MIDWAY : Scapegoats

One of the stinging criticisms against us youth is that we are too self-centred, caring little about how our actions might impact those around us. Brash, big-mouthed and totally out of bounds, the common belief seems to be that compared to earlier generations we are so spoilt that all efforts to mend our errant ways are bound to fail. They do not even bother to consider the challenges of the times we live in or to find out what makes us behave the way we do.

Perhaps the most common myth is that the instruments of popular culture — internet, mobile phones and cable TV — enjoy disproportionate power over us. Under their influence, we are led to believe that anything not “on show” is practically worthless.

I can tell you from my experience that this is simply not true. My mother has been by far the biggest influence on me. She is no celebrity, nor is she bestowed with “special” gifts. But she is still my idol. Her love and caring ways have helped shape my mindset far more than a shabby-haired rocker or the most beautiful dames on screen. And if I am known as witty and compassionate, it’s all thanks to my mom again!

Another person who has had a big influence on me is my music teacher. He is no celebrity (at least outside our school) but his love and dedication towards his profession and his boundless enthusiasm to transfer some of his talents to his students is simply amazing. The fact that impresses me the most is that I have never seen him frown. Not once. On the contrary, his big grin is legendary among the school staff and students.

I am not saying that popular culture has no impact on us. It has. But I also think that people tend to overemphasise its role in our lives. No one accuses the adults of watching all those meaningless tearjerkers. No one seems to be interested in measuring the impact of these serials on adult minds. Similarly, no one seems keen on exploring why most of the criminals that we get to read about in papers are not youngsters but well-matured adults. And it is no secret who is responsible for making such a mess of our beautiful country.

Nonetheless, who gets all the blame in the end? Who is accused of being impulsive and prone to criminality? Folks like me, of course.