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We certainly live in exciting times, technologically speaking. With one tap on your phone, you can speak to just about anyone...

We certainly live in exciting times, technologically speaking. With one tap on your phone, you can speak to just about anyone almost anywhere in the world today. Sleeker and smarter phones continue to hit the market. With the New Year around the corner, anticipations for the latest versions of the iPhone and Samsung Android are nearing a fever pitch around the world. Technologies such as Facetime, Skype, Google+ hangout and many more others now offer us a video interface, allowing callers to see each other and in some cases, one another during calls. While letter writing, once the mainstay of human communication has almost almost extinct in one generation; supplanted by texting, an art which has been heavily advanced by WhatsApp. Against this backdrop of sweeping technological advancements there is one place where a 200-year-old technology has persisted. In China’s biggest city Shanghai, the telegraph technology, once the Smart phone or WhatsApp of its generation has remained life, albeit on the brink of extinction. 

I wasn’t old enough when telegrams zigzagged the world just as cell phone waves waft around our planet today, so most of you would not have any idea what this technology is all about. Simply put it, it is like an older version of the fax machine where messages take about a week to reach their destination. You may be wondering, and rightly so, why wait a week to get your message delivered when you can call your friends or family to have the same message delivered and even in a more detailed manner by calling? According to a report on the Aljazeera website (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/12/nostalgia-telegram-china-151225125114510.html) by Rob McBride, people in China particularly Shanghai have held on to this technology out of sheer NOSTALGIA. This is a classic case of a clear desire to push back the hands of time - a tenacious cling onto time past, in a world that is blazing by at a supersonic speed. In the video on the link above, you see a young lady who goes to one of the last few surviving telegraph offices in Shanghai to send a telegram to her parents despite having the latest version of a smart phone in her purse. For her,this is like sending her parents a souvenir; a piece of history, one that re-enacts an era...their era. 

So I ask you, do you still write letters? Have you written a letter to anyone in the past year? Did you send any cards this Christmas or did you simply text ‘Merry Xmas’ to friends and family? I used to send out Christmas cards myself to friends and family but lately I find myself slowly ditching that tradition for the reason that I can call up everyone on Christmas day and and send my wishes to them over the phone. Well, my wife happened to do her last check of the post office box on Dec 24th night and there lay a card from a dear friend. As soon as I saw the handwriting on it  knew who it was from. The beautiful words in the card are ones that I will cherish for years to come. I am a card hoarder, I have to admit. I treasure and keep letters and cards from many years back; in fact I never really throw those away. I think there are times when you need to dig into your archive to ‘relive’ memories of friends and family who may be long gone or those who are far away. As smart as we may be, we forget quite easily such that words that some people speak into our lives do not always linger our minds...at least in the same exact form that they spoke them to us. 

On the other hand, cards and letters if preserved capture the same emotions and bottle them down for us to ‘relive’ many years after. The first time I left home to study abroad I left a stash of cards at home in a cupboard that was in my bedroom. I wonder why I never really took those prized possessions of mine, because I really missed them every Christmas. I wanted to dig back in time and think of what A or B or C said to me in the years gone by. Thankfully my beloved father had made sure that my cupboard and cards had remained intact for years. I was overcome by a feeling of nostalgia just seeing the cupboard on my return back home, and when I began to wade through those cards, I could not help but be thankful for the wonderful people God has put in my path over the years. I thoroughly savored and appreciated every of those cards - they were my direct link to a time past. It was only a matter of time before I began to search frantically for old friends, and with everyone that I reconnected with, I felt like a piece of my past was restored to my present. 

It is very easy to disregard the people we see everyday in our lives. Truth is, often, they are the most important people to us. So, did you write your parents, siblings, friends or relatives Christmas cards this year? No need to feel guilty because I skipped that myself this year. However, it is only a few days away from the New Year and some shops will be open over the next few days. Why not take time to carve out a piece of time...a portion of history and place it in the heart of someone special to you. Why not let them know how much you cherish and adore them? At this most beautiful time of year, allow your words of love, care and adulation to the special people in your life to be printed in their minds. Painstakingly write what you feel and let them know what they mean to you as you wish them a great and happy year ahead. Some will keep them, especially when they see the passion and thought you have put into them. Years from now, it will stand as a testament of the bond you deeply share with them. Memories….they are what life is truly made of. Make one this week as we usher in 2016.  

I would like to hear from you if you do take my challenge to send a word of love and kindness to your loved ones as we move from Christmas to New Year this festive season. Drop a comment to share your experience with me. Have a lovely Boxing Day celebration and don't punch anybody:-))) We have episode 3 of 'The trials of Nzochukwu' for you this evening, so don't go away!!!

Happy New Year in advance from me to you all!!

Victor Chinoo

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