Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bridging Digital Divide : From Bandar Indra Mahkota to Kg Pancing and Sungai Lembing

Computer Games ..... future IT whiz kid ...

Children &mothers gathered at Bandar Indra Mahkota Library

Filling in research questionnaires

Cyber kid ... getting connected

Full support for knowledge & IT society

Recently I got the opportunity of tagging along my significant half visiting a few rural Telecenters ( TC ) as part of her Bridging Digital Divide Research.

The first TC was located at the Rural Library (RL - Perpustakaan Desa) at Bandar Indra Mahkota about 10 kms from Kuantan. It is quite an organized and big RL with plenty of books and a corner for computers. More the 50 people comprising of children and their mothers gathered at the RL to welcome us. The children were using the computers for their school assignments, playing games, chatting or just surfing the net. The mothers seemed to refrain themselves from using the limited computers in our presence. They participated actively in the research interview and put across their view on the TC effectiveness and relevance. In fact they look forward for more computers to be installed at the TC and more organized activities to enhance their IT skill.
Kg Panching town ........

Small Library ..... knowledge centre

Organised, clean and conducive

Our second stop over was Kampung Panching about 25 kms from Kuantan. It is another Rural Library which is small but well organized and patronized. Unfortunately for us the TC that supposed to be set up at the RL has not been carried out. Apparently it has been delayed due to the recent election. We may have to come again in the future to review the TC. As you can see from the picture I am impressed with the RL and the number of children patronizing it. They all look forward for the TC to be set up but worried about the space constraint they currently facing. 25 kms from Kuantan and they were already facing the real digital divide. Now that the election is over let hope the TC project will resumed speedily.
End of the road .... Sungai Lembing Town

Sg Lembing Library and Telecentre

Sungai Lembing is a small town 40 kms from Kuantan and the road just end at the town. The town was famous for its tin mining activities in the early days. It reminded me of a drama I used to act during my school days “ Lembing Awang Pulang Ke Dayang “ I assumed the story has something to do with the town.
Fully utilised by youngsters

The RL here is small but very organized with both library and multi media on different section of the building. Here it looks like the TC was being patronized more then the library. Most of the users were school children and youngsters. Like the other TC they used the computers for assignments, surfing the net and filling on line applications for college entry and scholarships. It was refreshing to see the youngsters using the IT at this remote dead end town.
Hai kid... learning early ... learning fast

The RL/TC visits gave me a clear picture on the digital divide facing by the rural community. While we are enjoying Wi Fi at our Coffee House and Kopi Tiam, they have to go to the TC to be connected. Sometimes they have to queue for hours to use the limited computers. Worst still when the school levers have to fill their applications forms on line for college entry and scholarships. I believed many have to forgo the applications due to the digital divide.

While the effort of setting up the RL and TC are very good, much have to be done to ensure the effectiveness of the centers. Its includes conducting program on the effective usage of computers and educational contents for on line learning for the community. They must be thought on the usage of computers for their personal development, information intelligence and networking.

The real findings from my significant half on the research may be shared with those who are interested in this areas.
Another TC at Kg Bujang, Kedah
Computer Games ... while waiting for Lion Dance Class
The Lion Head ..... Art & ICT do get along fine

Sunday, March 9, 2008

ELECTION RESULT - Whe the Moon and Rocket Meets

9/3 was a long night with full of surprises and changes. Despite expecting the changes the actual result made you forget about sleep and glued to the direct results and comments on the TV Awani & TV3.

The people have spoken and the political landscape changed in 4 states of Penang, Kedah, Perak and Selangor while Kelantan delivers its fatal blow to BN. The BN achieved its simple majority with 139 seats and lost 5 states to the BA. It has never happened before in the history of Malaysia but the reality was, the Rakyat has delivered its verdicts.

The new challenges now lies with the BA ( PAS, PKR and DAP ) not only to get use to be the ruling parties but most importantly how to ensure their collaborations will not be derailed in the light of the new power given to them by the Rakyat. How are they going to ensure that peace, harmony and prosperity thrive in the early transition of power and the later governance of the states. Everybody is watching closely how they work out the winning formula to rule Perak and Selangor without being suck up with the new power entrusted to them. Definitely the ultimate act of doing and delivering promises is greater then promising itself.

It is our desires to see that the BA use this opportunity given by the Rakyat to proof that they are better alternatives then the BN, otherwise they will receive the same fate as BN when the time come.

Meanwhile the BN has no choice but to reinvent themselves to be relevant for the new dawn and expectations of the Rakyat. The losers and leaders have to be honorable enough to accept responsibility and make way for others to chart the new course.