Although it was called a Mac meetup, there were no Macs and it was just three of us. This was intentional. From the time we sat down outside Hans cafe at the National Library which was 7pm, time flew by and before we knew it, it was 1.20am already.
As Siva mentioned on his blog, we haven’t met for almost five years, so the exchanges that the three of us had went from how to work with the government for change from the grassroots level, to our individual techniques for teaching social media philosophies, culture and technology.
In one of his stories, Siva was tired of high-speed cement mixers speeding down a particular road where visitors cross for a nature reserve, that he called the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to do something about it. Since that day, Siva now lays claim to a speed bump along Kranji Rd. The moral of his story? Before you start trying to change the world, try starting with the street you live on. 🙂
One of the things Siva made me realize about myself was my knowledge of video encoding. With video sharing becoming a staple with educators, knowing how to upload to the different video sharing services out there is one thing, but knowing how to encode video with the right balance of quality and size is another. I think I could do a workshop on that if there are any future meetups. I might not know everything about video, but with my years of tinkering with it (since Apple Macintosh IIfx days), I think I know a little more than the average joe.
The three of us shared interesting stories through the evening, and one of the biggest takeaways I had was that these guys have worked with the government to create positive change. Instead of taking the mindset that we the citizens are insignificant, the point here is to try.
Siva told me about an online gem which gives Singaporean direct access to government members responsible for particular matters… it’s called the Singapore Government Directory interactive (SGDi). From there you can find the exact person you’d need to contact regarding anything around you in Singapore. From suggestions for the education system, to the fallen tree in your national park, you can find the right contact person online.
I found it admirable that civil servants wouldn’t mind losing their privacy, all in the name of responsible governance. It’s these things that we might not realize, so it’s really important to spread word about the deeds that our Singapore government are prepared to do for us.
Update 1: Woah, Ivan actually managed to blog all 6hrs of our conversation…
Update 2: You can now see Siva’s impression of our meetup. Just look at how busy he is…