Thursday, January 21, 2010

A stranger from Ulu Michigan US...

It was one of those things that happen in cyberspace. Some years ago an American who was doing works in the tsunami devastated region of Acheh, Indonesia visited my blog and posted comments. With that I visited his blog and left some comments too. Eventually we continue our communication via email and soon we began exchanging personal information. With information of us going to and fro we soon became a close friend in cybersphere. One of the greatest things about the Internet is that anything in bits could be transmit to anywhere in the world in mere seconds. With that my communication with this blogger soon became sort of a friendship rather then just a blogger. We even had the opportunity to see each other on web-cam, using G mail chat and it was really nice to be able to speak and see the person who at that time is still a cyberpal. If we could transmit atom we cold have met in person already but since as yet we are unable to transmit atom like we do with bits now, that personal meeting was not possible. I believe in the future we could do just that as we progress further in science and technology. To me it is a matter of time and we would one of these days get there where atom could be transmitted like we do with bits now. In the meantime we have to be satisfied with transmitting bits like now. And with that we have manage to see and talk with each other in real time. Amazing that was not being possible just two decades ago.

From the personal information exchange between us; among other things he told me that he was once an American Peace Corp volunteer working in Malaysia in the midseventies and that he could communicate in the Malay language. In one email he wrote that he lives in Ulu Michigan. Ulu is a Malay word to mean the outback or rural. I thought that was nice of him to use the Malay word Ulu. For not always that an America would associate a place like Michigan with an Ulu place. Only folks who have live in Malaysia know of how to use the Malay word Ulu. Interesting Eh! One thing lead to another and we continue to communicate via email and of recent via facebook. As usual with me I told him we should meet whenever it is possible, in the US or here in KL.

On arrival in KL last week he posted an image of KL as seen from the window of his hotel in the vicinity of the KL Sentral. In a way saying that he and his spouse are now in the capital for a short holiday. I then post a comment in his Facebook and suggest that we meet for coffee. Soon afterward I got a reply in my inbox telling me the possible date when we could meet and his cell phone number. With that the stage was set for us to meet. Since he was free on Thursday January 7, we decided that we should meet at the KLCC. A place that is easy for him to get to since one could get on the LRT at the KL Sentral and within minutes would be in KLCC. As for me the KLCC is just five minutes away from my home in Ampang Jaya.

At noon on that beautiful Thursday we met for the first time, in front of the Kino bookstore. It was like meet an old friend despite this is the first time we had ever met in person. Cyberspace has a way of making one close in friendship despite have not met in person. Like old friends we chat and then I invite him to lunch at 'Little Penang' where both of us ordered Chow Kueh Teow, which he say that he had not had for a longtime. We enjoy the food and chat on various subjects that come to our minds. Soon he pops up some familiar names and that makes the conversation more interesting. Imagine just a moment ago we were total strangers and now at this lunch we seem to have some mutual friends who are very close to me. What an interesting coincidence or is it a part of the whole scheme of things that often happen to folks with common thoughts; I sometime wonder! Since it is lunch time and there are many folks trying to get a sit in the restaurant we divided to end our lunch and move to another location and continue with our chat. We decide to walk to the park nearby and chat while we walk in the cool shade of the tropical forest. Not many tourists take the trouble to walk outside the mall. I hope the authority of the KLCC would put up a signage to tell folks about this miniature forest just outside where they could see many varieties of trees that are found in our jungles. Both of us walk and chat as well as snapping some images of the place with our cameras.

After awhile and had enough of the walk we decided to move to another location. We walk to the parking lot and then I drove the Honda taking the Elevated Highway where my friend had a glimpse of this side of the city and Ulu Kelang. I then took the Jalan Ampang/Jalan Pegawai where there are many Government Quarters that I believe reminded him of the bygone era of the seventies when he was in Malaysia as an American Peace Corp volunteer. Perhaps he stayed in one of those type government quarters when he was in the country. That short trip did trigger his memories of that period in time and with that the chat became more interesting and nostalgic. We eventually emerged at Jalan Tun Razak near the American Embassy building and then I drove on to the Pavilion, a new Mall at Jalan Bukit Bintang. After parking the car at the basement car park we took the escalator to the ground floor and went to have drink at The Coffee Bean outlet at the lobby of this cozy mall. He was truly amazed as to the rapid development of KL especially this mall. It was no longer the Jalan Bukit Bintang that he was used to in the seventies. The place was crowded with folks enjoying themselves. We got a comfortable table and continue our chat over the drinks and cakes.

I then call a mutual friend on my cell phone and told her that I am here having a drink with a friend whose spouse is her good friend, that she had lost contact. I hand over the phone over to Howard Yamaguchi who gave her his spouse cell phone number. Amazing that amid all the happening in the world, here two strangers got connected and then another chain of event continue to happen. A few minutes after that his spouse Pat call saying that Wirah had just called her and they had a great chat and now connected again after a lapsed of some years. I was indeed happy that they got connected again. We continue to chat on various subjects that cross our minds and as usual in a situation like this time passes by fast indeed. We had been chatting for almost five hours since we met at KLCC. It was about four in the afternoon that we call off the day. He did not want me to send him back but says that he would take the Monorail straight to the KL Sentral.

