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Luke Ogar: Prospects & Problems of the ‘Indomie’ Generation

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“Let others praise ancient times; I am glad I was born in these” – Ovid

For a while now, there has been a trend of teasing going on (especially on social media) about how this present generation of youths may have missed out on “privileges” of previous years — we call them the “Indomie” Generation. Such teasing is mainly aimed at provoking laughter and reminiscent hearts filled with musings for the past years and experiences. However, there are many issues worthy of note and consideration; going in line with the popular notion that this present age is a “wasteful” generation.

To start, I would like to qualify the Indomie generation as comprising of those born in the late 1990s and onwards. Then again, there is the intermediate group: those born from the mid 1980s to early 1990s — this group spends a good part of its youth within the “Indomie Era”. Therefore, strictly speaking, the pre-Indomie group stops somewhere around the mid or late 1970s. Why this need for grouping? It is important that we know who is who in order to fully ascertain both riches and rags that this generation has in store.
It is easy to state that the future would be better; however if this generation is indeed prodigal, it can still be made to realise its faults and come full circle.

The Formative Years
A child is like a prized possession that should be guarded jealousy, albeit combined with a level of carefree attitude so as to give room for play. In short, child safety has to be combined with adventure for an all-in-one childhood experience. No doubt, the older generation has been exposed to more childhood adventure. No longer do our children sing “Sanda Lily” (I later realised it was “Standard living”) or cook rice in the sand. Our modern day schools are devoid of playgrounds and look more like banking halls. There is more “indoor” sport with the presence of Xbox, PlayStation, etc. Did I forget to mention the social media? There is more online presence, more swipes, more smileys, but less human presence, less handshakes, and less smiles!

It is frank to say that this trend is a time bomb pending detonation. But wait a second, it may not be so bad after all! While we admit that there is no substitute for human interaction, we can clearly see that this generation is better equipped with the social media that can aid such interaction. Never like before do we have the opportune moment to reach out across the globe in friendship. Countless number of people have met, done business, fixed a date, etc with the internet. It seems as though this online opportunity is a double-edged sword that can swing and cut both ways. While we rue our chances of not getting to climb mango trees or play with rubber tyres, we can make up by meaningful and newer ways of interaction, rather than being twits on Twitter.

Sparing the Rod
To say that a child escaped growing up without a beating for one wrong or the other, is a virtual impossibility; but not anymore — believe it or not, the number of children who will not experience the “koboko” sensation is on the increase. More than ever, it is becoming a trend that children are raised up being estranged from one or both parents; more than ever, children will be raised up by parents who are too busy at work to notice any delinquencies; more than ever, there is a growing notion that discipline by the cane is equivalent to child abuse.

While the reader may be quick to conclude that this nonphysical approach to child upbringing may be the reason for a decline in discipline, let me point out that indiscipline is a deeper and recurrent problem. For many Nigerians, discipline is only a thing to be applied when they are being watched. The 1970’s and 1980’s testify that fully grown adults behaved like animals: urinating in gutters, jumping queues, dumping refuse by the roadside, and showing up at work at anytime. Until the military used whips and canes, many Nigerians did not see these things as wrong. The same pattern is being experienced today, yet we would be quick to see this as a problem only of the younger generation.

If indiscipline is a primary fault of the younger generation, why is there so much corruption in public offices held by the middle aged and elderly? It becomes evident, therefore, that we subconsciously define discipline under the confines of the watchful eyes of our parents — once we are adults, we are more or less “free” to do what we want. Yes, discipline by the cane has helped build up many Nigerians aright, but it goes beyond the physicality of the approach, if not, all such efforts would only yield lip service, waiting for an adulthood to open up the Pandora’s box.

Waning Culture
Certainly, there is a rapid decline in knowledge and appreciation of the local culture from whatever corner of Nigeria we emerge. At face value, it seems as though the youths are lazy towards learning indigenous languages, distracted by social media, and eager to embrace the Western culture. However, a closer look at the picture reveals an underlying neglect from the pre-Indomie generation.

