It is indeed a great hon­or and I’m deeply hum­bled to stand before an audi­ence of Internet greats and Internet lumi­nar­ies. I feel so unde­serv­ing, and as they say, them more you reward the unde­serv­ing the hard­er they will work in the future. So I have a lot of work cut out for me going ahead in the future.

There are of course many many many peo­ple I need to thank. As Len men­tioned, so many of us who who were involved in con­struct­ing this incred­i­ble glob­al edi­fice that will stand the times of his­to­ry. And we basi­cal­ly cre­at­ed some­thing nev­er in the his­to­ry of mankind, as Jimmy Wales puts it very well, that the sum total of human knowl­edge can now be acces­si­ble by everyone. 

So it’s indeed an incred­i­ble hon­or for me to receive this—to be induct­ed into this Hall of Fame. As Len said, it was indeed many many peo­ple. And I’m grat­i­fied to know that there are at least two ladies who are in the midst of the first inau­gur­al Hall of Fame. And as some­body used to say, it’s real­ly too men-ny. And I hope that going for­ward in the future, we will have more peo­ple in the com­mu­ni­ties that are under­rep­re­sent­ed com­ing for­ward to serve the Internet cause.

I real­ly miss the days when one of my Internet elders or men­tors remarked to me when I asked him, Why are you doing all these things for free?” So, one of things I real­ly missed was that Internet spir­it of vol­un­teerism. People get real­ly rich these days. I saw the slide which Professor Kleinrock showed—billionaires at the bottom—this morn­ing, and I real­ly felt that this was some­thing that we need to bring back again, that Internet spir­it of vol­un­teerism. To look after those who are less priv­i­leged than us. Those peo­ple who are under­priv­i­leged. Those peo­ple who did not enjoy the ben­e­fit of an edu­ca­tion as we have. And to real­ly reach out to the disenfranchised. 

And it was for that rea­son that I was always involved in help­ing some of the minor­i­ty groups as chair­man of the APNG, the Asia Pacific Networking Group that gave us APNIC. I was involved in help­ing one of the ear­ly helpers to pro­mote Internet for Asian women. I was involved for some time help­ing peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties to get on the net. I was involved in help­ing at one time peo­ple who were not speak­ing English get Web con­tent on the Web. Involved in the mul­ti­lin­gual­iza­tion of the Web, as well as on the inter­na­tion­al­iza­tion of the Domain Name System. So, I was always fired with this enthu­si­asm, that spir­it of Internet vol­un­teerism, to help those peo­ple who need Internet more than we ourselves.

So it’s indeed a great hon­or to stand before this august audi­ence of Internet lumi­nar­ies, and also to maybe share that going for­ward into the future. I think we should be expand­ing even beyond the plan­e­tary sys­tem of the Internet, as Vint Cerf used to put it. That we should even go beyond that. And I stand here as as—well, I used to be a pro­fes­sor in bio­chem­istry before I was sucked in by Dr. Chia Yeow-Tong, my for­mer boss, into the things Internet in the 90s. And I’ve gone back to become a pro­fes­sor in by bio­chem­istry work­ing on bioin­for­mat­ics and com­pu­ta­tion­al biol­o­gy. So I’m quite the odd one out here, amongst these Internet engi­neers and net­work professors. 

But I like to high­light the point that all liv­ing things, for eons, are liv­ing things because they process infor­ma­tion, and they devel­oped over eons the abil­i­ty to trans­fer the infor­ma­tion from one place to anoth­er, from one organ­ism to anoth­er. And we in a sense, in the Internet com­mu­ni­ty, are just rein­vent­ing some­thing that nature has already invent­ed a long time ago. But, because in a dif­fer­ent form we have car­bon chem­istry, and of course most of us are deal­ing with sil­i­con chemistry.

But the point here is that we’re increas­ing­ly begin­ning to be able to read that source code of nature through tremen­dous advances in genomics, for instance. Proteomics and so on. We’re able now to read the source code of life. And we will see increas­ing­ly going for­ward in the future, this con­ver­gence as well of bio­log­i­cal infor­ma­tion and dig­i­tal infor­ma­tion. And I real­ly sin­cere­ly hope that I will live long enough (ful­ly as long as my grand­fa­ther who just passed away not so long ago at 101), that per­haps I may have that [unearned?] chance of see­ing yet anoth­er lev­el of inte­gra­tion and con­ver­gence, that of fus­ing bio­log­i­cal infor­ma­tion with dig­i­tal infor­ma­tion that we in this audi­ence have been a glo­ri­ous part of. Thank you very much. 

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