Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Thursday, 25 June 2009 @ 12.35pm

I thought I lost Eddie yesterday. No, not in the sense that we were breaking up. He was out of range. I found him again after probably the most dreadful and panicky 30 minutes of my life. But then it got me thinking, where would we be without technology?

Eddie had to start work at 7am yesterday. When I woke him up, he was hot and feverish. He’d already complained of a sore throat the night before. When I left him in the living room before heading to my room, he was already coughing and sniffling. I told him not to go to work, and that I’d send him to the doctor to get an MC. He replied through his blocked nose, “Tho, tho…I habe to go.” The translation? “No, no…I have to go.”

When we reached Bangsar, he didn’t look good. I urged him to go to the doctor. No - He’s as stubborn as I am. I told him to try and get half day if he could. Before he walked off, he said, “Tho, tho…”

At 1pm, I was just about to get my lunch when he called. He couldn’t make it. He felt horrible and asked me to get him. I couldn’t. Trix is not like Mega. I couldn’t go as I pleased. There are rules at Trix. I apologised and he said he’ll ask a staff to take him. At 2.30pm, he called again and asked me to get him. He got an MC. I apologised again and said I could only pick him up after work. He said he’ll just sleep in the office till then.

At 4pm, as I was chatting to Ina through email, I mentioned to her that Eddie was sick and stranded at Bangsar till I could fetch him. She said that she was leaving work early and could pick him up and bring him to Trix. Great. I called Eddie. He didn’t answer. I tried again. The phone was switched off. I called the outlet. They told me he’d left. I freaked out. “Where did he go? How did he leave? I was supposed to pick him up! He has no transport and he’s not well.” The staff just kept saying, “Sorry ma’am.” And the panic began to set in…

I kept calling his phone. Sometimes it rang, but he didn’t pick up. But then it would go to voicemail. I was panicking. Where was he? How did he go? Is he ok? Ina told me to calm down and just keep trying. I called his friends. They haven’t heard from him. Shit. In my head, I was thinking I’d go to the outlet after work and search for him. If I couldn’t, then call his friend and find a way to trace him. If I couldn’t, then find friends who were nearby Bangsar. In all this time, I just kept calling and calling and calling. And each time, all I heard was the operator tell me that he’s not available. He finally picked up. He was asleep and grumpy. I immediately called Ina and his friends to alert them that he’s still in the office, asleep. The staff didn’t know he was in there.

The thought of not knowing where a person is, or how to get in contact with him is probably one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. You don’t know where they are, whether they’re ok, and how you’re going to get in contact with them.

That got me thinking…how did we manage without technology before this? How could we go about without mobile phones and laptops and what not? And when did we all become so connected? I know that I can contact people through their mobiles, or office phones, or email or Facebook or one way or another. But the moment they’re not connected anymore, we panic. But even if we are connected through technology, we don’t have the same connection as the generations before us.

Before technology, communities were created through physical and verbal contact. You had to make a hell of a lot more effort then than you do now. At this moment, I am connected to a woman called Ivy. We’re often in contact with each other. I know what she looks like, I know what she does, I know her phone numbers and even where she lives. But I have never met her in my life. How did we meet? Ivy sells clothes online and I was interested in a kimono dress that I found through this website.

I got the dress. It was posted to my house. I just put cash into her account and the next day, ta-da! New dress to wear to the office. Ivy added me on Facebook and emails me regularly on her new clothes stock. Through Ivy, I’m also in contact with Toto Lace, who also sells clothes online. But I have never met these women. They know my body size, where I live, what I do for a living, what style of clothes I like to wear, and what my budget is every month.

As with everything else, technology has both its good and bad sides. It allows you to meet and explore a whole new world. It’s fast, convenient, and it keeps you connected. But it also means its easier for people to prey on you. For them to get your personal details or sabotage you by placing discriminating photos or comments that could tarnish you reputation forever.

The mobile phone is definitely another little wonder that has all the good points going for it. It’s mobile, it’s accessible, it helps you out in any situation (provided that your phone hasn’t been barred), and it’s a way to keep you in contact with your loved ones. But once you switch it off…that’s it. You’re disconnected. I never thought or felt that technology had such a major impact on me until yesterday. I never really thought twice about it. But when you’re disconnected…you’re out of contact, out of touch, out of range. If it’s with the one you love, that’s the scariest feeling in the world

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