Commentary on "The Staid Young"

Link to article:

  The writer’s arguments are valid, and are largely applicable to Singapore’s society. Many countries have introduced, if they have not already in the past, tougher measures to police youth’s disruptive behaviour in order to curb such violent acts. At the same time, the standard of education for many youths have increased, inculcating important values and providing youths with information, while acting as a deterrent against dropping out from school. In addition, parents have increasingly become nurturing parties that help to bring up their children with better moral values and learning attitudes. All these phenomenon have been relevant and apparent in Singapore as well, making the passage very applicable to our society.

The author finds that the tougher policing in many societies, including Britain’s, has curbed many illegal acts that teenagers of the past had used to indulge in, such as the consumption of alcohol. Hefty fines and “ferocious policing” have helped to catch and punish such teenagers, along with the stores that abet their illegal acts. According to the author, such policies double up as deterrent measures as well, to prevent such crimes in the future. This argument is valid, because an increased policing is a measure that increases state resources dedicated to dealing with crime and illegal youthful indulgences. Naturally, this would lead to a reduction in the crime rate, because there is more manpower and effort directed towards solving the problem, giving law enforcements the necessary resources to identify such activities. In doing so, we direct citizens, especially youths in this case, away from immoral acts and encourage them to pick up better habits instead. This argument is relevant to Singapore as well, though the context may be different. Singapore has long had a reputation for tough crime-fighting policies, and so there has never been much destructive behaviour in the country. Its recent prosecution of “Sticker Lady” Samantha Ang for pasting stickers on traffic lights and lamp-posts only goes to show the continuation behind Singapore’s tough stance on crime. Effectively, Singapore enjoys low crime rate, even for juveniles, showing that there might possibly be a link between having tough policies and better behaviour in youths. This resounds with the claim of the author.

The author also explains that the increased standard of education, and subsequently its cost, has made youths more staid and strait-laced. On one hand, the education in and of itself has taught youths morals and information they require to excel in school and in life. On the other hand, the “new premium on education”, such as increasingly expensive university tuition fees, has given youths a stronger reason not to neglect their studies. This is a valid argument that is also very applicable to Singapore. For many, a good education represents an opportunity to succeed later in life. With the necessary skills and knowledge, students will be better equipped to deal with challenges, and have the necessary qualifications. This hope acts as a source of motivation for youths to study hard, and keep on track. This argument is especially relevant in Singapore, which mostly follows a meritocratic system — the standard of education one receives usually determines how successful one is later on in life. Hence, a huge majority of students are often serious about their work, and put in much effort into preparing for their exams, such as the GCSE O Level and A level examinations. Clearly, the rise in standard of education has encouraged more youths to be more hardworking and determined to succeed in school.

Another reason brought up by the author is that parents now positively influence their children. First, the fact that many young people still live with their parents means that they are more restrained. Second, youths are now brought up with more attention, care and strictness, as parents become increasingly determined to help their children succeed, by helping their children in any way they can, as compared to the arguably more laid-back style of parenting seen in the past. This leads to youths being more hardworking and strait-laced, having been encouraged to study hard by their parents, and inculcated with stronger moral values. This is a valid argument — parents are often a strong source of influence for their children, which means that more time spent with their children can be expected to lead to children that have better learning attitudes and a stronger moral compass. In Singapore, though many parents may be working in the day and do not take care of their children during that time, they often send their children to childcare centres during that time, and catch up with their children in the evenings to help them with schoolwork. Many Singaporean parents have also been credited with being “kiasu”, or being afraid that their child may lose out to others in school, or in life ten years down the road — this turns out with them being very strict with their child’s behaviour at home. All of this reflects the degree of care and concern they have for their children’s future education and occupation. This comes in stark contrast with parents of the past, who would often leave their children to their own devices, expecting them to pick up the necessary skills on their own. In essence, the increased parental influence in the lives of their children motivates the latter to work harder and strive to do better in the things they do, picking up better moral values along the way.

In conclusion, it is largely true today, especially in Singapore, that young people nowadays are hardworking, serious about their work, and have good moral values. The three main reasons for this, as the author states — namely tough laws and policies, increased standards of education and heightened parental influence — are indeed very valid explanations for this phenomenon, and they are very applicable to the Singaporean context. Ultimately, I agree with the author on his point of view on young people today. 

Can small countries have significant voice in world affairs?

