Newspaper reading made easier at Geylang West Community Club after digital tie-up with SPH

SINGAPORE - Reading newspapers have become easier for business planner Madam Cecilia Sim, 58, thanks to a digital tie-up between Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and the Geylang West Community Club.

Since the start of the month (August), 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 (Aug 5) and intends 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 Sunday Times.

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Geylang West Community Club is the first to offer digital newspapers on their 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.

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 the youth, while encouraging the silver generation to be more digital-savvy.

"We are trying very hard to reach the silver generation," she added.

"What we noticed over time was that they like reading on smart phones 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, who is chairman of Geylang West Community Club's management committee, said there are around 20 people who visit the club to read the news daily, with most being men aged above 30.

"Reading is especially important for older people, to keep their minds active," he said.

Citizens consultative committee chairman Chiang Heng Liang added that with channels for information going electronic, there is a need to guide the older generation in accessing them.

"We must get them to overcome the inertia, the initial fear (of using a new platform)."

He added that this could be done with the help of younger people within the community, such as undergraduates, who could man booths at community events introducing the tablet and news apps to the older residents.

He believes having the option of reading the news on a tablet will be appealing to younger people who visit the community club as well.