The term “millennial” does not have noble origins. It is actually a concept cooked up by marketers and brand managers several years ago who wanted nothing more than a convenient catch-all for the next generation of suckers to sell useless stuff to. Millennials — specially in the setting of prosperous East Asian economies — are salivated over by trinket and trendy foodie sellers supposedly because of their high disposable incomes. In the Philippines this is particularly true because Filipino “millennials” and those beyond — well into their mid-20s to early-30s — live in their parents’ homes or in parent-funded bachelor(ette) pads, drive daddy-funded cars, and spend using daddy-guaranteed credit cards.
Even in supposedly impoverished Philippines, “millennials” represent a significant force of conspicuous consumption. Even if, say, conspicuous Filipino consumers represent just 10 percent of the Philippine population, that’s still 10 million people (“millennials” and their parents combined) with an appetite for First World standards of living — and spending. This demographic is almost the size of two Singapores within the Philippine economy in terms of economic power wielded. They have the power to tip prices over the edge simply by driving around their gas-guzzling SUVs, gorging on Panda Express and Starbucks lattes every other day, and jetting off to Siargao (and, perhaps, soon) Boracay for their millennial conventions whenever their “weekend starts”.
It is, in fact, interesting to note that the term “millennials” which, supposedly, refers to an age demographic seems to apply only to wealthy young Filipino adults. Do a Google image search of “Filipino millennials” and images of private school kiddies doing their “woke” selfies dominate the results.
Most interesting of all, we find that many of this imagery is promoted by none other than “social news network” Rappler — that self-styled bastion of millennial “wokeness” on the Net. This is not surprising considering that Rappler is, in essence, more a marketing channel than the agent of “ethical journalism” it would like Filipinos to believe it is.
Herein is evidence that the use of the notion of “millennials” in the context of Philippine “activism” is really a dishonest enterprise. Yet many Filipinos who fall within this demographic have taken up the call to run with this brand and wear it like a badge of honour in street rallies. This action on the part of self-appointed “millennials” are to prompts originating from Big Corporate News Media. In 2016, for example, CNN Philippines and ABS-CBN News published news “reports” with the titles LOOK: Millennials’ witty placards at November 30 anti-Marcos rally and From tweets to the streets: Millennials lead Marcos burial protests respectively and, in 2017, Rappler chimed in with How millennials protested on Sept 21 – from streets to social media.
Suffice to say, these “woke” millennials are hardly the independent thinkers they fancy themselves as, seeing how quickly they lap up the mind games of Corporate news media outlets working on the dime of their ad revenue overlords. Poor kiddies. It would have been good for a chuckle had these youths been no more than unharmed victims of clever marketing. The trouble is, they are conscripted to the nefarious ends of political powers-that-be who seem to see destabilisation and economic sabotage as tools employed to the execution of their respective agendas. Unwitting child-soldiers of the digital age, they are.
Thus there is a higher-level wokeness (for real) that all young Filipinos need to wake up to. The fake “wokeness” of those corporate-manufactured “millennials” of yore has been revealed as a scam. It’s time Filipinos of all ages put to rest the dishonest fantasy idea of a “millennial-led revolution”. This and its quaint lexicon of trendy jibberish — “woke”, “cancelldt”, etc. — are another set of relics that should be put in a museum of digital infamy. Infamy implies historical badass, though. Perhaps the word snowflake would be more appropriate in this case.
The spending habits of “millennials” are good for the economy, of course — because they keep retailers and entire supply chains backing these businesses humming. Regarding millennials as any more noble than a source of conspicuous consumption is plain dishonest and a product of marketing genius at best, propaganda of campus communist recruiters at worst.
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