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We beg to differ.


Rioting. Looting. Mugging. Stealing. These are activities people would normally associate with street gangs. But the recent mayhem in London that involved all those activities has baffled every expert in every society. They are baffled because the people involved didn’t just come from the “alienated poor, those without hope, lashing out in rage and despair.” They came from all kinds of backgrounds with some even coming from impeccable institutions of education and enjoying comfortable lifestyles.

As of this writing, there were more than 1,200 people arrested nationwide in connection with the violence that spread out on the streets of London. Among those arrested were two straight-A university students, one of whose father is a millionaire, and an 11-year-old boy. It just doesn’t get any more difficult to solve a situation like this. Britain, you have a problem. And apparently, the problem has been growing for decades.

Usually, people could dismiss society’s problem with outlaws as something having to do with economics, lack of education and overall discontent with social division. But growing discontent growing up in “da hood” is not limited to not having any money or opportunity for most British youths today. It is also discontent with of being alienated from their comminities’ adults.

The symptoms of the social disease have been obvious, even blatantly. The rising criminality, excessive drinking, drug-taking, and promiscuity among kids as young as 11 should have been hard to ignore. But for the British, the obvious has always been shrugged as being just part of growing up. Some claim “British kids are less integrated into the adult world and spend more time with peers.” And that “many British adults seem to view children as an entirely separate species.” This results in their young feeling unimportant and disconnected.

A 2008 TIME magazine article described the relationship between British adults and their kids:

Britons have never been very comfortable with the idea of childhood. (“Culturally, Britain just doesn’t like children much,” says Batmanghelidjh.) In Victorian England, rich children were banished to nurseries and boarding schools, while their poorer contemporaries were sent out to work. The British are still expected to function as adults from an early age. At 8, Scotland has the lowest age of criminal responsibility in Europe, followed by England and Wales, where youngsters answer for their crimes from the age of 10. Yet children venturing into the adult world often feel rebuffed. “I don’t get the feeling that Britain is the most child-friendly culture,” says Emily Benn, who was selected to contest a seat in Britain’s House of Commons three weeks before her 18th birthday. “When you go to France they’re nicer to you in restaurants, on the streets and on transport. When I go around Britain on the railways, I get treated like rubbish by guards and officials.”

So it would seem that there is an underlying problem among the British youth that goes beyond just adventurism. It is definitely a cry for help.

Filipino Youths echoing the same sentiments

I cannot help but see similar problems creeping up on our society today. With more and more Filipino adults leaving for work overseas to earn money, a lot of Filipino kids today are left to their devices long-term. Sure, most parents leave them with extended family thinking that they will be ok. But in some cases, that is just wishful thinking. I can imagine that caring for your own child would be different from caring for someone else’s child. It’s the same psychology behind renting a house compared to owning one, the latter being treated with more tender loving care than the former because it represents a longer term investment.

The absence of adult supervision is not just our society’s problem. Filipino kids are sometimes treated as another species as well. Like I had said in my previous article, “the biggest problem with our society is that young people are taught what to think, but not how to think.

From a young age, we are told not to question authority, with an emphasis on giving deference to our elders. Young kids are to be seen but not heard. This was evident in the last election when some young adults who did not see the relevance of “People Power” anymore were voicing their disgust at how some Filipinos are still beholden to the Aquino family.

But these young Filipino adults were quickly silenced by threats from the family elders, even coming just short of being stricken out from the family tree. Scared of being ostracized, young Filipino adults have no choice but to follow what their elders say, never mind if what the elders say defies what they had learned at school. This is because smart people somehow know that it is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument. Someone once said that one moron can ask more questions than ten wise men can answer and that ignorant people rely on insults instead of facts.

I personally think that young Filipino adults are the key to the Philippines’ future. Young adults have fresh ideas and fresh perspectives. Adults should listen to them more often because they can see what grown ups cannot see because of their relative lack of prejudices or biases. Fresh out of school, young Filipino adults still know by heart the theories and skills from their school lessons. Young adults can tell the Emperor that he has no clothes on.”

