Abang? Sayang? Want to chat?
KUALA LUMPUR: When Rina (not her real name) joined an online chat room, it was not to make new friends.
She was just chatting up men in the hope of finding a husband.Rina is not alone: She is among hundreds of Malay professionals trying to find romance on the Internet.
“Actually I was trying to find out if there were still some nice, single guys left for people like me,” the 28-year -old manager said.
Rina managed to make friends with several men but shied away when they wanted to meet her in person.
There was one person, Rizal (not his real name) who made the cut but turned out later to be incompatible.
“I met Rizal over coffee but he turned out to be totally not my type. We’ve remained friends though.”
Her search continues, and not for want of trying.
According to a Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) study, 27 per cent of Malay women aged between 20 and 40 who chatted online were looking for a life partner.
The largest number of online chatters were aged between 26 and 30 years.
“This is the time when they are looking for a husband,” said lead researcher Shazli Ezzat Ghazali.
According to Shazli of the Allied Health Science Department’s health psychology unit, women longed for intimate relationships and were unhappy if they did not have that.
The study, which polled 317 women in the Klang Valley, found that the second reason women went online was because they were lonely (17 per cent).
Fifteen per cent were looking for love and companionship.
Shazli found that 14 per cent who chat did so because they were bored, while eight per cent chatted for fun.
Only three per cent chatted to keep in touch with friends.
“The women who chatted online felt they were not attractive and their self-esteem was low. But they were actually beautiful young women,” he said.
The study was hard work but it had its light moments too.
For example, the RM7,000 grant from the university included a budget to buy the respondents a meal.
“Believe me, it was difficult getting some of the women to agree to go out with me,” Shazli said.
But he and fellow researcher Roosfa Hashim succeeded in most instances after explaining that it was part of the job.
He admits he enjoyed interviewing some of the respondents and dreaded some of the other interviews.
“I had to explain to each one of them that I was doing this as part of my research and not to get to know them.
“But, of course, some gave good answers while others got angry.”
The study found that 42 per cent of respondents were professionals and 26 per cent semi-professionals.
Six per cent were housewives who chatted, flirted and even engaged in Internet sex.
“They went online when their husbands were overseas and they were lonely,” Shazli said.
Employers would not be happy to know that 58 per cent of the subjects chatted online at the office.
Thirty per cent did so at home, with the rest chatted online at cyber cafes.
A total of 67 per cent spent more than an hour chatting online while 24 per cent did so for more than three hours.
Those who went online in the wee hours of the morning (10 per cent) only had one thing on their mind — Internet sex.
Although the study was part of his job, he had to get his wife’s “approval” before embarking on it.
“I had to negotiate with my wife. She finally agreed that I could ‘see’ other women for a year as it was part of my job.”
Shazli made friends with some respondents and keeps in touch with them — with his wife’s permission, of course.