Permits & Passes
Monday with the Editor: Of the young and the old
that time of the year when we reflect on what we
have done for the whole year and then contemplate
our resolutions for the coming new year.
tomorrow's New Year's Eve! Before we are even
finished with the twelve days of Christmas and the
new English year, we are bombarded with reminders
out there in the neighbourhood shops and shopping
centres that Chinese New Year is also just round
the corner, for the Year of the Goat new year
greeting cards and decorations have come out in
full force in these places.
Late Baby Boomer*, I have been privileged to
witness and to experience what Chinese New Year has
been like through the years - from the 60s to the
70s, then the 80s and 90s and in the debuting
years of the new millennium. I particularly relish
the fact that I was able to play with firecrackers
in the 60s right through to 1972 when the ban
came into effect.
that's a privilege youngsters nowadays are not
privy to. But, as I begin to feel sorry for these
youngsters, I suddenly remember that in my time as
a youngster, I didn't quite have the trappings
that modern-day lifestyle has provided for
youngsters of today - things like, jeans,
T-shirts, PCs, handphones, McDonald's, Play
Station, etc. The list goes on and on.
Indeed, I should envy these youngsters, for they
are born in the right time - of peace, prosperity
and progress here in Singapore - and need not see
or experience the sufferings of those born in an
earlier timespace - people who had to live life in
a different world - of world wars, and civil
youngsters think they are pretty lucky, then? I
doubt so. Many of them do not have time for such
thoughts. They are caught up in the struggle for
ownership of handphones and other whatnots. They
are busy comparing what others have that they do
not have and yearn for more buying power, much to
the chagrin of their parents.
what's the future for Singapore when our young are
more interested in their own gains than pondering
about our island's future? Is the competition for
material benefits just a passing fad in that
tumultuous teenage period or is it a symptom of a
disease that will plague our youngsters of today
in Singapore when they come of age?
time will tell, but we simply do not have that
privilege of waiting, for statistics are against
us. In the 1970s, when I was a teenager, for every
one (1)** old person over 60 years old in
Singapore, there were more than eight (8)
economically active people - thanks to the
post-war baby boom from 1947 to 1964.
2030, when I will be in my 70s, for every one
(1)** old person over 60 years old, there will
only be 2 economically active persons supporting
that person. Now that's a heavy burden for the
youngsters of today to shoulder when they join the
certainly can't stop time. But, we can change the
perceptions of our young - before it's too late.
Already, the Government is making it compulsory
for those at school to do project work. Now, that
spells good news for the Baby Boomers. With
exposure to the community, these young minds stand
a chance of being broadened. Think of it not as a
brainwashing of their minds, but rather, as a
nurturing of the correct attitudes so that they
will more than spare a thought for others,
especially the elderly.
certainly a step in the right direction. But, we,
as parents, need to let go of our instinctive urge
(yes, we do want them to have what we didn't have
before) to spoil our kids. We should not give in
to their every whim and fancy but stand firm. This
way, we will not do harm to the Government's
efforts at imbuing our young with the correct
mindset to take care of us when we grow old - for
we will grow old.
new year resolution is pretty straightforward. I
hope to see our young thinking of others first
before they think of themselves. It's another 30
years or so before the 2030s; I believe our young
can come around.
Have a wonderful end
of the year!
cohort: 1935 - 1946
baby boom cohort: 1947 - 1954
baby boom cohort: 1955 - 1964
quoted from The Baby Boomers in Singapore (June
quoted from The Elderly in Singapore (June 1988)
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