“Strawberry generation” or “草莓族” is a term brought forward from Taiwan. It has largely been a distasteful term describing millennials born after the Generation X (baby boomers) as a group of overly-sheltered and easily bruised youths.
Does that label still apply today? How do we relate to it?
Give the strawberry a chance. Perhaps there is something more it beyond first impressions. Perhaps youths should give it a chance themselves before smacking it down instinctively in ninja defensive mode.
Our identity is unique — it is easy to differentiate ourselves amongst the generations. With the baby boomers, we are a tech-savvy generation suggesting to streamline processes and leverage on new platforms. It could be a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter or a refreshing itinerary with Airbnb. At the same time, our identity is embedded with the authenticity of old as well. Many of us still prefer real books to online screens, and we have our own childhood toys and tech-free outdoor games.
Here are two facts showing us how we can flip the game around and turn the term “strawberry generation” for our good.
Fact 1: Strawberries are the only fruit that wear their seeds on the outside. The average berry has 200 of them.
So apparently a strawberry is the only fruit that sashays all her seeds on the outside. Hardly any of its peers comes close.
We have so many seeds. So many ideas, thoughts and interests in the face of incessant information and immediate knowledge today. It is easy for us to express them on the outside; we share articles that speak to us on Facebook, curate our own Instagram feed and we even vlog down our lives in micro clips. For better or worse, this makes us connectable and relatable to each other.
A strong community of strawberries has the power to push for change through multiple channels, all at once.
Take Carousell for example. The peer-to-peer selling platform raised $35 million in a series B funding round, and the app was first founded by 3 university students. That's 3 strawberries making us proud right there, for their simple idea of meeting a need (online space to sell used textbooks) turned into an awesome start-up idea.
Fact 2: Strawberries belong to the rose family. Subtly and freshly scented, strawberry bushes smell as sweet as they taste.
Strawberries smell good in their natural habitat. So do we, when we make the change for good in our own spheres. The fragrance comes from acts of doing good; it could be a simple sharing of a Facebook article to help raise awareness or giving up MRT seats for older aunties. Within school, it could be the heart to share lecture notes with an absent course-mate or the $2 donation to the fund-raising activities across campus. In subtle ways, strawberries give off an aromatic culture that has been understated by many.
Harvesting from years and years of education, each and every one of us have a different mix of experiences, skills and passions to be tapped on for good. Many of us have already been giving off the collective fragrance in ways more than one. For the extra miles ahead, there is a larger field for us to take what we have on our hands for changemaking.
To illustrate, wateROAM is a water innovation enterprise founded in Singapore in 2014 to develop water filtration solutions that bring about the quickest access to clean drinking water at disaster-hit locations, and help to promote social change in rural development areas. Until 2016, it has already impacted 25,000 people. Founded by 3 other strawberries in our generation, this is yet another example that invites us to think about our potential and capabilities as fellow fruits.
Moving forward, this DFG series shall seek to sieve out the berry good stuff that our generation has been embarking on to design and redesign society today.