PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 November, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 November, 2000, 12:00am

I defer to no one in my unmitigated dislike of mobile telephones, but like many of my contemporaries I have surrendered to the need to have one.

And I'm afraid that in the same way that motorists were finally freed from having a man with a red flag precede every car to warn pedestrians, we are going to have to live with the fact that mobile phones are here to stay.

What surprises me is the paranoia that is evident every time a mobile phone rings, or is answered when other people are present.

One club which I frequent has such draconian rules that most of the members are in fear and trembling of forgetting to switch their phones off and, as a result, losing that membership. The same club has a system, whereby the names of members who are called on the club's main exchange line are broadcast, a la Billy Butlin's holiday camp in the UK.

Following this the called member if he's heard the tannoy broadcast, strides to one of the many phones around the place and answers it.

Personally I find it far less offensive to answer the noiseless vibrating call of my mobile then walk over to where the land-line phones are located and speak quietly into my mobile, with my face within an inch or two of the main-line phone.

Now for some reason this seems to send certain members into a fit.

What is the difference, I wonder, between speaking quietly into a mobile phone in exactly the same location as where you'd otherwise be speaking into a land-line phone?

I should have thought that anything that does away with tannoy announcements would have been welcome.


Wan Chai