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More seniors learning to lead digital lives as Singapore accelerates nationwide digitalisation plans

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More seniors learning to lead digital lives as Singapore accelerates nationwide digitalisation plans

 

 

“I think I’ll pick up TikTok and teach other seniors,” said 69-year-old Kathirithamby Selvakkrishnan. “I (already) have people sending me TikToks ... As seniors, we must keep (up) with what our youngsters are also doing.”

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Seven years ago, that would have been unthinkable for the former secondary school teacher.

“I was too busy with so many things and I only knew the basics like Facebook,” he said, adding that there was no real “need” to learn digital applications.

But that all changed in 2014, when he retired and suddenly found that he had a lot more time on his hands.

Over a WhatsApp voice call with CNA, Mr Selvakkrishnan shared how he decided to take up digital courses after retirement, such as online banking and how to market products on Instagram.

“It was exciting, interesting - and even entertaining - learning how to use the different apps, and the more I learnt, I realised that what I knew was very little,” he said.

Now, the 69-year-old retired teacher continues his commitment to teaching by volunteering weekly at various community centres to help other seniors learn basic digital skills.

“Our seniors are a little apprehensive and a little fearful, but when you teach them slowly and explain to them, they will come on board; and the moment they can use it, you can see the glow in their eye and they gain confidence,” he said. “If we are relevant then, we are respected and people will want to communicate with us, and so we won’t become redundant.”