When you think of a traditional Malay marriage, you think of an extravagant ceremony, a once in a lifetime experience. Marriage is a pinnacle of life some might say, a sign of maturity. But a Malay marriage starts even before the marriage itself. It sort of builds up stage by stage up to the proper marriage proceedings.

Being an ignorant Malay, i am not that accustomed to such traditions. I was never interested with such traditions, growing up i was so crept with western culture. Baggy pants. Rock and roll. And now it seems, i have contributed to the decaying state of traditional rituals.

Brouhaha. But now, i am going to explain what has been learned of these traditional ways. Correct me if i am wrong.

MERISIK...(pronounced as mur-re-seek)

"Is your daughter still single? For me and my delegation seek to know whether your princess is still available on the market. Did any frog prince arrive before we did? Has her heart being taken away?"

Merisik, in the past, was to objectively pinpoint a few candidates suitable for the future bridegroom, and after deciding, they will pay a visit to the girl's house. These days it is a mere tradition since we are accustomed to modern day relationships such as being couples, so the role of identifying the girl has been done by the guy himself. And of course, we have facebooks and friendsters to find girls. One of the contributions of social networking services.

But i don't have accounts on friendster or facebook.

Before the modern age, people would accept the choice of their parents. So after identifying a suitable girl, usually the parents of the bridegroom wannabe would go to the candidate's house to ask the availability of that particular girl. Usually there might be some gifts from the guy's side. There might be an exchange of pantun (something like nursery rhymes) between the two parents.

Gendung gendut tali kecapi
Kenyang perut suka hati.
Sorong papan tarik papan.
Anak encik single lagi?

Yeah. I never liked pantuns. Moreover, i suck at writing them. Why can't we have like a rap battle between these two sets of parents. In the future we might have them. Sheesh. So western. I need to write my own set of pantuns for the future so that i can pantun-battle with the opposing parents. And i hope to win of course.

There might be a rejection from the girl's side. But as it is an informal proposal, it holds little significance and the guy proceeds to find other suitable candidates. If they agree, then we move to the next stage.

MEMINANG (murh-mee-nung)

This is the engagement ceremony. The bulk of the marriage will be planned at this stage. So here is when the guy needs to be wise in spending his money and identify priorities in order to save budget. Face it, the economic turmoil is affecting each aspect of our lives.

For the ceremony itself, there will a little food there, usually simple dishes like fried noodles (not instant noodles!), bits of traditional Malay cakes and kueh-muehs. And of course there is an exchange of gifts (hantaran) between the two sides. The future bridegroom will usually give the ring (of course..duhh), betel leaves and its container (sirih meminang) and a complete set of clothes presented on trays by odd numbers. The economic downturn would allow us males to give only such items without any additional gifts. But of course, if you're the son of Bill Gates, you could give whatever you want. And from the future bridegroom, her side would offer songkok (velvet cap in English), a prayer mat, clothes and so on.

BUT the potential bridegroom is absent at the scene of events. I don't really know why. One of the mysteries that will never be solved. So the parents will eventually discuss the date of marriage, the theme of marriage (aqua,fire or whatever it is), the food, so on and so forth.


There are some activities going on in the bride's house. The Khatam Al-Quran ceremony, only attended by women. The ber-"inai" ceremony, of which a paste of henna will be stained on the fingers of the future couple. There are 3 Inai ceremonies in total, which i don't intend to elaborate. And on the night before the wedding, the bride will be beautified with the help of Mak Andam, a makeup artist. Women and their make up. pffffft. I try not to elaborate as this particular makeup session is essential.

AKAD NIKAH (arcade knee-kah)

"I hereby wed you with this girl with the dowry worth RM10.99 cash". The imam (religious officer) will utter such words.

It seems normal that supermarkets hold their sales with the 99 cents at the back. Maybe now it is the mas kahwin's(dowry) turn to follow the trend.

This is an oath for marriage, which later will be replied in a clear sentence by the bridegroom,

"I accept to marry her with that amount of dowry you just mentioned". Of course, if you say something like this, you will be asked to repeat it once again. You have to mention everything in a clear manner.

