the workforce will only make us better persons in the long run, be it at the workplace, or in different aspects of our lives. Yes, provided that we channel our energies to constructive use.

Even I myself have been thinking hard about what I really want to do in my life these days. Settling down? Getting married just like my younger sister? Nah, the timing is not right now. :p

According to the Lifestyle article, the 20-somethings age group have the highest rate of loan default in Singapore. Which means they have alot of debts to clear. All simply because they have the means to finance their dreams (a car, house, luxury items..and the list goes on) on easy credit such as having a ready credit card/cheque book.

I recall there is this friend who likes to splurge on luxury items such as Iphone when he actually does not have the financial means to afford it. He wanted mobile broadband premium service too. Picked a Singtel subscription line of about $70++. The result? Chalked up high mobile phone bills, which eventually leads to suspension of his mobile line.


We should spend within our own means and cultivate the good habit of saving money for a rainy day. Only Heaven knows what will happen tomorrow.


Author: alansoh79

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