GP Tuition Bukit Timah – ‘Young people today have never had it so good.’ Is this true of youth in your country?

GP Tuition – ‘Young people today have never had it so good.’ Is this true of youths in your country?

Every generation of youths have their own enjoyable and fun life amidst the set of problems and difficulties they face. However, with greater affluence and rapid advancement in technology, it is often perceived that youth today enjoy a very good life. In contrast to that view, Singaporean youths actually have their own set of problems and difficulties to overcome, some of which outweighs the benefits of having an affluent life.

It is indeed true that youths in Singapore lead a better life materialistically nowadays as compared to the youths of the past with affluence resulting from economic prosperity in Singapore, state-of-the-art technological equipment, connectedness due to globalization, variety of goods and services provided, high level of entertainment, greater education and career opportunities. Through these benefits, youths in Singapore enjoy a higher standard of living as much more focus are placed on them as compared to youths in the past as it is in a youth-oriented society.

However, attaining a more affluent life has a price to pay – pace of life has quickened to a frenetic pace. Acute competition exists between youths in areas such as education and careers. The paper-chased society in Singapore forces youths to put academics above anything else, which leads to youths undergoing high level of stress and resorting to rising number of cases of depression among youths. Familial and peer relationships are also strained as a result of the social pressure they would face.

People tend to see that youths in Singapore these days never had it so good especially in terms of material goods and a comfortable standard of living. However, along with this impression comes the reality that youth also suffer from adverse consequences of living in a modern society which demands much more of them as they undergo a more frenetic way of life. The higher cost of living in our modern life means that there is a need for them to attain success in their academic development to ensure that they have a promising future in term of employment.

Connectedness as a result of globalization may not be a good thing at all as youths experience information overload. Excessive information provided on various online platforms creates more confusion in the minds of the youths, increasing their stress levels as they are mentally drained. It is often reputed that the youths today are less capable to concentrate and incapable in managing social relationships.

Greater levels of entertainment may not necessarily mean that the lives of youths will be much more enjoyable. With greater provision of entertainment comes exposure to various forms of inappropriate entertainment such as scenes displaying gratuitous violence and sex. Such take-in will affect youths in the long run by causing more trouble in their lives as we observe more rising number of juvenile delinquency and more youths addicted to drugs and other vices.

As youths nowadays place their time and effort on more things that are created as a result of advancement and things that are demanded of them. They become more individualistic as the activities they partake in are usually solitary. As such, they gradually lose the attachment to their peers and family, causing them to lead a life of increased loneliness and isolation, while in the pursuit of materialistic goods where relationships and emotions become an opportunity cost.

Youths in Singapore do experience immense stress psychologically and emotionally as a result of leading a more affluent life. The claim of youths today have never had it so good is generally made by the older generation probably with an accusatory tone that young people today are spoilt, pampered, ungrateful and apathetic. This may not be the case as youths do not naturally inherit all the benefits of an affluent life and the psychological and emotion burden youths carry is too immense to be visible.


This article is contributed by Mr. Simon Ng, founder and principal JC GP tutor of GP Tuition Bukit Timah, who has 20 years of teaching experience. Currently, Mr. Simon Ng provides specialized GP Tuition and Economics Tuition. Please visit our GP Notes page to read more of our JC General Paper articles.

GP Tuition Bukit Timah – ‘Modern technology owes ecology an apology.’ Do you agree?

GP Tuition – ‘Modern technology owes ecology an apology’. Do you agree?

Introduction
Advancement in technology has brought about tremendous benefits to mankind but at the same time it has also harmed the environment. The environmentalists strongly believe that the usage of modern technology has led to the degradation of the environment. However, to the technocrats and scientists, such an assertion is absurd as they feel that modern technology is the only viable mean to solve environmental crisis. In view of these two perspectives, I am inclined to believe that modern technologies do owe ecology an apology although it can help solve some of the environment problems.

