Medical doctor counsels school kids that TikToker is not an occupation

Letter to Editor

A POST by a medical doctor about schoolchildren who seem deluded about their career choices has really hit the nail on the head.

Using the handle @MalaysianFoods, the poster known as Dr Malar vented her obvious frustrations on the FoodPornMalaysia page on X (formerly Twitter).

She stated that she had been giving a health talk at a school in Ampang, Kuala Lumpur where she had asked the pupils what their ambitions were.

A mere handful raised their hands when she asked if anyone hoped to become a doctor. A similar poor response greeted ‘engineer’ but when she asked who wanted to be a ‘TikToker” – to her utter dismay – many pupils raised their hands.

This is when she decided the dire need to wake these pupils up and smell the coffee. She told the assembled pupils that many people on social media were business people and were merely leveraging these platforms to market their products and services.

Dr Malar also explained being a social influencer is not a stable vocation with wildly fluctuating income streams.

She also pointed out that not all was rosy with even highly visible social media influencers saying they have to work very hard to create a following. These influencers would also be inundated with requests to do free promos which many will do just to increase visibility.

The obviously concerned speaker also counselled students to make it their goal to continuously seek knowledge to improve themselves.

Dr Malar’s post has since garnered close to a million views and over 5,300 ‘likes’ underlining what many parents and educators feel.

As a former educator, I can fully understand what she is saying, having had similar responses from classes that I taught. Becoming a “YouTuber” and “gamer” were the top two “occupations” when I asked my students what their future plans were.

There is very obviously a disconnect between young students and the realities of the working world. When they spend most of their time in cyberspace, it is no wonder the youths of today can only imagine a career within those parameters.

When it was pointed put to them that a firm grasp of language and public speaking skills were essential to succeed in the realm of social media such reality was met with nonchalant disinterest.

Some just said it was fine as they can delete any clip with mistakes and re-record it while many simply stated they would be producing content in their mother tongue, ie certainly not in the national language nor – God forbid – English!

I can really empathise with Dr Malar on this issue. She said that some parents and even teachers may disagree but she is very adamant that such a worldview was detrimental to the students.

Parents really need to understand that allowing their kids to be stuck on digital devices 24/7 is very probably going to have such negative consequences.

Please take affirmative action by limiting their time on the internet. Better yet, set a good example by doing the same yourselves. – Jan 3, 2024


Disenchanted ex-teacher
Johor Baru

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

Main pic credit: Silver Mouse

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