Written by Kathryn B. Ward
I’d like to talk about good behaviour when using a mobile phone, especially missed calls and talking with boys. Since 2000-1, one of the most interesting things from my travels to
Or some Nari Jibon staff members have been known to get a phone card and make international calls to me and others in
Anyway, as mobile phones became more popular, some lessons were needed in better mobile phone manners or etiquette. During my visits, I would get many mobile calls because I would give out my number in person and on my business card. Then I would get calls where the caller would ring once and hang up, e.g. the ‘missed call.’ I guess that they thought I was a rich foreigner, and I could afford to call people back on my own taka! This was very irritating because often I didn't have time to call people back, or I would call them back, but their mobile was busy-busy, because they kept missed calling me! So instead of just calling, having a brief chat, and hanging up, I would have to redial them repeatedly. Finally, I told nearly everyone that I would not return missed calls.
Beyond missed calls, some men engage in what we call ‘phishing’, where they would start calling random numbers until they got a foreigner (man but especially woman), or local woman on the mobile. This affects women’s security especially when we do not know the caller. They would repeatedly call back and disturb me.
This is very important security issue because often times you don't know who's calling, unless their name is in your mobile phone book. Many people start their call with ‘apni koi?’ (where are you?) instead saying their name, hello, etc. Or as a foreigner, if I reply in my baby Bangla, then I have to understand the rapid stream of Bangla that often follows, hence my frequent ‘aste kotha bolben’ (please speak slower).
Since many mobile carriers provide free phone calls after midnight 12pm, all night long, many bad men or dusto women who want to show that they know a foreigner will call-call. Over time, I closed my mobile or put it on silent mode so that I would get some sleep.
Some times this led to some interesting phone calls including one man who kept calling around 4:30am, but only spoke Bangla. Eventually, he called back during the day, I gave the mobile to my driver. He told my driver that he met me in a bar, and I promised to give him 20,000 taka! I had never gone to a bar in
I’ve noticed that missed calls are a problem in other countries, as Fouzia Mohamed reports from
About the missed calls made to her and her young son’s phone and they used up his cards. Eventually, she stopped returning any such calls and they stopped.
So as we both have found, if you don't call people back, they usually stop calling. Unless they find out that you are a foreigner. For some reason that really interests young and older men—especially if they get a young female foreigner on the phone and think she will take them to the
For another blog entry, I will address the dating through mobiles discussion: how young women and men are using their mobiles for late night free calls to get around their parents’ restrictions on talking with persons of the opposite sex and/or neglecting their all important home works! Last year in