FANS of Siti Nurhaliza may still remember her rendition of Cinta IT (Love IT), along with a few other artistes (including her brother Ayie) a few years back. The song, aired over Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) regularly, was part of the national information technology awareness campaign. It became a catchy tune among Malaysians, in particular children. For Siti Nurhaliza, it was considered her first involvement in an information and communications technology (ICT) initiative.
Now, the popular singer is back in the ICT limelight, this time in her role as Net ambassador for TMNet. While her vocal talents may not be much needed here, TMNet is banking on her popularity and role model appeal to help encourage Malaysian youths to embrace the Net.
Net role. How does Siti Nurhaliza feel about the new role?
â€œAs Net ambassador for TMNet, I will have the opportunity to promote the use of the Internet in Malaysia, particularly among rural communities. Which I feel is very important because all this while, itâ€™s the urban folks who have been mostly able to make use of Internet facilities such as cybercafes, and thus appreciate the technology more,â€ she says.
She adds that more efforts should be made to ensure that the rural communities also have access to such facilities to help bridge the digital gap in this country.
Getting acquainted. Siti Nurhaliza was introduced to the Internet back in the mid-1990s when she attended secondary school at Sekolah Menengah Clifford in Kuala Lipis, Pahang. Her curiosity about computers and the Internet led her to join the schoolâ€™s computer club, and she has been surfing the Net since.
When she started out as a recording artiste, Siti Nurhaliza found that the Internet could become a useful tool to give her career a boost.
â€œAfter setting up my own office, I started to make more use of Internet facilities for purposes such as liaising with the Press through e-mail,â€ she says.
She adds that in the technology era, artistes like her could leverage on the power of the Internet to help reach out to the masses more effectively, as well as find out the current state of the local and global music industry.
â€œThere are a lot of things to gain from the Internet. For example, I can find out how my albums are doing in the market, and also touch base with fans.â€
Her face lits up when she talks about her online chatting experience with fans. â€œI find online chatting fascinating. Before, Iâ€™d just meet my fans in shows and concerts, but through the Internet, I get to know many of them better, and of course, find out what they think about my songs, showmanship, etc.â€
But she was quick to dispel any notion that she is currently engaged in any online romance!
On Net abuse. Much as she finds joy in the Internet, Siti Nurhaliza is also concerned about it, being subjected to abuse. A few years ago, her photos along with other local celebrities have been tampered with for pornographic purposes.
â€œWhen you become an artiste or a public figure, there is bound to be some parties who would have the tendency to do something bad for reasons only known to them. I feel sad when I became a victim,â€ she says. â€œWith the Internet, itâ€™s always easy to misuse. I hope that our youths will not tread along this path.â€
E-business plans. Siti Nurhaliza currently has an official Web site at http://www.siti.nurhaliza.com. The site registered one million hits within a few weeks of its launch, a testimony of her immense popularity and large following. It contains information such as her biodata and picture galleries.
But the singer reveals that she is presently busy preparing for a new Web site with the help of TMNet, which will also serve as her electronic business (e-business) platform.
â€œThe new Web site would enable my fans from other countries like England and Japan buy my albums and other merchandises online,â€ she says, adding that she has been checking out the sites of international superstars like Celine Dion and Jennifer Lopez to get some ideas.
Thereâ€™s no denying that Siti Nurhaliza has been enjoying a meteoric rise in her music career. Now, with help from the Internet, she aims to soar even higher.