He helps seniors understand the language of technology

This article is more than 12 months old

Retired human resource professional Tariam Singh is fluent in multiple languages, and he puts them to use regularly to help fellow senior citizens get to grips with technology.

Besides being a whiz with languages, Mr Singh, 70, is one of 163 volunteer Silver Infocomm Wellness Ambassadors.

"In my working life, I saw many seniors had problems with IT," said Mr Singh, explaining why he became an ambassador.

He found it a good way to socialise and combat the loneliness the silver years can bring.

About once a month, he teaches his peers how to use gadgets such as smartphones, tablets and computers.

He does so at Silver IT Fest roadshows as well as at Learning Island Tutorials, where seniors are taught to use mobile apps. Anyone who is at least 50 can be an ambassador, as long as they are familiar with IT and can encourage their peers to actively adopt digital technology.

Ambassadors are appointed by the Infocomm Media Development Authority and the People's Association's Active Ageing Council.

Mr Singh, who has been an ambassador since June, said his ability to speak English, Mandarin, Malay, Hokkien and Punjabi helps him with students who may not understand terms used during lessons, which are in English.

He said one difficulty with teaching the elderly is that they tend to forget quickly, so he gives them material to take home as well as his phone number.

One of Mr Singh's most rewarding experiences was when a former student ran up to him to hug and thank him when he saw him on the street.

Mr Singh had taught him to use a smartphone.

"My inspiration is to help my peers all the time. Until the day they don't need me, I have no intention of stopping," he said.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong singled out Mr Singh when speaking on Singapore's Smart Nation drive yesterday. - THE STRAITS TIMES

TechnologyelderlyLee Hsien Loong