The Social Sciences define culture as the sum total of the way of life portrayed by a group of people. If this is a definition to go by, we realise that knowing one’s culture goes beyond being able to speak the dialect or visiting the hometown often. The first problem in the culture decline is the lack of adequate literature. For too long, many ethnic groups in Nigeria have very scarce literature, little or no online presence, and dependence solely on oral tradition. This approach is becoming obsolete and ineffective. Not everyone has the privilege of being born in his/her hometown; not everyone would have their kinsmen as childhood friends; and not everyone would be privileged to visit their hometown as regularly as possible. If we can decide to take up Spanish online classes, why can’t we do the same with Ijaw, or Kuteb, or Mumuye?

Asides the literature, there is a growing erroneous opinion that speaking one’s local language is barbaric or outdated. First, at a tender school age, children are warned in school NEVER to use the vernacular to communicate. I can understand that the schools want a better appreciation of the English language, but why do they refrain the use of vernacular even when peers are discussing amongst themselves? This eventually sends a message that there must be something wrong with the local languages. Therefore, there are many people who feel uncomfortable to discuss in their native dialect in the presence of others. Similarly, many others are uncomfortable when people discuss in a language that they themselves are not familiar with.

To curb this problem, our schools have to get it right; our parents have to get it right; and our youths have to get it right. By having a mentality that some ethnic groups are superior or inferior to others, it is the first step towards a dislike of one’s own culture eventually; for whatever ill we see in others, ours is probably greater in magnitude.

Beggary or Blessedness?
The present age is pregnant with both prosperous and ominous signs. On the one hand, advancement in technology makes an aspect of life simpler but creates another difficulty somewhere else. I reckon therefore, that the older generation feels that life is made too simple to grow up in these days, and that children are easily over-pampered; but there is nothing special in suffering so as to warrant others to go through the same problem — let this generation face its own problems!

A good example is the false belief that kids these days are dumb simply because they have the “luxury” of calculators, gadgets, satellite television, etc; but it is the older generation that was “dumb” enough to believe that Nigeria was beaten 99 to 1 in a football match against India, by diabolical means; it is the older generation that has believed in a thousand-and-one traditional myths that do not even have an iota of science in them; it is the older generation that saw the questioning of elders as an insult rather than a way of inquiry.

Certainly, each generation has its ups and downs, but we cannot fairly compare one generation to another — the times and environment are different. The problems of the Indomie generation are numerous, but so also are their prospects. Irrespective of the generation one is born into, wisdom, hard work, and integrity, are the vital tools to sustain a society. Perhaps, in another forty years time, the new generation would look at flat screen TVs as obsolete.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Dimitar Dimitrov

12 Comments

  1. Busola Adedire

    Oluwabusola Adedire

    October 29, 2015 at 11:20 am

    ‘The Social Sciences define culture as the sum total of the way of life portrayed by a group of people. If this is a definition to go by, we realise that knowing one’s culture goes beyond being able to speak the dialect or visiting the home town often. The first problem in the culture decline is the lack of adequate literature. For too long, many ethnic groups in Nigeria have very scarce literature, little or no online presence, and dependence solely on oral tradition. This approach is becoming obsolete and ineffective. Not everyone has the privilege of being born in his/her hometown; not everyone would have their kinsmen as childhood friends; and not everyone would be privileged to visit their hometown as regularly as possible. If we can decide to take up Spanish online classes, why can’t we do the same with Ijaw, or Kuteb, or Mumuye?’
    I second this! All of it!

  2. Niola

    October 29, 2015 at 11:40 am

    It was standard living?? gosh so ashamed..
    I think that there should be a fair balance and i write in relation to children. We pick ‘the good things’ from each generation in order to achieve a more balanced upbringing for the children.
    I welcome the innovation in technology but I also believe that there should be parental control when it comes to its use by our children. The simply cannot be given infinite access to its use.

    Discipline should be ingrained, and go beyond ‘smacking; but sometimes you cannot simply spare the rod during this process, , many times this rod literally brought me be back to my senses and acted as a deterrent to doing future ‘stupid things’ . My way is smacking and talking!

