Goodbye, 2015
(The Philippine Star) - December 24, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – You had a good run, 2015, and like all good things, you must now come to an end. But not before we settle some things first. Before the new year comes, we list the 15 things we need to get rid of first.

1. #Adulting

Being an adult is hard, especially when you’re fresh out of college with no guarantees of stability, and when you’re pressured to have everything together at a young age. That said, it’s always a point of pride when one actually accomplishes something adult-worthy. There is, however, a distinction between genuine self-love and constant justification. The #adulting phenomenon borders a little bit more on the latter, especially when people use the concept for things that have nothing to do with being an adult, like eating junk food for breakfast or ignoring chores. Sure, it’s a cute way to celebrate the little bumps that come with growing older, but is that all there is to it?  –– PM

2. SJW Syndrome

It’s been said before, but 2015 might be the year where it’s uttered the most — everyone’s easily offended nowadays. This manic obsession with trying not to offend anyone could be explained by a phenomenon born of the Internet Age: the “Social Justice Warrior.” Lurking in the bowels of Tumblr and Facebook and news comment sections, the Social Justice Warrior — or SJW — plays out as the defender of minority rights, triggered by any ill-wrought comment or post that carelessly fails to take these rights into account. Which is all well and good, but some SJWs have a tendency to go a little overboard. Take the alleged suicide attempt of zamii070, who was cyberbullied for making a character too skinny in his Steven Universe fan art. Or how some online “feminists” shame women who don’t identify with feminism. That’s not what social justice is about at all. Defending the minority should be a step for all people, not an excuse to hurt others. –– PM

3. ‘90s nostalgia

The ‘90s: a relatively uncomplicated era before technology took over completely. It was the time of good cartoons and blocky Nintendos and dial-up Internet. It’s not a wonder a lot of us still yearn for those years, even until now. However, some ‘90s lovers have taken up this nostalgia to discount younger generations. Cries of “only ‘90s kids remember this” come with an imminent air of superiority. Sometimes it descends to an outright condemnation of the new generation for being too indulgent, growing up in an era of technological advancement. But when you think of the inter-generational bitterness between Gen Xers and millennials, perhaps it’s time to start moving on from that decade. –– PM

4. Political social media debates

With the 2016 presidential elections looming around the corner, we’ve seen the worst of social media with all its fanaticism, mudslinging, and general eyesores. The thing about politics, like other touchy topics, is that it tells us more about the person talking about it than the actual subject. Political candidates end up becoming an extension of the person supporting them, a springboard from which to sound off their own beliefs. It’s this intermingling of the personal and political that usually turns news feeds into nightmares, especially when it becomes a game of “my candidate is better than yours.” So for the sake of posterity (and the new year), keep this abridged saying as a general rule: “Political views are like swords. It’s okay to have them, as long as you don’t shove them down each other’s throat.”  –– PM


5. Celebrity feuds

From Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj’s VMA feud to alleged tensions between the Jenner sisters, a few online mavens have been giving us the low-down on celebrities, dishing out the dirt — even when it’s questionable dirt. But being interested in conflict isn’t necessarily a bad thing, nor does it just happen in show business. What does make it problematic is when our fascination with conflict turns into scathing generalizations about the people involved (like the celeb photo hack business). Conflict’s a great way to start a discussion until you begin looking down at a person for their views.

Celebrity or not, they’re still human beings with their own perspectives — so instead of condemnation, maybe it’s time to understand why they stand for what they do and turn the hate into something to think about.  –– PM  Art by Elle Shivers

6. ‘Hugot’ jokes

We have to let go of hugot jokes, just like you have to let go of your crush who left you in the playground in the second grade. Hugot humor, basically innuendo for heartbreak, is this huge inside joke based on the premise of turning an innocuous phrase into something related to love and loss as a joke… and that’s about it. It’s not funny to tell a date that you’re used to being left alone when they’re really just going to the washroom. If anything, hugot jokes are junk food for feelings: it’s tempting to indulge in them, but it’s not as filling, or as funny, as people think. It’s like Rickrolling, or The Game, which is usually funny only to the person cracking the joke. Unrequited love may always sell, and it’s okay to feel heartbroken, but we should draw the line when it becomes a punch line for its own sake. Sayang sa feelings lang yan. We aren’t kidding. — MR

7. ‘Star Wars’ snobbery

The Internet was surprisingly well-behaved in refraining from dropping spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but we still saw a lot of people ridiculing those who are new to the saga bragging about how they’re “real fans” because they saw it first. However, the first Star Wars film in a decade wasn’t meant to be for long-time hardcore fans alone. One great achievement of The Force Awakens is that it strikes a balance by paying respects to its predecessors, while giving the saga a modern twist with all this newfangled CGI technology that people in the ‘70s couldn’t have dreamed of. ?When you do the math, the people who did see Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope as teenagers when it was released in 1977 are in their 50s now, taking their kids to be enchanted by the new Star Wars in the cinema with them. There was a whole generation of fans who reserve a special place in their hearts even for the despised prequel trilogy, because it was part of their childhood, too. Discovering the magic of Star Wars isn’t a pod race, and it’s never too late for anyone.  — MR

8. The album art of Justin Bieber’s ‘Purpose’

Who knew that Justin Bieber would make this big of a comeback in 2015 after a slew of public incidents, arrests, and questionable life decisions? The only glaring snag in the reinvention of Justin Bieber is the cover art. It seems like nobody thought of making something better than a grayscale photo of Bieber with his new tattoos and the title in illegible script. The vector graphics are a mess, taken straight from the mid-2000s. It looks like the cover of a forgettable hip-hop album rather than one of the biggest pop surprises of the year. Maybe record executives think that album art doesn’t matter as much when it ends up being a couple of square inches on a phone display. Maybe it’s just another lesson in not judging a book by its cover.  — MR

9. Kamikazee

Last Dec. 10, Kamikazee capped off their 15-year career with a massive farewell concert titled Huling Sayaw at Araneta Coliseum. Even if they’re crazy and wacky live, the band — vocalist Jay Contreras, bassist Puto Astete, drummer Allan Burdeos, and guitarists Led Tuyay and Jomal Linao — are respected by the industry and their peers for being among the most hardworking musicians in the country today. There’s still a chance that the band will return from their hiatus, but it looks like it will take a while. Their departure, along with that of Urbandub, were among the biggest changes in the landscape of the local rock music this year, leaving the spotlight for new comers and game changers from the pool of young, talented musicians emerging today. Still, Kamikazee was a force to be reckoned with, which makes them irreplaceable. They will be missed.  — MR


10. Urbandub

When Urbandub made the announcement of their last show on April Fools’ Day, people thought it was a joke made in bad taste. It turns out that April 1 was a nod to one of their biggest hits, First of Summer, which had propelled them to fame. However, it took a long time for vocalist and guitarist Gabby Alipe, bassist Lalay Lim, drummer JanJan Mendoza, and guitarist John Dinopol to make it from small bars in Cebu to the top of the local music industry dominated by Manila-based bands. Like Kamikazee, Urbandub’s perseverance and seemingly endless touring cemented their place as mainstays of local rock. They’re also exemplars to bands roughing it out in the provinces, proving that hard work and great songs can overcome distances. While it might seem that today’s generation of musicians have big shoes to fill in Urbandub’s wake, Alipe himself recognizes that it’s time for new bands to shine.  — MR Art by Gaby Serrano


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