This is probably going to show my age, but I remember when I first started using email. Suddenly, letters that once took days and weeks to reach me, took just seconds to ping into my in-box. That was also round about the time handphones started coming onto the market, except back then, they literally looked like a brick and weighed a tonne.
Yet, it all felt so incredibly revolutionary. So futuristic. Every time I bench-pressed my brick to call my mother, I felt like I was in a Star Trek movie.
The other day, I read that no one writes emails anymore. Unless you’re an office drone or over 50. Everyone else is texting, Tweeting, Facebooking or instant messaging. And apparently, no one knows how to carry on a conversation anymore.
Which probably explains why the Watson’s shop assistant stared blankly at me when I asked her if she had any facial toner.
“It’s not for me,” I explained in my most friendly manner. “It’s for my flat-mate. Who is a girl. I really don’t know what a facial toner is. Well, actually I do, but I’ve never really understood its purpose because what’s the point of the cleanser if you still need to do another round of cleansing after? You’re staring at me. Why are you staring at me?”
She blinked and hesitated. “You want cleanser, is it?”
Saffy later said I was using too many sentences. “You were scaring her! Plus kids these days can’t speak in complete sentences.”
“So what should I have said?”
Saffy stared hard at the ceiling as she mentally rearranged her grammar. “What you should have said was: ‘You got toner?’ Or you could have sent her an SMS that said, ‘U hv toner?’ And then you add a smiley face at the end of it!”
Amanda says she’s so relieved that the world is moving away from emails. “It’s such a pain having to write in full sentences! And some people are such Gun Zheong Marys about their emails!”
Apparently, our resident Harvard-trained flatmate had been emailing a client using what she called her ee cummings format, which basically involves not using any capital letters. which means all her emails looked like this sentence, even when she might have been talking to brad pitt about a case in new york, or having a conference call with madonna in london.
Her client wrote to her boss and said that he was not going to reply to any of Amanda’s emails unless she started writing with proper capital letters.
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” she emailed her boss.
“I was even spell-checking my emails for that SOB!” she later complained to us.
“That’s what you should have put in your emails – SOB!” Saffy advised.
“S and M!” Amanda chorused.
We stared at her blankly.
Amanda looked surprised. “Why do you not know this? ‘Say no more’!”
Saffy says the world is changing too fast. It’s impossible to keep up. Just when you think you’ve got the hang of something, it either gets upgraded or becomes redundant. Which made me think about my huge CD collection which is all fast becoming obsolete as everything is now disappearing into some electronic cloud somewhere.
As Sharyn pointed out, “Now a day, hor, no body buy CD! So lay-chay!”
“And don’t forget my stupid My Space account,” Saffy added, which took her so long to set up before she had to abandon it for Facebook.
And now, all her friends have started accounts with Google+.
“What does that do?” I asked Sharyn who is a techno first adopter. She’s the sort of person who will camp out overnight at Apple just so that she’s one of the first to use the iPhone 9.
“It’s like Facebook, except I think it’s better. They not as kay-poh as Facebook. You can put all your fren into different categories, so your boss cannot see what you say about him to your fren! Very shiok!”
“I am not starting a Google+ account!” Saffy said firmly. “That’s just ridiculous!”
I think of my aunt Wai-ling. We used to laugh that she doesn’t own a computer and that she’s never sent an email in her life. “What for? I have SMS on my phone. That’s good enough!”
Guess who’s having the last laugh now? It’s a good thing she never bothered learning because in two days time, it’s all going to be really old technology.
This morning, she sent me an SMS. “R u free 4 lunch?” There was a smiley face at the end of the message.