Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Defending my own

A few weeks earlier, my parents (both in their 50s) were lamenting over how disappointed they are with the lot of today's graduates whom they encounter in the course of their daily work. According to the senior couple, although these fresh grads had been students with a string of As in SPM and above-average grades in university, the way they represent themselves, how they articulate their thoughts / opinions and their interaction skills leave much to be desired. They don't know how to ask questions. They can't follow simple directions. They don't have the right work etiquette. They this and that. The standard of their English is another pet peeve - when my parents brought work stuff home (which they usually do), they'd show me examples of papers / letters / proposals prepared by their junior staff. And I can't blame the elders for thinking so, seeing that some of the preposterous mistakes are not ones you'd think a university graduate should make. They went "What did you all learn at school anyway? They just don't produce quality people these days despite the quantity of graduates out of universities each year. All today's young people think of is money, and to enjoy time with friends, is it? If these are what the good students at uni had become, what are those who didn't excel like?"

Being in the same league as the lot, (okay, maybe I'm not that fresh graduation-wise, but still I relate to them age-wise) I felt compelled to defend my generation and see those comments as a direct shot. I can't let them think we're all a bunch of immature, inadequate youngsters who aren't able to say what's on our minds and can't spell correctly to save our lives. I reminded them that those are only the ones that they encounter, a minute percentage, and that it shouldn't be used as the general standard of all of us. There are competent youngsters out there, believe me there are! Perhaps being with a lifetime of experience, the older generation's set of standards are just a bit too high for us youngsters.

Then I came across this little snippet (in the last paragraph) in the feature The Google book on the front page of Life & Times section of yesterday's New Straits Times:

"Because anecdotally, the biggest complaint about many of today's fresh graduates is that they can't tell a fact from their little finger".

Oh my, is that the general perception then? Oh man. Really, I'd like to say to the elders that we youngters are not that bad. Give us the chance to learn, to make mistakes, to learn from those mistakes. We can't be perfect (who can?), but we can improve ourselves with time and experience. Don't lose your hope on us. Remember, you were youngsters once yourselves.

And to my generation, let's prove them wrong. Let's buck up and show them what we're made of. After all, I think we owe that much to the generation that had given us what we have today. We owe it to ourselves, too.

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