PETALING JAYA: Terrence Victor Smith, who was a pioneering figure in the early days of the Internet in Malaysia, passed away on Monday (Sept 10) after a short illness. He was in his 60s.
More popularly known as TV Smith, he was known for his dry wit and satirical posts – first in the SangKancil forums, and later in his DuaSen blog.
He was an occasional satirist and columnist for The Star and was also known as a photo-blogger.
Smith also set up Malaysia Central or MyCen (www.mycen.com.my), a popular Malaysian search engine and website directory that at its peak listed more than 30,000 sites and was an invaluable resource for Internet users then.
“I started collecting all the links and contacts of government agencies and other establishments as bookmarks and personal notes way back in 1996,” he told The Star in the late 1990s.
In 1999, he joined Internet pioneering company MOL.com as portal director, and was later chief executive officer of MOL subsidiary Mcities.com, an entertainment portal.
Smith was never formally trained on software programming or web development, but launched his Internet career by teaching himself HTML.
One of his most famous satirical pieces in the late 1990s was entitled “Uncle Ho Wants You!”, which became one of the most viral and plagiarised articles on the Internet.
The piece, a “recruitment ad” from pirated CD/ DVD kingpin, was shared on various chat forums, newsgroups, websites, blogs and even via mass email chains, with some people claiming to have been the writer.
It was not his only satirical article that was heavily plagiarised. Another was “The Naked Card”, which saw an editor then at trade magazine ComputerWorld Hong Kong losing his job after he was outed for copying it.
“Sad news,” posted Jahabar Sadiq, editor and chief executive editor at The Malaysian Insight.
“I’ve known Terrence for a long time, and used to party with him in the 1990s when he was a TV cameraman, photographer, blogger and one of the main ones behind PPS or the Project Petaling Street blogtal (blog portal) for all to list their blog posts.
“He's a legend. And a good friend to all,” he added.
Smith’s final service will be held at the DBKL Crematorium in Cheras at 3pm today (Sept 11).
Note: Although he was widely quoted as Terrence Victor Smith or TV Smith, his actual middle name is Vikyoma.