Awards Infocomm Club (APICTA) Colombo, Sri Lanka
Two students, Poh Jun Kai Nigel (15Y3I) and Yeo Yee Kiam Ryan (15Y3M) from Infocomm Club were selected to represent Singapore in the Asia Pacific ICT Alliance (APICTA) Awards program in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 19th November to 22nd November 2015. They were nominated after having attained the top Gold Medal at the annual SiTF Awards 2015 School Projects category for their project iKit – For Your Keys Only, a comprehensive eye care kit for all ages. The APICTA Awards program aims to increase ICT awareness in the community and assist in bridging the digital divide in the 16-member strong economies: Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. By providing networking and product benchmarking opportunities to ICT innovators and entrepreneurs in the region, the program is designed to stimulate ICT innovation and creativity, promote economic and trade relations, facilitate technology transfer, and offer business matching opportunities via exposure to venture capitalists and investors. Details of the program can be found at www.apicta.org.
The students’ iKit project attained a Merit Award in the Seconday School category in a most competitively contested field of more than 20 entries from across the Asia Pacfic region. More importantly, they also forged new friendships and industry connections and gained an informed cultural experience of life in a fast developing economy.
“This trip has been a great eye-opener. Not only have I learnt more about infocomm technology advancements in countries around the Asia-Pacific region, I also experienced what life is like in a fast developing foreign country.
Going to APICTA 2015 has made me realised that countries in this region are actually pretty advanced in technology. I have also come to appreciate that developed nations such as Singapore must remain humble in the international arena, and not underestimate developing countries such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. Although most may have the fallacy that developed countries would always be ‘better’ than developing countries in areas such as infocomm technology, it is really the lack of resources which drives those from less emdowed backgrounds to develop innovative products and services in order to better their own lives.
The Hong Kong Reception showcasing the country’s APICTA entries was also refreshing for me. It made me realise how fast the infocomm industry is moving. For example, I had the chance to try out a 3D glass for viewing augmented reality objects, intelligently incorporating hardware, software and augmented reality.
APICTA 2015 has also allowed me to experience life in a developing country. Before this event, I had absolutely no idea how life was like in Sri Lanka. However, this trip allowed me to see the many differences between city life in Singapore and Sri Lanka. Here in Singapore, we experience a seasonal haze. Even at times when the PSI is just hovering above 100, we would be complaining incessantly about the deteriorating weather conditions. However in Sri Lanka, where the air pollution is incomparably worse, the people still go about their normal daily lives without a word of complaint. Their spirit of tolerance is certainly admirable. Furthermore, traffic in Sri Lanka is very different from what we have in Singapore, with tuk-tuks agilely blazing the roads and cars tailgating other vehicles.
I am honoured to be able to represent Dunman High School and Singapore in the prestigious APICTA Awards 2015. It was certainly an enrichment experience on an entirely new level compared to the other types of overseas school trips. Not only did I acquire new friends and infocomm knowledge, I also gained insights into life in a foreign country which is very different from Singapore. All in all, I have come to realise that in order for me to stay relevant in the IT arena, I must improve myself constantly.
Poh Jun Kai Nigel
“Following the trip to Sri Lanka for APICTA 2015, I have learnt many values and improved myself. It was my first trip to an international level competition, therefore serving as an important lesson to me.
Firstly, I learnt how to appreciate other cultures. In Sri Lanka, most of the food was Indian in nature and we had to learn to eat it. Initially, I was reluctant to consume the Indian food but eventually, I grew to enjoy the Indian food. Additionally, during the various events we attended, we watched many traditional performances from Sri Lankans, which offered a glimpse into their vibrant culture.
Secondly, I learnt how to value what I have. Sri Lanka is a developing country and things that we have back home in Singapore may not be readily available in Sri Lanka. For example, while in Singapore we can drink water straight from the tap, in Sri Lanka, we had to purchase bottled water to ensure that the water we drank was clean. In Singapore, whenever there was a small bit of haze, we would rush to complain about the poor air conditions. However, in Sri Lanka, the air condition was worse. Hence, this trip to Sri Lanka made me cherish what I have in Singapore.
Thirdly, this experience made me step out of my comfort zone. Before going to Sri Lanka, I was very shy and was not comfortable in social situations. After attending numerous receptions and dinners in Sri Lanka, I learnt how to socialize and communicate with others more effectively. During the Hong Kong reception, we interacted with students from Hong Kong who presented their projects to us. I was astonished by the standard of projects they had created. One of the teams in the student category even created a device to help maintain the seating posture of students!
Lastly, I learnt of the high level of competition in the IT arena. Going to a competition at the international level, we were exposed to many projects and learnt of the various applications of IT utilized in the world today. I also realized that many of the developing countries were strong in IT, contrary to popular belief. A team from Sri Lanka even created an Autogenous Diabetic Retinopathy Censor for ophthalmologists. While they might not have as many resources as us, they certainly made the most out of what they have, highlighting their determined and positive attitude in learning.
In conclusion, this trip serves as an eye opener for me on the progress and development of the IT industry and serves as a constant reminder of the importance of IT in the modern day context.
Yeo Yee Kiam Ryan