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The SMS Craze by Chia Yan Min

The handheld contraption beeps erratically. Its owner instantly picks it up and presses a few buttons anxiously, her eyes scanning the screen. Within seconds, her fingers now fly over the buttons as she frowns in earnest concentration, her full attention riveted on her handphone as she replies to her most recently received SMS message.

The above paragraph can be said to be a fitting description of me. Yes, I confess. I am an SMS freak. My fingers would probably die of boredom if handphones did not exist. What's more, I am not the only SMS-crazed person I know. Almost all of my friends own handphones and at least half of them are in love with sending SMS messages. Which just happens to be the reason why my mailbox is forever clogged up with chain mail and "hello Yan Min, I'm bored" messages. Inevitably, I find myself replying to all of them. And just as inevitably, their replies come… and so on and so forth.

Oh yes, messaging is definitely fun. It gets even more exciting when attempts are made to SMS five people separately, at the same rate at which they SMS you, which, of course, is not possible. Imagine holding five separate conversations at the same time. Now imagine a bad day on which you have a ton of homework to complete and three tests the following day, and holding five conversations while trying to accomplish all of the above. From experience, it is not humanly possible.

Another disadvantage of SMS - there is hardly any personal touch. How much can you express in an electronic message? Keeping in touch just losses its meaning. People do not call any more. They SMS you (and include more crap in their SMS than they ever would in a conversation over the telephone.)

Also, SMS takes time away from actually studying (which does not mean holding your handphone and attempting to read your textbook or notes while waiting for a message). Even if your handphone is switched off, there is always that nagging temptation to check for messages, even if you are in the middle of an assignment.

There is also the "handphones-give-off-harmful-radiation" school of thought. Looking at the number of people who use handphones today, though, I do not think many of us really take it seriously.

But anyhow, SMS is a great way to communicate and is a hit with many, especially amongst young people like us who have endless conversation topics to SMS to each other about. It is revolutionising the way we communicate - sending an SMS and receiving an almost instantaneous reply is comparable talking. No wonder some people send a few thousand messages every month. But of course, those are the lucky people who actually have a few thousand SMS messages free every month, or can actually afford to pay for the excess SMS messages they send, unlike poor me who only has a pathetic 360 free SMS messages per month. Which is barely enough, but I manage…

So what do you think? Is SMS a vital part of your daily life…Or is it just something other people do and you can't be bothered with? Well, drop me a line in the 113 class tray.

Now I have to go…Just received an SMS.