Be Smarter Than Your Smartphone

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MASAFUMI Nagasaki is the remotely famous Japanese castaway who previously lived alone on Sotobanari, a deserted island, for 29 years, with hopes of dying gloriously in the midst of a typhoon.

He relished being a recluse, protecting “this island as long as I’m alive.” Also, there weren’t any people to call him a loser, as they did back in Osaka.

The vegetarian lived with turtle eggs which hatched safely and survived crawling towards the sea without humanistic nuisance. He also lived with a snake that did not hurt others without a purpose.

What a wonderful world….

This caveman by choice teaches us about what we’ve been missing out on when we’re all so networked with our technological addictions — smartphones, social media, influencers and incessant app notifications.

At Arm’s-length

In fact, there was an upward trend for a while where tech abandoners choose not to have a smartphone, Facebook or IG account, and steered clear of WhatsApp and Gmail. Some FB users who quit Facebook reported that “they had more time for exercise, hobbies and yes, real face time with friends. Their message: There’s life after Facebook.”

Meghan Markle prominently deleted her entire social presence on Instagram and now only has an official IG account @sussexroyal that she shares with her husband, Harry. Not that many care about the comings and goings of the entitled….

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But in this COVID-19 world, it’s more than likely the tech abandoners have been caught out, and forced to embrace the virtual, zooming into calls to connect with people who they have been physically distanced from.

But still, you can be selective about which pond you want to stick your toe in.

“And how does one survive without Instagram?” some aghast 30-something might ask.

Make the moments purposeful. Silly child. You’ve been staring too long into that electronic face you’ve forgotten how to work your brain.

Enough already. I intend to end 2020 and start 2021 with a detox from social media. 

Writer ManiKanta Koppala who quit WhatsApp in January this year said “I am not suggesting to quit social media completely. Instead of you getting controlled by it, be the one in charge.”

Mommy Time With Fireworks

I am doing just that. Mom sometimes says: “Don’t spend too much time with me. I’m already 77 and one day when I pass on, you’ll cry buckets darling.”

Shishang zhi you mama hao (in this world only Mom is good).

My Mom cooks a mean instant qq (springy) mee sua soup with just the Hao Chi all-in-one seasoning and a dash of sesame oil. No NYE supper can be simpler than this, yet its kampung taste has Mom’s big heart written all over it. In return, I’m stocking up on her favourite tau sar piah for her to snack on while we watch the heartland fireworks from our kitchen window. Mom prefers traditional flavours to a fancy-schmancy five-star-hotel high tea. 

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For those who can’t fly home ‘cos of COVID-19, do make an effort to celebrate NYE via a ZOOM call with Mom. Take a good look at Mom, her hair has turned from black to white through the years without you realising it (probably because of you). But don’t be so annoying as to tell her that.

Do also put aside time for the family and friends who’ve been through rollercoaster economic times. 

And as for that viral video by that famous Influencer, TikToker, YouTuber (sounds like you’re calling someone a thick rhizome), whose feed you like…well, that can wait.



May your “new normal” (which is actually normal now) in 2021 be a more reformed one.    


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