November 15, 2005 · Posted in: General, Science and Technology

Virtually yours

(UPDATED) Twenty-six-year-old arkangel1a makes an interesting comment on our recent post about the Filipino youth. He thinks the issue of a "digital divide" renders the claim that his generation is a high-tech one rather debatable, but nonetheless acknowledges technology’s impact in the lives of people, young and old, rich and poor alike.

But if the younger generations prefer to send SMS and email, exchange instant messages or call via VOIP, he argues, it is only because these are means of communication available to them, and which are "no less impersonal as letters, morse code, or a phone call a few years ago."

He is not alone in his view. Teens, an even younger set of people from the generation that has come to be labeled in global marketing parlance as Generation Y, whom I interviewed for the i Report feature on the barkada being redefined by technology, admit as much to the indispensable part it plays in their daily social life.

Rochelle "Roch" Lazarte and her five friends typify today’s teenage barkada, which, more often than not, traces its beginnings to cyberspace. Though people still meet each other face to face these days, Roch’s gang does so virtually, meeting daily via the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) in a chat room called #rochy. They use cellphones too, though in their case, more as a secondary communication tool. Once they go offline, they make the most of their common telco’s offer of unlimited call and texting among its subscribers to continue to keep in touch.

The inherent yearning for attention and recognition in the youth has also found an outlet in the new media, serving as a venue to explore and define their own identities, and establish their independence. This explains why teeners have populated the blogosphere in droves, using blogs — being essentially personal online diaries — as their podium for self-expression and as hubs of virtual, intimate communities of friends.

But the young people are no different from those of us who made friends in a pre-networked world. The allure of new technologies notwithstanding, they are also seeking out those in whom they find a genuine interest, individuals with whom they have something in common, people who are much like them.

One thing is therefore certain. Technology-mediated or not, relationships may thrive if communication — in whatever form and manner that generations may choose — remains constant.

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17 Responses to Virtually yours



November 15th, 2005 at 4:27 am

ok sakin yung article na sinulat ni KATRINA STUART SANTIAGO.
hindi dahil madami itong mga kulang at sanay nabigyan ng pansin pang mga punto.

pero ang akin lang eh ang effort na at least nabigyan ng linaw yung mga gulo sa isip ng mga kabataan ngayon.

hindi ako sumasang-ayon sa sinabi niyang hindi natin alam kung san tayo patutungo. para sakin nabuksan lang ang mundo ng henerasyon natin sa isang napakalaking pintuan. itong pintuan na to ay ang mundo ng internasyonalismo.

hindi na tayo tulad ng mga magulang natin na nakatuon ang pansin sa pilipinas lang. gusto nating ma-belong sa isang mundo na in one way or the other pakiramdam natin mas naiintindihan tayo compared sa mas- konserbatibo at judgmental nating mga kababayan.

wala rin akong problema sa mga call centers.
kung may sisisihin dapat sisihin yung unang henerasyon na nag-iwan satin ng ganitong uri ng pangangalakal.

wala tayong choice exactly. at naniniwala akong yung mga pinagpupulutan natin ng makakain at panggastos ay ang mga tira-tirang hibla ng mga naunang henerasyon.

iba noon at iba ngayon.

kung noon kalaban natin si marcos ngayon kalaban natin ang isang kulturang nagpapalago ng kabobohan at illiteracy sa mga kabataan.

at sinong hindi makakatanggi na ang edukasyon din natin ang siyang may sala kaya ang ating pag-iisip ay ganito pa rin?

hindi malayong isipin na tama din na malaman natin ang ating nakaraan. pero ang hindi makahanap ng mga pang wasto dito ay mas masahol pa sa pagka intelihente dahil kabisado mo ang history mo.

oo nga alam mo kung sinong kaaway pero pagkatapos nun ano na?

wala na?

wala rin akong problema sa mga lumalabas ng bansa.

kung gusto nilang lumabas ng bansa ba’t naman hindi di ba?

may opportunity silang magipon ng pera at yumaman.
yun lang nga hindi nasasagot ng pag-alis ang problema ng bansa.

pero pano ka naman makakapagtagal sa isang bansang hindi ka rin ma-appreciate?

na ang kultura ay nakabaon sa palakasan at utang ng loob?

ng pulitikang baon sa korapsyon at droga?

ng mediang sensationalized at imbis palaguin ang kaalaman ng nakararami eh mas nagpupumilit mag cater sa mga magpapalaki ng bulsa nilang advertisers?

