Are You a Victim of the Digital Divide?

I am one of the recipients of Silver Infocomm Wellness Ambassador (Ref: C3A –Ageing Well) award 2013. Not quite sure what I am supposed to do.

Anyway, for those who have a passion on smart devices, Information Technology (IT) and the like but do not know how to get started or get involved and challenge yourself, you now has a friend (or ambassador) to come to.

Do you know any senior (or PR) over 50 years of age can now go to any public library and make use of the computers there free of charge (I think for the first hour per day. For longer time, there is a nominal charge).

There are three kinds of seniors … those who know IT and enjoy every minute of it. Those who understand what IT are about but do not know the good and bad about IT and the Internet. I call this group as “driving blindly through the Internet” and many have got their fingers burnt. This is the second kind. The third kind of seniors is those who heard about the usefulness of IT and the smart devices (smartphones, tablets), never use the Internet and do not know how or where to start.

Cha bau wo eng (after eating, still have time) – Do you know, on a monthly basis, I do organise an EC event or IT Interest Group (ITIG) gathering where the above-mentioned three groups have a chance to meet, make friends, get involved and challenge yourselves more. As photography is now also IT related, I do also conduct Photo Walks like yearly Christmas Walk along Orchard Road, Sculpture Hunting in Singapore and places of interests. So far, I have captured about 80 odd. View link to see my on-going project.

For those in the first and second groups and would like to learn more about your iPhones, smartphones or IT related topics, you can contact me through my email address

For those in the third group who don’t even have an email address of your own, you can come to our monthly ITIG gathering and make yourself known. See what we can do for you. As the saying goes …

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. (“?????????”).

Most of us still do not know the usefulness of being connected to the Internet. I only have one comment to these people … As we enter the group we call ourselves silver hairs or white, brown or no hair, we are becoming less mobile, we tend to stay at home more often. Knowing how to surf the Internet, we can still keep ourselves updated, be in touch with our friends and love ones through emails and video conferencing (Skype, Facetime, etc.), see movies, view videos on things some crazy people do, see magic shows; things we think are impossible but proved us wrong right in front of our eyes, etc. Most of these things are FREE.


19 thoughts on “Are You a Victim of the Digital Divide?

  1. Hi Hew Lee

    You deserve the accolade, always have the interest of groups who are not well-versed in IT or little knowledge of it.

    I put myself in the second group according to your classification, does not fully venture in the deep water so have not burnt myself cause I’m using a share computer – mindful of virus or render the computer not working. Thankful I have the opportunity to attend one of your ITG.

    Hope to extract more information and knowledge from you.

    Warmest regards

  2. Thank you Ah Lam for your compliment.
    Dan, about the fourth kind of IT, I don’t really know what this is. But if it is something about fraud and deception, then I know what you are talking about. The Internet is like the “Yin-Yang” Symbol (the black and white circle with two dots) – the black and the white are constantly trying to out-smart each other.

  3. Hi Hew Lee,

    You truly are an IT Ambassador, and deserve the award. Each month, we see you share your IT knowledge with fellow seniors. To your students, you have narrowed this digital divide. The days will come when we are retired, always at home and physically not so mobile, and we will be at home playing shooting games, playing chess and chitchatting with friends across the other end of Singapore.

    When you wrote this Post, I am sure you felt that many Singaporeans are caught in this digital divide. Many of us are still wondering what is the difference between Whatsapp and SMS. Although some of us pay the same mobile plans, many of us believe that Nokia is still the telephone to use.

    Thank you for helping SHC members get closer to the world of the younger generation. Please share with us your dreams and visions, and maybe we can help you narrow this digital divide. This will also benefit all of us.

    Terence Seah

  4. Hi Hew Lee
    Congrats! C3A has come up with some good initiatives for the elderly.

    When I think of the “victims” of the digital divide, I think of the victims who cry “Who moved my cheese?” One feels sorry for the latter.
    However some ‘victims’ of the digital divide (inclu savvy use of the internet) may not see themselves as victims. I have a friend who chose not to have a computer. she goes to the library once a week to check her e-mail. Another friend doesn’t want to carry a mobile phone. He is happy to remain “uncontactable”, esp. from his wife!

    Anyway with educated baby boomers soon making up the older old generation, the digital divide will soon become invisible.

    (A personal opinion.)

  5. Thank you Terence. WIthout you and your SHC web forum, I may not have so much opportunity to reach out to those in need of IT enhancements or upgrading. After all IT is here to stay whether we are 4-years old or 80 years old. (Quote: “I have seen a 4-years old enjoying a game of Angry Birds on the iPad and a 80-years senior enjoying a YouTube show of “Wang sha yeh feng” comedy”).

    My Dream: Sometimes we have to use the carrot method.
    For any SHC member (Member A) who is able to recommend a senior (#) to learn IT to a confidence level of able to go to the library to surf the Internet and send/receive emails for 3-consecutive days (1 hr x 3), Member A earns 2 points. If Member A recommends 5 seniors (#) and all the 5 seniors pass out after going to the library for 3 days, Member A earns 10 points. Note (#): those seniors belonging to the third group as described in my Post above. Training is totally FREE.

    With 10 points, Member A earned a FREE lunch or dinner from me. As I am retired and is not left with a gold mine, definitely the amount is dependent on the response, unless there are other contributors willing to share the bill.

    My Vision: To be able to make a difference to 50 Seniors (> 50 years) within the next 12 months.

    Terence, if you buy this idea of mine, you may consider to put up this as a separate post and request your committee members to monitor and manage it. I can be consider as the “Consultant” and helper to train the seniors and to assess their final performances and to decide by the reviewing team (myself and two other SHC members) whether the recommender earned his/her free lunch/dinner.

    The Team:
    1) Trainers (myself and others)
    2) Committee members to monitor and manage the project
    3) Reviewing team members (myself and two other SHC members)
    4) Contributors to the free lunch/dinner to the recommenders and the trainers, if any.

    Terence – you are free to amend this comment if you are considering a separate posting.


  6. Jassmine & Judy – thank you for your compliments. Free drop in to our ITIG gathering @ LKCC. Do you know, before each LKCC lesson, I try to share with the class a short video or karaoke song (from Youtube) that will widen our understanding and experiences. This month’s video is about how Life is created in our mother’s body – create and grow. The reverse is also true – how it is taken away from us – mutate and destroy.

    James – sorry, my limited IT knowledge is only up to the Web workings. I am not an IT professional. Besides, this forum is not suitable to discuss commercial, the Round Table is more appropriate.

    Come Nov., our ITIG discussion will be on Blogging & Web Publishing. If time permits, I will briefly touch on online buying & selling.

  7. Hi Hew Lee
    I look forward to the Nov discussion on web publishing and online buying & selling. Would like to ask if it’s possible to hold the discussion on a weekday afternoon for members who can make it (and maybe even prefer a weekday meet). Thanks.

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