Dati Rati: Playing in the 90's

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As I have mentioned in my post Where Have the Children Gone, today's generation choice of playing is electronically equipped. I had witness this apparent generation shift within the two decades that passed. Today's generation had branded their playtime with PlayStation, LED TV, Xbox, Wii, NintendoDS, Android, and iOS while during my days as a child, playtime means being in the streets and getting dirty and experiencing the goodness and fits of living along with nature. I had observed that playing in today's generation is sitting on a couch, holding a gadget and being consumed in the virtual world.

As a 90's kid, I felt proud that I experienced to get scratched from running fast, become dirty and sweaty from playing under the sun, be bullied for being the weakling, argue with playmates as for the rules of a game, get sick from playing in the rain, gamble away my collection of Pogs and texts, and panic as I ran with friends while dogs chase us. Someone might say that these things are so mischievous and they are not something to brag about. But to tell you, they are priceless once I told them to a bunch of kids in this generation. They will tell me that they had become Flappy Bird, Naruto, Kobe Bryant, Ichigo, or Spiderman in their virtual world as I tell them about the 2D games like Pac-Man, Conan, Mortal Combat, Street Fighter and Super Mario that I had played in our Family Computer. They will surely win over me once they enumerated the armors they owned in DOTA, CounterStrike, or Ragnarok. Today, they have a wide selection of videogames and it's not only played with four fingers, but in multi-touch and sensors! Now, I should be envious.

The virtual  world is awesome in its own sense but it cannot replace the emotions, learning, and epic moments shared with my kalaro (friends/playmates). We might not have taken selfies during those times to mark events in the Facebook profile but we have those moments in our natural memory cards. I have not sent text messages to invite my kalaro to our house to play nor I had been allowed to own a real cellphone, what I have is a phony phone that talks and sing whenever I press a button. But I get to experience wired communication via a string phone (remember the two cups and a thread? It works)!

Kabihug seesaw swin

The virtual world cannot measure to the thrill of spending the day visiting the what we call haunted houses as they are abandoned and dilapidated, of getting scared while walking in a dark alley because I believed in stories about the spirits of the other world, of feeling nervous that the owner of the Bayabas tree will catch us picking its fruits, and of being scolded for returning home with wet clothes from playing in the river. If the children of today would rather spend their time in front of a TV, a laptop, a computer or a tablet, I'll show my childhood days in parallel to the childhood days of this generation.

I would rather laugh out loud til my stomach ache than type lol in a keyboard whenever something is extremely funny, I will choose to race Tamiya cars with rechargeable batteries and let them bump the walls than play Krazy Kart online, to do cookout with leaves and twigs and act with blankets as costumes than strain my fingers clicking and directing Flo in Diner Dash, to play and get dirty in Futball with friends than have the football match in EA Sports game and I would rather dress up my paper dolls with my own style of cutout dresses than play the Sorority Life in FB. We should compliment the app developers for the mobile versions of the outdoor life, should we?

Ask a child today if he/she knows how to play Inserektos, Chinese Garter, Agawan Base, Habulan Upo, Sili Sili, and PenPen De Sara Pen, you'll surely get a lot of blank stares. Tell them that as a kid you used to spit on a sun drawing on the ground just to stop the rain from falling and you will hear a sounding eeewww from your audience! Though I am girl, I know how to play jolens (marbles) and tachi; these games taught me how to be a sharpshooter. Ask the children of today if they had played with marbles, surely they'll tell you that marbles are for their mother's glass vases. Show them how to spin a top and they will give you a big WOW; show them how to carved a top out of a tree branch and let it spin to dig a hole, they'll see you as god! Shoot a bamboo sulpak to one of their enemies and they will give you a hero treatment! The sulpak may be kind of harsh but it's only a cheaper alternative to their pellet guns games. Have them play Sudsud Baro and teach them how to choose the best pamato and they will make you their best friend.  Invite them to build a tree house and you'll see how some of them will be indifferent to this idea. And did I mention how playing the swing in full force will appeal to the idea of flying?

To the children of today, we might have spent our childhood days differently but as long as we had experienced the same happiness in our own different ways, then our childhood lives are very much the same. But I highly encourage our little ones to also experience nature in its physical form and you will thank me for that, labas-labas din pag may time (learn to go out whenever you can). Oh, I think I just miss my kalaro! Seems like I cannot deny the fact that I am getting older and that time is moving, giving birth to new generations of Filipino children. We may never know how the children of tomorrow will spend their childhood lives!
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