Generation Y Thailand: A new Me Generation?

Generation Y Thailand: A new Me Generation?

Traditional motor show model or
Traditional motor show model or "pretty" dressed in traditional Thai headdress taking a selfie.

32% of population, Gen Y shares hobbies on social media as road to instant fame, seeks out exotic lifestyles, but needs to exercise more & eat less.


Generation Y Thailand: A new Me generation?

Paritta Wangkiat, Spectrum

Millennials, or Generation Y are now 20 to 35 in age and born between 1980 and 1994 with a more generous definition extending to the year 2000.

They are said to be a diverse group, tech savvy, eager for promotion, individualistic and embracing globalisation via boundless online channels.

They love being online, and according to the National Statistics Office (NSO), use the internet for eight hours a day on average.

PLUGGED IN: Gen Y are hooked to their cellphones, considered vital to their everyday life. PHOTO: Narupon Hinshiranan

Many of them feel a growing disconnect with Thailand and its centuries of tradition and culture.

They feel under pressure from the older generations' interpretation of core Thai values and are feel shackled by chronic problems of ineffective education and political unrest.

THE RIGHT TO FIGHT: Parit 'Penguin' Chiwarak from Education for Liberation protests at Thammasat Rangsit Campus, demanding free education up for students until high school. PHOTO: CHAIRAT PATCHARATRIRAT

In short, Generation Y seems to share a lot in common with the so-called "Me Generation" or "Baby Boomers" of the past, people who are in many cases actually their parents The Me generation was perhaps the first generation that was given a name by marketers (sometimes prone to absurd over-generalisations for hundreds of millions of people).

Baby Boomers got their name because they were born in the generation after World War II and the Korean War (1946-1964), periods that experienced a big jump or "boom" in the number of babies born when soldiers came home from war and quickly made families.

They were called the "Me Generation" because they allegedly thought more of themselves and what was best for "me" than previous generations, even sometimes being called narcissistic with self-fulfillment said to rank higher than social responsibility in their list of priorities (see here).

Baby boom jump in births shown in red (Source: Wikipedia)


Generation Y, or "Millenials" are already a significant presence, making up 32% of the Thai population of about 68 million and catching up quickly with Generation X.

Globally, the millennials are now the world's largest demographic, accounting for 38.8% of the population.

Developing countries tend to have a higher Generation Y population than developed countries.

Millennials are already the drivers of the national economy based on their spending habits.

With a low birth rate and long life expectancy, Thailand is becoming an "aged society" characterised by a high percentage of older people needing to be looked after by the younger demographic.

By 2030, 25% of the population will be aged over 60, compared to the current 15%.

Half of Thai workers (aged 15 to 59) will be millennials.

Generation Y has already been identified as the largest consumer group.

PLUGGED IN: Gen Y are hooked to their cellphones, considered vital to their everyday life, even during trips to exotic far-away places when they should perhaps be enjoying the . PHOTO: Narupon Hinshiranan.


Generation Y is said to seek out exotic lifestyle choices, travel to out-of-the-way places and play extreme sports.

Their idea of fame is participating in a television competition like The Voice Thailand and Thailand's Got Talent.

The quickest path to fame is sharing their lives and hobbies on social media, which can bring them fame overnight.


Studies also reveal that millennials and even younger people are less healthy than earlier generations.

According to a 2015 Public Health Ministry survey, the obesity rate of children in pre- primary school classes had risen 36% compared to a study from five years earlier.

For those aged six to 13 years, the increase in obesity was 15.5%.

Unhealthy eating habits are the main factor.

Generation Y also tends to exercise less than previous generations.

A low birth rate and more one-child families has also resulted in parents spoiling their children more.


Thai millennials have grown up in the era of social media.

About 80% of Gen Y who use the internet spend time on social media, the NSO reported.

This has led them to become more sceptical of teachers, soldiers and monks -- members of society who previously faced little criticism.

Cliches like "a teacher is another mother", "the teacher is a role model of the nation" or "a soldier is the fence of the nation" are said to be deeply embedded in the Thai psyche.

But in recent years, those same institutions have been undermined by social media, with photos or video clips of the people they respect, in situations in which they are misbehaving, going viral.

Those social media posts have included teachers hitting students and writing on their pants with coloured pens to discipline them, a young army conscript being beaten to death by military officers and monks taking drugs, drinking and having sex.

The 2014 NSO survey showed 92.4% of Thai millennials agree that religious doctrine is still important in their lives, although it is a smaller percentage compared to previous generations.

Many of Generation Y use social media as a vehicle for venting their frustration with the older generation.

12-values line stickers sponsored by government.


Generation Y seems to have values and goals that differ in many ways from The junta's "12 core values of the Thai people" that was introduced after the 2014 coup (see here).

