Category Archives: Simple Mathematical Skills (SMS)

How we Lose our Simple Mathematical Skills (SMS for short)

The other day I was asking a group of second year university when one buys a Mobile Phone what are the points one should consider, none of them came out with a comprehensive answer. 


This is a mathematical skill with practical use.

A bit of knowledge of physics is needed to get one’s calculations right.

Now they do not study physics in detail when entering Biological streams and I believe one who has no competence in maths except counting the money they earn enter the biological streams.


They probably do not have understanding how to invest hard earned money too.


I listed my priorities even though, I am the only one who does not carry a mobile in my academic community.


Elsewhere I have penned down my reason but in that entry  I forgot to mention how many major and minor accidents are related to use of mobile on the drive or on crossing a driveway.


This I call S.M.S (simple mathematical skills)


My reasons.

I carry a mobile when I travel and go abroad.


1. A light weight mobile.


2. Carry case and a collar and string to put round my neck so that I won’t lose  it when I am switched O.F.Fed. (On FITS of Fantasy-in other words Shopping Spree).


3. Battery which lasts at least 8 hours and overnight.


4. Processor not dual core but light and not heavy on the battery.


5. Possibly two (2) sims (one for the country of domicile one for the country on visit).


6. Possibly a radio to get local news and weather


7. Camera


8. Utilities with minimal graphic (low on battery) inputs


9. Email and connection to twitter (if I miss a flight to contact the airline)


10. All Cs- Calendar, Calculator and Currency Converter.


The shopping list can go on but I will stop at 10.


Coming back to Simple Mathematical Skills (SMS not short message system which I hate) which many of us lack when one visits a supermarket.


When I enter a supermarket whether here or abroad, I say to myself the stupid computer in this supermarket is slow and always record wrong data entry, I better check every entry, every point or number printed on it.


This I practiced for a time immemorial when I realized that the Indian shop keepers – I better put Asian without specification of the country of origin-in Southall who were open after hours,  put extra items which I did not buy, when keying in, (knowing very well English guys cannot count well) and caught a few of them and said I will report in threatening gesture and nobody had cheated me ever since even on long sojourns.


Then little later I realized English guys and girls cannot write  (not speak) in English too, which was very funny to me and I used to take Mickey out of them.


This malady of the English and Americans have invaded our country with lot of cash machines and calculators in all our shops.


If you do not calculate mentally what you purchased and what you paid for it is invariably you are paying a hefty amount in hidden cash to the supermarkets which you cannot recover. 


I am not telling that these sales girls or boys cheat you but they are overworked and key in wrong and/or key in twice when the machine or the Internet connection is slow.

Unlike in some set up abroad they (sales person) cannot take home the wrongly keyed in items and the management or the computer never check with the stock balance in shells and refund the money if mistakes are made.

Somebody who manages the computer and stocks would be (my guess) are taking home the big items wrongly keyed in or when the next delivery comes some items are not loaded as per delivery note where the stock balance states something different.

There is noway one can check this unless one scans items against the number of items in the printed bill at the outlet.

It is the onus of the buyer and not the seller.

There are no laws to enact to effect (not even in over vote counting to balance the sheets) 100% accuracy and computers cannot do this but computer programmer can balance it by surreptitiously deleting or substituting few ones ant twos.

This must be happenings in big scale in government institution who have gone completely e-commerce.

If you do not check before you leave you are the loser.


The other point is the print is very faint (to save the toner) and fade away in one day and one cannot read it.


Why we make so many mistakes in this country.


It is our training in mathematical skills is poorer than the English skills for so may years and it is getting worse.


Mental exercise is never taught but getting the answer is the only outcome tested.


All our good teachers with mathematical skill and with working knowledge in English have left this country and the Education department did not train any for so many years. 


So you better improve your mathematical skills if you need to save and avoid unnecessary losses.


I have seen this happening daily and that is why I thought of writing this.


If I start doing SMS mistakes I should retire and say Good Bye to this world since I have not trained anybody in my household to do my mathematics.


By the way our politicians including the election commissioner were the worse in mathematics and that is why some candidates get more votes than the registered number of votes.


Unfortunately due to fiddling and multiplying (three votes for an individual on the Manapa Pora or the Preferential Vote the errors are of multitudes and not on simple arithmetical proportions.