Have you ever had a pen pal? For those of you too young to know, a pen pal is someone you befriend with through the mail. That's right, snail mail. Your entire friendship is built and maintained via letters and postcards you take turns sending. Depending on the postman's mood, a letter can take weeks or even months to arrive, especially if your pen pal is halfway across the globe.
In this age of e-mail and MSN Messenger, you might think, "Why the hell would I want to wait so long for a reply? I'll just send an IM!" True, and that's why the practice of pen pal-ing is long dead. But in the Dark Ages, before the widespread adoption of the World Wide Web, pen pal-ing is the way to know friends from different places. And it is such an allure, don't you agree? Imagine telling your friends that you know someone from the U.S.A. or U.S.S.R.!
And for the moment you've been waiting for: yes, I am old enough to have dabbled in pen pal-ing. But I only have one real pen pal, and I kept all his letters. I don't remember any others I have mailed to, but somehow I treasured this guy's letters and I still have them today.
Judging from his first letter, it was him who initiated contact. I posted my bio on the Sunday Mail, a tabloid-style newspaper. In the past they had a pen pals column listing your name, age, hobbies, and address. (Ahhh.... revealing your address to strangers - those were the good old days)
Anyway, our friendship only lasted 4 letters, 1 postcard, and 4 months. Which was kinda strange considering how great our correspondence were! He somehow stopped mailing me, or perhaps it was I who stopped sending him detailed proof of how bad his grammar was (yes, I did that even when I was 11). But I kinda missed him, and I kept his letters really well.
A few years ago, I tried to reestablish contact. I sent a letter to him but never got a reply. I wonder if he moved away, or worse, died. When I cleared my room today, I came across his letters again. Curiosity overcame me and I decided it's time to put technology to good use. I scanned all his letters in and also his photo and I display them for you to see. I have blurred his address to protect his privacy, but he stays around Taman Seri Andalas, Klang. His name is Nah Swee Wayne, and he's born in 1986.
If you know him, or are him, please leave a comment. I'd really like to track him down for the sake of catching up. Feel free to read the letters to find out more about him. I promise I won't cry if I ever meet him, like those TV shows where they reunite long-lost family members. Really.
If you are there, Swee Wayne, I missed you.