Monday, 30 January 2012

When convenience becomes liability: iPhone and high pay

My brother commented that there was a communication gap between two of us as I was not a smartphone user.  My sister even claimed that she could not imagine life without iPhone.  A relative with a family of four also proudly declared they had 4 iPhones and 4 iPads even the two kids were in primary schools.

Am I losing out something by not using a smartphone?
Am I going backward without the access of instant messages and information?  Even though I find myself OK but there is an increasing pressure for me to get a smartphone as soon as possible.  I don’t’ feel the communication gap but why others think so.

I am confused.  Is this another kind of social divide in the information age?  If there is a gap between those who can afford, then there is even a bigger gap between those who can afford and those who can’t afford.

When the PAP sets high pay for political positions, perhaps they only look at those who can afford to pay for either iPhone or high salary to ministers.  However, as PM Lee had said some joined politics not because of money. These are people who don’t see the gap with or without a smartphone.  They are willing to settle down with a normal phone or a normal salary. 

Hence, the bigger picture, that is missing, is the gap between those can afford and those cannot afford an iPhone.  The PAP has failed to realise there are people who cannot afford an iPhone and of course, cannot afford to pay high pay to the ministers.

Different social class of mobile users

We generally can tell who use the smartphones and who don’t.  In order not to be associated with the group of non-smartphone users, some may have to shift to smartphones just to avoid being misidentified. Is this necessary? Why should we have this social divide?

One will need a certain purchasing power to own an iPhone and its associated subscription fees.  In a low income family, owning smartphones will take up quite a big percentage of their income.  But it may not be the best option to spend a big sum of family income into smartphones or iPads. 

When iPhone was launched, it was for entertainment, fun, then information, then working tool, then……? However, there is a limit to growth, unless one day the small toy can replace human brain and functions smarter than a human being.

Will smartphone help you to think smarter? Will paying high salary to ministers help Singapore to think smarter? One has only 24 hours a day. If you spend more times playing with the smartphones, you will have less time to think and learn other things. If ministers are occupied by the task of justifying their high pay, then they will have less time to think for the country. Sometimes, fast may not necessary to be good. People are occupied by the smartphones in the meetings, in the train, in the bus, over lunch and dinner, even walking in the street.  Are they really smart thinking and acting rationally?  Thinking too fast and acting too quick can be dangerous – this is why we have cooling off day before elections.  Because you need to think carefully before choosing a right candidate!

There are pros and cons for iPhone and high salary. Because the smartphones are so convenient, so trendy, we nearly forget its disadvantages.  Just like plastic bags, bottles, and products, there are so easy to use and we only realise the environment problems many years later.

It is also easy and convenient to link political pays to top earners. However, we will know the consequence  later.  In fact, a warning sign, the voters had already given their answers last year.

Cheaper iPhone, cheaper housing

IPhone and iPad are expensive in China, especially to low income Chinese people.  An Apple product can cost more than a month of a worker’s salary. So when Steve Jobs passed away, a major Chinese property developer commented that to remember Jobs, Apple should come out with RMB 1000 iPhone or iPad so that more Chinese could own Apple iPhone or iPads.#  However, his comment draw a lot of criticisms in the social media. Netizens demanded the developer to come out with RMB 1000 per sq.m of flat in memory of his deathr.

When the developer suggested a lower price for iPhone, he thought he was doing a favour for the ordinary Chinese. But comparing an iPhone and a flat, housing is even a bigger and expensive item than a communication tool.

The developer could only see a small item like the iPhone but had failed to observe the bigger item like a flat which he has full knowledge about the high property price in China. 

So do the PAP.  When linking the political pay to top earners, the government only sees the affordability of the rich and forget the feelings of the poor.     

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