Lifestyle

Describe millennials in one sentence (2m).

“I gave in and downloaded TikTok,” the millennial sheepishly admits.

Yes, I sheepishly admit I’m that millennial.

I’m pretty sure many of my fellow millennials’ (or older, no shame) first impression of TikTok was “huh, what is this?”. With the algorithm still fresh and untouched, my feed right after setting up an account was just videos after videos of completely random content. Even now, the occasional cringy lip-sync video still finds a way to creep into my feed.

I guess part of TikTok’s magnetic allure is that it somehow can introduce content that’s completely out of what you’d imagine to get on, say, a Facebook feed (yes, I still use it for the memes) - nothing that skews too far from what you enjoy browsing. Yet, TikTok manages to make you pause to watch, and by the time you get to your senses, the 15-second video is already looping, almost mockingly. 

But it’s fascinating because I got to look at the vastly different digital lives of a younger generation, and in some attempts try to imagine what’s really going on in their minds. There are those sharing recipes with amazing videography, some really working that transition game, and… what, crystals? I thought crystals were a thing of our parents’ or even grandparents’ era.

While doing some research for this piece, apparently the whole mysticism thing with Gen Zs and Millennials, too, isn’t new at all (once again, I’m late to trends). And so, I surveyed 500 Gen Zs and 500 Millennials (both of whom I’ll address as ‘younger Singaporeans’ hereon for simplicity) in Singapore to find out not just how many are on this crystal bandwagon, but also a dipstick of their beliefs towards spirituality and mysticism.

Are younger Singaporeans spiritual?


The results show that at least half of younger Singaporeans claim to be very or somewhat spiritual. Zooming into millennials, more of respondents aged 35-40 years old are spiritual compared to the rest in their generation, as well as the Gen Zs.

Spirituality is usually an important part of religion, but they are not the same. It is interesting to note that there is a growing body of Americans that identify as “spiritual but not religious”, or in short SBNR. Along the same lines, we can observe from the survey results that 43% of respondents who claim that religion is not a big part of their lives indicate being very or somewhat spiritual. 

The National Census 2020 found that from 2010 to 2020, the share of residents with no religion increased across all age groups. With the huge popularity of yoga, meditation, and minimalism among younger Singaporeans, practices related to spirituality, I suppose, are alternatives or complementary to religions, offering means to the wellness and stability that many of us crave. (By the way, if you’d like to geek out a bit, a journal article “Religious, but Not Spiritual: A Constructive Proposal” by J. Aaron Simmons offers some really cool explanations about SBNRs)


Why crystals?

22% of respondents indicated that they believe in spiritual energies in objects, and 21% and 17% said that they have bought crystals or intend to do so respectively.


When questioned further, almost half (47%) say that they want to improve certain aspects of their lives and next on the list, is to help improve their mental wellness. I’m sure that at least a considerable number of people are aware of the possible placebo effects of mysticism and spirituality, but what if it is exactly the placebo effect that people are subconsciously looking for? If a crystal is said to give off calm energy, why would I reject it if it does make me feel so? 


The bigger question: why do we still believe in spirituality?

Earlier, I’ve discussed about why some people may turn towards spirituality, and here are more insights from the respondents themselves:


We know the age-old debate of God’s existence, and the same can be said about spirituality - the conversation is here to stay. While it remains a curiosity as to why crystals saw a revival of its popularity among a younger generation of Singaporeans, I’d say to each their own and that if it works, it works. 


What's the deal with crystals among younger Singaporeans?

We explore spirituality among Gen Zs and Millennials in Singapore and find out what's the hype over crystals.
Tan Yan Rong
December 2, 2021
MINS READ
What's the deal with crystals among younger Singaporeans?

Describe millennials in one sentence (2m).

“I gave in and downloaded TikTok,” the millennial sheepishly admits.

Yes, I sheepishly admit I’m that millennial.

I’m pretty sure many of my fellow millennials’ (or older, no shame) first impression of TikTok was “huh, what is this?”. With the algorithm still fresh and untouched, my feed right after setting up an account was just videos after videos of completely random content. Even now, the occasional cringy lip-sync video still finds a way to creep into my feed.

I guess part of TikTok’s magnetic allure is that it somehow can introduce content that’s completely out of what you’d imagine to get on, say, a Facebook feed (yes, I still use it for the memes) - nothing that skews too far from what you enjoy browsing. Yet, TikTok manages to make you pause to watch, and by the time you get to your senses, the 15-second video is already looping, almost mockingly. 

But it’s fascinating because I got to look at the vastly different digital lives of a younger generation, and in some attempts try to imagine what’s really going on in their minds. There are those sharing recipes with amazing videography, some really working that transition game, and… what, crystals? I thought crystals were a thing of our parents’ or even grandparents’ era.

While doing some research for this piece, apparently the whole mysticism thing with Gen Zs and Millennials, too, isn’t new at all (once again, I’m late to trends). And so, I surveyed 500 Gen Zs and 500 Millennials (both of whom I’ll address as ‘younger Singaporeans’ hereon for simplicity) in Singapore to find out not just how many are on this crystal bandwagon, but also a dipstick of their beliefs towards spirituality and mysticism.

Are younger Singaporeans spiritual?


The results show that at least half of younger Singaporeans claim to be very or somewhat spiritual. Zooming into millennials, more of respondents aged 35-40 years old are spiritual compared to the rest in their generation, as well as the Gen Zs.

Spirituality is usually an important part of religion, but they are not the same. It is interesting to note that there is a growing body of Americans that identify as “spiritual but not religious”, or in short SBNR. Along the same lines, we can observe from the survey results that 43% of respondents who claim that religion is not a big part of their lives indicate being very or somewhat spiritual. 

The National Census 2020 found that from 2010 to 2020, the share of residents with no religion increased across all age groups. With the huge popularity of yoga, meditation, and minimalism among younger Singaporeans, practices related to spirituality, I suppose, are alternatives or complementary to religions, offering means to the wellness and stability that many of us crave. (By the way, if you’d like to geek out a bit, a journal article “Religious, but Not Spiritual: A Constructive Proposal” by J. Aaron Simmons offers some really cool explanations about SBNRs)


Why crystals?

22% of respondents indicated that they believe in spiritual energies in objects, and 21% and 17% said that they have bought crystals or intend to do so respectively.


When questioned further, almost half (47%) say that they want to improve certain aspects of their lives and next on the list, is to help improve their mental wellness. I’m sure that at least a considerable number of people are aware of the possible placebo effects of mysticism and spirituality, but what if it is exactly the placebo effect that people are subconsciously looking for? If a crystal is said to give off calm energy, why would I reject it if it does make me feel so? 


The bigger question: why do we still believe in spirituality?

Earlier, I’ve discussed about why some people may turn towards spirituality, and here are more insights from the respondents themselves:


We know the age-old debate of God’s existence, and the same can be said about spirituality - the conversation is here to stay. While it remains a curiosity as to why crystals saw a revival of its popularity among a younger generation of Singaporeans, I’d say to each their own and that if it works, it works.