Manila, July 30, 2003 By Patrick R. Garcia (Bidshot Wireless Services) (STAR)  It never ceases to amaze me how inconsiderate and ill-mannered people can get when it comes to the use of their mobile phones. Just recently, I gave an elderly woman my evil eye as she chatted away casually on her mobile phone during the sermon at church one Sunday. I mean itís one thing to answer a call quickly, but to talk in great detail on how you had lost in mahjong the night before is simply blasphemous. Iím glad that we were in church as my guardian angel restrained me from shoving her Nokia 7250 down her throat; instead I just firmly demanded that she quit her call. I can use up this whole column to enumerate the number of times Iíve come across these idiot types who desecrate movies, seminars, concerts, weddings, ballet presentations and such. The irony of it all is that all phones today are so feature-packed to address occasions such as these that their owners can actually do something about it. Iím sure everyone is familiar with mute buttons, voice mail, vibrate mode instead of ringtones, and, of course, the "off" button. I believe most of us are not expecting to receive national security calls any time soon. If so, go on vibrate mode and just communicate by discreet texting. People should learn to control their mobile phones and not the other way around.

The practicality of everyone having a mobile phone for voice, messaging and entertainment needs will continue. As such, it is imperative for cellphone etiquette to be disseminated in various media and probably even, a law passed governing strict adherence to it. If a law on smoking and other types of pollution has been implemented, then why not for noise and intrusion? Imagine if even a percentage of the Philippinesí almost 20 million mobile phone subscribers were negligent about their cellphone manners, we would have more chaos than Megamall on a midnight madness weekend!

Just from the top of my head and from inquiries, I will list a few common sense practices people should adhere to for responsible cellphone ownership.

1) Reduce you ring volume. I understand your new F4 ringtone cost you P15 and you would like to flaunt it, but not everyone is a fan. Keep the volume to a decent level and always adapt your ringtone to the environment you are in. Use your vibrating feature indoors and a louder ring for outdoors.

2) Excuse yourself. If you are taking a call in public, just leave the room. Try keeping your life private.

3) Use Caller ID. Screen your calls. Let your voicemail feature handle unimportant calls.

4) Donít yell. Your cellphones have sensitive microphones and can pick up a whisper, so please donít yell into it.

5) Use text. If truly important, just discreetly text your messages instead of doing a voice call when in a meeting or a theater.

6) Respect. Please be aware of respecting the privacy of people around you.

7) Cell and driving. Never endanger your life and most importantly, that of others by operating your mobile phone while driving. Unless, of course, youíre suicidal and think playing bump car with buses, jeeps and pedestrians is fun. Purchase a hands-free kit if you need to pick up calls while on the road frequently, but never text and drive.

8) Get mad. If someone is violating your privacy, make it known to him and request that he take his call elsewhere.

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Patrick R. Garcia is managing director of Bidshot Wireless Services. For comments or suggestions, text your message to 233011 (Globe) or 2430018 (Smart), or e-mail txtcity@yahoo.com.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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