Young but not reckless: NYC poll finds 82 per cent of youth concerned about virus

Ms Liew Zhi Qing takes extra precautions with her grandmother (both above) during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms Liew Zhi Qing takes extra precautions with her grandmother (both above) during the coronavirus pandemic.PHOTO: COURTESY OF LIEW ZHI QING

Junior content strategist Liew Zhi Qing, 24, who lives with her 84-year-old grandmother, is taking extra precautions during the coronavirus pandemic.

"My grandmother has a habit of holding my hand when walking, so I sanitise both our hands first before holding hers," she says with a laugh.

"I constantly sanitise her phone and walking stick and remind her not to touch metal surfaces, for her own safety."

Ms Tasmin Emma Augustin, 18, a film student at the School of the Arts, is also mindful about the health of her family members and careful not to touch her face.

Eighty-two per cent of the 500 people between the ages of 16 and 35 polled by the National Youth Council (NYC) late last month say they are concerned or very concerned about the coronavirus outbreak.

A majority of the youth polled - about seven in 10 - agree with movement control measures and suspension of public gatherings to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Some youth, though, have displayed a flippant attitude towards the virus.

In a video put up on Facebook by Rice Media recently, one young interviewee said: "It is not really a situation that we can control 100 per cent, so why not try to live the best that you can from this situation? I'm not saying that I'm not scared, but if I really get it, then okay lor, like just get it and then recover."

Many netizens left comments chastising the young people expressing such sentiments for being careless and selfish.

But, like the NYC survey, most of the 30 or so young people interviewed by The Straits Times, before the circuit breaker measures took effect on April 7, expressed concern about the virus and said it was important to comply with measures to curb its spread.

Some are going a step further to help others.

My grandmother has a habit of holding my hand when walking, so I sanitise both our hands first before holding hers. I constantly sanitise her phone and walking stick and remind her not to touch metal surfaces.

MS LIEW ZHI QING on taking extra precautions with her grandmother during the coronavirus pandemic

Mr Wesley Loke, 21, who is serving national service but is currently off-duty, is very concerned about some of his friends in the army.

"I have friends who have to continue going to the army camps and I worry for them. I send them texts of encouragement every other day and remind them to continue practising safe distancing, wash their hands more often and take vitamin C tablets to boost their immunity.

"We have to take care of one another in this time."

 
 
 

Mr David Hoe, 33, an NYC council member and a community partnerships officer at the Ministry of Education, has set aside a part of his salary to help the underprivileged, particularly those living in rental blocks and the elderly.

With a group of friends, he has also started Project Stable Staples to help the needy in rental communities by giving them grocery vouchers weekly. The group plans to help families with two or more children and those who have suffered a loss of income due to a reduction in their part-time work.

Working with community-focused non-profit organisation Bless, the group has reached out to families in Boon Lay.

When asked what youth can do to help in this time of crisis, Mr Hoe says the best thing to do is to be socially responsible.

"You could donate to our cause too, but other than that, all of us can play a part by sending encouragement to those who need it, or even just by spreading the message to other youth to be socially responsible by staying at home as much as possible," he adds.

With additional reporting by Hannah Bock, Lim Rei Enn, Chloe Kok and Chelsea Kiew

Correction note: An earlier version of this article gave the wrong name for Mr David Hoe. We are sorry for the error.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2020, with the headline 'Young but not reckless: NYC poll finds 82 per cent of youth concerned about virus'. Print Edition | Subscribe