kung papansinin ninyo yung mga pelikula nuon at ngayon malaki ang diperensya.

nuon pinakikita yung mga katotohanan ng bansa.
ang mga artista umiiyak para sa inang bayan.

ngayon ano na?

iiyak kasi nakipag-away sa asawa at yung anak eh etc.etc.

escapist ang henerasyon natin. pero hindi ibig sabihin na hindi tayo marunong kumilatis.

sa nakikita ko nagsisimula pa lang tayo muli.
alam natin mahirap pero hindi din natin alam kung san magsisimula.

kumbaga damage control.

magaling si Katrina sa sinulat nya. at sumasang-ayon ako na magandang balikan si Constantino para sa ating nakaraan.

pero ang alam kong thesis ni Ato eh hindi para lang pumuna. ito ay para makahanap ng mga sapat na hakbang upang mas mabawasan or mawala nang tuluyan ang tabing sa ating mga diwa.

walang dapat sisihin sa huli. ang henerasyon natin ay isang henerasyong binigo ng mga naunang henerasyon…

pero sisiguraduhin natin na hindi tayo pagtatawanan ng mga susuno pa. tulad ng ginagawa natin sa mga nauna.

(problema lang nakaupo pa rin si GMA)


mahaba na to APIR!



November 15th, 2005 at 7:53 am

first: thanks for praising my previous post.

second: i’m a man and not a woman and i’d appreciate an edit to that effect. :)

third: as for the comment by floyd, this is just my two cents you understand:

it is common for people— not just filipinos to blame others for their plight or for their situtation. its a hard thing to get over and sometimes i myself fall victim to this on occasion and its a challenge to surpass it.

that said, i have two points: 1) perhaps if we just stop this cycle of blamming others for our situtation right now and focus that energy to changing what we don’t like with our lives then maybe the generations after us will be in a better position. 2) every generation will face the same old problem— how to provide for their children and for themselves and such maybe it will be a crime to deny them that opportunity to grow themselves and that our responsibility is to give them the tools and to make them ready when its their time. thats the greater gift i think.

just my two cents.


Alecks Pabico

November 15th, 2005 at 8:47 am

Sorry about that, arkangel1a. I’ve already made the necessary corrections. :-)



November 15th, 2005 at 9:02 am

Well said Arkangel. Your two cents worth spoken with wisdom.



November 15th, 2005 at 9:16 am

Ark, I like your concept of progress, which I hope I got right–it is about successive approximations to an ideal and trusting each generation to know, instinctively, the general direction of what is good for them. But as for the “tools”–we must leave them a moral compass, which means we cannot be completely liberal about which way is North and which way is South, or the far destination. We must leave them infectious ideas that will have a life of their own in them.



November 15th, 2005 at 11:13 am

Change – specially in light of a more introspective approach to undertaking it – only looks complicated because we are insiders in our own plight, which is why it is difficult to accept that the issues behind the failure of our society to advance have to do more with ourselves as a people than any conspiracy or fault from external forces (which are for the most part random in the bigger scheme of things).

Therefore it is indeed a big step to extricate this penchant for blaming others from our approach to developing solutions and replace it with a more fundamental re-engineering of the very DNA of the very social fabric of our society — a critical and no holds barred look at our culture, the impact of our belief systems, how our collective emergent behaviour emanates from these elements, etc.

This is approach is the very principle that underlies the Solution Framework I propose here: 😉



November 15th, 2005 at 12:52 pm

thanks Alecks for the change. rizalist, yeah thats basically it.



November 16th, 2005 at 2:58 am

arkangel1a> point well taken. APIR!



November 17th, 2005 at 1:06 am

Here’s what I remember from UNDP and other reports:

Only around 140 out of every 1,000 Filipinos have access to television sets or radios. Less than 10 out of a thousand have access to computers.

Only around 60 percent of the country has electricity most of the time. Only around 15 percent of roads are paved.

Around 50 percent of Filipinos drop out from school, that from what is probably one of the worst educational systems in Asia.

40 percent of Filipino children are undernourished. Around 17 children go blind each day due to lack of nutrition.

What do you mean by “teeners” who have access to such technology? Do they represent most Filipinos or the 15 percent or so that make up the middle class?

Given these, I don’t understand how arkangel and other writers came up with such conclusions about the Filipino youth. From what I know, according to the last UNDP reports, the Philippines comes closer to African countries than to Asian ones.



