About a third of millennials in the United States are sort of flexible about the shape of Planet Earth.
The statement above should terrify you about the ability of the younger generation to look after the world, or at least their ability to stop themselves falling off the edge of it.
In fairness, the statistics only relate to the US but that’s no reason for all of us to feel smug. We are all, in various ways, inter-connected.
OK, let’s be clear here. A third of millennials don’t actually think the Earth is flat. The YouGov survey simply revealed that only 66 per cent of American 18-24 year olds were absolutely convinced that they are currently standing on a celestial orb. The remainder seemed content to take alternative suggestions like, but not limited to, a flat Earth.
And the phenomenon seemed to be confined to millennials: almost 96 per cent of over-50s knew the Earth was spherical.
If one were an optimist, one could take comfort in the fact that these millennials were so, well, open-minded.
Brace yourselves folks, going forward, you might see a lot more Donald Trumps’ coming out of the woodwork.
History generally credits Galileo Galilee as the first person to discover the Earth’s shape although many Greeks think that it might even have been Pythagoras way back in the 5thCentury.
That the Earth is round has been confirmed over and over again not least by satellite photos of the planet from outer space.
Astronomy is a pretty exact science much like zoology. Example: there are precisely 350 varieties of shark not including the loan, pool and the UMNO variety.
In short, the notion that the world was anything but round was thought to have been dispelled ages ago. Sometime in the 19thCentury, however, the “flat Earth” theory resurfaced almost as a conspiracy theory. Indeed, the first “flat Earth” conference was convened in the US last year. 500 people attended but we have reason to believe that at least 300 were psychiatrists who were there as observers.
These people were like those who voted for Brexit: they had made up their minds and didn’t want to be confused by facts.
People these days like to make fun of millennials as being self-centred, avocado-toast loving, technology driven, fearless young men and women who are choosy about jobs and passionate about the environment.
Or to put it another way, millennials are the only ones who need a smartphone and a laptop to go online to find that they don’t have very much left in their bank balances.
But who are we to talk?
Ours was the generation who made a millionaire out of the guy who invented the pet rock. We were the same guys who made a mess of the environment and ours was the generation that lived in – possibly – the best time of all in the sense of the cost of living.
I found a job almost immediately after I graduated and I changed jobs fairly easily. A group of us friends rented a four-bedroom, double storey house in Bangsar in 1984 for the princely sum of RM450 a month! Life was relatively comfortable back then.
And we bought our first house in our early thirties.
Most millennials are too busy paying off student loans to think of houses. And, let’s face it without parental support, few can even dream of owning houses.
So spare a thought for the millennial. And who are we to mock their worldview, if you’d pardon the pun?
Between 2009 and 2018, our Malaysian world went from being flat to round to crooked.