Why I grew up this way: One Filipino American’s take on the current upsurge in activism


I’m stoked this got approved by The NY Times! I wrote this comment in response to Nicholas Kristof, a NY Times’ staff writer, and his post on the activism of youth during the last election, (“Those kids changing the world,” Nov 15, 2008). To visit the said blog by Nicholas Kristof, click here.

Image from scheer.wordpress.com/category/community/


Comment #61. I think the resourcefulness of the youth and young professionals is the result of many things: instant access to information (which empowers us to view the world in an unfiltered way and forces us to think in [an] increasingly adult manner); basic idealism; and most importantly, necessity.

The recipe for success is broken. Even with a graduate degree from a top-25 university and a decent-paying job, it is not as easy today as it was perhaps a couple of generations ago to achieve a comparable degree of financial independence, prestige and social status.

For many immigrant young professionals who are sometimes unfairly viewed with less credibility, the conventional path to success in the private and public sectors abounds with even more serious frustrations than for the well-connected and native-born.

This, in my view, is why you see a lot of non-profits sprouting up everywhere you see a high concentration of educated youth. We are blazing a new path because the old tried path is broken, in disrepair, and full of trip hazards.

In addition to the well-placed admiration for our idealism, older generations must also work with us in diagnosing, fixing and rehabilitating a broken recipe for success to ensure there are opportunities for everyone in the years to come.

— R Bong Vergara

Also check out 2 previous but related posts, 2008: The birth of the Idealistic Era and What the US Presidential election means for one Filipino American


4 thoughts on “Why I grew up this way: One Filipino American’s take on the current upsurge in activism

  1. Nice thoughts. I do share the sympathy for the younger generations across the world, such as the Fil Ams in America. I was a radical professor at the University of the Philippines, among those who trained the younger generations who are now mid-aged down to young professionals. Carpe diem!

  2. erleargonza, salamat for taking the time to comment. I am convinced that many more young professionals feel the same way I feel.

    There is a weird mix of resignation and discontent in the air here in the states. Things are so bad they make one simultaneously desperate for change and resigned to how things are.

    Folks today are passive-aggressive: overwhelmingly turning the US political landscape upside down, while at the same time keeping short of mass action… Strange times, indeed.

  3. In the “new world order”, there is only one discourse for discussing the world’s problems, neo-classical economics. There is only one path to “salvation” for all peoples, no matter what their own traditions, values, histories and customs; whether of the North or the South, and that path is the MARKET. Economics is the dominating human lan-guage in these times and is defining all collective life on the planet. Corporations have emerged as the dominant governance institutions on the planet. Maybe it is more correct to say, that the dominant governance system on the planet is the financial system, rather than the corporations themselves. The corporations are accountable to the globalised system of finance which has transformed itself in very important and troubling ways and is now quite accurately described as a “global gambling casino”. All of the world’s financial markets are linked into a single computerised system. This new “reality” is changing the face of the international community and creating more and more poverty and the de-struction of the environment.
    Everywhere the litany is the same. The only path to progress is the global “free market”. In order to compete in the new global economy:

    The present democracies are not the voice of the people, but rather the defence of the interests of various political parties and their economic interests.

    The governing party and the opposition spend more time in the struggle to maintain or gain power than in seeking the national common good.

    The political program is being increasingly influenced by the neo-political agenda.

    The same model of democracy is being imposed on the whole world.

    There is exclusion at the political level on the basis of race, religion, ethnic group, etc.

    CAPITAL now has a political wing and a military arm.

    Both capitalist and communist countries are guilty of a high degree of bureaucracy and a lack of true freedom.

  4. …don’t forget the complicity of the common person. many of us are too weak-willed sometimes, averse to self-advocacy unless in a large group. i guess that is human nature.

    i’m not blaming the victim, just stating an observation. many of us don’t step back and recognize how timid we have become. i’m guilty of the same. but trying my best to not give up on my dreams, on self-improvement. we should all have this attitude regardless of the problems that ail us.

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