|analytical Q||May-Aug 2000||Sept-Dec 2000||Contact||Discussion|
MOBILE PHONE CULTURE
On my last trip to the US, I apologised for not carrying a mobile phone. On this trip, I decided to borrow one to avoid embarrassment.
Why have I resisted the mobile revolution for so long? After all, I was one of the first to embrace it. Ten years ago, I carried a pager and a huge, chunky mobile phone - state of the art back in those days. Even earlier, I was given a brand new Toshiba laptop on my fourth day at work.
In Singapore last November, I noticed that it was impossible to flag down a taxi without a mobile phone. The taxi's were pre-booked by those with mobile phones.
Mobile phone users, however, have become as irritating as smokers and walkman-listeners. On their mobile phones, they speak louder than normal . I don't want to eavesdrop on private, personal matters. I don't want to hear confidential business deals. Most of all, I don't want to listen to boring conversations for the sake of it.
So, why indeed have I resisted for so long? I do not want to contribute to noise pollution. I also don't want to be at others' beck and call. Why should I be easily reachable all the time?
"If you can't beat them, join them." It has been rather convenient to be able to pose as one of the mobile nouveau riche, with my borrowed mobile phone. I only switch it on when I need to call someone. But without my phone book, I can hardly remember any phone numbers worth dialing. Ah yes! I can check my voice mail. That's not a bad reason to be mobile.
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