“If only she could be so oblivious again, to feel such love without knowing it, mistaking it for laughter.”
— Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
I was a happy child, growing up in a satisfying galore of toys, to own, to fumble with.
And just a few days ago, my mum dug out some of my favorite toys from the depths of her wardrobe.
I attempted to maneuver those little figures within their homes but to no avail, my fingers are way too long and have, of course, grew fatter as compared to more than a decade ago, when my little hands were still delicate and minute. I used to so skillfully move and rotate them around the houses and position them in those microscopic-looking furniture.
Well, this is definitely just one of the many banes of growing up.
Edwin and I occasionally make it a point to visit Toys’R’Us (because we’re very, very young at heart) in attempt to relive our childhoods. Inside the department store, there is this section where Samsung tablets are on sale and displayed for children to explore with. The sad discovery made during every visit to Toys’R’Us was that there seemed to be a hype over virtual entertainment provided by the electronic gadgets in the store, rather than the actual manufactured toys that one can physically play with (and ironically, more adults were spotted exploring the toys around the store).
The highlight of this modern era has evidently shifted to technology and virtual means, and the essence of realism and toys ergonomically designed for children to play with has unfortunately been lost through the passage of time.
I can’t say it with much confidence, that adolescents of this generation still adore Polly Pockets, or even Barbie dolls. I have nieces and nephews snatching away my phone promptly after bombarding me with a classic statement (not even a question) of “ANY GAMES IN THERE!?”, or isolating themselves during family gatherings to ‘communicate’ with one another through a game of Mindcraft on their iPads.
Undoubtedly, technology has become an indispensable aspect of our mundane lives. It is no wonder that tons of controversies have been created to argue whether technology is interfering with the younger generation’s growth and well-being. Come on, the thousands of online pedophiles lurking out there aren’t for show. It is just one of the numerous dangers that many parents fail to address when they give their children the ‘privilege’ to own their own devices. I’ve seen it in public spaces, where both mother and son are too busy fumbling with their own ‘toys’, and what the child is missing is an adult’s supervision on his actions within the disarrayed cyber space. Sure, it may begin with innocent games of Cooking Mama (in fact I’m not even sure – do kids nowadays still play this!? Or is it lame already) but once kids are ‘wise’ enough to venture into other risky spots like Ask.fm and pornographic websites, parents do need to buckle up their own seat belts because it’s going to be an endless roller coaster ride out there.
I tell myself that I won’t want to let my children to become addicted to the lifeless activity of tapping on pixels, or be talking to robots by then as that will be plain creepy.
I’m just gonna keep these toys that I loved – and still love – for my children to play with in the future.
In the future when traditional toy manufacturers may have to shut down their businesses, or simply incorporate a huge part of technology into each and every product to capture the attention of young children. Who knows, Mattel may just improvise their dolls into talking robots in just a few years time.
These toys of mine grew up with me, gave me real happiness, and are deemed as constants throughout my rite of passage.
They are the remnants of my innocence, my hypertrophied sense of nostalgia for a long expired childhood.