Singapore – Netizens weighed in on the probable issues regarding the Government initiative to hire digital ambassadors to help seniors and stallholders transition online, saying it would be challenging as many don’t understand the concept of smartphones, to begin with.
According to a channelnewsasia.com report updated on June 1, a new digital office will be recruiting 1,000 ambassadors by the end of June 2020 to assist stallholders and seniors in going digital. All 112 hawker centres and wet markets are encouraged to adopt SGQR codes for e-payments and limit the handling of cash in a push for the country’s transition to becoming more digitally-advanced post Covid-19.
The initiative would extend to stallholders in coffee shops and industrial canteens in July. The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said in a joint news release that the goal is “to encourage 18,000 stallholders to help them get onboard the unified e-payment solution by June 2021.”
The SGQR code is compatible with popular payment platforms such as PayNow, GrabPay and FavePay. It was first introduced in 2018 as a means of simplifying QR code payments in the country.
Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran said in a statement that the lives of the elderly and vulnerable could benefit from being digitally connected. “Covid-19 has irrevocably changed the way we lead our lives,” said the minister. The SG Digital Office aims to raise the digital skills of seniors and stallholders alike to equip them with the right tools during the transition.
“We want to quickly include our seniors in these digital efforts, so that they can join other citizens in communicating and transacting digitally,” said the MCI and IMDA.
Members from the online community expressed their concerns on the initiative, with some saying the plan does not favour seniors. “A lot of the senior citizens may be resistant to learning the technology,” noted Aleesh Lee who mentioned that they might first need to understand how a mobile phone worked. Oli To, among others, highlighted the issue of a security breach or accidents on the side of the operators, which may cause them to lose money in the process.
Meanwhile, some commented such issues should not be the reason to limit new technologies to the market. “There will always be a segment of the population who will be seniors,” said Jason Wong. What’s important is the time, effort, and patience being extended to help them adapt.
Jam Jam shared how his 91-year-old grandfather was able to learn how to navigate a computer back in 2000. “All you need is the will to move along with time,” said the netizen.