If we want to reduce the possibility of the kind of violence that engulfed the streets of London this week erupting in Manila, we need to address the issues concerning the Filipino youth as soon as possible before their discontent explodes. Some people might dismiss this concern as fear mongering but I personally think that the symptoms of the disease in our society have been showing for a long time now.

At the moment, religion still has a strong hold on the minds of our youth but a growing number of disconnected kids are slowly leaning towards atheism. The minute kids realize that their parent’s beliefs do not align with what they experience outside on the streets, today’s simmering power struggle between ideas of the youth and their elders could boil over.

One of the things that the Philippine government must do is to prioritise measures that stimulate creation of more jobs locally so that adults with young kids are not forced to go looking for jobs abroad. This will eliminate that stressful collective separation anxiety between the Filipino parent and the Filipino child. Education should be made mandatory with parents or guardians penalized when kids don’t attend school. Lastly, and this is a long shot, it would also help if the government or any private enterprise could take the initiative to create programs for young adults like, say, forums where they can voice their concerns. Sometimes just airing one’s frustration helps relieve pent-up angst. The worst thing that could happen in our society is seeing alienated kids with too much time on their hands wreaking havoc on the streets of Manila, rioting, looting, mugging, and stealing.

[Photo courtesy News24.com]

Ilda

In life, things are not always what they seem.

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33 Comments

  • Yves says:

    Despite the small similarities between the treatment of children, there aren’t enough parallels between the Philippines’ culture and theirs to say that riots like these are likely. Even if they are, they would be for entirely different reasons.

    Children may not be allowed to talk back much in the home, but the Philippine culture of family solidarity and closeness between children and parents (or guardians, in the absence of parents) is still there. The London problem was that kids were expected to be adults who can take care of themselves; Filipinos do not have that problem. If anything, Filipino kids stay with their parents much longer.

    But hey, in the worst case scenario at least our riot police are used to this kind of thing.

    • Ilda says:

      @Yves

      The London problem was that kids were expected to be adults who can take care of themselves; Filipinos do not have that problem

      This does not apply to every Filipino family. As I said in the article, a lot of Filipino youth today are left to their own devices because their parents are away overseas. Some are forced to grow up fast because the guardians are not doing a good job at minding them.

      I do agree that the strong family ties will work against the discontent of the youth but I have a feeling that not being able to speak their mind or not having the chance to feel independent can also turn kids into wimps in the long run. What I’m trying to say is, most Brits might be producing thugs while most Filipinos might be producing wimps – extreme products of a dysfunctional setting. They are both a result of disconnect while growing up.

      Wimpy behavior might be the reason why most members of our society are so indifferent and apathetic.

      I hope you are right though that rioting will not happen. But we cannot deny that there is a problem and we need to address it.

      • Yves says:

        The older generation was raised with the same culture of parents being the lords of the household. This, coupled with religion and society resulted in adults who have the same sort of discipline as their parents, and are by far not ‘wimps’. What makes the wimps today is not the ‘lack of freedom’, it’s that same culture used on kids who are also exposed to foreign ideals. The discontent comes from being subject to old, rigid traditions while learning of independence and liberal ideas. I’m not saying it’s wrong to let kids learn of foreign ideals, I’m just saying it’s not entirely right either to fault the fact that Filipino parents are strict. There just has to be a compromise somewhere there.

        To say that kids don’t get their guidance if parents are working abroad can’t be entirely true either. Families go beyond the parents and children–there are grandparents, cousins, uncles, and aunts who are more than willing to give the kids the attention they need, and large Filipino families can certainly allow that.

        • Ilda says:

          @Yves

          The discontent comes from being subject to old, rigid traditions while learning of independence and liberal ideas

          I’d still blame that on flawed parenting skills. Under what circumstances would they be exposed to both anyway? They probably leave the kids watching too much TV while applying strict rules. Back when I was growing up, we weren’t allowed to watch too much television. It also helped that we grew up in an environment where we were encouraged to ask questions and read a lot of books.

