“TEMPERAMENTAL BRATS” is the label that Communications Secretary Martin Andanar aptly attached to Filipino youth. The youth could throw tantrums all they want, but the fact that they are millennials still remains. If there is anything these “snot-nosed” kids know how to do, it is how to get loud.
A “Day of Protest” was held on Sept. 21 to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law. A torrential downpour of discontented citizens flooded the streets, carrying banners, effigies, and most importantly, their conviction.
Held in the middle of a rainy day, the Filipino masses brought in a different kind of storm. One that shook the very foundation of this country with hashtags, slangs, and the wittiest forms of political commentary made possible by this generation’s cheeky shade throwing ways.
This young lady at the lower right corner is as done with the government as she could possibly be. That dissatisfied scowl is the perfect accompaniment to the rather ballsy statement she wishes to convey, sending shivers down to the nether regions (or lack thereof) of the people in question.
Speaking of horror, this cosplayer displays fear of another kind. Veiled in a long white dress with disheveled hair covering the protestor’s face, this man sports the attire of The Ring’s Sadako. Contrary to popular belief, the one behind the costume is indeed male. Playing off the cryptid’s name, this demonstrator’s placard gave a conyo spin to a common martial law sentiment.
But even with all this protesting, these millennials have their priorities straight. With a makeshift banner made out of illustration boards, this one lass is ready to face any form of revision, may it be for her thesis or for the country.
This daring man went all out with two signs, one calling out those in favor of the killings and the other calling forth the aunts and uncles who are ready to spill the anti-tyrannical tea. With Sen. Risa Hontiveros, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Sen. Leila de Lima at the helm, the sassy “Titas of Manila” are in for an upgrade.
No longer are the days where the youth sat on the sidelines sucking on their thumbs. They flail their arms in the air, stomp on the ground, and cry. Crying toward the Filipino masses in hopes of them waking up to the reality that is our problematic society, and this Day of Protest shows just that.
“Bilang bahagi ng kabataan at ng bansang ‘to, dapat nakikilahok tayo sa mga isyung dapat kondenahin at labanan pagkat ‘yung mga problemang kinahaharap natin ngayon, direktang tumatapak sa karapatan natin at karapatan ng malawakang masa,” Artlet activist Jerimiah Pasion told the Flame.
Never has there been a generation more willing to break the mold. They pour their hearts and ideologies into internet memes and pop culture. While detractors may brush these off as gimmicky and senseless, these kids know exactly what they are doing.
“Napapalawak ‘yung pagtingin patungkol sa mga socio-political issues sa pamamagitan ng paggamit ng mga memes at hugot. [H]indi lamang sana manatili sa shares sa Facebook, tweet and retweets, at paghihinaing ng kabataan tungkol sa Sistema,” Pasion said. “[D]apat ang lahat ay makilahok at magpakita ng presensya at boses hindi (lang) sa social media, kundi kung [s]aan nangyayari ang tunay na laban—sa kalsada, sa mismong bayan.”
In this day and age, social reform thrives on sensationalism. They use lingo and references to pull people in through relatability or hilarious absurdity. They employ performance art and effigies to stop you in your tracks, giving you a thought-provoking piece to ponder upon.
“[The means of protesting by millennials] symbolizes [that] it has a message. It has depth. Because of these symbolisms, mas nagkakaroon ng maraming tanong [tungkol sa mensahe] ang mga nakakakita, mas lumalalim,” UST Department of Sociology Chairperson Josephine Placido said.
Millennials bring more to the table than just entitlement and naivety—they bring innovation. They back up these far-fetched dreams of a better tomorrow with acts previous generations could never fathom of doing. They are not afraid to break the rules of becoming the heralds of truth that keeps the important societal conversations alive. For they will not conform, they will throw their tantrums. F CARLITO P. TOPACIO