A couple of days ago, as I made my way to my tuition class, I stopped at a tea stall located near the main road by a zoo park. While contemplating what part of organic chemistry I would be teaching that day, I ordered a cup of zinger-flavored tea. However, my tranquility was disrupted by the unpleasant smell of cigarettes. I glanced around and noticed a young boy who captivated my attention for reasons I couldn’t quite fathom. There was something more to him than just his appearance; I sensed a profound struggle reflected in his eyes.
The boy, around 17 years old, had a dark complexion and curly hair. A faint, virgin mustache graced his upper lip, and his small reddish eyes appeared vulnerable, with dark circles beneath them. He held a cup of dark tea in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other, while scrolling through his Facebook newsfeed on his mobile phone. His entire focus seemed divided between the screen and the cigarette.
Perhaps the boy was burdened by anxiety, finding solace in the nicotine-laden breath he took. Maybe that sip of zinger tea offered him a glimmer of hope, despite the regrets and internal struggles he carried within. You might wonder, “How can you gather all this information just by looking into his eyes?” Well, I firmly believe that the eyes never deceive, for they hold a window to the truth.
Despite his troubled state, the boy remained oblivious to his surroundings, engrossed only in his own little world. His facial muscles appeared pale, and his jawline protruded like that of a retired athlete who had pushed his limits for years. Perhaps these were the consequences of severe insomnia and sleep deprivation. However, his ears remained untouched by the familiar embrace of headphones.
Suddenly, his phone rang, emitting the all-too-familiar beep of a message notification. Instantly, he yanked the earphones from his chest pocket and inserted them into his ears, blocking out the world around him. He loudly proclaimed, perhaps to his fellow addict friend, “I’m coming. Just wait there.” After 10-15 minutes, he finally rose from his motionless state, settled his dues with the tea vendor, and left the stall. As he departed, his intense focus on the damn screen of his Android phone nearly caused him to collide with an elderly gentleman. Unfazed by the close encounter, he continued on his way, exhaling his last puff of nicotine with a ferocious intensity. In that moment, I surmised that he had unknowingly destroyed countless alveolar cells in his lungs. Who cared?
Throughout the rest of my day, the incident with the boy lingered in my thoughts. I began to recognize three detrimental characteristics of this modern generation. First, it was a generation constantly yearning for stimulation. Consider the boy’s situation—his cravings, which were detrimental to both his physical and mental well-being. Yet, like many others of his age, he remained oblivious to the dangers.
Second, it was a generation plagued by weakness. The boy was vulnerable, lacking the courage to confront his own mistakes and misdeeds. They preferred to shield themselves from reality, fearing any action that might disrupt their addiction cycle. And third, it was a generation of chained addicts. Contemplate the chain of events once more. It began with mobile phones, which led to exposure to contaminated sites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, keeping them perpetually occupied. Within those platforms lurked more individuals consumed by their own cravings.
Gradually, this generation of addicts found themselves spiraling into a dark abyss where no one had yet resurfaced. As a consequence, they often suffered from mental exhaustion, clinical depression, unprovoked violence towards innocent individuals, and a disdainful attitude towards their parents. Eventually, they became notorious in society, known for their addictive behaviors or even labeled as rapists. They became isolated from the joyful community around them. Sadly, some would silently succumb to the weight of their struggles and choose to end their lives.
This story serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the dangers of addiction and the impact it can have on individuals and society as a whole. It reminds us of the importance of recognizing the signs of addiction and offering support to those in need, in the hope of preventing such tragic outcomes. We must strive to create an environment that fosters resilience, mental well-being, and a sense of belonging, where individuals can find healthier ways to cope with their challenges and pursue fulfilling lives.