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HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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I’m lonely, get me a friend, say Singaporean youth

We don’t want the 5 C’s, give us real connections and community, young say.

A recent study by McCann Worldgroup revealed that Singaporean youth today prioritize connections and relationships more than the 5C's – cash, car, condo, CPF & country club.

The world’s leading marketing and advertising network McCann Worldgroup, today released the findings of ‘The Truth about Youth’, a study of 16-30 year olds which involved qualitative and quantitative research conducted across the globe, including Singapore and many other countries in the Asia Pacific region. The research examines the motivations of young people and seeks to uncover what makes them both similar and different from previous generations.

A surprising finding for Singaporean youth was the fact that they are increasingly turning away from material possessions such as the five C’s of cash, car, condo, credit card & country club and turning towards a new ‘c’ of ‘commune’. The McCann Worldgroup research describes commune as being the process of focusing on the need for connection, relationships and community, something Singaporean youth did much more so than other markets such as India, where young people were more focused on ‘membership’ or the need to be in the know, an insider or part of the crowd.

This new focus on commune was paired with the rise of a ‘Social Economy’, a scenario where a young person’s ability to connect defines them. This means what they share, who they connect with and what they connect people to is or more importance than their material goods or experiences. As a result, the pressure on Singaporean youths to engage in social media or post on blogs is constant, and there is a very real anxiety about not posting, or doing so late. There’s almost a sense that if something is not posted, it didn’t happen. In other words narrating one’s life has become a full time occupation.

Dave McCaughan, Director of Strategic Planning in Asia Pacific explained “What is truly interesting about this research is that although we see great diversity in Asia the use of intensified use of mobile technologies as the primary means of communication, investigation and linkage in young people’s lives means that they are developing multiple communities that they belong to simultaneously. That and a desire to achieve more in their lives, driven by continual growth in opportunities acts as a common bond in behavior.”

As a final proof point of Singaporean youth’s increasingly laid back approach to life, the research also found that despite, or perhaps even because, of the pressure to perform well academically, Singaporean youths were no longer attracted to the concept of winning at all costs, or ‘kaisu’ as it is more commonly known in Singapore.

In the Truth About Youth research, the concept of ‘gauntlet’ or the need to ‘win at all costs’ resonated the least with Singaporean youths, and the notion of being highly competitive was perceived as being overly aggressive and narrow minded. Instead, the youths stressed the need to look at the bigger picture, to focus more on happiness and less on winning. In essence there was a sense of Singapore youth wishing to be ‘lovers, not fighters’.

Laura Simpson, Global IQ Director for McCann Worldgroup, said of the study, “What we saw across the board is that technology is the great global unifier. It is the glue that binds this generation together and fuels the motivations that define them.” She continued, “Young people utilize technology as a kind of supersense which connects them to infinite knowledge, friends and entertainment opportunities.” 

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