What race is your modem?

A few days ago I was hunting around online to see if I could buy a fax modem. Every so often, lightning zaps mine, and I have to replace it. Now though, they are incredibly difficult to buy. The last time I had one blown up I tried about twenty computer stores before I found one which would sell me a well-used but now unneeded modem. RM20 seemed like a good deal. And it worked just fine, until the next bolt out of the blue.

I’m told that in many parts of the world people no longer send faxes. Well, in Malaysia they do. Heck, I even receive envelopes with typewritten addresses! Yes, I mean bashed out on a real typewriter.

Anyhoo, I eventually found a local company advertising on lelong.com.my. They had an external USB modem at RM52. Not bad. At that price I wasn’t going to worry whether my server’s Linux operating system would recognize it. (It did.)

I’ve used both eBay and mudah.com before for online purchases, but never lelong.com.my. So of course I had to register. Fairly simple process, but I was rather surprised that I had to specify my race.

Hello! I’m buying a modem. What the bleep does my race have to do with this? If I’d answered “Malay” would Lelong check that no pork products had been used in the manufacture of the modem?

The first time I reached this point, I found the question so irritating I thought “F*** it” and disconnected. But I really needed the modem, so I started over. Then I discovered the only relevant box to check was “Foreigner.” Since when has foreigner been a race? And now that I’ve selected this, is someone going to monitor my faxes in case I send something subversive?

I suppose there might be reasons why knowing a person’s race might be relevant, although I’ve never come up with one. But buying a fax modem is certainly not one of them.

Still, I had to chuckle at the home page…

…If I ever get bored buying Hand Phones, Computers or Cameras, I can always buy some Ladies.


...has been travelling the world for more than sixty years; having lived and worked in five countries and travelled to many many more.

He likes to write about his travels - present and past - along with his other main interests of Drones, Information Technology and Motorsport, and he adds a few general twitterings along the way.

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