Singaporeans just love their mobile phones. Watching a movie in a cinema without the wretched things going off is almost unimaginable. And while use of the short messaging system (SMS) has not yet reached the dizzying heights seen in the Philippines, more than 52 per cent of Singaporean mobile phone users send at least one SMS a day - more than double the global average. Singapore residents use SMS for just about anything - even to be told when they are ovulating. So it is no surprise the government has decided to tap into SMS to fight the threat of terrorism. Police are working on a 'mobilisation system' using the SMS platform to activate volunteers in times of need via their mobile phones. The system could help with crowd control or evacuations, in situations such as bomb threats or fires. There are now more than 4,000 volunteers participating in neighbourhood watch zones, developed since 1997 to encourage residents to monitor their estates in the fight against crime and report suspicious people to the police. Fighting terrorism is high on the government agenda after the arrest of 31 suspected members of Jemaah Islamiah, the regional Islamic militant group. But in the perceived safe environment that is Singapore, most people show little interest in war in Iraq. A survey by the Straits Times revealed that Singaporeans are now more worried about their jobs than the war - and are doing little to prepare for the latter if it happens. So, this year, a defence campaign is taking an anti-terror focus, with roadshows touring estates to prepare residents for bombs or biological attacks. Last month, Singaporeans were also allowed to visit four emergency underground shelters to psychologically prepare themselves for a terror attack. Since 1982, Singapore has built shelters that can house 945,000 people, or about a quarter of its population, and is planning more. As for SMS, the power of this communication system may be overstated. On February 15, a mysterious and rather mischievous text message invited people to 'rally for peace' in front of the US embassy as part of the worldwide anti-war demonstration. Peace activists reportedly expected 75 people to turn up, but in the end just six did. As they had no permit for the demonstration, they were promptly taken away by the police. They were soon released and have been assisting police with inquiries into the source of the text message. In this electronic age, a group of Singaporeans wanting to protest against war in Iraq have set up a Web site gathering signatures for a petition, which will be handed to the government this month. So far, about 700 people have signed.