Youth.SG, a Facebook page that provides content by the youth and for the youth of Singapore, uploaded a post of a certain Audrey Chong who shared her experience during her holiday in Japan.
Her “difficulties” only sparked an online tirade with many attributing her perspectives as someone from the “strawberry generation.”
Ms. Chong wrote:
“I thought planning a holiday with my friends would be all rainbows and sparkles, but the execution was a lot tougher than I expected.
I faced all sorts of problems, from convincing worried parents and gathering enough money to finding friends who will not bail out before the trip. Even on holiday, things like Google Maps messing up and us having to share one portable Wi-Fi router while on separate routes only led to more arguments.
But the most challenging thing for a non-early riser like me was being on-time. In a country like Japan, where a bus that comes at 5.01pm is gone by 5.02pm, being just a minute late would require us to change a whole day of plans.
So, if someone asks about going on a grad trip, I’d advise them against it. Because no staycation in Singapore will ever prepare you for a trip in a foreign country.”
– Audrey Chong, 19, Student
It is understandable that being a 19-year old about to go on a trip with friends without parental supervision will be challenging.
The next point she made was about the actual planning and finalising with friends which is another stressful endeavour.
She also mentioned about the inaccuracy of Google Maps and the Internet connectivity problems they experienced during the trip. All are valid points.
However, her next sentence sparked a lot of criticism which only gave the online community a reason to reference the “strawberry generation.”
According to Chong, the most challenging thing for her during her vacation in Japan was being on-time and how their day’s itinerary had to be changed if they were merely a minute late.
First of all, the whole world is acquainted with Japan’s strict compliance with time. The Japanese follow the clock to the second.
Locals and tourists know this very well which does not give Chong any reason to be unaware of this trait should she have done proper planning and research beforehand.
Also, the buses in Japan are on a 15-30-minute timetable loop for non-tourist spot destinations and hourly intervals for more popular destinations.
Setting one’s alarm clock and adjusting to another country’s culture is what travel is all about. However, being a minute late, technically, will not do much damage in the long run as numerous alternatives are available such as the train, which is a whole new experience in and of itself.
Chong ended her post with advice that steers everyone from travelling to a foreign country saying that no staycation in Singapore can possibly prepare one for it.
Perhaps the most common criticism about the “strawberry generation” is that the young people are soft and have it easy. The older generation complains at how the millennials “can’t take hardships” and how “everything is provided for in a silver spoon.”
Of course, the term “strawberry generation” is a hasty generalisation and a stereotype which cannot be used even on millennials as a whole because there is usually a reason why those born between 1982 to 2002 are “entitled, lazy, needy, and fragile.” Millennials are speaking out and saying that there is a misunderstanding.
According to Rachel Ng, a writer for #LetsTalkMillennials, millennials aren’t “entitled,” they just know what they want.
They aren’t “lazy,” they just look for meaning in what they do. They aren’t “needy” but are curious and eager to learn, and they aren’t “fragile” but are more attuned to constructive criticism.
In Chong’s case she would have been better off telling people her struggle in adapting to the different culture rather than discouraging people from going altogether.