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Gen Y, a force to be reckoned with

Posted: 12 Sep 2013 04:12 PM PDT

(The Malaysian Times) - GENERATION Y is a generation that has arrived. Popularly referred to as the Generation Y, Gen Y for short, those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s are variously labeled as being self-centred and egotistical, but at the same time also open-minded and vocal.

Technologically-savvy, this generation has a high penchant for information technology (IT), computers, internet, mobiles and smart phones and myriad forms of modern gizmos including I Pads, Tabs and what have you. 

These young people use social media extensively for communicating and networking, and have embraced platforms like Facebook, Twitter and other chatting applications, reported Bernama.


Referring to the Merdeka Day that Malaysians recently celebrated, Psychology lecturer Karen Tan, who herself belongs to the same Gen Y agreed that for some youngsters, Aug 31 is merely a public holiday.

According to Tan, most of them grew up without much understanding about what the day meant.

We reflect how our family members react to this very special day. This means that with the passage of time, most people's understanding of the significance of our Independence Day celebration has been declining.

"This started way before Gen Y and I personally think it would only become worse in the future," she said.

She also commented that although the Gen Y learnt about the history of the nation, but the way they were exposed to it was not effective.

For most of the students, she added, 'Sejarah' (history) is the least preferred subject.

"It is a subject associated with boredom, uninspiring, heavy with facts (with lots of name and dates to remember) and so forth.

"Sad to say, as far as Gen Y was concerned, we went through an education system that did not promote the appreciation of Merdeka Day celebration," Tan said.    


Amaraa Reyna Arunan and Olivia Eloise James belong to this Gen Y, also called the Millennial Generation (The Millennials). Born in the mid-1990s, they are both students of a premier college located in an upscale neighbourhood of Sri Hartamas near here. 

Amaraa, who wanted to become a psychiatrist, is the eldest of three siblings, and devotes part of her free time for charity work despite her heavy college workload.

She is involved with charitable organisations such as The Befrienders, Makna Cancer Foundation and Make A Wish Foundation, Malaysia.

At the same time, Amaraa also loves ice-skating and, in fact, has won many medals in local and international tournaments.

Her college mate, Olivia, plans to pursue law upon completing her Cambridge A-Level programme.

This petite soft-spoken lass from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, places a high emphasis on self-discipline, a principle she embraced after returning a prefect score for five straight years during her secondary school.

Also the eldest of three siblings, Olivia told Bernama that if she gets a chance to study law abroad, she would still return home.

I want to contribute to my country in my capacity as a lawyer instead of staying in other people's country," said Olivia.    


Unlike what some people think, today's youth are very much involved with the current issues, with what is happening around them, and in the world.

"We are, in fact, standing up for what we believe in and creating awareness about issues such as environment, diseases and even politics.

"My involvement in various charity organisations is my way of contributing to the society and the country.

"Each one of us has to contribute because this way, we will be able to buildstrong foundations for our country. For example, by helping the poor, we are breaking the cycle of poverty," Amaraa explained.

As for Olivia, studies keep her occupied for most of the time but she still keeps in touch with the current issues by following postings and discussions on social media, particularly facebook.

She spoke to this writer about some of the issues discussed intensely on facebook, such as the 'Black Out Incident' during the 13th General Election and news reports about school children eating in the changing room.

"Certain issues can go viral on facebook. It goes to show how powerful facebook is. The young people tend to believe the information posted on it. If some people find that the information is incorrect, they can correct it by their own posts," she said.

Both Amaraa and Olivia are looking forward to the next General Election, and to exercise their right as first time voters.

"The Gen Y youth are well aware of the political situation and I am very hopeful that our votes will be able to usher in a better tomorrow for all Malaysians," Amaraa said.

As for Olivia, choosing the right candidate, the right leader would be crucial.

"I want my wakil rakyat to focus more on education," Olivia echoed her feelings.     