Students are required to recite the 12 core values either as part of their daily flag-raising ceremony or in class.

The values include: upholding the nation, religion and monarchy; respecting parents and teachers; concentrating on studies; and preserving Thai traditions and culture.

These values have typified "good Thai behaviour" for decades.

Generation Y values such as being free to express themselves and making decisions independently, as well as crafting their own "extraordinary lifestyle" may differ in many ways from the more traditional 12-values.

Many of Generation Y are bored with the old-style rote learning offered by teachers.

But they can't express this openly, as criticising a teacher means disrespecting elders, a "no-no" in Thai society.

Education without dialogue is making each student a replica of each other or classrooms should be the beginning point of an exchange of diverse ideas, are some of the educational reform ideas they dream of.

12-values line stickers sponsored by government (Source: Wikipedia)


The NESDB national planning organization suggests that a creative economy can rescue Thailand which has been trapped in labour-intensive industries and export dependence, and has set making Thailand the creative industrial hub of Asean as one of its goals.

Gen Y has opportunities from digital technologies that can produce successes that previous generations could only dream of.

But technology itself is said to be making them yearn for quick success while lacking the motivation and understanding to develop skills for the long-term.

In contrast, the best conditions for developing a creative economy are said to be when everyone develops themselves in their own ways and shares with others, giving back support to the whole society, say creative economy experts.

