I’m currently listening to an afternoon radio program that plays songs popular during the 90s. It’s funny how these songs bring back memories of my elementary years when everything, without any exception, was good and nice. Listeners to this program can send their comments through texts that the 2 deejays read on air. Although it’s almost bordering to being corny and chummy, I can’t help myself from smiling because I am reminded by something I almost forgot: that I actually used to watch out for the showdown between the Universal Motion Dancers (UMD) and the Street Boys, and that there was this film I watched, which I secretly liked then, on the history of the dance group headed by the 90s most famous leading man Wowie De Guzman.
Most young people of my age would writhe whenever they hear or are being reminded of what it had been in the 90s, although I know they feel nostalgic within wanting to bring back the good ol’ days when Siakol, Eraserheads, and Yano dominated the airwaves and Noli De Castro’s face occupied one-third of the television screen showing the primetime news program. I do not have a clear recollection of that decade myself since the life I lived was confined within the parochial concerns of my growing up years in the province. It must have been clearer and more affecting for somebody who spent his development years in a metropolis such as Manila.
My siblings were hooked to Saturday youth oriented programs such as Thank God It’s Sabado (T.G.I.S.) or Gimik unaware that these shows subliminally altered our perception of our small world. I remember emulating the speech, manner of dressing, and their conduct whenever they were with their friends of these 16-years-olds living in an exclusive subdivision in Manila in contrast to us who were then growing up in a closely-knit community and a pretty big household whose only source of entertainment was our black-and-white television which was, luckily, replaced by a colored model. Now, it is easier for somebody like me who grew up in the province to relate with the consciousness of somebody who grew up in Manila during the 90s.
Had there been no television, my idea of the previous decade would have been different and I might not have been able to comprehend what the deejays on this afternoon radio programs are saying. Television and the Media in general can actually create an imagined consciousness and pseudo-reality, but why has it been impossible for the media to act as a go-between for the shared understanding on the Filipinos identity as a nation? Why has it and still is limiting itself to some banal (that’s how I see it) functions but not with things of import and significance?
Probably it is not as easy as I see it, but what makes the experience of some of us who grew up in the 90s different from the grander experience of the nation, aside of course from sheer size and complexity? Well, the latter question might have already answered the points raised by the question preceding it.
The Philippine media is yet to realize its more sublime purpose in the lives of Filipinos. What I hope is a media that will not only inspire nostalgia in me of the decade that has been but also a shared experience of how it is to be a Filipino and to choose to remain as one despite and because of the challenges it has gone through as a nation.