          To say that kids don’t get their guidance if parents are working abroad can’t be entirely true either. Families go beyond the parents and children–there are grandparents, cousins, uncles, and aunts who are more than willing to give the kids the attention they need, and large Filipino families can certainly allow that.

          I still say that not every family have this privilege. I know of some who were left with uncles or aunts who don’t even care about them.

        • Ilda says:

          @Yves

          BTW on your statement:

          The older generation was raised with the same culture of parents being the lords of the household. This, coupled with religion and society resulted in adults who have the same sort of discipline as their parents, and are by far not ‘wimps’

          I would not praise the older generation too much. After all, they are the ones who squandered the opportunity to improve the condition in the country. Their apathy and indifference during their time resulted in the Philippines still being considered belonging to the “basket case” category today.

      • Yves says:

        @Ilda
        You ask ‘under what circumstances’. I answer you by asking under what circumstances can a kid today NOT learn foreign ideas? TV isn’t the only place. The books we read at school, the movies shown in theaters…you name it. A child’s problems isn’t always just the parents’ fault. It’s a combination of everything around him/her.

        My example of kids being raised by grandparents, etc. was meant to demonstrate that not every family with parents working abroad can be used to explain the state of teenagers today. The point is that it can’t be the only reason.

        And blaming the previous generation? Really? I don’t think the current generation would really do any better. Maybe ten, twenty years from now people will be thinking the same.

        • Ilda says:

          @Yves

          You ask ‘under what circumstances’. I answer you by asking under what circumstances can a kid today NOT learn foreign ideas? TV isn’t the only place. The books we read at school, the movies shown in theaters…you name it. A child’s problems isn’t always just the parents’ fault. It’s a combination of everything around him/her.

          Well, yeah it’s a combination of everything, which is why close supervision is needed when you have kids. Having kids is not a part-time job. It is a full time job. The kind of TV shows and movies kids watch can affect their behavior. If the parents are willing to expose their kids to western music, books and shows, they had better be prepared for the consequences. Otherwise, they shouldn’t expose them at all.

          My dad discouraged us from watching too many idiotic shows when we were kids and I am so glad he did. I know a few people who were exposed to a lot of garbage on TV when we were kids and I can say that it has affected their ability to analyze things.

          My example of kids being raised by grandparents, etc. was meant to demonstrate that not every family with parents working abroad can be used to explain the state of teenagers today. The point is that it can’t be the only reason.

          And like I said, not every kid has a caring grandparent or aunt or uncle.

          And blaming the previous generation? Really? I don’t think the current generation would really do any better. Maybe ten, twenty years from now people will be thinking the same.

          Of course the previous generation’s apathy and indifference contributed to the current situation in our country now. Had they have been more critical of our government in the past and if they were more vigilant in monitoring how our public officials did their jobs, the latter would not have gotten away with stealing public funds and performing their jobs below par. And it looks like thinks would still be the same for the current generation because people like me who try to analyse things and find solution for our country’s woes are frowned upon by the majority in our society. It’s like Filipinos don’t like knowing that there is a problem.

      • Captjoe25 says:

        ILDA,You hit the nail right on the spot, We must teach our kids responsibility at a young age. One thing i notice in a Filippino family, The mother tend to give everything that a child demands, therefore a kid turns to a spoiled brat. If we teach kids to values like integrity, honesty and personal responsibility to one self. Maybe the Philippines will not be a dysfunctional society at all.

  • Gin says:

    The riots in London is just one of the symptoms of a dying civilization. UK, like the rest of Western Europe, has a dwindling population, leaving them no choice but to hire foreign workers, and in the case of UK, their first priority are their former colonies like in Africa and India. The result is a clash of cultures that are totally different from their host countries, which lead to disenfranchisement of many of their people, both native English people and immigrants.

    Now, with the emerging recession (depression is such a “depressing” term) in US which would mean a global economic tsunami all over the globe, workers, especially the young, are left with no choice but to fend themselves. In a society like in UK and the rest of Western Europe that practice socialist policies, many of their citizens are trapped with rising taxes and low birth rate, leaving their current younger and working population a huge burden to pay their debts.

