Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Handphoned for a few weeks

(Apologies to those of you who have read the earlier version of this post. Shortly after posting this, I managed to find an old account of this episode written three years ago. I realised I've remembered some details incorrectly and left out others. They're updated now.)

The picture you see on my profile is my niece. She will be 3 this National Day.

I've never had a handphone in my life, bar for few weeks or so. Now not having a handphone in Singapore is an extreme rarity. Strangers look upon me like some alien from outer space. When I sign up for something and am asked for my mobile number, I get half-dirty looks when I reply I don't have one. Some friends also bug me to get one, complaining it inconveniences THEM (but it inconveniences ME even more), whilst others will shoot their favourite line "You mean you STILL haven't gotten yourself a handphone?!!" everytime we meet up. Anyway, more about this later, when I have the time.

My niece was the reason for those weeks of enforced handphone ownership. My mum was understandably anxious about me being on the internet a lot (dialup) when it was nearing my sis's delivery date. So I was forced to hang onto my bro-in-law's extra handphone in the meantime. I never brought it anywhere with me. It just stayed at home acting as a backup landline phone.

For a while, it stayed dormant. That was until somebody dialled a wrong number, or we received an advertisement SMS (which was unexpected for me, I didn't think such a thing existed. How suah ku can I be?). When those above events did happen, mum and I will jump (of shock!) and hurriedly check the phone. Heartstopping moments, those... luckily it happened but 2-3 times. Each time, we'll grin at each other's over the top reaction and get back to our work. I sure developed a love-hate relationship with that handphone over those weeks.

After a few "mobilisations", the real thing came on our National Day. My sis had already been in NUH for like the whole of that 9th August so the whole family had been feeling expectant. Mum was trying her best to hide her gan chiongness. Actually, I was a little gan chiong myself. First timer uncle mah. Being the patriotic Singaporean that I am, I was on the internet that evening and not watching the NDP (haven't watched it for donkey years actually). Just after the NDP fireworks was done, the phone beeped. SMS from my bro-in-law.

"Baby expected in half an hour."

I passed on the message to my already excited and flustered mum. She immediately broke into a torrent of detailed instructions.

"Tell him blah blah blah... blah blah blah..."

"Er... ma, I don't know how to SMS."

"Learn now lah,... tell him also blah blah blah... blah blah blah..."

"Also hor... blah blah blah..."


I fiddled with the HP for another 15 minutes, crash coursed myself in "SMS 101" and finally figured out the basic functions. I did send out the SMS in the end. It said simply,"CALL US WHEN SHE IS OUT" Incidentally, that was my virgin SMS! And capital letters because I didn't have time to figure out how to toggle between caps and small letters (actually, till today, I still don't know).

After some time, another SMS.

"Baby is out."

That invited another flow of instructions from mum. So I sent a long SMS of instructions to my bro-in-law (very tiring on the thumbs leh, how do you phone-tottling people manage to send SMSes the whole day long har?), all STILL in caps. I hope it didn't come across as too excited or rude.

I returned the handphone to him a few days later. No more handphones and SMSes since. *Phew*

Here's a pic of my niece when she was about 3 months old: Chio baby, right?

Akan Datang: Probably more adventures with my niece. There're so many things I can say about her. *Grin*

241 days to go.


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