Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Chatter Box, Literally

A lot have been said about the Internet chatroom. Many of the comments, unfortunately, were prejudiced, malicious and unkind. Some were downright venomous and hostile.

Strangely enough, a great majority of those who penned their two-cent worth about the perils of Internet chatting had never even stepped foot inside a chatroom, let alone indulge in chatting.

Their comments were based on hearsay, the kind that began with “I read somewhere that.....” or “I heard ....” or “My friend’s cousin sister’s brother-in-law said.....” You know what I mean; third- or fourth-hand news.

I am not out to defend chatrooms. There truly were some scandalous incidents involving chatrooms, mostly date rapes and love affairs that led to marital breakdowns, and women conned out of their savings by sweet-talkers and smooth operators masquerading as knights in shining armour.

I have seen them all in the chatroom that I frequented, the one where I met the man who would eventually be my husband. These broad shoulders of mine had, over the years, borne the tears of many a broken heart.

I am of the opinion that it is not the chatroom's fault but one's own because the onus is on oneself to decide how to behave and to respond in a chatroom.

Even dear old me wasn't spared the sexual innuendos, come-ons and invitations to online sex - filthy minds are everywhere - but it's up to oneself to determine what one wants from a chatroom.

The Ash-Cage nuptial was the first for the chatroom that we frequented. There were a couple more marriages after ours, the ones that we were personally involved in.

I heard there were a few more besides, but I wasn’t able to confirm them because they (the intended) retired from the room, presumably to get on with married life!

A defining moment for us was when a dear chat friend approached us to learn more about converting to Islam. A single dad, he had met a young Malay lady teacher in the room, had fallen in love and had wanted to marry her.

We put him in touch with Perkim which facilitated his conversion. We were there to lend him emotional support during the ceremony. I cried buckets – tears of joy they truly were. We also played parents to his wedding, from meminang to aqad to bersanding.

A few lady chatters got together at our house to craft his hantaran (wedding gifts) and to get the wedding trousseau organised. In fact, the entire wedding rombongan (party) from the groom’s side consisted of fellow chatters.

Yet another was a single mother who sought our help in marrying her Malay Muslim single dad beau. We were only too happy to get her in touch with Perkim. They have been happily married for three years now, God bless them.

For Ash and I, the chatroom was nothing but a blessing, not so much because we met and married, but because we had acquired so many new friends throughout the country (and abroad too) through it.

We used to chat with ‘Golfie’, a Malaysian lady dentist undergoing her specialisation in orthodontics in Scotland some years ago. She has since returned home, living and working in KL. Our friendship has endured and we meet occasionally for coffee.

And then there was this American grandmother, ‘G8Nana’, who loved all things Malaysian and was a frequent visitor to the room. She and her husband had wanted to visit Malaysia and had ended up with a roomful of people offering to take care of her and her husband should they come.

Unfortunately, she passed away before it happened. One of our fellow chatters called up her number when she mysteriously went missing for weeks, only to be told by her son of his mother’s demise.

Yet another was a gregarious Penang lady, ‘OrangKampung’ (OK), married to a German and living in Germany. OK was the life and soul of the room, with her witty comments and comic one-liners. We made it a point to meet this petite cili padi each time she returned to Malaysia.

Personally, I was pleasantly surprised to meet two ‘orang kampong’ of my own in the room. Bergen and Snowy both hailed from Dungun and we ended up good friends although we rarely meet due to personal commitments. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon Bergen in blogsphere as well!

Shrimp was another chatter that ‘caught’ me line, hook and sinker. Shrimp is a London-based Malaysian Chinese lady (and a sparkling beauty, I must add) whom I met for the first time, hurriedly too, in front of Kinokuniya Bookstore in KLCC just hours before she left for London.

I love that woman to bits despite the distance. We share a love for books and she would buy them in UK and bring them along each time she returned to Malaysia for a visit. We have met twice since and I look forward to meeting her again, hopefully soon.

Because of our age, we ended up being affectionately addressed to as ‘Ma’ and ‘Pa’ by some of the younger ones and we truly love them like we do our own. A sweet young lady with the simple nickname of MalayGirl (MG) addressed me with the deferential Bonda.

And then there’s Talqin, that impossibly cheeky girl who has yet to make good her promise to salam my hand in forgiveness this Raya (he he he).

Another is Fie, a young magistrate from Sarawak whom we dragged to karaoke each time she came to Semenanjung. Naturally, she always humoured her Ma and Pa.

