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mrbrown and the broken internet

I regret to inform you, gentle reader, that this Internet column may take longer to load.

In fact, your entire Internet may take longer to load. You do know that it is possible to download the entire Internet, right? That's why you need those super duper megabit cyber-byte broadband plans that ISPs keep telling you that you need.

This is because some underwater submarine cable was cut, it seems. Specifically, the Asia-Pacific Cable Network 2 (APCN2) undersea submarine cable was damaged, resulting in slowdowns in internet traffic for the Asia-Pacific region.

I wonder how these cables get damaged, besides an earthquake, of course. Do sharks swim by and decide the cables look like tasty unagi, then take a bite? Is there some Greenpeace ship out there, campaigning against cruelty to submarine cables (they work all week with no weekends off!) and so they hug the cables too hard and the cables break? Did some fisherman think he could get free Internet by plugging his anchor into the submarine cable?

And why does the whole Asia Pacific region rely on so few cables to the extent that when one is damaged, most of Asia cannot do important things like log in with our Level 80 Mage and deal the DPS we need to help our guild complete the instance?

Surely some kind of redundancy needs to be in place for this kind of essential service. Asia needs to get its porn and illegal movie downloads just like the rest of the world, you know.

My first instinct, when I found my Internet slowing down to a crawl, was to shout in the office, "Oi! Who opened 10 Youtube windows again! You all got 10 pairs of eyes can watch 10 videos at once ah!"

After a few mutters of "Not me, leh" from the gang, I exclaimed again, "Then who is the Jedi rebel leader uploading the Death Star plans again?"

This was too much. I can accept the office toilets not flushing properly, or the Street Fighter joystick abused until it no longer responds to our hadokens, or even my gaming mouse giving me only 1893 dpi instead of the usual 2000 dpi of responsiveness. But I cannot accept that the INTERNET IS BROKEN!

In frustration at the slowness of the internet, I reached out for my Tweetdeck application and twittered to the world, "WHY IS MY INTERNETS SLOW?!!!!"

It did not occur to me at the time that my act probably added to the already slow Internet of the Asia Pacific region (using all caps takes up even more bandwidth, I am told). But I didn't care. I was mad. I could not upload my files via ftp for my client to preview. I could not get at my script stored as a Google Doc on Google's servers. And I could not watch that funny video about the N00b boyfriend meeting his girlfriend's L33T parents.

In horror, I contemplated life with slow Internet. How will I keep in touch with my friends if I cannot get into Facebook properly? That would mean I would have to do Face-to-Face-booking and meet them in real life to chat and stuff!

And how would I show them my photo albums too? The last time I developed a photograph, I mean on photo paper, was... gosh, I cannot remember the moment. I am sure it will show up as a moving National Day video item as "Remember when you had analogue photos and LKY cried?"

Backing up your photo collection will then include printing all 6000 digital photos so that if the Internet collapses, you can still assault your friends with shots of your Cancun holiday and photos of your dog, while they pretend to be interested.

Without fast Internet, I would need to actually CALL my wife on the phone instead of sending her an instant message! We may actually have to resort to having a voice conversation instead of sending each other Facebook chat love notes!

The horror. The horror.

As I stared out the office window, wondering how I could survive this Internet Nuclear Winter, I decided it would be a good time to get some sun and have a meal at the coffeeshop downstairs.

Then I shuddered when I realised I would not be able to send a live Qik video stream of what I was having for lunch too. How will my 5 subscribers survive not being able to view this?

I know, I will take some photos of the meal, make it into a flipbook, and post it to them.

Read also these other features from mrbrown:
mrbrown goes to the NDP
mrbrown talks about Movies
mrbrown: A Bumblebee in my Bonnet

About mrbrown
mrbrown aka Mr Kin Mun LEE is the accidental author of the popular Singapore website,, and has been documenting the dysfunctional side of Singapore life since 1997.

Affectionately known as the Blogfather of Singapore, his readers follow his writings closely, which these days range from current affairs, his family, and even his trips abroad.

Currently, mrbrown also hosts the mrbrown show (, probably Singapore's best known comedy and satire podcast.

mrbrown is married to Ginny, his long-suffering wife for 12 years, and is father to three lovely kids, Faith,  Isaac and Joy.

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