Reflections from our youth
In Singapore, the typical expectation for a twelve-year-old like me is to do what I am told. This includes staying quiet in class and poring over copious volumes of assessments and worksheets. However, I have my own dreams beyond being a student, and I would like to share my wishes for the new year.
The crisis in Ukraine is one of the most severe humanitarian crises in modern history. The world has realised the scale of the calamity in the war-torn nation.
As someone who has been doing extensive research on the topic, I am horrified by the debilitating conditions and harrowing treatment of citizens in Ukraine. Under the constant threat of unmerciful Russian patrols, the citizens have been forced to scamper on foot halfway across the country from their homes destroyed by shelling. I pray for peace and harmony, that diplomatic negotiations will be swift and successful, and that a bloodless resolution will be reached as soon as possible. I pray that both sides will lay down their arms and unite in peaceful brotherhood.
A United Church
Wesley Methodist Church is a church with a long history. But it is not just a web of halls and rooms here and there. It is a tight-knit community, an intricately woven nexus. It is a gathering of thousands of believers bonded together in a shared love for Jesus Christ. As Wesley continues to grow as a church, I give thanks for 137 years of blessings from God; may we continue to prosper and be fruitful in our programmes and initiatives. I pray that God will continue to extend His everlasting mercies to us, that we will not be separated and stay united, and that we will grow and flourish, welcoming new members at a ballooning rate.
Eradication of Poverty
It is increasingly challenging for many to lead decent lives. Many will have to make do with less, which will widen the gap between the rich and poor. I pray to God for a miracle that society will have financial relief and the worldwide economy will have more stability.
It should be no surprise that although Singapore is a first-world nation, much of it is still shrouded in poverty. Among the second and third generations, many are still uneducated and holding low-paying jobs.
Having only recently introduced minimum wage mandates, income inequality is a persistent problem in Singapore, to the point that some in our midst cannot afford necessities such as food and clothes. I pray for a progressive wage increase and decent minimum wage limits for our lower-income workers. I pray too that my generation will be equipped with the necessary skills and educational qualifications to thrive.
Less Toxicity on Social Media
Many people spend over two hours on social media daily. Whether on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, many of us spend precious hours fixated on the screen, scrolling through endless reels—some of them meaningless. Influencers, news and stories on social media platforms have incredible influence over us. Social media can wield much power over our lives.
From daredevil content like crate stacking plunges and detergent overdoses to systemic depression and obscene content, social media is a powerful tool and—in many ways—a harmful tool that can be used to spread negative and dangerous content quickly.
I wish for us to be more “news literate” and savvier in discerning right from wrong, to follow people who inspire us and not bring us down. I wish for toxic social media posts to be banished from our social feeds. I pray that social media platforms will be more safely regulated.
Save Our Earth
The earth is dying. Our civilisation’s end is nigh, forecast to be extinct in mere decades. As citizens of the earth, we have earnestly defended our blatant offences against the earth in the name of “progress” and “improvement”. The fact of the matter is that we are massacring our only planet. We have to take action starting now. We can take more public transport and use more recycling bags, for example. Every little step counts. May God empower all of us, from world leaders to ordinary folks, to step up and protect our future. I pray that we will have the discipline and willpower to change to truly sustainable options for our future.
A More Forgiving Education System
Finally, my all-time wish now is for a more forgiving education system for the students here.
As a graduate of Primary Six, I have recently emerged somewhat scathed from the gruelling rigours of the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE). Allow me to share what I have experienced in the local school system.
On top of being overworked and underpaid, my teachers must deal with the stresses of obstreperous and obnoxious students and demanding parents. They also have a copious amount of work and little free time. Our curriculum and competitive examination requirements tend to put much pressure on students through a rigid and rigorous pedagogy, no matter how much our teachers try to make our lessons more interesting and relevant.
Under the subjugation by our parents and teachers with their own KPIs, we are forced to pore over colossal piles of homework and assessments daily. Hobbies and recreation are sometimes out of sight. Nearing major examinations, the amount of work we are given sometimes leads to much quiet suffering on our part. I pray for a quick and effective review of the education system, that the curriculum and entire structure of education in Singapore will be transformed into something more cohesive and forgiving, putting less strain on teachers, parents and most of all, the students.
Read also: How I Found My Identity in God