These days, whenever we plan a trip out of town, almost always it would include notifying fellow chatters in places where we are heading because it’s already a set tradition that we meet for makan or teh tarik wherever we are.

Heading north, our R&R would most likely be the house of Cheaky the teacher in Teluk Intan, where we would also meet up with Nila, yet another teacher in that quaint little town.

In Penang, almost always it would be makan sessions with that irrepressible Erica Nut, a lecturer of English who introduced me to sup gearbox and serabai.

In Johore it would be that loveable Chinese lady Daisy who, in tandem with Strongbow and Headhunter, would insist on a spot of karaoke in some chinky JB outlet. We would then have an uproarious time, before the next trip.

Likewise, when they descend upon Kuala Lumpur, they would be our guests (if they remember to inform us, that is). As usual, it would be dinner, some karaoke thrown in at KLGCC and perhaps a round of supper afterwards.

Somehow, the friendships that we made in the chatroom endure the test of time. So there must be something special about chatrooms after all .......

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ma, fie is from Sarawak ma..never been in Sabah.. hehe.. but its ok.. still Borneo ma.. I'll be in KL from 31/10 till 10/11 ma.. so pls arrange sumting for me.. dont forget uncle bing.. fie nak mintak utang dari dia.. hehe.. see u in KL ma.. miss u..

puteri kama at-tarawis said...

oopss..sorry fie..ma dah perbetuikan..tq dearie

Anonymous said...

tu dia..sekali dia taruk ...baca 3 kali pun tak puas..

Kak,

true..

i have some experiences in these situation but more in forums..and shoutboxes..

i have make friends and foes

i became matured on whom should i reply the private messages or ignored ..(yang ajak ajak tu..kasik kita muka merah padam..panas sikit badan yang sejuk ni)..

but..very grateful with all the cyberfriends that are still with me..

p/s if you are very depressed just joined one of the chatroom in yahoo chat..i did and i managed to lashed out some advices to all the girls who want to undo their clothings to be watched by the eagers tired eyes...rasa macam mak tiri betul..

i felt better...for 10 solid days..

Pak Idrus said...

Kama, I have always believed that whatever tool we use, we have to be responsible and this includes the tools in the New Media... Blogging, Chat-rooms. FaceBook.

Like Blogging and because of it I made many friends all over the world and on my recent visit to the US, I met a few of them in person. It was such warmth welcome although we had never met in person before. Cyberspace had a way of bring folks together in more ways then we ever thoughts possible.

The next time I am on a trip on the east coast I would surely get in touch with you and the other half.

Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

Komen Pak Malim, kucing ray yang alim.

Kalau ada sessi karaoke di KLGCC, boleh tak jemput saya, kata Pak Malim sambil memakai baju kebaya. Eh, tapi kucing tak dibenarkan masuk, kata Pak Malim yg busuk. Mungkin saya boleh menyamar dgn memakai kot, kata kucing ray yang penakut.

talqin said...

Ampon beribu2 ampon.. ketaq nak pi besalam.. sabaq noh.. tunggu saya jumpa mana2 abang yang sanggup nak pi neman teh tarik dgn ash & cage.

i missed teemOOn..

Anonymous said...

It's ok ma.. tp fie ni lawak ke ma? Bukan serius ker? hehehe..

puteri kama at-tarawis said...

anon 12.26 - if the ladies are too quick to undress in cyberspace, biaq pi la...hehehe.. i still remember one young punk 'whispered' me dlm chatroom asking for online sex, so i jawap him in the open room, hang tak maluka mintak online sex from someone old enough to be yr grandma? hehehe.. terus dia angkat kaki from the room..:)

Pak Idrus - alaahai, tak payah go to east coast Pak..saya dan Pak Abu tinggal kat KL ni haa. Insyaallah, one fine day jumpa juga kita rasanya..mungkin bila kak teh balik kot..:)

wahai pak malim kucing ray yg alim
saya tak pernah tengok kucing pakai kebaya
kata kama sambil peluk buaya (bukan buaya darat tau)...

talq - raya satu bulan..i shall wait:)

fie - what ma means is you selalu kasik ma & pa muka..u ni ati baik tull..lol

Anonymous said...

Cagey, my dear orang kampung...i'll b back in dungun for a week break after my eldest's boy pmr exam...want me to doggy bag some nasi dagang for u?...or keropok lekor?...or satar?