And if you stutter, repeat it until the imam and the witnesses all agree with you. I suffer from panic attacks (self diagnosed) and i am really scared if that day would arrive for me, that i would stutter to the max. Can i just pre record it and play the video to the imam on the ceremony?

After the oath is accepted, the imam will lecture the couple of the dos and the donts, the rights and the wrongs. Most probably the bridegroom would think of...hmm...food to eat later on. His mind might just be fixed on something else. His work, his studies, so on and so forth.

Then comes my favourite ceremony. The batalkan air sembahyahg ceremony. Roughly translated as "cancellation of ablution" in english, when the guy finally slips the wedding ring to signify an ending to the akad nikah ceremony. It just sounds funny. The term itself tickles me.


The first wedding procession will be held at the bride's house and it is much more grandeur in nature. Usually the guy would wear something to make him look like this ancient Malay warrior from olden times. The girl would be adorned with a traditional Malay dress, either baju kurung or baju kebaya. I wish i could have a Liverpool themed wedding. We all would wear Red and sing "you'll never walk alone" together.

And later on, a procession will be held at the groom's home. As they say it, ladies first.

So there you go. The convoluted pathway to a traditional Malay marriage.

PS : I have moved my religious themed posts to my other blog http://tastethesoul.blogspot.com in an attempt to be completely sane on that blog, to concentrate on writing some good beneficial articles and to be partially sane on this blog. (signs of bipolar disorder?)I have written a follow up to my previous post, Muhammad : The Leader. Check it out.

PS : I have been wanting to write this for such a long time. So please don't speculate anything.

The beloved acoustic guitar of mine, with that round Palmolive sticker on top

I once belonged in a band.

Push that rewind button, back to some time when i was in primary school. My mom wanted me to take up an instrument and in an instant, i decided it had to be the guitar. It was at a time when Matchbox 20 was famous with their song "Push". But i couldn't read the notes, i can't manage the musical timing and in the end, i just can't get along with the lessons. The crotchets. The minims. Quavers and semiquavers. I just can't comprehend. I sucked. Fair and square.

But that didn't hinder my musical 'progress'. I entered secondary school with the hopes of reviving my musical 'career'. There was where i met some future rock stars of the Kuala Lumpur underground scene and they were the catalysts of my inclination to weird music. There was my land scout troop leader, Shaffiq Ahmad who went on to become the bassist of indie post rock band Sgt. Weener Arms. Firdaus Shah who held the slot of keyboardist/guitarist for Kuala Lumpur Post Harmonic Quintet (KLPHQ). And Piut, an in demand guitarist who was once part of KLPHQ and Killeur Calculateur. Later on i found out Aru Koffin Kanser is also from my school, Kolej Sultan Abdul Hamid. Not bad for a school renowned for producing politicians and that transsexual guy Huzz who had a gossip column in 'Pancaindera'.

I had a band myself called 'Plum Blossom'. A lame name inspired by a cheap brand of toiletries. It was me, Fairuz Shah (younger brother of Firdaus Shah) and a few seniors of mine and we performed Butterfingers' "Girl Friday" at the school's audition for talent time. We didn't qualify for the finals.

Then it was me, Fairuz Shah (drummer) and Zakaria (Pakya) forming a three piece band. I was the lyricist and the vocalist for this incarnation of this band circa form 2. We wrote this song called "everyday', a love song which we played incessantly on each jamming session which i thought had a commercial value. Had we released it, we wud have become rock stars. and taste probably a short lasting 15 minutes of fame. And then i went on to write a few more political lyrics with this rhyming scheme ala Rage Against the Machine. But they never saw the light of the day.

Later on it was me, Syafiq Bakar, Syahrul Azman (Saru) and Fairuz Shah. We were called Bang Band, although the inception of this name occured few years after we played together.

We never clicked. We had this different ideas of how the band should sound like. Imagine mixing curry, sweet sour, black pepper and honey together. That was how weird and unproductive we were. I was into 311 and Incubus. Fairuz and Syafiq digged Deftones. Saru was a grunge boy at that time. But we all ended up playing System of a Down songs since they were easy to play. At one jamming session, we had almost 13 people crammed into one small room singing "Sugar" together.

