All the cards in the world unite!
A reader wants to make a point about greeting cards. Yes, the old fashioned type, not digital versions.
YEAR-end is my favourite time of the year. I’m sure it is for many readers, too.
When I was at school, year-end was the time I sent out season’s greetings cards to friends regardless of their religion.
I spent hours (usually after supper) in my room, quietly writing those cards, scribbling jokes in the empty spaces of each card, decorating (or rather, doodling on) the cards, too. And I always drew a Christmas tree next to my signature.
A few times, I bought coloured papers and cut them up into tiny pieces of confetti; then I put a pinch-full into the envelope. The confetti was meant to fall onto the receiver’s laps when the card’s opened, like a “Surpriiiiise!”
But some recipients complained – their parents made them sweep up the confetti!
I loved to send cards to people, and not only during the year-end. Birthdays, I never forget them. The instructor who taught me to drive got a “thank you” card from me, too, after my “graduation”. Not that he gave me free lessons, but I was simply grateful. Because I would never have to say, ever again, “Can someone please drive me there? Mum? Anyone?”
My college lecturers were not “spared” either. After getting my exam results, I’d “hunt” them down to deliver my thank you cards in person.
One lecturer (Irene Lim) displayed my card on her desk like some trophy. Thinking back, it was indeed recognition for a job done well because I didn’t have to re-sit her lectures.
In the past, I also made it a point to send a thank you card to my department head after my last day of service at a company; it was my way of thanking them for their guidance.
Someone remarked that I’m similar to the late Princess Diana of Britain, always sending out thank you notes to people immediately after a function or an outing ended.
Back then, most recipients of my cards replied. The most expensive card I’ve received was a Christmas card that had music wired into it. Opening it was like entering a fantasy land!
But everything changed after the arrival of technology. I worshipped technology, at first; now, I think it’s more of a curse. People stopped sending cards. Instead, they forward greetings via the tips of their fingers. (The whole of Malaysia seems to circulate the same few messages sometimes!)
I feel that technology has practically killed intimacy and human correspondence. The warmth associated with human connections has been flushed down the fibre optic-broadband-whatever drain!
“Why bother?” said a cousin, when I initiated the topic about old relatives receiving no festive cards from nieces and nephews.
“But it’s only once a year,” I pointed out.
“Technology is meant to simplify life,” my cousin reasoned. “We can use the hours to write those cards on something else. It’s the thought that counts, anyway.”
“Yeah, but ...” I began but stopped. It was useless arguing about this. To me, forwarded messages are the least thoughtful.
It’s becoming impossible, but I still try to sustain my ritual of sending out cards even though I don’t receive any cards at all nowadays. Nowadays, when I ask for addresses, people give me their e-mail address!
“Any correspondence address?” I’d say.
Most will reply, “Text me. Saves you money on postage.”
If I insist on a correspondence address, I’d get that weird look from them, as if I was a stalker.
Most people send out online greetings in bulk. But messages that I receive via my phone are often forgotten by the next hour or day – unlike cards that can be admired and re-read nine months later.
I feel that sending greeting cards to others is parallel to performing good deeds. It’s soul-fulfilling. The feeling, unexplainable. Equally unexplainable is when I receive a festive card. It’s like being offered a hand by a Good Samaritan. There’s magic.
So, you have a unique point of view that you feel is worth sharing? Tell us at [email protected]tar.com.my and be featured in occasional column Talking Point.
Why not go the old-fashioned route and send actual cards to people this festive season?