More can be done to allow S'porean children to grow up at a more suitable pace: Tharman

He also spoke about the importance of resilience in our youths.

Ilyda Chua | Kerr Puay Hian | August 12, 2023, 06:54 PM

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The younger generation of Singaporeans face too much competition and pressure at too young an age, said presidential hopeful Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

He was speaking at an Aug. 12 dialogue session with members of the Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan.

Too much competition

Tharman was responding to a question about his focuses with regard to today's youth, and how their mentality differs from previous generations.

Caveating that he was not making a policy announcement — "as a presidential candidate, you cannot talk about policy" — Tharman said that he felt that the younger generation faces too much pressure, at too young an age.

In comparison, older generations faced much less pressure in school, he explained.

"We could spend a lot of time playing, making friends, daydreaming even.

We developed ourselves. We developed ourselves in a broader way. And that was an advantage."

As such, one possible societal change would be to eventually allow children to "grow up at a pace that is suitable to their age".

"Where they play, think, make friends," he explained. "While they're young. [So] they're not too focused on their exams."

Being able to take knocks

He added that at the same time, it is important to ensure that younger generations are able to "take knocks and setbacks starting from young".

"One of the problems of some of our kids who are very successful is they don't have experience of failure," he said.

"But experiencing failure and taking knocks in life is something that is very useful when you're young."

Using the analogy of sports, where one is liable to lose and even suffer injuries on occasion, he said that failure "is part of growing up".

"It helps us. It helps us, knowing how to win and lose, how to take a fall and get back up."

Top image by Kerr Puay Hian