Welcome to the World Wide Web Home page of Road to East Asia
Written by students of FC1750.06
at Founders College, York University
Vol.2, no. 3, June-August, 1997
The Internet symbolizes a new dawn in the science of telecommunication, says Kevin Hodgson. What comes along with every morning sunrise is a fog. "It would be naive not to think that a little scepticism is necessary in order to see more clearly what lies beyond ur rpesent field of vision. Whether or not the Internet will contribute to the advancement of our species will be decided by those who continue to devlop, and more importantly, use it." Highlights from class discussions:
Daniel Sun: Surfing the net, I was surprised to discover the large number of journals on Asian studies in Australia. White Australia, which used to tie itself to Europe, is turning its attention to the booming Asia-Pacific region.
Shelly-Ann Gunness: "Necessity is the mother of invention." We are fast approaching the six billion mark. The Internet is a new invention to meet this demand for expanded communication among the world's ever-increasing huge population. As a research tool, it has become a technological encyclopedia of the world.
Neena Gill: The Internet delivers convenience, but I cannot say that this information superhighway can be used with great ease. Perhaps if it continues to progress as its presently, the Internet will become more user-friendly for individuals like me.
Jessica Martin:Being a technophobe means that I have an automatic mute button in my ear that goes off whenever the subject of "surfing the net" and "chatting on line" comes up. Finally I took the plunge and got on the proverbial surfboard because the Internet is a component of my contemporary East Asian Literature course, and a good portion of my tuition is paying for it. What I found was not quite the fast-paced high-tech excitement I'd expected. Often the information you are looking for is buried under tons of useless information.
Julie Shim: Indeed, a serious researh needs to do much sifting for academic and ltierary information because it is lost among a large heap of garbage. The Internet's accessibility is good in that it allows even the computer illiterate to use, but it also allows people complete freedom in what articles are placed on it, including illicit pornograpny and unverified "facts."
Brenda Lo: When I am using the Internet for research, I am not concerned about its realiability. There are so many web sites on a singular topic that if they are posting false information, immediately the users will know because it is totally different from the data supplied by the other web sites. I am more concerned about the usefulness of the sources.
Megan Donnelly: This first-year critical skills course has launched me onto the Internet. I am in my sixth month of struggle with the electronic superhighway. Every time I sit at a computer I am afriad that I will press the wrong button and crash the hard drive or set off some kind of alarm. Here I have to weed out the garbage interwined with the useful resources.
I have learned the basics, and have entered the honeymoon phase of my Internet experiences. I have found countles galleries and artists' home pages. When I was writing an essay on modern women painters in China, I was even able to post questions on a women's interest site.
Neena Gill: I had never used this super-highway until I took this course, and a few months later, I have my work published in Road to East Asia. However, as a writer for a journal on the internet, the issue of accountability and sense of readership have raised a great deal of fear. Opinions without sufficient reliable evidence could be branded as propaganda. Yet finding undisputable evidence to support my controversial opinions could sometimes be like searching for a contact lens in a dumpster.
Derrick Choy: The Internet is the wave of the future. It is a place where people can gather information as well as express their opinions and disseminate their knowledge of different subjects.
Hilaneh Mahmoudi:Using the Internet has made our lives easier. It gives us the opportunity to gather recent information on any single subject of interest quickly and conveniently, even from the comfort of one's room in the dormitory.
On of my friends will be spending this summer in Laos and I have decided to join him and started looking up some material on that country. I was disappointed by the fact that most of the materials available in the library were from the 1970s and 1980s. I was pleased by the vast array of very recent information on the Internet. Incidentally, while I spent two days at the lbirary trying to find relevant books, my search on the Internet took only a few minutes.
Jessica Martin: There is the problem of not being able to access some of the seemingly useful articles or websites. Also, the information you get on the Internet is not always from an official surce so you must question the validity of everything you read. In the end you will need to do further research to test tehe reliability of that sources.
Megan Donnelly: I really have not been able to accept the Internet as a very reliable reference source yet. However this has given me a great sense of responsibility, regarding my own work. I realize that my own work could easily be biased or wrong, and that I have to worry about who will be reading it--a knowledgeable professor who recognizes my mistakes or a child who will use me as a reference as she forms her opinions of a country I have never seen.
Jessica Martin: In fact, use of the internet fools people into thinking we are more connected with the things outside our homes but actually we are becoming mroe detached. If all it takes is the flick of a switch to transport ourselves to Africa, what reason would we have o actually go there and see for ourselves what it's all about.
I enjoy sticking a stamp on an envelope and waiting three weeks for a response to my handwritten letter. I enjoy going to the library to do research for my assignments, walking through the stacks of books and sifting through the pages. I enjoy picking up a magazine and looking at beautiful photographs of places I hope to visit one day.
Perhaps I am a small-minded, old-fashioned fool who will be left behind in a world of tradition and stagnation while my peers venture out nto the exciting, fast-paced world of computer technology. So leave me behind, I say.
Kevin Hodgson: In the Fourth Century B.C., Aristotle stated that true happiness can be achieved only through the acquisition of knowledge. If his words still have relevance in the post-modern world, which I believe they still do, then the Internet has made a signigicant contribution to how we reseach information and gather knowledge. The Internet is highly unorganized. One must suffer the frustration of sifting out the useful letters of the informed authority from the doltish ramblings of the layman. For some, it is a toy, a replacement for the television as a form of intellectually pacifying entertainment.
Illustration by Billy Lo