Mobile Phones.

Yesterday was the peak of my epic laziness. I woke up at 12:30pm again, after promising myself the day before that I would wake up at 8:00am so that I could turn up in time for the “Daily Arrival Information Sessions” held by University of Sydney.

That promise never materialized.

My phone alarm rang at 8am on the dot. It was cold that morning and I left the window open for some fresh air. However, this resulted in cold drafts blowing into my room. So I switched the alarm off, closed the window and buried myself deeper into my quilt. Ah… comfort….

Minutes later, my phone rang again. This time, not in the tone of the alarm. Damn, someone’s must be calling me. I twisted around half-heartily and groped around for my phone with my eyes still shut.

After locating my phone, I peeked at the caller screen and noticed two things at once:

First the incoming called was listed as “Dad Singapore.” Had to answer this.

Second was the timing. The time was 12:30pm.

What. 12:30pm?

I didn’t overshot my sleep by 4 minutes. I overshot it by 4 hours and a half. 4 hours. So the promise of going to the information session was immediately shot down. That thing starts at 10:30pm anyway.

I groggily got up and tried to make my voice all bright and cheery. Clearing my throat, I took the call. A few minutes into the conversation with my dad (something about my M1 mobile subscription), my phone died. It didn’t literally died but it just disconnect the call and the screen went blank. This happened a few times with my phone and I knew what it meant: phone has stalled. Yep. My phone stalled.

The only solution was to flip my phone close and patiently wait for my phone to resuscitate itself. After the screen came back to life, I dialled my dad immediately and apologized and explained to him that my phone died halfway, not because I wanted to cut the conversation off (I didn’t said the last part).

My dad just said okay and told me to disconnect the call, saying he would call me back so that I didn’t have to pay for the phone charges of making an overseas call.

After another few seconds of waiting, my dad called me and thankfully, my phone didn’t stall or do any funny things again. My dad asked me what was wrong with my phone.

And I was thinking, yeah, what is wrong with my phone?

With that, the story of my troubles with my phone unfold.

My phone had been no trouble for me the past three years. Yep, I got this phone three years ago. I know that for a Singaporean guy like me, three years with the same phone is quite a long time. In a country where people change their phones every six months/one year/or when a new model hits the market, three years with the same phone is by far, for me, the longest I’ve spent with a phone.

So far my phone has been giving me few problems even though it had to bear the brunt of my abuse. Such a supporting and understanding partner, I must say. And example of one such abuse is me dropping my phone and shattering it with such impact that my screen went completely blank. I could answer calls and I could still use my phone but I just can’t see a thing because the screen was destroyed. Thankfully the screen did not crack.

The worst thing was that I got my phone barely four months ago. A brand new phone destroyed because of my carelessness. How I dropped the phone is a rather funny story. I was holding my wallet in my left hand and my phone in my right. I wanted to put my wallet on a counter but my brain got momentarily confused and my right hand released my phone. Fortunately, my phone was covered under a one year warranty so I rushed down to Nokia Care Centre at Wheelock Place and pleaded with the customer service officer to save my phone’s life.

Okay, I didn’t really do that.

Since I knew that any damage to the phone that was caused by human means i.e. dropping it or flushing down the toilet bowl were not covered under the warranty, I lied to the customer service officer and complained that the screen didn’t work and I just got the phone four months ago.

The customer officer bought my story (helped by the fact that my phone was only four months old) and asked for my warranty card. After confirming my details, I handed over my phone, waited for two weeks before collecting a repaired and brand new phone, fixed free of charge.

After that major fiasco (that was the only one), everything was relatively smooth sailing. Truth to be told, I was using two phones during the same period. One was the Nokia 8310 (type NHM-7) and the other was Nokia 6131 (type RM-115). The latter was the four months old which went through the free operation.

Here’s a photo of Nokia 8310:

Nokia 8310

Here’s a photo of Nokia 6131:

Nokia 6131

The reason why I used two phones was that I was serving my National Service. During this period, I could only bring the Nokia 8310 to my air base since it did not had any camera functions. However, during the weekends, I would switch back to the Nokia 6131. This went on for two years until I completed my two years service and I then started to use the Nokia 6131 exclusively.

I love my Nokia 6131. It’s small but not that small till you can’t read the keypad. It’s light and best of all, its a flip phone. With just a press on the button at the side, the phone automatically flips open. It got two screens: one on the outside, on the cover and the main one in the inside. The main screen is big, it takes up almost the whole length of the first half of the phone. So that means I don’t have to peer at my phone to read SMSes.

That said, things had been going well the past 10 months since Nokia 6131 and I started to date exclusively. Problems started surfacing after I settled down in Sydney. A few days later, I inserted the Telstra pre-paid SIM card into Nokia 6131. At first, all was well. Until I realized I could not get any SMS from overseas number.

I only realized this when my parents told me that they texted me. I would give them a blank stare and told them I did not receive anything. Subsequent tries from them proved that I could not receive any overseas SMSes but could send SMSes overseas. I could still receive both local and overseas calls and make local and overseas calls. I could also send and receive local SMSes.

