I always hear politicians saying that we need to hear and listen to the voice of youth or that we get pesky college students shouting catchy one liner slogans and protesting, saying that as a ‘Mahasiswa’ their voices must be heard.
It is as if being a heavily subsidised college student grants you this inalienable right of which society has to lend its already worn out ears to listen to you demanding and ranting about things. We hear people repeating the same mantra of listening to the young people or that the X,Y,Z generation must be heard for they shall inherit this country.
Indeed we do have to give voice and listen to what the young ones have to say. As future leaders of this country it is they who shall chart the future of this country, yet there is something in this whole idea of listening to the youth that I find hard to digest.
Allow me to digress. I may sound a little like a middle-aged man with issues, so before we go on please take note that I’m going to be 29 this September, so I guess this article is somewhat of an introspection of my peers, a self critic to my generation of sorts…now back to topic.
As some of you may have read or heard, I’m part of this political movement called the BN Youth Volunteers. Basically it is a grassroots political movement that caters to youth demographic, a brilliant platform for youth who would like to have a political platform and so it became a hype.
Having throngs of energetic idealistic young Malaysians can be wonderfully overwhelming at times, just like how some idealistic young people who joined Bersih recently felt as well, even though the whole event was hijacked by narrow minded politicians. Still the youthful idealistic spirit must be acknowledged.
It is just that as I look upon the events that have happened recently in our country, with the large participation of young people especially those of my age, it seems that there is this insinuation that one must be heard or that one should be heard by the virtue of being young alone and I have a problem with that.
Indeed it is true that as our country is in a transition, new ideas and a fresh outlook is needed upon a new geopolitical landscape, the need to do away with expired ideas and ways. Still it is no guarantee that fresh new ideas go hand in hand with age.
Respect must be earned
What I am trying to say is and perhaps as a gentle reminder to myself and the BNYV is that being young isn’t a credible reason to be heard, rather it is through good ideas and righteous actions that earns you that respect, the acknowledgement that your voice is significant enough to be heard and taken note of regardless of what age you may be.
Often times I see my peers demanding their voices to heard solely by the virtue of their age. I I don’t think that it’s right. Indeed as the youth who shall inherit this country someday you would like to have a say, but to have a voice for the sake of being young alone isn’t going to be good enough.
If indeed you want your opinion or ideas to be heard be it because it is valid, thoughtful and makes good sense, then your ideas must be the result of a fusion between idealism and reality.
Often times we get keyboard warriors or armchair critics who base their opinions solely on the narrow worldview of websites and blogs. Which is why you will get this disconnect between online urban Malaysians with the rural folk. Often times this differing views shall be dismissed by the urban counterpart as ‘kampung people who aren’t exposed’.
Yet how could you come with such a sweeping statements when all you do is to simply read what you want to read on websites and not appreciate how other people go about with their lives.
There are reasons why people do certain things which influences people to have an opinion on something, and to shun and sweep their point of view simply because you have better access to broadband internet, is not only condescending but idiotic. At least try to understand how policies are made and why do we have to do things that may seem unpopular.
Look society isn’t obliged to listen to you simply because you’re 25 years old or that the rest of Malaysia must pander to you simply because you’re a self proclaimed informed ‘Mahasiswa’. No such thing. Being young isn’t a valid reason to be heard. If your ideas are good, your arguments are valid, your actions are justified, regardless of how old you may be or whether you went to college or not people will naturally listen to you.
Indeed being young does count for something but it is not the only thing, be idealistic, be thoughtful, be righteous and be humble and contribute something that benefits the country, for when you do that you shall have a voice and earn the respect from those who will naturally would want to listen to you.