red and green button

August 29, 2009

My grandmother wants a handphone.

That’s right, my 88-year-old Opah, who doesn’t know how to read properly.

Wants a handphone to “call her friends”. All 2 of them.

All this while, she gets one of us to dial the numbers for her using the house phone. But after seeing all us obsessed with our Blackberry’s, she wants one too.

She wants a Blackberry.

To check her non-existent email.

My mom, shaking her head, gave in and so we bought her a phone. An old Nokia with simple, user-friendly features.

Is this a Blackberry like yours?


My sister keyed in all the numbers in her phone, and taught her how to scroll down and press the green Call button when she wants to call the person.

Opah understood that.

But her fingers are weak and always shaking, so she takes ages to scroll down her address book.

After a few minutes, she gets frustrated and calls for one of us.

Her name isn’t in here!” she scolded.

Whose name?


I looked at the phone, and she was still scrolling down the “A” section of her address book.

We found Rahimah eventually.

Ahhh, there it is. I want to call her,” she said, and quickly put the phone to her ear and said, “Hello?” and then looked up at me and said, “She’s not answering me.


I couldn’t help but chuckle. I didn’t know whether to hug her and say “You’re so cute, Opah!“, or roll on the floor laughing at her innocence.

Opah, you have to press the green button first.

Oh yeah…green button.

So she pressed it and put it to her ear. She made a face and said, “This phone is spoiled, there’s a tut tut sound.


Yeah, that means it’s ringing. Just wait for her to answer.

After a while, Rahimah didn’t answer and it got to voicemail. My grandma got bored of the phone and put it down and continued chatting with me. I thought she had pressed the Red Hang Up button, but she hadn’t.

So poor Rahimah had received a 5-minute long voicemail about how hungry Opah was and how she wanted to eat fried chicken. Rahimah even got the privilege of listening to Opah complain about how cold it was and after I turned off the AC, complained about how hot it was.

Opah, have you pressed the red button?” I exclaimed, after I remembered about her phone.

She just looked at me, confused.

I was too tired to explain about the voicemail system.



She got a text in the middle of the night.

What is that? What is that?” she woke up.

The whole house got woken up because “there was a sound coming from her phone.”

The text said she won RM50,000 for some lucky draw bla bla bla.

V!! I won RM50,000. Put it in my bank. Now I have to redo my will.”


She showed me the text.

I told her to ignore it.

But I won the money. Why are you so stupid want to ignore RM50,000?


I decided to disturb her one day, and call her.

No one ever calls her phone because Opah doesn’t know her own phone number to give it out to people.

So, she has never heard her phone ring with a phone call.

I purposely called her when I saw her holding the phone.

When the phone vibrated, she jumped and looked panicky.

V!!! Come here!! Something’s wrong with my phone.

“Somebody’s calling you, Opah. Pick it up!”

She looked so excited. Weee…my first phone call, she must’ve thought. Immediately, she held it up to her ears.

I slapped my forehead.


After she laughed and chatted with me playfully on the phone, we decided to hang up.

She stared at the phone. The phone stared back at her. She stared at me.

How do I kill it?


Press the red button, Opah.”

She scratched her head. “Just now you said green! Green, red, so confusing!

I just sighed.

God bless her.