I don't get the youth and what they worship

By Dinh Thi Thuy Van   November 17, 2022 | 05:12 pm PT
I don't get the youth and what they worship
A boy uses his smartphone at his home in Hanoi, September 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Chieu
Models showing off branded designs, scamming influencers, internet gangsters... I don't understand why young people are so fascinated by such toxic influences?

A certain model has been applauded by young people for spending tons of money on branded items owned by global superstars. In 2019, a "rich kid" was praised by many young people for spending about VND100 million ($4,034) to secure a seat near this particular model on a plane. Of course, the boy must have felt very proud when he received so many likes and comments from netizens about this act of overspending.

Another online personality has been idolized and applauded by many Vietnamese youth for his careless and bold statements. Besides, there are young artists whose songs become instant hits and are viewed countless times by young fans, even though their lyrics might have no meaning.

The most recent scandal involved a popular influencer accused of scamming many people to fund her lavish lifestyle. Before being detained by police for investigation, she shamelessly went online to tell stories and sell products, attracting thousands of viewers. In custody, she claimed to earn up to VND148 million thanks to livestream sales. Reading through the comments about this girl, I am surprised to see so many young people praising her supposed cleverness and "psychological manipulation."

At the latest session of the National Assembly, a delegate expressed his concern about the indifference and insensitivity of people toward a murder case in the northern province of Bac Ninh. Though people casually recorded a video of the murder, uploaded it to Facebook and responded to comments, no one really tried to help the victim. Online, there have been many comments expressing condolences and an interest in discovering the murderer, but having witnessed the incident with their own eyes, how many among the thousands of commenters have taken action?

After reading through online comments on similar cases, I don't understand the thought processes of young people these days and the kind of people they choose to idolize. What are the standards, who are the role models worth learning from? They are seemingly lost in a swirling bucket of ever-changing information, not knowing which messages are worth sharing. Instead, all they care about are the strange and unusual, because that's what being trendy looks like.

Over time, they may become indifferent to the world; their visions clouded by the likes and comments of their virtual selves. How many more similar cases like in Bac Ninh must occur, how many more scams must be perpetrated, before we realize that this isn't right?

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