Sunday, June 6, 2010


Most of us don't even realise that we are hoarders (most of us think we are keen collectors when we are not). We collect and save everything that we think can be of use in the future. Some of us are so obsessed with this habit that it becomes quite difficult for us to discard and part with the things that we have collected over the years. Animals such as rats, hamsters and certain birds are known to be notorious hoarders. They gather food and materials in their nests and it does not take a genius to tell that the sight is not pretty. I am a teacher and I know a lot of other teachers who are hoarders (though they refuse to admit that). They keep past years exam papers, sample essays, old textbooks, outdated reference books, extra unused hand-outs (and some used ones too) and myriads of things in their drawers, on their tables and under their tables (not to forget the boxes, files, baskets and other forms of containers under and on their tables too). At the same time, there are also a lot of women (especially housewives) who collect and save plastic spoons, bottles and jars, paper cups, fridge magnets, recipe books, pieces of cloths, 'bunga telur', food coupons et cetera et cetera et cetera (I can go on forever listing them actually). Hoarding can be a very dangerous habit since it can be a hazard when these materials are not properly stored. Now, the trend has taken a new turn and there is a new type of hoarding that is affecting the modern man (and woman). It is called digital hoarding and it is as serious as (if not more than) the usual traditional hoarding. With portable hard drives becoming cheaper and having bigger storage, it has become much easier for these hoarders to save everything. Movies, songs, audiobooks, anti virus (usually pirated), games, presentations, jokes and pictures. You name it and they will have it. Unlike conventional hoarding, digital hoarding will not take up a lot of space but the same questions remain. Is digital hoarding as dangerous as conventional hoarding? Can it become a problem since there is no physical threat or danger involved? I would like to believe that I am not a hoarder but I do have problems throwing away certain things such as clothes, shoes and magazines. Please don't even suggest that I throw away my old cassette tapes, VCDs and records (definitely last century technology). I still want to keep them although I know I do not need them anymore. For the past couple of years I have been on a movie and song downloading spree (I am into my third portable hard drive at the moment) and I find it very difficult to delete these movies and songs. Sometimes I wonder if we will ever be free from all material things which have enslaved us.

p/s So am I a hoarder? To a certain extent, YES. Am I an obsessive-compulsive hoarder? Definitely NO. But some might argue otherwise.