September 1, 2009


I was hanging out in the family convenient store at Emily’s hometown last weekend, when my 3 year old daughter Regine spotted a contraption near where we sat, pointed at it and said,

“Daddy! I want to play!”

It was a telephone.

“No Regine. That’s a telephone, not a toy.”

My daughter then gave me this puzzled look. I wasn’t suspecting anything, but merely explained further,

“You see, someone might want to use it to call somebody. If you’re playing with it, then they won’t be able to do that.”

She then asked me in a rather surprised tone “Daddy, this is a handphone?”

She actually meant ‘is that like a cellphone?’. You see, I didn’t realize that all along, we do not have a telephone in our home. All we have are cellphones, and a cordless phone when she was barely 2 years old. The closest thing to a phone she has ever seen was a colorful toy telephone with wheels. And even that does not come with an RJ11 cable attached to its base (only a cord to the handset). So she naturally thought that the (real) telephone she saw, was a toy. Now, who would have thought that such a thing could happen? My 3 year old daughter not knowing what a goddamn telephone is. Had to explain to her that the damn thing works like a cellphone, except that it is more inconvenient, and ridiculously huge…

I didn’t know that a telephone is already an obsolete thing from the past…

Come think of it, there are so many ‘everyday items’ from my childhood that my daughter has not seen before. A couple that I can think of right now…

– Cassette players. Plays magnetic tapes in cassettes that hold our audio sources. CDs weren’t that popular in the 80’s (I only bought my first CD when I was 17 – Bon Jovi’s Cross Road). An mp3 device was not invented yet. My mom used to have tonnes of The Beatles, Bee Gees and disco mixes from the 70’s and 80’s (stars on 45 etc) in cassettes she recorded from her colleagues. With a little skill, one could dub a compilation of favorite songs in a blank cassette (without the ‘DOOOOKKKK’ sound in between songs) with a dual deck cassette player. It would take a little over an hour just to record a 60 minute cassette. My Regine now listens to her countless of favorite songs through a miniscule flash drive.

– VCRs. Video cassette recorders. Like audio cassette players, VCRs play our video sources in cassettes as well, called VHS cassettes. VCRs also have these potentiometers labeled as ‘tracking’, for us to adjust, in case the static on the picture becomes unbearable (if you don’t know what it is, you’re fucking lame). Has the tendency to get stuck whenever your mom gets home while you’re enjoying porn. I watched many memorable movies on VHS cassettes (and my first porn, of course, with my cousins). Today, my Regine watches her flicks in DivX format either on daddy’s lap, or streamed to the TV through various flashable medias, at her discretion.

Damn, I can’t believe that my generation is obsoleting.

michaelooi  | 3-of-us  | 

9 Comments to “obsolete”

  1. ShaolinTiger says:

    Don’t forget CRT computer monitors, walkmans, cars without power windows, laserdiscs, rear projection tvs and dial-up internet (I bet you can still mimic the 56k connection sound).

  2. feizal says:

    haha good post.

    Dude, I still have TONS of VHS tapes, all in boxes tucked away in my storage room. Too sayang to throw away after all those years of collecting…

    I miss it tho, cuz you just just record shows on TV just like that…well.. in a prehistoric and simple way…

    I have tons of vinyls too..

  3. michaelooi says:

    ST – Hey… I’m still using a rear projection TV!

    feizal – You collect vinyls? wtf, How old are you lah? Vinyls were like, stuff from the 60’s… or was it 50’s.

  4. plunny says:


  5. Jimmy Foo says:

    I remember my first MP3 player…32MB storage space. State of the art! All the girls were swooning after me…lol!

    Feizal-how do you take care of your VHS la? mine all invested with whitish fungus stuff :(

    Btw, please check out my new blog. Your feedback is appreciated. Thanks

  6. david says:

    porn on vhs. ah, the good old days. now my 3 year old is pretty much at ease using his “hard disk player” (his words) to watch baby einstein. that is when he is not trying to borrow my “click clack” (that is what he calls my dslr).

  7. michaelooi says:

    jimmy – Fungal infection can be prevented by storing it in a dry place (store with a bunch of silica gels)

    david – You let your kid play with your dslr? Wow.

  8. aleanor says:

    Hey you forgot the short lived Laser-Discs … the great-grandfather of VCDs and DVDs…hehe.

  9. tbo says:

    Heh, back then cell phones used to be the size of a briefcase.

    Not everything vintage is necessarily ‘obsolete’ though. I’ve got a little valve amplifier that would put most current solid state amps to shame, and still fetches a pretty penny for something built on technology that’s a century old.

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