Dec 22, 2007

Mr Wang Becomes A National Resource

I exaggerate. What I've really become is a National Library resource:
Dear Mr Wang,

Notification of Website Archiving – Mr Wang Says So

The National Library Board (NLB) is traditionally known to collect published materials for preservation as the nation's published heritage. This includes online and electronic publications of lasting national, historical, research and cultural values. NLB has embarked on a web-archiving project, with the long-term goal of building a comprehensive collection of Singapore-related websites and publications to ensure that Singaporeans have access to their documentary heritage now and in the future.

NLB has deemed both your current website (URL: and former website (URL: to be an important part of Singapore’s documentary heritage and would like them to remain available to researchers and generations of Singaporeans in the future. Hence NLB will be taking snapshots of your websites under the appended terms .........

Yours sincerely
Anne Claudine Tan
For Director (Digital Resources & Services)
National Library Board
Well, the next time that Leslie Fong says that blogs are garbage, you know what to do. Tell him that the National Library Board considers Mr Wang's blog to be an electronic publication of "lasting national, historical, research and cultural values". Oh, and I'm sure mine is not the only blog included in this NLB project.

Incidentally, for those of you who only started reading my blog this year, I have an older blog which ran from May 2005 to December 2006 (this is the "former website" which NLB is referring to in its email above). The former blog - Mr Wang Bakes Good Karma - is
here. A quick selection of old posts, for your reading pleasure:

01. Elections are Over. Time to Raise Ministers' Salaries!
02. Rethinking NS - Part 1
03. Pulling a Fast One
04. Oh Dear. I Feel Worried For PM Lee
05. Open Society. Ha.
06. Who Says Singaporeans Aren't Creative?
07. Party Political Films - Leong Ching Just Doesn't Get It.


veii said...

It's a trap! Next thing you know, they will say that you cannot leave the country as you would be declared a Living National Treasure..haha

Congratulations.. it is a truly remarkable achievement.

Anonymous said...

Haha! Congrats!

Rush said...

I've been following your blog for some time now - since you baked good karma - and find your commentary spot on.

Thanks for making a difference :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations for being a National Resource.

From the NLB Web Archive FAQ, this is what NLB like to archive:

Question 6:

Q6) What are our criteria for selecting these websites?

There are almost 68,600 domain names registered with the SGNIC, as at Sep 2006 (link). Therefore, NLB has to be selective in archiving. The selection criteria used are:

1. Is the website content of national significance and interest? These sites contain information on events that have national impact, such as elections and national campaigns like the Courtesy campaign.

2. Does the website content have historical value? Such websites usually document the social, political, economic, educational and cultural activities of the agency/individual concerned, and their relations to the wider community. They may also be topical in nature (E.g.: Singapore Recreation Club website that reflects its history and activities that form an aspect of the social history of Singapore, or sites that feature the NKF Saga).

3. Is the content of research value? Such websites may contain materials, which are likely to be of interest to researchers. (E.g., corporate information about functions, accomplishments, organisation or operations of the agency, Statistical reports published by Department of Statistics or research papers of research works done by A-Star)

4. Is the content about some prominent personalities in Singapore? For example, Singapore Idol website.

5. Sites displaying web innovation (such as, using innovative elements particular to the web, including state-of-the-art technology in an imaginative and/or technically inspired way, demonstrating the special character of the web and its technological potential) will be archived selectively.

6. Is the content published by person(s) authoritative and knowledgeable in their fields? Or by personalities whose views and works are popular in public opinion or provide a good social commentary?

7. Are they Personal Homepages published by notable Singaporeans or residents in Singapore? These include men and women with long track records of achievement in their fields and national contribution. The content of the homepages should be directly related to their achievements and contributions.

Websites meeting at least one of the above criteria may be selected for archiving.


From the above answer, do note some of the examples given (NKF Saga?).

On the technical side, the viewing tools for NLB Web Archive are rather restrictive. From the same FAQ:

Question 2:

Q2) What are the PC requirements to view the Web Archive?

The minimum system configuration to use is Internet Explorer 6 or above on a computer running Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me), or Microsoft Windows NT with a Pentium III processor and 128 megabytes (MB) of RAM, a 1024 x 768 or higher-resolution monitor with 16.7M colors display, modem or Internet connection and a mouse or compatible pointing device.


Now, what do you see here? In Question 3, they discuss about the tools that they used for website archiving. Some open source tools (WERA, NutchWAX, Heritrix) were mentioned and they work in Linux operating systems. The above answer did not really open up many choices of web browser technologies. Another funny thing is that WERA website showed a screen shot of WERA working inside a Firefox browser.

Another troublesome thing is that you have to do is to change your browser's proxy settings, in order to use the web archives. The proxy server is a Linux server running Apache/2.0.54 (Fedora) operating system.

One probable reason for the proxy server requirement is that they could not integrate the Linux server properly with the Microsoft (non free) tools. There was very little (or no) mention of using proxy servers for the above mentioned open source tools. Sites that use these technologies did not require any proxy changes.

