It is really undeniable that internet technology has a lot of impacts in our life. The world that used to seem very wide, now seems much smaller. We can hear what has just happened in the other side of the world from where we live by reading many latest news we can access via internet every second. America is no longer so far away there since we can communicate with our relatives, family members, or friends living there with cheap media and very quickly via emailing or chatting.
I remember in 1999 my then online boyfriend said to me how he thanked with this sophisticated technology coz we met “virtually” everyday without spending much money—he came to Indonesia, or I went to America. We could adjust each other more comfortably too. However, one thing I remember his complaint was that he often felt irritated when chatting with many Indonesian girls coz they talked about sex most of the time. He said, “I suppose it’s all coz in Indonesia, sex is considered taboo to talk about openly. When someone talks about sex, people will easily judge him/her as “bad person”. Parents do not talk about sex with their children coz it is taboo. Their children then do not know where to find out information about sex. What happens next? Those teenagers will come to, perhaps, irresponsible resource, probably blue movies, porn magazines, and, Internet. Without right guidance, those teenagers will even get wrong information about sex. Honestly, I often feel fed up when chatting with Indonesian girls and they ask me about sex. It is really boring. You see? Before this, I always thought that Indonesia is a country based on religious teachings—especially Islam coz I know that the majority of Indonesian people are Muslim. See? Those young female chatters will even give bad impression on Indonesia. bla bla bla …” I don’t remember what else he said.
After being away from chatting world for about three years, I went back to IRC in 2004 during my spare time when writing thesis. One thing shocked me. It seemed to me that some local channels became a place where people were looking for boys/girls for dates. Besides, there was a tendency to generalize all chatters to do the same thing, to look for short time dates, or one-night-stand dates. Consequently, the impression that cyber cafes are places to do filthy/immoral/indecent activities cannot be avoided. People then forget that there are INDEED many other advantages people can get via this so-called sophisticated technology. Chatting is not the only facility people can make use of when accessing internet. However, I can see that there is generalization for all cyber cafes customers—all are chatters looking for HOT DATES.
It’s all based on my own experience. In Yogya, the city where I pursued my Master’s Degree, I often went online in the café belonging to UGM. All customers were UGM students, of course. They went online, I believe, mostly was for their study, browsing data to help them do their assignments, though I am sure that many also had a chat. Nothing wrong with that. many reasons why people go chatting. My own reason at that time why I resumed chatting was I felt bored browsing data, reading them. Chatting was one fun activity for me.
After I went back to my hometown, Semarang, I resumed my habit, to go online at cyber cafes. Since November 2005, I have found a new “hobby”—blogging! This is my main reason why I often go online at cyber cafes, besides to check my mailboxes. I can spend hours to post articles in my blogs, to do some editing in the setting, or design, or configuration, to read my friends’ posts, write comments on their writings, etc. This is really exciting for me.
However, one thing bothered me. I just realized that some people I come across at the café look at me with “uninterpretable” look for me. The friendly parking man suddenly became so annoying to me when last Saturday he greeted me, “Go chatting mbak? No day without chatting for you, right? Do you need me to accompany you?” when I looked into his eyes, I saw an abusive look to me. Shit. Inside the café, there was one clerk looking at me with the same eyesight too, abusive. Shit. Shit.
It reminded me of my experience more than half a year ago when going on a bus, I read a book with not conspicuous title on the cover “Seksualitas”, a man sitting next to me gave me an abusive look too.
I don’t show any inviting body language. I don’t wear any invitingly “open” clothes. (FYI, mostly everywhere I go, I wear my long black dress, with black blazer, really covering my body.) What the hell made those guys gave me abusive look? Coz I was reading a book entitled “Seksualitas” without knowing what kinds of articles inside it? Coz I often go online in the cyber café and they consider me to look for HOT DATES without knowing what in fact I am doing inside?
I am wondering why we Indonesian people have disgraced ourselves by giving impression that internet is SOLELY related to filthy thing (read sex)?
One thing I forgot to say, this abusive-look-thing didn’t happen to me during my stay in Yogya. Or was I too indifferent?