Malaysia and Singapore share a history of suppression of youth activism by the state, and as a result, this has led to the depoliticisation of young people, who are often labelled as apathetic. However, the changing realities of both countries, such as the instability of the economy, has led young people to engage more in political discussions in recent years. However, the rise of youth activism also entails rising harassment and state suppression of youth activists through surveillance, arrests and threats to future employability.
The Myanmar military coup, on 1 February 2021, devastated the country and the youth have played a leading role in protesting and resisting the military dictatorship. This paper explores Myanmar youth’s motivations for their resistance to the 1 February coup, their imaginations of post-revolution society, and their goals. The paper also attempts to evaluate the many challenges that youth activists are facing in post-coup Myanmar - a state that has again become severely repressive. Based on 34 individual interviews with youth activists involved in the peaceful anti-coup resistance movement in Myanmar, this paper asks: What are the conceptualisations, motivations and expectations held by youth activists participating in the peaceful 2021 anti-coup movement, and what challenges do they face?