Quality of Life:
The Opinion of the Next Generation


Herbert John Ignacio


Terrence Celestina


Timberly Loth


When confronted with the question what is quality of life, many people will differ in their opinions. The same goes for the other two questions in this specific case: can it be improved and is technology a part of that improvement? An interesting group is the generation of teenagers.

What are their thoughts and opinions on these items?

Herbert John, (16) Terrence (17), both attending the International School, and Tim, (19), an IT student at UNA, express their opinions.

Terrence: “Quality of life to me means being active. For me, it is quite difficult to sit still, so I always need something to do. I enjoy sports for that reason. But love too, is very important. Love of your family, and if applicable a girlfriend, but it is also a social life in general.”

Tim: “Advancing in life is important too. To me, being successful and able to buy the things that make your life pleasurable is also a quality. Yes, in a way I value material things. But of course there is more. I am very concerned about safety. And as Terrence said, both love and a social life are a condition for having quality in your life.”

Herbert John: “To me there are many things that provide quality. Sports, education, safety and food are very important to me. I like technology a lot, but there is a downside to it. Too much comfort makes you lazy.”

Should the quality of life be improved, and if so, how must this be achieved?

All three immediately respond with “yes!” and then continue: “Here on Curaçao we lack activities. We sincerely believe people are bored and therefore show criminal behavior. People in general need to have entertainment possibilities, and in my opinion these options are too limited.

Where can we find things like land games, a mall and pubs, for example? Another thing is that we do not consider Punda a safe place. Hence we cannot go out there. There is a nice bar in Punda, but outside there are just to many addicts strolling around.

When you look at the USA, and of course we realize that is an unfair comparison, you see that there are more facilities for people. But the same goes for Aruba. There are much more things to do over there and it is vivid. Here we do not see anybody walking the streets in the evenings. Why can’t we have shopping nights over here? These can be combined with other activities, thus creating a more pleasurable environment for the local people. At this moment the city is too focused on tourists.

Right now every weekend is the same, due to the limited choices we have and therefore people get bored. Parents do not allow their daughters to go out anymore, and there are problems with alcohol and drugs, hence creating an aggressive environment. In bars 13 year olds can be seen drinking beer, and this includes famous bars as well.”

This sounds pretty bad.

All three: “We are talking about the needs of our generation. As previously mentioned we are very happy with many things and consider our life to have a lot of quality. But safety is an important issue to us. Sports facilities, better education, parents spending more time with their kids, we feel these issues could solve a lot. Right now we lack possibilities to undertake enough social activities. These are very important, as your environment has a big influence on yourself. We have high hopes for the new plans regarding the Rif Fortress. It would be a great place to have all the entertainment we just mentioned. There could be live performances as well. Of course we realize that we live on an island instead of a big country, but if Aruba can do it, we should be capable too. Sports have always proved to be a great way of combining physical development with a good environment.”

How does technology improve the quality of life?

All three: “Look at all the technology in a hospital, it depends on it. These machines and software improve the well being of patients. What about inventions for personal hygiene, reflectors on clothes and all security systems to safeguard your home. Technology cannot be missed anymore to fulfill basic needs in every aspect of life. On numerous occasions a cell phone saved lives, as it allowed the carrier to make a telephone call to the police, ambulance or fire department.

Apart from what we have mentioned, something like the iPod enhances the quality of our life. About ten years ago, a disc-man could only bare one CD, while an iPod contains more then 200 songs.”

Terrence: “The interesting part of this specific topic is that things you do not really need nevertheless become indispensable. Recently I lost my iPod and when I have to wait for some reason I am really bored. I am not the best day dreamer, so I always need distraction. On the other hand I am convinced that without gadgets like these, my life would not be less interesting. People easily adjust to situations in general.”

Tim: “What about laptop computers at school? At school everything is done with computers. Blackboards do not exist anymore, only presentations are used. Besides books, every student needs a laptop computer.”

Herbert John: “Recently my laptop broke down, so may it rest in peace,” he laughs. “Fact of the matter is however that I use it a lot. Not only for educational reasons, but what about MSN and My Space. It is really part of our social network. A community like My Space is much more efficient and fun than just e-mail. You can put any thing you want on your profile and through your current contacts you can make new friends. With one glance you can see what somebody is like.”

All three: “My Space is like Hyves, Hi 5, You Tube, an active item. There are strict guidelines for the use of such sites, making it easier for real people who use this as a serious site. But the internet in general is great. While lying on your bed you can book an airplane ticket. And don’t forget great sites like the Wikipedia encyclopedia and With Skype you can make cheap telephone calls worldwide so altogether this does improve the quality of our lives.

Other examples of great technology can be found around us. Look at an average telephone. You can do anything with it nowadays: take pictures, get online, etcetera. Technology also literally makes life more beautiful. Look at films and commercials. Nowadays graphics are so good, it is hard to distinguish them from real images. And that too will only get better and better. The use of robots is increasing. There will be times when they too save lives regularly.”

All three: “There is a funny paradox though. Constant improvement of technology makes our lives easier. But as a result, we might get very lazy, due to inactivity. But we wish to stay active and busy, as that too increases the quality of our lives.”