It would be presumptuous, though perhaps intuitive, to claim that the size of a country determines its influence on the rest of the world in today’s hyperconnected, globalised world. In the past, geography and a country’s demographics were essential to it’s success, because labour intensive work like construction and agriculture depends on the quantity of resources a country possesses. However, today, taking into account modern trends such as globalisation, geographically small countries do indeed have the potential to become influential, and have a significant voice in world affairs. Not only can globalisation help to introduce small countries’ culture ot the rest of thew world,an increased global interdependence between countries has encouraged small countries to develop a comparative advantage to gain a significant voice on international platforms. In addition, small countries can form coalitions to get their voices heard.

Critics would argue that the size of a country determines its ability to get its voice heard, because big countries have larger labour forces that give it powerful militaries and stronger economies. By extension, this gives it bigger spheres of influence over its neighbours, so its voice becomes more significant. On the other hand, however, smaller countries have found a way out of this problem — by finding a niche, and developing it into a comparative advantage, they can become influential countries with significant voices as well. In a globalised world where trade is the way in which countries get cheaper and better quality goods, many, especially small ones, specialise in a particular field so as to create a niche in it. This gives them the ability to trade on the larger international market, even becoming a market leader for the product sometimes. For example, the Ivory Coast is the world’s largest exporter of cocoa beans, controlling about 40% of the world’s supply, making it the leader of the industry. This is in spite of its small geographical size and political insignificance in the world. When so many countries around the world, especially developed ones, depend on it for cocoa beans, they have a vested interest in listening to the Ivory Coast on issues regarding their beans, and helping them in every way possible to increase crop yields to satisfy their demands. Evidently, small countries that are able to capitalise on their strengths to become market leaders do have significant voices, at least within the field they specialise in. 

Some others also disagree with the significance of small countries’ voices, for the reason that they lack the military might to reinforce their decisions. According to these groups, having a powerful military is essential to backing up their plans and proposals, or others with do possess military capabilities will override these smaller nations. This is a questionable claim which does not stand true given modern contexts. First, small nations can have strong militaries — in an age empowered by technology, the strength of one’s military is determined not by quantity but by quality. Singapore is a good example — possessing many modern military technologies, such as Leopard Tanks and many fighter pilots, Singapore is more than capable of fighting off potential aggressors from the region. Further, the 21st Century has been marked more by its tendency towards diplomatic solutions, rather than fighting all out wars between nations. Countries like Costa Rica have even begun disbanding their armies. Hence, many small nations have decided to pool their resources together in order to force coalitions and alliances — doing this allows them to ensure their interests are heard, and acted upon. For instance, the formation of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has helped smaller countries some degree of mediation to deal with territorial disputes with larger nations like China. Such regional or sometimes international organisations help earn geographically small nations a significant say in international issues — UN’s rule of each country having one equal vote when deciding on resolutions aids small nations to become politically important and subsequently having a bigger say on international affairs. Essentially, forming blocs and coalitions can help smaller countries represent a general, shared interest that cannot be ignored by other larger nations when it comes to world issues.

In addition, some would also argue that small nations cannot have significant voices because they lack soft power that developed nations possess. They argue that due to the sheer size of larger nations’ cultures, the rate of these cultures spreading is much greater than that of small nations. Without presenting their unique cultures to the rest of the world, they say that smaller nations will never possess significant voices. Despite this claim, the rise of social media and the effect of globalisation has aided the cross-border spread of cultures, even that of smaller nations. With the Internet, unique cultures can showcase themselves to the rest of the world through video channels like Youtube, through songs that they compose and through articles shared with others all around the world. This helps them spread their culture quickly, and individuals who are piqued by such unique cultures help to spread them further through word of mouth within their own communities. For instance, the Korean culture has of recent managed to obtain a worldwide audience that listens to and appreciates their music, films and art. This is in spite of their small size, relative to superpowers like the United States, China or Russia. Clearly, the process of globalisation has aided cultures’ spread around the world, allowing them to be increasingly on par in terms of demand with larger, supposedly more powerful nations. 

Ultimately, in the modern world full of new trends like globalisations and the shift towards diplomacy away from war and conflict, it has become increasingly possible for small nations to have a significant voice. They now have a variety of options to do so — be it on the political, economic or cultural field, small nations can now find larger audiences to which they can appeal to, to ensure that their interests are heard by larger nations, instead of being bullied as they were in times past. Therefore, small nations can indeed have a significant voice in world affairs. 

