In this age of 'warp speed communication', it is better to keep quiet if we do not have anything nice to say, lest we may regret it later.
AFTER finally retiring my prehistoric handphone (you know the type that can only make and receive calls and SMSes) to join the ranks of smartphone users, I find that I am still very much a “basic” user – which means I primarily use the phone to make calls and send SMS-es.
Okay, I take pictures and do Whatsapp, but I hardly ever use the many apps downloaded on my phone because I do not have a clue how to use them.
Well-meaning friends will normally download on my behalf and insist that my life will be better off if I have such-and-such an app at my disposal. Yes, right.
On Friday, I desperately needed a cab to send me somewhere, so I stood by the roadside and tried to flag down one.
After waiting some time without success, I went back into my house and called a number of radio cab services and was told no cabs were available.
I finally managed to get a cab and along the way, the cab driver told me that I should just use the MyTeksi app to summon a cab the next time.
He was observant enough to notice that the icon for the app was on my phone and even gave me an instant lesson on how to use it.
He was amused that I was taking down notes on my trusty 555 notebook.
He pointed to another icon on my phone and said I could record his instructions instead of writing them down.
I was beginning to wonder if this cab driver was a graduate of MIT and doing some undercover work to find out how dumb some smartphone users in Malaysia are.
Did you know that WhatsApp currently has more than 430 million monthly active users, and that 50 billion text messages are sent over WhatsApp each and every day?
At least that’s what the CEO Jan Koum said in a report early this year. And the number of users grows by a phenomenal one million a day.
More and more people simply let their fingers do the talking with one report estimating that smartphone owners aged 18-24 send and receive up to 4,000 messages per month.
Our way of communicating has simply gone into warp speed.
The problem with speedy communication, whether via Whatsapp, Twitter, or even SMS, is that we hardly pause before we hit the send button, only to regret later.
Although I do get the feeling that some people, especially those politicians who feel it is their duty to put Malaysia in the news for all the wrong reasons, just cannot resist instant commentary on everything under the sun.
So while most of us may Whatsapp, “Oh, no, what’s wrong Brazil?” or “Go, Germany!” our maverick politician just had to say the darndest thing, thinking he will get away with it.
Well, the World Cup final is on in the early hours tomorrow and many of us will suffer withdrawal symptoms after the outcome of the Germany-Argentina match is decided.
It may be a good time for those who are fond of flashing off instant thoughts to put their smartphones aside for a while and watch the Disney classic, Bambi, and listen to this classic line uttered by Thumper the rabbit, “if you ain’t got nothing nice to say, don’t say nothing at all”. Executive editor Soo Ewe Jin (firstname.lastname@example.org) is thankful that apart from the usual bills, he still receives hand-written letters and cards in his postbox on a regular basis. It spurs him to do likewise in this way of correspondence. The STAR Sunday Starters 13 July 2014