Dubai Diaries: My dream 'flip' phone

An unusual device featured in a Korean drama brings me a lot of joy, here's why.

By Kirstin Bernabe-Santos

Published: Thu 29 Apr 2021, 11:24 AM

Last updated: Thu 29 Apr 2021, 11:32 AM

For most people, paying with their smartphones would mean just a tap here, a fingerprint there or a split-second face scan. Easy peasy. I, however, need to take an extra step I’ll never get tired of: I flip my phone open. Cashiers would often take a second look when I pay for my purchases. “Oh, how cool is that!” they would say. But last weekend, when I bought my facial cream at the Dubai Mall, the woman behind the counter seemed to have known my secret, a guilty pleasure. “Oh, you have that phone from Itaewon Class!”

I couldn’t believe what I just heard. Of course, she was talking about that K-drama on Netflix, which I binge-watched during the peak of stay-home measures last year. Anyone who watched that show would remember the phone, as much as the bitter-but-apt closure between the lead characters Park Sae-royi and Oh Soo-ah. Both of them flipped their way to their final heart-to-heart, with Sae-royi holding the black version and Soo-ah using the striking purple one. I fell for it. That very scene convinced me I needed one. Not the camera, not the software, not anything else it can do. I really just wanted to fold and unfold a phone to say hello and goodbye—like in the early 2000s, with my hot pink Razr. “Was the phone worth it?” the woman asked me, her eyes smiling just above her face mask. Well, I just had the screen fixed after it turned greenish all of a sudden. Though it was covered by the warranty for accidental damage, seven months is too short a time to encounter such a major problem. I didn’t even know how and why it happened. Plus, I never use the fingerprint scan for passwords because it just doesn’t work. I’ve always had an issue with thumb scans in general, but I never had to deal with it when I was using my previous phone. You’ll also have to factor in all the tender loving care you have to give it because dropping it and seeing it in two parts on the floor would be the greatest heartbreak of all.

“I love it” was all I mustered up in response, as I closed the selfie camera which I opened by mistake (again). To be fair, I wasn’t expecting a perfect phone because my husband, an electronics engineer, had prepared me for what lay ahead. Before we drove to the store to buy it, he had given me a litany of all the possible problems that may come with it, making sure I knew what I was getting myself into. Understood. To say that I never questioned my decision months later would be a lie. But the moment my purple phone rings — as another flip moment beckons — the excitement comes rushing back. What other smartphone can give you that joy?

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