Thoughts on data presented in "Asian Universities" Economist April 23rd 2013

This bar graph aims to show that Asia’s universities are “gaining ground on their Western counterparts”, by plotting out the number of universities in each Asian country that are in the Top 100 in Asia. The representation here is clear, with Japan having 22 universities in the top 100, while Malaysia only takes up one slot in the list. However, the graph does not adequately prove what the article tries to say. First, there is no comparison with the universities in the Western world. Even though Japan may have 22 universities out of the top 100 in Asia, it does not necessarily mean that Japan fares well on the international level. Without the comparison to the universities in Western countries, readers cannot decide whether the statements in the article are true or not. Second, there is no trend line of the changes in numbers. If the article tries to prove that Asia’s universities are “gaining ground”, then the graph needs to show a continuously increasing number of Asian universities in the top international lists.

However, some information presented on the bar graph can be interesting to address. First, the visual can show a comparison between the population size or land area and the number of top universities a country has, and study if there is a correlation between having a larger population and having a greater number of top universities. If there is no correlation there, then what should countries try to do in order to get better educational institutes? Second, there can also be an exploration of the correlation between the number of top universities in the country and the enrolment rates in these universities. Although the graph does present the gross enrolment rate in each of these countries, is there any link between this and the number of top universities that a country has? Or is it that the population figure affects enrolment rates? These are the questions that can be asked by readers, and the graph should answer them.

In general, given that education is such a complex system, and there can be multiple factors that affect its proficiency, more facts need to be given for the reader to understand what allows Japan to have such a great number of top universities, and how proficient the Asian universities are in comparison to their Western counterparts. This means that the simplistic bar graph will not be sufficient in proving the point of the article, and the information can be represented in other ways to allow readers to understand the issue better.

Are socio-economic models useful in predicting societal actions?

The world that we live in is complex, hence, models are developed to help us comprehend and predict human behavior. These models are important, not only for individuals to make decisions, for businesses to make changes to their business methods, and even for policy makers to develop their social policies.

     Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Framework for Human Development is a model which predicts how the five environmental systems with which an individual interacts will influence the character and behavior of a child. Parents can then decide how they should teach their child and impart the correct values in them. The education system can also be tailored to be more effective according to this model. In addition, from the economic theories and models that we derive, we learn that businesses operate in order to maximize their profits, and individual customers make buying decisions to optimize their utilities, like happiness and satisfaction. Hence, the price of a product is determined by demand and supply. At the same time, demand for the product reduces if prices go up. For example, if I wanted to buy a new iPhone, but when I find out that its price is increased significantly, I may change my mind and purchase a Samsung SIII instead. Understanding of such a model allows manufacturers to better predict consumer behavior, and thus business decisions to be made.

However, while models may be useful in predicting the human behavior, they are not always accurate. Some researchers conduct social experiments to verify or challenge the predictions made in models. The Milgram experiment exposed that people are willing to obey a figure of authority, even if the latter’s instructions conflicted with their personal conscience. The Asch Experiment was another famous social experiment designed to test how peer pressure to conform would influence a person’s judgment and ultimately his decisions. Back to the example of hand phones, if most of my friends have iPhones and it is perceived in society that iPhones are better, I may choose to buy the iPhone even if it costs much more than the Samsung. In this case, the economic model cannot accurately predict my final decision. It is reported that although the prices of luxury goods such as Louis Vutton handbags increased, its sales increased unexpectedly. This went against the demand and supply model which would have predicted sales to have decreased instead.  

Just because models cannot be applied to every single case does not change the fact that they are relevant to our daily lives. They allow government policy makers and business decision makers to understand and predict behaviors of a large population, since these models are largely accurate at predicting behaviors at a macro level. Models are useful because it is the only practical way of predicting the way a large population acts. On the other hand, as some social experiments show that predictions using models may not be accurate at all times, it is essential to understand the limitations of models. We can in fact modify these models to make them more encompassing of exceptions, and make them more accurate in predicting people’s actions.

Effects of Haze in the region

While it is true that haze has not killed many directly, an atmosphere obscured by the suspension of these fine particles can have many other direct and indirect socio-economic consequences on society.
Most obviously, a society will face problems with physical mobility. Due to the haze, visibility drops, and the air quality drops, giving it a singing smell. This discourages people from leaving their homes. This is especially so if the haze comes swiftly and unexpectedly like the one Singapore experienced during the 2013 June holidays. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Environment related issues may seem like an inherent harm, but these issues can bring about greater ills in society as well. 
Most tangibly, health problems arise. Especially when those with breathing problems like asthma and chronic bronchitis leave their homes without the proper precaution like the N95 masks, the perils of the haze are exacerbated. In worse cases like the haze in the South-East Asian region of 1997, a plane collided into a mountainside of Medan, killing all 256 passengers – this was attributed to poor visibility that is coupled with the haze.

