Saturday, July 26, 2003

Then and Now

I wanna peace, man
peace, man
Judo karate
Samurai Cavite
Atras abante
Atras abante
Balik sa dati
Balik sa dati
P'enge ng pera
Dukot sa bulsa
Nawala ang pera
Sino'ng kumuha
Si Ramon Zamora

During those days when Pong was the computer console in vogue, kids kept themselves occupied by socializing with others in the neighborhood, through classic games like patintero, agawan base, touch ball, taguan, habulan, and tumbang preso. When no one wanted to run around too much, there were such options as pick-up sticks, jackstones, Chinese jackstones, Chinese garter, and what have you's.

I used to trip a lot playing habulan, much to the mom's dismay. And she'd always ask, "Kalaro mo ba si Ariel?" Ariel was one of the kids in the neighborhood, and whenever he'd participate in a running game, it's almost always certain that I'd trip and walk home with a bloody knee and tears in my eyes. I found it strange how mom would say, "Kase kalaro mo palagi si Ariel kaya nadadapa ka." It made no sense to me then that dear mom would connect my little accidents with Ariel's presence. At such a young age, I was already honing my transitivity algorithms.

Now, a new set of kids are beginnning to dominate the neighborhood, either slithering the streets on their little bikes, or converging at the gate of one of their fellows for a round of Beyblade. During the recent summer, a few took their flimsy kites to the air. On a rare occasion, a gang of little boys would come stampeding past the house, laughing and jeering, punctuated by hollers of 'putanginamo' or 'pakyu.' Then there are the adventurous tykes who'd risk life and limb, climbing unaided atop spiked iron fences, just to pick out some precious fruit from a tree in an empty lot. I noticed, though, that there aren't a whole lot of them. Maybe it's because the cycle hasn't made the revolution yet. But still...

Yes, it's a bit different now, what with your fancy-schmancy tech trinkets and media monsters all vieing for the limited attention of the young'uns. There was a lot more freedom and a lot less pressure then. There weren't a lot of envy objects in the past (well, there were the teks cards and giant-robot stickers... then game-and-watch); now the kids face an armyload of 'em, diluting their thought processes and complicating the simplicity of childhood by peer pressure. Sometimes I wonder how they'll cope when the world gets even more complex.

But it's safe to say that they'll do. And when these kids grow older, they'll find themselves doing the same kind of comparison, reinforcing the theory that the past will always be 'easier' depending on which side of the timeline you're on.

It's just one of those thoughts. One of those.

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