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10 Things I Miss from the 90’s

In Life on March 12, 2010 at 12:43 am

1. The Family Computer

Although it was released in 1985, I didn’t enjoy this Nintendo creation until later as I was growing up. My parents, seeing how I always spent time over at the neighbor’s just to play it, helplessly gave in and bought me one. My favorite games were (of course) Super Mario Bros., Excitebike, Contra, Galaxian and Circus. True to its name, it is for the whole family. I remember how my dad would play a game or two and how my mom would try and be unsuccessful but still had fun. Being an only child, it was a cure to boredom when friends were scarce or I’m just feeling a bit reclusive. Back then, It seemed okay to be addicted to it, being a kid with no responsibilities whatsoever. And of course, you had parents who can easily unplug the device if it’s getting out of hand. As for me, it was a motivation to finish homework as soon as I get home. It was a great time to be a kid.

2. The {Rock} Music Scene

The rock era of the 90’s reintroduced me to music. I was into boybands before that. Yes, I am old enough to not be ashamed to admit it. Something happened, personally I think, that lead me astray from my safe pop choices. Being in my late teens and developing an (unexplainable) anger in everything, I turned to the radio and listened to NU107 (the golden years). Everything from the gritty punk to the eerie trip-hop and everything in between they liked to call “alternative”.  My musical shift started out with seeing girls in bands that didn’t only have talent, but had huge charisma. Seeing D’arcy Wretzky do bass for The Smashing Pumpkins, Shirley Manson frontrunning Garbage with her rough Scottish growl, No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani easily winning pop goers with the classic anthem “Don’t Speak” and solo artist Alanis Morissette whose vocals you either loved or hated. With the friendlier rock melodies these bands made the transition easier for me, and truly memorable. They happen once in a decade and sadly never come back – maybe because they’re not meant to.

3. Tretorn Sneakers

The simplicity of design and minimalist appeal of this understated brand was too cool an idea to resist. This seemingly plain sneakers silently built a mass appeal, making it a staple in imitation goods sold at bazaars and thrift stores. I got my first pair without knowing it will be my last. My memory fails me on where it is now, but it also succeeds in reminding me how I felt good and all fuzzy inside wearing these.

4. FM Radio

The 90’s was probably  the Golden Age of radio – no matter what demographic it served. From the close competitors, Monster 93.1 and 93.9 KCFM which appealed to young professionals and college kids, to the blue collar choice Campus Radio 97.1 LS FM, to the rocker’s NU 107, radio stations had solid identity and was part of daily Filipino routine. It was a huge achievement to call a station to greet your friends and family and be able to “pass the phone”. Some of the best advertising for radio shows (“I Love the Leather” by NU 107) and characters that were created out of them were iconic. Half of all glory went to the DJs – some gaining household name status and some managing to cross over to television and film simply by being one (read: Mo Twister). I also find that there were better and well-trained DJs in this particular era than, say, today’s overly twanged girls with dubious Valley Girl accents.

5. Free SMS

I hate reliving the unfortunate series of events but here goes. Just an example of how much Filipinos love texting. Cellular network providers Islacom and Globe Telecom offered unlimited SMS for P150 per month until 2001. We were outraged when they started charging 1 Peso per text, and yet here we are – nine years since that day – still texting like nothing happened. Didn’t anyone ever stop and ask why we came to this? Why we need to check how much credit we have left before sending another text? No. We’re too resilient for our own good. I, on the other hand, never got over this fact.

6. Snail Mail

There’s just something more personal and heartfelt  about getting mail delivered from the post office and not from your computer screen. Back when e-mail was as foreign as paid texting, people took time to write letters and go to the mailing stations, and even put on stamps. More than the thought that goes into these letters, the effort alone seems enormous when we look at it these days. I can’t help but think back on all the letters I’ve gotten and how much trouble people took to send them. Letters, when written in paper, is a picture of a time in one’s life and makes the writer immortal in his words. Thus creating that sentimental value that people so often prove by keeping a box full of them.

7. [Former] MTV VJs

MTV Asia was first aired in the Philippines in May 1992 on the UHF channel 23 (now known as Studio 23) and was the first station to fully broadcast a foreign channel. I miss the former VJs on that channel. The sexy Aussie-Indonesian Nadya Hutagalung, the funny-looking Jamie Aditya, the seemingly too-cool-to-care Danny McGill and of course, the eternally annoying Mike Kasem. And let’s not forget our very own Donita Rose who, in my opinion, is the only one deserving of a mention and gets the credit for being the best Pinoy VJ on MTV (Asia).

8. Troll Dolls

Who knew that these strange looking (naked) dolls would be such a hit? Only in ‘90’s, is my best guess. Although it was created by a Danish fisherman and woodcutter Thomas Dam as a gift to his daughter in 1959, it wasn’t until the early mid-1990s that the toys were a commercial success in the U.S. (and of course, we had to follow). I had one of these, and even got a treehouse to match. It wasn’t really a girly toy compared to Barbie, which made it even more interesting. It suited me just fine. I miss them and the treehouse that came with it.

9. F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

There wasn’t anything to top the TV sitcom that had a 10-year run. And that was fine. Friends was a success in every aspect that it could not possibly be replicated, in any decade. It had the right chemistry, the right writers, producers, etc. at the right time. Nothing could be more perfect. Unfortunately, perfection has a timeline – I’m just glad I was there while it was happening.

10. The Wendy’s Salad Bar

This reminds me of Sundays after church with my mom. She had the knack for stuffing as much as she can in the plate. It was indeed heavenly.

Want to add what you miss from the ‘90’s? Post your comments below.

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  1. Great post on top 10 things from the 90’s. I miss the music the most. RIP Kurt Cobain.

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