This then leads to hospital bed crunches. In the case of Singapore, in the short span of a week or so, the National University Hospital (NUH) has seen a 10% increase in patients, and this caused a lack of beds considering the dengue spike prior to the haze episode. Certainly, experiencing these illnesses affects society’s quality of living in general.

Down the line, government expenditure on healthcare rises consequentially for the public is unsatisfied with the lack of beds due to the spike in health-related cases. Recognising that budget is limited and that we cannot “have the cake and eat it”, this health expenditure comes at an opportunity cost – it would mean less spending on other areas like housing or transport. These are all the indirect consequences of the haze that one cannot physically experience.

Besides health, social interaction is compromised as well – most directly people cannot attend go outdoors to meet friends or engage in personal activities like exercise. This may seem very much minor, but these small things add up to alter the way of life of the community for the worse. It is also worth noting that the extension of the haze is proportional to the limits placed on the choices of the people.

That’s not all there is to the haze – on top of health-related issues, there are economic consequences as well. Most obviously, tourism drops. Hotel rooms, travel groups and flights are cancelled, bringing tangible economic losses that, once again, are proportional to the duration of the haze. However, more insidiously is the impact on economic work in and of itself. People are less willing to go outdoors to work, more likely to call in sick, and more likely to give excuses, legitimate or not. This is pernicious not because of the pure number of hours lost, but that coupled with the fact that it is a sudden occurrence – the 30 hours lost, for instance, is not spread evenly over the entire year, but rather is concentrated in that one week. This deals great blows to businesses not only in terms of unexpected drops in revenue, but also to their reputation – people see them as less reliable. As a corollary of this, Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) lose out because they depend very much on a solid, constant customer support, rather than pure quality-based attraction of customers.

Certainly, the haze problem, usually existence in SEA, has and will continue to cause the above social and economic problems, direct and indirectly, in the short term and long term.

Popular leaders are influential leaders. Do you agree?

         It was apt when John Maxwell, American author, mused that “People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.” Often, people become more receptive towards the opinions and ideas of leaders if they were likeable individuals, who were kind, caring and encouraging. A group of such individuals is what forms the support-base of popular leaders — and these leaders can then gather supporters for their causes, becoming influential, for better or for worse. At the same time, though, we must also recognise that there are two types of popularity — sociometric popularity, which was what was earlier described, and perceived popularity. Perceived popularity refers to those who are well known for being popular, and are subsequently highly visible, but rarely liked by others. Both these kinds of popular leaders are people who become influential leaders, because they harness the advantages of popularity, funnelling their wide support-bases towards fulfilling their ideals and goals. The sheer number of supporters they garner bestow great legitimacy upon which they can make a difference, and they are also able to push through with necessary, though sometimes unpopular, decisions, by virtue of the support they possess. In addition, some can make use of their soft power over others to initiate change and influence others. 

Critics of the thesis would be doubtful of the influence that leaders without a clear vision can bring about. They postulate that the determining characteristic that makes leaders influential is the quality of their ideas and thoughts, not their popularity, because that is what determines if one’s policies and suggestions will be pushed through. In spite of this claim, it is undeniable that the popularity and following of these leaders would prove essential in helping them influence others around them. Sociometrically popular leaders can capitalise on the connections and relationships they share with their followers to convince and spread their vision and ideas. In this way, the followers popular leaders have confer upon these leaders a sense of legitimacy that extends the reach and impact of their policies. Hence, popular leaders are easily able to galvanise their followers towards a common goal, so as to achieve their objectives. The very structure of democratic systems lean in favour of these popular leaders — the characteristic of majoritarian rule serves to show that popularity is the premise to being placed in positions of authority, and subsequently implement their policies and suggestions. In contrast, even leaders with the best of ideas but lack a following is unable to become influential, because of the lack of recognition and support for these ideas. Therefore, those with large followings that like their leaders for their personalities and traits — sociometrically popular leaders, in short — hold the legitimacy to push forth their ideas and become influential. 

