Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Joys of SMS

Over 90% of people in Singapore have a mobile phone. And the most prevalent - and overused - mode of communication is the text message or SMS. You’d think that a whole country of Singaporeans who have thumbs surgically attached to their keypads would produce better SMSes. Instead, I get stuff like this:

“U wan to do lunch 2moro at my plc? Iv got mtg this eve. Talk soon k” – what I call the Abbreviated SMS.

Or this:

“Eh cannot call me ‘dai gor’ …muz gimme chance hor, or I mati oreadi” – what I call the Singlish SMS. For the uninitiated, “dai gor” means “big brother” (Cantonese), “mati” is the word for “die” (Malay), and “oreadi” is a substitute for “already” (origins unknown). For me, this is almost an unforgivable crime especially if you are trying to get into my pants. I have been known to ignore people who use one “izzit” too many.

The thing is, I'm not demanding a piece of elegantly-written copy every time you SMS but I try to make an effort with the content of my messages and I reckon, so should you. I have an old-school Nokia that allows me 160 letters per SMS. I object to the newer phone models that give you something like 1,500 letters. (That’s called email, people.) I find that the truncated nature of SMS makes it a beautiful medium for one-liners. Pithy insights. Haikus. Catty comments. Soundbites. Statistics. I’m open-minded, as long as it’s spelt properly.

Good SMSes go a long way with me (see illustration below).

Quinn is a guy I shag occasionally. Bar the fact that he's a complete Neanderthal and holds his life with masking tape (just barely), he types a mean SMS. This is how he invited me to his place after our initial meeting at a bar:

Him: Would you like to come over and watch American Idol?
Me: Ooh I like that, the subtle approach. Are you interested in my personality as well? Where is your house?
Him: Haha Little Miss Cynical innit! It's (address here)...
Me: Oh please. Spare me the niceties. I’m not a lady. Neither are you, when I last checked.
Him: In that case smartarse, bring a change of clothes and toothbrush so if you get lucky you can go straight to work and not fucking wake me too early.

I got into a cab immediately. Watch and learn, kids.