Millennials are pushing for change in the world – including in the marketplace and the workplace. They don’t accept “that’s the way it has always been done” as a viable answer. Millennials continue to encourage new definitions of “family” and break down gender and social divides.

How Millennials Want to Work and Live: A Report by Gallup

Who are millennials?

Millennials are people born between 1980 to 1996.

Generation timeline suggested by Gallup

Syed Saddiq, a millennial

Syed Saddiq, our Minister of Youth and Sports, was born in 1992. He is a millennial.

He was taken to be LGBT-friendly. The fact that he hired Numan Afifi in the first place was telling. The Youth and Sports Ministry website in fact listed Numan as a special officer to the Minister. However, the appointment was short-lived after Saddiq was criticised by netizens on the appropriateness of the appointment. The response from the millennial Minister was that the Ministry had yet to make any official appointment. Numan then took the bullet for his bro by stating that the Ministry’s website was hacked and reiterated that there was no official appointment of him by the Minister. Numan had since resigned from the Ministry.

The backlash and threats from opposition propagandists have made it impossible for me to exercise my duties, therefore I have not to work at the Ministry in any official capacity. I will be going abroad in the near future to determine my next move.

Numan Afifi on Facebook

Last Saturday, the Minister participated in a friendly football match in conjunction with Hari Sukan Negara 2018. His team won 4-3 with him scoring the game-winning goal. After the match, he posted a photo of himself, shirtless, immersing in a bathtub filled with ice water, on social media. The millennial Minister was having a cryotherapy (aka ice bath).

Saddiq was, again, criticised by netizens. Such post was described as conduct unbecoming of a minister. Saddiq, again succumbed to pressure, took down the post from his social media immediately. This time round though, he was not having it. He had asked the media to give coverage on more important issues.

Message for my millennial Minister

In a government dominated by baby boomers and gen-xers, heck, led by a traditionalist, the millennial Minister fights a lonely war in bringing future-proof ideas and concepts to the table.

Based on various statements and social media posts by Saddiq, the millennial Minister clearly idolises the traditionalist Prime Minister. I don’t blame him, in fact I can empathise with him. When you have a mentor who inspires you so much to do well in what you are doing, you look up to him and want to be like him. I feel the same for my pupil master (who is a gen-xer).

There comes this inevitable dilemma between respect and agreement.

It was a difficult decision to make between keeping Numan and being part of an alliance which needed the votes of the conservative Malay Muslim majority.

It was an equally difficult decision to make between keeping the shirtless photo up in social media and being measured against the other ministers who are non-millennials by majority.

However, change has to start somewhere. Like it or not, Malaysia will be led by millennials one day. Saddiq is more likely than not, how the future of Malaysia will look like. It is not that the millennial Minister has to rely on the baby boomers, gen-xers or even traditionalist to have a voice in Parliament but the other way round. Millennials made up the highest number of registered voters in GE14. It was through GE14 that we welcomed #MalaysiaBaharu. The decisive role of millennials thus cannot be gainsaid.

So the message I have for my millennial Minister is this. You get to decide who you want to hire as your special officer. You get to decide whatever photo you want to post on your social media. People will disagree with you. They will say all the nasty things there can possibly be like they would to stigmatise millennials. But please also remember that there are just as much, if not more people out there (millennials and non-millennials alike) who are ready to back you up. In fact, in both instances, you had people sticking up for you even before you chose to respond the way you responded.

All you need to do, is to just do it. Be dauntless.

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