I look at how they dress today and I shake my head in despair. Why on earth do they go around dressed up in rags, you may ask. But in actual fact, those discoloured T-shirts that seem to have undergone at least a thousand washings cost over a hundred ringgit, you can bet your bottom dollar on that, and that is at a year-end clearance sale. Believe you me, on ordinary days, just buying one will scorch an enormous hole through your pocket, you will not have one left. Or does that explain why they have holes all over their totally worn-out faded blue jeans?
And never in my dear life, can I understand why the boys must wear their pants hanging gingerly on the edge of their hips looking as if they would just drop off at any time, exposing more than half of their briefs. There is a perfectly logical explanation for this, they will declare. After having spent a fortune on their designer underwear, it makes no sense if no one can get to see them at all. Sigh! Gone are the days when our mothers used to make those boxer shorts for us with a choice between rubber waistbands or the tie-it-yourself variety.
And have you noticed lately that these days, more often than not, it is near impossible to tell the difference between the masculine and the feminine genders? Masculine? That is the last word I would use to describe those skinny, punitive species, so pale from the sheer lack of sun and so scrawny for want of some vigorous exercise. I wish they would take up a sport or something to build up some impressive muscles so that they will not look like some undernourished refugee from a war-torn country.
And have you taken a look at their hair lately? They come in all colours, the more popular ones being blonde or brunette – and I am referring to the boys, by the way. If they want to look English, they should at least put in some effort to learn the language and make sure they can speak like one, but horror of horrors! The moment they open their mouths, all the English you can hear, if at all, is the miserably mangled mess of the Malaysian variety, otherwise aptly known as Manglish. I suspect the dye that they use must have seeped through their heads, rendering them quite brainless. How else can anyone explain all those ridiculous things that they do.
Try walking a little closer and you can catch a whiff of expensive fragrance, Calvin Klien no less, that may cost an arm or a leg. A 100 ml. bottle may cost almost RM200, mind you! Do not ask me how much they have to spend of the gel, mousse or hairspray which definitely do not come a dime a dozen because I do not have the slightest idea – I never use the stuff. Besides, I bet they would need a truckload of all those things to make their hair stand on end as if they had been electrocuted or something. But just when you think you have seen or smelled it all, you hear the tone of a cellular phone. No, you do not have one yourself; they are much too expensive for a miserable salary-earner like you and despite working your fingers to the bone from dawn to dusk, there is no way you can fork out enough dough to pay for it plus the bill, access fee and all. Nevertheless, right before your very eyes, there is this young upstart flashing the latest palm-size model – one that most definitely comes with a four-figure price tag. How can they afford it, you wonder, when you are at your wit's end trying to make ends meet?
Day in, day out, you see them loitering around the shopping malls in the city centre, sitting at sidewalk cafes and sipping branded coffee. And hanging out at one of those sidewalk cafes is not cheap either, albeit the senselessness in the whole indulgence. In countries in Europe, it is understandable that this kind of thing should be a preference, considering their cooler climate, the fresh air and the milder sunlight in the region. But who in their right minds would want to do such a thing along Bintang Walk where the vehicles zoom past non-stop at neck-breaking speed, leaving them to inhale all the poisonous fumes and oozing sweat from every pore? I strongly suspect that other than the aforementioned hair dye, the carbon monoxide must have gone straight up to their brains for that would explain their obvious lack of intelligence. Furthermore, the prices for those so-called "branded" coffee are so exorbitant one will have to keep it in the mouth for hours until the flavour is completely gone before swallowing to get the money's worth. For the prices they have to pay, I would think that to the very least, they should serve the beverage in something more sophisticated or classier than the paper or plastic cups they use, or at best, some clumsy stone mugs. Surely they can afford those exquisite imported fine china that they use in high-class restaurants in five-star hotels, complete with a silver spoon that you can twiddle with, for want of something better to do at mundane places like these.
The internet is the tool of knowledge and communication, so I have been told. Thus, my faith and hope in the future of mankind was restored when cyber-cafes started sprouting all over the towns and cities like mushrooms after the rain. Attracting the young unsuspecting teenagers like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, it is obvious that they enjoy a roaring business. Yet, I have this uncanny suspicion that as far as what the teenagers do at those joints, knowledge and communication are the last things on their minds. Once, I decided to find out for myself and ventured to one of them in the neighbourhood. Horror of horrors! Even before I could open the door, my delicate eardrums were blasted with sounds of gunfire and explosions as if the two world wars were raging inside, with a third one thrown in for good measure. Instantly, I took to my heels for fear that they might fire a guided missile in my direction and send my poor miserable soul to kingdom come. Indeed, as the old adage goes, curiosity kills the cat!
Our parents were aghast when we listened to Elvis the Pelvis and his rock and roll, or the mop-topped Beatles and their "yeah…yeah….yeah" but all that is mere child's play compared to what they listen to today. I would not insult my knowledge of music, limited though it may be, and call them songs for the simple reason that there is no melody – all you get to hear are some drum beats and a booming bass while the singer chants like a deliriously hysterical Chinese medium in a trance. Do not, under any circumstance, try to make out what the lyrics are all about, for heaven's sake. For one thing, it is a near impossible task and for another, when I tried doing that once, I blushed in embarrassment at what I could hear - obscenities, obscenities and more obscenities – making me wonder about the artistes' home upbringing and education, as well as those who listen to their songs.
Teenagers! Sometimes I cast one look at them and I sigh. These are our generation of today. These are going to be the leaders of our tomorrow.