mrbrown and the online New Year

By mrbrownMovies - 19 February 2010 4:00 PM | Updated 6:04 PM

mrbrown and the online New Year

 To say that the iPhone has rather heavy battery consumption is being kind. This thing eats battery for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight snack.

Some people suggested that I turn the screen down to 30% brightness and switch off 3G when I am able to use Wi-Fi, because these are some of the major sources of battery drainage.

That's like asking a driver to remove his rear seats whenever he is driving with less than one passenger, to save fuel from the weight.

I want to be able to use my iPhone for more than 20 minutes without seeing the battery meter actually move before my very eyes.

To be fair, my previous phones were not devices I would fiddle with all day long, with the big screen on, and constantly online. Whatever happened to having a phone I can use for more than half a day before needing to find a USB port?

It has gotten so bad that I carry a spare USB-to-iPod charging cable, just in case, and lately even a 5000mAh (yes, FIVE thousand) rechargeable lithium ion battery known as the Sanyo Eneloop Mobile Booster. It has two USB ports that lets me charge any gadget that supports USB charging.

You'd think I was going on some two-week expedition to the jungles of Brunei from the amount of spare juice I carry. But no, all I want to do is survive one day in our fair city without my iPhone turning into a fancy paperweight.

Still we soldier on using this fuel-guzzling SUV of the mobile phone world. We love our iPhones too much and we are a most forgiving people.

I noticed more and more users over the Chinese New Year period. In our family visitations, relatives would whip out their new iPhone and an animated discussion would begin, usually over the question, "What app you have on your iPhone ah?"

That would be followed by "Eh! Add me on Facebook leh! I want to tag you in the Chinese New Year photos I took of you!"

And just like that, cousins, uncles and aunts would friend each other on the spot.

Where once we actually had to wait till next Chinese New Year to see this year's photos, we could now see the photos the very next day.

And our colleagues can join Third Uncle's son and Four Aunt's granddaughter in viewing photographic evidence of our New Year excesses and mini-casinos.

Speaking of casinos, that New Year tradition of blowing all your angpow money at cards or mahjong is alive and well. You can hear the clacking of tiles in many households as you walk past their homes on the way to your relative's flat or house.

But I will have you know that I did not play at all.

It was a little hard to concentrate on such things anyway, when you have three young children to supervise. The last thing you want is one of your kids breaking some relative's antique vase or eating too much junk food.

Or playing so hard with his newfound little friends that, in the excitement, he forgets peeing is something to be done in the toilet and not in his pants.


No, this Old Man had no time for games of chance. Too busy watching his kids like a hawk.

Nothing beats meeting face to face and catching up, of course. Facebook can never replace face time. But still, it was a useful thing to add one another.

I felt a little silly asking my young nieces to add me to their Facebook. I had no choice because their parents were not the tech-savvy kind. Middle-aged parents from my generation don't tend to use anything beyond email.

I found myself hoping I would be considered hip enough to be friended by my 16-year-old niece (so far, no confirmation of friend request as of this column — I am devastated).

All this angst over my self-worth and Facebook-worthiness because I wanted her mom, my cousin, to see a lovely photo I took of her. If this continues, I may be forced to do the unthinkable: physically snail mail a printed copy of the photograph to my cousin instead.

How very quaint and 20th century.

About mrbrown
mrbrown aka Mr Kin Mun LEE is the accidental author of the popular Singapore website,, and has been documenting the dysfunctional side of Singapore life since 1997.

Affectionately known as the Blogfather of Singapore, his readers follow his writings closely, which these days range from current affairs, his family, and even his trips abroad.

Currently, mrbrown also hosts the mrbrown show (, probably Singapore's best known comedy and satire podcast.

mrbrown is married to Ginny, his long-suffering wife for 12 years, and is father to three lovely kids, Faith,  Isaac and Joy. Shopping tip

Sanyo mobile boosters are available at Challenger, Best Denki, Selffix and other major electronic stores.  Also check out the shopping deals in our Electronics & Gadgets category.