Through teenage eyes

Posted on March 23, 1999 
Filed Under Anita, The Star

By Anita Devasahayam

GERALD Tan, despite his tender age, has designed a lot of websites.

Gerald says that as a child, his preoccupations included examining textures and observing the impacts created by light — preoccupations which he translated to the homepages he designed.

Viewing Gerald’s repertoire of websites, one can detect a certain mood, atmosphere, style and setting.

Teenworld International was formed as a worldwide organisation for “Net-savvy” teens to build an online community by teens, for teens.

The site is managed by Kuala Lumpur-based SM Bukit Bandaraya student Ryan Lim, who also doubles up as chief executive officer. Gerald remains as president.

The duo are in the midst of exploring a possible merger and partnership with a teen magazine.

“We are planning to redesign our entire community, and re-launch it with a new identity and perhaps new name after these issues are settled,” says Gerald.

The site, first launched in December, 1996, is hosted by Asia Connect and is running on a Pentium Linux machine and a Silicon Graphics Indy machine.

“For our expansion, Asia Connect has graciously agreed to dedicate three more powerful Sun servers for our use. They pamper us,” says Gerald.

Gerald founded the first school website in Malaysia, PFS Online. The Penang Free School site began as a single page, unofficial personal website.

It was later established as a school project managed by a small team, and later merged with the school’s computer club.

It is a neat site with all the necessary information to serve its student community. A news section was introduced in January.

According to Gerald, the PFS culture is very supportive of activities, with no silly policies or rules standing in the way of creativity.

When he was elected club president, Gerald was allowed to lead the club as he thought fit.

“Playing networked computer games was the bait I used to get members to attend club meetings,” he chuckles.

The site, entitled A Reminiscence Of The Nineties, is essentially a teenager’s insight into, and perspective on, events that took place in the 90s.

Designed jointly by Ryan Lim and Trishank Karthik, the site was submitted as an entry to the ThinkQuest 1998 contest organised by the New York-based Advanced Network & Services Inc, which is involved in the Internet2 project (see In.Tech last week).

The trio’s submission won an award in the Arts & Literature category.

The PFS computer club joined forces with students from Lithuania and Belgium to compete in the AT&T Virtual Classroom Competition.

Gerald led a team of 60 students from the three countries to create a website. Their submission, entitled Cultures Compared, received the first runner-up award in the secondary school category.

“It was an interactive comparison of the culture, dress, music and food of the three countries,” says Gerald, adding that the team collaborated over two months to design the site.

Go on a tour of schools and cyberspace, courtesy of Gerald Tan. There is even a “how-to” section for schools interested in introducing technology to their classrooms.

Explore the wonders of the web through the eyes of Gerald Tan.

Related links:
Our own teenage envoy
Highs and lows

Published in In.Tech, Star Publications (M) Bhd.

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