Problems Singaporean Millennials Face
Raise your hand if you’ve heard the following phrases at the last family gathering: “Young people these days…”, or, “Last time when I was young…”.
On top of that, how many times have you seen articles bashing Singaporean Millennials?
Young people don’t have a great reputation, it seems. But from my experiencing of teaching and hanging out with Millennials on the regular, I’ve realised it’s tough being a young Singaporean today, and here are the reasons why.
1. Pressured To Be Passionate
It seems like everyone around you is pursuing a passion of some form. God forbid you join the civil service or get a 9-to-5 job after you graduate because isn’t everyone supposed to live for their passion and be entrepreneurs?
Start an online business! Trade in forex! Become an influencer! Start a YouTube channel! Create an app! The world is your oyster!
You’re young! Be passionate! Not passionate? You better be passionate about being successful and earning lots of money!
2. Messy Relationships
Gone are the days where relationships are as simple as asking a girl or a guy if they’d like to go out with you.
Relationships are now so complicated. One young girl told me how she is dating someone “quite exclusively” though she is not “exactly attached”.
I asked what she meant.
Got hold hands? Got.
Got kiss and hug? Got.
Can still out go out with other people? Sort of.
Can post pictures on IG? Cannot.
So can hold hands but cannot make it official, which I guess will lead to a post on social media about it.
From what I hear, this whole ‘friends with benefits’ thing usually benefits only one party.
Not to mention, there are those who are still on dating apps even though they’re officially ‘taken’. Aren’t they afraid of being found out? Is that really okay? And there’s ‘ghosting’, ‘crumbing’ and all these other strange dating terminologies.
I would be nauseated from the unpredictability of it all; how do you young ones handle it?
And the worst part is when you break up, because everyone will know. And you won’t need to play out in your mind who your ex is now with, or wonder what he’s up to, because it’ll pop up in your feed.
3. Cool To Be Unkind
Recently, my younger friends told me that they think insulting their friends or making rude remarks on their IG or social media accounts is something normal and acceptable.
In fact, they tell me the more insulting they are on each other’s IG, the closer the relationship. I believe there’s a word for it, and it’s called ‘roasting’.
Maybe there are too many sassy people, personalities, and articles out there that makes it seemingly okay to be rude and annoying, and uncool to be cheerful and friendly, like this umm older writer here.
But isn’t it terribly unpleasant when you post a selfie and people comment, “LOL” or “Ugly AF” and then expect you to be okay?
4. Pitting Everyone’s Highlights Against Your Everyday Life
Scroll through Instagram and you’ll see these pictures: an air ticket (Business Class of course), sparkling blue waters of Maldives, and someone’s brunch with poached eggs and avocado toast.
When you’re stalking their account while on your lunch break at your desk eating cai png again, life can feel very unfair. Of course everyone knows that IG is a curated feed of highlights, but it doesn’t make you feel any better, does it?
Repeat this after me: “These IG perfect lives are NOT REAL!”
5. Losing Friends
As we go through different phases of our lives, it becomes increasingly harder to manage our time, and sometimes, our chemistry between old friends.
Someone you thought would be your BFF may not get why you dislike your boss as much as someone who suffers under the same regime as you do. Sometimes, the fallout can be nasty, and it’s always sad when you realise a friendship is nearly at its end.
Another reason why you start to ‘lose’ childhood friends is because you’re now older, and more comfortable being yourself; this version of you is finally honest enough to say no to toxic friendships or people that aren’t good for you anymore.
The good thing is, this whole exercise of losing friends only helps you to weed out the ones who will stay for the long haul.
You thought it was tough being a student because ‘A’ is the new average. You battle through examinations, graduate and think, “Watch out world, here I come!”
And then, you realise this world you’re entering is filled with foreign things like taxes, mortgages, BTO applications, loans and bills that have due dates. You take on a new set of worries, which largely revolve around money.
Suddenly, S$10,000 is a lot and very little all at once.
There is no Ten-Year-Series to help you manage this new phase of life and mistakes can sometimes be more costly than those you made in school.
Sometimes, it also seems like everyone totally gets it, except you.
Be patient, though. You will learn and you will get through it all. For everything you don’t understand, you can always Google for a solution, watch a YouTube tutorial, or at the very least, tweet your frustration.
7. Never Being Able To Keep Up
Seasons come and go but trends these days change faster than ever. Before you can get a shot of the rainbow-coloured bagel, a unicorn drink that glows in the dark is the the new epitome of cool.
That wolfberry you used to not eat when Mum added them to the chicken soup is now #fitspogoals because it has been rebranded as ‘goji berry’. Mum had to kill you to get you to eat your vegetables but now you pay at that atas cafe to eat kale.
It is hard to keep up with all these trends financially, and the wide variety of options makes it an absolute struggle trying to determine what you actually like. FOMO can be a real issue for some. We are glad the man bun is officially over though.
8. Distractions Galore
In the past, the television was the biggest distraction. However, it had a grand total of four channels so there was a limit to the damage it could do.
Now, you don’t even have time to be free because there are so many things to do.
You need to watch all the recommended programmes on Netflix, listen to your Spotify playlist, post about the fact that you’re listening to cool tunes on Spotify, scroll through IG, share a funny link on FB, swipe right, update your Dayre, add to your IG story (complete with rainbow coloured font), answer the 5305 unread messages on WhatsApp and Telegram, and then deal with the 2039 unread emails after.
So many things demand your attention and time. How do you keep up with it all?
9. Constant Need For Validation
Everyone wants to feel socially accepted and this approval doesn’t get more blatant with social media feeds that allow people to rate us and what we post through number of likes, followers, comments or re-shares.
It can be consuming to seek this validation on a day-to-day basis. When the lines between what you want others to see, and what is real begins to blur, it can get dangerous. Worse still is when people peg your value to how many followers you have.
Offline, the need for validation can push young people to spend beyond their limits in order to keep up, or eat quinoa-something when all they want is bak chor mee at the hawker centre.
Find your own bak chor mee tribe that won’t judge you for not carrying the latest ‘It’ bag of the season. They are out there, I promise!
10. Being Seen As Lesser Just Because You’re Younger
You can be really good at your job but people may discount your advice or expertise just because you’re young. For many professionals, this can be disheartening. Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you are incompetent.
Sometimes you’re not allowed to make your own decisions because older people around you ‘know better’. Often, you find yourself caught between having to be an adult, and not being allowed to really be one.
When you’re still unsure what you want to do for a living, and you try jobs out, some may judge you for being a ‘job hopper’.
It’s like everyone expects you to know what you want to do, but at the same time, doubt what you know!
11. EPIC Wedding Proposals, EPIC Expectations
Geez, the amount of work that goes into proposals these days. What’s with the video crew, friends holding up huge placards spelling “Will You Marry Me?“, balloons, fairy lights and the whole Pinterest-y deal?
It has become such an undertaking that I wouldn’t be surprised the pressure and expectations have killed many a couple.
Videos of amazing proposals go viral and it makes people think that is the norm and the way things should be done. This leads to an unnecessarily high expectation that might cause a strain on both parties.
I know of someone who cried because her boyfriend proposed to her at home, with no one watching or secret camera filming. THE HORROR.
Overcoming Millennial Problems
So the next time someone regales you with how people of your generation are strawberries, durians, or some kind of fruit again, and how you have it real good, shove this list in their face.
Every generation has their own set of problems to overcome and it isn’t fair that you’re made to feel your issues are not legitimate.
Most of all, all the best finding your place in this crazy world. It’s there, I promise you. Don’t stop searching!
And when you get older, you can then look for some young punk out there and retell your own version of, “Last time, when I was young…”.