Saturday, September 26, 2009

Home on the net

This posting is not about life in Singapore. Its about life not in Singapore and the contrasts that it brought, at least as far as accessing the internet is concerned. You see, I have been away for slightly less than 2 weeks in Shanghai, and had thought that I could be connected to the internet and blogging and all, just like what I do in Singapore. I had been to Shanghai 2 years ago, and know for a fact that most hotels provide free broadband internet access. What's more, there is my spanking new netbook that will make the whole thing effortless, especially when it comes to lugging it around in my carry-on luggage.

So, yes, I was connected. All I had to do was to plug in the network cable into my computer and wallah, I am connected, or so I thought. The problem with China, even now, with its liberal capitalist approach in big cities such as Shanghai, is that it censors internet access to websites with a heavy hand. Popular websites such as Facebook and Blogspot cannot be accessed at all in China, or at least using the hotel broadbands in both hotels that I stayed in. Yes, I could not access any of my blogspot blogs!

Mercifully, though, I could access e-mail websites such as Yahoo, Gmail and Microsoft's Otherwise, I would have been cut off from the rest of the world while in China, which had been the case before the 1980s, before Deng Xiaoping instituted his Black-cat-White-cat brand of pragmatism that has propelled its economy in leaps and bounds over the last 30 years. On the other hand, any website with the .cn country domain name (i.e. China for those of you who are clueless), such as, loaded extremely fast, with zero or near zero latency. Talk about favouritism!

So here I was, missing all the blogs and blogging and thus cut off from life in Singaore. My schedule was busy, and I didn't have ready access to printed news of Singapore, except perhaps to, Today's online newspaper, which I had delivered to my e-mail account. Curiously though, I never opened it up to read. I was more interested in chatting with people back home and then hitting the sack, so tired I was after a day's activities.

Happily though, I experienced no withdrawal symptoms with the limited access to many internet websites I frequent back in Singapore. And so I had a semi-voluntary news blackout for this period. Now that I am back in Singapore, the latest news appears to be Ms Singapore World, and yes, the F1 too. But the former makes for more interesting reading, though.

Glad to be back in Singapore.

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