Thursday, October 02, 2008


I belong to the era of the CB radio, that typical American trucker's communications contraption originally meant for his 'rig.' Long before the advent of the mobile cellular phone, the CB radio was king. Pinoys marveled at the technology put into it and it was an overnight hit. Everywhere one went, cars with mounted antennas or "ears" were a common sight on the road. Of these, the most popular brand names were the K-40, Moonraker, Hokushin, Firestick and the ever dependable bullwhip. CB radios varied in brand name, size, capacity in channels and style. The more affordable ones then were the General Electric (GE) units with a basic capacity of 40 channels. Not to be outdone, homeowners equipped their abodes with CBs with matching antennas on their roofs. The more popular ones were the astro-plane type, the Moonraker and the directional "yagui" type. CB clubs and organizations were sprouting like mobile mushrooms then. This brought about the birth of the civic group, some spuriously created to gain access to law enforcement units and the capricious desire to be "deputized" by the police or the military, for obvious reasons. The CB airwaves were screaming with tireless conversations of almost anything under the hot sun, not to mention the frequent "eyeball" with your "good buddies." The 10-code was the linguae francae of the CB enthusiast. The CB was also the Pinoy's 'other tool' of communication because PLDT connections then were difficult to get. We used it both for business and for pleasure, and some for sinister purposes. Soon after the fad faded came the pager courtesy of Pocketbell, EasyCall, Beeper 150 etc. A gadget made originally for doctors was now being used by anyone on the street. But there was just one problem - one-way communication. A pager subscriber was only at the receiving end and still had to run to a telephone to reciprocate. And then, like a ray of sunshine - the mobile cellular telephone! The cellphone changed everyone's lifestyle in just a short time. It made our world smaller, it made our businesses more dynamic, and made cheating husbands more careful, and doubting wives more suspicious, especially if the husband brings his cellphone with him even in the toilet. It added much stress to our daily lives. These days, people would skip a meal just to 'buy load.' Mobile communication now is key to our progress. The days of the cellphone as a luxury item are a thing of the past. Even a lowly 'basurero' owns a Nokia and our 'kasambahay' probably owns a Samsung camera phone. Not to be outdone, our local gardeners who work in cemeteries and take care of our dearly-departed's 'puntod' or 'nitso' surely own a cellphone each. The only problem they encounter each day is that they're always in a "dead spot." As of this writing, Pinoys send a whopping average of 500 million text messages daily, which is probably the reason why we are technically the text capital of the world. Smart Communications has a subscriber base of roughly 19 million, while Globe Telecom has about 17.5 million subscribers. Translate that into their daily profit, and that's why their tri-media ads are the biggest in cost and in diversity, thanks to the Pinoys' number one pastime - texting. I am reminded of a friend who had this bad habit of texting while driving, so he finally kicked the bad habit of driving. Enough said.

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