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eCelebrations Singapore - Strategies for Dot-coming the People Sector

Yong Ying-I, Chief Executive Officer, IDA Singapore - Speech eCelebrations Singapore Appreciation Night, IDA Auditorium

Yong Ying-I, Chief Executive Officer, IDA Singapore - Speech
eCelebrations Singapore Appreciation Night, IDA Auditorium

Singapore, 12 April 2000

1. Thank you for being with us today, as we officially mark the closing of eCelebrations Singapore 2000.

2. On March 1st, we inaugurated eCelebrations Singapore, a five-week drive to bring Info-communications Technology to the man-in-the-street, businesses and industry. With the Comdex Asia exhibition held last week, we can confidently say that the response, and indeed the support, has far exceeded our expectations.

3. eCelebrations Singapore 2000 saw a total of 33 different and exciting activities, thanks to our 35 partners who rose to the challenge of educating the Singaporean public on the benefits of being 'connected'. It proved to be a dynamic multi-sector collaboration between and among industry players, government agencies, community groups and the media.

4. But where do we go from here?

Rules of the Game - Our Strategy

5. At the launch of eCelebrations Singapore, Mr Yeo Cheow Tong, Minister for Communications and Information Technology, announced IDA's commitment of $25 million as our contribution towards the movement to bridge the 'digital divide' over three years. To do this, we must now focus our efforts on senior citizens, homemakers, workers and special interest groups.

6. To succeed, IDA needs to work collaboratively with the people, public and private sectors. Understanding the importance of this multiple-partnership, we have deliberately picked "Xiangqi" as the theme for our Appreciation Night this evening.

7. As with the game whereby every piece carries a unique strength and holds an important domain, so all of us are key players working as a team, with one common goal: to dot-com the whole of Singapore. No one piece can be left out. All of us need to work in tandem if we want to reach our objective of dot-coming Singapore.

8. Let our game of "Xiangqi" begin:

9. Our continuing objectives are:

  • To sustain efforts to change the public's mindset about ICT

  • To accelerate the adoption of an ' online culture' and 'e-lifestyle'

  • To improve access to the Internet for all

10. The 'river' on the "Xiangqi" game board represents the 'digital divide', which we have to conquer to get our people over to the other side. IDA intends to cross this river of digital divide by undertaking the following strategies and allocate funds accordingly over the next three years.

11. $5 million have been identified for 'changing the mindset' and to build a critical mass of online users. To promote usage of online shopping, hot applications and gadgets IDA has set aside $3 million; to improve Internet and broadband access to low-income households and communities, $13 million; to nurture eAmbassadors and grow eCommunities, $2 million. Finally, $2 million will be used to accelerate the development of compelling local content in Tamil and Malay.

Changing Mindsets

12. One of our key thrusts to implement our plans is to have a sustained calendar of activities associated with selected government campaigns, aimed at our entire spectrum of target groups to change their mindsets towards ICT adoption. Through these programmes, we will demonstrate the benefits of using ICT, help the uninitiated overcome their fear of the computer and the Internet, and persuade them to get into using ICT in their daily lives.

Accelerating An eLifestyle

13. IDA will continue to seek your assistance to help establish environments where e-transactions can take place securely and where e-communities will thrive. Special training will continue to be offered through partner organisations, which will be aimed at encouraging the people to try out services and applications such as e-shopping, e-auctioning, e-mailing, e-filing of income tax, e-banking and e-learning. We will also leverage on the mass media in our public education outreach to heighten non-ICT users' awareness on the enabling benefits of ICT.

Growing eAmbassadors

14. To ensure that we have 'catalysts' in the community who can 'energise' our "Got to be Connected" message, IDA will provide full funding for the training of 2,500 "e-ambassadors". A call for action will be made later this month to various lead agencies for the recruitment.

15. Under a formal training and qualification programme, this special group of people will act as counsellors to their peers to motivate the non-ICT users among them to embrace an e-lifestyle.

Improving Accessibility & Online Identity

16. We will also need to improve accessibility to the Internet for all, starting with 30,000 low-income households by equipping them with a used PC Internet access. Tax incentives will be sought for vendors and e-service providers and we will aim to replicate more mass learning centres to reach out to more Singaporeans.

17. Today I am pleased to announce that the Singapore Network Information Centre, or SGNIC, has created a new domain name category under the .SG domain name space to cater to the needs of Singapore Internet users. The .PER.SG domain name category will be used to represent individual persons on the Internet.

18. This means that Singaporeans can now dot-com themselves and create their personal space on the Internet with email addresses and websites reflecting their personal identity. We hope that this will encourage online communities to flourish as more and more Singaporeans use the Internet to share their common interests and build new inter-personal relationships.

Develop Multilingual Content

19. Tomorrow, a Tamil Internet Steering Committee - providing the backbone for the development of locally relevant Tamil content - will be launched. The committee will promote the use of the Internet and advise the IDA on how we can steer language development to the nation's advantage. We will establish a similar committee for Malays too in the near future.

20. So you see, eCelebrations Singapore does not stop here. The task of 'dot-coming' the people sector and bridging this "digital divide" is essential in Singapore's transition to a progressive information society and knowledge-based economy. No one will be left behind in our efforts to enable everyone in our multi-racial society to reap the benefits of ICT. Singaporeans from all walks of life must be comfortable using ICT.

21. The road ahead is littered with obstacles. The IDA is seeking the help of all agencies and individuals to help implement key strategies to see our objectives come to fruition. I hope that you will continue to support our ICT Culture Promotion Programme more fervently through to the next phase of its three-year programme.


22. Once again, on behalf of the IDA, I would like to thank all our partners who have worked hard to implement eCelebrations' events.

23. Thanks are also due to the representatives from our partner organisations who head our Steering Committee and facilitate multi-sector partnership, provide support, review and recommend strategies.

24. Tonight, we honour the 'Conquerors', 'Generals' and 'Heroes' involved in eCelebrations Singapore but we must not forget the supporting army of workers, without whom our accomplishments would have amounted to nothing.

25. I must also record my appreciation for the eCelebrations' organising Committee, chaired by Mrs Pam Soh, Deputy Director of IDA's Culture Promotion Department. This committee represents the core members from the public, industry, community and media sectors that have implemented this programme.

26. Last but not least, I must also thank the various IDA managers and staff who have been an essential part of the programme.

27. Ladies and Gentlemen, it's now time to honour the 'Conquerors', 'Generals' and 'Heroes'.

28. Thank you.