On Entitlement, Social Awareness & Life Lessons

As a person of Chinese descent and Singaporean upbringing in the 90s, I remember being drilled the idea that nobody owes anybody a living. If you want something, work hard for it. But you may not get it. And don't ask for things that are beyond what you contributed or deserve to have. 

Maybe I have been living in my own bubble for way too long. But it seems like a long time since I have done a critique on society. And now that I take a closer look, I am quite disgusted by a lot of public behavior. (Disclaimer, this does not apply to everyone) Oftentimes, I see people demanding and asking for things in an extremely self-centered manner, without caring about what the receiving party feels or have to endure to get them the things they ask for. And the best part? The asker is brutally unaware of the consequences of the ask.


This reminds me of an incident that stuck with me for a long time when I was 15. I was brought on a school trip with my class to Malacca, and as the first time overseas with my friends, we were thrilled. The world is our oyster - and we were so ready to explore it. Going from place to place, we were chatting at the top of our voices, laughing, pointing out interesting things that we saw, made jokes along the way. As a class of 40 teens, we were filling up entire pavements as we wandered around in amazement the sights and sounds of the charming Malaysian town. Thereafter, we went onto the tour bus, still laughing and chatting, before our form teacher sat us down, with an extremely strict (although the adult me will interpret it as "pissed off") face.

For the whole bus ride to our next location, he schooled us on an important lesson of being Socially Aware, and how our actions have an impact on others, and how our unruly behavior will inconvenient and make other people uncomfortable. Thinking back, we were occupying the entire street without any consciousness that other people need to share the pavement too. The whole bus was dead silent as we were lectured for our pure senseless lack of morals. 

And I must say, at that point in time, I felt extremely ashamed and humbled by my behavior. I was truly unaware until I was directly reminded. For the rest of the trip, we were consciously practising how to be socially aware and considerate to others, not just to people we know or have to respect, but also strangers. That's to make the world a better place. That was one of my favorite lesson (among many others) that I had, a lesson that I realized that not many will have encountered in their growing years. 

It was also by a stroke of chance that we had this learning opportunity. We could have easily not gone on a school trip - which by many standards was a privilege that time. Our teacher could have easily kept the trip "light-hearted" and closed two eyes. I mean, as an adult now, I do realize that's totally an option. Why would someone wants to go against the grain to make his/her own life difficult by raising uncomfortable topics? Perhaps he has had enough of our chitter chattering voices, or maybe it was really for our own future good, to raise functioning adults that aren't annoying to others.

(With this thinking, there's a reason why I'm not a teacher by profession)

I am wondering now why people have become more entitled. Even myself, even though I consciously try not to be, but I do catch myself from time to time of doing or saying things that I do not approve myself. For one, I think people are a lot more individualistic as opposed to feeling that they are part of a family / community. It's one (wo)man for him/herself, if you don't protect your own rights, ain't nobody gonna do that for you. And truly, very rarely do people volunteer good things for others if it does not benefit them. 

Next - people are now primed to think that they are special, unique, and deserving of things way beyond what they have contributed to deserve that. Some learnt that in their adulthood, and media information consistently poisons our minds in that way, commenters, family, friends reinforce this poison.  Life is a zero sum game - if you're enjoying something, have you actually done enough to have that? By which I don't mean 'any form of contribution', but the intensity and quality of contribution.

Worse, some children are raised in that way now, thinking that they are the most special and the champion when they are truly extremely ordinary. What a cruel reality check they will get when they reach adulthood, when they realize that they actually have to toil like everybody else, what discontentment will that breed? 

This writing is uncomfortable, and just a rant, not meant to go anywhere. The world is getting worse by many standards, even though my life's getting more comfortable. 


a travel and food blogger with a constant longing to be somewhere to makes her feel alive ☆ life's an adventure

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