Singapore's first electronic time capsule, launched by NS Portal in April this year in tandem with the NS40 celebrations to commemorate four decades of national service, is a big hit with the NS community.
Since the launch of NS40, the website has attracted over 210,000 unique visitors with over 220 contributions in the form of photos and stories.
NS40 is meant to capture and reflect the evolution of the Singapore society and how NS has progressed over the years.
From April till this September, the site welcomes contributions from NSmen "past and present" in the form of photos and text. It is an interactive community-building effort featuring themes like "Ceremony', 'Outfield', 'Fun' and even 'Tekan'.
It serves as a way to immortalise memories born from the collective consciousness of all NS men and women over the past 40 years.
Said Mr Ng See Sing, General Manager of NCS Portal City, the company that manages NS40 for Mindef: "NCS mooted the idea of time capsule when planning the development for the NS40 website"
"Other features in the ns40 website included blogs, forums, news and announcement on the NS40 series of events."
Mr Ng added: "Through the time capsule, the public can also have a greater understanding and appreciation of NS."
One of the contributors is Sgt Sim Cheng Kiat, 57, who was in the pioneering batches of NSmen. Looking back on his NS days, he said: " It was a scary moment, to know that we were conscripted to be soldiers to defend our country.
"Then, Singapore was still a country trying to stand on its own two feet and we never knew if we were going to fight in an actual war. We were only 17 and we were holding live guns that we would very possibly use.
"I decided to contribute some photos from my days in camp and days out of camp because I want the youngsters of today to know that we were not so different from them - we had fears, we had beers and we tried to make the most of life in and out of camp."
Mr Ng said the setting up of the time-capsule is in line with NCS' objective of providing value to the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) of NS Portal. Of Mindef's collaboration with NCS on this project, he said: "The public-private collaboration not only allows the government to utilise best of private sector initiative and technology expertise in the partnership , it also provides opportunities to organisations in the private sector.
"To the public, the bundling of the public and private sector e-services will bring increased benefits and convenience to the online community, creating a positive and seamless experience."
Mr Ng also said that NCS sees a new era developing among agencies for greater collaboration between public and private sectors in engaging the online community.
This forms the crux of what is touted as the 3Pi model (Public-Private-People integration) for online services.
"This offers a very exciting market potential for a win-win relationship for the three parties," enthused Mr Ng.
Through this 3-way process, the Singapore government is further capitalising on its strong leadership in the e-Gov space, introducing "a new phase of experiential interactions and interactivities".
"In the internet world, out of sight, out of mind is a great fear factor," said Mr Ng.
"The success of YouTube lies in its ability to build a very engaging community that cuts across cultural, geographical and age barrier round the clock, allowing the community to visit the portal not just for information and entertainment, but also to make and share their personal contributions and experiences."
"It is a very powerful viral marketing that can sustain itself," he elaborated.
Of the 3Pi model, Mr Ng says it may still be in its infancy but the potential is "very exciting".
Citing mobile technology where the services of the public and private sectors can be delivered seamlessly, he asserted: "Mobility will be a key factor in driving the next wave of internet technology."