November 17th, 2005 at 2:08 pm

good point danzigstorer. it seems the writers are only referring mostly to the middle class youths who have access to all these hi-tech communication gadgetries that some of us are enjoying now.



November 17th, 2005 at 4:33 pm

danzigstorer makes an… interesting point. he is… partly correct. and what you speak of is the digital divide based on economics that most people think of. but thats not what this is about.

this is what you speak of: roughly 9% of the population in the philippines has access to the internet. a lot of people in the country has never even heard of a blog or has experience the liberation of podcasts and bittorrent! but they know email, instant messaging and of course mmogs. btw according to the global network readiness index, we are ranked 67 out of 104 economies world wide, just behind columbia.

that said, let us look at the billions of pesos that the telecoms are earning through text messaging… translates to (correct me if i’m wrong, roughly) 20 million subscribers for cellphones. the latter number— the mobile access to text messaging alone proves that our society is slowly being transformed. that the a lot of those 40 below and the 10 up are slowing embracing technology. people from all walks of life have cellphones! street sweepers, taxi drivers, jeepney drivers, nannies just to name a few have cellphones so jr_lad, this movement… this evolution… this is not a middle-class phenomena anymore. and this is transforming how we communicate with one another.

ofws texting families. taxi drivers texting their wives and girl friends. we all laugh at jokes from text messaging alone. cellphones and this ease of use has transformed the way we all communicate. heck, npa rebels have satellite phones and laptop computers!

when one looks at this from the global point of view— it is transforming lives as well. don’t for one second believe that our experiences here, does not in anyway translate to experiences say in thailand or in europe. the us is only now feeling the ringtone bite and text messaging! its not (entirely) about economics but a phenomena that is transforming humans everywhere! across the planet we are still a predominant dial-up world but that is exactly beside the point. what ever limits we have is certainly felt across a wide variety of strata everywhere.

let us limit ourselves to the philippines: certainly not everyone can afford a personal computer— which is the predominant access point for higher technology but with the rise of internet cafes, hotspots, schools with computer labs (if memory serves me correctly, the department of education has reported roughly 75% of public secondary schools have computer labs, correct me if i’m wrong). a lot of kids certainly play online games or network games— they can afford to pay the hourly rate at a cafe and there are a number of those shops at malls everywhere. people are getting on board technology and that is transforming our society together with the rest of the world. and this culture enabled by technology is transforming how we interact with each other!

job hunters for example send resumes and emails all the time. ofws communicate via text, email and everyone is connected in one way or another. there are more dating sites for example that connects people everywhere. sure there are people who you wouldn’t find even touching a computer, my mom’s a good example. but my 3 year old niece knows how to play with her mom’s phone just fine. this alone speaks of a transition, a new world order that we have only begun to touch.

sure there are still millions who can’t even have one meal a day. sure there are people in the country who go blind because of lack of nutrition. its not a perfect world. but its slowly transforming and it is yours and my responsibility to transform it by doing our jobs/professions to the best of our ability. yes its equally true that there are places in the country where they don’t even have clean water to drink or cheap electricity. and we don’t even have good paved roads… just look at edsa. its not a perfect world.

my idea of a digital divide is a divide among generations. most of the older generation have no idea on how to use nor understand the concept of technology! the music industry and hollywood are just prime examples. the whole premise of the posts was that the younger generation have greater ability to understand and use technology properly. and its not just the younger generation in the philippines but elsewhere that is spearheading the march, being touched by it more and understands it better and wields it more appropriately and is changing how we all interact with one another and how we do things from the more personal aspect to business.



November 17th, 2005 at 8:13 pm

Given the number of subscribers, that means only 25 percent of the population has access to cell phones (and how many of those subscribers have two or more cell phone lines, or use only pre-paid numbers, which means they might change lines more than once a year)? That’s hardly a majority.

About the Deped report about computer labs, I find that difficult to believe, given the statement by the same department that over 60 percent of schools in the country lack one or more of the following: electricity, potable water, water, roofs, blackboards, chairs, teachers, and even principals! Not only do we have a significant lack of classrooms (a shortage of at least 10,000) we even lack chairs: the last I read, the school chair-to-student ratio was 1:3! All that, in a country which has only 10 years of pre-university education (compared to 13 in many Asian countries), a book-to-student ratio of 1:3 (let’s not even talk about the quality of our textbooks!), and no national exams. (That’s probably a blessing in disguise because our students can barely answer most questions in tests correctly. We received scores of around 50 percent for NSAT and NEAT, and I remember that in the last diagnostic exam, the average score was 10 percent!) Even our teachers are having difficulty: most (up to 90 percent in one report) fail in their own licensure exams, the same exams which the *Straits* reported was filled with many errors (just like several of our textbooks).

