Why are adult Malaysians insisting they’re still youths?

JULY 10 — The debate over what constitutes a “youth” is still going on in Malaysia and it’s bordering the ridiculous.

My personal favourite argument for allowing 40-year-olds to call themselves youth is that apparently one country allows 60-year-olds to enrol in a youth organisation.

Then there’s the sarcastic rejoinder I saw that Malaysia is apparently declaring anyone over 30 senior citizens.

I think this is just another one of the instances where Malaysians like to pretend standard definitions of anything don’t apply to them, especially when it comes to the UN.

For statistical purposes the UN defines “youth”, as those between the ages of 15 and 24.

Youth is supposed to be that period between adolescence and full adulthood so it does not make sense to me why 40-year-olds are going into meltdowns on social media over the definition.

The reality is that all those over-30s who complain about no longer being youth don’t actually care about youths.

You could say the youth debate is about power and money.

Youth wings in most political parties are really just special silos because age being a major requirement for seniority is still prevalent.

You have the “we refuse to retire” set who will hold the most power in a party while the younger, less senior ones will just remain in holding.

The youth debate is a tussle over changing the status quo; of no longer letting age decide just how qualified someone is for a post.

Of course, there is the fear of ageism — as our own prime minister has proven, age sometimes really is just a number.

Our young have been stifled for too long and lorded over by people who say they have their best interests at heart but have not proven it.

Too many so-called youth organisations are just fronts to drum up political support and siphon public funds.

I think it’s time Malaysians embrace their age. Let the kids learn to grow up without excessive handholding.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to 18-year-olds voting and automatic registration. I look forward to witnessing our nation’s politics mature even if some of my fellow citizens refuse to grow up.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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