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  • absurd (adj.): completely ridiculous; not logical and sensible - ไร้สาระ, ไร้ความหมาย, ที่ไม่เป็นเหตุเป็นผล
  • according to (prep): as stated or reported by somebody/something - ตามคำบอกเล่า, ตามรายงาน
  • accounting for (verb): being -
  • allegedly: claimed to have done something wrong, but not yet proven - ที่กล่าวหา
  • allegedly (adv): stated without giving complete proof - ที่ถูกกล่าวหา, นัยว่า
  • behaviour: the way that someone acts or behaves - พฤติกรรม, การกระทำตัว
  • birth rate: the number of babies born every year in a place - อัตราเกิด
  • boom (verb): to have a period of rapid growth; to become bigger, more successful, etc. - เจริญรุ่งเรือง
  • bore: to cause you to feel impatient or dissatisfied, because you are not interested in something or because you have nothing to do - ทำให้รู้สึกเบื่อหน่าย ทำให้รู้สึกเหนื่อยหน่าย
  • boundless (adj): without limits; seeming to have no end - ไม่มีที่สิ้นสุด, มากมาย, กว้างใหญ่
  • catching up: to go faster and reach same point as someone who is ahead of you, in a race or competition -
  • century: a period of one hundred years - ศตวรรษ
  • ceremony (noun): a formal public event - งานพิธี
  • channel: a way of communicating with people or getting something done - ช่องทาง
  • characterise: to describe someone or something in a particular way - บรรยายอุปนิสัย, แสดงลักษณะ
  • chronic (adj): (of a disease, pain or problem) serious and lasting for a long time - เป็นประจำ
  • cliche: done or used so often that it has become predictable and boring -
  • compare (verb): to show or state that somebody/something is similar to somebody/something else - เปรียบเทียบ
  • competition: a situation in which people or organizations compete, i.e., try to be more successful or better than somebody else who is trying to do the same as you - การแข่งขัน
  • concentrate (verb): to give most of your attention to one aim or activity - เพ่งความสนใจไปยัง  มุ่งไปที่
  • consider: to regard as; to think of as - ถือว่า
  • consumer: someone who buys and uses goods and services - ผู้บริโภค
  • core: the most important or most basic part of something - ที่สำคัญที่สุด
  • coup: the seizure of power in a country by a group of people, usually members of the armed forces - รัฐประหาร
  • criticise: to say that you disapprove of somebody/something; to say what you do not like or think is wrong about somebody/something - วิจารณ์, ติเตียน,จับผิด
  • culture (noun): the customs and beliefs, art, way of life and social organization of a particular country or group - วัฒนธรรม
  • current: of the present time - ปัจจุบัน
  • daily (adj.): happening, done or produced every day - แต่ละวัน, ทุกวัน
  • decades: periods of ten years - เป็นสิบๆปี
  • demographer: a person who studies populations and changes in populstions, such as birth and death rates over time -
  • demographic (noun): a group of people that a company wants to sell its product to -
  • demographics: data relating to the population and different groups within it - สถิติประชากร
  • demography: the academic subject that studies populations and changes in populations, such as birth and death rates over time -
  • develop (verb): to gradually grow and improve something so that it becomes more advanced, stronger and successful - พัฒนา
  • developing country (noun): a country that is still growing and industrializing and is not yet a rich country - ประเทศกำลังพัฒนา
  • dialogue: formal discussion between two groups or countries, especially when they are trying to solve a problem, end a disagreement, etc - การสนทนา
  • disconnect: to separate something from something - ตัดขาดจากกัน, แยกออกจากกัน, แบ่งออก
  • disrespect: to treat someone or something without respect - ไม่นับถือ,ไม่มีสัมมาคารวะ
  • diverse (adjective): many different kinds of things or persons - หลากหลาย
  • diverse (adj): including people from many different backgrounds; very different from each other - หลากหลาย
  • driver (noun): something that causes other things to happen (example: a driver of economic growth) -
  • elders: people who are older - คนที่อายุมากกว่า, คนที่เป็นผู้ใหญ่กว่า
  • embrace: to accept something such as a belief, idea, or way of life - ยอมรับ น้อมนำมา
  • exercise: physical activity such as running or weight lifting to make your body strong and healthy; physical training - การออกกำลังกาย
  • exotic: interesting or exciting because of being unusual or not familiar - ผิดธรรมดา,ประหลาด
  • experience (verb): to have something happen to you or to live through some event - ประสบ
  • express: to tell someone about a feeling, opinion, or aim by speaking or writing about it - แสดงออก (ทางความคิดหรือความรู้สึก) โดยใช้คำพูดหรือการเขียน, พูดออกมา
  • extraordinary: very unusual and surprising - เกินธรรมดา, ผิดธรรมดา
  • extreme sports (noun): sports that are extremely exciting to do and often dangerous, for example skydiving and bungee jumping - กีฬาที่ท้าทาย
  • factor: a fact or situation which influences the result of something - ปัจจัย
  • fame: the state of being famous or very well known - ชื่อเสียง
  • frustration: an annoyed or discouraged feeling because you cannot do or have what you want - ความผิดหวัง, ความไม่พอใจ
  • generalisation: to make a rule for all cases by looking at only a few cases (induction) - กล่าวสรุป, กล่าวทั่วๆ ไป
  • generation: a group of people in society who are born and live around the same time - รุ่น (คนรุ่นต่างๆ)
  • generation: a group of people in society, a type of technology, a system, etc. which exists at a certain time - รุ่น
  • globalisation (noun): the idea that the world is developing a single economy and culture as a result of improved technology and communications - โลกาภิวัตน์, โลกานุวัตร, การแพร่หลายไปทั่วโลก
  • globally: throughout the world - ทั่วโลก
  • habit: a thing that you do often and almost without thinking, especially something that is hard to stop doing - กิจวัตร, สิ่งที่เป็นนิสัย, สิ่งที่ทำเป็นประจำ
  • hooked: finding something so interesting or attractive that you want to do it as much as possible - ติดใจ   ตกกระไดพลอยโจน
  • identified (verb): named, searched for a discovered - ระบุ
  • independently: without help from others - พึ่งตนเอง
  • individualistic: acting according to their own goals and ideas -
  • ineffective: not working correctly or not doing what you want it to do - ซึ่งใช้การไม่ได้, ซึ่งไม่ได้ผล
  • interpretation: an explanation of the meaning or importance of something - การตีความ
