By Hans Ebert

Whether millennials or indigos or Gen X or Y, or Baby Boomers, we’re all in the same leaky boat that Simon Sinek is talking about in the excellent thought provoking video above. Somewhere along the way, our parenting skills along with our ability to keep our guard up, looked the other way and the bogey man called technology came along like the Pied Piper of Hamlyn and led us off the cliff.

Maybe deep down we wanted, or made available that trip downhill- that need to give one’s self up to something with no heart and soul called social media, which, ironically, has turned out to be everything that’s unsociable through utter boredom with the real world we’re living in, or, at least surviving, in a whirlpool of irony or fakery.

It’s hard to think back to when we would leave the house with only a wallet and a keychain, and did fine. We engaged in real conversations. We didn’t need to be told or taught how to “engage with the customer” and other buzz phrases. It just happened. It didn’t require the over-thinking and pseudo-intellectual babble that’s preached by “social media experts” brought in by every business to help “improve” our communications skills. Weren’t we born with these, some being better at it than others?

We saw, we did and we made friends- real friends and not the imaginary or faceless entities on social media. We didn’t hit the panic button if our mobile phones needed recharging because we didn’t have mobile phones. We didn’t think in 140 words or less because we weren’t pre-programmed by Twitter.

We enjoyed our meals and remembered how they tasted and how they were presented without having to Instagram and share them with everyone, most of whom probably don’t care.

Does anyone really care what anyone has to say on social media, or impressed about how many followers some nobody has? Everything is discardable- here today, gone in a few minutes.

Have we become so lazy that we need someone else to compile music playlists for us? Remember all the hours spent compiling music cassettes and CDs for that special someone? There was pride of ownership in that. There was some degree of creativity involved along with a certain degree of musical knowledge. We learnt more about music and appreciated musicians by reading liner notes and were inspired by the album cover artwork of people like Hipgnosis.

Can a Spotify playlist do all of this? It doesn’t even have the original recordings by the Beatles- just irritating soundalike versions. That’s cheating. But no one seems to mind.

Back in the day, we met someone, we fell in love, we got married and had children. What a neat concept, something we learned from our parents and the generations before them. Of course none of us were prepared for divorce as this was something that wasn’t in most of our parents book of life. It was taboo. It was running away from the family and just not how it was meant to be and how marriage was meant to work.

These days, and if part of the dating scene- tedious and as unfulfilling as finding a friend for the night on Tinder and online dating sites where you know you’re dealing with used goods- most women are busy doing the maths. Don’t have enough money? Do not pass Go and do not collect $200 and the door is shut. You’re looking for love in all the wrong places. Or just maybe, the concept of love belongs in another time.

Since my divorce, I have lived with a few dozen women. How many did I trust? Really trust? One- and my ex wife. Why? Because like the millennials discussed, the wrong ones eventually showed that they were lazy. There was that sense of entitlement, which meant becoming lazier thinking everything will just happen without having to press the mental Go button. And they needed and cared more about their iPhone than having any real relationship. But then, you’re so bored with them, you don’t care.

How to get rid of them and the baggage they carry that weighed you down from progressing? Tell them you’re broke. And cry. Two days later they’ll bolt as “things are not working out”, and immediately find a sugar daddy with whom to “fall in love”, and continue to play the game without knowing they’re playing the game, because they often come from broken relationships and dysfunctional families. They don’t know any better. How can they when their mothers and elder sisters troll online dating sites where nothing and nobody is real, and it’s all about getting laid? And these are the sanctimonious women who look down on escorts in gentlemen’s clubs and think themselves to have a “class advantage.” At least the paid escort is honest about her business and is usually looking after her entire family.

Deep down, the others are outwardly happy living respectable lying lies in the land called Facebook with its “likes” from where I escaped ten years ago. It was dumbing me down and offering me an addictive excuse to do nothing except create an alternative world to hide from reality.

As for Hong Kong, having spent time with some of the city’s student leaders, it’s truly difficult trying to understand what they really want. Asking for more democracy, or total independence, questioning everything, and never being satisfied with anything, has an Oliver Twisted bent to it. Where’s it leading us? And who’s leading us? But we’ve allowed this to happen. We wrote the script for them without editing it.

Sure, as the Beastie Boys sang, Fight For Your Rights, but have a strategy in place. Scattergun approaches never work. But this is where we are and how we live our lives depending on who we’ve allowed in. It’s not just Hong Kong. Those trying to change Hong Kong should get down on their knees everyday and thank their lucky stars that they’re here and not in most other places in the world facing their own self-made problems.

Though most millennials have their problems and priorities pretty much back to front, find the rants of Kanye West to be pearls of wisdom from a self-proclaimed genius, and the faked out romances of Taylor Swift to be what real love is all about, every other generation on this earth have somehow decided to dumb themselves down in order to belong. But belong with who? Those you don’t need in your life? Belong to who? Happy to become slaves to technology and believing all the crap you read?

Have a Happy New Year. Make it a really new one with a new perspective on life.

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