Then we went on seperate ways. It was a crossroad of our lives. Saru went to MRSM Beseri, I accepted an offer to study at MRSM Langkawi, Fairuz to MRSM Kulim and Syafiq stayed on at KSAH. When we were still in form 4, we would try to get back together and play some songs whenever we had spare time. At MRSM Langkawi, i played mainly with Syazril (where art thou?) and he was really good at playing the guitar and taught me a lot of songs.

After SPM, me and my Alor Star dudes jammed together for a few nights at this old and smelly studio somewhere in the slumps of the old Alor Setar bus station until i got the offer for my prepatory course at INTEC.

At INTEC, where i was supposed to study Russian language, i spent my time playing guitar with the most significant guitar guru of my life. He taught me a lot about playing classical guitar with this soulful feel and the facial expressions. It was an honor to share the stage with him when we performed as representatives of the AUSMAT course.

As much as i love playing music, i saw only 2 concerts in my life. One was the Incubus concert in Bukit Kiara and the other was a free concert at Sunway College (KLPHQ, 7 Collar t-shirt, Love me Butch and Sgt. Weener Arms).

After few more performances with Nazrul (Joe) and Christopher in Volgograd in 2005, it was downward spiral from there onwards. I decided to slowly stop playing the guitar.

One of the main reasons i stopped was that i couldn't handle Metallica. Everyone was so into Metallica and i couldn't get used to that. My varied musical taste (Metallica not included) made it hard to find a solution of which songs that should be played with my friends. I hate Metallica. Darn it.

At times we didn't have any sort of musical direction. Me and my friends were still happy. We came out of the jamming room, smelly, sweaty and played rubbish but we were content. Which for me wasn't good, since i wanted so much to try my luck at writing songs but after few years i realized it was never going to be the direction of my life.

Playing music taught me a great deal of what being friends is all about. We had to share our money to rent a jamming room for one hour. Then inside, we had to decide which songs to be played. Mind you, we were never good at playing instruments. I still can't play a killer solo after years of playing guitar. But we learnt to accept the attributes of each other.

Before the facebooks and friendsters, this was the old school socializing network system. Nothing fussy, just pure face to face contact and teaching each other how to play some songs which was a in a sense, the real socializing tool.

Now that i feel old, i've stopped playing the guitar. Not that it's a waste of time (it actually stimulates the left and right brain together), just that i am trying to install that reading habit inside of me. There's a lot to catch up in life. And i've been listening to less music. My current favourites are Iron & Wine (lion's mane is the best song in the world), the Flaming Lips, Eddie Vedder, Dawud Wharnsby Ali and few others. Some folky tunes and that's it. No more musical endeavours and tryouts like i had before.

I had a noble cause to play the guitar. I wanted to make everyone happy when i play some songs on the guitar. But now i realize it is not what really makes people happy.

However, I will never regret playing the guitar, it was one of the experiences i treasure the most.

And the memory remains. Like it was yesterday.
Ahmad Zakiran's nostalgic MCKK bedspread/bed sheet. Whenever i sleep in their living room, this piece covers me from the cold shivers of the night.

Cerap's modernistic iPhone. The one that triggered my nerves to buy one.

Theenesh and a small portion of his medical books. Fellow Kedahan.

Muhanna's acoustic guitar crowned with a 'lebai'.

Winter's wonder from their balcony. Notice the freezing Volga river, the largest river in Europe. One of the very few things Volgograd can be proud of.

Which 3 year old kid drew the picture above? Gosh, i know i suck in arts. And i'm 22.

In psychology class, our lecturer asked us to draw something with the theme ,"my home, my country." And apparently, he would judge/evaluate us accordingly but not solely based on our drawings. He would take into consideration our marks in other personality tests and bla bla bla.

Could you feel the Picasso-esque artistry of the above picture? Are you able to feel that Salvidor-Daliness imaginative idea of the piece of art above? Or maybe, you're suffering from Stendhal Syndrome or hyperkulturemia, characterized by dizziness, tachycardia, hallucinations and confusion after exposure to beautiful/extravagant art? Or maybe you could taste that Vincent van Gogh spice in my piece?

If you answer yes to any of the above, then you're probably out of your mind. Loco. Go have a mental test.

