Young voters itching to be heard
Published on: Sunday, November 20, 2022
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LAST week, before wrapping up class, I asked my students what they were most looking forward to with the next government, regardless of who wins the 15th General Election. 

Overwhelmingly and interestingly, they mentioned their mobility and job security. 

They said if these two things were fixed, they would not mind being employed outside of their field of study.

I asked them this because they are part of a wave of first-time voters.

Along the hallways of the School of Mass Communication, their conversations about polling day could be heard. 

The topics range from planning their outfits to the voting station, setting up post-voting luncheon with friends, to who would win in their constituencies.

These youths are prepared and well-informed, itching to make their voices heard. 

They are taking this seriously and urging their Gen Z peers to honour their duty to the country and its democracy. I was told that the moment the election date was announced, texts were sent out almost immediately asking (demanding, more like it) for others to vote. 

Seeing this unfold before my very eyes, I could not stop but wonder, too: What do I want?

As someone inching into his 40s, I wonder if my students are privileged enough to experience the world as I had. 

The 1980s and 1990s was when Brand Malaysia ruled, and as a Xennial, I thought we had it all. This would be my third time at the voting booth. 

Each with its moments for sure. As I racked my brain to answer this question, I realised that I kept circling back to a few specific issues.

First, we need to really start looking into managing our deteriorating environment. I want to see the next person in charge to be of sound knowledge and have the ability to handle climate issues.

My students will attest that I get passionate every time we talk about the environment. I want my students, my nieces and nephews as well as others to be able to see the thickness of green from above, the towering oxygen canopy from ground zero and to pass these green senses to the next generation hopefully.

Second, education, and the way it needs to be managed. According to news reports, we learned that school teachers are burdened with unnecessary administrative work and other pointless ad hoc events.

The more we tire our teachers, the less focus they will have for their main work, to teach.

To teach with passion and gusto so that children become more attuned with the world around them and to actually care about their future. 

In short, less books, more hands on, more space for exploration and less red tape. 

Lastly, what we need is space to feel whole and human again. We need a safe space where we can walk, run, talk and enjoy the weather, rain or shine.

The more we nurture these God-given activities, the less likely we will spend on our devices and being cooped up in our work cubicles, offices and rooms after hours. 

I believe that the more attuned we are with the world around us, the better Malaysians would be to one another. May our votes be the change that we deserve. 


- The views expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Express.

- If you have something to share, write to us at: [email protected]


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