Or this is the work of the lowest bidder for a government tender? Hmmm, where is the former CTO now?

Anonymous said...

Wah now the establishment even want to incorporate free-spirited bloggers into their service with some flattery.

This does'nt look their style for were the establishment really means business, why don't they let Mr Wang write in the press, unedited, hah?

Anonymous said...

*clap clap clap clap clap*!!!

You rock Mr.Wang! This shows that blogs are formally recognised as part of Singapore's modern social phenomena!

If you're e only blogger listed, then you'd have become the de facto champion for online soci0-political commentary!

Anonymous said...

Ah evil. See, now you're to write responsibly. Though, as a matter of fact, you have done so all along.

Anonymous said...

Anything can as long as Mr Wang is or doesn't become a strong opposition politician. Then it will be a different game altogether.

Anonymous said...

Well done, NLB!

And of course, Mr Wang.

Anonymous said...

Does that mean big brother is watching you? If they decided to 'crown' you, are they expecting you to lower your tone? Is this a good thing? I am not sure.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Thanks, everyone, for the compliments.

Coder, you're industrious as usual. Thanks for the link. I checked it out, hmmm, it seems that very few blogs will probably make the list. These are the examples of what NLB would typically collect:

"Q5) What are the types of websites we have collected?
For Phase 1 of the Web-Archive project, we have identified the following categories of websites deemed to be having authoritative sources of information on Singapore to be archived :

Government-related websites of :

Ministries, Government Departments, Statutory Boards and Organs of State
Town Councils, Community Development Councils
Sites of corporatised government agencies
Sites owned by government agencies, eg, campaign sites
Sites of government-owned subsidiaries and companies

Educational websites relating to :

Primary and secondary schools (including independent schools), Integrated Programme schools, as well as junior colleges

Websites of organisations and societies registered with the relevant government agencies, that document the social and cultural lives of Singaporeans:

Registered Societies
Registered Trade Unions
Charitable or Voluntary Welfare Organisations
National Sports Associations
Arts Groups
Family and Community Services
Cooperative societies"

In an alphabetical sort of listing, "Mr Wang Says So" will probably be listed very shortly after(maybe even immediately after) all the Ministries. Won't that be funny? Haha.

But seriously, not sure what the value of the archive will be for people interested in Mr Wang's writings. From the sound of it, it will be much easier just to go directly to my blogs and read them there ... Unlike other websites (where earlier content may disappear as the webpages get updated), blogs typically retain all their earlier content (unless blog owner takes them down or deletes the entire blog).

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Mr Wang. Your blog is a bright spark that is a stark contrast to the dull mono-tonal symphony that holds sway.

We all have our concerns and it is always heartening to see that there are still 'citizens' whose strong emotional attachment has led them to speak up for their nation - which incidentally, is also known by other misnomers such as Company, Inc or Hotel.

Still, only time will tell if the right choices have been made.

Have a great year ahead!

Anonymous said...

Congratulation! Mr Wang and I do hope NLB will keep You with them even if You migrate to elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mister Wong

Congratz! I would like to share another article with you that is post on Wikipedia. Somehow it became official and is not locked, no objections are raised too. And I am very very surprise.

Anonymous said...

Wonder if anyone or organization will be sued for 'defamations'?

Anonymous said...

I agree that blogs, forum postings, etc, should be archived somehow to retain the authencity of the era. For historians or researchers, it would be interesting to be able to go back in time to see what people were discussing, or concern with.

Congrats on your blogs being considered a "National Treasure" :)

Soojenn said...

Yes, great that your are being recognised as a national resource for bringing and consolidating stories from the various bloggers, especially the posting and consolidating various blogs on why Singaporeans migrate. Such views would never be ever published if written to the forum in the Straits Times in response to lky’s views. We cannot rely on the Straits Times can we, especially not Leslie.

Ministers from time to time like visit people who are overseas. More than 10 years ago, Mr. Mah Bow Tan visited HK and was hosted by various ass licking companies to a luncheon? to understand why there were so many of us here in HK instead of being back in Singapore. He asked, why and tried? to tell us that we should be patriotic and be back in Singapore to serve the nation instead?

Pathetically, when asked by an audience if he had something better to offer back in Singapore for us who are here, he was dumbfounded. Why would anyone in their right mind want to be in Singapore when they are not given the opportunities to move in the type of freedom and atmosphere in HK where not everything is controlled. Most businesses that are potentially good have also been participated by the government, from the coffin business, to logisitcs to god knows what, giving the normal people a chance in any business.

What conscience does lky has? I can hardly imagine that he is staying back in Singapore because he cares for the ordinary people in Singapore. An old man like him is still clinging to his throne and making the tax payer pay for his outrageous salary and pension?? For others who are old and who are out of jobs, they are suppose to retrain, and most of these people are not old if you compare to this old man. For lky, his skills are still useful? Certainly not and not at the outrageous price that Singaporeans have to pay for.