at Mohamed Abu Hassan's website Cyberworld WargaTua has no
hint that it is designed and developed by a retired school
teacher. At 64, Mohamed is ostensibly the oldest webmaster
by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad's vision
for an informed and tech savvy society, Mohamed, from Kampung
Jana Sambungan in Kamunting, went out and bought a Pentium
multimedia PC two years ago.
RM3,000 purchase came with a course in computer appreciation,
Mohamed promptly signed up.
a week for three months, the retired primary school teacher
travelled 15km to a computer shop in Taiping for evening classes.
in a classroom surrounded by 15-year-olds did not faze him.
It instead drove his determination to master the computer.
In fact, some of the younger students were nice enough to
guide and help him navigate the mouse. ``I was the oldest
student in my class,'' he laughs.
he became familiar with the ropes, Mohamed roamed the Net
in search of web design tutorials and HTML source-codes. ``I
was determined to design a website especially after my peers
mocked my efforts to learn how to use a computer,'' he recalls.
to preach Criticism by a visitor to his first homepage fuelled
adds that by learning how to use a PC and master webpage design,
he hopes to be a good example to the younger folk. ``As a
school teacher, that is my outlook -- we should lead by example.''
his peers who think the Net is meant for the young, Mohamed
believes the Net is a great thing that he is able to experience
in his lifetime.
friends say I am an old man, a Haji ... why am I dabbling
with the Net with all its negative influences,'' he says.
is that the television is not a lesser evil and what we adopt
is entirely up to us. ``With our hearts, we can choose what
to do with the tools we have. We can take the good and leave
the bad. It is for our own education process.''
also admits that his wife was initially upset with the amount
of time he spent on the Net. ``She has no interest in it except
for the occasional recipe,'' he says, adding that he had posted
a few online.
is confident that the older generation can also learn from
the Net. Age should not be a barrier.
finger typing is slow and I had problems handling the mouse
initially but not anymore,'' he adds.
misses The father of three spent hours on end at his computer,
learning HTML by himself. He asked acquaintances online how
to develop pages. He would look for ideas from sites located
in Germany, United States and Norway.
and passion in homepage design even caused him to fall ill
due to long hours spent in front of a computer monitor.
upset his wife who reveals that she did not mind the investment
in a computer but did mind the expensive phone bills.
painstakingly wrote every sentence on his site and to brighten
the site up, he managed to get one of the local photo studios
to allow him to use the scenery of Taiping and nearby towns.
documented a section on personal horrors experienced during
World War Two. ``Those experiences are indelible and have
left lasting imprints in my memory,'' he discloses.
Mohamed wished he had paid attention to Japanese classes during
the Occupation as it would have been useful in his online
cyberpals and online acquaintances in Malacca, Rantau Panjang
and Kubang Kerian in Kelantan constantly encouraged Mohamed
along the way.
vindication at last when Mohamed's efforts paid off as his
improved homepage garnered no less than 35 international awards
for website design. (A full listing is available at Mohamed's
tribute to his cyberpals whom he met during his online tours
who advised him on designing a better homepage.
are all younger than I am -- some half my age -- and I am
grateful they took an old foggy like me seriously,'' he adds.
to newbies online is to explore and look for useful elements
from the Net instead of entering the darker side.
has a collection of personal beliefs, history, philosophy,
poetry and Quran verses.