I am proud of my knowledge, no matter how useless SOME PEOPLE think it is.
A major source of this knowledge, is Wikipedia - the peer-reviewed online encyclopedia that covers almost everything.
I read around 20-100 pages everyday, on topics as varied as the history of radio to comic book characters. Right now, I have around 200 tabs open on my three browsers - Firefox, Chrome and Explorer. Most of them are pages from Wikipedia.
This habit is an extension of my childhood. I had no regular source of entertainment save from my father's books, and for some reason, he bought children's encyclopedias. I read all four sets.
When I got my first personal computer in 1996 (an overclocked Pentium 133MHz 16MB EDO RAM 2GB HDD machine), the first CDs I handled were Encarta encyclopedia and later, I won Thompson's Encyclopedia CD at a writing competition. The Thompson had Patrick Stewart as narrator, so that was really, really nice.
Nowadays, I read Wikipedia. Not to FEEL smarter, but to BE more knowledgable. This is not an image thing, Malaysians! It's the real deal.
So anyway, for some time, Wikipedia, via the Wikimedia Foundation, has been looking for funds. The target for 2010 is US$16 million.
Here is a note from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales:
I'm a volunteer.
I don't get paid a cent for my work at Wikipedia, and neither do our thousands of other volunteer authors and editors. When I founded Wikipedia, I could have made it into a for-profit company with advertising banners, but I decided to do something different.
Commerce is fine. Advertising is not evil. But it doesn't belong here. Not in Wikipedia.
Wikipedia is something special. It is like a library or a public park. It is like a temple for the mind. It is a place we can all go to think, to learn, to share our knowledge with others. It is a unique human project, the first of its kind in history. It is a humanitarian project to bring a free encyclopedia to every single person on the planet.
Every single person.
If all of Wikipedia's 400 million users would donate $1 each, we would have 20 times the amount of money we need. We're a small organization, and I've worked hard over the years to keep us lean and tight. We fulfill our mission, and leave waste to others.
To do this without resorting to advertising, we need you. It is you who keep this dream alive. It is you who have created Wikipedia. It is you who believe that a place of calm reflection and learning is worth having.
This year, please consider making a donation of $20, $35, $50 or whatever you can to protect and sustain Wikipedia.
You see, Wikipedia has materialised a concept I dream of doing one day. The peer-review uploading and editing of information. It is such a pure dream that can only happen if humans lived up to their good traits of honesty, trust and goodwill. And against all odds, it did. It happened. It restored a lot of people's faith in people.
Yes, Wikipedia is not without controversy. Some pages were taken down. Some information taken out. Yet despite all these imperfections, the 17-million article strong (and growing) web entity is still a jewel in cyberspace.
The fact that Wikipedia was funded by porn and has no advertisement whatsoever also appeals to me.
Long after Jimmy Wales has died, it is hoped that humanity can preserve this living monument to human knowledge.
So anyway, Wikipedia needs donations. This year, they have accumulated around US$12 million. They need another US$4 million.
I am donating, via a friend, RM100 (roughly US$30) to this thing. I use it a lot anyway. It's not much, but if everyone contributes, we can help keep Wikipedia afloat.
May the light shine forever!