Call me “Old School.” I am a crusty old expat at age 63. In the Fifties, when I was growing up in a sleepy small town in Central Illinois, the latest high tech gadget in our household was a black-and-white television set. We got five channels from St. Louis on that old wooden box: KSD, the NBC affiliate, KTVI, offering programming from ABC, KMOX, backed by CBS, and independent station, KPLR, which featured one of my personal favorites, The Three Stooges, and the Public Television station, KETC, which I rarely watched at the time since Mr. Rogers creeped me out.
But now, decades later, as I enjoy my golden retirement years, we are bombarded by gizmos like the cell phone, iPhones, tablets, the Apple Watch, big screen 3D and UHD television sets, all hooked up to Al Gore’s Internet, and all connected to the monster called “social media.” But in our household, a Facebook crackdown hits Guimaras, our home province.
I left Facebook a couple of months ago. I still have a Twitter account but haven’t used it for months. I would shut it down if I could remember my password. I don’t have Instagram, never did, but still have an active account on LinkedIn but don’t use it and I’m too lazy to deactivate it.
Of course, all blogging gurus state emphatically that it is essential to be on all the social media sites if you want your blog to thrive. I go against that advice. I’m basically anti-social. I will talk to people and my asawa will tell you I talk too much, but when it comes to social media, I can’t get too excited about it.
I occasionally throw out a post or two on this website but a couple of months ago my internet service from Globe severely slowed down. I called Globe and was on hold for an hour before I spoke to a manager who in a robotic voice could only repeat their “Fair Use Policy” policy mantra.
Though I pay 999 pesos a month for a postpaid plan with so-called “Unlimited Service.” I do not download movies or tv shows from the internet and rarely download anything from YouTube. Globe first implemented its fair use policy in 2010 covering prepaid calls, texts and data promos. The company enforced the policy for postpaid data plans a few months ago.
So when I reach 3GB of data for the month, my internet slows down to 2GB speeds, which is even slower than dial-up service I first had back in the States. It renders using my internet virtually useless. It can take an hour for me to check my emails and makes responding to any comments on Philippines Plus painstakingly slow. So if you find I do not respond to a comment in a timely fashion, chances are Globe has slowed me down.
In the past two months, around the middle of the month, the big slow down from Globe begins. Even if I turn on my computer at 3 or 4 am in the morning, my internet speeds are extremely slow. But then I discovered something which prompted my Facebook crackdown in Guimaras.
Our soon-to-be 16-year-old-nephew, Sherwin, who lives with us while his Mother works as a domestic helper in Kuwait, has been using the Wi-Fi connection to hook up to FB on his smart phone. After our nephew gives his 83-year-old Lolo (Grandfather) a shower in the morning (not a pleasant sight, I assure you), he hunkers down in his room and logs on to the giant social media network, pissing away my 3GB monthly limit from Globe.
Sherwin with sister Shaina
Since Sherwin has graduated from high school last March, he has evidently had too much time on his hands, and unlike his “old school” uncle who spent his summers playing outdoors and reading (gasp!) books, our nephew has evidently become addicted to Facebook. But not any more.
I popped into Sherwin’s bedroom this morning, after Lolo’s morning shower and daily poop, which our nephew also monitors (don’t ask.)
There was Sherwin, smart phone in hand, reading messages from his Facebook account.
I made a remark. No profanity. But a loud remark and my asawa spoke to our nephew in the native language, Ilonggo.
Five minutes later, after some fuming, I went back to Sherwin’s room.
“Gimme that phone!” I exclaimed. “You can have it back when school starts again.” Sherwin plans to attend a local college in June.
It was handed over to me without protest.
Now I imagine taking away a teenager’s cellphone would result in an investigation from your local Child and Family Services but keep in mind, this is the Philippines, where teenagers, for the most part, still respect their elders, at least in our rural province.
Sherwin and Shaina, the younger days
Extreme measures on my part? Nope, not in my opinion. There’s plenty of other things our nephew could do aside from flopping around all day in his room on Facebook. Just call me “Old School,” if you like. But this crusty old expat can assure you that our nephew will not get that phone back until school starts.
And my asawa’s reaction? She said nothing and in that silence, I know she is backing me up 100%. If she disagrees with me on something, she makes her opinion well known. After all, she started working on the family rice farm at the age of seven and always had plenty of chores, such as chopping firewood and carrying water from the river, to keep her busy.