Special Event at Khazanah Megatrends Forum. Launch of Sandpipers and Mudskippers: A Journey Through the Ramsar Mangroves of Iskandar Malaysia

I will be speaking today at an event at Khazanah Megatrends Forum 2012 which is about preserving the mangrove sites in Iskandar region of Malaysia. It will be attended by many Malaysian leaders including Dato’ Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak is a Malaysian politician who is the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

I was asked to provide a new media interpretation about the topic only a couple of weeks ago. In such a short time it was difficult to think what to do. Initially I was thinking to provide some smell or taste media which would sync to a music score being written for the event by a famous composer Prof Nigel Osborne. I discussed with my Ph.D student to do something related to his smell media work. However, basically to do something that ambitious in such a short time would be almost impossible. I don’t like to give up, so then I began to think how could we do something which would reflect on new media. One of the key points of new media is internet and hyper-connectivity. So I thought, how about we make a crowd-sourced video. So I set up a Facebook page where I invited young people to upload a video about why they thought preserving the mangroves would be important. 

Even a few years ago, to make a video clip asking the opinion of youth would require video equipment, editing tools, and digital conversion. It also would require one to go and interview the kids on location. To do that in a few days would be expensive and difficult. Now in our age of hyperconnectivity we could put the work out on social networks, and the kids were able to take their own video on their own devices such as phones, and instantly upload them onto the network. We could create a crowd sourced video in only a few days. The video was an example also of hyperconnected global work. My students in Tokyo collaborated with one of my Keio University Ph.D students who is in Singapore to edit the video while I was in San Francisco. 

This short project was an example of the hyper-speed and hyperconnectivity of our network age. Humanity has never had the ability to share and create globally and in real time. It was a great way to bring the voices of the youth of Malaysia to the Khazanah Megatrends Forum which will be viewed by Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak.