Instagram couture’s long term effects

One hope I have that keeps me from giving up on a country I find unbearable at times is the existence of this younger generation, us Gen-Y-ers. The older generation would one day relinquish the power they hold in making the decisions that will affect our lives and our children lives and their grandchildren’s lives. The best interests of a growing, throbbing, vibrant population would be known no better by any other person than ourselves. What more when the call to double our population growth by about 3x is heeded. It is us youth, which through my observation, have the ability to turn 360 in terms of starting that leap to develop our country into a nation with first class facilities, and even more importantly, first class minded citizens. No more gradual changes, no more suku-suku suam initiatives. Lompat terus.

The reason I say this is because of the encouraging responses I see from us Millennials in reply towards political, economical and social issues that have happened or are happening at this very moment. Gone (or at least reduced) are those “duduk pun dengan mak ayah lagi, lepatu nak acah2 sembang politiko” sentences, those “aku ni.. sebenarnya benci politik, aku taknak ambik tahu pasal politik, politik ini semua duniawi” remarks. The teenagers and young adults in Malaysia are becoming increasingly aware of what is going on locally and internationally, and not only that, they have formed opinions of their very own. Being right or wrong does not matter, the wrong can be educated and rectified and spanked until some sense is implanted. What’s important is that the youth have formulated ideas of what’s good for the long run, how the governance of this country can be bettered. Bandwagons still exist for sure, but that can hardly be eradicated in a period as short as this, it’s a slow process which can achieve results provided that this generation continues to progress in terms of individuality, intellectual consciousness, and a desire to be well-informed and less emotional.

I have great hope for the future, I really do — but (there’s always a but), but what’s also keeping me uncertain and raggedly patched about Gen Y’s ability to lead are these reciprocal tendencies. (From a purely unmathematical point of view, a reciprocal function develops within two diagonally opposite quadrants in a Cartesian plane. Now let’s assume the asymptotic lines are x=0 and y=0, the two corners of the curves will never meet.) Placing it in this context, intellect and giddiness will never intersect one another in a common point. These two qualities are so contradictory that with one, the other will cease to exist.

Unfortunately the quality we have right now is giddiness. Our young society is hella giddy. Giddy with the romanticized #relationshipgoals, fixated with posting the best pictures depicting #hipster life on Instagram (I call it Instagram couture), and especially giddy with romanticized young marriages. It would be different if the target population I am talking about are rural citizens with lack of education to properly inform them about the cons of being married too young. These people view marriage as a means of getting through another phase of life since they do not have much to begin and end with. Excuseable to say the least.

But no, I’m talking about hip, well-educated, deep pocketed urbanites who mostly have everything they need and want at the flick of their fingers. Teenagers who have access to information technology, who reap the rewards of globalization but at the end of the day, are also the ones whose energies remain focused on the minute things in life. Twitter search #relationshipgoals and see for yourself just how many people are channeling their thoughts every second towards these.

Just because one arranged marriage turned out to be fairytale-like, suddenly everyone is raving about how arranged marriages are so cute and ideal. Just because young, good looking, rich couples are getting hitched, now everyone’s fixated on getting married early. Topics like those are becoming a constant on Twitter and Facebook timelines I am genuinely afraid that all most teenage girls will ever amount to would be giddy, imaginative ladies whose aim in life is to get married. Get married young to a good looking man and go on romantic trips and dates and post pictures. “Taknak belajar lah, nak kahwin terus.”

What happened to having bigger goals in life? What happens when the disillusionment process sets in? When the novelty of your young wife/husband disappear? Fun fact: Most early marriages end in divorce before the age of 25 simply because the couples did not understand what a huge undertaking matrimony is.

What will happen if you abandon education and dismiss the opportunities that you might have had if you weren't shackled by the responsibilities you need to carry out as a dutiful husband and wife? When the money that funded your marriage in the first place runs out?

If we do not disengage ourselves from these romanticized trends, the quality our human capital will be in a more worrying state as we proceed into the coming decade. Ignorance about current issues will prevail, and we’ll be left with a nation who will become followers and employees, not leaders and employers. A nation more easily mentally colonized. An individual more mentally colonized. We should be more ambitious about our life prospects to look further than just within the picture perfect love-life bubble.

Educate ourselves about the world and the country and what we can do to make it better, how to end poverty, child trafficking, female circumcision and what not. Educate ourselves about what it takes to be a citizen who can contribute to society, to help the homeless, to serve the poor, to volunteer for the ones affected by disasters. Educate ourselves on what it takes to be a good person first, before anything else.