2 October 2010 - Address By RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority Of Singapore At The Active Agers Awards Ceremony, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel

Address By RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority Of Singapore At The Active Agers Awards Ceremony, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, Saturday, 2 October 2010

His Excellency President SR Nathan,
Mrs Nathan
Mr Gerard Ee, Chairman, Council for Third Age,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good evening

1. Information and communications technology, or infocomm for short, has a great impact on our lives. We can keep in touch with our friends and loved ones through email, video conferencing and social media applications such as Facebook and Twitter. We can interact with government agencies through the eCitizen portal. We can do our banking, book our holidays, or meet those who share our interests - simply by going online from home.

2. In terms of what we can do through infocomm, there is more to come. You may have seen the recent advertisements announcing the launch of Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network services. The Next Gen NBN is Singapore's new high-speed fibre network that will be deployed to all homes, schools and businesses by 2012. This will enable a whole new range of exciting and innovative services. There are many possibilities - for example, you may be able to enjoy an interactive shopping experience delivered over Internet-enabled television or what is called IPTV, where you can get to try on clothes and fashion accessories virtually or examine other merchandise in 3D before making the purchase online.

3. Infocomm enables us to enjoy the benefits and the convenience of these new services. It is something that should empower and not intimidate us. While our children may take to it very naturally today, those of us who are more senior in age can also familiarise ourselves with the use of infocomm quite easily, which many have shown.

4. One of them is Mr Harry Lo Kwok Kwong, who is one of the winners of this year's Active Agers Awards, and also this year's Silver Infocomm Champion. As you know, the Active Agers Awards recognise and honour seniors who have a zest for life and who embrace the lifestyle of active ageing. This is the third year in which IDA is partnering the Council for Third Age in recognising individuals who embody these traits through their activities and experiences in the area of infocomm.

5. Harry's infocomm learning journey is an inspirational one. He did not receive any formal training in IT but was curious about computers when  PCs were first introduced in Singapore in the early 1980s. The first computer that he used - the XT PC - did not have a hard disk drive and a colour monitor was almost unheard of at that time. Through a process of self-learning and discovery, Harry picked up his computer knowledge and eventually became competent enough in the subject to teach part-time in a commercial school. Passionate about sharing his IT knowledge and skills, Harry has also been volunteering as an IT trainer for over 10 years, first at a training centre at Toa Payoh Library and later at RSVP Singapore, the Organisation of Senior Volunteers, as well as the Silver Infocomm Junction at the Centre of Activity and Recreation for the Elders or CARE. In fact, Harry played a big role in setting up an IT lab at CARE, recommending the PC configurations and software and linking up the computers in a network.

6. As a senior himself, Harry appreciates the challenges that his peers face in learning infocomm. He understands that senior citizens need to have more easily accessible training centres that cater to their needs. He also knows that many of them don't find it easy picking up IT skills from their children or grandchildren, who may not have the time or a systematic way to guide them in their infocomm learning journey.

7. To help our seniors meet some of these challenges, Silver Infocomm Junctions have been established in various parts of Singapore, which provide senior citizens with easy access to infocomm training and resources. There are currently eight such facilities, and two more will be operational by next month, and another three in the next couple of years. Courses conducted at these centres cover a wide range of topics, catering to different interests - from electronic banking to digital photography to video management.

8. A training incentive programme has also been launched to encourage more senior citizens to go for training at the Silver Infocomm Junctions. Under this initiative, the first 8,000 Singapore citizens aged 50 and above who complete 30 hours of IT training will be given a discount when they purchase a computer under IDA's Silver Gen PC Specials initiative. IDA is also setting up 100 Silver Infocomm Hotspots islandwide, which provide senior citizens with free access to computers and Internet services. Since the start of this year, 31 Hotspots have been established.

9. To facilitate our senior citizens learning IT from their  younger ones - IDA worked with our schools to introduce what we call Inter-Generational IT Bootcamps, in which  the senior adults attend infocomm workshops, accompanied by their children or grandchildren who act as their personal cyberguides. These bootcamps lasting a morning each not only serve to enhance infocomm literacy among our senior citizens, but they are also good opportunities for inter-generational bonding between the children and their parents or grandparents.

10. Besides these initiatives, we also organise a Silver Infocomm Day each year, which feature talks, exhibitions and hands-on workshops that provide tips on how to use infocomm. In fact, just this afternoon, we completed this year's Silver Infocomm Day held at the Singapore Polytechnic and Nanyang Polytechnic. More than 9,500 senior citizens have attended this annual event over the past three years, and I would encourage you to join us in next year's event.

11. IDA is committed to supporting senior citizens in their infocomm journey. I strongly encourage  the seniors among you to take advantage of the initiatives that we have put in place to familiarise yourselves with the use of infocomm. It will open up a whole new world, and provide you with new avenues to stay connected with relatives and friends and with all that’s happening around us.

12. Thank you.

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023