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Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Strawberry Generation

In Taiwan, the Strawberry Generation refers to those who were born between 1981 and 1991, ranging from the 22-year-old university students to the 12-year-old junior high school students. This generation is labeled as “strawberry” due to two reasons: first, this generation of youth was raised in a better environment, as strawberries grown and nourished in a greenhouse, than the earlier generation. Second, strawberries are known for their beauty, delicacy and high price, suggesting that the young people can not withstand pressure, difficulties, and frustration as they grew up in a nice and comfortable environment and are able to get almost whatever they ask for.
Ever since the label was created, it is generally believed that today’s youths are incompetent, unsustainable, or even irresponsible when it comes to real tasks in the real world, such as getting a job and keeping it. Many believe that the Strawberry Generation has been too accustomed to the abundant supply of materials that they never realize the hard work that is involved in creating these resources. A research reveals that 62% of the interviewed university professors believe Taiwanese students will not be as competent as students in Mainland China, for the former is exposed to an abundance of information but can not concentrate on specialized learning while the latter can bear hard work and have explicit goals.
Fortunately, some of the interviewees observed that Taiwanese students would surpass students across the strait in flexible thinking and adjustment. Others have indicated that the Strawberry Generation is not to blame for their rich material surroundings and have take steps to encourage the youth to utilize the advantage of their time and resources. It is hoped that since the strawberries grew up in affluence, they would be more generous in sharing and helping others. After all, if the earlier generation can achieve so much with so little, how much more would the new generation be able to achieve with so much resource in its hands?
As a member of the Strawberry Generation, I believe we are quite aware of what we are faced with---an insecure future and lots of competition. If we do not improve and better ourselves, we would truly be crushed like strawberries.


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