24 hours without tech

A survey published last week claims that Singaporeans spend more than 100minutes a day on the phone visiting social networking sites, playing games, watching videos or listening to music.

We send technophile Nur Asyqin Mohamed Salleh into the tech-void for a day to see if she can handle being offline. My editors gave me a mission.

Go 24 hours without my mobile phone or accessing the Internet. Their rationale? Wired youngsters would have a hard time without technology and would probably crumble within minutes. Challenge accepted, I promptly replied.

But challenge not so easily overcome, as I found out to my regret last Saturday.

7.45am: I can't go through with the mission without a tender last goodbye. I set my alarm to wake up earlier than usual, so I would have a precious last few moments with my iPhone. With the minutes ticking by, I start scrolling madly through my Twitter feed. I check my e-mails, send out a flood of text messages and spend some time copying names and numbers into a handy notebook. I realise I haven't memorised a phone number since 2004.

7.58am: A friend replies: "You will cave in in a few hours LOL". Another tells me: "when u die of withdrawal, i will pour bubble tea on your grave :'(". Encouraging.

7.59am: Turn off my phone with just a minute to spare. It's like watching my social presence bleep right off the radar - or having my soul crumble into dust. "I FEEL EMPTY INSIDE," I scribble in my notebook. Roll around listlessly... and go back to sleep.

9am: Mother throws open my bedroom door to wake me up. Little brother (he's 17) is lurking outside, waving his iPhone madly and cackling at me with devious intent.

9.45am: Usually blast some obnoxious good-morning-world music on my iPod as I change. Today, spend it warbling off-key to myself. There is a distinct lack of music to cover up my amazing ability at butchering pop songs. Upstairs neighbour stomps around particularly loudly today, as if displeased. Hmm.

10am: At breakfast table, brother nonchalantly paws at his iPhone. "Oh, look, I'm checking Twitter," says Brother from Hell. I gnaw at breakfast and contemplate murder.

10.20am: Rummage through my book shelves, which have been untouched since I was introduced to e-books on my iPhone. Rediscover my love for sniffing old books, like some sort of literary pervert. E-books never smelled this good.

10.45am: Wander out of room to check the day's movie timings in the newspaper. Planned outing with friends yesterday, but being equipped with memory the size of a teaspoon, usually have to note things down in my phone. Realise yet again that, without my lifeline, I am dead to the world right now.

11.10am: I have no way to tell time without my phone. I haven't owned a watch in almost 10 years. Mother passes me father's old watch.

11.15am: Yes, I'm still struggling to strap it on. Feels like a handcuff.

11.20am: Mother - either out of generosity or outright malice - offers to lock my phone up for me. "Nooo," I whimper. "I'll feel naked without it." Despite not being able to use it, I take it along for my outing.

11.35am: Not being able to check bus timings on my phone leaves me stranded at the bus stop for 15 minutes. For this girl, born with absolutely no patience to speak of, the long wait without knowing what to expect is amazingly hard.

11.50am: Finally reach the bus interchange. Thank goodness for the TVs displaying expected times of arrival. I don't need you, phone!

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