We, The Betrayed Generation

Despair (source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/notsoniceduck/2301344030/)

Despair (source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/notsoniceduck/2301344030/)

MY NAME IS TAN SHANG NENG, I AM 23 YEARS OLD. I hail from Klang, Selangor. And I am from the ‘betrayed generation’.

My elders have often used my name, together with my peers of my generation (what may well be the youth today), to justify a lot of their actions. They say they are doing this for the betterment of our future, they are doing that to ensure that the youth will have something worthwhile to inherit.

They say that they have the youth’s, and the youth’s children-to-be’s, best interest at heart.

And that is when they degrade our education system, making a foolery out of it.

That is when they conduct government awards of businesses behind closed doors.

That is when Chief Ministers become billionaires.

That is when they destroy our rainforests.

That is when they agree to allow Lynas to open a rare earth processing plant.

That is when they close both eyes when there are still thousands homeless; people go hungry every night, even in the heart of KL.

That is when they rig our elections.

That is when they insult each other, degrade the women, kill the men.

That is when all they teach us do to, is to hate one another. To identify with the colour of our skin first, and being Malaysian second.

They did and still do all those in the name of the betterment of the youth.

Recently, they have promised us change. March 8 tsunami. RPK. Anwar. KJ. 1Malaysia. Birth of alternative media. Sure-fire two-party system.

We bought into all that, all of us youths. We were hopeful dreamers swept up by the promise of a new world order, or at least a new Malaysian order. One based on merits. One built again from the blood and sweat of those who promised to keep our futures secured, to return us to the path of guaranteed glory.

Years on, we are nowhere nearer to finding that path.

We are the betrayed generation.
Our trust has been betrayed.
BN, PR. Look at them.
Mainstream media, alternative media. Look at them.
MCA, DAP. Look at them.

They are out there for number one: themselves.

We are the betrayed generation. We are taught to be subservient. To kowtow. To have blind faith.
That is flying in the face of what we have been promised.

The truth of the matter is, Najib, Anwar, KJ, Karpal, LKS. They are old fools, their minds blurred to our needs. They see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear. And we, the betrayed generation, are far from their plans. Their world is one of pure politics, expedient survival being the key. They are politicians.

We are at a time when politicians are what we need least. We need statesmen. We need real heroes. It is time for another revolution, but we need a beacon to come together. We will not find this beacon from the delusional oldies. Their version of politics is a very different one to what we aspire to one day have. They are the lost generation, by their own doing.

Are you going to be my beacon? Or are you going to run away, be lost like them all? I need a point, a focus, a flag I can identify with. To lead me on. We, the youth – the future – need this.

We need a leader from amongst ourselves. Young, hopeful, daring to dream.

I look to my Malaysian peers who have had the opportunity to go abroad. The UK, US, Australia, India, Indonesia, Russia. We have had the benefit of the impetus from abroad, we have seen the world from without the tempurung that is Malaysia.

Will one of you be my beacon? Or will you, like our forefathers, allow the generations-to-come to continue being the betrayed generations, finally one lost to the winds.

My name is Tan Shang Neng. I am 23 years old. I hail from Klang, Selangor. I am Malaysian, and I am still hopeful.


1) The phrase “…kill the men…” has been used for poetic purposes. To date, no person has been literally killed, not to the best of my knowledge anyway.

2) Terms such as “old fools” and “delusional oldies” have been used for emotive invocation purposes. In hindsight, it is extremely disrespectful to have grouped some names above in these categories, for this was neglecting the fight that some of these honourable names had taken on. For this reason, I do apologise.

3) This article was initially meant as a rant on Facebook for personal friends. It is non-partisan, and more of an emotive summation than any attempt to espouse political ideologies. I believe in a two party system, and for transparency and education to pave the way. But I personally want to start with hope.

Shang Neng is an optimistic humanist. He often finds no better comic/humour than the front pages of mainstream newspapers quoting our dear YBs. Often ranting about the shortcomings of his country, deep down he knows no other home like Malaysia, and is a true-blue budak Klang.” Believes in a Malaysian revolution brought on by the youth.

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Posted on 27 April 2011. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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