Netizens react: Are S’pore’s youth getting ‘soft’?

Netizens weigh in on whether Singapore's youth are a generation of 'softies'. (Yahoo! Photo)
Netizens weigh in on whether Singapore's youth are a generation of 'softies'. (Yahoo! Photo)

Days after the controversial photo of an NSman's maid carrying his field pack began circulating online, the debate over whether Singapore's younger generation is getting too "spoilt" and "pampered" rages on.

The photo has since triggered a host of spoofs -- including one showing the same NSman carrying his own backpack.

While most netizens agree that the young soldier's actions were "shameful" and "a laughingstock" to the country, others questioned if Singaporean youths in general were becoming increasingly "soft".

A Yahoo! Singapore News reader, who calls himself Wu, commented, "Very disappointed with the new generations these days. Boys being so pampered and behaving like weaklings... It makes me wonder... is the children to blame, or the parents?"

User Joseph is among those who feel the problem is how Singapore's youths are being brought up.

"I basically think that this is the NS man's parents fault. Why would a maid need to fetch a grown up man who is already 18 years old? With a maid around, there is a tendency for the NS man to pass the bag to the maid," he wrote.

Anna, who identified herself as a former maid in Singapore, shared her experience working for a family here.

"The boy (was) already 17 years old.. but... I'm the one who did everything. If he's going to camp I need to pack his bag, iron the uniform while he's playing (on) a computer."

User Voice in the Wilderness said, "Most children are at this stage today because parents have no time for them and get people (to) take care of their kids."

Princess concurred, adding, "With the acceptance of having maids in our society, many young children have grown up having someone make their beds, carry their bags, cook them a meal, etc... They would call their maid on their mobile phone so that she will come down from the apartment to take the school bags.

"This nurturing and over reliance on the domestic help leads to our soft NS men," she said.

Another reader, Sarah, agreed.

"Although we are very sheltered as a nation, we cannot continue to be too comfortable with our surroundings... It is a national problem," she wrote.

But amid the rampant online criticism of the country's younger generation, some netizens feel the furore around the issue might be an over-reaction.

Reader Chrisl wrote, "My dad carried my bag, I will carry my son's bag. What's the fuss if the helper willingly carries the bag of a homecoming NSman?"

He added that it could simply be a "warm, welcome home gesture" and that Singaporeans should try to "look from different angles" and "not judge a book by its cover".

Others urged caution in generalising the NSman's behaviour to Gen Y at large.

Tim Morki added, "I think the criticism has grown out of proportion.. He is paying his dues to the country so give him a break. Just because you do not have someone to carry or ferry your pack does not mean that someone else cannot do that."

CuriousCase said, "Criticise if you must, but don't stereotype his generation of men. I think we still have a fair bit of good soldiers out there."

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