That's what artsy people would classify as C-R-A-P. Excrement of the mind. Anomaly of arts. From a neutral point of view, i would classify anyone who drew it as 'pathetically unartistic unimaginative handsome person'.

However, i still want to enlighten you about the drawing above.

That is the flag of Kedah, my state of origin with the inscription 'KEDAX' beneath it. 'X' in russian language equals to the sound '-kh'. So Russians would pronounce it as "kedakh" instead of the Malay version with the -h at the back. I drew 3 items under the flag. The leftest most is supposed to be paddy, since Kedah is the ricepot of Malaysia but after my thoudsanth gaze, i don't know what it really is. It looks like bunga manggar, the ones they use in traditional Malay weddings walking down the aisle/street. But i was being Salvador Dali for a moment and drew this abstract version of paddy and walla..You've got this brilliant piece of simple art made with highlighters.

Then there's a football, since Kedah are world champions. Dude, they're on the come back trail. 2-0 against KL Naza Plus or whatever club it was, the champions are on the rise. Well, i'm not patriotic for Malaysia, i'm much more into my state, Kedah. Usually when i talk about the Kedah football team, one song springs into my mind. Owh no, here it comes again!...Biar Jasa jadi kenangan, hijau kuning lambang kemegahan, jelapang padi rapat sanjungan, negeri Kedah Darul Aman...

Then there are 3 matchstick women there, supposed to represent my mom, and my 2 sisters. Yes, to my sisters, Kak Eja, ## year old and Kak Yein, ## year old, if you're reading this, you've got to realize that you're both now are W-O-M-E-N. No offense. Just pure facts.

As for me, i'm a 22 year old manboy.

Now are you readers judging me by my drawing? Sheesh. Go get Stendhal Syndrome instead.

I think if i ever put this up on deviantart thingy, i will be banned for life the next second.

Blacklisted User : Afiq Azmi. Reason : A disgrace to the world of art.

Art is hard.
"Sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you."

Those are the words of the culling song in Chuck Palahniuk's highly acclaimed novel "Lullaby". Whenever the it is sung to anyone, or when the song plays in the mind, the particular person, to whom the song is directed to,dies. Such a power so enticing, so seductive.

And so poison. Out of anger, you could possibly kill anyone you want! And could anyone possibly control power once they have it. Anger is part of everyday life and with this song, you may become one heck of a serial killer. Hunger and thirst for power just grows on and on.

Wish i could use this spell to admonish those warlords of Israeli.

The Flaming Lips' The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song exhibits the struggle to contain power. Something to ponder upon.

If you could blow up the world with a flick of a switch, would you do it?
And so we cannot know ourselves, or what we really do.
With all your power, what would you do?

And now here i am complaining of the malignancy of Malaysian politics. Party hoppings. Name slanderings. Obsessive ideologies.

My conscious is clear. I'm a supporter of Dr. Mahathir and his ideas, because he has done so much for the country. Of course, i am not obsessive about him. He's not perfect after all. A lot of allegations of bribery. He's been labelled un-Islamic. Liberal. Racist. So on and so forth. I've critised and disagreed with his ideas a number of times, but by merit, he has done much more than just blabbering and bickering at the parliament. He has elevated Malaysia to a new level and his successors should be looking for ways to improve Malaysia, but sadly Mr. Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was just the wrong pick by Dr. Mahathir. Islam Hadhari? What the heck is it?

My stand is clear. Politics is dirty. Some people just couldn't accept someone who supports the opposing party. Feel that hatred in there? Some put labels on this and that. Those in power use money to succeed. You are either sucked in that dirty hole or washed away by the tide. Power and money are seductive, anyone could fall into the trap.

The question is, what are these politicians stand for? Their party ideologies or the spirit to serve society? Money or power? With the current wave of political tsunami going about in Malaysia, you have to wonder where Malaysis is heading.

BN has been intoxicated by power for far too long. Absence of power makes the heart grow fonder and they have been trying their best to recoup what they have lost. Perak is just a stepping stone of their continued hunt for ways to reach the zenith of Malaysian politics after their unconvincing victory is the GE. They control the media. Utusan is becoming far too influenced by the government. Do they even have articles from a neutral perspective nowadays? I don't think so. Their dirty ways are quite obvious. I remember one statement/question made by my friend, who studies law at UiTM last summer.

