How do the Millennial see us today? What are their thoughts about the harsh realities affecting our people? Having been invited to act as panelist to the workshop of a bunch of campus journalists at a local university was a privilege that anyone would gladly accept. Not everybody is given the chance to really listen to the young people express their views about everyday matters that affect not only them but also their families.

Thus, close to four decades, I found myself at the threshold of my Alma Mater, and this time, I was asked to share what little I have of my craft to my younger colleagues. It feels really good to be invited over and over again by my “sons and daughters” at Atenews, (they are just about the age of my youngest child) and I can see why. While I do not consider my journalistic practice above the “standards” of mainstream journalism, the respect that these young campus writers afforded me is recognition enough more than any “awards” that a scribe can have.

I must admit though that more than them learning from my humble experiences in my craft, it was me who really learned a lot from them, the Millennial, whom many unsettling descriptions have been hurled at. For just two days spent with them as they try to grasp the ins and outs of campus journalism from their senior colleagues as mentors, I have come to terms with their ways and idiosyncrasies.

I could not help but admire the way they express their points of view haltingly, perhaps but without hesitation and the deep thought at arguments they put forward. Sometimes people easily brand kids in an “elite” university as feeling “entitled” and so, they would be dismissed as “brats” and “nerdy”.

However, these children have earned their aptitude by themselves, and not only do they possess the intelligence needed to keep them in such distinguished educational institute, but their emotional quotient speak loudest about themselves.

We have been reading a lot about the many factors that makes the Millennial, about how easy access to technology and the kind of society they are living in have so much influence on their attitudes and behavior, which are wayward at times. Yet we, adults, do not pause long enough to really listen to their feelings and consider their situations, emotions, anxieties, and wishes. We tend to brush them off because we, too, are so “busy” with work and efforts to earn a living, to even breathe a little and consider how they also see us, adults.

It is thus a privilege to be chosen to listen and interact with them on matters that we have in common with. The way they see and feel about the current socio-political situation of Mindanao people who continue to suffer injustices under the current dispensation is something that I couldn’t help but admire.

When discussing about issues such as the bloody “drug war” being pursued by the Duterte administration, and its ill effects on the different sectors in society, the young scribes were adept at finding words to capture the essence of the subject. I keep reminding myself that these kids are only in their Grade 11 level, barely out of high school, and yet, they seem to be thinking way beyond their age.

Such deep thoughts and recognition of the seriousness of our current socio-political situation is something that I did not expect from these young people. But there they are, talking like mindful adults, (and unlike some stupid adults), and trying to decipher ‘codes’ that completely escapes their elders.

Theorizing ‘tokhang’ needs a critical mind, as the matter necessitates careful analysis of situations and events. It is not just dismissing it as a tool being used to downgrade the policy, but to look closely into how this situation affect people’s lives especially the poorest among us. It is not merely writing meaningless words and rhetoric, but to choose to be the voice of the ‘voiceless’ who have no capacity to defend themselves.

It is one worthy cause of the youth that cannot be drowned by the noise that this decadent society creates in our midst, just like once in our lifetime, not too long ago. (

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