Written by students of FC1750.06
at Founders College, York University
The Internet to me seems comparable to a library. It contains information on a wide variety of topics, such as East Asian literature. Not only is it similar to a large book, but it supplies information on job opportunities, performances in the arts, university programs, and even dancers. The list is endless. To top it all off, it is accessible information from all over the world, not just Canada or the United States. To me it seems a lot easier to use the Internet for information than our huge library here at York University.
Once I was able to use the Internet properly I could access a vast amount of material on my favorite subject -- dance. I could read biographies on all the great dancers, choreographers, performances, and dance schools, most of which I had heard of. I was also supplied with the addresses of the dance schools, their phone numbers, and fax numbers so I could access data on auditions and potential job opportunities. To make all of this more exciting I was able to discover information on dancing in East Asia, about which I know little. I found a Singapore Dance Theater, which is one of Southeast Asia's leading classical ballet company. Their dances are combinations of "Asian aesthetics with contemporary American and European technique for productions praised as clean, immaculate breathtaking presentation." This dance company is definitely one I would like to keep in mind for future reference, and perhaps for future research.
Another extremely interesting dance company I found was the Nishikawa School in Japan, which performs traditional Japanese dancing. It was started by the dancer Koisaburo Nishikawa, and the company was then taken over by Koisaburo Nishikawa the second, who added the acting technique of Kabuki into the dancing style. It wasn't until the takeover that the company toured for the Western audiences. These are two valuable dance companies that I did not hear about until I discovered the Internet. The only information that I was unable to find was a university in East Asia that offers a dance program.
Not only did I look up information on dance, but I found an interview with Bei Dao, a poet in exile. The interview discussed various aspects of his life and his poetry. I discovered that Bei Dao was not his real name. It was a pseudonym he used to avoid being harassed by the police because of his unorthodox magazine, Today. When the Cultural Revolution broke out, he became a construction worker and a Red Guard. Bei "organized the stealing of books from the libraries . . . looking for things that had to do with the war and with revolution." He wanted to read about his country's history and he was not allowed! This interview was a real eye-opener to the authority under which the people of China are forced to live. Dao had to hide his own identity just so he could write poetry to express his philosophy. Freedom of speech is something that seems to be taken for granted by all the people who are privileged enough to have it.
Not only am I a reader of the Internet but I am also a writer on it. At first the idea of being on the Internet was not exciting. To be honest, I could have cared less. Now I know how important it is to be able to use this super-highway and to have my writing and ideas on it. The future will definitely be a world full of computers, and it is important to learn how to use them now, even if my computer skills are minimal. Perhaps our future libraries will all be on computers. It is a lot more convenient and accessible. The Internet is a fountain of knowledge waiting to be accessed.
Copyright © 1996 by the author. Information from this article should be attributed to the author.