Friday, May 1, 2009


There is a competition currently being conducted by The Star and Pizza Hut which requires the participants to produce a mini magazine regarding teenage angst. Wow! This really brings me back to my teens when puberty and teenage years can be a very challenging and strenuous period. It is definitely a very difficult time for a lot of teenagers especially when they have to deal with issues which are new and alien to them. Acne, growth spurt, petty jealousies, sexuality, physical attraction, low self-esteem, social inequalities, isolation, poverty, academics, parental control and being misunderstood. These are some of the issues that most teenagers have to go through and handle during their coming-of-age years. This is also the time when they will experience indescribable emotions and confusion. Hollywood has produced many movies dealing with teenage angst and some of them can really hurt you to the bone. In 1955, James Dean portrayed a new kid in town in the movie 'Rebel Without A Cause' and since then (especially after his untimely death) he has become an icon for many teenagers. 'To Sir, With Love' produced in the 60s reveals the issues surrounding a group of troubled teenagers attending a public school and addresses racial and social matters. The 70s saw Sissy Spacek acting as a teenage social outcast tortured and humiliated by her high school friends 'Carrie'. The 80s witnesses an abundance of teenage angst movies such as Sixteen Candles, Pretty In Pink, The Breakfast Club, St Elmo's Fire, Less Than Zero, The Outsiders and Stand By Me. The 80s was a period which I can really identify with since I was a teenager myself back then and I did spend a lot of time watching movies that deal with teenage issues. I guess I was trying to understand myself better and these movies provided an avenue for me to analyse myself and my situations. In college, I even took a class in French movies and I had the opportunity to watch 'Les Quatre Cents Coups' by François Truffaut and 'Zéro De Conduite' by Jean Vigo. I didn't understand much of the dialogues in the movies since they were in French but the directors really hit home with the messages through the use of excellent cinematography and realism. Today's teenagers are facing much more than they can handle on their own and it's an excellent idea to organise such competition to understand today's teenagers better. Hopefully the winner(s) of the competition will be those who are able to give us a proper insight into the complex and often misunderstood world of today's teenagers and not just those who can come up with a sleek but lacking in honesty publication. Let's also hope more beneficial activities and programmes will be planned for the teenagers. It is high time that we addressed the issue of troubled teenagers and solved the problems before they become cancerous.