WOW what a surprise! Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong quoted me in his National Day Rally Speech on 14 August 2011. . He said: Recently, I attended the launch of Singapore HeritageFest and I made a speech about these human stories and emphasised how important they were. It prompted a response in the TODAY newspaper [...]
WOW what a surprise! Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong quoted me in his National Day Rally Speech on 14 August 2011.
Recently, I attended the launch of Singapore HeritageFest and I made a speech about these human stories and emphasised how important they were. It prompted a response in the TODAY newspaper by a lady, Angeline Koh, who is working on digital storytelling and I think I should read a little bit of what she said because it resonated with her.
She said, “What are memories and shared experiences but stories. And storytelling is what Singapore as a nation needs. There are unsung heroes in our midst, there are people we meet each day in our homes and in our schools, at work and in play. Our children need to realise they are heroes in the making. They have the power to become heroes by the brave and sacrificial choices they make to live well and for the good of others”.
Here’s what happened
I was slouching in the seat of my living room listening to the PM deliver his speech. I was tired, half dosing off actually. But I really wanted to know what the CEO of Singapore had to say and where he was taking us as a nation.
Toward the last quarter of his speech, he began talking about home, memories, stories. That woke me up of course. Anything “story” does.
There in my living room, I (complete with animation) began “talking back” to the PM, “Digital Storytelling, Digital Storytelling.” I said repeatedly to mum who was watching his speech with me. “Mummy, Singapore should do digital storytelling.Singapore needs digital storytelling.”
Then suddenly he said my name, and he said, “digital storytelling.”
I began jumping in my seat. “YES! YES! YES!” I began screaming. It was like Singapore had scored a goal at the Malaysia cup.
The past year has been challenging. I left the comfort zone of my last job after 22 year with little clue of how to run a business or how to make digital storytelling fly. I only knew that we need storytelling in Singapore. I wanted to tell stories and help others tell stories. I must have knocked at some 20-30 doors… individuals as well as organisations, communities, corporations, SMEs, and government departments.
People like storytelling. But we are a pragmatic people — and storytelling is seen as a luxury item. I can almost hear it, “What is it for?” How do you tell busy people come sit down and listen to my story. Or tell me your story.
Last month, PM Lee spoke at the launch of the HeritageFest. I read his speech and listened to the snippet of the launch on the news. I said to myself, “I have to engage him. I have to tell him how digital storytelling can help address some of the issues that he is concerned about.” The recent May 2011 General Elections surfaced many expressing strong sentiments about this party or that party. This is not about parties but about my heart for my country. I wanted him to know how I want to play a part in building up Singapore my home.
I worked almost non-stop for 24-hours crafting and creating a 1.5 minute video clip for him and sent it to him together with a very short note. I could think of nothing except that the CEO of Singapore has to hear me.
He replied. Well, at least I think his PA did. It was a short,
Thanks for your email, and for your video. I enjoyed watching it, and am glad that what I said about the meaning of home struck a chord with you.
With best wishes,
Lee Hsien Loong
“No!” I said. “I want to engage you! That’s not the reply I want to hear from you.” (I didn’t actually say this to him of course. I was just saying it aloud to myself as I read his reply.)
The thought wouldn’t leave me. I couldn’t let HeritageFest come and go without sowing the idea that digital storytelling can play a part in nation building. And I want to be part of it.
Then the thought came to me to write to the Today Papers since it was there that I had read about the HeritageFest and PM’s speech. I took another 24 hours to craft my blog post and sent that to VOICES (Today Papers). I was thrilled when I got an email from the editor saying he would publish it if I cut my article down to 500 words.
I painfully cut down my article and sent it to him.
And then something awful happened. For whatever strange reason, there was a bug in my email that made the mail keep looping itself. It just kept relentlessly resending the article to them again and again and again. Finally I got an email from the press asking me to stop spamming their mail box.
I thought, “No! This is not happening!” There was nothing I could do to stop it. I called the technical hotline but still it just kept looping. I wrote to Voices to explain. I got no reply. I phoned them a couple of times. I couldn’t get the editors.
Then each day I checked the newspaper — no article. I thought, “That’s it. They must be thinking I’m some mad woman trying to tell the press what to do.”
On the early morning of 10 August, the day after National Day, I was skimming through the Today papers. The title, “Telling the Singapore Story” caught my attention. I started reading it… It was MY article! And so well timed!
I thought, OK, the PM didn’t respond to me. But something good came out of this. If he had responded to me, I would not have written this article and then nobody would have got to hear about digital storytelling.
That same day, a Sin Chew Jit Poh (Chinese newspaper) journalist called to do a telephone interview with me.
Three days later, on 14 August, PM Lee read the excerpt of my article on the nation-wide broadcast.
In that same speech, the Prime Minister also said,
“MICA is launching a Singapore Memory Project to capture, preserve and showcase these memories. They hope to collect five million memories by 2015 because that is our 50th anniversary. The stories can come from anybody, any person, any community, any organisation or institution which has experienced Singapore. Together all these individual stories will weave the tapestry of our nation. They started in July, so far they have collected 30,000 plus stories…”
More than twenty years ago, I had made a “joke” with God. I didn’t even dare to call it a prayer. I said, “God I want to touch a million lives.” I want to make a difference. I wanted to ask him for something so big and so audacious that if it happened, I would know it is not an Angeline Koh thing but a God-thing.
By the 16 August, I got emails. The people I had talked to remembered me. And now they are opening the doors to let me in.
God took my joke seriously.
Here’s a 15-minute video on Storytelling worth watching. Bobette Buster articulates so well… In our culture, he who tells the best story wins. Creating great narratives that produce epiphanies involves a particular talent that applies far beyond film and changes the way you write books, marketing copy, funding proposals, research reports, sermons, and so much more. [...]
Here’s a 15-minute video on Storytelling worth watching. Bobette Buster articulates so well…
In our culture, he who tells the best story wins. Creating great narratives that produce epiphanies involves a particular talent that applies far beyond film and changes the way you write books, marketing copy, funding proposals, research reports, sermons, and so much more. Bobette Buster has built and sustained a long, respected career in the film industry by being the best at finding and developing epiphanies in some of the greatest movies we’ve all enjoyed.
More ideas than life to live
DANCE as though no one is watching you...
LOVE as though you have never been hurt before...
SING as though no one can hear you...
LIVE as though heaven is on earth...
Beloved of God
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- November 2012
- October 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- February 2012
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- April 2009
- March 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- September 2008
- August 2008
- July 2008
- June 2008
- May 2008
- April 2008
- March 2008
- February 2008
- January 2008
- December 2007
- November 2007
- October 2007
- September 2007
- August 2007
- July 2007
- August 2004
- July 2004
- June 2004
- May 2004
- April 2004
- March 2004
- February 2004
- January 2004
- January 2000
Live Traffic Feed