Friday, August 29, 2008

Have you Googled yourself lately?

I admit that during moments of boredom, I succumb to the occasional urge to search for myself in the vast reaches of cyberspace. I feed my name through Google or Yahoo, and scan through the list of sites where either "Ailee Lim" or the full "Aileesa Lim" pops up. It helps that I have such a unique (read: weird) name, so it's easy to find myself amongst the search results, but I have discovered a handful of Koreans, Malaysians or Singaporeans named Ailee Lim out there. Through this self-indulgent/narcissistic practice, I have also verified that my father did indeed name me after a Korean table tennis player (Lee Aileesa), and that even my Chinese name can be located online, thanks to a donation my parents made to Peking University in my name, for the construction of the gymnasium used as the venue for table tennis in the recently concluded Beijing Olympics.

After a phone conversation I had with Raqs wherein she mentioned Googling someone, it occurred to me that I hadn't looked myself up in a while, so on a whim, I did it last night. As always, the links to my blogs and my BBC Oscars panel pieces appeared first, as well as the PRC website page where they posted the list of people who passed the Licensure Examination for Teachers in 2004. But there was something new, which surprised me, then baffled me. There was a link to a page from my high school's alumni association's website, which was launched just this year (yep, they're that behind). The page contained a roster of the JCAAA's officers, and I saw my name listed as a "Batch Representative". This was a head-scratcher, because I have absolutely no recall of having volunteered for or having been elected to the position. My friend Angie's name was also there, not only credited under "Batch Representative", but also under the members of the alumni newsletter committee. I didn't even know we had a newsletter! I'm pretty sure Anj has no clue about this either. Trust our high school to put inaccurate information on their website (don't even get me started on the lousy grammar).

Aside from the mysterious inclusion of my name in the JCAAA site, Google led me to the Fully Booked website, where I post reviews of books from time to time, and my Shelfari account. I suddenly realized that even the most perfunctory online search for me would reveal an awful lot about who I am: a blogger, a teacher, a film buff, a bookworm. And apparently, a loyal alumna.

There is something strangely reassuring about finding my name floating around cyberspace, as if it somehow validates my existence. I guess our generation has come to depend so much on the Internet as a source of information that it even establishes proof of our identity, and dare I say it, our being. It may seem soulless, even pathetic, but when you think about how millions and millions of individuals comprise and are connected by the World Wide Web, then perhaps it's not all that absurd to say that it actually helps substantiate our humanity.

And as Raqs says, if Google can't find you, then you're nobody. :p


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