Be the generational bridge

Taranjiv Singh is a law graduate who once served in Malaysia’s biggest broadcasting company.

While exploring his farming venture, the 40-year-old started driving for an e-hailing company in August last year. 

Taranjiv shares his tales with Twentytwo13. This week, he shares his conversations about how much in common the youth of today have with millennials and how we can all learn from one another.

A young woman got into my vehicle recently. She was in her early 20s, had just graduated, and worked briefly in a restaurant for some extra pocket money.

We spoke about the unsurprisingly clear roads and the ridiculously hot weather. But it was the next topic that left me pondering the whole day –  understanding our youths.

Mia (not her real name) shared her rather forgettable stint in the F&B industry. She said the head chef was just plain rude, and behaved like he was a master chef who worked in a fancy, fine dining establishment. What she didn’t understand was that this chef was in his late 30s.

“I would have thought that someone in his 30s would understand us better. He didn’t teach anything. We had to do things his way… but he never explained why we had to do it that way,” said Mia.

Mia added the common misconception people had about those in her age group was that they were “naive”, had a carefree attitude, and were sloppy when it came to doing work.

“Some think we don’t know what hard work is. I would expect that from an elderly man who claims to have lived through the Japanese occupation. Not from someone who grew up the same way we did.”

So I asked Mia, what would the solution be? She replied: “Be the bridge. Teach”.

That got me thinking about what my two school-going daughters would often tell me. They claim that I don’t understand their world. But I do. In fact, our worlds are so similar. Super Mario Bros and Gran Turismo have now been made into movies. These are games I grew up with.

Music and fashion have not changed much, either. My daughters and her friends hum to songs that I used to listen to in high school. Tank tops, oversized shirts and cargo pants are back in fashion. They remind me of the Billabong and Ocean Pacific days, and those oversized Alien Workshop pants.

Despite being in our 40s, most of my friends and I still wear like what we used to during our high school and college days. We can still pull it off and it seems to be acceptable, even by today’s standards. Most of our fathers and mothers didn’t dress like that when they were in their 40s. They instead wore what was then described as “age-appropriate” outfits.

Mia is right. We, millennials (those born between born 1981 and 1996), are actually the generational bridge between the young adults, and seniors of today. We should take such a role seriously, so that we can appreciate each other better.

Just by having that brief conversation, I’ve learnt so much from Mia. We may all have different views, but it’s about finding common ground.

In the pursuit of finding that common ground, we may realise that all of us, regardless of which generation, actually have so much in common, and that we can learn so much from each other.

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