Life... - December 4 2007
If mobile phones were invented when I was a teenager, life for me and a zillion other teenagers would have been dramatically different.
Would it have been more fun or less? More pain? Fewer problems?
Whatever. But would I have wanted it any other way? I doubt it. I think it was best that life was the way it was -- sans mobile phones et computers...
When Bapak re-entered journalism after more than 5 years "away", newspapers had moved on and newsrooms were no longer the way they were.
Newspaper technology had pretty much advanced. Computers were already being used in a big way.
I suppose, Bapak must have been overwhelmed by this progress in the newsroom. It was all so new to him.
And that is really an understatement.
Still, he was keen to go with the flow.
But, you know....sometimes the heart so desires but the mind.....
I think this is so true of (some) old people. Their mind stops at the thought of having to remember all the keypads, all the commands.
Bapak never told us about his little problem with computers.
I think as far as he was concerned, the computer was just too much to handle.
Not that he never owned one.
When he rejoined the NST as editorial advisor, he got a personal computer which he had installed in his library/study.
We thought that he had been using it. That the computer had served him well.
We, however, never realised that he had never touched it.
Everytime we were at Bapak's place, he would be fiercely tapping the keys of his faithful typewriter.
"Bapak tak pakai computer?", we had asked.
"Aah..mmm......," he mumbled, eyebrows raised as he momentarily looked up and then, just as quickly, looked back at the page he was typing on.
That meant, "I'm busy".
That meant, "don't ask".
That could also mean that "no, I have not used the **#@ computer".
Truth be told, Bapak has never used a computer in his life. Neither has he ever called anyone on a mobile phone. He does not care to know how to use one.
And I believe he is not the only senior citizen in this whole wide world to have a poor relationship with computers.
(Although I marvel at one 90 year-old Latin lady who blogs.)
If mobile phones were around back in the 70s, I think I would not have had a social life. Not that mine was fantastically exciting. But, what little fun that we had as a teenager would have been severely eroded by the very existence of mobile phones, I am sure.
I can imagine Bapak making sure we were where we told him we would be.
"Kat mana ni? Library? ....", Bapak would probably have asked us over the "mobile phone".
Now isn't that a strange thought when right now, I laud the invention of cell/mobile phones.
"This phone has saved lives," I remember telling that to someone one day. People stranded in God forsaken places have been known to have been rescued because they had mobile phones with them. Accident victims have been saved by prompt action with the hekp of mobile phones. A child who was hiding from burglars/robber in her home got help because she had her mobile phone. And, oh...countless other life-saving cases.
Someone (a very married man) once told me that the mobile phone had also been the cause of divorces/break-ups among married couples.
Actually, what he meant was that wives often got to know of their husbands' extra-marital exploits through the mobile phone due to their husbands' inept or overzealous use of the gadget.
It is usually quite by accident (over the phone) that the wives discover such hanky-panky. Oh you know....
And now, photos in mobile phones to catch erring spouses and their indiscretions...
Just the other evening, as I was sending Shaira and Amalina to the Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Club for the "Live Loud" concert, I told them that I would fetch them at the spot where I would be dropping them off.
I told them to just call me on my cell phone when the concert was over. I told them I'd do the same if I didn't get their call after the scheduled time.
"Thank God, ada mobile phone...," I said.
"Ya-lah, Tante...how was it for you when you were young? How was life without mobile phones?" Amalina asked, a little horrified at the thought of "life without mobile phones".
How was life without mobile phones then?
Well, you do not miss things you never had. That's for sure.
But try telling that to the kids.
My children, nephews and nieces cannot imagine life without mobile phones.
I cannot imagine life without the internet.
As for Bapak....
"Blogging? Apa tu blogging?," I remember the first time that word was mentioned in our conversation.
He knows now.