Malaysia’s Xtremedia Closes As Asian Internet Competition Grows

By Julian Matthews

Award-winning Malaysian news and information Website Xtremedia closed its virtual doors earlier this week after 20 months of operations.

The company cited “increasing challenges in the Internet market” as the reason for the closure.

Website owner BRG Interactive Digital Media Sdn Bhd (IDM) sunk over 2 million ringgit (US$526,000) into the Website before calling it quits, said executive director Gerard Lim.

“It was a matter of focus. There are two mines to mill, and we had to make the difficult decision to channel resources to only one mine,” he said.
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Through teenage eyes

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.

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Highs and lows

By Anita Devasahayam

BEING the only Malaysian at MIT Media Lab’s Junior Summit was indeed exciting for Gerald Tan. Awed by personalities and armed with ideas, he had high expectations.

But he was a tad disappointed. For starters, he felt that there was a division between Asians and Caucasians, although Nation1 declared all persons to be equal — which he thought was unrealistic.

Delegates at the summit tend to talk a lot but were not getting organised, he says, adding that everyone was proposing ideas and no one was making decisions.

“I thought someone should be put in charge of Nation1, and we had to get away from the discussions and start doing stuff.”

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Our own teenage envoy

By Anita Devasahayam

NEW YORK, November 20, 1998. More than 180 heads of state and ambassadors from all over the world had gathered for the United Nations General Assembly to discuss technology issues. They’d just been interrupted, and asked to bear witness to a new UN declaration.

A young man walks up the platform, representing the teenagers of the world. He’s their official voice. He seems a bit nervous, but that fades away as soon he starts speaking. He proposes the idea, others take up the call:

“We believe in ethics rather than laws … trust, not fear,” says another teenage delegate.

The result? The establishment of Nation1 (see In.Tech, Dec 1, 1998), a “country for children” that exists in cyberspace as a forum for young people to express ideas and fight for their rights.

And the young man who stood in the front of the world? He was 16-year-old Gerald Tan Chuang Win.

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Penang insights

By Anita Devasahayam

PENANG Insights, the brainchild of Asiatel Sdn Bhd, was built in 1996 to generate hits and draw visitors to its web community, says graphic designer Chin Mun Woh.

Asiatel chose Penang because “the managers here are typically diehard Penangites who love their homeland and are willing to promote it using their own resources,” says Chin, who designed the site with his partner Adrian Cheah.

“As the popularity of the site grew, Asiatel decided it needed an update and revamp, and gave us the job.

“Our initial solution was to boost content and embellish the site,” he says, adding that additional content was sourced from a variety of books and magazines.
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Doing it their way

By Anita Devasahayam

THE ability to make ideas a reality has launched the careers of Penang-based graphic designers Chin Mun Woh and Adrian Cheah, and into inter(net)tional stardom.

The Net is instrumental in helping them, as they put it, “reach out and touch” their audience.

Check out Penang — a 75-page dossier on Penang which was entirely written and illustrated by Chin and Cheah. The three-month long labour of love resulted in a delightfully written saga of Penang, filled with insights not commonly found in books. Subjects include Why Penang Sucks, Penang Drivers, and the usual food, shopping, lodging and places-to-go guides (see related story).
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