Coconut Generation

The Next Generation of Asian Indians

Eating Disorders among Youths February 27, 2007

Filed under: Culture,Family,News,Youth — Sam George @ 5:37 pm

These days teens face overwhelming pressure to be thin. Models on runways, movies, magazines etc are constantly bombarding our teens to be skinny, particularly teen girls. Not only are they selling products they are advertising, but ascribing an elitist and trendy view toward body image. This leads teens to adopt unhealthy eating habits, resulting in many eating disorders.

Fear of being overweight, rejection from others, unlikablity factor etc create an acute problems for teen girls. Many feel guilty after eating, even if they have overeaten. They are constantly looking at themselves in the mirror and seeking affirmation of their body image from friends. They suffer from anorexia, bulumia, binge eating, obesity etc.

The National Eating Disorder Association estimates over 10 million Americans have an eating disorder. According to the Center for Mental Health Services, 90 percent of Americans with an eating disorder are under 25-years-old.

They see themselves fatter than they really are. there is a blatant contradiction of what they see and how they view their bodies. They constantly psyche themselves to eat less, workout more, keep watch of their body image, ever trying to fit into that perfect image formed in their minds. Their minds are playing a game in which they never succeed.

This week (Feb 25 – Mar 3) is the Eating Disorder Awareness week. Whether you are parent or youthworker, would you broach this topic with teens and young adults in your home or church. Follow the above link for resources & ideas.


Youth & Internet usage

Filed under: Culture,News,Youth — Sam George @ 3:39 pm

Young people between 18 and 24 were the most active users of Internet worldwide. There is something about being youth and internet technology that they are made for each other.

One of the fastest growing Internet market is China. And in a study of Internet usage in China, it was report that Internet users spent an average of 16.9 hours online each week, compared with 15.9 hours in 2005 and 8.5 hours in 2001. And among them, the above population recorded over 21 hours each week!

Life without Internet is almost unimaginable. Our lives are so net-centric these days that we would be completely non-functional without net connectivity. But it does not come without a price. In some cases, our dependence on net is showing symptoms similar to addictions. Not to mention many ill-effects of nets – poor eye sights, email overload, intrusion into private lives, porn etc.

The net also makes you feel you are connected to the world and with a higher power out there. It is indicative of innate longing of human being for a deeper connection with others and the need for a transcended being. But Internet fakes both of these human needs. The pseudo intimacy never really satisfies and demi-gods never lives up to its claims.


Teen Suicides February 23, 2007

Filed under: Youth — Sam George @ 3:51 am

According to a CDC report, child and teen suicide rates rose for the first time in more than a decade in 2004. India has the highest suicides worldwide and Bangalore is the suicide capital of the world.

The recent report of teen suicides in US is blamed on the stronger warning labels that led to a drop in the number of prescriptions for antidepressant drugs. The report seemed to concocted by drug companies who make antidepressent against FDA’s labeling norms. What is more disturbing is the dramatic rise of depression among teens in the west and the popular belief of psychatric medicine could cure them. Increased isolation, lack of social support system, weakening family units, cultural pressures etc all contributes to the state of teen mind. An individualistic approach of dealing with problems does not work and potential cure lie in understanding the social, cultural and spiritual realities associated with it.

Few years ago, a young Indian lady in Chicago committed suicide. February is often hard of women who are not in any kind of relationship. With gender imbalance in the Indian community, parental pressure to get married within one’s own community, cultural pressure to have boyfriend etc makes this valentine month hard for many women. In the last many years of youth work, I have come across many who have had prolonged depresion and suicidal thoughts. Socio-cultural and theological engagement of such issues could have averted young people from taking extreme steps. Are we ready to do that?


Teen Girls more Stressed than Boys February 16, 2007

Filed under: church,Family,News,Youth — Sam George @ 5:48 pm

Teenage girls are more stressed out and depressed than teenage boys. According to new study published in the Jan-Feb issue of Child Development. See the report on WebMD.

Teen girls experience more interpersonal stress and exhibit more depression symptoms. Girls also react more strongly to stressors and become more depressed. Boys show many achievement stressors and are less relationship driven at this stage of life.

Researchers advice to parents of girls and boys entering puberty, “Pay attention to what your child is experiencing at home and with relationships. Be available and supportive emotionally for your child.”

Faith based peer group can be destressor and provide the much needed support group while navigating through the quagmire of adolescence. That is why I really believe that churches/youth group should provide avenue for boys & girls to meet in small group setting outside of school/ church environments. But let leaders make sure that that gathering is intentional (not simply girly talk) and they broach biblical or spiritual  themes. 


Stressed & Sleepless Indians February 15, 2007

Filed under: Family,India,Leadership — Sam George @ 10:08 pm

The unprecendanted opportunity and prosperity in India have not come without a price – Stress & Sleep-deprivation! As the economy booms and middle-class affluence grows, Indians are becoming forgetful and sleep-deprived. Our bodies are crumbling under the pressure of progress, says a World Health Organisation (WHO) based on a study conducted in six states. The results showed that more than 47 per cent of the respondents suffered from clinical anxiety, an equal number were depressed. Sleeplessness and memory disorders affected more than 34 per cent and 44 per cent respectively. Overall 40 per cent felt jaded and fatigued, 30 per cent had relationship conflicts, and more than 58 per cent suffered from stress-related bodyache.

This is new India with new problems. One cannot run on high speed lanes on empty tanks for long. When we run on top speed without adequate support system and enough fuel, we will surely come to a grinding halt at the most unexpected and incovenient time. Changes have been so quick, that we never found time to build up necessary support system. Social, familial and emotional support base that existed in the past have suddenly disappeared. Nuclearization of family, lack of social networks, emotional well-being, lack of spiritual strength etc have come to haunt the new generation and don’t know how to handle modern complexities!


Is there life beyond work in India? February 12, 2007

Filed under: Culture,Family,India,Youth — Sam George @ 4:51 pm

In recent years, Indian work culture has undergone dramatic changes. Working for global clients, hi-tech tools, opportunities to get ahead etc have propelled this new culture. Days of punching card and get out of work at 5pm is over. People are working all the time, at least thinking and talking about it. We are also seeing fall out as a result. Obesity, heart attacks at younger ages, psychosomatic cases, martial problems etc have skyrocketd.

So in light of these trends, what are the resolution of young Indian professional? That is exactly what this study wanted to find out and results were most unexpected. A survey of new year resolutions for 2007 among urban upwardly mobile professional shows a growing desire for a) better home-work balance, b) more exercise and c) spending more time with family. Very interesting!

After all the unprecedanted prosperity and global opportunities, people still tend derive most happiness and contentment in relationship, good health and family. People on their death bed, do not think of the raise must have had or career opportunities that came their way or business that could have started. Somebody said, we might win the rat race, but we are still rats! Any investment in family front will yield more return that anything else we could do in life.


Indian Immigrant being enticed to return

Filed under: Family,India,Youth — Sam George @ 4:46 pm

A recent Boston Globe article on how Indian government is trying to lure successful Indian immigrant to return to India with business opportunities. And many are responding.

I think, some of the stats quoted in the story may not be accurate; but the essence of the story is true. Some Indian Americans are making the best of both world and our times.

This is not only true of business, but also for Christian Ministry. God is at work in India and many Indian American are drawn to be part of Spirit’s outpouring in the land of their forefathers. God is indeed doing something new in these days!