(File pix) Photo shows a Pokemon figure at a toy fair in Germany. As trends change across generations, how parents train their kids too should evolve. EPA-EFE Photo

BAPAK, who is obviously my father, turns 82 this month of February 2018. He has a wealth of wisdom to share, like a seasoned Jedi who can stop rain in mid-air. Given his amount of knowledge, I decided to ask him, ‘Bapak, when you were young, there wasn’t any Internet, cinemas, TVs or even radios. So, what was your source of entertainment?’

BAPAK said, “Keroncong”. Interesting. He and his friends used to roam the kampung at night only to settle at the central Balai, where everyone gathered to watch beautiful Malay girls dancing to the tunes of a Malay mini orchestra playing Keroncong. This is no different to the punks of the modern days, where they would look for the latest indie band underground gig. Perhaps, bands like TWKUA or SOG should do a grunge version of the old Keroncongs.

BAPAK had the same question for me, “Do you remember what you used to do for entertainment when you were younger?” I said, “I am still young”. He smacked my head. “OK, OK, when I was younger, TVs and bicycles were my fix for the evening before dusk”. In fact, my childhood was filled with so much entertainment.

BAPAK smiled as I continued to pour my nostalgic recollection of how fun it was for an 80’s kid. In the 80’s and the 90’s, not only did we cycle and watch TV, we also played Kayu Tiga (the three slippers thingy), Galah Panjang, Bola Chopping, Rounders, Lompat Getah, Police Entry Pencuri Jaga (I think that is what it is called), skateboarding, jamming and of course, football, to emulate the stunts of our beloved Super Mokh.

BAPAK continued to observe me as I expanded my recollection of what had happened inside the house. Under the comfort of the roof and the fan (no air-conditioners), we had cool stuff like Chess, Monopoly, Scrabbles, Kalkitos, Figurine Panini, Lego, Airfix, rented VHS movies and of course, during the era of Apple IIc, we had Loadrunner, Montezuma’s Revenge and the infamous Pacman. The list goes on to include Atari, arcade games like Street Fighter, 1942 and Mortal Combat. We also had bowling and snooker!

BAPAK turned his head to my 12-year-old son who is diligently playing with his handphone with the earphone plugged into his two ears. He asked, “So, what do the kids do nowadays for entertainment?” I could only say, "Well, that 12-year-old there, he is on the computer or phone all the time. He even forgets to eat, take a leak or sleep sometimes, or most of the time”. The modern day addiction for kids are Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Netflix, eGames and everything digital. They do not go outside anymore except to catch Pokemon.

BAPAK was still smiling when he said, “Things change over time. What the kids do, evolve. How the parents train their kids, should also evolve. After all, from Keroncong to Pokemon, it is a significant change”.

Johan Ishak is chief executive officer of Media Prima Television Networks

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