At the same time, even leaders who are perceived to be popular are influential ones. Though some may not be liked for their individual attitudes and traits, they can still garner popularity from those who share their vision, and thereby institute change, so as to influence others. Nelson Mandela is one such leader. Despite the aggressiveness and thirst for power he exhibited in order to wrest power over his political party, many look up to him for his bold vision and achievements. Such followers granted him popularity, with which he was able to influence South Africa by winning the elections and then implementing economic, social and political reform. Ultimately, it does not matter what one does to obtain it, but the popularity a leader has is instrumental to his becoming an influential one. 

Skeptics would adamantly insist that popular leaders pander too much to the desires and wants of their following, which hinders their ability to make a meaningful impact. However, there is no reason to treat such populism as an immediate harm or problem. Sometimes, the only way in which leaders are able to institute change and implement policies is by pandering to some of their followers, in order to tap on them as either financial or human resources. Without these resources being accorded to them, there would be no way in which unpopular leaders can ever crystallise their ideas and goals. For example, the Jewish lobby in the United States holds great sway in politics, especially during times of elections and campaigning. This is because the lobby is able to flex its financial muscle by agreeing to fund the political party that it agrees with most hugely for their campaign. As a result, it is these leaders who are able to gain advantage by pandering to such groups are those who actually wield the power to influence societies and make an impact. 

As a corollary, sociometrically popular leaders are able to sway over the support for certain causes by virtue of the fact that they are people who many look up to and listen to. As a result, the soft power that they possess often give them the opportunity to win the hearts and minds of the people, so as to bring important issues to attention. Noting that leaders are not limited to merely the political sphere, sporting stars and media celebrities are hugely popular leaders of their industry, and hold the international limelight. By making use of their popularity in such situations, they can become powerful advocates for, and campaign for various causes. For instance, famous beauty pageant Miss World is linked to many humanitarian causes, such as starvation in Africa, and poverty in less economically developed countries, and their annual winners, whom are thrust into the limelight, go on trips around the world to promote and help out with these humanitarian causes. Angelina Jolie, a famous Hollywood actress, has also used her fame to raise awareness of displaced persons as a United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees. These are all examples of such industry leaders who are largely popular, who can make use of the attention they receive to forward important social causes to benefit others and make an impact. 

In essence, it is true that popular leaders are influential ones as well. Not only are they able to use their extensive followings as pillars of support to forward their ideals and visions, they are also able to gain reputation and support simply for being well known for being popular. Through these means, they are able to initiate change through legitimised action and extensive resources granted to them by their followers, and influence their followers to spread their ideas and to support their decisions. This makes them influential leaders. 

Are teens doing enough for the environment?

Faced with the issues of preserving Earth’s natural scenery, combating global environment phenomena like global warming, reducing Man’s carbon footprint on the earth and other problems that plague the earth’s physical environment, the global community is worried. Environmental problems are the result of constant, accumulated dependency on the earth’s resources since centuries past— and these problems will only worsen in the future if nothing is done to resolve these problems. It is imperative, then, that future generations begin preventive, if not restorative action in order to mitigate or resolve the harms Man has brought to our planet, especially since they are emotionally invested in the condition of Earth in the decades to come. Fortunately, these teenagers are stepping up to their responsibilities, and within their capabilities, grapple with these environmental problems — signifying that they are indeed doing enough.

Before gauging the contributions of teenagers to the environment, it is important that we understand the constraints they live within and the extent of their capabilities, because their contributions must be compared relative to those boundaries. First, we need to recognise that they have financial constraints. Lacking a source of income, it would be unreasonable to expect huge donations that traditionally come from concerned philanthropists, or to expect financial investment for environmental solutions. Second, we need to acknowledge their other commitments. Being growing individuals with little experience and knowledge, teenagers often have other commitments such as school that take up their time. Noting this, it would also be unreasonable to expect them to take on the role of full-time environmental activists like those in Greenpeace, for instance. Third, teenagers are commonly thought of as irrational beings with inability to make important decisions, so adults usually bar them from obtaining partaking in discussions and making significant choices. As such, many lack the power to implement change, unless they obtain support from adults. However, what we should examine is the effort put in to think up new, innovative ideas to solve environmental issues, or the time committed outside school hours to participate in environmental efforts such as sorting of recyclable rubbish or beach cleanups as a part of serving the community. Hopefully, then, they will implement and push out their new innovations as they grow up. 

