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It’s the Children’s New Millennium Too!

By: Kishor Gidwani, Student Intern

Date Posted: 1999-12-31

The voices of the earth's newest citizens are often drowned in the beauracratic speeches of presidents, prime ministers and monarchs. Parents, by right and by duty, often take on themselves to speak in the place of their children, and that is one rule that may not change with the New Millennium.

However, it is evident that children of the future will definitely be more vocal about their own wishes, and that they will be more willing to express themselves and assume responsibilities for their own lives. In order to get a feel of what the little ones can say about themselves when they have an opportunity to make their voices heard, Japan Update went towards several children attending Okinawa Zoo Park’s Christmas Fantasy event, to assess their state of mind at the turn of the century, and to gather their thoughts.

With the background beautifully lit and everyone from parking attendants to fast food servers dressed up in Santa Claus suits, the children were radiating with happiness. They had the chance to experience the splendor of a fascinating laser show, during which many of them ran around the field trying to catch the rays. They were literally reaching out to catch the light of the future.

Before the shows started and the sun set, many of the children displayed excitement as they viewed a variety of animals from around the world. A select few even getting to feed the girrafes.

Amidst their giggles and chases, the children spoke of the New Millennium. Some, like 4-year old Yuya Mishima of Ginowan City, talked about the cheerful hopes of becoming characters in popular cartoons such as gogo-faibu or pikachu. For 6-year old Hidemi Miyagi from Okinawa City, however, the future is full of uncertainty. When asked to express her wish for the new year, she paused, took a deep breath and quietly whispered “I don’t know”.

These seemingly useless answers actually speak volumes on the situation in which the so-called “Generation Y” now finds itself. With events such as the Columbine High School butchery in the USA still painting a questionable image of tomorrow’s people, there is an impression that the newest generation is lost, confused and has a deficiency of traditional values and good character. Meanwhile, according to fact and the evaluations of several sociologists, the truth seems to be that the United States and other advanced democracies have rejected the trajectory of social decay, with unexpected and unpredicted declines in crime, dependancy and teen pregnancy. There are also indications that the children of less developed countries are slowly, but surely, developing a better sense of themselves, with the hope of living real purposeful lives.

As the world stands at the eve of a New Millennium, it is pertinent to look back at the history of humanity with its accomplishments, and the lessons of time. Often, people pause to forecast their futures and dream flowery thoughts of tomorrow. But how often do we take the time to wonder what the children have in store for themselves and for us? What the children of the millenium are saying in their vague and obscure answers are not messages of shallow thinking and immaturity, they are actually screaming “give us a chance.”

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