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HONORING MY MOTHER | Chicken crossing

HERE we are again. Without a doubt, like those iconic bystanders inhabiting the front benches of roadside sari-sari stores, we have seen it all before. Not merely the constant flow of vehicles coming and going, but parades, convoys of all kinds and once in a while, even circus acts. 

As one might get lost in reverie at watching these steadily-flowing blurs going past, it’s difficult at times to imagine and acknowledge that nestled inside each vehicle are individuals who live separate lives and undergo different struggles. Here one second and gone the next, it’s equally hard to tack them into our own tiny reality of standing still while like sprites, they flash past us.

In a sense, this physical manifestation of stillness in the wake of continuous parades passing us by has deeper influences on how we choose to think and accept whatever comes. 

In this modern era, the internet highway comes at our senses as one giant busy roadway, lined with surreal side streets and roundabouts that lead to other hidden paths and destinations. In short, the perfect rendition of a rabbit hole, where everyone is sure to wander and get lost in.

While on one hand, it might be construed as a fountain where knowledge seems to endlessly spring from, it has also unraveled through the years as a Pandora’s Box of sorts, where both misinformation and disinformation fill its lanes, like the familiar potholes in our road and highways.

Our sitting by the highway, bystander status has likewise affected behavior when it comes to our people-to-people relations, most notably in social media. A more confrontative in-your-face stance among users has emerged through the years and experts say this is mainly because of the internet’s and social media’s attribute that a barrier exists between parties. For many trolls, it has become easier to shame when one is virtually invisible. Because of this detachment, a social media expert has said, “In terms of public shaming, we are currently operating at our lowest level as a specie right now.”

Finally, the reality now is that, whether we like it or not, we have become mere “users” and not creators. Contentedly, we have chosen to relegate to others the task of creation and in order to rein us in further, they’ve entertained us with dopamine-inducing net treats. As such, we have become nothing but slaves. So in the end, is it better to be physically seated at Aling Nena’s sari-sari store while a never-ending line of jeepneys pass by? Or sit at your desk and read through the mix of countless junk and information that comes your way?.

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