Thursday, October 16, 2008

Aunty Cannot Read and Write?

Today there is no question asked when a young person is given a phone number . And furthermore it is even expected that he or she can remember up to 10 digits like 0168305678. But have you ever asked an illiterate person to remember your number? Even a simple four digit number?

Today every one uses the telephone and the mobile phone. But how does an illiterate person make a phone call? Perhaps he or she can read at least 0 to 9 but what about names? In Chinese? In English? Can he/she remember? Yes today you can still find some illiterate people. And they need help.

This situation brings me back to the olden days when I had to help my relatives to make phone calls. We devised various methods. One was just to write down all the important numbers and names for them in a little note book with certain symbols and the aunty for example carried that note book for dear life. We found that very useful and she could get just anyone to dial the right number. Most people were kind those days.

In connection with illiteracy the rotary telephone was more friendly than the pressed or touch phones. They were also easier because the person dialling could dial slowly and see the number rotating. Here are two of the old telephones that I really like from the long ago days:


And this is how one relative helps her illiterate mother dial the most important telephone numbers in her life. Like many old widowed ladies she often lives alone when her children travel on business. So this white board is indeed a useful method devised by her loving children.

You can figure out how she makes out the numbers and the loved ones she has to call.

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What method would you devise for your loved ones who cannot read and write should the problem arise? I know many famous dyslexic people who have personal methods of knowing what numbers to dial.(see another post on dyslexic people...soon)

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