Back In History: A Life With Computers

Back In History: A Life With Computers

We all have childhood dreams, but as we grow up, our perception of life and even our interests change.

This is exactly what happened to Susan Chang, who trained and worked as a nurse for several years, but started an IT company with her husband Alfred.

According to a Fiji Times article of 21 January 1984, he became manager of the Alpha Computer Center and his life thereafter revolved around marketing and training new computer operators.

"To learn more about computers, their applications and programming, it takes interest, patience and willingness to work," he said.

Initially, one of Susan's tasks was to study the workings of complex machines.

But the more he learned, the more exciting it became, he said.

The Alpha Computer Center opened in November 1982 at Vanua's home in Suva.

"It was difficult because people didn't know much about computers and those who knew thought the price was high because of the capabilities of the machines," said Susan, who was born in Malaysia.

Susan traveled to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide, Australia to complete a general nursing course through an Australian family volunteer supported program.

While studying in Adelaide, he met Alfred Fiji, who was on a scholarship to pursue an electrical engineering degree.

You got married in Australia. Susan said her husband graduated before her and worked for an electronics company. Before moving to Fiji in 1976, she and her husband visited family in Malaysia.

Alfred and his uncle founded Alpha Electronic Industries and bought the Commodore and Sirius computer trading agency in 1978.

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Commodore was an American brand and controlled the South Pacific region with its headquarters in Sydney.

Susan followed her uncle Alfred when he moved to his father's farm in Kolo te Suva in 1980.

"I was sent to Commodore headquarters in Sydney to learn how to use the computer as a word processor."

After his return, Susan's important station was at the Bureau of Statistics, then at the Treasury.

He also worked with some schools that had computers. He taught students programming and all USP computers were provided by Alpha.

Slim and petite, Susan was an energetic businesswoman.

Manages office, travels to facilities to install computers and train operators.

His clients have included the South Pacific Educational Evaluation Commission, Fiji National Reserve Fund, Fiji International Telecommunications Ltd and many others.

He said Fiji Industries Ltd used Commodore to manage its accounts, while Data Service Centers Ltd in Nadi managed the accounts of about 60 companies on two computers.

Susan said that not every business needs a computer. It depended on the size of the company.

"If it's a big problem, computerize it, otherwise stick to the calculator and go to the manual."

In the same year, the Fiji Computer Society launched its first computer magazine at the Civic Centre.

The top ten IT companies showcased their innovative devices over two days.

Susan said it was great to see so many parents taking their children to the show as there were computers where children could play educational games.

"Our booth had both desktops and PCs, and I found that the PCs got more attention."

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