Monthly Archives: January 2007

News from the Future: Announcing the iPhone Shuffle

From a message sent to the Newtontalk list, a mailing list of individuals who own and use the Apple Newton and the Apple eMate 300, both pen-based computers discontinued in 1997, by Peter Fraser:

IT’S an all-white rectangle with a little green light to show that a call is in progress. While the iPhone Shuffle superficially resembles the iPod Shuffle, its user interface is even more spare. In place of the familiar round iPod “wheel,” the iPhone Shuffle sports a single square button. When pressed, the Phone Shuffle dials a random number from its phone book.“Our research showed that people don’t care who they call as much as they care about being on the phone,” said Jobs. “We also found that most cell phone users hate routine, and prefer to be surprised. That’s just as true for people answering calls as it is for people making them. It’s much more liberating, and far more social, to call people at random than it is to call them deliberately.”

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Variations on a theme by Henry Sy

ROUGHLY one year ago, the tourism agencies of both Thailand and Singapore promoted their respective countries as THE premier shopping hub in
Asia. While Bangkok took pride in a newly-built mall, supposedly the region’s largest, Singapore spruced up
Orchard Road, expecting an influx of tourists, including those who were clueless about the attractions of Geylang Road. Unfortunately, the Philippines, which could barely manage to attract two million visitors a year, refused to be upstaged by such announcements.  Despite bad traffic and a poor public transport network, Manila―thanks to the efforts of mall tycoon Henry Sy―opened the Mall of Asia in late 2006.  Although considered by its publicity people as the biggest this side of the Pacific, the Mall of Asia continues to confuse the Thais and the Singaporeans. With their strong sense of nationhood, they believed that the best and the biggest of anything belonged anywhere else but this city which, according to an American actress, stank of cockroaches. (Insulted, the city of Manila tried to file a resolution banning her from the country. The attempt failed miserably. And it wasn’t as if the actress was actually crazy about coming back for a visit. After all, the city―including this country―stinks to high heavens, literally and figuratively. But that is another blog entry altogether.)  To continue: owing to the Filipino penchant for doing the right things for the wrong reasons (and vice-versa), the Mall of Asia’s opening will supposedly help boost tourism, both local and foreign.  However, for homebodies such as this irregular blogger, Henry Sy’s new mall will not only add to traffic congestion, it will also further bolster crass commercialism among those who are unable to identify, let alone appreciate what crass commercialism is all about.   We need another mall like the way we need another cheating midget in Malacañang.  Meanwhile, inspired by a Mall of Asia advertisement I once saw plastered on an MRT car, I easily drew up a list of words that rhymed with the word mall. Putting two and two together, I came up with a set of concepts that, given enough imagination, could work, at least theoretically.  And so, with nothing but the unadulterated Filipino spirit of self-indulgence and self-congratulation, here now is Nothing in Particular’s Variations on a theme by Henry Sy:

The Ball of Asia (Basketball? Baseball? Sepak takraw? Soccer ball?)

The Bawl of Asia (The Cry of Asia?)

The Brawl of Asia (Remember the time when columnist Adrian Cristobal, publisher TeddyBoy Locsin, and now Senator Joker Arroyo were assaulted by a foreigner in a swanky hotel? Would that incident qualify?)

The Call of Asia (Asia beckoning)

The Crawl of Asia (Slow economic growth?)

The Drawl of Asia (The Singaporean lah?)

The Fall of Asia (The Asian crisis of 1997?)

The Gall of Asia (Misplaced Asian pride?)

The Gaul of Asia (The French of Asia?)

The Hall of Asia (Somewhere in the UN building in New York?)

The Knoll of Asia (Lots of these in the continent)

The Moll of Asia (Zhang Ziyi or Conchitina Cruz, acclaimed Filipina poet whose contributions to this list are marked with an asterisk?)

The Pall of Asia (Aftereffects of the 1997 currency crisis?)

The Poll of Asia (A significant electoral exercise in the region)

The Scrawl of Asia (A Chinese character? Japanese? Korean? Thai?)

The Scroll of Asia* (Mao Tse Tung’s Little Red Book?)

The Shawl of Asia* (Take your pick: the Pakistani pashmina shawl or the
Mindanao’s famous malongs?)

The Small of Asia* (The current Malacañang midget included)

The Sprawl of Asia (It’s one of the biggest continents, after all)The Squall of Asia (Tsunami in 2005?)

The Stall of Asia* (A squat toilet?)

The Stroll of Asia* (Asia on easy street?)The Tall of Asia (A collection of Yao Mings?)The Thrall of Asia* (A beautiful continent)

The Toll of Asia* (Expensive Expressways? The Silk Road–or is that still part of Asia?)The Troll of Asia (A current Philippine President?)

The Wall of Asia (The Great Wall, what else?)

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