Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Blast from the Past...



I went to a superb exhibition at the newly re-opened National Museum of Singapore on Sunday ,called "Families & Friends: A Singapore Album". It profiled the archival pictorial histories of several Singaporeans - some prominent, others regular people like you and I - and made me think about what I'd put in my own album.

Which leads me to this picture.

I wrote this article twelve years ago for The New Paper - 24 February 1995 specifically. It was my first full-time job, I was a fresh-faced intern asked to cover a recent global phenomenon that only just entered Singapore. The Internet.

I still remember my sister had recently returned from Harvard and she'd been using something called "email" in the States to communicate with her friends. She told my family how useful and convenient it was to keep in touch that way. We were sold and became one of the first 50 customers in Singapore to sign up to Singtel's dial-up internet service.

I recall there was no graphic interface, and I could spend hours reading and posting on rec.arts.music.rem - a forum about the band REM. We would argue endlessly with U2 fans on which was the better band. We also formed a global support group for those stymied by Michael Stipe's garbled delivery of lyrics.

We also used to play "Chaos" an internet trivia game where you formed teams with people from all around the world and within a one minute timeframe, type out as many answers as possible to totally random categories like "Legumes" or "Songs by Phish".

I can't quite remember when the Internet started looking like how it does today. But from around 1995, it became a part of every day life for me. It's funny how I used to ring my good friend C almost everynight in JC and we'd talk for at least an hour. I can't even remember what would sustain us like that, but then when C went way to the UK to study, we very easily morphed to hour-long emails every day.

Of course, now that we're (sob...) older, and with all sorts of work and family commitments, we don't keep in touch as much, it's still kinda funny to know that when we do get in touch, it's always email that comes first.

So anyway, thanks to my archival-guru dad for surfacing this clipping from over a decade ago. I still can't quite believe just how the Internet has changed all our lives. I mean, how many new verbs has it added to the English language?

On this note, I'll log off and will blog another time :)

6 comments:

C said...

Oh my... blast from the past indeed! There was also Day of the Tentacle. And "You said that ironing was the shackles of you" - a feminist comment, mayhaps...

How funny that A and I are currently having a sort-of REM revival ourselves.

This brings back serious memories, and it's high time I took out my box of JC cards and other effects for a good long reminesce.

(The fact that I'm leaving comments on your blog just further drives home the point you're making in this post, eh? Heh)

A said...

What a missed opportunity to go gonzo (Hunter S. Thompson, not the muppet).

Take two tabs and call me in the morning.

ferunk said...

omigod. Day of the Tentacle!!!!!!!!!

And on the topic of botched up song lyrics, how about

"Give me one moment in time, when I'm shaking with desperate need!"

aiyoh....

ps: Hunter S. Thompson? Like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? Blurring the line between writer and subject? Trippy...

Yan said...

Were we really the first of 50 families? Wah, so hip!

uncle dick said...

Your guru-dad may have more long forgotten surprises up his archival sleeves....soon.

uncle dick said...

Your guru-dad may have more long forgotten surprises up his archival sleeves....soon.