The Youth

tumblr_nlyu46ZsGv1upkjebo1_1280The youth, from childbirth, through teenage years and up until the first years of adulthood is an interesting thing. The reason I say this is because, sociologically speaking, we are parasites. We do not create anything (monetary wise and of course there are exceptions) and all we do is leach on the wallets of our parents, turning the cogs of the capitalist society. I have recently watched Jon Savage’s ‘Teenage’. It is a documentary film about teenagers in the past and how they were created. For those who have not watched this I urge you to do so.

The documentary tells us that ‘teenagers’ were and are a social construct that was created by American adults to give a sense of freedom to children but still control and restrict them. Back then children had parties where they danced the ‘jitterbug’ and other dances, they dressed oddly to the point where it was hard to separate the girls from the boys because they looked alike and the adults took away all of this. Back then most of the dances and music came from America but this culture had its way of spreading around the world and it finally reached Germany. The German kids then were influenced by this culture and Hitler saw an opportunity to keep this American culture away and instill nationalism in the hearts of the youths and so the Hitler Youth were born. Now this may seem like a twisted and demented thing, forcing children to love their country, making them march hours and doing low class military training. You might even say this is brainwashing those children to wanting to get into the army once they are old enough to do so. Well you are 100% right.

Don’t be too happy though because the Hitler Youth was the template of our modern day scouts and in the United Sates it would be the Scouts, JROTC and the ROTC. All of these are exactly like the Hitler Youth. This was a way of keeping them out of trouble and making sure that, in Hitler’s era (and arguably now as well), the army has a steady supply of soldiers. The youth are suddenly profitable for an investment in the future. With this in mind I then thought of delinquency because however successful the scouts are, there are those exceptions who reject the ideology presented to them. It is a different age now and although in western countries the scouts are still a large part off the upbringing of children (I too was in the scouts when I was younger) in countries like Indonesia, it is the schools who make them do military-like procedures such as the ‘upacara senin’ where they sing the national anthem on Monday morning and raise the flag-pole. The younger children have Pramuka and the older have Paskibra. The Paskibra are slightly more exciting because they have competitions for it and there is even a nationwide competition where the best of each of the provinces go head to head to show their affection to their country in a choreographed set of uniform movements. Perhaps this means that the Hitler Youth have morphed itself once again and this time it has turned into a sort of competition.

Now it should be clear that the point of having the scouts is to mold the minds of the youth and to ensure that they do not break the laws, they be punctual and obey authority however, in any and all civilizations we still see delinquency from small petty instances such as talking back to a teacher to something severe such as arson or drug abuse. I have a theory about this. Perhaps these ‘anomalies’ are created because they are confused as to why they have absolutely no power or say in anything and are expected to follow certain rules set by strangers who are now dead. I remember something a friend of mine said a few years ago while he was stressed out and the teacher was yelling at him. He said “How are we supposed to learn 10 different subjects while the teacher can’t even teach all of this”. This just further highlights my point. These anomalies probably feel like the adults of the society has cast them into an abyss and forgotten. In the Indonesian we have a ministry of youth and sports and to be honest (I may be wrong about this) but I believe most of the things he does has nothing to do with youth alone but rather youth in sports.

I can say that children here in Indonesia do not completely agree with the government and what they are doing. One very easy indicator is the UN, the national examinations. Most people just cheat on this. Their class would pool in money, buy the answer keys from a dodgy jockey and get grades good enough to go to university (of course not everyone does this). This and the smoking violations, the drinking violations, the drug violations and even under aged driving. Should there be a teenager in the government to give voice to the younger generation? Ask this to any adult and their answer would be along the lines of “No, they’re just children they don’t know what they want” and yet in the presidential election I remember the two opposing parties tried to cozy-up to us and saying that we are the future of our country. Jokowi even went to a Metallica concert for a PR stunt. Sure he might actually like Metallica but he could just not tell the press he was going but he wanted to appeal to us. Jokowi also once said he is killing drug traffickers to protect the youth. They value the youth so much but they never bothered to ask what we think. Why is that? Food for thought.

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