Young people of my country conform and deviate, but in varying degrees. This is expressed by Suematsu in paragraph 3 of passage B where he states “Conform too much, and you are toast, deviate too much, and you are toast too. ” in context to the school life. It is the same with Singapore. Young people of my country must find the perfect balance of conforming and deviating in order to be “popular”. And that answers the question as to why they conform and deviate. Even within Singapore, different young people may conform and deviate in different ways and in variable degrees.
For example, students in a secondary school may find that breaking the rules, “deviating” in other words, is considered cool but students from a junior college may find conforming more to their style. This is probably due to the mental maturity of the different age groups. In secondary school, students are still young and may not fully comprehend the consequences of their actions or maybe even be given rose coloured glasses by their peer (peer pressure), whereas in JC, the students have matured greatly from their secondary school days and understand the consequences they have to face in breaking a rule.
However, we also have to consider what kind of circles the young people come from. Some young people may come from more shady backgrounds, and they may break more rules (of both society and school) than normal, but to them, or perhaps, to their social circle, it may be a form of conforming. It isn’t their fault as they have been brought up or have been exposed to such an environment at a early age. To them, it is the norm. they do not know how else to act except to deviate.
Even within that circle, there may be some limits to the kind of rules or how many you can break. This is also illustrated by Suematsu who states “We all conform to some standard one way or another… this collective standard can vary even within a society. ” It is also seen in the undercurrents of Heath and Potter’s work where they state “they do place limits.. ” which states that even with deviation, there is a limit to what you can do.
As Heath and Potter argue, the conformity will not destroy individuality. Which is probably why most young people in my country tend to deviate less (in terms of society and rules). Even with our uniform, most of the young people do not bother to accessorize or alter our uniform (except maybe the length) too much. It is, in our perspective, a uniform, and therefore, is not an accurate representation of our true selves.
We tend not to bother too much about showing off our individuality, saving that for when the weekend comes or when we go out. As Suematsu states “the conclusion that limited means of expression equals limited expressions of individuality which may be wrong. ” Besides, “students have a thousand and one ways to modify a school uniform”, which is also another reason why students conform to wearing the uniform, though they deviate a little by maybe, shortening the skirt a little too short, or wearing pretty hair accessories.
It is probably also true that many young people of my country may fuss a little too much over details such as hair, makeup or attire (more often lately). When we go out, it is important to look our best in order to portray our individuality (this is the same for many other countries). Even so, be it our moral compass, or our parents or even the society, young people still conform to a certain type of limit set by above mentioned factors, though deviating. This is the so-called golden balance that Suematsu mentions.
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