Remember several years ago there was a huge craze about Spanish telenovelas? La Usurpadora, Rosalinda, Betty La Fea.. sound familiar?
My most favorite telenovela is without a doubt Mis Tres Hermanas. The first time it was aired in 2001, the slot was from 4:30pm to 5:30pm on weekdays. I was still studying at that time. Fortunately most of my classes ended at 4pm. As soon as the lecturer finished his/her last slide I would dash out of classroom so that I could be in front of the tv just in time to watch it.
Santiago and Lisa, the hero and heroine of Mis Tres Hermanas.
During that time, there was an online forum on Mis Tres Hermanas where Malaysian fans shared information about the series. The best part about joining the forum was that if you missed an episode, there would always be someone providing a summary of what happened on that day. Mind you, telenovelas are unlike Hollywood dramas, there’s no online episode guide available. Furthermore one telenovela runs for 120 to 150 episodes, simply too many to write about. Thanks to the forum members, fans were updated by way of a post-airtime summaries, episode by episode, every single day.
I already knew way back then that the forum wasn’t going to last forever. Being a huge fan, I wanted to make sure the valuable summaries wouldn’t be gone with the wind. So I copied all the summaries from the forum verbatim and developed a really simple website on Mis Tres Hermanas. The forum members were incredibly supportive throughout the process. They fed me with summaries for earlier episodes i.e. those aired before I started watching the show (I only started watching it around episode 30) and those that nobody had posted any summary in the forum before. After adding photos of the casts, lyrics of the songs and clips of major scenes, the Malaysia Mis Tres Hermanas Fan Site came to life in 2002.
The website was a huge hit. So huge that when people typed “Mis Tres Hermanas” on Yahoo (back then Google was unheard of) it would be the first link to appear. I got e-mails from people asking how I made the website number one, even surpassing the official website by the production company in Venezuela? Truthfully, I had no idea. It just became that way, perhaps because of the traffic flow.
Even after the telenovela finished airing in Malaysia, the website still garnered substantial readers, especially from countries where the show was still on tv. Questions came from all over the world asking if I could pass a message to Santiago, if knew Lisa’s e-mail address, if the were DVDs released on the series.. bla.. bla.. bla.. many of which I didn’t have any answer to. But one recurring request that I was able to oblige was to translate the summaries to English. As I said, I copied the summaries from the forum verbatim, hence they were mostly in broken Malay mixed with equally broken English and bits of even more broken Spanish. Not very helpful to fans outside Malaysia.
So after graduation, I found some free time to do translation work and ensure that every single episode had its English summary. I had fun doing it as I was able to recap the beautiful memories of the show, like I was watching it all over again. I still remember the sense of accomplishment I felt after I finished uploading English summaries for all 150 episodes. Simply awesome!
In 2003, NTV7 showed a rerun of the series. The airtime was different, from 2:30pm to 3:30pm, yet still during weekdays. I wonder if it had anything to do with the e-mail blast we (the forum members) sent to the tv station demanding for a rerun immediately after they aired the last episode ;-)
This year, after seven long years, NTV7 is showing another rerun. The airtime is from 11:30am to 12:30pm on weekdays, so no chance for me to catch the show. Anyway, last Tuesday I was on study leave, so I took the chance to watch that day’s episode. Compared to when I watched it during the first and second runs, the major difference this time around is my ability to understand a lot more words without relying too much on subtitles. My Spanish teacher’s gonna be so proud! :-D
After watching last Tuesday’s episode, I decided to resurrect the Malaysia Mis Tres Hermanas Fan Site. When I first created it, it was hosted on two servers, Geocities and 8k. Geocities stopped offering free websites in 2002, hence the copy I had there had been deleted. The one on 8k went kaput even earlier, together with the host’s demise. Fortunately I still keep a copy of everything offline. After doing some editing and repairing several broken links, the website is now ready to come to life once again.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many free web hosts that allow HTML files to be uploaded. Most offer readymade templates, which is unlike many years ago whereby a website has to be created from zero using HTML coding and uploaded to the host. Since I rather not recreate everything in a new readymade template (mind you, only the template is readymade, everything else such as content filling and page linking still need to be done) I’ve spend hours looking for a host that allows pages to be uploaded in HTML files. Finally I’ve found one called 9k.com. Previously I used 8k.com, now I’m using 9k.com, how cute is that!
Check out the Malaysia Mis Tres Hermanas Fan Site at this link: http://m3h.9k.com/
I know the design is so outdated. I have no plan to change it. Sticking to everything old. Every single item on the website is full of lovely memories. I’m sentimental that way.
And pardon the advertisements all over. Since I’m using a free host, can’t avoid them. The one at the side can be closed by clicking the little X mark. Those at the top and the bottom, nothing can be done there, so just let them be. Let me know if you know a better host that allows uploading of HTML files, I shall move the website there.
If you are following the current running of the series and have missed some episodes, go check out the “Story” page, the daily summaries are there, in both Malay and English. Last Tuesday’s episode was number 140, which means the last episode for the current (third) screening will air on Tuesday 14 December 2010. Will there be another (fourth) screening? Nobody knows. To tell you the truth, even the second screening was a surprise to me, what more the third one. If there will be a fourth one I will be fourth time happy!
I wish for more Spanish telenovelas to be aired in Malaysia. Airtimes after office hours or during weekends will be perfect. In original audio with subtitles, not dubbed Doraemon style, so I can brush up my Spanish while enjoying the show.
Hope my wish will come true!