CNET : Internet : Regional Dispatches
Net misfits unite!

Undoubtedly, Malaysians, as with most Asians, are a gentle people. But it would appear that the speeding pace of the Net has robbed us of our civil behavior--both online and off.

Just because the medium has moved from print to electronic does not mean that the basic etiquette of greetings and farewells has faded into virtual oblivion.

I confess that some of the jokes are actually gems among the chaff, while the overwhelming news that spilled over into the Net during the general elections last year provided for great alternative reading.

Given that potential, shouldn't we use email for the best of intentions? Instead of merely passing off mindless missives to stay in touch, shouldn't we use it to harness support for actual needs? Shouldn't we write letters to say hello to long, lost friends; check out the next person's plea for medical help made via the Net; or exchange real information instead of recycled jokes all the time?

Unlike television, the Net is an interactive medium. We can give as much as we take from the Internet. And we should mobilize the WWW for something substantial for our growing society. As the nascent Net community grows online, we should look at ways to bring people together.

Keeping in touch is such an Asian thing. Strangely, it is our western counterparts who have mobilized the Internet well. Judging from the email I receive from foreign friends abroad, it is obvious that they take the time to compose each letter and personalize these for private consumption.

After all, we have been online for nearly a decade. My new millennium vow is to write to Auntie June at least once a month!

Dispatch from Malaysia

Here's a nation that has built a first-world infrastructure. But can the country truly lead its people down the Yellow Brick Road to the smart city of tomorrow? Our Dispatch from Malaysia taps into the collective mindshare.

Check out previous dispatches from Malaysia:

Real world Net cynicism in a wired world

The art of resistance

Surfing on the Sulu

High-tech utopia or myopia?


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