When I joined government eight years ago, the first thing that struck me was this preoccupation with streamers. That and t-shirts. Any event--and there are many--merited yards and yards of coco cloth and the requisite t-shirts. The streamers, I soon learned, served the information-dissemination part of the activity. The T-shirt, on the other hand, served the documentation part. Uniform shirts, after all, looked good in photographs.
The penchant for streamers, however, has recently spilled over to the domestic arena. The fence surrounding my old high school is now covered with streamers in varying degrees of wear and tear, all of them congratulating this and that for passing the boards, for earning a scholarship, for being voted muse in some convention. In most cases, the "congratulations" bear the usual "from family and friends." Very much like those from-papa-and-mama birthday party balloons.
I understand the pride of family and friends, of course. Any achievement, whether big or small, deserves a pat on the back, after all. But the idea of hanging a streamer in a public place, especially when the object of the "congratulations" is not around to even read the fine print, is totally lost on me.
It may be because I consider myself part of a low-key, almost invisible generation. My contemporaries and I thrive in the background, behind the scenes. This doesn't make us less driven, less achievement-oriented. It's just that we don't make it a habit to crow about medals and awards and diplomas.
The streamers haven't escaped the attention of a friend, who is now "pressuring" his kindergartner to excel so that he'll do one better: he'll have a tarpaulin printed. Even if the kid is Best in Conduct, or A-One Child or Mission Month Boy.