Some would argue that teenagers are completely ignorant of the problem of global warming, and this means that they do not contribute to saving the environment because they do not acknowledge the problems facing the environment and do not understand the solutions to solve it. However, in a world of increased connectivity through pervasive media platforms like the Internet and social media platforms, the number of teenagers understanding the severity of the problem has increased. Naturally, a majority of these teenage individuals are concerned about the problem — a survey done by Habbo and Greenpeace in 2007 of 50,000 teenagers showed that they were more concerned about greenhouse gases than drugs, violence and war, with 74% believing that global warming is a serious concern. Taking note of the fact that the implications of the energy crisis and the onset of melting ice caps in the Arctic all happen and will affect the lives of these teenagers, it is reasonable that these teenagers will be invested in solving these problems. At this, it is then important to understand how these concerns translate into concrete action to care for the environment and the future of the Earth. Increasingly, schools have been providing chances for teenagers to show their dedication to the environment. Students have been coming up with unique solutions, like using soy bean waste to produce bioethanol, or using sea shells to adsorb heavy metal ions from water, all in the name of saving the environment and making the world a better place to live in. These reflect the sheer dedication of these students to think up novel methods of solving issues like the energy crisis and pollution of Earth’s resources, showing that teenagers are indeed acknowledging the problems with the environment, and intend to solve them. 
Other skeptics of teenage environmental activism also claim that teenagers today are often distracted by other things like technology and their gadget, which leaves little thought for contemplating how to protect the environment. On the contrary, teenagers are much more likely to initiate their own environmental projects and awareness campaigns, bypassing the political, bureaucratic world of adults. Furthermore, the familiarity teenagers today have with technology and their devices make their campaigns all the more effective and their messages all the more impactful. Though many teenagers are often not handed the chance to make important decisions, many teenagers do not merely give up but go on to push for change in other ways. For instance, a group of these teenagers in San Francisco went to rally for change in their own creative ways, such as the donning of impactful costumes made of plastic bags, and finally testifying in their courts for their cause. This led to the banning of the provision of plastic bags in their county, which is a significant change for the community. This also disproves the assumption that one must hold significant power before change can be brought about. In addition, the technologically-savvy younger generation is able to forward their cause more strongly aided by the Internet, their handphones and the like. These social media platforms are increasingly used in the global community, and they are special in that the messages they portray are not only delivered efficiently but also effectively, aided by the use of photos and videos that come along with campaign messages. Well-accustomed teenagers can thus use these technological platforms to show their concern, share their thoughts and promote their own actions. This bonds groups of adults and teenagers alike that are interested in doing more for the environment, and can serve as a source of  inspiration for change such that more people can contribute, and more effectively. Clearly, teenagers are indeed doing enough by pushing for change in their own unique ways, manoeuvring within the tight boundaries they experience. 

Opponents of the thesis express regret over the fact that commitments bog down teenagers, and make the statement that teenagers could have done so much more if academic work was not as intensive as it currently is. The problem with such statements is that it fails to consider that the growing trend that education seems to be taking a turn towards. Education is no longer just the feeding of knowledge, but also has adapted to include the requirement for students to take on projects. This means that schools increasingly take into account the need for students to learn new skills and apply them in the real world. There is no better place to do this than in schools, where teachers are students’ sources of guidance and a pathway to greater resources and connections. Teenagers that are indeed concerned about the environment would have access to ideas and previous works, of which schools have a dearth of. Therefore, under the mentorship and help of adults, teenagers can then find ways to realise and materialise their ideas to save the environment. The learning of the effect of bonding between the cell walls of microorganisms to certain substances in biology, for example, facilitates the inspiration of students to find out if harmful substances can be selectively removed from the environment. Overall, the intense focus of the entire global community on the environment has allowed students to build on the foundations set up by their forefathers, and thereby concretise their ideas and inspirations. 

In essence, the children of today are raised to feel a natural inclination towards saving the environment, and have been repeatedly told by the global community and the media that they are tasked with the job of preventing environmental chaos and further harm. This pushes teenagers to take on more projects with like-minded individuals, which can be found more easily in this globalised world with the help of social media. The expertise, knowledge and interest of scientists and researchers can then add on to the ideas and projects of these invested youths, so as to actually find a way to solve environmental problems. As Thomas Jefferson, previous American president, said, “Every generation needs a new revolution”. The environmental revolution will be a new one, headed by teenagers, the adults of tomorrow, and backed by their parents and the research of generations past. 

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Hi guys, I'm a student in Singapore, and this are some thoughts and essays I have written over the years.