The here and now | Inquirer News

The here and now

/ 10:01 AM August 15, 2012

What defines this day and age? Now is a period of freedom. But who can tell this immediately unless they still remember a time when they were un-free? It is now only a memory for older folk. Only they have the advantage of comparison.

What do young people know? They, who have never been caught violating the curfew, who have never been loaded into a military truck, met the dawn in jail, and made to clean the streets the next day? They, who do not know these things were fought for and won little by little. How would they know there were those who stood at the barricades confronting armed soldiers with only placards and a wet bandanna to guard against tear gas? They have never been fired upon or pelted with rocks. They have never felt the rattan stick on their backs and heads, never felt the full force of a fire hose throwing water at them who huddled in the middle of the street pressing into each other as closely as they could. They do not have friends in jail nor hear underground news that some of them had died in the hills fighting.

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Fighting for what? Once upon a time they fought for things like freedom, justice, equality. They did social work. Now they do social network. They do Facebook and Twitter. They fight for themselves mostly. They do call-center work but claim they are not too happy with it. They will find other work soon. They buy condos. They save their money. They marry young if they marry at all.

They do gym. They work out keeping their bodies trim and muscular. They buy at the mall when they feel rich. They do ukay-ukay when they don’t. They buy trendy things, things they’ve seen in magazines or the  Internet. They wear what the stars wear. Or cheaper versions of them. They are proud to buy expensive original designer things. They are prouder still to buy them at a bargain. They are proud of cheap imitation things also. Whatever. They bar-hop. They do the coffee shops from time to time and order flavored coffee. They do mocha java or iced cappuccino. They never drink it black without cream or sugar.

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They like electronics. They distinguish themselves by their cell phones. They have must-haves. But they also know exactly what they can do without. Good earphones are a must-have. An iPad is optional. It is only so much bling. They watch anime and do Dota but only until the right age. After that only Youtube is appropriate. Ted Talks is pretentious and must only be done secretly.

At first they did not like geek. But then it became trendy. Now they do black rimmed glasses where once they only laughed at it. They thought cool was uncool until it became cool again. They are individualists. They believe in having personality. But only some personalities are acceptable. And if you do not know what they are then you’ve been away or too old or too young. Whatever. What you wear distinguishes you. But just so it is not baduy. So what’s baduy? If you do not know, then you must be baduy. Pity you. In this respect, little has changed.

There are still causes to think about. They think global warming, equality between the sexes, sex, gay liberation. They do not take the issue of reproductive health seriously. It is only an issue for old folks and religious fanatics. They mostly laugh at them. They themselves simply do what needs to be done or as they like. Nowadays everything is possible if you really want to do it. Nobody can stop you. Especially if you do it secretly away from the public eye and Facebook.

If it is not in Facebook, is it real? If it is not in the Internet, does it really exist? Does God have Facebook? Or a blog  site? Do call center people go to church? Do they have the time? Then what about Internet masses? Is that acceptable? What about phoned-in confessions? Why not text? Why not?

Do young people believe in anything anymore? They have more things to believe in now if they would. They believe in skateboarding, the world according to Eminem even if he is a bit too old already. They do not know exactly what to make of Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. They read their number of likes and dislikes. They laugh at the results.

They believe in the here and now. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Or older people are there precisely to look after those things. So why bother? They do not believe in being too serious about anything. Being too serious is unhealthy. They try especially never to be too serious with their own sadness. They call it depression now. And it can be treated. It is as common as Botox.

Nothing ever really ends. They just go on and on. They try to stay awake. They sleep only when they need to.

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