Thursday, April 15, 2010


A few days ago, a number of Malay newspapers published a story about a Malaysian lady who broadcasted her wedding ceremony to her family in Simpang Renggam through video conferencing. While I still think that she should return to Malaysia (or bring her parents to LA) for the ceremony, it shows just how much technology has moved forward within a relatively short time period. Long distances can be virtually shortened via fibre-optic cable and that events on the far side of the world can be made known to the other side within seconds really, instead of hours.

Which brings me back down memory 1996. Well during the year
1. Internet is already available and I can get Malaysian news in the UK via Utusan, Berita Harian or The Star online although download time was really terrible....took a few minutes (if not several) to download a 100kB photo! Physical newspapers were available at the library but it would be at least outdated by one week! Furthermore the webpages at that time looked very drab...even this 'create post' page looks more vibrant!

2. Contacts with the family in Malaysia was via letters (or snail mail if you like). By the time my family read them, the content would again be outdated by at least a week! Sure, I did use reverse-charge calls or have a fistful of 1 Pound coins for IDD calls but they costs $$$. Nowadays you can just have a good network connection, a webcam and microphones all for free ( or at least at a more affordable cost)

3. OK there were already emails and chatrooms but just how many people have personal email in Malaysia at that time? Those chatters were mainly Malaysian students from around the world and the chatters from Malaysia were mainly employees of network providers (and the local students of course)

3. Laser printer? What are those? The main type of printer was the dot-matrix one (nowadays mostly used for printing bills). Laser printer do exist but they occupy a table of their own and were only available at the main computer lab at my University - which means that if I want to use it, I have to go there instead of the residential hall lab. And oh, I have to bring the 3.5" floppy disk with 1.44MB capacity. Nowadays the very much smaller USB flash drive can store 256GB!

Despite the pioneering nature of the internet at that time, we still managed to get news of what happened at home and elsewhere around the world. Conversations over the phone also brings news from home. And not long after I came back home, the internet moved in leaps and bounds...and makes me wonder how that idiot of a film director (and an academician to boot) can make a character in one of his movies (who studied in the UK for the past 7 years) totally oblivious to what happened in Malaysia - he gawked in wonder at the KL International Airport and totally loses himself when he saw the signs toward the Sepang International Circuit ("Eh kat Malaysia dah ada F1?"). This is a movie set in the 2000s (2003 to be exact). KLIA is already in operation since 1998 and the SIC hosted its first F1 in 1999! So where have this character been? The UK or Mars? Or that the script was actually written in the 70s and has never been updated?

1 comment:

Hairil Rizal said...

The internet is a real wonder really.