Meeting Minister Lee Boon Yang @ International Museum Day

Having been to the museum roundtable session for Singapore’s International Museum Day 2007 activities (aka IMD2007), it was only natural that I checked out the launch which took place last Friday.

Held at the beautifully revitalized National Museum, I met old friends, made new acquaintances and even shook the hand of Minister of Information, Communications and The Arts (MICA), Dr. Lee Boon Yang! Just watch the short video above.

International Museum Day 2007 @ National Museum - 15 I was quite surprised at the high level of reception our museums have for bloggers such as myself. National Heritage Board’s (NHB) sharp-dressing CEO, Michael Koh (left), as well as Corporate Communications Director and friend, Walter Lim (right), introduced me to Dr. Lee just as he arrived at the museum. Through the event, they also kept me informed of what was going on, and I took it upon myself to reiterate key points so I could report accurately.

About meeting Dr. Lee Boon Yang… at first I felt a little embarrassed by the amount of gadgets weaved onto my sousveillance backpack, but I think it got the message across: Individuals today can become media entities on their own. Referring to the myriad of online personalities / celebrities, anyone with enough charisma, tech-savvy, and business sense, can rival the attention which only media conglomerates previously enjoyed. Has this happened in Singapore? Sure… MrBrown’s a good example, with his daily podcasts and other online shows.

While the event was to officially start IMD2007 activities throughout the island, something subtle was introduced at the launch as well. Called SGCOOL, this new heritage web site’s name is actually short for Singapore Collections Online. As Michael Koh mentioned, about 6,000 different artifacts were either photographed or scanned, then shared online for the public viewing. Apparently this would act as a sampler of the kind of artifacts our museums hold, in a bid to attract more visitors to our museums. Besides becoming a useful search engine for historians, some suggestions on its growth included giving the public the ability to purchase high quality prints.

Incidentally, Walter told me that they are planning to have a contest for SGCOOL soon, where they’ll have participants use images from the site to “curate” their own galleries. Apparently prizes include a Nintendo Wii! Michael made it a point that this is the first version of such a site, and the National Heritage Board welcomes suggestions on how it could be further improved.


What’s interesting about SGCOOL is that it mirrored something I was involved with back in the University at Buffalo. Over at the Educational Technology Center (ETC) where I worked, we were involved in coding and archiving gallery databases for various works, including architecture (See Rudy Bruner Award Digital Archive), digitized research / instructional tools (See UBdigit) and even Pulp detective novel covers. Perhaps SGCOOL could take some cues from there, but top on my list would be to provide higher resolution images since the “detailed view” still looks very much like thumbnails.

Rudy Bruner

Finally, a highlight of the event included tour bus rides by three tour operators each launching new services of their own. There was Luxury Tours, City Tours with the double-decker Fun Vee Bus, and DuckTours with their amazing monster Rhino Bus. You know which I preferred by now obviously… the Rhino bus was designed in Singapore and looked more like a spaceship from the inside (as seen below).

International Museum Day 2007 @ National Museum - 48International Museum Day 2007 @ National Museum - 49

Together with panoramic windscreens, theater style ascending seats, a multi-language system with “Kiddo” language for young ones, and a projection screen for detailed historical presentations, I wish I could buy this Rhino bus to live in (see external view). Look out for these new tours in the next two months.

Before you go, here are all the photos taken that day. You can also see this list of IMD2007 activities happening this week onwards.

8 thoughts on “Meeting Minister Lee Boon Yang @ International Museum Day

  1. the Crime Fiction Content Database is amazing! i love how it breaks down each plot and contents, even detailing the weapons used, and ‘level of violence’! really cool. i’m looking forward to the sgcool contest.

  2. Walter (introducing Kevin to his CEO): “He has a great following on his blog..worldwide.”

    Kevin (blushing?): “It’s a, yeah, ur, it’s okay.”


    Glad you were gainfully occupied, Kevin! Great job!

  3. Kevin, thanks lots for doing this wonderful post about IMD and also the short clip of Michael and I, plus of course Minister. You know, my boss was just talking about you again today and how we should engage communities like bloggers and citizen journalists more closely. So its a great endorsement of the value that new media has brought to the table.

    Speaking of which I am still wondering what I am supposed to do tomorrow at Blogout… hmmm…..

  4. nuMetal: Actually I’m the $5356.89 man (estimated cost of all my augmentations).

    modcentric: I love you. You must be one of the rare readers who actually visits all the links I provide. For your information, that database ended up being so popular with as well (i.e. the most popular English blog in the world).

    Otterman: That’s actually my first time meeting a minister. Watching what he said about SGCOOL, he seems quite connected with public sentiments.

    Walter: Your welcomed. Thanks for inviting me over. Indeed, bloggers and govt agencies could work together through similar passions. You could pose that as a question tomorrow at BlogOut… on how the govt could work closer with bloggers. ­čÖé

  5. I wish I could be there that day. Had to be in office to meet clients to give counselling sessions. (I am a social worker)

    I hope you won’t mind if I put a link to this post from my own blog? Sorry, this may seem late…I had been busy practising the past weeks.

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