The ubiquitous handphone: A good servant?


THE MOBILE/CELL PHONE, aka the “handphone”, is probably the world’s most used and fastest-growing “must have” gadget that has changed our habits – perhaps forever. From instant inter-continental communication between the rich and powerful, to the poor farmer who can now get instant information on commodity prices or weather forecasts, the mobile phone has been a wonder of instant communication in everyday life and in emergencies.

But, the handphone has become an almost indispensible tool without which many people would feel lost – unable to “keep in touch” with friends, family or business associates. For a growing number of people, the mobile phone has thus become something of an opiate. So easy to use, not only for making calls, but with so many “apps” available, it has become a portable game-box, movie theatre, information and news provider and even mobile credit card … the possible applications seem limitless. It has captured young people who are more competent with texting than speech – their competency is phenomenal. Many cannot bear being not playing with this gadget, not uncommonly 24/7.

But, we should be reminded that there is a price to pay.

For one thing, personal human interaction that includes facial expression and body language are devalued or are lost in an impersonal voice-over. Are you really two human beings holding a civilised conversation, or are you reacting to an impersonal voice?

Then, there is the unintended sharing of conversation, scolding, or even quarrelling, using language that does not bear repeating. is is often embarrassing and irritating to the people around.

Sometimes, mobile phones interrupt even important meetings, thereby compromising the proceedings.

Then, of course, there is the dangerous practice of using the mobile phone while driving, either for conversation or texting, with serious and sometimes fatal consequences. Meanwhile, pedestrians chat on their mobile phones even as they shop, or walk along or cross the road, unaware of the potential danger of traffic.

There are, of course, other negative aspects of the habit. Obviously, the mobile phone is a good servant but a bad master. Its very convenience makes it almost indispensable, but it may be necessary for us to develop a sensible code of mobile phone use and etiquette in a society that increasingly finds that little gadget too important to ignore.


ACS celebrates 125th Anniversary with several events

ANGLO-CHINESE SCHOOL (ACS) is celebrating its 125th Anniversary this year with a series of events. is follows the year-long celebrations of the 125th Anniversary of e Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) last year.

Just a year after the Methodist Church was founded in Singapore in February 1885, ACS was established.

The ACS Family will kick off its celebrations with a Combined Thanksgiving Service at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on March 1 – Founder’s Day. e Minister for Education, Dr Ng Eng Hen, himself an Old Boy of ACS, will be the Guest-of-Honour.

Bishop Dr Robert Solomon will deliver the message to about 9,000 students, past and present staff, members of the various school boards and guests.

Later that evening, the Bishop will be the Guest-of-Honour at the Founder’s Day Dinner at the Ballroom of the Suntec Convention Centre.

As part of the celebrations, the ACS Board of Governors will publish a commemorative magazine, which will be distributed to the students, staff and Old Boys and Girls on March 1.

According to Mr Richard Seow, Chairman of the ACS Board of Governors, the magazine will be entitled OUR HEARTS,

OUR HOPES, OUR AIMS ARE ONE – ACS CELEBRATES 125 GLORIOUS YEARS to echo the call for ONE ACS, and is a celebration of 125 glorious years the school has been blessed with.

The other celebrations include:

• A community event to be held on May 26 with each school planning its own activities for the day around the theme “environment”;

• The launching of an ACS 125 time capsule;

• An Arts Festival to be organised by each individual school;

• A combined Sports Festival to be held on the Friday (Aug 5) before the National Day; and

• A Teachers’ Event to be held on Sept 1.
An ACS 125 logo has been designed to be used on all school correspondence, T-shirts, souvenirs, etc.