Main Body
Technocrats will not share the view that modern technology owes ecology an apology as they see technology as a solution for environmental degradation rather than as a cause of environmental contamination. The usage of clean technology over fossil-fuel based technology helps to reduce the level of carbon emission which is often seen as the main culprit of global warming. Clean technology in the form of solar power, nuclear technology and hydro power are not just energy efficient but have also significantly cut down the emission of greenhouse gases from fossil-fuel based productions. It serves as a viable alternative to fossil fuel and hence does not pollute the environment.

However, it is not easy to develop alternative energy and its use is not without criticism. The high cost of financing such clean technologies makes it an unpopular choice among countries, especially the poorer nations where their priority is on economic development rather than on environmental concerns. Also, the construction of clean technology often damages the environment in the ongoing process as seen from how the building of dam which generates hydro power undermines the ecological system though it benefits the country or city that reaps the hydro-electric power. A pertinent example would be Three Gorges dam in Yangtze River. The dams have not only disrupted the ecological system in the river but have also led to the rise of flooding in low lying rural areas of China. Hence, despite benefiting a group of people with clean energy, the detrimental impacts that it brings about outweighs the positive impacts.

Standing from the view point of an environmentalist, modern technologies do owe ecology an apology simply for the few reasons mentioned below. First, modern technology promotes comfort and convenience which lead to greater consumption and production and this promotes greater usage of resources, leading to depletion and degradation of the environment. For example, the launch of the recent iPad and sold millions of units within weeks and this is a common trend seen for most Apple products. Apple products are best known for its high quality and convenience of usage. The ease of using an iPad by just using the touch of one’s fingertip makes it attractive and appealing to consumers of today. However, the production of iPad not only depletes natural resources but it is also a fossil fuel based production that contributes to the rising level of carbon emissions in today’s world. Hence, the satisfaction and comfort consumers derived from consuming more goods, made possible by modern technology come at the expense of the environment.

Though modern technology has eased accessibility, through the various mode of transport, it has worsened environmental woes. People today have a wider range of transportation to choose from and our increasing dependence on modern technology for transportation has caused us to deplete fossil fuel at a faster rate as we are unable to move away from the use of fossil fuel due to market principles and high degree of convenience. As such, the usage of the different modes of transportation emits carbon gases which are a source of global warming. Furthermore, the convenience of travelling from countries to countries made possible by modern technology has encouraged tourism. Over the year, we have seen countries developing their tourism industry at the expense of the environment. For example, many resorts are developed at tropical natural habitats which lead to a large scale of deforestation and degradation of the natural environment as we see how we contaminate the environment with rubbish and trash we dumped in these tropical resorts. Hence, tourism development would mean that the government would have to sacrifice the environment in order to achieve its aims, implying that the rise of tourism encouraged by the ease of modern transportation damages the environment.

Last but not least, modern technology is seen as a crucial tool in developing the economy which sadly to say, often comes with a price to be paid by the environment. In recent years, we have been seen the emergence of rising economies like China and India. Technological advancement accounts for their rapid development as it has allowed these countries to set up industries to produce goods to meet the world demand as seen from how China has contributed to the growth of her economy significantly. However, China is also one of the world’s leading industries in the production of carbon emission as seen from the greater increase in the coal based energy production at a rate of 2 plants being built per month in year 2009. With greater usage of modern technology to propel economic growth, the environment is at the expense of economic growth, propelled by modern technology.

Conclusion
In sum, it is not an accusation to assert that modern technology owes ecology an apology when we consider the detrimental effects it can create on our environment as we rely more of it for the benefits of a modern life. However, if we would to apply the modern technology to the advantage of the environment as proposed by the technocrats, such an accusation will not be justifiable.


This article is contributed by Mr. Simon Ng, founder and principal JC GP tutor of GP Tuition Bukit Timah, who has 20 years of teaching experience. Currently, Mr. Simon Ng provides specialized GP Tuition and Economics Tuition. Please visit our GP Notes page to read more of our JC General Paper articles.