    This is what many of the experts, especially people in the Roman Catholic Church, has been warning Western Europe for decades. But alas, people looked the other way and the result is undeniable. But the worst thing is that they are exporting the same mistake to us.

    Expect more of this riots and similar activities in the near future. This is nothing new. We saw this in France a few years back and these events will escalate in the coming months and years. The West is collapsing because there are just few people to manage their debts.

    • Ilda says:

      Hi Gin

      I agree with what you are saying. Unfortunately for the UK, they are too soft on migrants. This has contributed to the decline of their society. My friend from England said that she does not recognise their old neighbourhood anymore because it has been taken over by ethnic groups who do not want to assimilate. At least France is getting tough on migrants by introducing legislations, which will force some migrants to blend into the community.

      • ahehe says:

        Germany admitted that multiculturalism has failed in their country.

        • Ilda says:

          At least they are honest about it. It is not good to be politically correct all the time. The hatred will keep simmering and then eventually boil over. It’s best to address the issue head on.

  • genki says:

    Laws in other countries punish these stupid kids with just a slap on the wrist. Kids in the Philippines would think twice to riot lest they want to get salvaged or shot intentionally or accidentally by the police or military. They wouldn’t think twice using excessive force. They will have a great time committing human rights violations and beating the crap out of these kids.

    Anyway, the poor expendable youth of the Philippines are too busy sniffing glue and are probably too weak to riot as they are malnourished. The well off youth on the other hand are busy partying with their parent’s hard earned money.

    • Ilda says:

      @genki

      Laws in other countries punish these stupid kids with just a slap on the wrist

      I agree. It remains to be seen what is to become of those who were arrested. The last I saw some of them are back on the streets. And yeah, you are right about Police brutality even with kids here in the Philippines. It is also very much accepted here in our society.

      Anyway, the poor expendable youth of the Philippines are too busy sniffing glue and are probably too weak to riot as they are malnourished. The well off youth on the other hand are busy partying with their parent’s hard earned money.

      I am not sure if I am glad to read this.

  • anjo says:

    I think it’s suffice to say that we only need to worry if we see this trend in our SE neighboring countries.

    • Ilda says:

      Well, the Philippines might just be the place where it would happen. You can find a lot of disconnected and disenfranchised youth around here.

  • Cai says:

    Excuse me, I’m still part of the youth, you see. Just to raise up some points:

    1. I’m leaning into atheism, but still my parents are working *here* and I’m living with them. I argue with them, but you don’t see me thinking of rioting against adults.

    2. You think, in the future, that Filipino youth would somehow start the same riot as the British youth did. But you also contradicted yourself by saying in your argument with Yves that Filipinos have become wimps because of how they’re brought up.

    3. From previous point, I’m a strong believer of the big difference between the two groups of youth. Do you really think, for all the respectfulness and love our elders instilled in us (never mind the strictness with which they may have taught us), that we would actually think of starting a riot against parental absence? There’s a difference between parents working abroad for their children, then coming home to bond with them, and parents not cuddling their children, as you described the British culture.

    4. Regardless of how you’re taken care of, the rest of your life is up to you. Don’t you see those individuals who, despite having parents, aunts, uncles, godparents, and grandparents looking after them, stray into the worse sides of life? In contrast, there are those who, despite having gone through hardships that include lack of parental supervision, still get to live better lives?

    You choose who you want to be. So please, please, please don’t blame the older generation.

    • benign0 says:

      There are many ways that frustration may “boil over”. One form is in the riots that hit London this week. Filipinos, on the other hand, seem to exhibit their frustrations and discontent in a typically passive-aggressive manner — maybe by being disengaged, disinterested, and unmotivated. The other possibility is even worse — perhaps Filipino youth are not even the least bit frustrated by anything at all, because they are too distracted or simply lack the perspective to feel frustration over the long-evident dysfunction of their own society.

      In that sense, Britain’s rioting youth are at least angry about something. Question is, are the Philippines’ youth angry enough about anything? There’s certainly much much more to be angry about in the Philippines than in the UK. And yet Pinoys continue wearing their stupid smiles as if everything is all hunky-dory. And that is what the real tragedy is.