    I advocate for a well rounded education in Languages and history in the schools, by all means, learn spanish, french and teach them about the Norman Conquest, the Vikings and William of Orange but please can akomolede yoruba textbooks and its counterparts be brought back , what about the history of the TIVS, Ibibio, the nok and igbochukwu arts, jaja of Opobo, Oduduwa, Queen Amina and Usman Danfodio? History gives a sense of belonging
    Our view of history shapes the way we view the present, and therefore it dictates what answers we offer for existing problems.

    I do agree there is nothing special in suffering so as to warrant others to go through the same problem but something it helps people to see things in a larger perspective, i.e when you go through a religious fast off food, you understand how hungry people feel and become more compassionate to their plight. I think the sense of entitlement of the generation is the problem and it is largely associated with almost getting everything on a platter of gold , having not suffered or worked to earn it

    • io

      October 29, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      What about -going blind, getting born with three faces, a rapist father, in the poorest sid of Bangladesh, born with albinism, a nose bigger than the face, dying in a trailer fireball at Akute, suffering for thirty years before hitting it at ffifty, being born with no vagina(it’s on the internet)- experiencing all these on a paltter of free gold so that you can know how it feels, eh? Eh?

      You don’t need to be blind to have compassion on blind people?

      The brain you have, did you ‘earn’ it? The teacher that taught you, did you train her?

      The grave where your bones will decay in over two hundred years time; will you be the one to carefully weed it or its environs? Eh?

      That feeling of competence: of practice making perfect, of the brain acclimatising to routine of a particular thing; did you ‘earn’ that, eh?

      I will get things straight if nobody else does. There is ONLY one reason why this life exists. And it is not suffering.

      Depending on caffeine and nicotine for a good career is not part of the plan. The joy or ‘intoxication’ of the Lord from worshipis free.

      Nothing can be earned:that’s the trick of life. Speaking from experience.

      Put all trust in GOD.

      Gen 3: Good for food

      Toil =curse (Gen3), pain=curse (Gen 3)

      Lots of humans still have fantastic careers without ever going through any suffering. Some have gone; some are alive;some will still come.

      Rom 8:28 Whatever that has happened can work together for good. GOD HEALS.

  3. Mohammad

    October 29, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    There is already a more accepted generational classification system in place that include the baby boomers; generations X, Y and Z; then the millennials. I know with Nigeria’s colonial history some of the earlier generations might not have their Nigerian equivalents (the colonialists, then independents anyone?) However, calling the current generation “indomie” is already disparaging and suggests anthropological bias.

  4. sandalili

    October 29, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    All these ppl dissing our fave “Sandalili” songs. Yes- I know it is not Sandalili but I still dont think standard living is right either. I remember reading the lyrics of what the songs shud be and thought it didn’t make any sense either. I want real proof on the lyrics of the songs and links to people’s comment on a blog website isnt enuf

  5. whocares

    October 29, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Was Nigeria actually beaten 99- 1 in a football match? choi! *wipes brows*.. You must be in my head. Last night I was thinking about what I called the “smugness of age”. Older people by virtue of their age (sometimes experience) have always looked down on younger people with the ever present “we are better than you” slogan. I was wondering why that was.. Nostalgia certainly plays a part in it, and the fact that the world has changed so much since their time. As young as I am, I have had to catch myself from being that “smug” adult who shakes her head at today’s precocious youth. why? these changes just creep up on me too. Please ask me what I know so far that makes me think I am better than people four or five years younger than me? Its a vicious cycle I tell you. Let me take technology as an example. To be honest, I am leery of technology. It is the one thing I do not like about this generation. I have an ipad gathering dust in my cupboard because I am still in love with my massive laptop. Although I am aware of the importance of technology and how it has radically changed society and gotten us to this globalised stage. International now seems like yesterday’s news., and in the international community globalization is the new player You take the good with the bad. The same way that technology has been accused of waning culture for instance, it can also be said to have fostered it. Look around you, you see that drive for self determination by ibo people in Nigeria for example? especially the ones in diaspora, how do you think it happened? Technology. Ankara revolution? Technology. Everyone at every corner of the world is talking to the other person and learnig from them. This generation is not stuck in a box. The world is changing and this is something I try to explain to everyone around me,. It used to be a time where being intelligent was enough, but now it is not. You have to combine that intelligence with charm and a networking skills that will give a slut at Allen avenue a run for his/her money.. Generation indomie. It does sound disparaging, but this generation has managed to combine the best of both worlds, and it has only just begun! Sometimes I worry about the future, but then again the future is simply a reflection of the present. If we have enough people who good heads on their shoulder, they will raise children to be the same etc etc.

