THE PROBLEM AND ITS BACKGROUND
The youth, which by legal definition includes those who are 15 to 30 years old, comprises almost one-third of the country’s population (NYC, 1998). As such, the Filipino youth increasingly play an important and vital role in the development of the Philippine society. Their attitudes, values, mind-set, and priorities will determine the progress of the country in the future.
Nowadays, the Filipino youth are experiencing a serious decline of discipline and morale. They have become disrespectful to their parents, teachers, elders, authorities, and the law. The lack of discipline among them is evident in the advent of crimes involving minors. This includes the high incidences of their involvement in illegal activities such as use of prohibited drugs, theft, petty crimes, and illicit sex. However, these are just some of the disturbing facts about Filipino youth. The youth of today are susceptible hostages and targets of the fast changing world, of virtual reality, of the decadence of morality, and of the onset of spiritual decay. As technological advancements mushroom and sky-rocket, the Filipino youth is exposed to greater challenges most of which uproot the solid foundation of values and virtues (Subong, 2008). According to the Filipino youth study survey conducted by the Global Filipino Foundation in 2001, media and technology are the other big things in their life. They are usually more interested to play video games rather than to study when they have free time. This is the reason why it is strongly agreed that games are affecting youth today as it will cause addiction and waste of time, money, and energy. Such things only show that they tend to misuse technologies. The understanding about youth have come a long way when Margaret Mead pioneered the earliest influential study of youth that examined what “coming of age” meant for Samoan girls (Mead, 1928). She believes that human life is given meaning through the relationship which the individual’s conscious goals have to the civilization, period, and country within which one lives. At times, the task may be to fence a wilderness, to bridge a river, or rear sons to perpetuate a young colony (2009). Like Mead, other anthropologists also conceptualized youth as a liminal transitional life stage – that is no longer a child, but not yet an adult – and thus focused on the process of socialization (Evans-Pritchard, 1969; Malinowski, 1929; Turner, 1995). In the beginning of 1930s’s, sociologists were also interested in youth but mainly in how they deviated from societal norms (Becker, 1997; Cohen, 1955). While these early studies brought attention to youth as social actors, they were viewed as social actors situated in relation to dominant values and practices. This created a blind spot that hindered us from seeing how youth are creative cultural masters of their own – a blind spot that was addressed in the 1970s and 1980s, most centrally in the work of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (or referred to as the “Birmingham School”) (Hall & Jefferson, 1990; Mungham & Pearson, 1976; Willis, 1981). In an attempt to elbow the societal values, youth in the form of rebellion, act and dress and form groups in protest. These dissident acts against the structure of existing society promotes the beginning of new small groups that reflect their own rules, structures, class gender, and ethnic ideologies. The continuous lost of the Filipino core values are brought by the clash between technology and globalization. As a result, the very foundation of our society is deliberately deteriorated as time goes by.
The youth concerns are very contemporary subject matters in the Philippine literature particularly in fiction. Literature, in its truest form becomes the interpretation and expression of the life of society, the record of significant human experiences, and the eyes of past. Pensive readers can always see...
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