Does Indonesian ‘Spoilt Generation’ Really Exist?

What would be the best thing that most people born in the beginning of the twenty first century Indonesia should actually be grateful for?

Social media phenomenon? Popular low-cost flights? or, maybe, 3D movies? You name it.

To better reflect how much the world we are living in now has given to us, we should travel back in time when none of those inventions exist.

The Generation Before Us

A classic night-time story was once delivered by my mother mentioning that grandma, her mother, needed to walk for miles to reach a traditional market complete with some peeled coconuts to sell which continued for decades before transportations were available and asphaltic roads were finally built in the village.

Very often, my mother added another story but this time is not the one about grandma. It is about her, that studying without electricity was an utter nightmare.

Interestingly, parents of my high school mates had apparently told similar stories to them that it was simply strenuous to access ‘easy’ life in the past compared to what we’re having now.

But, clearly, what can you expect from living in an Indonesian rural village in the late sixties?

To think that life in the sixties or seventies is far different than the present is certainly inarguable, i.e advanced knowledge and science have helped millennials manufacture cutting-edge technology and more infrastructures that people in that era never thought can ever happen.

Still, at the very least, my grandma passed away when people in her community had driven automobiles and my mother graduated high school and has become a teacher for almost thirty years despite the hardships they had to overcome in the past.

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I, in the exact same world but different time, couldn’t be more thankful for what I have had and experienced; a smartphone in my pocket, wi-fi in my classroom, online shops in my laptop screen, and no, it is very unlikely that I am going to worry about roads or lights.

What I don’t realise quickly is that the different struggles from two beloved people of mine is, in fact, a mirror from which I can see pain they had to feel and were relieved because they managed to succeed and, at the same time, an absolute shame that I frequently complain about things that is nothing compared to what they were put through.

They didn’t have much to complain but to keep making each day count.

The Truth Of Our Generation

Youths in the present, on the other hand, often find excuses to procrastinate and complain multiple times when things have been boxed up by their parents.

That youth feeling so secure by relying almost a hundred percent to parents has ostensibly created a generation whose life principle is to enslave their parents without ever thinking how much time, energy, money and thought they have sacrificed to make them who they are now regardless level of prosperity their parents are in.


Ridwan Kamil, the Mayor of Bandung, through his official Instagram account, recently uploaded a picture showing some junior high school students, all females, reportedly smoking in a food stall during school time.

The image was followed by a caption which slapped students who often lie to their parents for neither attending classes nor arriving at schools while their parents works so hard to pay for their educational needs.

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In some cases, this can go to an extreme delinquency when children threaten their parents not to, say, attend schools if their certain wishes aren’t fulfilled. This case in point, in reality, is ubiquitous and can happen in so many forms done by primary school pupils and even graduate students.

So, have Indonesian millennials been raised through the path of overindulgence? Is it really happening?

While some of them are striving for their independence, some are still glorifying freedom living under the nest of their parents while doing nothing to improve their personal development.

Some are following their dreams becoming CEO of startups, but some are enjoying endless naps and embracing laziness as a lifestyle.

This overindulgence can be resulted from, among other factors, parent’s negligence in ensuring their children to be aware of the importance of self-reliance which, if not taught earlier, will set the youth’s mind not to feel worry about their future since they are being fully supported.

It is, surely, unfair to look at an increasing percentage of successful parents as the sole contributing factors which make a number of young Indonesian millennials always feel ‘safe’ and overly attached to their parents.

The future that people decades ago thought was only an imagination has now become a reality which, in some ways, is making the current generation snoozes under a comforting roof where life struggles might not as complicated as in the sixties or seventies.

But currently, some significant number of Indonesian youth who proudly call themselves millennials, cafe goers, viral-video makers, or whatever mannequin, ice-bucket, and backpack challenges they might do, have clearly been overindulged to the point where they are not able to survive without 4G connection speeding up their Instagram uploads, friends inviting them for a seemingly endless goofing-offs and expensive concerts, and parents spoon-feeding them with monthly allowance even in their twenties.

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Clearly, compared to those who spent their youth in past decades and face complex adversities to achieve something, we are probably much of a weaker kind of generation that we might think of.


The case of parental enslavement happening in Indonesia, as previously mentioned, must be considered a red signal in which parent-children relationship is the key issue. Young Indonesians know that they’re being spoilt but fail to read that condition as a threat for their own self-dependence which can potentially lead them to being vulnerable on anything in their life since they have been accustomed to get what they wish for without actually doing anything.

Note: Link of Ridwan Kamil’s mentioned Instagram photo:


Sujardin Syarifuddin
About the author

Currently studying Master in Applied Linguistics, Adin perceives language as a tool of social practice that millennials should utilize for good. His writing pieces can also be found in The Jakarta Post and IDN Times in Community section.

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