Kim-Trump Vietnam summit brings back memories for some in Singapore

This article is more than 12 months old

When it was announced that US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would meet in Singapore in June last year, six officers had to scramble and come up with a system to accredit 5,000 journalists.

They were from the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) at the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).

GovTech is the agency driving the digital transformation of the public sector.

Mr Lo Yoong Khong, 54, MCI's Group chief information officer who led the six-man team, told The New Paper that even after setting up the intricate system, they still weren't sure if the summit would happen as President Trump had cancelled one previously.

Mr Lo said: "Despite this, we were very determined and felt that regardless, we would get ourselves ready.

"I'm very happy that we had a good team that could be mobilised at the last minute and were able to provide different areas of expertise."

The GovTech team thought they would have a month to create the complex media accreditation system for the historic summit, but in the end, they had only a little over a week.

They quickly realised that building something from scratch or tapping on an existing GovTech system would take too much time and decided to opt for one already available on the market.

Once they found a system that was secure and flexible enough to be tailored to their requirements, they scrambled to get it ready in time for the summit.

Mr Benjamin Ho, 31, manager of the media analytics and operations department at MCI, said: "We needed something that was not going to fail."

The team configured everything within a week.

They made sure that it would be quick and efficient, allowing international media to simply scan a QR code to verify their identities and then collect their press badges, which contained a hologram that could not be duplicated.

The next step was getting registration booths ready as the clock ticked down to the two leaders' meeting on June 12.

The summit proceeded smoothly and even after it was all over and the dust had settle down, the GovTech team admitted they took a while to return to normal.

Director of infrastructure services Mr Leong Woon Leong, 54, one of the members of the team, said: "We couldn't sleep for a while after because we were still running on adrenaline."