Dear ICQ, it's not gonna work between us. Sorry.
[Scroll down for English]
其實我都蠻「宅」的。那天無意中在 Twitter 看見人家數說出自己N年前的ICQ號碼，我以為那只是一小撮人在回味那些曾幾何時令我們捨不得去睡的懷舊小玩意，殊不知翌日同樣的 posts 在Facebook 上出現洗版的情況，我不禁在 Facebook上「大聲」問道：WHY?
我曾經有過兩個ICQ號碼，最早的是一個六位數字的一字頭號碼。那還是用 dial-up 上網的年代，我早已忘了究竟是我還是弟弟安排家中這項偉大工程的，我只記得當那個 dial-up 的連串的 tone 響起時，就是見證着我跟世界連結的盟約，ICQ就是那用來簽署誓盟的筆。
最早用ICQ時，大部份在我的 list 上的人我都不認識的，情況有點點似再以前的玩 Line（後八十後別追問這是甚麼），無聊時 chit chat 一下，但都後來鹹濕的 message 實在太多，最後令自己 invisible，然後沒有再用那帳號（ICQ是不能 delete account 的）。我當然沒有告訴家人，要不然網就不能再上。
不久我再開一個新帳號，這次的是一個八位數字的二字頭號碼，ICQ的增長速度也確實驚人。有好些同學朋友也開始用ICQ，所以這次在我的 list 上的大部份也是現實生活中我認識的人。
但也還有很多白撞的，雖然有些也蠻談得來的，所以我也有試過跟一些ICQ朋友講「長途」電話，甚至上街去，但往後總是不了了之，或是我自動消失，因為那感覺實在太怪怪的。我不喜歡那種跟陌生人扮作很熟識的感覺，ICQ講電話倒沒所謂，但現實歸現實，我就是不能跟在ICQ聊我傾計的無聊人當作朋友。ICQ的 profile 也不可信，ICQ實在有太多變態的人。往後我也再沒有用ICQ，在大學宿舍走廊聽到那 Uh-Oh 叫聲就覺討厭。
但就是因為這新的當 version 3.0 App 及大家的熱烈討論，我決定再給ICQ一次機會。我沒有用原本的 account，我只是登記我的電話號碼，看看這個新ICQ又會怎樣。
但原來新跟舊就沒甚分別，我還是收到很多奇怪的 message。昨晚夜半，我被那討厭的 Uh-Oh 聲吵醒，看清楚還是那些鹹濕或用不知哪些天外來客的文字寫成的 message，一怒之下，我把那ICQ App從我的 iPhone 剷走了。
Few days ago I accidentally spotted this thread on Twitter where people were ecstatically detailing their ICQ account numbers from years and years ago. I was once an ICQ user, and so was everyone. So I just thought it was one of those threads where people indulge themselves in their childhood memories. But the next day, the discussion on ICQ has gone viral, as it was on virtually every single news feed on my Facebook page. I was stunned.
I had two ICQ accounts. The first one was a six-digit number beginning with "1". It was the digital stone age when I was still using the dinosaur dial-up to get connected. I couldn't recall whether it was me or my brother who helmed that major home improvement project of getting our home hooked on the Internet. But the distinctive serial tone of the modem still rings in my head today. It was the door to that borderless digital world waiting for me to discover, and ICQ was the key to open that door.
During the earliest days of ICQ, most of the people on my list were strangers. It was a little absurd, but for a time it was fun to talk to people from all over the world. But later on, as I guess ICQ was too public, I was bombarded with dirty messages asking for cyber sex. In the end I had to make myself invisible, and eventually stopped using that account (you can't delete your account on ICQ). Of course I didn't tell my parents, otherwise there would be no Internet allowed at home.
Soon after I created a new account. This time I got an eight-digit number beginning with "2" - that just showed the astonishing growth rate of ICQ at the time. It was a bit different second time around, as most of the people on my list were friends from school. But ICQ was still ICQ. I was still bombarded by messages from strangers. I was being extremely careful and selective, and eventually I did make some on-line friends with whom I talked on the phone or even went out in real life for a couple of times. But none of them could last - I either lost touch with them or I deliberately went invisible. It just felt too awkward to be friends with people I didn't know. Chatting casually on the phone was one thing, but including them in my life was another. I didn't trust the nature of ICQ, and the profiles of ICQ users were mostly made up. There were too many sickos there. Eventually I stopped using ICQ completely. I even found that "Uh-Oh" sound screaming out loud in the corridor of the university dormitory disgusting.
But because of the heated discussion of the new version 3.0 ICQ App, I gave it another chance. I didn't sign up with my original accounts. I only tried it out with my mobile number to see how it went this time around.
It turned out, however, that the new ICQ wasn't much different from the old one, except that you could send messages to Facebook or directly to another mobile phone user. I still received strange messages. In the middle of the night last night, I was woken up by this annoying "Uh-Oh" sound. I took a good look at the messages and, again, they were dirty texts or messages written in a language I couldn't comprehend. Out of sheer rage, I removed the ICQ App from my phone.
There are certain things that you simply cannot change, no matter what you do. And even if it's upgraded to version 100.0, don't fantasise of altering its nature. ICQ is still ICQ.
At that point, I finally realised the true meaning of "let bygones be bygones".