When Worlds Collide #88: Counting Digital Natives: Easier said than done!

When Worlds Collide, by Nalaka Gunawardene

Text of my ‘When Worlds Collide’ column published in Ceylon Today Sunday broadsheet newspaper on 20 October 2013

Chamara Pahalawattage had just turned 18 when we met him in early 2009. By then, he was already into his sixth mobile phone.

An only child raised by a widowed mother, Chamara — a resident of Gonapola, in Sri Lanka’s western province — developed an interest in mobiles while in his mid teens. He bought his first mobile at 16.

Since then, he tried to keep up with technology by buying second-hand phones with better features: he’d paid LKR 7,500 (US$ 65 at the time) for his latest only a few weeks earlier. Besides voice and SMS (texting), his phone supported MP3, video recording, song downloading, voice recording and other functions.

After leaving school, Chamara started assisting at construction sites. The enterprising young man boosted his chances of work by spreading his…

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