Rolling into 2014, virtually everything is available now with a simple click of the mouse or at a tap of the finger. Since the introduction of the World Wide Web in 1989, a mere twenty years from the invention of the Internet, humanity has traversed a great distance in advancing technology.
Nowadays, be it movies, books, the latest news or even if you need any help with your French translation, you can find what you need from the Internet. With all these convenience, the real question is why do some people still cling onto the traditional books or get glued in front of the television watching the 8.00pm news report? Some even chose to stick with the physical copies of printed newspaper which leave ink stains on your fingers.
I am not just talking about your grandparents who have trouble catching up with all the new gadgetry or the kampong (village) kids that had no exposure to the latest technology. I am talking about people like you and me. The Generation Z population that owns a smartphone and are constantly connected with one another through the various social networks.
If you find yourself shaking your head incredulously and exclaiming, “That cant be true!”, you are in for an awakening. For those of you nodding along to every sentence, you can sort of know where I am going with this. As for me, nine out of ten times, you would catch me with my face down, tapping away on my phone or laptop. I admit that I rely on my smartphone for almost everything. However, with that being said I relish the small opportunities that I get to sit down in a quiet room and dive into a book with actual pages to turn. Nothing beats that feeling. Ebook readers even simulate the sound page turning makes in order to entice users.
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It is difficult to explain the lure of books but there is something about them that trumps ebooks in satisfying a bibliophile. I download books shamelessly but that is not due to the fact that I enjoy reading an electronic version of a book. I just download them because I see no point in spending fifty bucks in a book I finish two hours later. Despite its accessibility and the fact that you can easily store hundreds of books on your smartphone alone, curling up in bed or chilling in Starbucks just isn’t that same with an electronic device whose batteries run out pretty fast.
In fact, I have a friend who cannot stand reading ebooks at all and prefer to buy them, sky high taxes aside, and proceed to sniff them. Apparently, there is nothing like the smell of a new book.
Others claim that digitized music does not sound as good as old fashioned records and would spend fortunes just to hunt down old gramophones and perfect records. Or that the television is easier to watch compared to a laptop.
Other than that, another reason why some people cling on to tradition is because it is difficult to break away from routine and habit. Despite being labeled as the tech savvy generation, we were brought up watching our parents come home from a long day of work and unwinding in front of the television or starting the day with a paper in one hand and coffee in the other.
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It is ingrained in us to recognize that each action signifies the beginning or end of a certain period in the day and we have carried these time cues with us all the way to adulthood despite receiving hourly news updates and being almost as knowledgeable as the newscaster.
Through all that has been said about cherishing books as they are, I definitely love the ability to download movies and watching them without the hassle of advertisements. I think that is one thing everyone can agree on; adverts are the devil’s greatest invention. I do occasionally find myself drifting to the family room and sitting down in front of the ‘idiot box’ all the while twiddling with my phone. But the urge never lasts long and the lure of advert-free movies brings me back to my cave.
At the end of the day, a simple summation is that it is all in our mind. I believe that we are unable to relinquish our physical books, television and newspapers because we unable to pull away from the definitions in our mind to fit the new. The newspaper would always be that thing we buy from the friendly Indian uncle at the side of the road and books will be those divinely wrapped items we browse in bookstores.
Though, it would seem that we are slowly adapting to these changes and a day would come where our kids would not understand why we refer to it as a record store.
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