Two of my good friends recently got invited to speak at two different churches in the youth service. The first one who’s not from my church but who was invited to speak in my church, was to speak on the topic of being fulfilled as a single. (There can’t be a very tactful way to ask someone to expound upon that! It assumes she is fulfilled as a single and kind of presumes that she has no options, not to mention assuming that the single life is by default worse off than the coupled one hence the need to “find fulfillment”.) The other person was invited to speak on peer pressure at another church.
It strikes me that there is a very typical, acceptable image of a Singaporean youth (or several, perhaps) that are like limit points in a set. Everyone should converge to one, less suffer anxiety for being the odd one out, hence the rampant need for sermons to tell you that being different is okay, being single is okay. Several stock characteristics of the acceptable Singaporean youth would be
*- has tuition (if you don’t you are either too smart for your own good or your parents are too can’t-be-bothered for your own good)
*- has a nifty handphone/iphone, or no phone at all
*- goes out with friends, typically to orchard road to wreak havoc and to spend way beyond their means at fancy restaurants
*- has a love-hate relationship with their parents (to have perfect parents like lz does not allow you to empathize with the rest of the youths with shitty unenlightened parents)
*- has a boyfriend/girlfriend
I am trying to imagine what kind of peer pressure youths would face nowadays. The only peer pressure I faced had to do with money. I don’t have a lot of it. Well, my allowance was a pittance, and girls (especially rgs girls) like to eat at nice places. I do too, but only with select company am I willing to fork out say $50 for a meal. Also my peers who were tolerably wealthy seem to not carry cash with them and always borrow from you, forgetting to return anything because the amount they borrowed while was significant to you, was insignificant to them and easily erased from memory. That doesn’t happen in the states, where everything can be bought with a credit/debit card, and everyone has their card on them all the time. Even better in cornell, where you can’t even enter a dining hall without your student ID and you can’t exactly use someone else’s ID to get in. Cashiers are fussy if you use someone else’s food credit to buy your food. Scholarships also level the playing ground, in that no Singaporean here has any more money than anybody else, or has insufficient funds to spend comfortably. I suspect there are lots of other pressures in the schoolyard now, especially with this increasingly dominant image of the typical school girl/school boy and a surplus of flighty, unthinking youths to perpetuate it.