24 October 2006

Getting the short end of generational shift

AS USUAL, Manolo came up with an interesting gem in an entry that has generated 122 comments thus far. This snippet especially caught my attention:

The generation born in the 60s should have been coming into its own a decade ago; and the martial law baby generation coming into power now, but the leaders today are the leaders who should have been leading twenty years ago, which is another reason there’s such a wide gulf between the leadership and the public.
Now, rewind a century back to the time we were fighting for independence: when the likes of Rizal, Bonifacio, Mabini, Jacinto, and the Luna brothers roamed this land and carried the struggle for liberty in Madrid and Barcelona. Focus on their age, for instance. Thanks to this site, and to the revolutionary Google Spreadsheet (which easily handled birthdates in the 1800s, which Microsoft Excel miserably failed to do), I was able to generate the table below, using the Cry of Pugadlawin and the Declaration of Philippine Independence as the beginning and endpoints of that revolution.

I've read about how young these revolutionaries were somewhere; but I did not realize that they were
this young when they tried to free the archipelago from the clutches of the Spanish colonial empire. Jacinto, for instance, was only 21 when the uprising began -- no different from the aspiring digital 3D animator from our subdivision who is currently matriculated at the Ateneo de Naga University!

Compare that to the aging dinosaurs we have today, and one can only weep. Turns out we're not only scraping the barrel when it comes to really good school heads, as I wrote about recently; we're also plumbing the depths when it comes to the national leadership, or the sheer lack of it.


mlq3 said...

my father was obsessed with this point when he was already a senior citzen. he kept pointing out that osmena was 29 when he became speaker and his father, 31 when he became resident commissioner. roxas was also in his late 20s when speaker and more recently, we had the examples of manglapus and ninoy as young leaders (magsaysay was 49 when he died).

Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...

Hi M! I will definitely be interested in knowing how a revolution driven by the youth was hijacked along the way by old guards. It will make for a compelling storyline, I think.

Dominique said...

Hi, Willy,

Is it also the fact that it takes people longer to mature nowadays? There seem to be so many distractions that it's hard to get on with the business of living. On the other hand, with such an interconnected world, it also takes time to build up credentials.

Then again, we also have 20-something wunderkinds, but they are lionized more for making big money!

Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...

Dom: Come to think of it, why is it easier for these twenty-somethings to make it big in business and IT, armed only with perhaps one idea whose time has come?

And why is it so difficult for the same ambitious twenty-somethings to make it big in politics?

My sense is, the free market system has less of the gatekeepers that decides who gets what in our political system. And I'm betting that these gatekeepers are, again, dominated by the old guards that are only more than willing to take over.