"Kalau suruh sorang-sorang ahli UMNO sumpah tak terima rasuah, siapa berani?"

When it comes to the purpose of politicians, they should be serving the people. Rather than just championing their ideologies, wether for racial or Islamic purposes, they should listen to what people have to say. Consider microproblems before thinking big. I loathe and detest the public transport system of Kedah, mainly Alor Star. Since the days of BN til the Pas led state government, they haven't looked too much in this matter. My mum told me how patients from the rural areas had to take taxi rides which are expensive instead of bus trips to get to the hospital. Why couldn't these so called people's choice do something to rectify such small problem?

And now to the unethical party hopping trend. Anwar Ibrahim must be getting a taste of his own medicine, after being fooled by that Bota assemblyman. Remember who preached for the 16th September takeover? History also shows that BN has been involved in accepting party hoppers long before Anwar Ibrahim's idea of the takeover. In this matter, i wholeheartedly support Karpal Singh who has been talking about laws to prevent party hopping. It's simply immoral and unethical to say the least, because those who voted for them were supporters of their previous political parties. It is an act of treason. The old guard of Malaysian politics even lambasted his contemporaries, Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Kit Siang due to their inconsistent views on this matter.

And this guy Anwar Ibrahim, who managed to force a threesome political alliance who are never in tune with each other, desire power more than anything else. Pas wants an Islamic state. DAP doesn't want it. Maybe they prefer a secular state. Anwar, with his masters in oratory skills, managed to force this marriage in order to fulfil his dreams of presiding the illustrious Prime Minister post.

All i can say is those politicians, they don't deserve your vote. They should go to rehab for their money/power addiction. You wish for these things to change, but maybe it will come pretty soon. But wishing and hoping for a cleaner political scene have become obsolete. The virus has rooted deep in the tradition and no anti viral drug is able to kill it.

"Politicians think of the next election, statesmen think of the next generation". Just to share a quote from a friend.

Actually, I don't like to talk politics. I allow myself this time to break this boundary.

Let's hope this malignancy of Malaysian politics can be cured.

PS : First class was cool. We were like kids in that Medical psychology class. We had to draw something with the theme , "my home my country". I drew the Kedah Flag, a ball (to symbolize Kedah as footballing champions), paddy and also 3 women (my mum and 2 sisters, although they don't really look like women).
And the lecturer asked, "what is the purpose of life?". I typed that in my previous post of the 56th verse of Surah Adh-Dhariyat last night. How ironic is that?
Samsung SGH-C120

The feeling of having a new handphone is.....orgasmic? Nah. I can't quite use that word. But in a sense it does feel different.

Face it Afiq. You're technophobic. How could you handle a touch screen keyboard when you've been accustomed to handphones with those monophonic ring tones? So i really do need a few weeks for adaptation.

Jeez. I've never bought a handphone on my own before the Apple iPhone. I still remember the first one i had. A Nokia Butterfly which i treasure the most, a gift from my mom. I got it few days before my SPM and it was one of the most expensive phones at that time. But there was the premature shut down syndrome, due to the exhaustion of its battery which couldn't be charged anymore. So i was forced to use another handphone.

Luckily, i didn't have to buy a new one on my own. On my 20th birthday, my friends bought me the handphone in the picture above. A Samsung SGH-C120. And up til today, it has been the greatest companion in my life. It has always been there in my left pocket whenever i need it.

Nothing much. Monophonic ring tones. Camera absent. No MP3 player. No techno geeky stuff. It fits the definition of a basic handphone. Call and sms. Actually the multi color screen differs it the from my Nokia Butterfly. That's it. But i love it a lot.

My own.
My precious.

It wakes me up. I write the ideas i have for my blog in the planner. And my class schedules and timetable and my assignments, all are in there. I save some notes and reminders in it. Whoever had the idea to buy it for me and spared their money, i appreciate it very much. A big thanks from the deepest depths of my heart.

