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Empowering Singaporeans With The 4Es

Dr Kaizad Heerjee, Assistant Chief Executive, Online Development, IDA Singapore Media Conference for e-Celebrations Singapore 2001, Suntec Singapore

Dr Kaizad Heerjee, Assistant Chief Executive, Online Development, IDA Singapore
Media Conference for e-Celebrations Singapore 2001, Suntec Singapore
Singapore, 27 February 2001

1 Good morning, members of the media, e-Celebrations partners, friends and colleagues. Welcome to this media conference on e-Celebrations Singapore 2001.

2 Singapore is a country where the quality of life and technological advancement are closely related. In a very short time, Singapore has created a unique supportive environment for all to embrace an e-lifestyle - families and businesses alike.

3 Our nation is off to a good start as a leading player in many sectors. The new economy, as we know it, is being built upon information - the ability to source for and manage it effectively. As the communication habits of the world are changing in the New Economy, our people must rise to the challenges in order to stay ahead of the changes. Today, Singaporeans enjoy the best access and earliest exposure to an e-lifestyle in our connected city. With the infrastructure in place, they must discover what potential an e-lifestyle will bring.

4 Over the last year, IDA has made substantial progress towards providing Singaporeans with access to an e-lifestyle. Through active partnership with our community partners, the private and government sectors, IDA has put in place programmes to help citizens bridge the digital divide. To date, some 2,000 households and non-profit organisations have benefited from the PC Reuse Scheme, a programme where refurbished PCs are given away with Internet access.

5 Since the launch of the One Learning Place at the Toa Payoh library in May 1999, we have reached out to over 69,000 trainees from all walks of life including senior citizens, homemakers, students, parents, taxi drivers, the disabled and underprivileged. IDA also has an e-Ambassador programme, where committed early adopters of technology volunteer as guides for new entrants to the Internet. This programme aims to train up to 2,500 e-ambassadors over the next three years. In the area of education, the FastTrack@School programme has equipped 27 schools with enhanced broadband access to create an interactive media learning platform for students.

6 Singapore's economic foundation was built on the 3Rs - reading, writing and arithmetic. To remain competitive, Singapore must now move towards adopting the 4Es - e-Communications, e-Entertainment, e-Learning and e-Transactions. e-Celebrations Singapore 2001 will show Singaporeans how to achieve the 4Es by living the e-lifestyle.

7 Last year, the inaugural e-Celebrations Singapore was targeted at building awareness and interest in an e-lifestyle amongst Singaporeans. More activities are planned for 2001 to cater to a diverse audience. This year, activities are designed to catalyse the transition from awareness to adoption, by imparting the 4Es that are relevant and beneficial, to our daily lives.

8 Let me elaborate a bit on the 4Es - which most of you should be familiar with. There is e-Transactions, where one can, for example, transfer funds online, or make travel arrangements via an online travel agency; e-Learning - where one can take up online courses for instance; e-Entertainment which allows users to download music or movie clips from the Internet; and of course, the indispensable e-Communications like email and Internet relay chats.

9 Working with our community partners, the private sector and government agencies, events have been planned for people from all walks of life, with different levels of awareness of what an e-lifestyle can offer. This year, IDA is expecting some 500,000 participants to attend the events of e-Celebrations Singapore 2001.

10 e-Celebrations Singapore 2001 will kick off with its anchor event, the e-Festival Asia 2001. This will be held from 7 to 11 March at the Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre, where 40 exhibitors will showcase the best in interactive products and services catering to people all walks of life. IDA is expecting some 50,000 visitors to visit e-Festival Asia in those five days alone. Throughout the rest of the month, right through to 12 April, a total of 95 activities brought to you by 61 partners, will light up the island - both online and onsite.

11 A copy of the calendar of events has been included in your media kit with contact details of our partners. It would be impossible to have all our partners of e-Celebrations Singapore 2001 speak at this media conference but most of them are represented in the room today. Please feel free to approach them to find out more about what they will be doing at e-Celebrations Singapore.

12 Today, IDA is pleased to have three of our partners from e-Celebrations Singapore 2001 - the Malay and Tamil Internet Steering Committees, and Systems@Work - who will be speaking in a short while.

13 I would like to take this opportunity to urge and invite all Singaporeans to participate in e-Celebrations Singapore 2001. Today, the e-lifestyle is empowering people everywhere. Tomorrow, it will bridge lives by narrowing physical and social divides. We want you to join us in discovering your potential by living the e-lifestyle.

14 Thank you