GROWING UP UNDER THE SHADOW OF BULLIES
In the 60s, there were no issues yet bordering on bullies or bullying. As a matter of fact, all kids at that time were, to a certain extent, bullies! If at all there was a shade of bullying then as we know it today, it was more capricious and forgettable. Big or small, anyone can challenge anybody. Fat or thin, a kid had the necessary defense against his opponent. There was no such thing as beautiful or ugly. Its reference was not on looks but only on manners. The kids before comprised the so called old school.
From their ranks came Steve Jobs, Billy Gates, Paul Coehlo, Mich Albom, Alvin Tofler, etc, they who enhanced humanity with their genius.
It was only in the 90s that bullying became a dominant theme. It was even seen and understood as a curse, blasphemous and profane. It was something that went out from the alien woodwork and that it was some kind of a jinx. Those who were seen as aggressive, belligerent and forceful became emblem of bullying. There was nothing intellectual in their armaments, it was the scary tactics oftentimes applied. And those affected by their weight, by their impositions, by their presence were victims of bullying. That was the long and short of it.
Bullies became the villains incarnate not only in schools but in the neighborhood. Well, not that the bullies were getting so much but because the kids became more fragile, sensitive and delicate. The great divide among people and community became categorical. The poor became poorer under exploitative conditions; the rich became richer because of exploitation. It has become the theme of the era and it literally introduced bullying as a fact of life.
If at all yesteryear was worthy of reminiscing, it was precisely because the relationship then was pure and simple, normal and real. Deception if it lurked was unintentional. Bullies were never heard of. Years later, not only was deception the order of the day but trickery as well and the bullies were its medium. Commerce is diluted with dishonesty and one seldom finds any genuine consideration. There is fakery in every facet of life, whether at home, in one’s place of work and even in the playing field. Bullies can be found everywhere.
There is bullying in religion, in government, school, hospital, elsewhere. There was intentional force applied on almost everything. Persuasion is carried out through force with tendency which is very criminal. Nobody is exempted from its tentacles.
For those who grew up in the street, there are advantages. One becomes street smart. One becomes clever and shrewd. These are countervailing abilities which could shred bullying to pieces. And these unfortunately are never taught in school, neither it is recognized at home. As a matter of fact, there is no place for this behavior in the sacred corner of one’s dwelling place.
I was lucky in a way. My youth was spent in Project 2, Quezon City. And I , along with the restless youth in the area, were the street rats. While at home I was almost sheltered, right across the street, a few paces away from our gates were my upbeat peers, the hyperactive youth in the village, the scourge of neighboring territories, energetic, almost manic. In their respective homes, they were also saintly but outside, they were dissidents. That is right, my peers defy comparison. The notorious London gangsters would look like Mother Theresa’s followers if lined up with them.
Those were exciting days for any youngster. Competition was the standard. Strategy was always the benchmark for any activity. There were bullies before but not the kind we have now. They were the epitome of fairness, just in their estimation, never abusive and always cool. And I grew up under their shadows.
Oh, well, bullying nowadays is a different ball game. It is more criminal than social, more felonious than communal, more illicit than philosophical.