Coconut Generation

The Next Generation of Asian Indians

Connext on web September 25, 2007

Many who made it the connext conf and others who wished had been blogging about it. See for yourself: Philly Churchplant, Ajay from Boston, David in Atlanta, Ben in Toronto etc. More to come.

Pritam Singh also carried my cocogen blog on the SAC site.  THose of you who are not familiar with SAC, please check out www.SouthAsianConnection.com. Great places to go to see other bloggers and writings from young South Asian Christian leaders from around the world.

Soon photos, audio and video from the conference should be online at www.ConnextOnline.com. Enjoy and share it with other leaders.

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Coconuts returning to India for schooling September 24, 2007

Filed under: Family,India,Youth — Sam George @ 3:03 pm

Last weekend, I met a family who send their 15-year old son to India for his high school education. In fact, the parents were not very keen on this, but the young man had made up his mind on an International school in Bangalore where his grandparents also live. Is this one-off case or a growing trend?

We all have heard of foreign born young people being send to India for medical and professional schools. We know of business and software folks returning to India to expand or start new ventures in the booming economy. But what about elementary or high school kids going to India for a worldclass eduaction?

When I researched it further, I found  this is definitely something to watch out for. It’s fuelled by the growing perception among NRIs that school education in India is culturally enriching, academically superior and economically easier on the wallet. In the last decade, there has been an exponential rise—estimated to quadruple—in the number of NRI students in Punjab. International school are limited to hill stations of Missourie or Ooty anymore, but are popping up in major metros like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin etc. See a report about schools for NRIs in India Today.

Is this an attempt to insulate foreign born wards from what they see as decadent western values? What about the prevalence of growing western values in India? How does it affect parent-children relationship, when children grow up in boarding schools? Will grandparents be thrust into raising their grandkids? What happens to assimilation or multiple culture shocks and adjustments? What does all this mean to families and youthworkers?

 

Post-CONNEXT Reflections September 18, 2007

Filed under: church,Events,Leadership,Ministries,Youth — Sam George @ 2:46 pm

Just got back home yesterday after the historic Connext conference – a leadership gathering of emering South Asian Christians. It was an amazing conference indeed – so many leaders, their vision and passion, diversity of ministries, stories etc. I am deeply humbled to see what God is doing with the next generation of Asian Indians all across the US & Canada.

Over two and half day we had some 150 leaders, 25 seminars, 21 exhibits, 5 worship sessions, 5 meals, 4 testimonies, 3 plenary talks, 3 musical concerts and 2 bible studies. There were lots of fellowship time, meal time discussions, networking and simply hanging out together. So many new friendship have been forged between musicians, seminary students, youth workers, counselors, church planters, pastors and leaders across denominational affliations and languages groups.

Everyone sensed God is doing a new thing in our time. There were much openness to collaborate and learn from each other. There is lots of excitement among next generation leaders. They show exceptional commitment to reach and disciple their generation. The NY organizing team showed remarkable commitment to voluneerism, teamwork, servanthood, excellance and stewardship.

If you were not able to make it, you have really missed something. But the conference proceedings will be uploaded soon on connext website. Pls visit – www.ConnextOnline.com Most of the talks and seminars will also be published as a book later next year. And watch out for future connext conferences.

 

Teen Drinking September 11, 2007

Filed under: Culture,Ministries,Youth — Sam George @ 2:39 am

Underage drinking is no new problem. Teens particularly are prone to experimentations and there is tremendous peer and media influence upon them to ‘check out’ alcoholic drinks, making the problem worse for todays teen than ever before.

Many consider drinking as a rite of passage into adulthood. To be accepted by their peer group, to show off that they have grown up now and super bowl ads make it look cool. Many have seen their immigrant fathers and unlces drink, making it look alright and acceptable. The double standard (parents can drink, but children should not) is dangerous as well.

But research shows that young people who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to have alcohol-related problems later in life. New research also indicates that alcohol may harm the developing adolescent brain.

Of the 11 million underage drinkers in America, nearly 7.2 million are considered binge drinkers. That means they typically have more than five drinks on occasion. Alcohol remains the most heavily abused substance by America’s youth.

We must try to change the culture and attitudes toward drinking among our young people. We can no longer ignore what alcohol is doing to our children and another generation of addicts. We must educated them of the dangerous, set right models before them and provide help for those who are caught up in it. Look here for resource: STOP,  US Surgeon General, DARE etc.

There may be peer pressure, media influences and tendency to experiment, but ultimately the decision to drink is up to the individuals. They may not be able to forsee its consequences and are driven by its immediate pleasure. But if they’re make poor choices, they have to take the blame as well.

 

Reduce Divorce and save billions September 4, 2007

Filed under: Culture,Family,Leadership — Sam George @ 9:52 pm

With presidential elections heating up in America, candidates are pitching their take on family issues once again. We often hear a lot about what presidential aspirants want to do for American families, taxes, immigrants and not to mention support family values (whatever that means).

Here is a challenge to presidential candidates from a American family champion – Mike McMannus. He says divorce in American can be slashed to half of what it is now (does that mean from half of all marriages to quarter) without a penny of federal funding and in turn reducing federal deficit by over $40 Billion. Read his prescription in  a report in Dakota Voice or at Marriage Savers website.

 Believe it or not the prevailing culture of divorce in America costs taxpayer a staggering $150 Billion! Mostly due to welfare measures, food stamps and other subsidies. Most people on welfare have failed marriage or children out of wedlock. 

We can never put a price on the value of a stable family and what it does for future generations. Strength and stability of a nation depends on the strength and stability of the most basic building block of the society – ie family. The growing moral crisis and liberal ideologies are undermining greatness of this nation and its global influence, which by the way none of the presidential candidate really seems to care. They simply want to make it to the white house or want to sound politically correct or lack the moral courage to face the harsh reality of fundamental weakness in the American society.

 

Image conscious youths September 2, 2007

Filed under: Culture,Family,News,Youth — Sam George @ 3:50 am

The recent cover story of India Today brought out the growing obsession of Indian youth with beauty and body images. Teens are doing manicures, hair styling, laser surgery and body grooming. What really surprised is that they are even doing breast implants, liposuction and skin lightening.

In many cases, parents are behind this trend and dreams of turning their kids into glamorous stars and beauty contest winners. But it also reported that this is a dangerous trend, making them adults long before their time.

Some are thriving as a result of shifting trends -branded apparrel makers, gyms, salons, cosmetic surgeons and fashion designers. Urban clothing for 12-16 year old is $ 40 million growing at 30 percent in India. With nearly 500 million people under the age of 20, there us enough room to grown and thrive in this marketplace.

All this is indicative of growing consumerism, prosperity, materialism and image consciousness of the new generation in India. But sadly beauty is only skin deep and pushing them to adult roles have negative consequences. Character, values etc does not seem to matter to this generation. We are also seeing consumeristic mindset and growing promscuity among teens in India.