Youth in Malaysia Reimagine their Future

Jom bayangkan the world post-COVID-19 💙

Thanks to COVID-19, the future looks different to us young people. We’re not sure how it will be tbh. But nasib baik we have the power of imagination! So walaupun sudah lain skit, this is our chance to reimagine what life will be like – to make it not just the same, but better! #NotGoingBack ya’ll!

It’s our futures that are really on the line here and there’s no better time than now to strive for meaningful change. I mean, the whole world has taken the past few months to really reflect and thanks to convos moving online, youth voices are now louder than ever! Knowing that my voice was being heard felt so powerful! And honestly, it was about time people listened to us.

So sempena this International Youth Day (and in the lead up to Hari Merdeka), I thought I’d share my platform with other young people so we could sama-sama share our thoughts and feelings pasal life post-pandemic.

1. Half of us aren’t sure things will go back to normal post-MCO.

I went to the internet to find out whether we believed things would go back to normal after MCO was lifted. Only 16% believe this is possible. But out of 490 people who responded, agak-agak half (47%) said they weren’t sure.

Bar chart showing Reimagine poll results And a lot of them also feel that a vaccine is necessary before things can really be normal again. Sebab kalau tak, new cases camne?

“I just think that we need more time to make sure COVID-19 is under control. Plus, we need the vaccine to prevent any future cases.” (Female, Selangor)

“Because if the scientists still do not find the vaccine for COVID-19, we all have to live with this new norm.” (Female, Kedah)

 2. Many young people are scared about being back in school.

Looooooads of people brought up a desire to go back to school but about 32% of them said they felt safe to kembali bersekolah. Tapi ada yang takut jugaklah (which is v understandable).

I feel a little relieved that my school is taking this issue seriously: taking temperatures, social distancing, always reminding us to wash our hands, etc. But sometimes there’s that slight fear since we really can’t tell who has the virus. I feel a bit safe, but not completely.” (Female, Sarawak)

We also think the new SOPs help… in theory. But ngl, we’re not too sure our friends gonna ikut ke tak.

“I feel safe because the government has applied the necessary SOP for students to go back to school but I can’t be sure that this SOP will be practised by students during and after school.” (Male, Kuala Lumpur)

But some of us are looking at the silver linings! Thankfully ada yang masih hopeful and can reimagine a world where we all do our part and make the best of the situation.

“There will be multiple procedures and rules that we (students) must follow…This will affect some activities that require teamwork such as group projects and study. However, there will be less distractions thus resulting in more focus towards our teachers.” (Male, Kedah)

3. This MCO has taught us youth a lot. Like A LOT.

And no, I’m not just talking about medical knowledge pasal viruses and immunity, which is obvious lah. As youth, we’ve discovered more about ourselves and what truly matters. This section is defo a dose of positivity I think we all need rn.

“I learned that I could set up a commitment to an activity that I was doing if I were passionate about it.” (Kuala Lumpur)

“That it’s not that hard to stay home. You really only need to go out to buy necessities. Also, I can learn through a screen just fine!” (Female, Selangor)

“Hidup dalam kesederhanaan juga dapat memberi kebahagiaan kepada diri dan keluarga.” (Male, Kelantan)

“We have to adapt and change quickly. I’ve seen many institutions quickly adapt virtual meetings. Religious services are held online. Now more than ever we have to embrace technology.” (Male, Kuala Lumpur)

“It’s important for the whole country to work together to achieve an objective. Malaysians have proved that it’s possible. Saya sayang Malaysia!”  (Male, Kuala Lumpur)

Srsly terharu giler! I’m so hopeful reading all the great lessons we’ve taken away from such a scary situation.

Also guys, ya’ll made me feel so lame because ya’ll are so cool. Loads of ya’ll picked up guitar, Korean, Japanese, meditation! That’s awesome! And I really hope ya’ll keep it up. Kalau ada sapa-sapa nak ajar I, boleh jugak :p

4. We wanna Reimagine a better post-pandemic future!

We’ve never been the type to keep silent and ma’am, not even a pandemic can stop us from dreaming of a better tomorrow! There’s so much we want the world to step up to. Based off ya’ll’s responses, these are the most important things we want changed for the future:

  • We Reimagine a greener world. One where nature and our environment is taken care of.
  • We Reimagine an end to needless pollution that is detrimental to our health.
  • We want peace. We want harmony, not just with nature but with each other too.
  • We Reimagine our future to be one without racism. One that is anti-racist. One that embraces all our colours and cultures.
  • And most importantly, we Reimagine a world of humanity and empathy.

And trust us, we’re gonna be everything it takes to reimagine our reality! We’re gonna need the adults to keep up with us, so kepada adult-adult yang membaca ni, please do!

If you’re wondering how we’re gonna get there, just remember these three words:
Recover. Rebound. Reimagine. It’s all about bouncing back from COVID-19 by making the world a better place for youth and honestly, based off all the responses I got from my peers, we’re all for it! And imagine how much more powerful and awesome the world can be when even more youth have the chance to make a difference?

After all, we the youth have learnt so much from the pandemic and it would be a shame for us all to go back to the way things were before. I know a better future is waiting for us – all we need to do is take action. So let’s make our reimaginations a reality. Jom?

#NotGoingBack  💙

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Tati Wira

A 20-something fierce believer of children's rights!
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