  • introduce (verb): to start something new, for the first time - เริ่ม, ริเริ่ม, ตั้ง
  • life expectancy: the number of years that a person is likely to live; the length of time that something is likely to exist or continue for - การคาดหมายคงชีพ
  • lifestyle: the type of life that you have, for example the type of job or house you have or the type of activity you like doing - วิถีทางการดำเนินชีวิต, ลีลาชีวิต, รูปแบบการดำเนินชีวิต
  • look after (verb): to take care of, look after - เฝ้าดู, มองตามหลัง, ดูแล
  • monarchy (noun): the king or queen of a country and their family - ราชวงศ์, พระบรมวงศานุวงศ์
  • narcissistic (adj.): self-love; when people do things that show that they love themselves too much -
  • nation: a country considered as a group of people with the same language, culture and history, who live in a particular area under one government; all the people in a country - ประเทศ, คนในประเทศ
  • national (adjective): for the whole country - แห่งชาติ, ของชาติ
  • nought: zero; 0 -
  • obesity: being overweight, which can have a negative effect on health -
  • on average: calculated by adding several amounts together, finding a total, and dividing the total by the number of amounts - โดยเฉลี่ย
  • online: controlled by or connected to a computer or to the Internet - ออนไลน์, การเชื่อมต่อผ่านระบบเครือข่ายทางคอมพิวเตอร์
  • out-of-the-way: remote; far away from other cities, towns, or people - ที่ห่างไกล
  • overnight: suddenly or quickly, e.g., in one night - ในเวลาอันสั้น, ข้ามคืน,อย่างรวดเร็ว
  • participating: taking part in something - เข้าร่วม
  • path: a plan of action or a way of achieving something - เส้นทาง, วิถีทาง, แนวทาง
  • percentage (noun): an amount divided by 100 - อัตราร้อยละ, จำนวนร้อยละ, อัตราต่อหนึ่งร้อย
  • pop-: done for a big mass audience and be "popular" -
  • population: a particular group of people or animals living in a particular area - กลุ่มที่อาศัยอยู่ในที่เดียวกัน
  • presence: the fact of being in a particular place, thing or situation - การเข้าร่วม, การมีอยู่
  • preserve: to keep something as it is, especially in order to prevent it from being damaged or destroyed - ทำให้คงอยู่, สงวน
  • previous: happening or existing before the event or object that you are talking about - แต่ก่อน, เมื่อก่อน
  • primary school: a school for young children usually between the ages of 5/6 and 11 - โรงเรียนประถมศึกษา
  • priority: something important that must be done first or which needs more attention than something else - การมาก่อน
  • promotion (noun): moving to a higher level; moving to a job at a higher level - การเลื่อนตำแหน่ง
  • prone (verb): to likely to experience a particular problem more often than is usual - ที่มีแนวโน้ม
  • protest: to make a strong complaint or disagreement - ประท้วง
  • psyche: the part of your mind that controls your attitudes and behaviour - จิตใจ,วิญญาณ
  • ranking: the position of somebody/something on a scale that shows how good or important they are in relation to other similar people or things, especially in sport - อันดับ
  • rate: the level or speed at which something happens or changes, or the amount or number of times it happens or changes in a particular period - อัตรา
  • recite (verb): to say something that you have learned or memorised - อ่านออกเสียง
  • reform: a change that is intended to correct a situation that is wrong or unfair - การแก้ไข การปฏิรูป
  • replica: an accurate copy of something - งานศิลปะที่จำลองจากของจริง, ของจำลอง
  • respect: a feeling of admiration that you have for someone/something because of their personal qualities, their achievements, or their status, and that you show by treating them in a polite and kind way - ความเคารพ, ความนับถือ
  • responsibility: a duty; a duty to deal with or take care of somebody/something, so that you may be blamed if something goes wrong - ความรับผิดชอบ
  • role model (noun): someone/something whose behaviour/activity is considered to be a good example for other people to copy - ผู้ซึ่งมีลักษณะควรค่าแก่การเป็นแบบอย่างให้กับผู้อื่น
  • rote: memorizing things by repeating them over and over, without really thinking or practicing problem solving skills - การท่องจำอย่างเดียว,
  • roughly: approximately but not exactly - โดยประมาณ, อย่างคร่าวๆ
  • savvy: having practical knowledge or understanding of something - รู้,เข้าใจ, มีความรู้ความสามารถ
  • scenery: the natural features of an area, such as mountains, valleys, rivers and forests, when you are thinking about them being attractive to look at - ทิวทัศน์, ทัศนียภาพ
  • self-fulfillment: when a person is fulfilled or did what they needed to do to feel satisfied or fulfilled -
  • shackles: a pair of connected metal rings that can be locked onto the wrists or legs of a prisoner - โซ่ตรวน
  • significant: important - สำคัญ
  • significant: large or important enough to have an effect or to be noticed - ซึ่งมีความหมาย
  • social media: the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc. - เครือข่ายสังคมออนไลน์
  • society (noun): people in general, living together in communities - สังคม
  • statistics: a collection of information shown in numbers - วิชาสถิติ
  • survey: to make an examination of something to find out about its condition - สำรวจ
  • tradition: a very old custom, belief, or story - ประเพณี, ขนบธรรมเนียม
  • typify: be typical of; the be usual -
  • under pressure: made to feel anxious about something you have to do - ภายใต้ความกดดัน
  • undermine: to make someone become gradually less effective, confident, or successful - บ่อนทำลาย
  • unrest: angry or violent behaviour by people who are protesting or fighting against something - สถานการณ์ที่ไม่สงบ
  • uphold: to defend or keep to a principle or law; to show that you support something by what you say or do - รับรอง พิทักษ์รักษา ยืนหนัด
  • value: how much something is worth in money or other goods for which it can be exchanged - มูลค่า
  • values: beliefs about what is right and wrong and what is important in life - ค่านิยม
  • vehicle: something that can be used to express your ideas or feelings or as a way of achieving something - เครื่องมือ
  • vent: to express your feelings of anger very strongly - แสดงออก, ปล่อยอารมณ์, ระบายอารมณ์
  • video clip (noun): a short piece of video, in YouTube, for example - คลิปวีดีโอ
  • vital: extremely important; necessary for the success or continued existence of something - จำเป็นสำหรับชีวิต; สำคัญมาก
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