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by See Ming
Sharon met Sam on the first chat room she had entered. They spoke of life, love and religion. Sam had a lot to say, which isn't surprising as he was finishing his Philosophy degree. They sent each other really long emails. Sharon showed me one once and she was scrolling through it endlessly. These mails came more than once a day, sometimes. They met within that year, and tied the knot the next.

Roger answered Sally's personal ad, sparking off a stream of e-mails between each of them on the first two days. On the third day, Roger proposed. In his email, he told Sally that he'd never met anyone like her and he felt that he'd found his soulmate. Within a week, he'd gone to an auction to buy the four-poster bed of her dreams, waiting for her to tie up loose ends and fly to him. Last month, they celebrated their second anniversary.

Rosabel told her mum that she would never marry someone her race. Some months later, she met someone on the Net and they clicked instantly. The courtship became serious and they started talking about marriage. Guess what, they were of the same race - much to the pleasure of her mum, who could not resist the "I told you so."

These are real stories. Sharon was a girlfriend I met in a youth leadership camp. Sally was my ex-colleague and Rosabel was someone I know professionally.

You too can find love online. Well, along the lines of the great copy of an old Australian Tourism ad " You'll never never know if you never never go."

Here are three quick and fun ways to try your luck finding love online.

1) Try searches on icq where you can search for people with the same interest or Yahoo Personals where you can search on their level of interest (committed, just dating, friends, intimate/physical) For example, I am a great fan of Scottish band Travis and a quick search turned up other admirers of the band and I messaged a few. As it turned out, they had a lot to share, not only about the band, but also recommendations of other good music to listen to, and of course, thoughts on life and love.

Surfing on to Personals implied that I'm a gal looking for a guy for a committed relationship. I found this cute ad from Jlennon - "Come with me if you will, and explore the seas of creativity. Let us together delve into the ocean of possibilities".Sure it is corny, but it is tempting.

2) Put up a personal ad. I tried this last year and was wowed by the responses, which led me to believe that there are indeed a lot of lonely hearts out there. Of course, there are an equal number of freaks and weirdos. The trick is to write a creative ad that personalises you. Make sure it's targeted to catch the attention of the kind of people you want to attract.

For example, I have always wanted a rose garden, and believe

I would be very comfortable with someone whose fingers are green too. My ad was built on the metaphors of gardening. True enough many keen gardeners answered.

3) Look up local sites

I know the founder of personally, and his name is Brandon. He sincerely wants to help people find friends and true love. Consider that it is Brandon's mission in life. What a noble one indeed!

Remember, like life, finding love online may not always get you what you want. You may not even get anything, but in the spirit of the occasion, just remember to have fun. While at that, just be you.

Of course, if you end up like many realising that you just cannot get past the scepticism, and prefer meeting face-to-face, just show up at any of the networking parties like WORD UP!, First Tuesdays, Netbash, and iXchange.

Again, "You'll never never know if you never never go."

by See Ming

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