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Feeling left behind.

Justice of  Peace, Tokoh Wartawan Sabah dan Labuan, CC Pung’s strong dose of philosophical musings.

WHEN my newspaper employer tried to introduce computer in our operation in the mid 80s, I realised I had phobia.

I was at home with my compact Olivetti typewriter.

I was literally afraid to turn on the on/off button on the CPU or type freely lest a wrong key could cause the entire desktop to fry.

I got through it, and nobody but me thought of it as a triumph.

Fast forward to an hour ago and me staring at a payment machine at a telecom service outlet, and a while later trying to order lunch at McDonalds.

Without my permission, my phone service provider had put in a new payment machine at this particular outlet.

The old one that  I only recently gotten used to catered to only payment to one party, and it accepted cash.

The new one looks all new, accepts all sorts of payment and all sort of cards.

This simply means all sorts of instruction and arrows and lighting indicators flash across the screen.

It’s unfriendly to a person whose vision isn’t 20/20.

Luckily a friendly attendant noticed the pathetic scene.

She came forward, showed me where to press, and wallah, I was out of my misery in an instant. She must be an angel.

McD is a few doors away.

I thought I hadn’t visited a fast food joint for a while.

What with all the news of boycott in Malaysia in solidarity with the Gaza Palestinians.

In my memory, McD is still with its wide counters where customers interacted face to face with attendants.

What greeted me was a shrunken counter that is outshone by two big screens from which all orders are to be⁰ made.

Although I had known that fast food joints have all gone ‘machine’, this McD shop turned me off enough for me to walk away.

Two days ago CGTN had a forum about how China was adopting measures to ease the pain and frustration of tourists and its own senior citizens in living with its widespread digitalised cashless transactions.

I visualise a guy like me lost  in any  Chinese city. Luckily I’m not alone.

There’s apparently enough concern among locals and tourists that programs are being rolled out at, for example the Beijing airport, to help to ensure seamless transactions by the aged.

I don’t look forward to being that foggy old guy holding up a long queue at a China train station.

How far apart, or ahead, is China compared to, say, Malaysia in helping its citizens?

My closest example is myself. I’ll be helpless if cash isn’t used.

In China, beggars are known to accept alms transferred on line. Farmers at village bazaars (our version of tamu) accept AliPay.

Me? I don’t even use Boost in Kota Kinabalu, and am hardly aware of the numerous Malaysian payment platforms. 

I just filled up my tank (yes, I still use fossil fuel) with cash. I bet the children will be receiving there Chinese New year angpows over the next few days in the form of cash.

Some things don’t change, do they?

Editor – The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of Talantang.

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