Psychology lecturer Karen Tan said many studies and experts maintain that Gen Y was, in fact, collaborative, talented and open-minded by its very nature.     

Personally, she said Gen Y members are fast movers focused on short-termsuccess.

"We are engaged, committed and prepared to work as hard as the previous generation did. We are technology savvy but still value face-to-face interaction with others.

"This is particularly true when it comes to performance, career discussion, spending quality time with friends and discussing or dealing with serious issues in life when personal interaction is still the preferred method," she said.

According to Tan, from the psychological point of view, the technological development has changed the way the Gen Y lives and thinks.     

"The Gen Y is the first generation to have grown up with personal computers and internet. This enables us to expose ourselves to another culture in an easy and convenient way. Hence, we are more accepting and open minded in general," she added.

Tan concurred that the Gen Y's reliance on social media for information does have a huge impact on their judgment.

"Since we cannot stop any individual to search for information through various social media, I would say it is very important to make sure that we get the right information from the right source. To do this, education seems the best avenue," she said.    


Contrary to some beliefs, The Millennials absolutely love the country as much as the previous generation.

Tan justified her statement by referring to the increase in the Gen Y's participation in the 13th General Election held in May this year, a clear indication of their concern about the nation.

"As I have mentioned, The Millennials do things differently compared to their predecessors. We would act as soon as we see the significance of it and know that we could do something to change the future.

"I think the best way to tackle Gen Y, if the politicians or the government indeed want to win their votes, is to do what they preach," she said, adding that mere rewards are no longer a good enough strategy as the percentage of educated adults was increasing as time goes by.


My 100 days in prison

Posted: 12 Sep 2013 02:37 PM PDT


This is cruel, inhuman and a degrading treatment for a country. A nation is not judged by its skyscrapers but by how its prisoners are treated.

by P Uthayakumar

After a "very difficult" trial and having lost confidence, on June 5, 2013 from the dock of the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court before Judge Ahmad Zamzani Mohd Zain, I had made my stand that in protest against the circumstances of the court proceedings and in protest against Umno's institutional racist policies victimising the Indian poor, I decided not to continue with my defence (after two days), calling of any of my (scores of) witnesses, nor will I close my case submit or mitigate or apply for a stay of execution pending an appeal to the High Court. My four (4) applications to recuse this judge was dismissed by the very same judge, almost all of documents criticising the government were rejected as evidence.

The Sedition charge dated Dec 11, 2007 overlaps with my nine ISA charges dated Dec 13, 2007 (seven directly) and therefore amounts to double jeopardy, ie punishment twice for the same offence.

The vindictiveness of the Umno government shows even after I was officially invited but had refused to meet Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in the 'eve' of the 13th general election. If I had done so and had put my personal interest above the Indian poor, I would have also been a minister, if not a deputy minister, like a certain sacked Hindraf leader who had betrayed the cause and the Indian poor.

In the first three weeks, I was put in a less harsh hospital wing as I am a diabetic, frequently in need of insulin injection. My daily routine was after the 7am roll call, I will take a half an hour brisk walk at the adjoining field. Then I will bathe, have my breakfast and sit cross legged to do my reading while enjoying the morning fresh air.

When the weather gets hotter, I go inside the ward, sit under the fan and continue with my reading and writing. At 5pm I again go for my half hour brisk walk and rest at the open field, staring at the sky and enjoying the last few minutes of fresh air for the day. The ward gets locked up at 6pm. Thereafter I have my evening bathe, I have dinner at the hospital bed and continue with my writing.

The prison authorities watched my every move and probably felt that I was not suffering my jail time enough. So they decided to throw me into the harsh jail conditions at the notorious Block K (AB,) which is controlled by a group of young Malay gangsters.

They shout and are always rude. They mistreat their fellow inmates for the smallest things, by making prisoners sit under the hot sun for hours etc. punishing and 'disciplining' prisoners for even talking among themselves. At times, prisoners are forced to sit on the ground head down and hands clutched to the knees for hours under the hot sun, like the Nazi era war criminals and watched silently by the prison wardens.

