Dear Tech Diary, I Have a Problem

Incredibly challenging weeks, with what's happening with my work, life and the exhilaration of a city that seems to be, somewhat, returning to its rhythm, or lack of it. Rain season, or more accurately "flood" season has just arrived according to mainstream media, though in reality, its been brewing up north for weeks, and that most in Bangkok have been overlooking the build up of the flood -- after all, politicking and the usual cycles of indifference are just a few that causes such behaviour.
BB 9790 and Q10
9790 (L) and Q10 (R)

My misfortune, the accident that caused the Blackberry Q10 screen to shatter, had caused much apprehension; me and the odd moments of being in the state of vexation. Days later, a second-hand BB, a 2800-baht 9790, fitted with a clone battery; patiently conducting multiple resets and installing the OS7.1 software upgrade, a determining factor to the excitement, and in this case mixed anxiety. It has held up well under pressure, although I could do without the annoying Blackberry Messenger bug, the problematic application simply can't be deleted and reinstalled. Hmm, not unless I revert to factory setting and see from there... *making a mental note* ... Displeasing to the impatient mind. Otherwise the pre-owned 9790 does the job, with the qwerty keyboard allowing me the ungodly gift to type in a frenzy despite my thick thumbs.

Long-distance coordination of work back in Malaysia, and a handful of monitoring projects in other countries in the region, have taken a bit of my time. Obviously I've done this before, for years, though as a relief/outreach worker-cum-traveller I am dependant on just my cell phone, with the usual loads of encryption, for communication, for work. Effective coordination is tied to the speed and stability of the local network, and a reliable gadget. Unlike many of my "colleagues" in this line of work, I am not held hostage to the infinite purpose of flashy applications, nor am I attracted to complex apps designed to make your life less complicating, or whatever. Emails, news apps, Twitter and BBM. To communicate, and maintain as much privacy as mortals and hardware can provide. Androids and iPhones, ahem, are just not to my liking.

Tools for outreach workers should include: sturdy cell phone, battery (power) bank, Swiss Army knife, small backpack/sling bag, first aid kit and ID. Old fashion, perhaps to the new generation of community workers, but sufficient for me based on decades of rural outreach. The Q10 has been in my possession for slight over a year, and has seen and experienced its fair share of rough-travelling and situations, in street protests, travelling in slums, distant rural villages, plantations and conflict-riddled terrains. Being fickle-minded, it has taken me this long to completely absorb the impact of a much prized piece of technology, one that I depend on so much.

Spent a few days running about in Bangkok, searching for someone to fix the Q10 touch-screen. A Thai friend, was helpful to point in the right direction after a few days, "Its at the IT Mall, 4th floor ka." she said. "OK, thanks dear." was all I could say before making my way, hastily, to the repair shop. When I arrived, drenched from the foul humidity, the repairman took a long look at the cell phone, as if he has never seen a Blackberry before.

"What you want?" He said, haltingly in English.

"Can you repair this?" I asked, handing the phone to him. "The screen is damaged."

He shook his head.

"No. If under warranty, we send to Malaysia."

"But I'm from Malaysia. Is there a service centre in Thailand that can help me?" I was hopeful, and slightly desperate.

"No krub. Sorry no help." He said politely, returning the phone to me.

There you go. I've given up searching for repairs. I might as well wait for the Blackberry Passport. As many of my friends are aware, I am eagerly desirous; grappling with the cravings of holding one so exquisite in my rough hands, to smile in private at partly the sensation of connecting to other distant realms.



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