I have lost track of the number of cell phones we are accountable for, but yesterday we picked up another one. It will be our London based home number until Pam goes back to Malaysia at the end of July, so if you want to get ahold of us, make a note of the number. It is 519.639.2262. We will be moving around a lot so a land line number is not going to help you much.

I not sure what I found more irritating in the whole purchasing business. Was it the sweet innocence of someone behind the counter – Mandi, I think her name was – explaining to me that this was where the SIM card goes, or was it the total misunderstanding of what the rest of the world outside Canada considers essential and non-negotiable service. We have as many SIM cards as I have glasses. We can cross the border into Thailand and pick up a SIM card for our Malaysian phone that will give us service and about two weeks worth of calling for 50 Thai Batt, or around about two bucks Canadian.

For that I can call anywhere in a country of 63 million people without incurring “long distance” changes. When I leave Thailand I pop back in my Malaysian SIM and I’m back on local calls ANYWHERE in Malaysia. I use my cell phone constantly. I have to clean out my message and call caches every couple of days because they are full. For this I pay 10 bucks a month. When Pam is in Singapore or Cambodia or Nepal we text each other four or five times a day and I have never been able to use up my ten bucks worth of airtime in a month.

But it is not just the silly nonsense of the phone system in Canada or its exhorbitant costs or the draconian restictions on its use that irritates me. It is the unwarranted assurance that ‘this is the best system in the world and you are lucky to have it.’  The reality is that we are so far behind the rest of the world in our telecommunications networks that it is unlikely now that we will ever be able to catch up. I think Cambodia’s cell phone network is now ahead of Canada’s.

Now that I have that off my chest I feel much better, thank you. I’m sure many of you – all of you who have travelled outside of North America, in fact – know exactly what I am talking about and share my dismay at what Canadians put up with. We are a patient lot, by and large, and this is a great national characteristic for it makes us very accepting. It also, unfortunately, leaves us with a phone network that no Asian nation would tolerate for a minute.

Advertisements