December 7, 2023


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20 Things Malaysian Teens Do in 1990s without Internet

To all the young generations out there, do you know what we do when we were teens in 1990s without Internet. We have mobile phones but it was pricey and Internet came to Malaysia in mid 1990s with Jaring. Internet back then were boring, only with texts and least pictures and no videos at all. There were no private messenger or social media networks like today. Nowadays you get cheap crazy prepaid mobile data is so cheap and you bother browsing websites, blogs and even watching videos. Get the best deal of prepaid mobile data here.

So what did we do when life there is no Internet?

20 Things Malaysian Teens Do in 1990s without Internet
This is a VHS cassette.

  1.Take Bus to go everywhere

mini bus
Mini Bus back then. Picture from

First of all, we took buses to school. For the lucky ones, they might have someone to chauffeur them but most of us take public buses. Back then, we had mini-buses, the coolest bus to hop on. They are smaller than usual buses and they were fast and furious. Thus, we need to remember the Bus No to go from one place to another.

2.We loved Walkman and Discman

This is a Walkman

Forget about the MP3 Players, we had something call the Walkman and the Discman. The Walkman plays something call the cassettes and you can actually flip the cassettes to listen to two sets of songs. How cool is that? Discman is portable CD player and only the riches can afford them.

3.We save money and buy cassettes

What was life without Spotify? Well, we basically save our allowances and purchase our favourite music cassettes. For that, we might need to take a bus to city centre and purchase that music cassette at selected music shop that sells them. If you were unlucky, you might not find the music cassette and continue to take bus to anotehr music shop to purchase.

4.We copied music from friends

What happened when there was no thumbdrive? We bought empty cassettes and we borrowed music cassettes and we will make a compilation with it if we have the dual cassette player and recorder. We took more effort to make our music playlist.

  5.We watched lots of TV

The cheapest entertainment back then is TV. Back then we have RTM 1 and RTM 2 before TV3 joins in. RTM use to run Malay translated Japanese dramas (like Maero Attack as the video above) as well as cartoons. Ultraman was huge back then and so are the cartoons like Transformers, The Mask, He Man, She Ra and many more.

6.We watched videos from a machine called the VHS player with VHS cassettes

There was something called the VHS player which was quite cool. It can play movies using VHS cassette and you can record TV shows using it also.

7.We rent VHS Tapes

Back then there was no Astro and cinemas were expensive so we rent VHS tapes. You can find many VHS rental companies back then and there are some will deliver it to your door steps.

8.We wrote mails and we had ‘Pen-Pals’

We didn’t have emails or Facebook back then so we wrote mails to our ‘Pen-pals’. They were like friends from outstation or overseas and we exchange mails. It took weeks to exchange mails and it was pretty cool. We don’t get to meet ‘Pen-Pals’ in our lifetime actually but it was a fun thing to do. Some of my friends sent their pictures to their pen-pal and they never heard from them anymore. That is something we called ‘unfollowed’ back then.

9.We used to collect stamps 

We use to cut stamps from envelopes and we soaked in the water and dry it and put it in the album. It is tedious work but it was cool. Some people still collect stamps now.


I didn’t really have a diary but basically it is a book that you ‘blog’ about your life. Some keeps receipts so they can remember what they did. It is basically a physical blog and they rant a lot on it. Some people will exchange diaries with their best friends or you call BFF right now and some will pass their diaries to their crushes. Most of the time, the end results are bitter. Oh diaries.

11.Autograph Book

We had something call the autograph book and we will pass it to our friends so they can write how they feel about you in there. The girls will usually decorates the pages, wrote their names, address and phone numbers with their pictures. It is also like a contact book where you can keep in touch after everyone left school. Most of the people will write or draw nice things about you. The ones who likes you will take more effort.

12.We loved magazines

There was a magazine called Galaxie, it was like the coolest teen magazines ever. You get the latest updates from magazines. That was life without Internet.

13.There was something call the Gamebook

gamebook lonewolf

There was something call the Gamebook. Basically, you read the story in the book and you will be asked questions and make decision and move on, you win by completing reading the book. We loved the Lone Wolf series.

14.We use Public Phones

What to do when there was no handphone? We used a lot of public phone especially calling the girls. There is more privacy talking on the public phone.

15.We went to libraries

What happen when there is no Google search? We go to libraries. The National Library is the cool place to chill and hang out so we can borrow the books and study. We all carries library cards back then.

16. 7 Eleven was a cool place to hang out

Shopping malls and fast food restaurants in Kuala Lumpur  were limited back then and we loved to hang out in 7 Eleven. Somehow, we loved the Slurpee back then and also the free air conditioner.

17.Game and Watch Game Console

There is a device called the Game and Watch. It is small console with no colours, monochrome and epic music and sound effects. Casio used to rule the Game and Watch world with games like Donkey Kong and my favourite Kung Fu and Submarine games.

18. Atari, SEGA and Micro Genius

old games
Old games cartridges. This is taken in Akihabara in Tokyo.

Before Play Station, we have a few cool consoles and they are called the Atari, SEGA Microdrive and Micro Genius. Everyone used to invest a lot in game cassettes to play games. We probably save our allowances in months or work part time to buy the video console and the video games.

19. We were more patience back then

Meeting up a friend might take more than half and hour to an hour. Since there is no handphone, we just have to wait until our friends turn up or just give up after some time. We usually called up the home if our friends are late to make sure they are on the way or else we just leave. Everyone was more patience back then.

20.We don’t complain that much back then

Now, everyone enjoys to rant on social media networks. It can be Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. We don’t complain so much back then. If shit happened back then, we just work our way out. We have to walk far to go back home from bus station. Usually more than 20 minutes under the hot sun but there were no dramas. If the bus broke down during our way home, we just have to wait for another bus. Now if there is bus breakdown, the bus company’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will be blasted with hate comments. Maybe we were more resilient back then or life is simply more stressful now.

We couldn’t find the pictures to match our story, most of them are in our memories. We took more efforts in doing things in the past, like taking a whole day waiting and meeting friends. Save and purchase our favourite music album or movies. We didn’t live a ‘rich’ life back then but our heart was richer. Thank you for reading and thumbs up to 1970s and 1980s teenagers!

0 thoughts on “20 Things Malaysian Teens Do in 1990s without Internet

  1. There was better proof reading before publication back then. Now everyone can write long articles without the necessary qualifications.

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