Truly as teenagers or secondary school students we desired to make friends and what more with those of the opposite sex. So either through pal-pal clubs or friendly introduction we came to know new friends. Our writing skills improved because we corresponded. The postman became our true friend. We delighted when we saw him approaching. Surely to bring long awaited letters and maybe a photo included. So it took another week or more when the postman returned for moments of 'happiness'. Those who were more friendly and active would have friends even outside the state or overseas. It may be true to say that writing friendly correspondence between friends of either sex improved our expression and confidence. What more we learn to quote from poetry, idioms and well known writers or playwrights. Our letters became expressive. But that was the limit.
Given the opportunity to meet, either at a school gathering, sports field or the movie house what was said by S.M. Salim came true. Imagination grew wild."Oh boy! This is an opportunity to touch and hold hands. Smell fragrance and sweetness or maybe whisper sweet words" When the chance came it was as expressed by the singer. "All froze. Silence and iced". Unable to say anything except stare. In the end maybe a note delivered discreetly upon departure. Still the meeting was heaven sent.
I am sure each and everyone of us has his or her own personal story of early 'courtship' or ' first love'. Those that had experiences decades ago would realize the vast differences now. Surely no more friendly postman to look forward to. No writing pads and correspondence. No more buying stamps at the post office. No need for pan-pal clubs or introduction.
Hand phones, photo images, sms, emails all allow for up-to-date access to friendship and 'getting to know you'. No more 'ais kacang stall' or 'kedai mee abu' etc. It has to be 'Starbucks'. 'MacDonald' or 'KFC'. Kalau kata S.M.Salim mereka tak berani pun pegang tangan dahulu kini peluk pun ta'apa. Then we had our parents breathing on our backs. Even letters can be intercepted or censored. Phone calls. Unheard of in many homes. Strictness was the order of the day. More so: 'Adat resam dan pantang larang dipegang teguh dan diamal sebagai budaya Melayu'. We were a sticker to old order and ethics.
Be it as it may. For sure I feel the use of hand phone. sms etc has contributed in no small way to many present short comings. It permitted for free expressions without hinderance. No check. No censorship. Then again expressions, correspondence, writings, spelling etc. fall short of the best that is required. No way that we return to the old format. Therefore 'Cinta Dulu......." seems to have its goodness and effects. Perhaps more are spent as compared to the snail correspondence of yesteryears. We certainly cannot go back in time .
Only what do we expect in the near future?