Reading newspapers has become easier for business planner Cecilia Sim, 58, thanks to a tie-up between Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and the Geylang West Community Club.
Since the start of the month, residents of the Upper Boon Keng area have been able to catch up on the news using tablets at their neighbourhood community club.
Madam Sim tried the digital news platform on Saturday and plans to use it more often. "When I'm free, I come here to read the newspapers. For newspapers, we can't enlarge the words, but we can do so on a tablet. It is also more environmentally friendly, she told The Straits Times.
Geylang West Community Club is the first to offer digital newspapers on its premises, providing access to The Straits Times, Lianhe Zaobao, Berita Harian and Tamil Murasu via six tablets docked at its reception area. This is in addition to physical copies of the newspapers currently available for residents.
Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox
Ms Amy Choo, head of business partnership at SPH's circulation department, said it hopes the partnership would inculcate the habit of reading in young children and youth, while encouraging the silver generation to be more digital-savvy.
"We are trying very hard to reach the silver generation," she said. "What we noticed over time was that they like reading on smartphones and mobile devices, but do not know how to download (the apps). So, we need to find ways to teach them. One way is through the community clubs."
Mr Kwa Soon Yau, chairman of Geylang West Community Club's management committee, said around 20 people visit the club to read the news daily, most of whom are men aged above 30. "Reading is especially important for older people, to keep their minds active," he said.
Kolam Ayer Citizens' Consultative Committee chairman Chiang Heng Liang added that with information channels going electronic, there is a need to guide the older generation on how to access them.
"We must get them to overcome the inertia and the initial fear (of using a new platform)," he said, adding that this could be done with the help of younger people in the community, such as undergraduates, who could man booths at community events introducing the tablet and news apps to older residents. He believes having the option of reading the news on a tablet would appeal to younger people visiting the community club as well.