Reading about the Nasi Dagang Party held in honour of Pok Ku, reminded me of the get together of our own cyberworld friends. I belong to a network of Malays around the world and we have met several times in many places in Malaysia, Singapore and around Europe, to put faces to nicks, so to speak.
And reading the comments, I wonder, if like us, the bloggers who met for the first time at that party, recognised each other instantly from the jottings that reveal quite a lot about the jotters.
Do the nicks fit the image that you have of the person? What’s the story behind the nicks?
We had our first gathering three years ago, when I was back in Malaysia and as there were other members who flew back from Bangladesh, America, Germany, Australia, we met up with members who travelled down from Singapore for a meeting with friends we have only been meeting online. Needless to say, the food was untouched as we chatted like old friends.
Before this, we shared our joys and sorrows as perantaus. We created our own community and cyber families that remained steadfast to this day. We rejoice in each other’s success as a member makes it in a foreign land, and offer advise and words of consolation each time a perantau receives news of death or illness from home. We create our own cerpen bersambung and berbalas pantun and recently tried online television culminating in a Ramadan and hari raya programme, with lagu hari raya bersambung by members from all around the world. It was hilarious and such fun! We’ve learnt so much from each other. From someone who could only paste and cut, I can now do online tv!! Hooray! Thanks to Bro Ming in Melbourne.
Anyway, coming back to that first meeting, I knew instantly who was Senyumanis from Germany, whose style of speaking is just like her jottings, so warm and wonderful. Sweethuneyz the bubbly lass from Australia, Kazoo, warm and demure from America, Maknenek funny and talented from Germany and many more. And the funny thing is, even when we found out each other’s real name, we’d still call each other by the nicks that we are used to.
We were featured in the local newspaper which of course meant that the number of hits for the site increased immediately. The next meeting was in Singapore, the turn out big enough to merit a two page feature in the Singapore Berita Harian.
These cyber friends had visited me in London too – Malays seeking Malays in a foreign land. Jintanmama, whose friendship I treasure dearly, came all the way from Sweden, so did memento from Holland and KasaRubia from Australia. And of course, how can I forget my dear, dear cyberfriend who had become my sidekick and partner in crime, klmuk from Aberdeen. Her words of advise and encouragement saw me through my darkest hours as I contemplated whether to plunge into the world of academia.
All these wonderful networkings started by someone who felt very lonely when she moved to LA. With enough knowledge of IT and the internet, she started the site with two friends. I joined them not too long after that and now I have buddies in Oklahoma, San Francisco, Costa Rica and Saudi.
Coming back to the nicks, I have never been imaginative with mine. Kak Teh is what my younger siblings call me to my face but I daren’t imagine what they call me behind my back! Now, as I have a small circle of blogger friends here, I wonder what atenah, atiza, kak ngah, blaberella, doreen and honeytar look like or how they came about their nicks. But from their jottings you can sort of put a rough picture together.
I see atenah, this intellectual who talks to anyone in the bus and holds deep intellectual conversations with her hippy friends and only once in a while looks up only to make that difficult decision of what coffee to order. She has vision, this lady, and I wish her luck!
There’s nadia all motherly and homely, and sticks to her routine religiously as she homeschooled her children. I envy her commitment and dedication. And I stand to attention as I type this.
There’s chek ngah, mutterings in Javanese, missing her daughter back home. She has lots of stories to tell.
There’s maknenek ( but I have met her! And she is not a nenek!) still transitting in Germany, with Egyptian husband. When she is not sobbing away watching Bollywood films, she is playing with the love of her life – little Salma. She is a damn good editor too!
And of course Blaberella , who conjures a picture of a barbie doll but is infact a cigar smoking professional that once caught the notorious eyes of Mike Tyson and live to tell the story. She is still besotted by her hubadubs of fifteen years and busy making it on her own in this cruel wide world.
There’s riza in his own world of mysticism, wearing crumpled unironed clothes but damn good, witty observer of what goes on around him.
Woman in the well just came into my blogging life. I had her as Woman at the well and that is how I want to imagine her. I bloghopped to her site via atenah’s and delighted is not enough to describe my feelings. I imagine this seventy something lady sitting at her well, hunched over her laptop, churning all those beautiful stories effortlessly, stories that come only in my dreams. She is such an inspiration. I imagine her with hat perched on her well–coiffered bun to shelter her tanned beautiful face from the scorching Brazilian sun. She is kind and thoughtful and her eyes that have witnessed so much in her rich life, sometimes twinkle with mischief as she recalls an incident that brings a smile to her face. She with those sensible shoes and colourful attires as she dashes here and there, feeling young and more alive than any of us combined. I imagine her still in her youth, enjoying life to the fullest and through her blog, aspires me to do the same.
There’s many more – and how can I forget Pok Ku,Pak Adib, Atok and Awang Goneng who are responsible for me blogging first thing in the morning and last thing at night. But we all know about Pok Ku and as for Awang Goneng well… Suffice to say, thanks to these two, even my dreams are now in Terengganu Malay!
Well, if you happen to be in London and you see this elderly lady, chasing after some old men, preferably sailors or ageing film stars, muttering words you couldn't understand, turning right when she should be turning left, then that's Kak Teh!
ps, blogger buddies, tell me if I am wrong about you!