How We Met: From IRC to IRL

Many have wondered, and asked, how Wuan and I met. It is archived here. However, that is several links deep and not many have ventured that far. I have written that long before this blog existed. I am reproducing the account below:

When the night is thick in darkness, look up into the infinite void. Therein lies our destiny. Each and every twinkling star above holds our past, present and future. For they say, “It is all written in the stars.”

Resist as we might, yet we eventually have to surrender to those divine edicts that govern our journey through life. Thus, it was written in the stars that Wuan and I met in ways we both never anticipated, and developed into a relationship we never intended.

Ours is a friendship conceived in an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel one night in early December 1998. What began as chatting about the stock market progressed into other subjects of mutual interests. We discovered that we shared similar hobbies. We love good food, appreciate beautiful music, are fond of gardening, are crazy about durians and have a keen fascination in feng shui.

It was a strictly platonic relationship then as I already have a girlfriend. Wuan and I agreed never to let our friendship go beyond that. We became very good friends though. However, things between my girlfriend and me fell apart a few months later. She had been working overseas for a few years now and the strain of the long distance relationship finally took its toll.

It was a blow to me as we had been together for 12 years. We had known each other since our schooling days. Depressed, jaded and looking for some diversion, I made the biggest decision of my life at the spur of the moment. I decided to fly to Kuala Lumpur, unaccompanied, to meet some of my IRC buddies.

At the same time, I wanted to meet Wuan. I wanted to meet this enthralling woman who spent many evenings patiently listening to me pouring my heart out. I wanted to see for myself if this woman is as angelic as I had envisioned.

I had never travelled alone after my accident. That, perhaps, was the greatest challenge I ever faced. I was unsure if I could cope getting into the aircraft and getting around in an unfamiliar environment on a wheelchair all by myself. William, Cynthia and Eric, my IRC buddies, came to pick me up at the airport. We had lunch and they helped me check-in at the hotel. We promised to meet up later.

Wuan was caught up in her work and arrived late for our dinner date. The first moment we laid eyes on each other, there was an eerie sense of d?j? vu. It was as if we had met before. It was as if we had known each other forever. And yes, she was as angelic as I have envisioned, even more. Our dinner date evolved into long conversations into the wee hours of the morning.

We spent the rest of my stay in Kuala Lumpur together – window shopping, eating, and generally enjoying each other’s company. I did not get to meet my IRC buddies again that trip. The four days that Wuan and I had together were ephemeral. There was so much more that we had yet to share. We wished we had more time.

That was how it all began for Wuan and me – a fortuitous encounter of two unlikely individuals in the chaotic mishmash of the Internet. In cyberspace, distance is virtual, emotions bland. Yet, from it spawned a union so passionate that it seemed almost illusory. In the real world, we would spend hours travelling just to be together. Each meeting is much treasured and cherished.

We wish we can dispense with the travelling, but we have our own commitments. One day in the future perhaps. If indeed it were written in the stars, we would not want it any differently. The stars have been very benevolent to Wuan and me. For now, we shall let destiny run its course. For now, we shall continue our journey together in real life and in cyberspace.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

12 thoughts on “How We Met: From IRC to IRL”

  1. So sweet… 🙂 Wuan indeed is a special woman, and very dedicated person. You both are blessed to have one another.

    Sigh, I’m getting jealous here, heheh

  2. thanks for sharing, peter. how lovely… and romantic, and like jinny and mystic i feel a tinge of jealousy too. 🙂
    yes i really envy you for having wuan but i’m also very very happy for you.

  3. Hi Peter

    This post reminds me of the episode of Frasier ,i watched yesty.

    How we can relate to stars ect when love is involved :).

    Online love or ldr can be hard , but if it is real it will last a life time.

    Wish both all the happiness life can bring :).

    Btw you remember Letti’s blog i gave you the link too for the church photos ” She met David online also :).

    Okz thats my nagging he he cheers tcz

  4. Thank you for sharing, Peter. True love does exists after all. Wuan is indeed special.

  5. You are a wonderful person, Peter. Pity, I couldn’t meet you any more in KL, but I hope that next time around we have more time. Pity also that I didnt get to talk to Wuan – she must be wonderful, according to what you say of her.

    (And hey – change that picture in your blog. You lok different/ better, in real life 🙂 )

  6. Hey.. Peter.. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing yer story.. 🙂
    If you donch know by now.. my spouse and i met on the internet too.. and we were chatting long distance.. me in singapore..and he in canada.. for 6yrs.. before we met.. 🙂
    We now have a lovely daughter.. Chloe.. and she is 13mths old.. 🙂
    So ya.. long distance relationship do work.. for those who wants it to work.. bad enough.. and trust me.. i’ve been there.. and done it.. and look how happy i am now.. 🙂
    I mean.. sure… we have our ups and downs.. but the way i see it.. the ups are more.. than the downs..!

  7. Jinny,
    I think I am more blessed. Wuan is all I can ever ask for. For her to accept me as I am takes a lot of courage and sacrifices.



    That is why I like star gazing. You will never know what you can find out there.

    Yes, Wuan is truly a beautiful person. The next time I am in KL we definitely should get together again. Er… I think I look better in that photos than now because I have lost quite a lot of weight lately.

    Thank you.

    I fully understand how difficult LDR can be but the beautiful endings are all worth the anxiety and phone bills. Congrats.

  8. That’s is so nice and so sweet to hear. I’m so glad you’ve found a special someone who makes you happy everytime you see her. What is interesting is that you’ve met through the web. Well that is just an affirmation that love, too, conquers in cyber space. On line dating really has helped a lot of people in their search for their ideal partner. To you and Wuan, I wish you all the best. Good luck!

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