There were letters from both of my penpals in the mailbox at the same time! Double the pleasure.


I think it was about six or seven years ago when I discovered the chat rooms of Gaydar. I became fascinated with chat rooms and being able to chat that way with strangers from all over the world. This was of course before the time of social network apps like Grindr on smartphones. Maybe even smartphones hadn’t existed yet.

Months later I was getting bored with chatting via typing away madly at my keyboard. (Even today I loathe to phone-text, including WhatsApp. But it is free.) (Actually I kinda hate my whole phone. I keep having to answer it when it rings.) I wondered if any of the chaps I regularly chatted with would be interested in becoming penpals with me. I have always loved writing and receiving letters and postcards. I broached the idea with them shortly before I stopped using Gaydar.

I managed to persuade eight guys to give me their addresses, haha! I sent them handwritten letters, which by the way had led me to discover to my horror that writing by hand had become painful. The result of typing everything for years. Seriously, I could not write more than a few short paragraphs before having to stop and massage my writing right hand with my left.

The eight men gallantly wrote back, some even by hand as well. However within a few letters most had professed they were just not into it. They prefer e-mail, if they have something to say. I thanked them profusely for at least giving it a shot.

I’m happy though that till today, two are still writing with me after all these years. We still write most of our letters by hand, which multiplies the charm tenfold, although occasionally we would type. Ultimately it doesn’t matter which, as long as we write. The frequency is also not set to anything, but whenever available time coincides with the right frame of mind. We would write, say, about every two months or so, I think, more or less.

I hardly communicate with them in any other way. They’re both on Facebook but we would only shoot off private messages to one another if we have something urgent to relay. I have yet to meet the one from Finland, and as for the U.K. one, he had vacationed twice in Singapore (including September last year). I took him sightseeing on both occasions.

I treasure them both. Writing and receiving letters are so special to me.


This post is Day 13 of ‘100 Happy Days‘.

Happy meter: quiet bliss

10 thoughts on “Penpals

  1. I have written quite a few posts about pen pals I’ve had in the past. I met my first two boyfriends, and a few great friends through it. It doesn’t seem too common now, but I have very fond nostalgic memories of when I used to do it. There’s nothing quite like coming home from work and finding a hand written envelope waiting for you. So glad I’m not alone on this one.

    • I’m immediately intrigued. I went to your blog and did a quick search for ‘pen pal’ and out popped three posts. Having only recently discovered your blog (I think thanks to Mark’s Elemental Profundity) I have read mostly your more recent posts. Looking forward to reading your penpal ones when I get back from work later. Glad to meet a fellow enthusiast!

      No it’s not very common nowadays. I too have nostalgic memories of writing letters and it was that that spurred me to start again, and was happy to discover I’m still very fond of it.

  2. I try and pen letters as much as possible, rather than type. It’s a real treat, in such a cold, impersonal digital age, to get a handwritten letter through the mail. Postcards are also a fading memory, it seems; they’re special to happen across. Great stuff :)

    • Yes I’m very fond of writing letters by hand, even though it takes much more effort. But there is such pleasure in writing and reading something handwritten. You feel you are holding something very personal and intimate. There are times I type when I feel tired or don’t have a lot of time, but mostly I prefer to write by hand.

      In the begining I also enjoyed writing again in careful cursive as how I was taught in school. But over time, that evolved to my own handwriting. Not as goodlooking haha, but it was nice to discover again my own handwriting. Thank you for the compliment!

      • Indeed! Just the tangibility of the writing paper, and the sheer knowledge that somebody has taken the time to put a pen to paper and put their hand into every word; that’s very special, these days. It’ll always be a more meaningful and intimate way of communicating than any digital means.

        I get stupidly, childishly over-excited at letters from abroad, with all their fancy stamps and marks and what have yous on the envelope! It’s a bit of an event, for me… but then I have a sheltered existence ;)

        • I totally agree! It’s way more special tor receive a personal letter in the mailbox.

          Yes I still get excited when I receive letters too, haha! Especially now, when even birthday and Christmas cards/wishes I receive are online! Which I appreciate very much as well of course. But because that’s the norm these days, it makes physical cards all that much more special!

  3. My sister back in Canada will occasionally send me a hand-written letter instead of an email or a message on Facebook/Whatsapp, and use that as an opportunity to send me new pics of the kids or a family portrait they’ve had done. It made it that much more special that she took the time to do that.

    • Wow that’s really nice! You have a lovely sister. That’s such a nice thing to do for anyone, but coming from family it’s really special.

  4. Hi Halim! I remember I had a few female penpals about 20 years back. I met up one of them, but ended doesn’t turn up happily as she laughed over my skinny shape! :(
    Haha! Those were the day!
    If this is going to happen on me now, I’m going to kick her ass and tell her off what’s wrong to be thin in size! You are short too!
    Anyway is good to have prolong penpals in this day, friendship is one of the sweetie fruits we should cherish in life!

    Lastly, Sydney wish you stay Healthy and Happy in 2014!
    Peaceful weekend!


    • Hi Sydney, good to hear from you! Haha, that’s a cute story about the penpal you met up with! I wonder what she looks like now, 20 years later. If she’s not thin, maybe she wishes she is haha! Talking about body shapes, people come in different body shapes. I think if we all have a choice to be naturally thin or naturally stocky (before factoring in diet and exercise) I think everyone will choose to be thin!

      I agree it’s good to maintain friendships, including penpals, and that friendships should be cherished.

      Cheers, wishing you a wonderful 2014 and Lunar New Year, Sydney! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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