I thought something was wrong with the pre-paid SIM card and so decided to head down to the Telstra shop to enquire about the SIM card. In the mean time, I decided to just let the problem run it course, thinking it was no big deal. I mean, I’ve inserted Bangkok SIM card and Vietnam SIM card, in addition to my usual M1 SIM card with no problems. What more can a Telstra SIM card do to my phone?

After my parents went back to Singapore, I went back to the same Telstra shop that sold the SIM card to me. The same salesman was there and he recognized me. So I explained my problem to him and he told me that there should be nothing wrong with the SIM card. Maybe it was the way my parents keyed in my number when they SMSed me. He showed me the correct way to key in my number from an overseas number and gave me the Telstra hotline if nothing worked out.

Sastisfied, I thought everything was okay. I even texted my parents, telling them the correct way to key in my number and that everything was fine.

How wrong I was.

Apparently they texted me back but I didn’t receive their message.

I only found out about this when my dad called me on Wednesday, saying he texted me. By now, I was quite alarmed. Something must be wrong with my phone. I decided to call the hotline. After some troubleshooting, the technician told me that there must be something wrong with my message centre. He gave me the number for the message centre and told me how to key in the number.

I decided to test my phone again. I SMSed my younger sister and my twin, asking them to text me back when they received my message. Furthermore, I SMSed a local number, my friend in Blue Mountains, asking him to text me back when he received my message.

I did not receive all three messages.

To be fair, I texted at 2am, Sydney time. So my friend could have been asleep. However, when I logged onto MSN, I saw my sister online and asked her if she texted me. She said she did. Not convinced, I asked her to text me again. She complied, but still, no message received.


In one last desperate moment, I texted my friend. Suddenly, my phone stated there was no message centre available.

Double shit.

I went to the message settings and looked around for the message centre.

Oh, doubly triple shit. No message centre found.

That night, I tossed and turned, unable to sleep. What the hell happened? I managed to find the message centre, only after switching my phone on and off repeatedly. I wrote down the message centre number that the technician gave me, but I wanted to test my phone.  The next morning, I received two SMSes from the Blue Mountains friend. I heaved a sigh, so all was okay.

Not really.

After lazing around that day (Thursday), I made a trip to the Broadway shopping mall to do some errands. My mom called me during that time. Halfway through the conversation, my phone stalled again. When I was waiting for my phone to start up, I received all my overseas SMSes together. Oh boy, something’s really wrong with my phone.

After finishing my conversation with my mom, I started fiddling with my phone. It seemed that my phone couldn’t or would not recognize the SIM card message centre and I had to key it in manually. Even if it did recognize it, I couldn’t receive or send any overseas SMS.

I decided to leave my phone alone on Thursday, just doing my laundry and lazing around. But the next morning, when my Dad called me and my phone stalled again, that was when I realized that there was something terribly wrong with my phone. My dad told me to get a new but cheap phone. I was determined to give my phone one last chance. So after I got off the conversation with my dad, I decided to give my phone a test.

This time, I texted myself.

I waited for 1 minute. No message received.

2 minutes, same result.

3, 4, 15, 30, 45 minutes. No message.

Oh boy I’m fucked. Now I can’t even receive local SMSes?

I can’t exactly remember the sequence of how everything went. But to summarize it, my phone cock up within 3 days, and in a foreign city too. What great timing, my mobile choosing this time to unload all its problems on me.

With that sinking feeling, I went onto Telstra website and started looking at their mobile phones. I wanted a touch screen phone, not iPhone 3G-S, but preferably a Nokia or LG or Samsung.

Actually, I prefer Nokia. I don’t want to start re-learning how to use a mobile phone from a differently company. I’ve been using Nokia for more than 6 to 7 years and am used to their functions. I already have enough headache learning how to use Macbook after being a Microsoft user since young.

Sadly, all the touchscreen phones were out of my price range. Even the Nokia phones that I wanted were way, way out of my budget. After some browsing, I landed on these three choices:

This LG TU720 phone above was initially my choice. But its $249 price tag is way out of my budget.


My first choice: Samsung E1250. Price-tag of $89. Its a flip phone too. Unfortunately for me, I will have to re-learn some of the functions.

Samsung E2510

And the two Nokia phones. Unfortunately, the designs are really crap:

Nokia 2860. Has a price tag of $99.

Nokia 2860

Nokia 2600. Price tag of $79. But this Nokia design is seriously crap.

Nokia 2600

So I’m left with the Samsung phone. I guess this is a goodbye to my Nokia 6131. We’ll reunite once we go back to Singapore. But now, in Sydney, we’re on a break.

Adieu my good mobile, adieu.

Do not go gentle into good night, rage, rage against the dying of the light.

A bit sentimental, no? But a good phone is always a good phone.

3 thoughts on “Mobile Phones.

  1. alermak bro !! .. hahax .. its like watching a hilariously sad movie dude … lol !! .. i wished i was there to see ur expression … lol ! .. ^^ .. any luck in the department bro ? .. *winks2* .. hehe

    • Hahaha, I know, damn sad….
      Nope, not yet. But seriously, the girls here, a lot of them a very chio, including the asians.

  2. hahahax … dang !! .. book me a express flight to where you are staying bro .. lol .. i bring you a new N6131 while at it too ! … hehehe … ehk .. G-man just treated us at seoul garden … hahax ..

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