Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific
Asia has been through tremendous tumult in the last two months.
There was a tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan; and the team from Tokyo has chronicled the touching response to a tragedy.
The last bastion of communism in the world‘s largest democracy just fell. One third of all Indian states are now governed by a woman Chief Minister. Pakistan erupted as the Americans rachetedup their war on terror.
The cricket World Cup turned into an Asian Cup; unleashing the longest, wildest party the subcontinent may have seen.
Amidst all this cultural and political maelstrom, fresh content kept gushing –underlying our belief that sometimes, the best ideas emerge during times of great adversity.
The following is a selection of voices taken from the Knowing me, Knowing you: Asian teenagers section
In Singapore, theeducation system is such that children are told from a very young age whether they are "normal", "special" or "gifted". The system basically divides children at the tender age of nine based on academic aptitude. Unfortunately, that leaves some kids to believe they are inferior and as they grow into teenagers, more often than not this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Wemet Nizrah, 16, when he attended a focus group discussion for a government client. Hegoes to ITE,a tertiary institute at the bottom of Singapore's educational ladder. He smokes a pack of cigarettes a day and has been smoking since he was 10. He picked up his first cigarette because he wanted to copy his dad. He thinks he's "overweight" though he's clearly skinny because in his mind, being healthy equals being muscular and tall.
He uses Facebook to find young girls his age. They meet, hook up and then go their separate ways. He's also slept with prostitutes but never used a condom till one of his schoolmates contracted an STD. Once, he even landed up in bed with a transgender person.
He knows that society frowns on him, his upbringing and his environment. Every day, he changes out of his uniformas soon as he can to distance himself from an institute that pigeonholes him.
His one wish? To be born again. A new life with new options.
As we wrapped up the group, Nizrah turned to the moderator and asked, "What did you think of me when I first walked in to the room? Did you think I was normal?
Isn't it quite obvious why Nizrah didn‘t want himself photographed?Salman, Karachi
Salman wakes up at 7am to get ready for school, and leaves home around 7:45. In school, he and his friends meet and discuss current events related to their interests, such as cricket, or they talk about their teachers. While they wait for their cars to pick them up on the way home, they talk about studies, school issues like recent fights. He is home by 2.30pm, after which he changes and watches TV, usually a movie or a cricket match. "I eat lunch while watching TV and say my prayers after that. I play Playstation in my free time or text my friends."
He likes playing and watching soccer. He spends sometime on Facebook. He likes eating chocolate and his favorite drink is Coke.
"I don't like it when someone yells at me,"says Salman. "I don't ever listen to my teachers if they yell at me. I don't like my tutors because I never wanted tutors. I like math as a subject and I hate chemistry."
Salman chooses his own clothes and usually buys them from a local mall. "I always save something from my pocket money. I would also like to have a collection of watches."