A recent movie reminded me to pay tribute to the unassuming geeks and techies, but I realize I can only name a few Singaporean or Singapore-based ICT inventors. And I have met even fewer of them.
One of the rare gems is the kind Hui Weng Cheong, who is now better known internationally for his corporate resume. With his then-sidekick of sorts, the resourceful Jonathan Tang, and other techies, they invented various parts of the then-SingTel Teleview.
Singapore was one of the first countries with a public interactive information service which could show color photos. Home users could use those TV set-top boxes in the 1980s and 1990s, with keyboards and remote controls, to request and get--for a fee--online content, such as stock market data. Because the modems then could dial up at 1.2Kbps or 2.4Kbps (yep, those numbers are right), data was also communicated off-air which was faster. I wonder if this witty duo will have the opportunity to collaborate again on a related technology some day.
Most techies get their thrill from solving complex problems and making discoveries. They may even be willing to share their knowledge freely and still remain unassuming. It is a pity that they are usually remembered only after someone made a lot of money or became famous at their expense. Of course there are conniving and egoistic techies too and, unfortunately, some of them get away with it if their techie output is good.
I hope the day will come when a Singaporean ICT inventor is well known enough to make a cameo appearance in a cleverly written TV comedy series or movie. We need more shows or other exposure in Singapore where geeks and techies can be appreciated or even celebrated.
So where are you, Singapore ICT inventors?