is a story going around about a father who called up a tech
support line to get some help.
10-year old son and I are trying to set up our computer for
Internet access,'' said the father.
sir, could you please get your son on the line,'' said the
tech support guy.
it would seem that the young have taken over the computer
world, and they rule the Internet. They can adapt easily to
new changes in technology, and they have an uncanny affinity
well, they're still struggling to understand how to programme
true anymore. All over the world, an increasing number of
senior citizens are getting into technology, and many are
speaks to three senior citizen who have taken technology by
the horns. They're still wrestling with it, but they're already
warming up to the idea, and are definitely enjoying it.
publisher While most of his contemporaries are enjoying their
twilight years in prayer, the energetic 71-year old La Salle
brother, Vincent Corkery, has found a new profession as an
Killarney-born Irishman could teach his younger peers a thing
or two about his craft.
recent conference, Corkery recorded the proceedings on his
Acer Extensa 500DX notebook computer, and whipped out copies
via his Canon BubbleJet for all the participants as soon as
the session ended.
amazing,'' declared one participant, who added that Corkery's
record was useful reading for reflection and future reference.
participant at the conference said she even offered Corkery
a job after she saw what he could do.
Corkery is a director at the La Salle Centre in Ipoh, and
is actively involved with the Brothers Council and Malaysian
Catholic Education Council.
in the picturesque Irish countryside, he came to Malaysia
when he was 29-years old, as the vice-principal of St Michael's
is modest about his ability, and says his role is to ``monitor''
proceedings. His real interest lies elsewhere.
above 60 should be entitled to choose their form of madness,
and mine is rock-climbing,'' adds the man who cycles 16km
daily to church.
not sure how he learned to type so fast as he never had formal
lessons, but thinks it has something to do with playing the
great delight in being able to get up from my chair when everyone
else does, and hand them printouts of a discussion as soon
as a session ends,'' he says.
quick to say that the conferences he attends are not typical
conventions, but cater to a specific group, and this simplifies
his reporting task.
work is to listen, and deliver the thoughts that are expressed
in simple English.''
has been using a PC since the early 80s, and feels he has
travelled a long way with technology, and with the humble
wordprocessor in particular, having progressed from Wordstar
to MS Word and PageMaker today.
believes that the PC is a fun and terrific tool for collecting
input. He now also ranges across the Internet in search of
PC will travel Corkery takes immense pride in his ``reporting''
career, which began in 1996. He says he likes information
to be presented in a certain way; and his personal style imbues
gives you the ability to capture various points together on
a single sheet of paper to give you a `total picture.' It
then allows you to contract and expand the points according
to your choice. You can't do that with a typewriter,'' he
has been finding his reporting experiences very enriching.
At a programme in Thailand last year, 100 young Catholic brothers
from all over Asia were happy to receive his notes after the
conference, as not all of them were that conversant in English.
next year, Corkery will be attending a theologians conference
in Rome to document the proceedings.
he feels he would be out of his depth, a senior official of
the Catholic Church was so impressed with Corkery's skill
at recording the proceedings of the Thailand conference that
he invited the latter to do the same for the four-day Rome
despite his anxiety, Corkery welcomes the challenge of being
able to capture the nuances of proceedings that would delivered
in various accents, and simplifying it all for everyone else's
each time before starting out and constantly surprise myself,''
he says, adding that he feels he's divinely guided.
combo Chin Pak Kooi has combined his love for amateur radio
with the Internet. He uses the radio to communicate with his
friends from all over the world, and the Internet as a way
to get additional information for his conversations.
instance, when I speak to a someone of a different culture,
I take time online to find out about his culture to understand
it better,'' says the retired State Education Department financial
Chin's fascination with amateur radio began when he was a
15-year-old student at Sekolah Menengah Anderson.
father did not encourage this, as he didn't want it to affect
my studies,'' Chin says, adding that he finally got his amateur
radio licence in 1970.
there are many similarities between amateur radio and the
Internet, and that ``the main difference between the two is
cost. Radio communications is far cheaper as it does not involve
amateur radio set is also connected to an ancient 286 PC and
modem for keyboard communication. He also shares the use of
a Pentium multimedia PC with his two daughters and son.
Chin wanted to set up a relay station in Kledang Hill in Ipoh,
he went online for help and to source for components. ``The
Net made it much easier to look for parts, as there are special
interest groups willing to lend a hand,'' he says.
participant at electronic newsgroups, he also surfs sites
for news and medical, electronics and cultural information.
He admits that he's learned about technology through trial
who also helps his wife sell insurance policies, lists the
ICQ chat software and IPhone (a voice over Internet Protocol
application) as the closest to offering the instantaneous
communication you get with amateur radio. ``Both apps offer
voice-like radio communications,'' he points out.
the close similarities, Chin still prefers chatting via amateur
radio, saying amateur radio participants are generally more
``refined'' than net chatters.
can be chatting amiably online when someone would suddenly
make a crude retort,'' he says, adding that amateur radio
users are required to sit for exams before they are issued
a licence, unlike the Net which is free for all.
the Internet is exciting and has a lot of promise, Chin thinks
it would take a while before its users treat it with the respect
to learn You're never too old to learn, says Patrick Tan,
a former businessman whose first attempt to foray into cyberspace
was spoilt by what he calls ``skirmishes.''
Mimos first introduced its Internet service more than five
years ago, Tan's attempts to get online met with a series
of dead ends.
was not very customer-friendly then, and its attitude put
off newbies like me,'' he claims.
he opted for early retirement in 1996, Tan -- who turns 55
this year -- decided try his luck again. Telekom Malaysia
has then just introduced its TMnet Internet access service,
and he promptly signed up with the new provider.
daughters had also just left to further their studies abroad,
giving him greater impetus to get connected.
just made more sense to communicate with them via e-mail,''
online opened up a whole new world for Tan, who explored it
as eagerly as a kid let loose in a playground for the first
time, he even stopped buying newspapers and subscribing to
foreign magazines, preferring to read them online at a fraction
of the cost.
opted for popular online news, motoring and photography magazines.
Among them were The Australian, South China Morning Post,
Sydney Morning Herald, Times, Asiaweek, the Far Eastern Economic
Review and Car & Driver.
the beginning, I signed up for a whole slew of publications
to download and read offline. But it got tedious, so now I
read a limited few,'' he says.
the currency crunch came along, Tan had to stop subscribing
to the foreign online magazines as the exchange rate proved
and sharing Tan also downloads and explores a whole bunch
of programs -- shareware, trialware, freeware, utilities and
just about ``everything under the sun.''
enjoys scanning old black-and-white photographs from his younger
days, and e-mails them to friends and family to remind them
of their early days.
I take pictures of my wife's cooking on my digital camera,
scan them on the PC, and e-mail them to my daughters just
to show them what they're missing,'' he chuckles.
thinks he has a long way to go in the IT world. He only recently
decided to learn how to use graphics software to create pictures
it yourself'' man, he also loves gadgets and often visit sites
with information that can be used to support his mechanical
and electronic hobbies.
two hours online daily, and rings up an average of RM200 on
monthly Internet phone bills alone.
on his agenda is learning how to use CAD/CAE programs so he
can combine that with his love for cars.
upgraded his old Cyrix to an Intel P200MMX, and treats the
PC like any other appliance in his toolbox.
enjoy using the PC and feel that I am just at the starting
point. There is so much more to learn and do. And it is fun,''