The thing is, i don't really like touch screens. Some are overly sensitive, and you don't really get that physical satisfaction of the keyboard/keypad since i very much like to type. But it just hit me. I've been fooling around with my friend's iPhone and i thought it was the handphone i've been waiting for all these years. With phones, they just evolve at a vast rate which makes you wonder when is the right time to buy one, since tomorrow might bring a new and sophisticated handphone. And lately, handphones have become more than just phones. With smartphones and PDAs, they've become these mini computers we have become dependent upon.

Overdependent some might say. Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, the vice chancellor of USM wrote in an article a few years back, how people these days tend to make decisions not independently, but they make it after making some phone calls even for simple tasks. So it makes the process of maturation and decision making traits lacking. I'm not saying this idea is entirely wrong, but i can't see such major decisions being made by just a phone call or sms.

But i do agree on the nuisance and disturbance handphones bring. From loud ring tones to annoying conversations in public, i do wonder at times how important are those phone calls?

Are they necessary?
Death threats?
Marriage proposals?
Business deals?

For God's sake, switch off your mono/poly/mp3 ring tones in lectures, mosques and if possible in public places! Well just turn it on to wake you up in the morning. Here is a lament of a mother in NST about handphones.

Whatever it is, to be honest i'm quite scared of the iPhone. It looks so fragile and i'm so careless.


Hope everything goes well with my new phone.

what's inside the box? (please don't ask why it is addressed to Hidayatil Alimi)

Another box!

Apple iPhone 3G 16gb. The G-force is strong in this phone.

I've yet to jailbreak this iPhone since it would consume too much internet credit (my internet service runs on prepaid payment scheme), so i'm waiting for some of my friends to return from their travels and then spend the weekend over at their apartment and learn the basics of handling such a beast of a telephone.

And please don't ask me why it is white in colour.

The backside boy in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in 2007. Although it is a shopping arcade, it was more of a luxurious free museum for people who couldn't afford to buy luxurious goods such as Prada, D&G and all those stuff. I just love this picture taken by Helmi Zakariah. The Deuter backpack, Puma Sky High II, McDonald's large cup and with me standing against the rat race.

This was back in 2006. This will forever be one of my favourite pictures ever, taken by Hidayatil Alimi. Since Real Madrid is one of my favourite teams ever (behind Liverpool), the significance of this picture is unquestionable. There's this geometrical balance of me right between "REAL" and "MADRID". I'm much bigger now, i think the 2009 version of this picture would be me in between the words "REA" and "ADRID".

There some more backside pictures but this one in Venice with me staring across the vessels of Venice is just class.
El magnifeco.

I just love these backside pictures. I don't have a clue why.
Up to the turn of the 19th century, there were many attempts to invent a light bulb which would be able to withstand hours and hours of electric current without getting burnt. In 1820, Warren De La Rue used platinum as the conducting filament and well, it managed to lit up but of course, we would be cursing his name up to this day as platinum is very expensive and hard to obtain!

Luckily, a British scientist, Joseph Swan worked hard enough to discover a cheaper cost of creating an incandescent light bulb using carbon filament. And Thomas Edison took his idea and improved the performance of light bulbs and bought Swan's patent of the original design, and hence, the world recognizes Thomas Edison as the one who invented light bulbs.

So, if we were to live in that exact period of time, we would have cried in unison, "Behold! The greatest invention of mankind!". There were also Karl Benz's automobile, which looked like a tricycle, the telephone of Alexander Graham Bell, the stethoscope invention in 1816 by Rene-Theophile-Hyacinthe Laennec and lots more.

It is a well known fact that the Islamic Golden age provided a basis for scientific inventions to prosper with countless of discoveries in that era.

As a teenager of the 20th/21st century, i have to admit those inventions are less appreciated by our mundane generation. Some of us appreciate the television, the cd players and music systems, the guitar more than those genius inventions. Some even considered skateboard as the greatest invention to mankind.

But this is the story of the most significant invention of the 20th century, the Internet. Sir Tim Berners-Lee is credited with the invention of the world wide web, but not until the invention of Netscape Navigator that the internet started to appeal to the mainstream public.

Yes, Netscape Navigator was the first web browser, but now a forlorn and forgotten figure. When Netscape was first listed in the IPO, it yielded $ 632 million USD from an initial investment of $ 5 million USD. Well, that's strictly business. But Bill Gates had other ideas. Uneasy with the rise of a small time company, he slowly planned the downfall of Netscape, just as he did with other software companies at that time, such as IBM, Borland, Novel, Lotus and Word Perfect.

