surfers may not be that common in Malaysia yet, but the trend
is catching on fast here.
browse community sites like Geocities, Tripod and Xoom, and
you will be amazed by the number of local senior citizens
who have built homepages there.
just ordinary people who are fascinated with the Internet,
and most of them only started using computers after they'd
a few senior citizens take to computing like ducks to water,
there are many more who still feel alienated from the technology.
There are many barriers -- lack of awareness, time, expenses,
or just plain fear of taking that first step.
civil servant Victor Sankey, 66, says senior citizens are
not deliberately distancing themselves from technology.
access is just not that urgent. Our priorities are different.
There are more pressing matters to attend to, instead of spending
our pension on a PC,'' he says.
that even if a few are attracted by what the Internet may
promise, some feel inadequate to face it.
course, that should not be the case in this day and age, as
IT is a tremendous asset, and the advantages outweigh the
disadvantages,'' he says.
Agnes Doss echoes his views. Her son uses the Net regularly,
and she used to wonder what he was up to when he first started
two years ago. Beyond switching on the PC, Doss admits she
knows next to nothing about computers.
seen the Net in use as a resource for information like health,
and I do feel that I am missing out on something,'' she confesses.
53, is determined to learn and hopes to join the growing group
of online seniors.
agrees that a positive attitude is important, and believes
that the Internet can empower older folk.
you cannot afford the initial outlay, there are cybercafes
that will allow you to surf at reasonable rates,'' he points
he does harbour some regret for not getting online, as he
has children living and studying abroad. ``What better way
to communicate,'' he asks.
to IT Datuk N. Selvamany, the former headmaster at Anderson
School in Ipoh, also has the same good reason to get online.
``My children are living abroad, and e-mail would be the cheapest
way to stay in touch with them,'' he says.
is in the league of pensioners whose daily lives are busy
enough as it is. So communications is limited to phone calls
and letter writing, he says.
Selvamany, 73, recently had to pass up the opportunity to
take up a computer course as his social calendar was packed.
days are so full and pass by so fast -- my wife and I are
involved with social and community work,'' he says, adding
that he is even busier now that he's retired, than when he
was actually working.
a little bit different for 61-year-old Dr Rugmini Panicker.
The potent combination of loneliness and curiosity took her
and her husband to a computer shop where they bought a brand
new Pentium multimedia PC a couple of months ago.
two daughters in India had been pestering her to buy a PC
so that they could keep in touch.
husband and I miss our girls and we are lonely without them.
Everyone is talking about the Net and we decided to learn
about it,'' she says.
a week, the newbies learnt how to use e-mail and surf the
Net. ``We were fortunate to have one of our friend's kids
come teach us how to use the PC every weekend,'' Dr Panicker
the couple spent an hour a day at the PC.
number of users continue to multiply among older folk, it
will create a powerful community to serve their needs, says
like the Ipoh Ratepayers and Taxpayers Association would benefit
from an online presence. Sankey, who is its vice-president,
believes that it will be a useful tool for disseminating information.