~SnOwY~

Kak Teh said...

puteri, i tak pandai chat in chatrooms - dont know who is saying what...anyway, i ni tersibuk pulak these last few days. Blogging pun tak sempat. and as you can see , am being toppled from the number one commenter in yr blog.

puteri kama at-tarawis said...

snowy dear - satar tu favourite number one! plse buy some for me..and then you can come raya in my hse bawak satar.. i'll cook my ayam kuzi (itu ajalah yg i tau..lol)

puteri kama at-tarawis said...

kak Teh - takpa, takpa.. soon enough, bila kak teh dah lega sikit workwise, sure dapat recapture yr no one seat..hehehe..

Pak Tuo said...

Salam Adil Fitri Kak,

Tumpang lalu Kak.
Cant resist but been reading your comment and follow via Bangkai and Kak Teh.
You sure do am a prolific writer.
Simple and straight to the point.
Havent tried any of the cyber chat world.
I miss that part of the cyber thinghy.
Time constraint I reckon.

Kalau I script pun via Messenger msn only to immediate members of family in London or Jakarta.
I forget there is others to in the cyberspace.
Well,might try one,one of these days.
As you did mention your was from STF circa 1972.I do have a so call Kak Angkat circa your batch.
Lupa namanya.
She hails from PJ near Jln.Othman by the name
....binti Abd.Latif.
All I remember about her she recieve a Kinomo from her foster parents from Japan.
I was at their home in PJ,
when she recieves the parcel.
Me and her brother Azmi Abd.Latif were friends but lost torch for nearly 40 years.
She's the elders and knowing her from STF,I bets she's a smart aces.

Thanks.Wassalam

puteri kama at-tarawis said...

Pak Tuo - tq kerana datang bertandang and thanks too for your kind comments. I tak pandai pakai big words, setakat simple straight forward writing tu buleh la. lagipun in journalism we were taught to write as clearly as possible. kalau dah dok pakai big words yg susah nak eja, the possibility of going off tangent is greater.

as for yr kak angkat in STF, kalau bagi nama mungkin ingat kot. anyway, my memory isn't so great these days, maklum ajalah, orang muda...heh heh

W'salam.

Pp said...

i was a chatter. I was in kampungchat, and like u made many frens and many also endured the time and remain close frens until today. A few have became 'family' frens although my wife was never a chatter.
My nick was JDcool. hehehe. Nostalgia sungguh dengan zaman itu.
Annualy, for three years I organized a chatters meet in KL - twice in Pan Pacific hotel and once in the old Hilton.

Yes, I agree 110% with everything u said about what and how you give to the chatroom is what you get back.
You give honesty and friendship, that will be what you can expect in return.

Thanks for the posting. It triggered old memories.

JDcool

Aida said...

Kak Puteri,

I totaly agree with u... there are sickos everywhere, its how one handles it. I was a frequent chatter one time ago (when I had time on my hands) and know of many marriages between chatters. I did not meet my husband chatting but it was online nevertheless.

And I also agree that in most cases, the friendship u make online are much more meaning full and far from the confines of first impressions and physical attributes.

Though I hardly meet my fellow chatters, but I think of them fondly.

Puteri Kama said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Puteri Kama said...

PakPayne & Aida - glad to meet fellow chatroom netizens. Saya tengok some of the chatters from my old chatroom pun dah mula berhijrah ke blogsphere. Must be the lure of cyber interaction kot..

MyWAM said...

Askum! This particular post certainly has made me take a 'walk' back into the lovely days of MBSC and for one particular reason which, if I may say, I hold very dearly and close to my heart. My conversion into Islam was truly touching and for all you and Ash did (and still do), handfuls of thank yous will never suffice. For everything the two of you (and those involved) have done for me, I can only place your names in my daily prayers.

Anyways, you guys sacrificed more than friends would and showed me that even in chatrooms you can find true friends who treat you like a member of the family. I cherish your friendship and Ash's.

Errr.....btw, some good news coming your way. Will keep you guys updated.

Bila nak mai umah untuk beraya?

talqin said...

Adddoiii..raya sebulan memang..tapi toksah lah tunggu..i takut nak bagi muka.. hehehe..

Wam.. u miss me? wam taknak jemput i datang raya? <<< soalan yang sengaja nak buat Cage meluat.. LOL

he he he

AuntyN said...