  6. io

    October 29, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    What about -going blind, getting born with three faces, a rapist father, in the poorest sid of Bangladesh, born with albinism, a nose bigger than the face, dying in a trailer fireball at Akute, suffering for thirty years before hitting it at ffifty, being born with no vagina(it’s on the internet)- experiencing all these on a paltter of free gold so that you can know how it feels, eh? Eh?

    You don’t need to be blind to have compassion on blind people?

    The brain you have, did you ‘earn’ it? The teacher that taught you, did you train her?

    The grave where your bones will decay in over two hundred years time; will you be the one to carefully weed it or its environs? Eh?

    That feeling of competence: of practice making perfect, of the brain acclimatising to routine of a particular thing; did you ‘earn’ that, eh?

    I will get things straight if nobody else does. There is ONLY one reason why this life exists. And it is not suffering.

    Depending on caffeine and nicotine for a good career is not part of the plan. The joy or ‘intoxication’ of the Lord from worshipis free.

    Nothing can be earned:that’s the trick of life. Speaking from experience.

    Put all trust in GOD.

    Gen 3: Good for food-Lust of the flesh;
    Pleasant to the eyes-Lust of the eyes;
    Desired to make one wise-Pride of life;

    these three destroyed human race; that’s why you can have an armed robber asking to suck a bosom on a Lagos road; these three are still destroying bodies, spiirits and souls.

    You can’t earn anything (NOTHING). You can’t even earn tomorrow.

    It is by HIS grace.

    You can’t earn ANYTHING.

    You can’t even earn TOMORROW!

    You do your part and TRUST IN GOD. In HIS LOVE, GOOD BEHAVIOUR, HOLINESS, HIS BEING GOOD. Anything less will BACKFIRE. OYO.

    Praying for a hundred years does not guarantee a reply; only HIS mercy and obedience to HIS promise does.

    Being nice to people does not guarantee a painless death. Giving does not guarantee anything; the devil can steal what you have sowed.

    Toil =curse (Gen3), pain=curse (Gen 3)

    Lots of humans still have fantastic careers without ever going through any suffering. Some have gone; some are alive;some will still come.

    Rom 8:28 Whatever that has happened can work together for good. GOD HEALS.

    Thanks.

  7. Bess

    October 29, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    Hello Bellanaija Team…Please Check this out and confirm. Thanks. elombah.com/index.php/special-reports/2021-leaked-documents-shows-how-apc-plotted-wike-s-others-downfall

  8. Tkum

    October 29, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    I am for the lady(Model) in the Photo..it had it laughing hard…Yea..the ‘Indomie generation’ style of making up…

  9. What do you really know about the 70s, 80s and 90s

    October 30, 2015 at 6:20 am

    i was going to rant about the privileged ignorance and assumptions of this writer, and then I realized he/she is but a med-student and is too young to remember anything with adult clarity about the 70s, 80s and 90s so we’ll just let the ignorance slide.

  10. Domcy

    October 31, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    If the older generation feels this generation is one with nothing to offer as compared to theirs then it must be pointed out to them that such a claim is false. They must also realize that the so called indomine generation became such under their care and guidiance, thus they are so to say the brain behind the springing up of the “indomine generation”. But nevertheless, every generation must adopt to the availble technology to suit and solve its problem and I don’t think this generation is failing in that aspect

  11. SassyBahristah

    November 1, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    I applaud the writer of this article. The indomie – generation as you put it have their pros and cons. It’s for us to be more vigilant to see that our children take the good and discard the bad.

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