Don't let his geeky looks fool you. This guy who envisioned "a pc on every desktop in every home and office and every one of the pcs running on microsoft software" is also a diabolical, monopoly mastermind who exhibits paranoidal traits. Paranoid that Microsoft would one day be left behind in the internet industry. So, Microsoft took bits and parts of Netscape's idea, polished them and on the 7th December 1995 Bill Gates had a meeting with the media to announce their strategic plans of Internet Explorer.

7th December? Pearl Habour Day. The message was simple. Bomb Netscape Navigator. That's the real Bill Gates. And thus, the downfall of Netscape. High on their success, the downfall was also due to Netscape's arrogance, which dubbed Microsoft "a bag of poorly debug device drivers". This is commonly known now as the firt "Browser Wars".

It didn't end there. Netscape eventually filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft, a kind of lawsuit in which small companies have the rights to sue a large company due to their abusive and dominant behavior in business competition. Microsoft eventually lost, but luckily they didn't go bankrupt. Had they gone haywire, i might not be using Windows XP, my current operating system.

Now, there are multiple web browsers you could choose from such as Mozilla Firefox, Maxthon, Safari and the recently launched Google Chrome.

The rapid growth of Internet spells one word. Money. Suddenly, the internet became a platform for business advancements. From advertisements to online shopping, everyone wanted a piece of the internet. Yahoo had multiple colorful ads on their website and later Google, a similarly stupid yet catchy name for a search engine followed suite. Not only ads, these search engines functioned as surveillance machinery to look for people's interests and for these search engines to plan their marketing strategy.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com realized that it was impossible to have a mega bookstore physically holding up to millions of books. So he went on to create a virtual bookstore, with giga or even terabytes of space replacing bookshelfs. Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay thought the idea of an online auctioning site. Although there were only second hand junk sold during its inception, eBay slowly picked up pace and became the most famous marketplace on the net. Countless of shops and ordinary people became virtual businessmen and women. Of course there were ups and downs of both Amazon and eBay, but they managed to face them.

Later, internet became the buzz of society. From the controversial Napster to YouTube. Internet is the sensation of the century. Internet, however became the enemy of bands such as Metallica who sued Shawn Fanning, founder of Napster for illegal music sharing.

I never liked Metallica anyway.

Now, a new breed of youngsters have been making headlines. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook is the flavour of the month. Facebook was established with the intention of becoming an "ultimate relationship map" of the world. Microsoft bought 1.6% of the shares worth $ 240 million USD. Do the maths, and the company itself would be worth an estimted $ 15 Billion USD!! I'm totally left behind in this social networking thingy. I don't have or even intend to open a facebook account.

Then there's YouTube, Digg, MySpace which offers users to be part of the internet, instead of being monopolised by some Silicon Valley geeks.

But it's just not strictly business. Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist.org, offering free online ads was quoted as saying, "once you make enough money to live comfortably and provide for your future, what's the point of having more?". He and Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia shared the idea of constructing non profitable websites to help people instead of generating money.

According to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, this is what he envisioned out of the internet. A platform on which the user will be able to contribute, rather than just take. Now, you could become a businessman on the internet. You could socialize, find friends anywhere in the world and share ideas. Bloggers are becoming resident journalists, enabling everyone and anyone to become writers. Heck, you could even post your videos on youtube, no matter how stupid it is!

The result of the recent general election in Malaysia shows how significant the internet is for the public in choosing information. Barisan Nasional's loss is due to their approach on mainstream media, i.e : newspapers, television while Pakatan Rakyat's gain was largely due to the raw power of internet. Public are bored of the one sided reports on the newspapers and television, and looked for alternative information in order to vote.

Power to the people. Now, maybe someday we will look back to history and we might say internet was a significant invention. Perhaps a downfall of a government attributed to the internet? Now that's a real revolution.

The digital age is revolutionising our world. The future is here. Are you ready to indulge?

PS : Post is based on the documentary download : history of the internet, a Discovery Channel Special. I have it in my hard disk. Highly recommended. You could download it illegally through the internet.