Salam Kak Puteri

I have never been into any chat room for fear of the "negative" consequences.

I am sure there are positive consiquences as well, like what you have described here. Seronok tengok how you can be with friends on the cyberworlds in the positive way.

By the way, I was on of the srikandis as well. Bila tengok your gambar kat blog tu i remembered who you were. You maybe of the same bage as auntyyan@makcikblogger tu. I am a bit younger hehehe, I was SPM 76, sama batch dgn Dokto Muhaya tu.

Selamat Hari Raya to you.

mokciknab said...

Puan Puteri,
You're absolutely right -- I don't know why some people think cyberspace is any different from the real world: ada orang baik, ada orang jahat. The onus is on you to take care of yourself.

I'm part of a yahoogroup that's sadly not too active nowadays, but friendships forged in lembing have endured so far. (Though one of us is now in Kemunting)

BTW I am terribly dissapointed that you didn't post your sanding picture, it's only fitting after such an incredible love-story.

Puteri Kama said...

auntyn - salam my dear srikandi junior.. i think kalau i tengok gamar u masa kat sekolah mungkin ingat kot.. i remember muhaya..:)

mokciknab - actually i letak gambar bersanding tu for 4 days, just removed the posting semalam. now i letak balik, just for you.. hehehe..

MrsNordin said...

Eh, apasal dah tukar gambar kat your profile??

Puteri Kama said...

Mra N - saja gatai, nak tengok what it looks like kalau letak kat situ..:)

Puteri Kama said...

Wam - selamat hariraya to you too, we wish you all the best..

Talq - why don't you call tee-moon and onghost and ajak them to come along?

Anonymous said...

Laa I dok check posting yang lama2... So nak comment on this latest post. But b4 that Selamat Hari Raya. Tak dapat pi rumah pasai cuti pendek. So ... kim salam kat budak budak. Anyway I dapatla juga save $$$ ... kalu tak pi rumah you. Pasai anak2 you semua belum kawin ... bangkrap nak bagi duit raya!! (I figure I go visiting after all of them dah kawin .. but b4 you get any cucu)

Chatroom is fun. There I said it.

Beast.

Zawi said...

Kama,
Your post on chatroom definitely bring forth a flood of memories of my IRC days. I was an IRC addict for 8 years. Fortunately I was able to wean myself off it by migrating to Virtual Tourism and later Blogsphere.
Initially I wanted to blog about it but wisely stopped after the first post. It was an episode of my life that I would rather let it die with me to the grave.

Puteri Kama said...

Beast - I am trying to put a finger on you. Masih menggapai but I know you are one of 'us' in erstwhilke MBSC. Selamat Hari Raya n plse drop by bila ada masa terluang.

Pak Zawi - waahh! You must have undergone some painful experience, sampai tak mau kenang langsung yr IRC days. Takpa Pak Zawi, my sympathies are with you...

Anonymous said...

macam dah jadi forum lak kat sini kan..

okey gak tu..

kak kama..i love your photo yang termuda tu yang nuulah yang asai tu lah..

saya ni baru belajar lajar nak nulis omputeh..lepaih tu search for Public Relations..jumpa blog ni..bahasa kak kama walaupun rasanya ringkas..tapi padat dan sedap..tu yang dok mai singgah selalu..

pujian pujian tu..ikhlas kak..

Puteri Kama said...

Anon 9.23 - tq for the kind words. nak belajar omputih taklah susah mana sebenarnya, rajinkan diri baca buku omputih. tu cara kama sejak budak beringuih.

saya sekolah melayu di pedalaman, tapi suka membaca walaupun kekadang tak paham apa yg dibaca. when I was in primary school (in the 60s), baca reader's digest dengan dictionary kat sebelah for quick reference. that habit endures until today.

talqin said...

Teringin nak baca buku nikah kawen.. tp belum sampai seru gamaknya.. Ke ada anybody yang nak bg pinjam kan buku tu.. LOL

kay_leeda said...

Kak Puteri,

I have never tried the Internet Chatrooms (true confession this is). Heard the good and the bads of it. But I guess it's all within you, samada nak outcome yg baik or the opposite.

I see that my children go on MySpace and Friendster a lot. I fear for their safety on the Net but I can't possibly stop them from using it, can I? So time and time again Mom here will sound like a broken record on good Internet ethics etc, etc.

I don't fancy doing it, but someone's gotta be the Big Bad Mom at times.