Wed, Dec 24, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Taiwanese youths want an easy life

THINKING AHEAD Seeing their parents in unhappy marriages, young people these days want to avoid as much hassle as possible, the results of a survey show

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwanese youths dream of having a carefree life and are confident that their dreams will be fulfilled, according to the results of a survey conducted recently.

The survey of 1,009 people aged between 19 and 30 showed that 46.7 percent have the ultimate dream of a carefree life, while 77 percent felt confident that their dreams, whatever they may be, would be realized. The survey set out to reveal the visions and dreams of youths as well as the personal and societal issues that they are concerned with.

"The concept of `self' began to gain popularity in Taiwan in the 1980s," said Wang Chung-kwei (王叢桂), a psychology professor at Soochow University. "Young people have become more self-centered and have the desire to pursue the lifestyle of their choice as they have seen how their parents' generation has chosen to stay in unhappy situations."

Wang said that many had witnessed how their parents stayed in unhappy marriages.

"Normally, their parents often tell them that they stayed married for the sake of the children. As a result, the children who have heard this comment repeatedly are afraid to be bound by marriage and instead choose to enjoy a comfortable single life," Wang said.

Sinorama Magazine, which conducted the survey, said it chose the 19-to-30 age group because people in this group were beginning to shape their visions of the future.

"Nineteen is the age where students have just started college, and 30 is the age when young adults have found their callings in life," said Eric Lin (林奇伯), assistant editor at Sinorama Magazine. "It is between these 10 years that many values are being set for life."

The disappearance of family burdens among youths also contributes to the self-centered lifestyle, according to Wang.

"These young people are no longer required to take care of their parents as their parents are in much better shape than the generation before," Wang said.

"On the other hand, young people today are getting married later in life. As a result, they do not have the responsibility of child-raising. Without having to take care of anyone, basically young people can do whatever they want," he said.

The next most popular dreams after pursing a carefree life are having a happy family (30 percent) and having a stable job (26 percent).

However, 69 percent of youths are not pleased with the current political and economic situation in Taiwan, even though 88 percent said they felt there was little they could do about it.

"What I have gathered from the survey is that youths have little confidence in changing the current political and economic situation, and yet are still confident about fulfilling their dreams, and that is a contradiction," said best-selling author Tsai Shi-ping (蔡詩萍).

According to Tsai, overall happiness is only achieved through the integration of positive societal factors and personal endeavors.

"It seems contradictory and unrealistic that young people exclude social factors from the realization of their personal dreams. External issues definitely have an impact on one's dreams and hopes," Tsai said.

Dreams which have been divided into a series of systematic goals may be realized, Wang said.

"Whether a dream always remains a dream or can be turned into reality depends on whether one is able turn a big and unreachable picture into smaller goals, and whether one possesses the persistence to reach each goal systematically," Wang said.

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