My take on ‘wet n’ wild parties’

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By Leska Ang

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Friday, June 20, 2014


THIS is in response to the online petition against “wet n' wild parties” in Bacolod.

Over the past few days, I've read the petition being reported in newspapers and posted on social networking sites, often with a paragraph or two of aggressive disagreement to it.

I, too, have reservations in supporting this petition. I say this with my best attempt to distance my critical self from my 21-year-old self who does, in fact, attend some of these parties.

Problematic title alone, "Stop Wet and Wild Parties in Bacolod," is enough to send Bacolod's youth foaming at the mouth, or more accurately, clacking away at their keyboards to express their profanity-infused dissatisfaction.

They see it as their right to do what they want with free time being taken away. They see it as cranky, boring, old adults draining the fun out of their lives. They see it as parents banning them from having a social life. And they see it as big institutions wanting them to be mindless bodies which will be part of “the system.” They do not want that and they will fight against that.

For one, parties do not equate to promiscuity, drugs, or underage drinking. These vices have been around far longer than the petition gives it credit for. The truth is, it can happen and it has happened at any venue that allows for it – a small gathering of friends, a high school field trip, even at a church cell group beach outing.

That's because it is the people at these events who influence teens to engage in these. We cannot pin it to certain events only. What is MassKara nowadays but one, big excuse to drink freely on the streets? Should we ban it too for being supposedly destructive to the children?

The youth, not limited to teens but including those in their 20s, are attracted to this fast lifestyle so blatantly endorsed by popular media—live fast, die young, be wild, have fun.

Following the line of reasoning of the petition, perhaps we should ban the movies and TV series showing infidelity, club scenes, and the glamorization of making bad decisions because being good is boring and bad choices make good stories?

Furthermore, the youth have this YOLO (You Only Live Once) mentality where they have this need to act out in extremes, devoid of any restraint or self-awareness. Teenagers nowadays are walking contradictions as they feel like life is too short so they act the way they do.

We need to understand that stopping parties will not stop kids from engaging in premarital sex and other behavior. Fret not, parents. There is a way of keeping your kids from being so enamored with the party lifestyle. As adults and the primary guiding power of children, you need to educate your kids about everything they need to know - and yes, this includes you giving them the dreaded ‘birds and the bees’ talk.

You also need to get to know your kids, their friends, and their social circles because drinking or smoking would first come from the friendly push of peer pressure.

Also, formative institutions such as the church and the school have their roles in educating the kids on alcoholism, drinking and driving, and hanging out with the wrong crowd, as well as providing other outlets where kids can use up their free time on.

The government, too, has its part in implementing the already-existing laws we have against underage drinking. Bars here in Bacolod are fairly easy to enter since guards do not card minors. I remember a few years ago, a club from my high school held a year-end party in one of the big bars along Lacson Street and the bartenders were more than eager to serve drinks to kids as young as 14 years old. In any convenience store, of which Bacolod has quite many, a teenager who confidently strolls in can easily buy as much alcohol he or she wants.

The biggest fault I find with the petition to stop “wet n' wild parties in Bacolod” is that one of the things it asks is to bar party organizers and government officials from entering a church.

I feel as though I don't have to explain what is wrong about this but for the benefit of everybody, parties and bars are businesses whose backbone is impressionable youth. This being said, it is also important to point out that, in parties, organizers have no control as to who can purchase tickets, as tickets are often sold by their middlemen.

Why should the church prevent businessmen and entrepreneurs from receiving sacrament when all they do is bring food to their tables through legitimate businesses?

There is nothing illegal or immoral about parties. Why should they be punished for others' irresponsibility and lewd behavior in parties? The petition seems to tag party organizers - whose planning only covers locations, sponsors, music, theme, etc. - as enablers to the disruptive behaviors of youth which, with or without these kinds of parties, would still be an ever-growing problem.

The petition is definitely misguided in the sense that it believes that parties start drinking and drugs when, the truth of the matter is, I've seen college students smoke weed more at the comfort of their own homes rather than in public places like parties.

Because of the commotion this petition has brought about recently, Bacolod City officials were quick to respond in the most reasonable manner – legislative regulations.

Councilors Caesar Distrito, Em Ang, Carl Lopez and Ann Marie Palermo, who are the proponents of the ordinance, have listed the key objectives in ensuring that parties become less destructive to Bacolod youth: a complete banning of minors, a 'no-smoking’ policy to prevent use of illegal substances, enforcement of the curfew-for-minors ordinance, stricter procedure to obtain permits, and an imposition of amusement tax. However, they are not for the prohibition of these parties.

Putting a somewhat-related, positive spin on the matter, perhaps the ever-rising party scene in Bacolod is a testament to the rise in the living standards and economy of the city. People have extra money to burn and they choose to use it up on a night of music, dancing, and drinks. But this is a discussion for another time.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 20, 2014.

Lifestyle

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