      Indeed Filipinos, as you have observed, have chosen who they want to be — a people who are in denial that there is something profoundly wrong with their society.

    • Ilda says:

      @Cal

      1. I didn’t say that only atheist have a tendency to go rioting.
      2. Here’s exactly what I said to Yves:

      I do agree that the strong family ties will work against the discontent of the youth but I have a feeling that not being able to speak their mind or not having the chance to feel independent can also turn kids into wimps in the long run. What I’m trying to say is, most Brits might be producing thugs while most Filipinos might be producing wimps – extreme products of a dysfunctional setting. They are both a result of disconnect while growing up.

      Yes, our society has stronger family ties compared to the British people, but you have to admit that the Filipino youth can also feel disconnected or alienated from the adults because they are discouraged from speaking their mind. They are also not taught to be independent with some children still living in the same roof as their parents even in their 20s, 30s or even after marriage. So what I am trying to say is, instead of becoming thugs, most Filipino youths might be turning into wimps because of this. I hope that is clear to you.

      3. I still believe that being away from your parents for months or years takes its toll on the children. As I said earlier, children need constant supervision. Parents need to be there for the important milestones in their child’s life. It’s not enough that they just give them the occasional hugs when they come home and visit during their break from their stint as OFWs.

      Look, I’m not saying that every child of an OFW will turn into a basket case. I’m sure that there are a lot of children out there whose grandparents or guardians do a good job at taking care of them.

      4. We are talking about the Filipino youth not the adults. A person’s upbringing is very important to the way he or she would view life outside the home.

  • Hyden Toro says:

    The OFW slave/Drug Mule program by the government, has destroyed families…Father or mother goes abroad to work; with children on the care of relatives, or grandparents. I have seen marriages ripped apart, because of these situations. Or the children, grew up wayward…
    Jobs created locally; is the only good solution to this problem. The British are different from us. However, this situation may trigger also the British problems are having in our country…

  • Trosp says:

    This kind of riot has already happened in the Philippines. I think twice. Remember the failed EDSA III?

    Curiously, these riots in Europe and US are mostly – 99% (?) instigated by the liberal/progressive loonies.

  • tuod666 says:

    I know someone whose parents are far worse. “Parents Pimp”.

    Because of our down economy, youths of today can’t afford thinking about rioting or voicing out their disbelief in the system. Because of their current situation they are forced to resort to prostitution, or by marrying a rich foreigner and making a career out of it. Of course, with the help of their “Parents Pimp”.

    This is the real Filipino family is.

    Lucky are those who has a well-off family.

    I f*#ck%n hate the system.

    • Ilda says:

      That’s really sad. I hope we can break the cycle before it becomes part of our culture.

      • tuod666 says:

        As I see it. I think it is already part of the Filipino family. Parents sometimes jest about marrying a rich man/woman to their children, rather than protecting their dignity or by making them a good person. This is a bad joke.

      • Ilda says:

        I guess they see it as a ticket out of poverty. The thing is, that kind of mentality needs updating. Marrying a “foreigner” just to improve their situation only makes sense if the foreigner has a job.

        The financial crisis gripping the US and Europe won’t guarantee that the foreigner is a good catch. He might actually be trying to use the Filipina so he can get to stay in the Philippines.

    • tuod666 says:

      @Ilda

      (He might actually be trying to use the Filipina so he can get to stay in the Philippines.)

      Or the Filipina might also trying to use the Foreigner for her personal gain. Like if the foreigner wanted to buy a property for example a house in the Philippines, he is forced to purchase a land or a property in his spouse name even in businesses.

      Clearly our values are slowly fading. Filipinas are becoming more easy. Wives are blinded by the rich foreigners leaving the spouse devastated and a family torn apart.

      Filipinos now has less regard for tragedy, serious difficulty of our economy, corruption,and etc.

      No time for rioting. All are becoming indifferent.

      Filipinos are becoming the cheapest people in the world!

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