Friday, December 29, 2006

World Wide Wait in Malaysia

Located on the old site of the Royal Turf Club in the heart of the capital city, the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) is truly a spectacular sight. Here, the 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers, the world's tallest twin structures, soars to a dizzying height of 452 metres. Inspired by the Five Pillars of Islam, this gleaming mega-structure was designed by Argentinean-American architect Cesar Pelli. Below lies a beautifully landscaped fountain park designed by prominent Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx. KLCC is also home to the world-class Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Suria Shopping Centre and Petronas Philharmonic Hall. On the left side of the image is the KL Tower, which provides a 360° panoramic view of the city at night from its revolving restaurant.

In school I learned of the several efforts to successfully lay a trans-Atlantic cable between Valentia Island, off the coast of Kerry in southwest Ireland, and Newfoundland, Canada, that led to the opening of a permanent communications link between Europe and North America, from July 1866.

News that an earthquake off Taiwan on Tuesday (St. Stephen’s Day) had severed key communications cables may have surprised some people that old-fashioned cable is still an important feature of today’s digital age.

Malaysia-based Internet users including myself, woke on Wednesday morning to a crawl on the so-called information superhighway. Local access to Internet services and websites hosted overseas came to a practical standstill after international links were disrupted by the earthquake that struck southern Taiwan on Tuesday night.

The earthquake damaged submarine cables that form part of the region-wide Asia Pacific Cable Network 2 (APCN 2), disrupting voice and Internet communications over much of Asia.

APCN 2 is a 19,000km-long fibre-optic cable network linking Japan, South Korea, China, Malaysia, Singapore, the United States, Europe and Australia. The network has been up since October 2002 and is jointly operated by 26 Asian telecommunications carriers.

Malaysia's The Star newspaper, reported that one group that had been badly hit by the disruption of Internet access was the blogger community.

Blogger Joyce Wong said she only managed to upload a few sentences onto her blog. "It is really getting to me because I have all my information and contacts online and I cannot get my work done,” said Wong, who is known as KinkyBlueFairy online.

For radio deejay cum music producer Johan Farid Khairuddin, the inability to post his blog meant that he has been disconnected from his fans.

“I blog very frequently – every five minutes if I may say so – and this breakdown has affected me emotionally as I am unable to interact with others,” said the 26-year-old.

Student Adrian Teh, 22, who blogs and reads his friends' posts regularly, said he felt hopeless.
Tech and gadgets blogger Albert Ng said he was not affected by the disruption because his weblog was in a local server.

However, the newspaper reported that he has had difficulties going to his friends' blogs as well as international e-mail sites.

Noor Faridah Zulkiflie was planning to revert to paper and pen since she was unable to post her blogs online.

“I feel wretched now because I have lots of pent-up feelings but unfortunately cannot write about them,” said the 22-year-old student.

Life can be tough and the rerouting of traffic has eased the frustration for Malaysians. So we have access to the safety valve again to release all those pent-up feelings!!

Happy New Year!!