Coconut Generation

The Next Generation of Asian Indians

Indian Population in US – third highest November 30, 2007

Filed under: Family,India,News — Sam George @ 4:45 pm
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India is among the top three countries sending people to the US. Indian ranked below Mexico and China, with Philipines a close fourth. Chinese twice as much Indians and Mexicans almost 8 times as much. Read a new report from Center for Immigration Studies. Indians continue to be largest ethnic student population in American universities (repeated again for the fourth time in Fall 07).

The nearly 2 million strong Indian community in United States is one of the most educated and wealthiest group. Nearly 39 per cent being US citizens. Highest number of PhD are held by Indian, largest real estate asset among immigrants, most enterprising, most politically active etc. No wonder they are called Model Minority.

United States in the most favorite destinnation for human migration in the world. One in eight resident in US are foreign born. Out of a total immigrant population of 37.9 million, an estimated 11.3 million are illegals. Mexico is largest sending nation and also the largest illegals. Since 2000, 10.3 million immigrants have arrived – the highest seven-year period of immigration in US history. More than half of post-2000 arrivals (5.6 million) are estimated to be illegal aliens.

With increased migration, the Indian community will be preoccupied with immgrants needs and continue to overlook the needs of American born generation. Though some will still be involved with community institution, I feel there will be mass exodus of the Coconut generation to either the western establishment or create alternative systems. It will be interesting to see how things pan out. Watch what is happening with South Asian community in UK to see some trends.


Delaying Marriage November 29, 2007

Filed under: Culture,Family,News,Youth — Sam George @ 6:00 pm
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The young adult population in America is postponing marriage. The census report that almost three-quarters of men and almost two-thirds of women in their 20s in 2006 said they had never been married. This shows a sharp increase in never-married twentysomethings in America between 2000 and 2006. See the report in USA Today.

The old trend of marrying your high school sweetheart or meeting someone at college and get married soon after graduation, isn’t the way to go these days. People are longer in school, working through many jobs, try to pay up your college debt and not to mention that challenge of finding the right person.

Some of this is true of Indian American community as well. The Coconut Generation is getting married later in life. Just this week, I heard of someone who finally met her soulmate and is getting married in her late 30s. Women pursued more studies than men and stayed in colleges longer, gender imbalance in the community and finding compatible mates is harder for any second generation ethnic communities.

Some socio-economic factors that contributes to this trend are increasing numbers of cohabiting couples, rise of singlehood and homosexuality, highly educated women who have fewer highly educated men of comparable age to partner with, and more choices open to women than in decades past etc.

Educated women no longer live with their parents and feel less pressure to get married. They also have greater say in matters of their own wedding and are less likely to run into potential mates. The place where you meet your mater has shifted from school to college to now workplace.


To Understand Teens, Go Online November 27, 2007

Filed under: Culture,News,Youth — Sam George @ 5:24 pm
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That was the title of an article in USA today. Having written the book Understanding the Coconut Generation, which was an attempt to understand a particular group of teens in America, that title got my attention right away.

Some think teens are non-talkative, but not so in the virtual world. Social networking sites have proven then teens love to talk about themselves, their vulnerabilities and reveal their souls. No freely share their greatest secrets and fears. They are less concerned what other may think and quick to pour out their hearts before the world. They are looking for affirmation, guidance, relationships and intimacy (though pseudo).

But their increased virtual skills and ability to share openly also resulted in poor skill in the real world. Todays teens are very few adult relationships. Chatting with peers over the Net does not aid in development of relationship skills.

Sure enough, Myspace and Facebook entries of teens could give you some access into their hearts and minds. Youthworkers must have online presence and kids should able to reach you whenever they need us. But online entries alone are not sufficient to get the entire picture. It could be a great starting point. We must help teens develop skills for the real world as well.


Online harassment November 23, 2007

Filed under: Culture,Family,News,Youth — Sam George @ 6:54 am
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A 13-year old girl in Missouri committed suicide after being harassed over popular social networking site MySpace. The city has outlawed electonic media harassment as a crime. But it turns out that the online friend was fictitious person! Read the report in Houston Chronicles, LA Times, and ABC News.

Internet hoax, cyberbullying, virtual blackmails etc are new problems of the new world. Can online relationships be held to same standards as real ones? What if it was her depression that led to suicide? Can online chat lead people to extreme step of taking their own lives?

Many are forging relationships quickly over social networking sites. Many are quickly breaking up also. Does virtual break ups hurts as much as real life ones? Are kids learning more about relationships virtually or are they destroying themselves? How do we balance between virtual and real world?


Young People reading less November 19, 2007

Filed under: Culture,News,Youth — Sam George @ 3:57 pm

Reading habits are at risk. The younger generation’s reading skills are gone down in recent years. With the rise of television, ipod, internet and IMs, younger generations are loosing out their interest in  plain old reading.

In a new report released by the National Endowment for the Arts makes clear this plummeting reading trends among young people over two decades: a) Only 30 percent of 13-year-olds read almost every day. b) The number of 17-year-olds who never read for pleasure increased from 9 percent in 1984 to 19 percent in 2004. c)Almost half of Americans between ages 18 and 24 never read books for pleasure. d) The average person between ages 15 and 24 spends 2 to 2 1/2 hours a day watching TV and 7 minutes reading. See detailed story in Boston Globe. Also check out the study at NEA.

I have grown up with comics and books. I still love reading… try to read a wide range of literature – newspaper, magazines, books etc on a wide range of fields. Every time I am at the airports or malls, I find myself being drawn to bookstores almost unconciously. I guess it is a good habit from good old days! Now as a author and writing a regular column in newspapers and websites, I am forced to keep up my reading.

What if younger generation are getting information from other sources? Should it be limited to reading? They are a visual generation and books may not be the greatest form for information dessimination or knowledge acquisition. Will newspapers and books be extinct in few decades or in a centuray. Will we be processing all info over the Internet?  Are we becoming a illiterate society? How will this affect youthwork?

 Something to think about, I guess?


Back in Action .. right away November 17, 2007

Filed under: Family,India — Sam George @ 2:07 pm
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I had been out of action from blogging for almost a month. It was our family vacation and we were away in India and UAE. And I had decided to do a digital fast. I do not know if you know that concept. Life without mobile phones, blogs and emails seems almost impossible! We have got so used to them lately, but must remind ourselves we did not use all these few decades ago. So I decided to refrain from all technology tools for few weeks.

As a family we had some great time with our extended families and friends. We’re able to create some great memories for our children and ourselves. Some great bonding time. We left Indian early this week and spend few days in Dubai. A happening place indeed. We got back to Chicago on thursday and had to leave on Friday to be in Long Island (NY) for a speaking assigment. I feel little exhausted from the trip … (you know how vacations can be…. we need another to recover from the one you just had). I am quite excited to get back to things I love to do. Routine seems to put life back in its place.

Puase.. take time to be yourself. Fast from Internet from time to time….. it is good for your soul!