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.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Opinion - By A. TEEO [email protected]­tar.com.my

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.

— Filepic

Why not go the old-fash­ioned route and send ac­tual cards to peo­ple this fes­tive sea­son?

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