With a vision to build an engaged and connected Singapore, the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) supports the development of the nation’s vibrant infocomm technology, cyber security, media, and design sectors. It strives to cultivate learning opportunities among the public by fostering dialogue, openness and understanding. Its agencies include the National Library Board, Infocomm Media Development Authority, DesignSingapore Council, Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, and Personal Data Protection Commission.
With information and data transmitting at the speed of light, the importance of effective government communications, including accurate and timely translation capabilities, have become more crucial than ever. Communications is the instrumental and influential tool in bringing about change and progress in today’s social, economic and political climate. Eugene Ang, who currently works in MCI’s Media Analytics and Operations Department, and Siti Amirah Binte Mohd Amin, a third-year undergraduate, are both MCI scholars. They share about how their passion to contribute toward an informed and engaged society inspired them to build a career with MCI.
A United Front
As Eugene describes, “Effective government communications has to be citizen–centric. We need to tailor a message differently to reach different target audiences, from millennials to the elderly.” Other than formulating government communication strategies, MCI also plays the crucial role of helping policymakers make sense of the information circulating on various media platforms, ranging from print to digital. This is where the work of the Media Analytics and Operations Department comes in. “My main responsibilities include tracking and analysing media and news coverage of issues related to the government on different platforms,” he begins. The department also organises regular events to engage journalists and reporters from both local and foreign media. Through these events, MCI hopes to help them better understand the context that the Singapore government is working in.
Eugene Ang Zongxian
MCI Information Service Scholar
Assistant Manager (Media Analytics & Operations)
Media Analytics and Operations Department
Diverse Opportunities at MCI
The range of work at MCI is varied and presents numerous opportunities for graduates. As Eugene explains, “Information officers need to be familiar with how news is created and disseminated on traditional media (broadcast, radio, television, and print). At the same time, they have to understand how people access and react to content via online media (social media platforms, websites, and forums).” In Eugene’s current position, there is a media analytics component in which he studies media consumption statistics and trends on the internet. MCI then uses the findings as feedback to improve policy and communications. Prior to this, he was in the Campaigns and Production department, managing content development, media buying and outreach for various government campaigns. The job rotation gives him the opportunity to experience various portfolios. “Working in MCI has enabled me to understand and be attuned to developments all around Singapore,” he chimes.
Language Speaks Louder Than Words
A vital element of communications is language. In multi-racial Singapore, key messages are often translated from English into Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Therefore, MCI’s National Translation Committee (NTC) has rolled out initiatives in the past two years to reinforce translation capabilities in Singapore. One such initiative is the Information Service (Translation) Scholarship to groom translation talents. Siti is MCI’s first Malay language translation scholar. Siti is currently pursuing her third year of studies in Nanyang Technological University (NTU). She is attracted to this scholarship due to her interest in linguistics and passion for the Malay language. Siti quips, “The Malay language has evolved over the years with words adapted from other languages; this presents new exciting challenges to communications.”
Siti is planning to go for summer school overseas next year, which she anticipates will broaden her perspective and enhance her personal development. In addition, she is looking forward to her internship next year at MCI’s translation department, where she can experience the dynamics of translation in communications work. As a mid-term scholar, Siti’s advice to aspiring scholarship applicants is, “Take your time to explore various options. At the end of the day, you’ll be joining the organisation so ensure this is something you are passionate about.”
Siti Amirah Binte Mohd Amin
MCI Information Service Mid-Term (Translation) Scholar
Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and Multilingual Studies with 2nd Major in Psychology
Nanyang Technological University
Exciting Road Ahead
As part of the younger generation, Siti agrees that their life experiences are unlike the older generation’s. Being digital natives, they have been exposed from young to the new information landscape in which information is readily accessible via electronic platforms. While she is aware the changing media landscape presents new challenges to information management, Siti is confident young graduates have an edge due to their familiarity with the digital media.
Eugene, a graduate in international politics from Georgetown University, agrees. He enjoys his job as it provides him opportunities to explore points of convergences and divergences while handling media content with diverse perspectives. He acknowledges that a particular challenge in today’s cyber age is the sheer volume of information circulated. He finds fulfilment knowing his work contributes to nation building, as he reiterates, “Effective government communications allows the government to be a trusted source of objective information for people when they need clarification on the information they come across.”