MILLENNIALS ON THE MOVE: More than the Socio-cultural Rebel, a Political Force

MILLENNIALS ON THE MOVE: More than the Socio-cultural Rebel, a Political Force Featured


(First of the two-part series)

My father hit the Sunday AM station on our timeworn Astron stereo yesterday. Sundays are for the blues and classics, and of course, AM stations have the best playlist.

A familiar tune started to mingle my idle thoughts that afternoon, it was Freddie Aguilar’s Estudyante Blues, that 1988 classic hit that talked about the life and struggles of the typical Filipino youth of their time.

Here are some few excerpts:

“Ako ang nakikita, ako ang nasisisi, ako ang laging may kasalanan.Kapag nangangatwiran ako'y pagagalitan, 'di ko alam ang gagawin”

(They always seem to see me, they always seem to blame me, and everything just seems to be my fault, when I explain my story, they always get so angry, and I don’t know what to do)

As I examine the lyrics, I realized that these are struggles not too distant from the current lamentations of my generation. The personal issues faced by the millennials are the same. We were spited for being culture rebels and generation gap widens in between exchanges of angry remarks.

What’s a “millennial”?

I have read several articles about the millennials and I noticed a common outline among all of them. It always begin with a description and end with a hope that they (millennials) will come to their senses which completely undermined the importance of stating the conditions first that produced the behavior or the personality.

According to researchers Neil Howe and William Strauss, the millennials are defined as the group born in 1982 and approximately the 20 years thereafter." In 2012, they affixed the end point as 2004 (The Atlantic). Given this definition, I am certainly one with the millennials.

According to sociology, a generation is best defined by the grandiosity of a breakthrough. And any forms of revolution – technological, political, social- creates conditions that fundamentally guides and influences the making of the social fabric, the definition of community and the manner of “pakikipag-kapwa”.

It is apparent that the modern times are best defined through technological breakthroughs. Technology has profoundly changed the way people interact and the way people do things in terms of communication, information-generation, construction, politics, commerce and business. Most of all, it changed the concept of space and time.

Tagged “Tech-savvies”

First, millennials nowadays are called as the social-media dependents, the digital natives, which means to say that we like to be socially connected through multiple devices.

For us, social media has been a primary channel of our thoughts, ideas, feelings, angst, anger, and even served a meter stick for gauging self-esteem. Technology, more than anything else, has influenced this generation’s temperament. Technological breakthroughs allowed millennials to get what we want in a short period of time. Information? Just type in the word and, voila, Google have searched it for us. Need cash? Why suffer waiting in a long queue when we can do online banking. And shopping has never been this convenient through the new Amazon App that allows us to purchase items without passing through the cashiers.

If there is one word I can think of to describe this generation, it’s the word “instant gratification”. We want things instantaneously to the point that we easily loose cool when they don’t get hold of the information or anything we want right away.

According to Simon Sinek, a renowned British/American author and consultant, the repercussion of technological attachment usually results to impatience and the difficulty of finding deep fulfillment in the workplace or even in relationships. On the other hand, a worldwide study conducted by Deloitte which aimed at describing the trends of a millennial in the workplace suggested that this generation invest more on personal fulfillment and would not hesitate leaving a job in a year or two if they don’t feel satisfied in it. Self-discovery, more than anything else, is a primary motivation for the millennials. Being able to define one’s happiness and to live by its trajectory.

Age of Wiki-leaks and Transparency

Second, technology allowed millennials to experience “connection” like never before. Virtual connection becomes so easy that while I’m currently typing this article, I can be aware of what’s happening in some other parts of the globe through live streaming. Unfettered access to anything online is a thing of the millennials and that’s the reason behind their demand for transparency and truth.

Hackers all over the virtual world are staging a different kind of revolution only capable in the age of technology. And this incessant search for truth destroyed the thickest firewalls which protected and enjoyed by the traditional government for the longest time. By revealing top secret documents that were once hidden from the public’s eyes, the millennials spearheaded the tradition of transparency and truth-seeking.

It is through this virtual connection that one actually becomes more conscious and relevant of the things happening around regardless if it’s just a fabricated story or a real scenario. Because of this, this generation becomes the conveners of movements through social media revolution. They are the generation who have ousted old-age regimes and toppled down traditional politics. The Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, and the EDSA 2 Revolution are proofs of the millennial’s powerful force that lambasted social injustices in their communities.

“Bella esperanza de la Patria mia”

The millennials, the generation which I belong, have certainly earned various negative labels from every sector known in the society. They were called narcissist, self-entitled, and even temperamental brats, a term coined by Mr. Andanar, the current Secretary of the Presidential Communications.

However, to limit our aspirations and motivations just within the definitions forged by the society completely undermines the different layers characterizing the identity of the millennials. We were boxed inside a structure, and the society put labels on us just before we even come to reconcile our individual differences with the demands of the society. We were shushed just before we speak. And we were judged by our reasons.

By removing all generation biases, people from all ages would get to transcend through stereotypes and value each person’s potential and unique individuality, besides each is carved out from different circumstances.

The generation of the millennials is a time of dreams and ideals. Therefore it is important for our leaders to provide healthy and motivating facilities in order to polish and foster the youth’s potentials as we prepare ourselves for a noble cause. With strong bones and vigorous spirits, we can fully realize our potentials and be able to inspire positive change in the communities when guided by the wisdom of the old ones.

The millennials are the “bella esperanza de la Patria mia”, or the hope of the fatherland. Doctor Jose Rizal’s idiom has been passed down through every generation, and the time is ripe for the millennials to prove their patriotism to the fatherland.

Our superiority in numbers have proven and found expression in the previous election. Our dominant personal values have guided the movements staged even after elections either through social media or street protests.

And this is where the millennials’ political force possess the potential to reshape this nation and become part of socio-political upheavals.
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