Culture

A torrid year, a troubled generation

by Gabriel Ong // July 23, 2021, 5:35 pm

Youth events 2021 - Featured

I don’t know if you’ve received a little WhatsApp text that’s been going around. 

This one’s about a timeline that lays out some notable events the younger generation have gone through since the start of this year.

Here are a few key ones I’ve picked out: 

  • January 2021: Controversy surrounding a student with gender dysphoria. 
  • January 2021: 16-year-old youth plotted to attack mosques in Singapore.
  • March 2021: 20-year old youth wanted to harm Jews.
  • April 2021: Two teen girls, aged 15 and 16, found dead at the foot of an HDB block in Toa Payoh.
  • July 2021: Reports released showing suicide deaths reached an 8-year high. Youth suicides rose by 7 per cent year-on-year.
  • July 2021: A 16-year-old River Valley High School student murders a schoolmate aged 13 years old.

When you see it all lined up like this, how does it make you feel?

Personally, I’m heartbroken for our younger people.

It seems the younger generation is a troubled one, to say the least — and we’re only halfway through 2021!

WHAT ACCOUNTS FOR SUCH PAIN IN OUR LAND?

It boils down to brokenness, something we’ll invariably see in a world ravaged by sin. 

Some of us may not even need a list to see that there is a lot of brokenness around us.

For instance, in the realm of sexuality, gender is being broken down on the daily. Being able to live a life of purpose? Many will say that’s also been broken down of late.

Meaning in life can easily seem unreachable to younger minds that have been impacted and perhaps marred by foundational years that were surrounded by financial crises and now the coronavirus.

Singapore’s connected generation: Anxious and disempowered?

How does one have hope when there never seems to be an end in sight?

Whether we’ve realised it or not, this is the temper of the times many have grown up in.

Which accounts for why some people I’ve spoken to tell me there’s a growing sense of nihilism in this generation.

It’s a mindset that can easily give rise to radical beliefs and extremism, and open the door to a whole host of other mental health issues.  

WE DON’T HAVE TO STAY AT ROCK BOTTOM

“It takes a village to raise a child.” (Old African proverb)

I’m aware this article is a bit of a downer so far since I’ve painted the picture of a society that’s at rock bottom.

But even if that’s true, it might not be so bad to be here.

Rock bottom gets a bad rep, but I’d argue it can be a good place to be. After all, it’s only up from here. 

Plus, it affords us the chance to take ownership of all the problems identified. Whether we’re 16 or 60, we have an opportunity to reckon with the chips on the table.

  • Anxiety plaguing the younger generation? I’ll take ownership of the problem.
  • Don’t know how to reconcile Scripture with the ideas of the day? I’ll own that issue.
  • Broken down communication between generations? I’ll take that on.

Taking ownership of the issues that trouble each generation in Singapore will look different depending on where we’re at in life.

It might look like becoming a mentor to a younger person, helping them to navigate the tricky milestones every youth faces.

It could be taking time out to sit down with someone over Scripture, challenging worldly mindsets and ideologies based on what the Word of God says.

Whatever it is we do, it’ll probably come down to a confluence of age, life stage, gifts and talents. But it’s definitely something we each must do for one another as a citizen in this country and kingdom.

From brokenness to blessing: Gregory Vijayendran on doing good and seeking justice

So, as a member of a generation that’s just a little older than Generation Z — those born roughly between 1995-2010 — I’m committed to doing what I can to meet the needs of those younger than myself.

Take a look at your own gifts and talents. Your passions and hobbies. Your life experiences and stories. 

How might God use all these to bless and impact the lives of those around you?  

For all that we’ve talked about stuff being broken, remember that God can work mightily out of our brokenness

We face bleakness all around us. But let’s lift up our generations into God’s hands through prayer. Let’s bring this land before Him through intercession.

With our hearts and hands surrendered to God, who can know what He might do in this land?

PAUSE + PRAY

Burdened for Singapore and our young people? Join the impossible413 community as they FAST AND PRAY from this Friday (July 23) to next Friday (July 30) in light of recent events. Prayer pointers will be released daily on their Instagram page where you can also chat more with them over DM.

LoveSingapore’s annual 40-day prayer season is also ongoing until August 9. Here are more details on the devotional.

About the author

Gabriel Ong

Gabriel isn't a hipster, but he loves his beard and coffee. In his spare time, he'd rather be on a mountain.