Our Youth’s voice is not our problem but may be our salvation

It’s a vicious cycle. We’re not learning from our past. We’re not giving a chance for our youth to speak up and be heard, says JAGDESH SINGH who is attending a one-week Sikh camp in Malaysia

THE SIKH FACTOR: A scene at the event at SNSM’s annual Sikh camp – Photo SNSM for Asia Samachar

By Jagdesh Singh

Quite often, as we grow older, we think our experiences that further paints our background canvass make us wiser. We know better than most because we’ve been there and we’ve done that. We especially think we know better than the ones younger than us, the next generation. We think, by default because of our experience, our maturity and age qualifies us to be the guardians of the next generation. This may be true. Perhaps we’ve earned it.

But I seem to remember being part of the youth that were treated the same by our own elders back then. We were told outright that we didn’t know better and we should just listen to their wisdom. In hindsight now, I can say with certainty that I benefited from their wisdom quite a bit, but our ideas as the youth were pretty good as well. More so, with the way the world evolves rapidly with changes in technology and development, our ideas as the youth seem more relevant than ever. As part of the youth, I wished we could’ve been more vocal sharing our thoughts, fears, and expectations in what we were inheriting from our elders. I wished we could’ve told them about their hypocrisy when speaking about gender equality, when speaking about spirituality, when speaking about empowerment, when speaking about many more matured topics that make us the thinking beings we are today. I wished we could’ve had some form of dialogue where our voices, as youth with so much hope, could’ve been heard and valued, if not accepted.

SEE ALSO: Introducing the Sikh Factor at Malaysian youth camp

SEE ALSO: Working on Malaysia’s largest Sikh camp 

Even as I write this, I’m guilty of being an elder that I sort of disliked when I was one of the youth. I’m guilty as many of my peers, always disregarding the typical moans and complains of the youth. I’ve become a proponent of the tough old school. “Suck it up because we did when we were younger”.

It’s a vicious cycle. We’re not learning from our past. We’re not giving a chance for our youth to speak up and be heard. And they will do the same too when they become the elders. We have to learn. We have to accept. We have to accept the youth as who they are. We have to accept that they can be as wise as we are. We have to accept that we make mistakes and the youth should learn from our mistakes.

I saw something yesterday that restored my faith in our youth. The annual Gurmat Parchaar Samelan organized by Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia had created a platform for our disenchanted youth to share with us their voice through a loosely setup talent search. It’s called the Sikh Factor, fashioned after the X Factor reality show from the States.

But it was different from the X Factor. Participants were encouraged to vouch their views on current hot topics enveloping our Sikh Diaspora community here in Malaysia through creativity and inventiveness. Topics like Women Empowerment, Battling depression, Unifying under our own identity, The conflicts between religion and spirituality,were all presented in many forms of art. Some rapped, some did monologues, some played out roles of a play, all to tell us what they felt and thought. They didn’t mince their words, and I was shocked at the maturity they possessed when presenting themselves. Not all came up with solutions, but all came with their interpretation and perspective, and it was soon apparent to me that we never really gave them credit for being concerned about these issues as much as we adults do.

I left the event feeling so hopeful. My daughters were in the audience. And they looked like they appreciated their friends’ views, thoughts, dreams and expectation when on stage. If I can understand the youth, there’s hope that I can understand my daughters as they grow up to be young adults.

Sikh Factor is happening everyday in the Samelan at Khalsa Land in Kuala Kubu Bharu from 4pm to 6pm, culminating into the final on Thursday 21 December 2017. Be there or be square.

Jagdesh Singh, a Kuala Lumpur-based executive with a US multinational company, is a father of three girls who are as opinionated as their mother

* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.


[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com] 17084



Introducing the Sikh Factor at Malaysian youth camp (Asia Samachar, 18 Dec 2017)

Working on Malaysia’s largest Sikh camp (Asia Samachar, 6 Dec 2017)

Why I got hooked to Samelans (Asia Samachar, 23 Nov 2017)

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