SUBANG JAYA: Teaching children how to save and spend wisely are important lessons in view of today's rampant consumerism – that is the view of Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen.
She said children were now facing greater pressure to spend beyond their means for various reasons, including advertising targeted at them, peer pressure and media coverage.
More Malaysian children, she added, were starting to equate their self-worth with “what they own” and were becoming individualistic and less inclined to share.
“The traditional Asian culture of being thrifty and simple is now being challenged by a culture of consumerism and the ambition to own the latest mobile phones, computer games and toys,” she said.
Dr Ng was speaking during the launch of the Adventures of Agent Penny financial education programme comic books for 2006 at Sekolah Wawasan Subang Jaya yesterday.
The comic books were started last year as part of a community project to instil better money management skills among primary school students aged between 10 and 12 years.
Coordinated by Citibank Bhd and the Malaysian Invention and Design Society (Minds), the project is funded by a grant from the Citigroup Foundation. It benefited 10,000 students from 12 schools last year.
Also present at the launch were Minds president Tan Sri Dr Augustine S.H. Ong and Citibank Bhd chief executive officer Piyush Gupta.
Gupta said the company’s experience over the years revealed that teaching people, especially children, how to spend, save, invest and manage debts wisely helped them improve their quality of life.
“More importantly, financial education benefits almost every level of society, including individual, families, small businesses, institutions, communities and ultimately entire economies,” he said.