The National Museum of Singapore may want to consider renaming itself the “Nostalgia Machine of Singapore”. The on-going “OFF/ON” exhibition on everyday technology that changed everyday life in Singapore between the 1970s to 2000s is really a gallery of stage sets for reliving yesteryear.
Youths banged furiously on typewriters older than them while Tiktoking away. Families queued up for portraits to be reproduced in a “dark room” that was just a digital simulation. As I overhead yet another adult squealing “I remember that!”, I wondered if the exhibition was actually about how wonderful technology was in recreating the past.
I get it that the museum wants to offer interactive experiences to entertain—which they undoubtedly achieved. But so do theme parks! Despite the rich histories of the everyday technologies on display—typewriters, pagers, computers, cameras, video games etc—I emerged (escaped) hardly learning anything. The curatorial wall texts were light on details, and a challenge to spot. It’s as if the museum feared any suggestion of education might disrupt the Instagrammable tableau?
Unlike the technology showcased in the exhibition, this nostalgia machine cannot simply be turned OFF/ON. So if you fancy a blast from the past, you will get more than that. Don’t forget to come with fully charged phones.
The new Singpass reframes the app’s role as Singapore’s trusted digital identity platform while allowing space for its future expansion.
Every Singaporean and resident holds an identity card as proof of one’s citizenship and identity. Now, they can also have a digital version on their smartphones by downloading the Singpass app.
While this Digital Identity Card (IC) was introduced in Singapore’s national digital identity app in May 2020, few of its then over 2.5 million users knew of its existence then. Singpass had also been associated with simply authenticating and logging into government services online. However, the service set up by the Singapore government in 2003 had always been conceived as a national digital identity platform.
With the rebranding of Singpass in early 2021 to mark its evolution of becoming Singapore’s trusted national digital identity, the designers at Government Technology Agency (GovTech) decided it was timely to redesign the app.
As more data centres are built to power the city-state’s digital transformation, the design of these high-tech boxes become ever more important.
What do “The Internet” and “The Cloud” look like to you? Even a Google search turns up nothing more than diagrams of seemingly invisible networks that connect the world’s computers, phones and devices. Well, stop looking up and start looking around, because the world wide web exists in plain sight across Singapore. Inside buildings known as “data centres” are the racks of computers that form part of the network which we increasingly depend on in our everyday lives.
They are alongside motorists as they travel down the Ayer-Rajah Expressway—between the flyovers at Buona Vista and Portsdown. One is a neighbour to residents living in the public housing blocks along Serangoon North Avenue 5. Another greets students across the road from Corporation Primary School. These data centres are where information is collected, stored, processed, distributed and accessed, and they are all part of a web of similar facilities connected around the world via fibre cable and satellite.