Monday, October 13, 2008

I was once a Computer and I T DINOSAUR !

I have been asked at so many radio and press interviews since last year to tell my story to a wider audience. The story of how I, an acknowledged and confirmed computer and I T illiterate transformed myself in the space of 1-2 years, to the IT and internet savvy person I have become.
Where should my story begin ?
Let's begin at the beginning.....when the Yip family bought our 1st computer in the mid 80's. The brand was called Muiti-tech. It was a desk-top model and came with a table supplied for that purpose. My wife and I bought it mainly for our 2 daughters who were still schooling. We wanted them to be conversant with computer usage which was steadily increasing in Singapore schools and in offices. D2 was also able to use it for administrative work. Me? I only
use that computer to try my hand at some computer games like Pacman, Frogger and Bunnyville. That was the extent of my computer knowledge !
When the computer system and network slowly expanded in schools in the early 90's, we had some in my PE office at HCJC. Whenever certain forms or data returns needed to be submitted in a certain format ( Excel, etc..) , I was always stuck. I had some colleagues who were in my department quite proficient in this area. And if I asked them to do the job, for me, they would. But I can't be asking them all the time to do all the things that needed to be such "computer format". Why? One, as a Head of Department, I cannot allow myself to be indebted to any of them. Two, there were also confidential matters that were not for their eyes.
Beside myself, there were also other " IT dinosaurs" in my midst. That compounded the problem as they too needed help and assistance quite often from the few proficient ones (much younger). How did I survive in that scenario and setting?
I was most fortunate that heavenly help for me came from the General Office in the person of Mdm Thanam. She was fully aware of my plight and IT handicap...and quietly offered
to help me whenever I required assistance. Mdm Thanam was at that time a very good clerical officer. She has a golden and blessed heart! I have never forgotten her kindness all these years even after I left HCJC in 1998 December. We remained in touch.
From 1999 till my retirement from service in 2005 December, I was at my last school.
The internet age had by then fully descended upon us and we all had individual e-mail accounts. All were issued their own laptops. We also had computers on our desk. Everyone was linked to each other in this huge network from MOE Hq, to schools, to us.
Overnight, it was a nightmare scenario for "dinosaurs" like me and others. Previously, the IT portion were requested in bits here and there.
Then suddenly...practically everything must be in this or that format. It became almost standard for the Boss, VP and fellow staff to ask for something in " hard and soft copy". My earlier problems with IT resurfaced...even more acutely now. I was still a Head of Department running the PE, Sports and CCA programmes. I held essentially the same beliefs as stated earlier. How did I survive ? Don't get me wrong btw,other than my IT handicap...I was very, very strong in the other aspects and areas of my work and responsibilities! ( When I do start a separate Blogsite focussing only on Education...I will be able to reveal much more and in great depth ).
Another angel appeared, much like Mdm Thanam, from the General Office too. This angel is still there by the name of Evelyn. To her, I was truely and greatly indebted. Many kinds of returns needed to be submitted in ever-increasing, and confusing formats( to dinosaurs like me). It was child's play to efficient Evelyn but still required much work, at times. We remain in touch still todate.
ps: to be continued in part 2.

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