English essay topic: ‘Young people are becoming increasingly selfish and self-centred.’ What are your views?

In Personal reflections, Uncategorized on June 11, 2013 at 3:10 pm

You will only hear this assertion from people who are “not part of this generation but are judging it from above”. (Jon Stewart)

It is a ludicrous assertion, and one that deserves to be ruthlessly refuted. As a youth, I have not found my peers to be “increasingly selfish and self-centred”. Instead I have found my generation to be concerned about their communities, their countries, and the world that they will inherit.

Past generations have had brilliant leaders and change-makers, and this generation of young people has its own. For example, Malala Yousafzai–a 15-year-old Pakistani school pupil–is an advocate for education and women’s rights. She detailed her life under the Taliban and how girls were prevented from schooling on her blog, and she openly shared her political views despite the Taliban’s clampdown on all opposition.  In spite of an assassination attempt last year, Malala has not faltered as an activist for education. According to her, her purpose is “to serve humanity”. Clearly, young people like Malala have demonstrated that youth today do have the gumption to defend noble causes and fight for the interests of others.  She is testament to the notion that youths are not oblivious to the injustices around them and that they want to correct them. To jaded adults, individuals like Malala may be idealistic, but she is not in any way selfish or self-centred.

It may be argued that selfless, mature youths such as Malala are few and far between, and the rest of our generation can otherwise be generalised to be “selfish and self-centred”. However, when I imagine the hoards of young men and women who voluntarily enlist themselves in the army, who make enormous sacrifices to defend their countries, I find it impossible to agree that youth today are self-centred.

Young people today do not need to brandish bayonets or fight against repressive regimes to prove they are a generation that cares about the world around them. With the advent of Model United Nations, more and more young people are showing a commendable interest in pertinent global controversies. Model United Nations is a simulation of a United Nations conference, where students play the role of diplomats and debate important political issues such as nuclear security and sustainable economic growth. Perhaps not all young individuals are adept at being diplomats, at crafting the best resolutions to the world’s disasters, but this is a generation that, at the very least, shows an interest in political happenings miles away from their homes and makes an effort to learn about our damaged world. Perhaps then, they will learn to fix it for generations that come after them.

Every generation has its own selfish people, its own pessimists, its own cynics and its own naysayers. However, I refuse to believe that my generation—this generation of young people—are more selfish and more self-centred than the ones that have come before us. I look around my classroom and my neighbourhood and I find youths who are passionate about volunteering at the local nursing home, at the local hospital, or even in third-world countries far from ours. I have faith in this generation.  Get to know the youths in your own community and you will too.

PS: I haven’t blogged in a while, and it’s a little sad that my first post in a long time is another banal school essay. But I felt this needed to be said for the sole reason that we (youths) are sometimes unjustifiably attacked for not matching up to the toil of previous generations, for being too pampered and too sheltered to care about anything beyond our own materialistic desires. Obviously that assertion is a lie, and we (youths) should not be coerced into believing it, lest it become true.


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