I find the readiness index questionable because several of the positive results that we give to international organizations are often overstated. For example, we claim to have an unemployment rate of only around 11 percent, but that’s based on our assumption that an employed person is one who works at least one hour a week. We claim to have a 92 percent enrollment rate for those entering primary school, but we never factor in the fact that 50 perecent of those who enroll never graduate. The Phil. UNDP even questioned padded test results of Filipino test takers for international exams: the Inquirer report stated, for example, that students who got 60 out of 180 for a test were automatically awarded 60 points by Filipino examiners. This reminds me of another news report that stated that our public education system follows an automatic promotion process: even if students fail in certain subjects they are

I’d like to add that what applies to the Philippines also applies to the world. From what I remember, only around 20 percent of the global population has access to safe housing, telephone lines, or electricity. It is very likely that an even smaller percentage has access to computers, let alone the Internet. (By “access,” I do not mean only owning a computer but being able to use any computer.) The situation is so bad that the wealthiest 200 people on earth probably own more wealth than the bottom third of the global population. Space age? Information age? Postmodern age? It looks like a new Middle Ages to me.

If there is any “digital divide,” it occurs between a very small portion of the Philippine (and global) population that controls much of the resources of the world and the rest of the population.



November 17th, 2005 at 8:16 pm

Sorry, I wasn’t able to type the last part of the third paragraph:

“even if students fail in certain subjects they are automatically promoted to the next year level.”



November 18th, 2005 at 7:06 am

“If there is any “digital divide,” it occurs between a very small portion of the Philippine (and global) population that controls much of the resources of the world and the rest of the population.

It’s even likely that a large part of the small portion that pertains to the Philippines is in Metro Manila.



November 18th, 2005 at 11:12 am

There are no other pronouncements more proximate to the absolute truth than in Alecks’ concluding statement :One thing is therefore certain. Technology-mediated or not, relationships may thrive if communication — in whatever form and manner that generations may choose — remains constant.

I find interest on Arkangel1a’s idea of a digital divide. To which he posited that such “is a divide among generations. Most of the older generation have (sic) no idea on how to use nor (sic) understand the concept of technology! “. And to strike a point, added, “ the whole premise of the posts was that the younger generation have greater ability to understand and use technology properly.”

My only reservation on the thesis being advanced is the failure to specifically define the term older generation versus the younger generation.

On the presumption that age will be used as a parameter to define what is really being meant, can it be now said that those who are 30 years and above may already be classified to belong to the group of older generations?

And conversely, for those a second short of 30 years and below, ipso facto belongs to the group of younger generation?

I hope the proponent finds time to enlighten us on what he specifically meant by using those terminologies :)



November 20th, 2005 at 9:17 pm

There is no digital divide between generations in the Philippines. Most Filipinos from all generations have very little access to computers and cell phones, let alone television sets, books, newspapers, radio sets, or even electricity.



November 20th, 2005 at 11:45 pm

digital divide is basically the difference between the “haves” and the “have nots” regarding access to the internet (regardless of what generation you belong to).

digital divide may also pertain to a generation gap with regard to how tech-savvy the younger generation is as against the less-savvy older ones. in other words, it is between digital information literacy or illiteracy.

i believe there is digital divide in us, whether it’s access or literacy…although statistics must be available from various studies and the generation assignment must be ascertained (as what indio_lawless has suggested).

assertions and conclusions should be based on facts…the term “evidence-based” should apply here. it’s pretty obvious from the UNDP study (as cited by danzigstorer) the problem of the “have nots.” as to literacy, i’ve seen a sexagenarian and a 4-year-old able to browse the internet and send sms via a cellphone. is there really a digital divide among the generations? if yes, up to what extent and at what age groups are the generations divided?

virtual technology has certainly influenced much people’s lives. its waves or effects on communication is tremendous and highly beneficial. however, access and education to this technology, i agree, is just confined to a small proportion of the populace…bridging the digital divides is probably insurmountable.

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