Well folks it is a story of a stranger from Ulu Michigan who met a stranger from Ulu Kelang. A story of how powerful the Internet is for folks like us who enjoy traveling and friendship. An exciting happening indeed and now we are stranger no more. Have a nice day.


Howard said...

What a beautiful writeup of our meeting! It was just the first of many, many get-togethers to come! Cheers from snowy, freezing Ulu Michigan, Pak Idrus!


Salam pak idrus,

it's one of those experience that one will cherish forever. thanks for showing others the malaysian hospitality.


Pokku said...

Jan 7 I was around there (Menara Tan & Tan, Ampang Park). Howard commented on my blog a couple of times. Would be happy to meet him in person.

louis said...


Your reflections on meeting with Howard after having met him on the net brings back very pleasant memories of meeting with you and your family over here in Seattle.

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

Salam, Pak Idrus! Isn't it wonderful when we use the Internet as a tool for connection and collaboration, instead of a device for conflict? I really like it that you got to spend time with a cyberfriend! I've met up with more than half my cyberfriends already, and there's always more friends to meet. Have a great week!

umihoney said...

beautiful write up Sdr.Idrus..I was blog walking and stumbled upon your blog.thank you for sharing.keep blogging.take care :)

Pak Idrus said...

Howard, thanks for the visit and the good words on this posting.

It was really nice to get to meet you in person that beautiful day. Hope that we get meet again in the future.

Have a nice day and take care.

Pak Idrus said...

JALAN REBUNG, thanks for the visit and the good words on this happening. Yes indeed it was one of those experience that one would remember forever.

Hope to get to meet you in person one of these day. Take care.

Pak Idrus said...

Pokku, thanks for the visit and sharing your thoughts on the subject of this posting.

Had I know that you were around in the vicinity I would surely have invited you for that lunch with Howard. The next time I would surely inform you when Howard or any other blogger that we know are around.

Have a nice day.

Pak Idrus said...

louis, thanks for the visit and sharing your thoughts on the subject of this posting.

Indeed it was like meeting you in Seattle. It was really nice to get to meet Howard just like meeting you on that beautiful day in the summer of 2008.

Hope to get to meet you and Elena here one of these day. Take care.

Pak Idrus said...

~Covert_Operations'78~, Ee Lynn thanks for the visit and the good words on my adventure this week as well as sharing your experience in meeting with other blogger. Glad to know that you too had the chance to meet strangers and now are friends.

It was indeed great to get to meet stranger for the first time and I did enjoy those moment in time. It does made life colorful.

Have a nice day and take care.

Pak Idrus said...

umihoney, thanks for the visit and the good words on my kind of blogging.

At this age I thoughts that the best thing to do is to share my thoughts with the world, thus I blog. I did enjoy blogging and would continue to do so.

Have a nice day and take care.

Temuk said...

Salam Pak Idrus
It was really nice of you to be able to show Howard Malaysian hospitality & a part of Malaysian life. Blogging can indeed have a role in turning strangers into friends & making this world a happier place to live in.

Pak Idrus said...

Temuk, thanks for the visit and the good words on this happening. Well I did enjoy meeting folks with the same interest.

At this age friendship became very important indeed, even a virtual one such as a cyberpal. It became more interesting when one actually meet in person and it happened many times to me.

I tried to show what are around us with a hope that they too enjoy it as well. Most foreigner are surprised as to how well we have developed in the last thirty years and when they see it in person they are truly amazed.

One of these day I hope we could meet for lunch or coffee.

Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

Pak Idrus,
If more people were as friendly and easy to get along with as you, I'm sure peace will break out everywhere. You sound like you'll make a really good diplomat.

What's the secret? Is it having lived in other countries, education, upbringing or just genes?


Pak Idrus said...

Adirya Kiratas, thanks for the visit and the good words on me.

Well for one I love to meet people and get to talk intelligently with them. In the process it enriches me with new knowledge. It is proven scientifically that the moment one discuss or listen to new ideas one mind change forever.

I believe there are forces that we are yet to understand that made folks like us have the same chemistry and eventually meet and became friends. So it is best that we kept an open mind on the possibilities.

As for the secrets, I have no secrets formula and agree with you it could be of all that you have mentioned. Personally I am an optimist and believe in positive thinking. My motto is that Stranger are friends that you have yet to meet.

I hope one of these day we would meet. Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

Pak Idrus

I like your background music and it reminds me of some of the old malay music during the golden years.

very well compose blog and your command of english language is good.


Pak Idrus said...

Anonymous [12:44PM], thanks for the visit and the good words on my kind of blogging.

Glad that you enjoy that background music as well. It is one of the music and song that I treasured and enjoy, thus I am sharing it here for all to enjoy it as well.

Have a nice day and take care.

Temuk said...

Salam Pak Idrus
Insya Allah, one of these days, ada rezeki akan ketemu. Thank you.

Pak Idrus said...

Temuk, thanks for the visit. Yes let meet one of these days. Take care.