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Handphone Etiquette


Handphone Etiquette

by Kenneth Lyen

Everyone must have a favourite story about handphones going off inappropriately. And all of you must have compiled a list of devious "remedies" to inflict on the offender. Were it not for your infinite decency and gentility, you may even have tried to carry out some of these remedies.

Just the other day, I was minding my own business enjoying a filmshow, when just at a critical juncture, where the heroine was about to sacrifice herself, immediately behind me, a handphone went off. First the owner pretended it did not ring, and allowed it to ring for longer than it takes to die from strangulation. Then there was a scuffle when the person tried to find a needle-sized handphone in her haystack-sized handbag. The entire cinema audience turned round. Daggers in their eyes were all aimed at me. I slink deeper into my chair. Finally she answered the phone.

"Hello. Yes. Bobby, Bobby Goh? Oh Bobby Chia! How are you? Haven’t heard from you for such a long time."

The entire cinema audience: "Shhhhhhh!!!!"

"It’s all right. I can talk. What are you doing these days? Bumming around? That’s great! And do you still go to Bernie’s?"

"Shut up you stupid bitch!"

"No, it’s okay. Someone’s talking to their friend. Hey, we should meet up some time."

"Hey lady, switch your f***ing handphone off!"

"How about Wednesday? No? Then how about Thursday? Oh dear. Yeah, okay, Friday should be all right. Oh no, I can’t make Friday, I have bowling on Fridays. No, Saturday’s no good either. Well how about next week? You’re off to Iraq? That's nice."

Objects are now flying in my direction.

"Well, let’s keep in touch. Give my love to Leah. Love you. Bye Bernard! Oh sorry, bye Bobby!"


I can watch the film again.

Another handphone goes off. I am about to shout some expletives. When suddenly I realise it's my own handphone. I grin with embarrassment.