As we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the People Power Revolution on February 25, it's about time us young ones, who didn't really get to experience this turbulent time, reflect on the true essence of this historical event and the fight the generation before us put up for our country's freedom. Some might think that life under Martial Law is better than the current situation of the Philippines, plagued with endless traffic, unreliable public transport, and high taxes, but allow us to run down to you—all those torture and political stories aside—the many ways our lives will be different if we're still under that dictatorship:
1. Social media freedom. We're so hooked on social media, pressing the like button anytime we fancy, and airing out our remarks unabashedly on the comments' section. Many would not even think twice when they want to engage in more often than not, not nice arguments, with fellow social media users online.
If Martial Law still existed: You would think twice before pressing the like button, or before calling out politicians (including their children) for their opulent purchases. The government would be in control of the Internet, for sure (hello, Big Brother).
2. The concept of partying. With night shifts being a fact of life in our BPO-laden society, hanging out in restaurants and coffee shops with officemates and friends during the wee hours (because that's the usual break time of the second shifters) is a common thing. Add to that our intense love for nights out and parties.
If Martial Law still existed: The nightlife in Metro Manila would be non-existent. People would hang out in the morning and late afternoon instead, and stay at home at night as much as possible lest they want their lives to be at stake.
3. #Wanderlust issues. Seat sales and easier visa applications today make traveling a breeze, and more accessible to many.
If Martial Law still existed: Planning for spontaneous trips would be next to impossible, unless 1. You have a lot of money to spare, and 2. You have connections in the DFA to make your passport application less cumbersome.
4. Limited OOTD choices. The slew of global brands that are now available here make it easier for everyone to unleash their inner fashionista by mixing and matching pieces to come up with their desired look.
If Martial Law still existed: It would be difficult to purchase our favorite brands because 1. Martial Law would not allow most of these brands to enter our shores, and 2. If they do get here, they will be ridiculously expensive.
5. Entertainment… is not entertainment. Our TV shows, movies, and music are edgier nowadays, tackling themes that used to be taboo such as LGBT rights, corruption, and infidelity.
If Martial Law still existed: Creative freedom will be very limited, as the most talented writers and artists out there would need to be extra careful with what they'll be producing. All of their plans must be approved by the government first (and will surely be asked to be toned down).
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Illustrations by Jana Jimenez