By Saleha Sehgol; Edited by Allyson Tai

The spectators. 

The amphitheatre invites the masses, drawing them in to mindlessly worship the online feats of others. They’re ravenous, for the taste of instant gratification dances on their tongues, yearning to witness the infallible mesh of lives beneath them. They morph into a barbaric cacophony, towering in the millions. All in the name of hunting down that next figure to follow. 

The spectators howl with disgust if a pose or caption fails to satiate their expectations. Their screams morph into a threnody of caps lock, hands flailing to validate the worth of the gladiators, when their desires are appeased. 

The gladiators. 

To the spectator’s eye, they seem untouchable, invincible even. They fight, teeth bared, to earn accolades of likes through adorning themselves in bronze armour of filters. However, they are slaves, prisoners of war. They are eternally bound by shackles, for each crevice of their lives is photographed and scrutinised to the pixel by ominous eyes. Only the strongest survive, a minority compared to the rotting carcasses of the fallen who failed to earn extrinsic acceptance. 

Rumour has it that even the most successful cannot leave the Colosseum, for digital validation is an insatiable plague. 

However, this truth is concealed, for the Colosseum remains masked within the icons residing in your phone.

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