The prison warden's job is made easy by this 'outsourcing'. In return, these gangsters, masquerading as trainers (jurulatih), reign supreme in prison by extorting from prisoners some of the monthly groceries their loved ones buy for them, right under the eyes of prison wardens and officers. These gangsters also get to stay out beyond the lock-up rules of 6pm and enjoy 'perks' like watching television and getting free massage in the cells from other prisoners.

On Aug 2, 2013, a prisoner was brought right in front of me and was beaten up with a three feet long and one inch thick cane for having two blankets, the second one used as a pillow (pillows are denied in prison unlike in Kamunting Prison).

This was a message to me for complaining to my family and lawyers. Prisoners, on entering Kajang Prison, were denied tooth brush, tooth paste, soap and washing soap, pail and dipper, towel etc. The prison wardens tell them to 'pandai-pandai' , which means, beg from the other prisoners. In my cell, I am forced to sit on the floor and lean against the wall and sleep on the cold cement floor on a one inch thin foam mattress for over 23 hours a day, literally under solitary confinement.

Despite having no authority, prisoners are caned and beaten up almost daily for not wearing shirts, talking and etc. Except for the 7am morning roll call and lunch time, I am forced to remain in my 12' x 12' feet cell as I am detained among 506 other violent criminals like murderers and armed robbers.

Despite my ailment, my diet still consists of rice porridge or sweet bread for breakfast, rice for lunch and sweet bread and sweet sambal or gravy for dinner. I am also now denied the right to exercise. In effect, my diabetes got worse. My notes to my lawyers and medical notes have been confiscated.

In the first full month at Blok K (AB), and despite my repeated requests for a chair because of my prolapsed disk conditions were denied. This came even after having given to the prison hospital three Specialist Medical Reports including two (2) MRI reports the chair. My leg got swollen and both legs became numb. Only after telling the prisons authorities that I risk being paralysed did they take me to a hospital.

And after seeing four different doctors in that month and persistently complaining of severe pain was I finally given a chair. But on the the fourth visit, despite showing prison officers my swollen leg, the prison doctor had refused to send me to the Kajang General Hospital. He told me that he has no powers to do so and that only the Prison Director is empowered to do so even when it is a medical problem.

When I complained to my wife, they had the audacity to warn me against it as my weekly telephone calls are recorded and it would thereafter be withdrawn, monthly family visits denied and that I would be put in the dark room in full solitary confinement.

The prison authorities also denied my follow-up treatment at Hospital University Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM) on Aug 1, 2013 to see my consultant neurosurgeon despite my lawyers having written to them.

Death in custody

Once, the clogged up drain in the bathroom caused me to accidentally slip and fall, causing me to fracture my right index finger. When I complained to the duty ASP that what would have happened if I had hit my head and something had happened to me, his reply was merely there would be "no more problems after that" (as I would have died). When I had related this reply to three Senior Prison Superintendents, they too laughed as if it was a common "prison joke".

It has been two months now. I still cannot brush my teeth using my right index finger as it is still painful. Request for an X-Ray was denied. My present cell is infested with mosquitoes. Despite numerous complaints, no fogging was done. Up to 30 Hindraf supporters used to visit my cell in day but now they are stopped form even talking to me. Some prisoners are even punished for speaking to me. I am not even allowed to exercise in a safe place.

Apart from me, there are others who are also receiving cruel treatment from the prisons authority. Mohana Sundram (32) was given seven strokes of the cane for CBT and within over one week became paralysed waist downwards. Amin Rashid (55) became paralysed in prison because of a viral attack. Selvagunalan became blind in prison because of severe diabetes and Baharuddin having served 30 years full life sentence was forced to serve another two (2) years (but sentenced in 1992) for escaping from prison.


Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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