(Photo: Global Times)
We don't live in an artificial world where human beings are cast from mould. Every generation is different and influenced by the larger environment that they find themselves in. This difference is unique and offers an interesting insight into the evolution of human development and social change at large. In some ways, it is an indicator of where the next couple of decades are going for everyone. No generation is perfect yet we often hear about one frowning upon another due to perceptions and stereotypes.
I am guilty of this since I have often shaken my head at the sight of gadgets and all the craziness that comes with it for the post 95s and 00s babies. Yet, there are times when I can also have a long conversation with them. Generalization aside, when it comes down to a small group, regardless of which generation or age-bracket they belong to, there are some common grounds and common fears that we share.
Savvy and highly dependent on technology, this is a generation opting for the easy and quick way out. As digital natives, they have a greater "on-demand" need for things and experiences to be convenient, quick and hassle-free as well as for forms of entertainment to be short and eye-catching. Perhaps it is the added pressure that comes with high cost of living that has prompted the young to be more prone to "live more in the moment to live in the now."
First Renren, then Weibo, then WeChat and Tik Tok, there is never a shortage of social engagements with the aim of connection, self-expression and quick entertainment. A single-serving fast-paced take-away culture with the ethos of "Live now, spend now because you deserve it" reflects how apart from wishing to engage with the world more than ever before, deep down, the post 90s and post 95s kids are to some degree ever more anxious as they, similar to the earlier generations, are faced with high living costs, uncertainty and social pressure. They are fresh young minds living in a relatively old world bombarded with all kinds of news, gadgets and hot trends.
My view of any generation, especially the much younger one, is that all cases are unique and there are always exceptions. It is true that given the favorable environment the post 90s and post 95s grew up in, these "little emperors" gained access to cool things compared with the earlier groups.
However, not all post 90s children are reckless and materialistic who spend more than they can earn just so they can stand out and make a statement in the hope of fitting in. Not all are kangaroo employees, staying in one job no longer than seven months with a sense of naïve optimism that they will be the next Jack Ma. Perhaps they are seen as too status conscious and obsessed with selfies, but the same can be said of all age groups. While some enjoy cosplay, manga and would rather be an online Tik Tok star than a scientist, there are those with great ideas and interest in scientific pursuits. Old minds trapped in young bodies or young minds living in an old world, the general picture of each generation is gray and deserves no simple labeling.
Age aside, we all face challenges and should be united not by our common disdain for a particular generation, but for what we all have to witness, experience and put up with given the changes that are taking place in our world.