Sin Chew Jit Poh Sunday October 10, 1999

A world that knows no distance

Lu Pitt Chin calls herself  "(Wo)man in the Net".  She is known in the Net World, far and wide, as Pat Lu.  The bubbly and outspoken lady chose to be interviewed al fresco.  Under the cloudless sky, she talked about her career, vision and future.

Not unlike fellow urbanites, Pat enjoys an envious career and a comfortable lifestyle.  However, she yearns for more -- career is only a part of life, not all.  "I want to contribute to the society.  I want to share my views with the others, to discuss ways that will make the society a better place."

"More importantly, as a member of the country, we should not be passive, and wait for the Government do everything."  This conviction was also the drive behind the Pahlawan Website, a website put up by Pat and a number of like-minded people.  The website host the Visit Malaysian Cyber Campaign which aimed at promoting tourism in Malaysia, in an attempt to contribute to the revival of the country's economy.

Achieving Collective Wisdom on the Net

"We are so used to raising opinions and requests, but few of us are ready to turn these into action."  The nationwide e-mail campaign, initiated by Pat and her friends, was one among the rare occasions.  Throughout the campaign, Malaysians were encouraged to invite their friends overseas via personal e-mail to come and visit Malaysia.

"It's simple arithmetic.  Should there be 1 million Net subscribers in the country, and each one of them sends 10 e-mail, our message will reach 10 million foreigners.  Should each recipient be so kind as to forward the e-mail to another 10 friends, there will be 100 million souls on earth who come to know of our country," uttered a beaming Pat.

However, the Visit Malaysia Cyber Campaign is only the beginning -- Pat and over two hundred volunteers of the Pahlawan Website have something more in mind.  "We are a non-political, non-partisan, and rather 'loose' grouping. Our biggest wish is to generate collective wisdom through exchanges on the Net."

Pat and her group of Pahlawan friends have also designed polls and forum on different social issues on the Website, to stimulate thinking and invite suggestions and recommendations.  As for the response, Pat said, "Tremendous!  Some of them have even asked us to stand for the coming General Election!"

Popularity of the Net grows by the day

With great confidence, Pat Lu spoke of Internet as a means of mass communications.  "Computers and Internet are essentials for survival in tomorrow's world."  In the same way telephone and fax machines have become indispensable communications tools, Internet is poised to become our daily necessity in time to come.

"Internet is a bridge for peoples to share and exchange their views.  It exposes us to various concepts, which in turn helps the masses to develop a diversified thinking mode."  Internet is also a key tool in the process of globalisation in that it facilitates coordination and understanding between nations.

She said, Internet is an important means to shorten distance between man; it is an invaluable communications tool.  "It takes normally two to three days for a postman to deliver your mail; however, any address on the Net is just a click away."

Pat initiated the Pahlawan Website for a sense of satisfaction.  "To be able to gather together the voices of the masses, and to turn them into action, is the greatest source of satisfaction to me.  There are too many words and too few actions in our society." To her, it is not so much a choice between pro- or anti-Government - she prefers to do something she should do for the country, for the people.

A Vision that Transcends Races and Politics

Pat screened through mail directed to the Pahlawan Website.  "I don't want the Pahlawan Website to develop into a vent for angry people.  Emotions could be destructive.  I prefer to do something constructive."  Internet works like a double-edged sword - it depends on the users' sense of responsibility.  For the same reason, she despised anonymous letters circulating on the Net.

Dreams make man great.  Martin Luther King, leader of Black Movement in America, once said, "I have a dream."  His dream was to defend the interests of the Black people and to fight for equality in their society.  Pat also has a dream; her dream is the change of political climate in Malaysia," I hope that each citizen could become a true Malaysian - with no special tag on their racial identity as well as religious preference."

"The presence of ethnic groups could be a blessing.  Don't you think Malaysia is a paradise, because we have different cultures?"

The clear-minded and sharp Pat Lu felt strongly against politics, which played along racial lines.  She believed that if everyone worked hand in hand, the vision transcending racial difference and politics could be realized.  She believed that nothing is impossible to change.

She subscribes to the belief that everything begins with oneself.  It's the same with changes.  Perhaps Malaysians should prepare themselves psychologically, and take steps to improve the situation, in order to change what seems to be impossible to change.

Doing the Right Thing at the Right Time

There is a kind of self-confidence and commitment in Pat that one could feel she is ready for certain big tasks ahead.  She reiterated that one should "light a candle, instead of cursing the darkness".  "Once I took the first step, there would be people to follow suit.  When more and more people think alike, dreams will become reality."

Pat is full of hope for the future.  She believes that one day, our country would cast aside racial politics, and achieve true national harmony.  Time and again, friends jeer this conviction of hers, "You don't belong to this era."  However, she insists the right time to do the right thing is always right.

Pat's father had been very active in politics.  Friends and relatives looked upon her as the "heir apparent" to this political affinity.  At the end, she has chosen to serve the public through the Internet.

"I found that political parties in the country are still focusing on racial issues - I chose Internet because racial difference is not a problem here, said Pat, who, incidentally, speaks no Mandarin.  She could not identify with the principles of the political parties in the country; instead, she insists on her own political stand.

With the General Election around the corner, politicians are racing for nomination.  Pat could not see eye to eye with this type of politicians who scramble for power without making real contribution to the people.  She said, "If you serve the people with your heart, the people will "force" you to come forward, even without the recommendation of the political parties."

A brief note on Pat Lu

Pat Lu completed her education in India.  Upon her return from India, she worked in a management consultancy firm for four years before founding Rayma Management Consultants (M) Sdn Bhd in 1987, a company, organizing training and seminars for the corporate sector.  She is one of the founders and persons-in-charge of the Pahlawan Website.

Translated and edited by K.Yip Associates © 1999

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