May Day, Mayday
It is Friday (weekend) in Saudi Arabia, and public holiday in the Philippines (May 1 – Labor Day), my kids here in Jeddah were chatting with their cousins in Manila. How convenient our current technology brings to connect geographically separated people.
I remember a couple of decades ago, when I was a kid, I have a playmate and they have a collection of cassette tapes containing voice records from their father working in Saudi Arabia. Back then, the technology called ‘voice tape’, permits people to connect thru a usually 60-minute voice recording (‘side a’ and ‘side b’) accompanied by a background music (more often mellow). I believe the recording is impromptu, there would be a narration about his work, a reminder for the kids to study hard and help their mother, an instruction on to whom to give the soaps and the shampoos, there would be some tears and sobs, and of course the recording is incomplete without a couple of songs. Perhaps at today’s standard, it is totally weird, but during those years it is such a marvel.
Meantime, when I first came in Saudi Arabia in 1999, internet availability is still scarce and not budget friendly. Aside from having Pentium II (and Pentium III and IV thereafter) as my ‘up-to-date’ computer, I had been using dial-up connection for my internet both at office and at home (using a 54 kbps modem). Mobile phone is still a luxury and had not reached the mass public (I remember the cost of a SIM card is a whopping SR 10,000… then became SR 5,000… then SR 3,500… before it became affordable). Phone call to my country is costly at SR 7 per minute at the ubiquitous call stations. Stamps and envelopes are being sold like hot cake.
Those were the days :D