Explore Kampong Glam virtually, then visit it in person to heritage hunt and win prizes

By scanning objects and architectural features in the area using their smartphone cameras, they can strike off boxes in their card, which has nine activities in total. ST PHOTO: SAMUEL ANG
Through an avatar inspired by the Malay Heritage Centre's resident cats, participants can explore an online replica of the precinct. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - You can roam the streets of heritage precinct Kampong Glam from the comfort of your home and even win prizes, from Saturday (March 12).

This digital initiative by the National Heritage Board (NHB) hopes to tap technology to get more people to learn more about the area's history.

Through an avatar inspired by the Malay Heritage Centre's resident cats, they can explore an online replica of the precinct, with the NHB teaming up with local multimedia firm Revez Motion to come up with the board's first digital twin of a heritage precinct.

To encourage people to physically visit the conservation area as well, NHB is running a Heritage Hunter Bingo game for about three weeks from Saturday, where participants can complete a virtual card by visiting locations, such as the Malay Heritage Centre.

By scanning objects and architectural features in the area using their smartphone cameras, they can strike off boxes in their card, which has nine activities in total. When scanned, some of these objects and features will trigger explanatory videos or mini games.

Completing just three activities or more allows participants to redeem prizes from the Malay Heritage Centre.

Mr Nicholas Chen, senior manager in the board's strategic communications and digital division, said the NHB is looking for innovative ways to get people interested in history.

"Giving participants a printed bingo card still works, but we felt using digital technology could improve the on-site experience without over-complicating it," he added.

To encourage physical visits, NHB is running a game where participants redeem prizes from the Malay Heritage Centre. PHOTO: ST FILE

He noted that by leveraging technology, the board aims to augment physical visits to Kampong Glam, and not replace them.

Mr Chen said NHB hopes that by exploring Kampong Glam's virtual twin, the public will be attracted to visit in-person, which could benefit businesses in the area.

He added that the first edition of NHB's Heritage Hunter game, which took place entirely virtually last March on its portal roots.gov.sg, has been a success, with page views increasing by more than two times when the game was running.

The virtual treasure hunt requires participants to find pages containing a golden coin, and exposes them to Singapore's history as each page contains write-ups about various types of heritage, such as artefacts from the national collection or intangible cultural heritage elements.

This year, the virtual hunt has also been running since Feb 22 and will end on Sunday.

Mr Eugene Ng, a manager in NHB's organisational design and innovation division, said the Kampong Glam digital twin - accessible from Saturday till April 10 - will act as a trial to see if delivering content through such platforms is popular with the public.

More information on the prize mechanics for Heritage Hunter Bingo can be found at roots.gov.sg/nhb/heritage-hunter-volume-2-gameplay, which also includes instructions on signing up for an account to visit Kampong Glam virtually, and play the game.

Heritage Hunter Bingo will run from Saturday till April 2. Participants are advised to visit Kampong Glam when the Malay Heritage Centre is open from Tuesdays to Sundays as elements in the game, as well as reward redemption, take place in the centre.

The public can also look forward to sharing their ideas on how the precinct can be rejuvenated later this year with the Kampong Gelam Alliance, a group of businesses, institutions, landlords and residents in the area.

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